Monday, 25 February 2013

Ancient wisdom and modern confusion

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud: "To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding."

So I decided to begin with a biblical rant. Of course a real preacher man would end this by saying: "In the present day these words are more topical than ever before". This quote crystallizes quite well how people should learn to live their lives wisely and seeking knowledge. The most topical time is always here and now. Knowledge is a foundation for building a structure where wisdom can be found on the top. Knowledge is truth. It is uniform to everyone. It is far from opinions and beliefs that are like castles in the air or houses of cards that can fall down any minute.

But hold on... if we talk about truth that is objective, isn't it quite contradictory to use a text from the Bible? Well, in my humble opinion it is time to move on from fruitless debates concerning the truthfulness of this epos. Personally, I have learned to consider it in the same manner as any other holy scripture or mythological story found on the planet. To me this is the only way to see the ancient wisdom that is hidden in these texts.

Different religions seem to be in a "war" against each other since they all claim to be "the right one" or somehow better than any other brotherhood or sect. Taking into account the crusades, witch hunts, holy wars and persecution of the pagans, we seem to be quite far from that heavenly friendship and gospel of love that the scriptures pronounce. Mankind is divided into camps, but do these camps want to fight each other per se? Do ordinary Christians, Muslims or Jews really think that heathens should be killed? Of course not. The problem lies on the top of the world's power structure where greedy and selfish psychopaths agitate the people against each other.

We westerners are usually born in some of the branches of Christianity. However, the influence of the church has diminished as times have changed, and being a Christian has become a mere custom. The church has become alien in our modern society. I don't really see this as a negative thing since as I mentioned in my earlier text, I think that we all should choose our own path instead of following a rigid dogma. The biblical Jesus ended up always quarreling with the scribes and priests. I'm pretty sure the situation would be the same if he lived in our time.

Religions are systems of belief, and beliefs are overrated. One day we believe in one thing and another day to another thing, that's how beliefs change. Some beliefs are more persistent, especially if we keep asserting them over and over again, like in a confession for example. We repeat these words like sheep not even knowing their true meaning.

Logicality and rational thinking are highly respected in the world of today. Therefore many begin to question religious teachings and finally they regard every mention of the otherworldly as unreasonable. That leads to a belief that the world is nothing but a machine of matter, and our self nothing but a glimpse of light between two scary abysses... This is also just a belief.

When we speak about the conception of deity, three schools of thought are usually mentioned. The theist believes in a God or several gods, the atheist believes there is no such thing as a God, and agnostics don't know what to believe. All these conceptions are based on believing. Agnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning knowledge. In a same way as theist is a believer, and an atheist a nonbeliever (or without belief), an agnostic is without knowledge. A person who is a gnostic would according to this rationale then be someone with knowledge, a person who truly knows instead of merely believing. Gnosis does not refer to knowledge found in books but rather to a divine understanding, a higher state of consciousness. In the Eastern traditions gnosis corresponds to enlightenment or nirvana

Most certainly Eastern religions are more trendy than Christianity and if I were a trendy person then I might have begun this blog entry with a quote from Lao Tzu or Buddha instead of the Bible. However, it does not make any difference who once said these words or did the person in question even exist. Every great story has an overtone of truth no matter if it's Jesus or Star Wars. These truths become apparent if we can relate to the characters and archetypes of these stories. If one can understand these overtones, it is possible to see them in every story ever written and compare them with each other.

Different religions have quite a few similarities. Especially certain numbers, animals and events occur over and over again. These are not historical facts but symbols and metaphors that most often reflect the human body (microcosm) and the universe (macrocosm). This same story goes on and on because it is a story of ourselves. Anyway... I am now starting to meander so let's get back to the original topic.

Has anyone ever noticed how boring it is to sit at school? Due to this reason many perceive learning new things as boring and rather spend their time in more passive activities. The opportunity to relax the brain is welcomed any time.

The most important skills, however, are not taught at school. If one can keep themselves active and succeeds in retaining the childlike willingness to learn new things, it is possible to progress in the school of life and learn to live happily. That's what we all want in the end - a happy life.

Every moment teaches us new things if we are ready to receive it. Education creates one of the many illusions in our lives. Even if we graduate from schools and advance on our careers, we will never be "ready" or perfect in any way. The famous quote from Socrates: "I know one thing: that I know nothing" refers to the idea that wisdom begins with wonder and questioning. One must admit one's own ignorance because the school of life goes on forever.

We live in an interesting time. Many have lost their belief in both political and spiritual leaders, and also media's credibility has take a downturn. Thanks to information technology we can search the internet to answer any question we may have. Of course the truthfulness of the sources must be considered but usually our own intuition and common sense help to do this. The media boasts with dodgy headlines, especially violent ones. When these news are repeated over and over again it has a direct impact on the public, creating an image of a hostile world. Propaganda spreads hatred and fear, people get upset and demand legislative changes or military actions.

Then there are people whose world can't be rocked  They ignore everything around them and try to carry on as if nothing happened. Brush your teeth, go to work, watch the news and go to sleep. News are just news and the media bombardment has made us numb. Even if something happens on the other side of the world it has nothing to do with me. Many think this way and in a sense it is quite justified. The conflicts of the Middle-East have no direct impact on our everyday life. But it is good to know what it's all about.

Traveling widens our horizons and brings the events of the world closer to ourselves. We can relate to the happenings of any country more readily if we have visited it. We are all in the same boat, the whole mankind. And the boat is this globe that sails through the space and spins around the sun. Unfortunately the order of our society is twisted, and the masses have been asleep. While the establishment uses its power to selfish and elitist agendas, it is time to raise pirate flags.

Those who are aware of the socioeconomic position we are in, may get discouraged of the depressing seeds of information they come across and dig themselves deep under the duvet. But the next day won't be sunnier by itself. Many would welcome the end of the world if they only wouldn't need to take responsibility of their own life. This is the same logic that applies to the Judeo-Christian await of the messiah as some sort of a final solution to every possible problem in life. There is no end to this wait. We must get up and stand up for our rights.

Knowledge is useless unless it can be applied. Wisdom is the application of knowledge in living life. We can read through the libraries, see the museums of the world, sit through countless lectures and watch every documentary and movie ever made. But it won't have any meaning by itself. People need to transfer towards a proactive lifestyle, and away from passive sleepwalking. Out in to the world and towards the light, one step at a time. Every story is a story of you. You are you own messiah, the one you have been waiting for, since none but ourselves can free our minds.