Chronicles in Ordinary Time 236: The inter-related structure of reality pt.2

These are all Human

From Sapiens: a brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari:
“Species that evolved from a common ancestor are bunched together under the heading ‘genus’ (plural genera). Lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars are different species within the genus Panthera. Biologists label organisms with a two-part Latin name, genus followed by species. Lions, for example, are called Panthera leo, the species leo of the genus Panthera. Presumably, everyone reading this book is a Homo sapiens—the species sapiens (wise) of the genus Homo (man)
“Homo sapiens, too, belongs to a family. This banal fact used to be one of history’s most closely guarded secrets. Homo sapiens long preferred to view itself as set apart from animals, an orphan bereft of family, lacking siblings or cousins, and most importantly, without parents. But that’s just not the case. Like it or not, we are members of a large and particularly noisy family called the great apes. Our closest living relatives include chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The chimpanzees are the closest. Just 6 million years ago, a single female ape had two daughters. One became the ancestor of all chimpanzees, the other is our own grandmother…”

Religious people hate/will hate this book, because the book runs afoul of one the foremost traits of Evangelical Religion: that we are created by God in his likeness [Creator looks like a human], and that we are created for a purpose: “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” as written in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in the mid-1600s.

The only way the Evangelical Religious person can come to this understanding is by rote instruction in the teachings of the Evangelical Religion. Which is why, in nearly 48 of my 70 years, I have never been able to understand the Evangelical Religion. I have attended and served a number of Evangelical churches over the decades and have realized that many religious ‘truths’ are deemed true only because people have been taught that they are true.
I became a father 7 years after I found Faith. I was still learning; and had no idea how I was supposed to teach children the truths I was learning in my twenties. So, I wrote these things down in books that I created for my children. There were flaws in the execution of this project. I assumed that Sunday School teachers were taught what to teach children about Faith. This failed in execution, also. Sunday School teachers I’ve encountered simply volunteered. The outcome would have been better if I’d made better choices

Metaphor is often misunderstood by people.
Doctor Who is my favorite metaphor

The Doctor and Dinosaur Valley 2

A mythical person, created in 1963 [4 years before Star Trek] to fill-in a half-hour gap in the BBC scheduling. A show aimed at children, intended to be educational, and to be Produced by the BBC’s first female Producer, Verity Lambert; directed by the BBC’s first Indian Director. The Doctor would travel through time and space in a somewhat magical ‘ship’—the TARDIS [Time And Relative Dimension In Space]—a device with a malfunctioning Chameleon Circuit that, when working correctly, enables the TARDIS to blend in with the landscape. It broke in 1963 London, where one of the most visible landmarks was a blue Police Box—a telephone booth for a Constable On Patrol, as well as a temporary holding cell. The concept of a regenerating Doctor was not intended from the beginning. William Hartnell, the actor playing The Doctor, became ill and needed to leave the show, which had [unexpectedly] become very popular. So, the plot device of ‘regeneration’ allowed the BBC to cast a different actor in the role of The Doctor, while keeping the narrative. The 13th Doctor is the first female-appearing Doctor; although not the first female-appearing Time Lord. Time Lords are not part of the family Homo Sapiens.

Doctor Who is a metaphor.
What one might desire to be true in a heroic figure.
Earth is Protected by the Doctor. While the Doctor does not resort to violence, the Doctor frequently turns a potential invader’s war efforts back upon themselves. Consequently, the Doctor uses wits rather than weapons.

The Marvel Universe hasn’t figured this out. Their heroes are flawed, for dramatic effect. The modern world has trouble believing that heroes don’t need to be flawed, like the rest of us, in order to be heroic.

Back When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Superman was one of the first superheroes to be found on the small screen. He was one of my babysitters. While Superman was weakened by Kryptonite, he was not weakened by character flaws. George Reeves, the actor, found the role of Superman to be crippling to his career. While I never heard about it while a child, George Reeves died by a bullet. How the bullet got that far has never been determined.

I don’t know that I can say that without George Reeves, there wouldn’t be Christopher Reeve as Superman. I believe that it’s true. Reeve didn’t read Superman comics, but he watched the television show. Christopher Reeve enabled the taglines to be fulfilled:

The movie that makes a legend come to life. You’ll believe a man can fly.
“What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely. From an acting point of view, that’s how I approached the part.
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. I have seen first-hand how Superman actually transforms people’s lives.  I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to be able to talk to me and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character is intact. I have seen that Superman really matters. They’re connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it.”

Christopher Reeve

I grew up believing that heroes exist. Granted, my heroes were found in books, television and movies. It was hard to keep believing in heroes during the Vietnam Police Action era [as with Korea, there was no declaration of War].

I hadn’t given much thought to making children; I thought more about the ‘planting’ aspects than the ‘nurturing’ aspect. I realized that I didn’t have role models—I never liked my family all that much—there was nothing bad about my family, the problem was mine. When our children started being born, I had to start finding role models. I was fortunate enough to find role models, who would probably be embarrassed to be considered in that light. Frank and Jeanette lived across the street for most of my life at that time, Stan and Diana were people we met at church, as well as many others. Rolland and Molly were mentors for me, sadly, the relationship ended badly—again, my fault.  

My goal in these Chronicles is to explain Faith—understanding Creator—as well as the inexplicable nature of the Universe, in terms that aren’t religious. One does not need religion to explore that which we cannot fully know. One does not need religion to interact with Creator. The reality is that in this life we will not know how life as a concept intersects life as we live. We search for answers that only Creator can explain, and the explanation won’t happen in our life here on Earth. Humans are incapable of understanding.

It will be marvelous and horrible if we learn that the other life forms on this Earth actually do know the answers; and that we humans have simply been too full of ourselves to learn.

I came to Faith in my third year of college, having been raised outside of religion. I had learned about Metaphor while in high school and in college. The notion that a series of writings from thousands of years of history would be collected into two separate volumes [Old and New Testaments] by religious leaders in the Third Century and translated into a variety of languages by a number of different translators, all the while remaining Literally True never crossed my mind. The writers of the Talmud—the collected interpretations of difficult passages in Torah [the Hebrew Bible]—rarely considered Torah to be literally true. It’s an evangelical concept that probably began two to three centuries after Jesus came back from the dead.

So many religious people get caught in the words used in Biblical texts, and don’t see the metaphor. Christians get caught up in the Crucifixion, believing that death and resurrection was the point of Jesus walking the earth. There came a point in Jesus’ life when he knew he was not like other people; and there was a point where he realized what was ahead. There wasn’t any surprise on his part. We read about three years of his life; he probably was the same guy for the decades before then. No one bothered to write it down. There are legends in which Jesus, while young, molds clay into the form of a bird, and it flies away… Jesus was born so Creator could be here himself. To exist in the lives of those created in the image of our Creator.

“The Buddha taught that we have a tendency to get caught in five kinds of wrong views. The fifth kind of wrong view is being caught in the outer form of rites and rituals. We think that if we avoid doing what is forbidden and follow all rules and regulations, we will be liberated. We are content to follow rules and perform rituals without understanding their significance. When we are caught in rituals, we can also be caught in the various rules and regulations which are attached to these rites and rituals. When studying the precepts and putting them into practice we need to be careful not to fall into the fifth kind of wrong view, by being caught in the outer form of practicing the precepts. If we keep the precepts but are caught in their outer form and do not understand their deeper meaning, our practice cannot lead to liberation, purity, peace, and joy.
For example, we may think that the more we invoke the Buddha’s name, the more holy and pure we will become. Yet if we invoke the Buddha’s name without mindfulness and concentration, it will not bring us any benefit. We can repeat the Buddha’s name thousands of times a day but if we are still carried away by our irritation or unhappiness while we practice then we are caught in the outer form. Or suppose we eat a vegetarian diet but we do not enjoy it. It makes us suffer and we always think of how nice it would be to eat meat. This is being caught in the form. We do not touch the essence of the practice of protecting life, of not harming living beings. When we practice the content, the essence of the precepts, we receive the benefit of peace, clarity, and freedom right away.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh October 11, 1926-January 22, 2022

The above is what Jesus taught. He used different words.

Creator is not responsible for COVID, nor cancer, nor any other disease. Creator is not responsible for War and death by War. Religious people justify war by quoting from Scripture, never figuring out that War was not ordained by god; war exists because we are broken. They delight in quoting Scripture they happen to like; there’s a whole lot of Scripture they don’t like to quote.

“I have a childlike conviction that the sufferings will be healed and smoothed over, that the whole offensive comedy of human contradictions will disappear like a pitiful mirage, a vile concoction of man’s Euclidean mind, feeble and puny as an atom, and that ultimately, at the world’s finale, in the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all hearts, to allay all indignation, to redeem all human villainy, all bloodshed; it will suffice not only to make forgiveness possible, but also to justify everything that has happened with men.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

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