The Child to Be Born
In the Name of ADA, the Child to be born is the child of East and West, Psyche and Somos, Night and Day. The first stirrings of Life are already there. East is forgetting itself and becoming West. West is forgetting itself and becoming East. East is abandoning tradition in the face of progress. West is abandoning progress in the face of tradition. In the East old Western techniques are new. In the West old Eastern techniques are new. Yet in both worlds there is no balance. In the one, the poverty of body mocks the richness of spirit. In the other, the poverty of spirit mocks the richness of body. All nations are haves; all nations are have-nots. There is no balance, for the World is awaiting the Balancer.
Where Is Humanity Now?
Lost in the wilderness of Mind and Heart, deep in the desolation brought about by its own unerring cleverness. Humanity is at an end. The Old Human Being, dominated by heart and mind, full of its own cleverness, is finished. There is nothing left. The inner pollution has become outer pollution. The inner selfishness has become self-centered nationalism. The inner anger has become war. There is no way out but death. Only death can lead to new life.
They say all good things come in threes. Given the widespread symmetry in nature, the same probably holds true for all bad things too. Right now, we are living through three pandemics. The first two are pretty obvious: the global Covid-19 epidemic and the related universal financial crisis. Though less newsworthy, the third, once mentioned, will seem equally obvious: the worldwide abuse and misuse of power, whether personal, professional, status, collective, or institutional. From localized domestic abuse through sex trafficking to abuses by people in authority (e.g., some Catholic priests and sports coaches) to flourishing authoritarian governments.
In my last years of teaching at the university, I created a new course called The Literature of Wisdom—A Cross-Cultural Exploration, which I then taught 12 times to some 300 students. The first unit was Proverbial Wisdom. In it we studied maxims and saws from a diversity of countries, East and West, North and South. We were also required to create a proverb of our own. I say “we” because I considered all of us, myself included, as both teachers and students. So, I had to do all the work the official students did, even as they shared their wisdom with the rest of us. One of my proverbs went, “You can’t outrun the Devil, only outwait him.”
This week we’ll begin a series of blogs based on an unpublished book I wrote in 1972 while teaching college courses on U.S. military bases in then West Germany. The book is written in the prophetic style of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (1923) so it will be quite different from any of my weekly blog essays of the last eight months. I hope you enjoy it. RRF
The Chinese 危机, wei1ji1 = crisis (danger + opportunity)
Some 298 years ago this month, English writer (also trader, journalist, and spy!) Daniel Defoe published his Journal of the Plague Year. Although only five when the Great (Bubonic) Plague hit London, his hometown, in 1665, the author of Robinson Crusoe gave readers 57 years later a novelist’s view of what that plague was like. Google states that some 100,000 Londoners, a significant portion of its population back then, probably died. The BBC online goes on to state, however, that, according to modern historians, “the plague had little effect on England—scientific and economic growth continued unaffected, and even the worst-affected towns recovered quickly.” May it be so—the latter, that is—for the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Hey, ‘tis the season. So why not?! My sense is it will take a village for the Democrats to win the Presidency and take back the Senate while keeping the House in 2020. This idea is not original. Both David Brooks and Tom Friedman of the New York Times have already made this point. Brooks talks about a “band of rivals,” i.e., a leadership team made up of the original Democratic candidates for President. I think about it as Biden’s All-Star Team.
That’s what the late Fr. Raymond O., an Anglican priest, called our shared spiritual practice, Subud. The concept to be sure is presumptuous. How can anyone snap their fingers and have God? It’s not a matter of adding hot water and stirring.
Me! As a city boy (as in New York City), I liked my nature with tall buildings around it, as in Central Park. Okay, so our sojourn of a few years here and there in the nearby suburbs got me used to public parks without towering silhouettes surrounding them. But civilization in the form of single-family houses was never far away. Sometimes a poorly thrown hardball could even endanger nearby picture windows.
When it comes to money, wisdom isn’t so hard to find. It’s just hard to follow. My life is a case in point. By the time I was 40, I had read several books on how to build a personal fortune, or at least, on how to build up respectable assets for a relatively worry-free retirement. Eventually I also read that millionaire-making bestseller, The Millionaire Next Door (1996), and that oldie-but-goodie, Think and Grow Rich.