Smooth sounding rain

Smooth sounding rain stroked manifold layers of green quivering leaves

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Smooth sounding rain stroked manifold layers of green quivering leaves

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Smooth sounding rain stroked manifold layers of green quivering leaves.

Silence within the great symphony of rain.

 

    Silence whilst listening to a thousand voices of cold tropical drops smashing into leaves and edges.

Silence that is grey;
      
profoundly incomprehensible.

And a voice that wraps things full of wonder with words full of emptiness. 

 

   A sight that dwells endlessly on a dream planet, a dream life.

 

A layer of skin that pierces darkness and absorbs the world into a

       nugget of perception.

To breathe in awe of all surrounding perplexing forms, a close connection with improbability.

 

Then it stops, the ever-changing new turns old and rigid. Common, ordinary minutes.

Then again and again there is a plan, a prospect.  The vertigo of wonder disappears

routine conquers anew.

 

Echoing thunder is heard far beyond the touchable. 

             

 

                    To be one with what has been,

    

what is

 

what will be

Liberation

Free wanderers of the spirit, you astronauts in the lost space of indecision, all of us that have noticed and condemned the irrationality of our age, yes, you passionate survivor that in the mist of these nonsensical years battle through the current of conformity in search of a justification, a raison d’etre, a simple satisfaction that will overshadow the ever-lasting presence of frustration.
 
We are the inheritors of a struggle that has pervaded all of history. Our efforts so essential in the field of human potential must never come to an end. In these complex societies that require even more complex solutions to cure the collective madness, our perseverance must not wane. Even if most attempts to heal the wound of civilization have failed throughout history, the spirit of the rebel will live on as a child of that irrepressible force that commands human existence: an energy that will ask of us to emancipate man from his self-imposed shackles.
 
Our mistrust in human conventions, ideologies, and reforms should not stop our search for an immediate liberation, a source of enlightenment, a spring of contentment. In peeling off all boundaries we still have a chance of finding a secret treasure in nature, beauty, art, brotherhood, work, love, poetry, even in the darkness of suffering or the maniacal passion of a philosopher, somewhere within these and all inspiring things we may stumble across a beautiful sensation of peace, a harmonious agreement with what is most essential in life.
 
But what is the most essential?
 
This each wondering mind must seek but I am sure that with sufficient honesty and perseverance we can find that basic need and satisfy it sanely. Then we may watch our torments wither away and vanish as our reality elevates itself into a more exciting and promising realm.
 
Allow this vision to settle in:
 
Long, unanimous cries and shouts into the open sky, not from another fascist’s Holocaust but from an inexplicable mad ecstasy, the long-awaited contact with pure joy.

A line of thought

 

 

We haven’t reached the spiritual vertigo of Zarathustra, for in his abundance of knowledge became weary of too much wisdom; nor are we broken down by so much grief as Titus had to endure. We are not too small to be completely insignificant, nor great enough to awake with daily pride. Our real circumstances are somewhere in between the extremities, our toils are not fully tragic or heroic.

    We battle through the repetitions of the calendar and if we strive to send out a message, a moral for our collected personal histories, what unclouded expression can give meaning to the facts of our plainer existence? What, for instance, is the final message of the universally acclaimed films of Forrest Gump or Amelie? What feature in their unwinding plots seizes the spectator’s mind-body and synchronizes its fictitious reality with our own living novels? The former film is a wonderful exposition of the Ying-Yang character of any human life, yet in the end the legendary up-and-down events of Gump’s life become simply a background for the truly memorable moments of his life as he describes them to his life-long love: gazing at the stars at night, contemplating a sunrise, running by a crystalline lake, and surveying without distinction the earth and sky. The latter film from the onset exposes a lover of life in her most basic and simple experiences: sticking a hand into a sack of beans or skipping pebbles on water.

    For both films, besides the eternal search for love, these aforementioned singular and unpretentious experiences somehow seem to magically justify the turmoil of existence, our inevitable mortality and the lurking solitude that hides away in every human heart.

    But while Zarathustra, Titus, Forrest and Amelie lie tranquilly behind the surface of a book’s page or the film’s screen, what is for the true mortal being the climax of his life? When do we find the ultimate recognition of our satisfaction, and if we do, are we able to leave behind forever the racing dream that we have called our daily reality? In other words, once we find a simple reason for our being, can we then allow it to return to non-being?

    The search for fulfillment needs not reach the extremes of intellectual inquiry of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra or the emotional explosiveness of Shakespeare’s Titus, perhaps our day to day lifestyle will be enough if it be endowed with sufficient awareness, a recognition that behind our meals, offices hours and snoring sleep an intuitive beauty akin to what Forrest and Amelie felt in their rudimentary experiences is available to us.

    After all, is not the triviality of the familiar set before the grand theater of stars and galaxies? Is it so surprising that this world as it is, is just enough, that we need seek no more, progress no further, attain nothing more…

   Had today been the last day of this earth and we the living saw and participated in the last scene of this earthly play, would not every last smile turn into a divine sign, every last meal a most sacred ritual, every last conversation a most treasured bible, every last kiss a most unnatural miracle.

    The potential of the ordinary is quite extraordinary once we acknowledge how rare and marvelous is our neglected existence.

The impossibility of faith

This is a statement made by one of so many human creatures that roam this earth; and it is the belief of the author of such statement that opinions are ultimately relative to their background, therefore limiting “the impossibility of faith” to a narrow discourse that is and will be shared only by those that have a similar mental constitution, in short, those that share the rare tendency to doubt, question, and challenge all forms of knowledge and experience.

 

So, without complicating the matter too much, what is, in brief, the impossibility of faith all about?

 

To convey opinions through the awkwardness of words, one must first of all be able to express the circumstances from which the opinion arose. This provides the reader, first of all, access to the frame of mind needed to understand the opinion. So, before you judge too quickly the impertinence of my opinion (the impossibility of having religious faith), I will present to you my humble case.

 

I adore religion; it has fascinated me both in my youthful years of religious piety as well as in my later years of recklessness and agnosticism. I’ve lived both sides of such opposite worlds, I’ve had to cross through the tenebrous chasm that separates the comfort of a religious established life from the frightful unknown that constitutes the emptiness of near-atheism. I haven’t become an atheist, I cannot confidently claim that there is no god or that there is no supernatural reality. I simply withhold my judgment and allow a blank white space to fill the answer. I have fallen prey of the impetuous force of the scientific method, which as sound as it may be in this day and age, I admit, I still hold some caution against it. I’ve written before about the limitations of science and won’t dwell on it here. But to finish the point, it has impressed deeply on my mind and I cannot dismiss it easily however skeptical I am about its capacity to resolve the mysteries of human life.

 

Even after I started to doubt every religion or religious claim, I continued to have a respect for religion, a secret infatuation for the solemnity and profundity that religion usually conveys. After a suicidal and conflictive adolescence, I finally came into friendly terms with religion again, but this time from the perspective of a spectator and not so much as a member. For the last seven years I’ve had the great delight of studying and investigating the religions of the world, uncovering so much wisdom that is to be found in the poetry, symbolism and narrative of religious thought and feeling.

 

So, what makes me today say that it is impossible to have faith? Faith is complicated to analyze. From a reductionist point of view, I can affirm like many others that religion is nothing more than a social phenomenon to keep the members of a community or society passively functioning without rebelling against the system. (the opium of the people, as Marx once coined it). Other rational views establish faith as the response to fear, the necessity that arises from the fear of the unknown, the fear of disease and death, fear from the impotence man has in a world full of dangerous forces that can easily upset his petty order. Another view is that religion is a genetically wired aspect of the human psyche, that we are bound to create religious system because of the evolution of our brain. Other views establish religion as the longing to return to a previously lived experience of totality (such as when we were fetuses or infants, when the differentiation between ego and the external world had not yet been firmly delineated). These are all views I’ve learned from others, they have not actually been developed by me. Nonetheless, they all point to sensible possibilities… religion as universal as it is may have an identifiable cause in one or all these theories.

 

What I’ve concluded is that you don’t need to invalidate or refute religion to be able not to believe in it. Religion is simply a matter of insufficiency for many of us. Fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t have the innate passion to submit to the religiosity of the blind believer; we are unable to digest the nectar of spirituality without some trace of justification. That’s why for some of us religion is not received with disgust, simply mistrust. We need not dismiss it by some rational argument; we are simply waiting for some kind of revelation that will allow us to embrace it wholly. The revelation or justification can come in the garment of rationality or in the euphoria of irrationality, yet without it, we are unable to have faith.

 

The impossibility of faith is not an a priori dismissal of religion as false. It is the incapacity to believe in the precepts of transcendence without the arrival of some signal, a manifestation physical or psychological that can make us say: I see everything clearly now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern Mythology

What’s commonly regarded as the religious sentiment will always find expression in the human realm. Even in our time when the theology of the great religions of the West have been reduced to mythologies, since they have been outsmarted archeologically (bones have been found of human ancestors from nearly two million years ago, long before any Adam or Eve), anthropologically (the themes of the Scriptures are common motifs found in many earlier human cultures), and cosmologically (the view of the earth as middle of the universe has been sufficiently refuted by modern astronomy); even in this time when a literal meaning of the symbols of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are no longer reasonable, there will be an urge to fulfill the role of religion in the hearts of the skeptic modern human being. Even men and women that find the universe absurd, meaningless, godless and pointless have a general sensation that life is too powerful to bear (expressed in their despair), and from that sensation arises a NEED to express this overwhelming power. In some cases such men and women finding no meaning in their lives produce the most striking works in art, literature and music because even the act of expressing one’s own disillusionment with the world turns into a life-guiding and therapeutic activity.

In this new and unprecedented age in the course of human history when all authoritative divine guides to our lives are lost, we still share a common heritage that has shaped and is shaping our lives as a living species. By this I mean the process of development from the womb to a self conscious adult organism. This individual history is shared by all and our minds have been deeply impressed with this organic development which finds expression in our adult life through dreams and symbols (see Freud and Jung). Through symbols we find the surest way to express the non-discursive knowledge of our subconscious minds, a reality everyone holds within his or her own mind. What these symbols seem to be pointing at is a reunification with a totality we have lost. In biological and psychological terms this can be viewed as the separation of the baby from the mother’s womb at the moment of birth and later as the baby develops self-consciousness in its first years, creating the identity of the ego and the external (not-me) world. Some psychologists suggest (like Fromm) that this is the cause of our need to love, to be reunited with the blissful TOTALITY we experienced as infants. I think, perhaps, because of this common experience we all share as infant human beings, mythology and religion arise as a path to find this reunification with what we once belonged to.

Now, throughout history religion has most aptly been expressed in the symbolism of poetry since the symbols of the aesthetic are open to more than just a rational way of thinking. The entire mind is engaged in the apprehension of symbols, providing a more complete entrance to the individual’s inner life. Perhaps this is why science is received coldly by many today because it cannot fulfill the role of a rich mythology addressing not only what is rational in the human being but also what is intuitive, emotional and the like.

The human need to find expression of his intimate experience of the cosmos is not a theory since history supplies us with sufficient proof that this has been a solid fact. Virtually every society and civilization that this planet has harbored believed in some mythological view of the universe.

The question now lies in what form will the new mythology take shape? How will the modern human express his undeniable connection to this powerful universe in terms that are accepted by our current intellectual standards, based on skepticism, pragmatism and scientific inquiry?

The answer will not be hard to find since we share with former times, if not more vehemently, the wonder for existence as such, now that science is exponentially revealing the scope and depth of this universe and the miraculous operations of the human body and mind. The task will be for people to appreciate these facts not only in a dry rationalistic way but in a more engaging relationship with the deeper mystery all these facts are uncovering.

 

 

(This short-essay has been strongly inspired by Joseph Campbell’s insightful gem of a book: Myths to live by)