Religion 201: Lessons in Humility, Messages for Humanity…

Christian God

Christian God

“Man is the measure of all things.”  Protagoras (c.490-420 BCE) is the author of that statement, and—with all due respect—I’d say that’s the beginning of the end of us humans as spiritual animals, and the mark of our ascension to the status of corrupt malignant city-dwellers, masters of our own private little domains and little else.  On the one hand, it is a statement of the relativity of all perceptions—okay.  On the other hand, it is a statement of our ignorance and arrogance—ouch!

We imagine that we are masters of the universe, creators of the cosmos, and lords of the lower two hundred—countries in the world, that is. This is nothing but human hubris, of course, and nothing could be further from the truth.  We live at the mercy of our machines, possessed by our possessions, in the thrall of our inventions and our inventiveness, in love with ourselves and our selfishness, enraptured by our images and our imaginations.  We wallow in our memories and our comforts and our conveniences.

We Westerners admire ourselves, our successes, our ambitions, our madness, without even questioning the whys and wherefores of it.  We climb naked rock faces, while smiling all the time, oblivious to the danger, addicted to the climb, always looking for a faster computer and a more easily programmable car, pushing envelopes and shuffling papers, rejecting our traditions and annoying our neighbors.  Ego rules! Nobody wants to be the follower, everybody wants to be the Alpha male, while ending up the Alpha a$$hole.

Hindu God

Hindu God

We Westerners suffer from a superiority complex, best defense being a good offense, certain of ourselves as divinely ordained, certain of our genetic predispositions and convinced of our self-proclaimed ‘manifest destiny’.  In this view we are simply God’s chosen tribe, ‘doing our/His thing’, and watching the rest of the world react with envy.

We Westerners are hooked on happiness, aggressively, big-ass grins the size of monster-trucks, when the reality is that life is neither happy nor sad, but neutral.  Happiness is our prejudice as Westerners, hooked on fun fun fun and hung out to dry in the sun sun sun.  It rarely occurs to us that maybe our bizniz plan might be flawed, as if Christianity, Democracy and Capitalism were the Holy Trinity itself, worth dying for, and all other pretenders to the throne relegated to second-class status, at best.

But what if that Holy Trinity were Buddhism, Socialism, and Sharing instead?  Hmmm.  What if we could all vote on every proposed piece of legislation by simply clicking ‘like’ on the Government app?  That would be one ‘house’ of Congress.  The other might still be the old fuddy-duddy liquored laughter of Lords from a bygone era, but the real power would rest in your own personal un-bought ‘click’?  You da man, as they say…

But I’m more interested in the individual’s relation to the cosmos.  That’s religion.  Everything else is politics.  In this imperfect world, the closer we get to the perfect spiritual world, then the happier we will be.  Brilliant mistakes are the order of the day, and the proof of our humanity, that no matter how bad we screw up, that mistake just might be the most brilliant thing we ever did.

This is the world of percussion, and repercussion—SOUND, and physicality—something less than light—Heaven—a weightless dimension above and beyond, but still better than Gravity—Hell—a Black Hole below, massive and unforgiving, ours an intermediate world between Heaven and Hell, Light and Gravity, a world of physicality, a world of frequencies, blinking at the speed of light, reacting physically at the speed of sound.

Bottom line: man is NOT the measure of all things—and that’s good, most maybe, but not all.  The more that we can connect with something bigger, and better, then the better off we’ll be—and that’s religion.