Author Archives: MrLibra

This little light of mine….

Among recent events, you may have heard the suggestion that the end of days was near, and the rapture would begin/had begun.  While it is useful to understand or try to define what these concepts (the end of times/rapture) mean, I feel hardly qualified to do so for the reader.  I feel that the exact, precise understanding of these concepts is not for me to know, nor fear.  The exact definition (religious and or non-religious) of these events, in the end, makes no difference for what I want to say here now, anyway.

I feel it is worth recognizing that the conceptual end of days/rapture can seem quite believable and possible, most especially at times when the spirit of humanity, and the spirit of the human good is diminished.

With all the recent challenges we have faced as humans, things that have threatened our very survival (weather, disasters, wars, emotional/physical stresses), it is no surprise that our spirit has been diminished.

You know, I don’t like to take a stance that one religion, or another, is the “right” one, and it is not my place to be able to state that others may be right or wrong in what they believe.  I try to search, as I am sure you will hear me say many more times, for that which is clearly universal to us all.

It is with that sentiment that I put forth the following ideas (and they are most certainly not my own, but things I personally believe are true).

It is said, in many religions and beliefs, that we are all united by the fact that we share a common source.  Some call this source a “creator”.  Some belief systems will say that God created us in his image, or that God or “a god” lives on inside us, or that we are all governed by such an entity.  Yet others may say that to compare ourselves to one or more “gods” is blasphemous.

Some of us believe that we all unified by being made of the same matter (atoms and molecules) that comprise the universe.  You may have heard the saying, “from dust you were made, and to dust you shall return”.  Truthfully, I would venture a guess that no human alive would deny the concept that, generally speaking, we’re all made of pretty much the same stuff: blood, flesh and bone.

While humans have a myriad of genetic differences, and my atoms and molecules might be mostly from one region of the Earth as contrasted with the reader, who might be made up of similar atoms and molecules but from totally different genetics, from a totally different place, let us make the following argument: we are, for most intents and purposes, the same kind of being – a human being.

It is not a leap of faith (pardon the pun), then, to think that our similarities can extend beyond the physical ones.  There are very few people in the world, I believe, who do not “feel” what it is to be a living human.  There may be cases where a human’s ability to “feel” is inhibited by a physical malfunction in their body – but most humans do.  In the most basic sense of the word “feeling”, I think most would agree that they have felt “experiences” with the real world from one of their physical senses, if not other senses (including emotional, mental or spiritual ones).

This “feeling” of living, of being human – that is what I like to think of as the human spirit.  And it’s that feeling, when fatally diminished, that leads us ever closer to the concept defined by the “end of days”.

Have you ever had a day where you personally felt like your world was ending?  We often use that saying as an expression of frustration.  Other times, for example, in the aftermath of a horrible disaster, emotional turmoil, or, say, returning from the horrors of war, we may very truly believe and feel like the end is right there – like we can’t go any further.

I believe that when humans have given up on, well, being human – then in a way, we have temporarily forgotten our basic design.  In reality, in our basic design, we have been given the will to live, to succeed, to survive, to thrive, to grow, to learn, and to go on.

If you believe in evolution, look no further.  Most religions have some concept of continuity, whether in human form, or some other.  If you’re a physicist, time still only moves in one direction no matter how much you might try to figure out how it may move in other directions (and who knows, it might!).

In Christian beliefs, it is said God is in each and every one of us, Jesus was a man (a human man!) who died for our sins, and we are linked together through the Holy Spirit.

Howsoever you see what it is that makes you human, I choose to think of the human spirit (which is within all of us) something like an old song I learned growing up.  Preferably, you would read its lyrics in a completely religion-agnostic manner and focus on the human value of the words.  You can learn more about this song by clicking the excerpt from that song below:

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”

Dear reader, it is not my place to tell you I have the answer, or even to think that I do.  But, I will tell you that if nothing else, I have faith in humanity.  For all that is wrong, for all the suffering we bear as people, and for all that is to come, humanity is our common thread.  Being human/the human spirit is undoubtedly one of many possible links we share with each other.  The decisions we make shape our world, our lives, and ourselves.  Try as we might, we might not get it right.

We can always strive to live our lives as good humans, to the best of our abilities.  We can, we are, and we will, remain as one humanity among all of our differences. Whether we are judged as a whole, or one by one, it will be as humans.

I pray that our collective human spirit is consistently replenished by the comfort and goodness you feel when you remember that that little light of yours (your own humanity), links you to everyone and everything else, and maybe even the great beyond.  No matter what tomorrow brings, may peace be with you all, and always.

EDIT 5/25/2011: It was nice to see noted poet Maya Angelou interviewed on, talking in a similar way about our shared humanity, and how the strength of our basic design/humanity comes through, especially in tough times.

On global unity..

NOTE: The following text was originally written on September 17th, 2001, to record and comment on the significant feeling of global unity that was experienced in response to the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks on the United States of America.  Many have noted that, if just for a moment, the majority of people with access to the news cried out in unison against this terrible act (and other negative events that preceded it, even in other countries).  In light of recent events, it seemed relevant to bring the text out again, as a reminder of the possibilities for unity, fleeting as they are.  Perhaps, someday, or maybe even from this day forward, the world will be even more united, especially for the good.

Peace be to the people of the world.  Now is the time to unite, all nations – different people, yet all the same.  Bring forth your children and your family, help us to build a new world.  Look across the world, this tiny planet in a massive universe that is our home.  See the faces of people just like you.  We may believe different things, but just a single belief can bring together the people of this modern Babylon.  May we overcome together and build a future together, not apart.  Humanity deserves no less; we all deserve no less.  This world is not a dream – it is real, people are real, death is real and certain.  America will not forget its lost family as any nation would not forget their own families.  If it be so, let this be the action that brings the world together, and if it shall be, it will only be because we can make it so.

Stand by your leaders.  Leaders – unite around a common table.  People of this great world, stand united.

September 17th, 2001

To know true love

To know true love is to experience a most fundamental, universal and powerful natural force.  True love withstands any test.

Perhaps one measure of man is found in the distance we keep from true love and its power to transcend time, heal the world, and unite the people.

May all have the blessing, courage and conviction to believe in, act on, and experience this most precious human connection.

On art and science

There is certainly a scientific approach to art. In science, endeavors often require as much or more creativity as they do logic. All this stands to reason; art and science are not the same, but both serve to advance us forward, each on their own, and in service to each other.

The answer to life, the universe and everything?

Happy 42 day!

For fans of Douglas Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the “ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything” is as well known as the fact that the sun seems to rise every morning.

The question of the “answer to life” has been one which has puzzled me, as I’m sure it puzzles many others.  On a recent red-eye flight from California to New York, at 3 AM in some time zone, I had one of those moments of startling clarity where everything seems to make sense.  Perhaps, I thought, by flipping the problem around, I might find the “answer” I was seeking.

Time only appears to go in one direction (as much as we might like to believe that time travel is possible).  Does the answer to life reside in the comprehension of death?

Now, one’s first reaction to such a question might be to consider it a morbid thought, as if hastening death.  That is certainly not my intention.  Another reaction could be to find fault with the simplistic obviousness of the question.  Yet another might find the concept to be typical of an always balancing Libra.  Well, dear reader, please allow me to explain why this particular thinking is neither morbid nor negative.  In fact, I believe that death can be seen as a beautiful complement to life.

Clearly, if one is to think about our existence from a philosophical perspective, death is the force that balances life.. such as yin is to yang.  Certainly, this is a somewhat logical interpretation of the concept.  But intuition tells me that there is something more.. something even simpler, deeper, and profound; something that doesn’t require any philosophy at all.

It is in the consideration of life as having a “terminus”, or an end point, that it becomes ever more clear that life, or “to live”, is defined as “everything that occurs up until the endpoint, death”.  Again, while this may not be a revolutionary concept, it is one that when considered plainly caused me to at least sit up straight and think about the fact that.. oh yeah – I’m living life right now!  How about that?

Sometimes, the simple recognition for just an instant/moment that one is alive, living, and breathing is a very meaningful, and powerful experience.

Just think about it – right now, you’re sitting there reading this.. all you need consider is that you are there!  Alive!  Reading what I wrote!  Thinking thoughts along with me!  It is truly remarkable!

One thing I noticed, when contemplating death, is the innate fear we have of the thing.  I have a gut instinct that no matter who you are, or what you believe, it is an idea that is complex and usually not one that people choose to consider.  And yes, death can be quite unpleasant for so many reasons.  Yet, it is in the contemplation of the difference in state between life and death that we realize which one of the two we might value more at a given time.

Death, in and of itself, could be seen as sort of a grand, unifying force that equalizes all people.  Perhaps it’s bad taste to use this as a comparison, but just like the children’s book “Everybody Poops”, which was written to point out our shared commonality while teaching body science… everybody dies, too.

While death is an interesting topic, I would rather return to the use of death as a balance to recognizing the value of life.  Regardless of religious belief of an afterlife, there can be almost no argument to the statement that death is a change in functional state which represents no longer living.

Therefore, we should focus on our lives, and living, before we reach the next state.  And oh, how much there is to experience in life, whether it be good or bad.  While we have only a certain degree of control over our lives, and the world around us, it seems to make sense that we should enjoy whatever occurs to us while we are in the state of living.  We should do so because it is only when we are “alive” that we get to experience those things.

Life, and living are good things, and a unique experience, which we can try to cherish, respect, and enjoy.  We learn, we grow, we age, we change.  While longer than the life of a butterfly, our lives are not much longer nor any less beautiful and amazing when considering a much grander time-scale.

These thoughts are humbling, to me at least.  Life and death should not necessarily be a cause for fear in daily action (although often they are a consideration), but rather as a reassurance since these forces unite us all for what we truly are.  These forces unite us, and they represent what it means “to be, or not to be”… but that is not a question.. because, we all are, and will have been, in much the same way!