Topic 1: To Be or Not to Be
When the extraordinary body of work, the Tao Te Ching appeared roughly 2500 years ago, the question arose as to whether its source was a single individual, Lao Tzu, or a compilation of people, and for some the jury is still out. About 500 years ago, William Shakespeare presented the world with an astounding body of work, and again historians and theorists entertained the question of authorship being one man or several.
I never put much stock in those debates, for authorship was of secondary interest to me, relative to the measure of the work that mankind had at its disposal in each case. But it points to an interesting question. Why are we so quick to doubt ourselves; to think that marvels are not in our purview?
On the other hand, we have a rather cocky notion of our species, believing we represent the highest order of evolution to date on earth, and some imagine even beyond this planet. What we tend to base this on is rather dubious: the credence we give our brain for intelligence, and the esteem we grant to speech as a means of communication. Were we to look more closely, we’d see that the brain is a computer-like structure that requires software (programmed view of the world) and data (intake by the senses). It is not an originator, it is a processor, and our cherished thoughts are its output based on nothing more than algorithmic twists and turns of the data we put into it and the programming we use to interpret that data. And as for speech, whales communicate with each other across oceans, and your cat knows precisely what mood you’re in throughout your day even while you’re at the office. Even you houseplants pick up on your emotional state, likely before you mate does. If effective communication is our measure of intelligent hierarchy, these facts alone should give us pause to wonder.
What this points to is that in spite of all our study, all our efforts to understand ourselves, the world, and the interactions that take place in both, we have yet to arrive at a conclusion that assists us in changing significantly any part of human life on earth. We have always had suffering, starvation, disease, war, and fear and with all our looking and thinking, we have not been able to alter that. Some take the line – that is the nature of life as a human being on earth – but that leaves us with the rather unnerving notion that we’ve landed on a rather mean-spirited planet, not to mention raises questions about the nature of God or Whatever is responsible for this universe. I suggest the explanation lies elsewhere,that being, in the way we’ve been taught to view ourselves and the world about us. If that’s so, then the problem doesn’t lie with the world, rather it lies with us.
Well then let’s take a look to see what it is we’ve been taught. Your next episode is Topic 2: Who Are We Really?
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