Sunday, December 15, 2013

Live. And Let Live.

How easy it is to become so excited about one's personal beliefs and tastes that we come close to imposing them on others. Another all-too-common human frailty is becoming so totally convinced that our views are not only correct but are also very nearly indispensable for enjoying the good life (sometime and for some folks both here and in a putative hereafter).
Live, I say, and try to do it to the best of our ability; drink deeply from the vast river of life, savoring every sweet mouthful. But don't forget to allow others to drink freely from its fathomless streams in however manner best suits them. The river is deep and there is plenty of water to taste.
I dribble on and on here at my blog about the various aspects of life that interest me. I have no theory or set of theories as to what the truth is, and to be honest, I'm fairly convinced no one else or no single school of thought has a final theory-of-everything. I only have ways of looking at things that my sampling of life has suggested to me.
So let us live. And let us allow everyone else the same privilege.
I'm probably coming around again to a view that I held early on in life (in a very different manner than I did then because I was only sipping from one well that supplied by the river of life). Then later, for a couple of decades there, I was in danger, I believe, of detaching myself from the river's depths.
Of course, I'm aware others might think folks like myself are deluded about how deep those waters are; or perhaps they just feel that we know the surface of the river so well that it is same down below no matter how deeply it flows. Perhaps they are correct. Perhaps they are not. I can only experience life for myself and draw my own conclusions. And sometimes even those closest to me don't understand.  
There is however a quote from the recently deceased writer Colin Wilson that speaks to me in a special way:
“Religion, mysticism and magic all spring from the same basic ‘feeling’ about the universe: a sudden feeling of meaning, which human beings sometimes ‘pick up’ accidentally, as your radio might pick up some unknown station. Poets feel that we are cut off from meaning by a thick, lead wall, and that sometimes for no reason we can understand the wall seems to vanish and we are suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of the infinite interestingness of things.”
Just saying....



  1. As long as others live and let live I am inclined to do the same. Life is so short and most of the things humans debate and argue over don't matter. Unfortunately, here in America fundamentalism can, at times, dominate the discussion. They are not content to live and let live, so we are forced to push back in order to maintain our freedom. I am convinced fundamentalism, be it religious, political, or economic, is the cause of most of the problems in the world. You rightly say, no one has all the answers, but he fundamentalist does not believe this. They are certain they are right and their certainty makes them closed minded.

    1. Substitute "extremist" for "fundamentalist" and I'll agree 100%. Extremists can never let others alone. I often think about what a drab world this would be if everyone thought about things exactly the way I do.

  2. Very interesting. I am not familiar with your entire story, but I think I get what you are saying here. Spirituality is hard to divorce oneself from entirely.

    1. My hypothesis is this: animism represents the most ancient form of spirituality or religion, or, more to the point, way of relating to the cosmos. When I was a young child, as is I think the case with most young children, the world seemed an enchanted place. I tended to see intention, life and "spirit" in just about everything. For me that feeling was later channeled towards the Judeo-Christian ideas of God. Some children are raised with a scientific materialistic worldview and have their spirituality repressed. But left alone I believe humans naturally are hardwired towards animism.

      Think about how most people treat their deceased loved ones, for example. They believe a corpse can be disrespected, is entitled to respectful treatment and disposal. Corpses are dressed up, presented with flowers, are buried with mementos that loved ones place into their caskets. In some ways that reminds of when I was a child and the way I treated my stuffed animals. I knew they weren't "real" and "alive" in the same sense I was and my family was. Yet I still tucked them into bed next to me, supposedly to keep them close to the one they loved the same as I loved them. I even pulled the blankets up to keep them warm and comfy as I was. In one sense none of that makes much sense. In a deeper way, however, it all makes perfect sense.

      Even most religious skeptics take the "sacredness" of marriage and the symbolism of the wedding ring seriously, for example. I'm just suggesting that finding deeper meaning in life, expressing it symbolically, is just as natural as being human. That for me is the essence of spirituality: finding and embracing the deeper meaning of life.