Saturday, September 10, 2022

On the dangers of belief.

To see, to touch, and to believe. It seems that most human beings live in fantasies devised by others. I do so myself. I grew up within a Christian mythology. Christ could heal the lame, setting them on their feet again. That he could walk on water and feed the multitudes on only a few loaves of bread, was said and taught. He offered a means of altering the laws of Karma, that most chose to ignore, going instead for the perpetual motion of eye for eye. And within that there was at least enough confusion to plant seeds of doubt, for which I'm grateful.

I write this as I sit on the front porch, Rosie at my feet, observing the sun coming through the leaves and feeling the cool air against my skin.

The subject of belief is a curious one. We live in an age in which we're allowed to believe what we want, as that's assumed to be our right. And conflicting beliefs appear to be tearing us apart. We go to certain websites to affirm the main lines of our accepted beliefs, yet fail to open our eyes to the world that surrounds us. 

In this, I'm reminded of Pizarro's conquest of Peru. It was of course sponsored in the name of God, and so Pizarro with under a hundred mounted conquistadors and a few Catholic priests confronted Atahualpa, the emperor of the Incan empire and handed him the sacred book that they had explained to him had the ability to talk. Atahualpa fanned the pages of the book through his fingers, and finding that they had nothing to say, tossed their sacred book to the ground. At that moment in disgust, the Priests gave their blessing on attack. A merciless slaughter of Incan warriors ensued.

The irony of course, is that the Incan quipu, knotted strings recording their history, could talk as you ran your fingers down patterns of knotted thread, in vibrations felt in the finger tips. And so in the coming years most of the quipu were destroyed as was the civilization at large. After capture and confinement Atahualpa was offered ransom. The Incan people were to fill the large room in which he was held captive a number of times in both gold and silver which was delivered as carefully crafted work from all parts of empire. The gold and silver objects of enormous beauty were melted down and shipped to Spain, and with the ransom delivered, Atahualpa was executed anyway.

Isn't it odd and tragic what belief can lead us to do and how it can set us apart from each other and from the natural world as well.

Forgive me if I have not belief but that we intricately entwined with each other. Rosie lifts her eyes to gaze into the woods. My ears perk up at the sound of a siren passing through the valley below. Folks are rushing off to be of aid to each other. Instead of believing, can we simply bear witness instead? Listen, look, attend, allow ourselves to be blended in the reality of things that surround us?

The temperature here on the porch is a delight to the skin. The sky is blue. The wind velocity would be zero on the Beaufort scale, as not a leaf is turning. I don't need my iPhone to tell me this is so.

The photo is a project done by an elementary school student in wood club where they're making catapults. It started as a model cut out by a laser printer, but taken by the student in a more decorative form with additional engineering applied.

Make, fix and create... assist others in learning likewise.

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