Saturday, November 5, 2011

the struggle to resist belief

like most mortals, at seven and eight i started creating categories, putting cats into this one, socks into another, girls into several. i couldn't help myself. the world overwhelmed me with too much information. for example, ten billion stimuli hit our eyes every second. of those we can actively recognize forty and deal with four at most. we create a life day by day, editing out what we fear or doesn't seem useful.

lately i've spent time with two friends devoured by conspiracy theories. these occupy their minds to organize the world. as usual, nefarious political and financial people conspire to get everything, to steal from us, to make us suffer. unfortunately, it's true, though the upper one percent would never agree. 'we're creating job opportunities.'

yet, what's really happening in the minds of my friends? the making sense of the world by adopting a system which keeps their busy minds occupied. and when i watch people pouring over the bible in cafes, i think the same, 'they've reduced life to this particular, very comprehensive and confusing book from which you can justify anything.' luckily, it evades science, economics, anything which might prove even more difficult to assimilate. again, frantic intelligences being absorbed in a complete universe.

any paradigm can be proven true. that's the beauty of it. all you have to do is accept a few basic premises without proof and the rest follows! this, you have to admit, completely ingenious. what it eliminates is doubt, ambiguity, and the hell of independent thought. and, of course, i would like to suggest an alternate route.


Surely you weren't meant
to be born here in this
kitchen, waiting for
the ants. Old Greek poets
sang of dresses falling
from lovely limbs, the moon
bouncing off the water.
Sanskrit sages denied
anyone could resist the
flute of Krishna, tunes
fluttering through the perfumed
leaves. Married women
dropped wedding rings,
shyness, customs, the
husband's heavy sighs,
to slide out the door
into the forest. And if
you find yourself doing
the same, open the poems
of Bhartrihari and drink
the deep silence of the stars,
burn like the candle
you left far behind
watching in the window.

taking in all the evidence: