Wednesday, June 1, 2011

(12) The Truth

Responding to Pilate's inquiry, before his crucifixion, in part
Jesus said that "The reason I was born, the reason why I came
into the world, is to testify to the truth. Anyone committed to
the truth hears my voice." And Pilate replied, "Truth...what
does this mean?"
[John 18: 37-38 in the New Testament.]

Comment: "Truth" still remains evasive for many of us. Like
Pilate, who came from a pragmatic Imperium, who represented
such, he no doubt held a jaundiced attitude towards persons
who declared the Truth. Like many of us in this world today,
we have perhaps seen too much of what might be true in this
world. And mostly it isn't pretty. Essentially we have been given
the freedom to make our own truth, and we surely haven't done
a very good job of it.

So what might Jesus be talking about when he refers to the
"Truth"? Some have speculated that it is a Truth that exists on
a higher level. Some think that the Truth dwells in God, thus
in Jesus. Indeed he gives this away when he especially notes
that *this* is the very reason that he came into the world--to
testify to this Truth!

Those who have faith in Jesus believe that he embodies this
special Truth. Perhaps there might be something to this, if you
will. Special voices down through the centuries perhaps have
testified to this special Truth. As for a further investigation of
this Truth, well one need harken back to what these special
voices, including Jesus, have declared.

Most of our higher cultures of human society have boasted
these special voices, whether we call them philosophers or
prophets or representatives of God. There's a profundity in
the Truth that they declare. Boiled down, this Truth is basic.
It's about respecting one another, about relationship with one
another. It's also about attending to a Higher Power.

Now most of these special voices that declared this special
Truth also seemingly led exemplary lives. Some, like Jesus,
clung to this Truth right into their death. He, and surely others.
deeply believed in this Truth.

Jesus harkened back to the great Commandments about Love.
Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind,
and love your neighbor as yourself. Put in a package, this formula
is a pattern for successful living. Maybe *this* is the Truth of
which these special voices speak.

If so, it seems a hard "truth" to attain. Our world is sorely in need
of this Truth, but it seems somehow so difficult for us to grasp.
We just aren't at this level yet, where we truly understand the
significance of this Truth. Or maybe some of us have decided
that there is no reality to this Truth. They may be right, when it
is left up to us to create this Truth. Nonetheless, I suspect this
Truth does exist, mainly because some humans have actually
managed to live out this Truth--albeit, they are few and far
between. This Truth would seem to be looming always over
us, waiting to be tapped.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

(11) Wisdom & Folly

"More weighty than wisdom or wealth is a little folly!
The wise man's understanding turns him to his right;
the fool's understanding turns him to his left."
[Ecclesiastes 10: 1-2, from the Old Testament]

Comment: Alas, folly is part and parcel of the human condition.
None of us are wise all of the time, though many of us are
oft unwise much of the time. Not finger-pointing here, rather
simply stating the fact. Why? No doubt one can come up with
a myriad of answers to the question, but I would rather focus
on one answer that involves our evolutionary development
along with education and experience.

Human development simply is not an even process when it
comes to the evolution of our minds, much less wisdom!
Of course there's the biological development of our brains.
Is it so much our brain size, or is it the snapping of those
synapses? Could be that some special human brains snap
a lot faster than others. There's those "good" genes, too!

On the other hand, maybe education comes into play when
it involves evolving brains. The more information fed into our
brain, the more snapping synapses. But the question that begs
to be addressed is about the varied levels of human education.
It's an incredibly uneven development at best.

Unfortunately much of our planet's population is ill educated,
if that. Literacy would seem at a premium in many countries,
And evolution is not a guarantee either. There are smart people
who rarely display any semblance of wisdom, whereas some
people with little or no education seem wise beyond their years.

So however in the world do we become wise, or at least
wiser? Maybe it's the school of hard knocks? Perhaps it
boils down to experience, or maybe wisdom is innate?

Anyway, I once knew a man who seemed infinitely wise.
Frankly I envied him. He always seemed to say the right
thing, never caught lapsing when it came to putting forth a
wise demeanor. But once in his life he actually made a
seriously wrong decision--and it ultimately led to his death.

So that taught me a valuable lesson about the "perfection"
of wisdom. We can only do our best, and hope for the best
when it comes to wisdom. And, yes, folly would always seem
a constant counterpart to wisdom. It's always there, waiting.