Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Intraworldly Mysticism VII

Scott Bradley

Is an injustice eternal? Will the injustices of our day — and they are beyond counting — matter in a million years? A great injustice was perpetrated in Babylon three thousand years ago; does that matter today? Is there a storage and accounting of injustices in the fabric of Reality, a Great Book in Heaven? Will there be a Final Judgment? Or are all things past, and thus all things presently present, truly no-more? Can what was never before be ever after?

Is humanity comparable to nothing more (or less) than a great ant hill? Six years ago, in the depths of the Amazonian jungle, red ants attacked and dismembered some black ants; does it matter? Will there be an accounting? Of course not, we might say; ants are not morally accountable, but humans are. Really? To whom (God)? To what (karma)? For how long? For eternity?

Humans are morally accountable — to each other in our present; but how can we believe that it goes any further? Only if we insist on doing so; only if we insist on projecting our morality (and, let's face it, our immorality) onto Reality. Can we now care deeply about our present while eschewing this need to fix it to eternity? Can we walk two roads?

This, I believe, is something of the view from Dao — to see the narrow view in the light of the wider. Intraworldly mysticism does just that, without negating the narrow view. The narrow view is our myopic, human-centered, human-absorbed point of view; to be human is to have it. To deny it would be to deny our humanity. We are, each one, the center of our own universe; yet we know to allow that others are also the center of theirs; we take a wider, more inclusive, view while affirming the narrow. To do otherwise would be to negate not only all others, but ourselves, as well. Similarly, humanity sees itself as the center of its universe; can we allow that it, too, has an exceedingly narrow view? Can we allow vastness to cleanse us of our collective egoism and thereby open up to a more all-embracing, all-affirming point of view?

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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