HUMANIST CORNER May 2020
“Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible.” Pearl Baily
The worlds in which man is evolving as he treads the circle of births and deaths are these: the physical world, the astral of intermediate world, the mental or heavenly world.” Annie Besant
Surrounded with challenges as we are, this month’s “Corner” was perplexing and puzzling to say the least. Almost everywhere we look, dysfunction, disarray and disruption. High levels of uncertainty for the well-heeled, and for too many others simply an additional burden to bear. Additional horrors laid upon such as India’s caste system, or Chicago South side! People seemingly favored by the virus. A time when civilization itself seems to be dashing about in maddening circles-
That brought to mind a hymn from simpler times. The Carter Family’s version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Circles, symbolic of infinity, and often found in a theological context. Yet what can theologians make of a Pope saying Easter mass, virtually, from an empty basilica? How to explain the barren setting of the holy Black Stone in Mecca’s grand mosque? Empty streets of the holy city itself? As another of Islam’s five pillars, the fasting of Ramadan draws to an end May 23rd, will the pilgrims magically appear there? The circle remain unbroken?
Throughout time another circle was given godly traits. The full moon. Even a partial moon symbol has been adopted by many Muslim countries – although reversed like a backward “C.” Still even though the rest is invisible – we know it’s there. Hasn’t that been true of our present tribulations? Much of society that we’ve always known is there, suddenly becomes starkly visible! The whole human family manifest, like the fullness of the moon…
Let’s examine another circle looking even further East. Ancient Chinese culture produced two heroic scholars who walked the earth well before our Western Messiah. The remarkable Confucius with his treasured rules for a functioning society. Seemingly trodden into dust under today’s technology. So easy to overlook the vast distance between regimentation and discipline.
Yet another venerable sage arrived on the scene those centuries BCE. Lao Tse and his followers of the remarkable way. The Tao. Who isn’t familiar with the Taoist circle, divided equally into two parts, usually black and white – each containing a minute portion of the other. If my book “SERMATION” is still in the library there’s a very pretty version on its cover.
The lighter side, Yang, is often thought to represent male qualities. Competition, aggression, impatience, concrete conceptualization and analytical thought. Yin, the darker portion, female qualities. Patience, cooperation, nurturing, emotional and wholistic thought among others. Notice the state of balance, neither intended to overpower the other. A situation seldom encountered in human histories or our present state of disequilibrium!
Even with nature so far out of kilter, consider a tiny virus messaged to survive and flourish. Can the human species not do likewise? Develop new methods for taming malignant microorganisms? Heal a damaged planet and its unruly weather? Perhaps…
Here are a few possibilities for closing that circle of life :-
1. Move beyond creeping GDP and a consumer culture laying waste to our planet.
2. Revamp and replace decaying infrastructure.
3. Invest in sane transportation
4. Support circular economics. (That word again)
5. Don’t change agriculture. Transform it.
6. Move availability of health and education to its rightful position in life.
7. Last, certainly not least, end war. Even political and economic conflict harming “invisible“ people most.
Hope you may have been something useful or even thought provoking here. Wishing you, your circle of family and friends, continued growth and good health…
HUMANIST CORNER May 2020