The Puzzle of Our Existence

In the beginning, the world, as we know it, was created. It doesn’t really matter how, it just was.

And, in the beginning, like a puzzle, the first edge was formed. For the sake of argument, let’s say that time moves in a line from left to right, so it was the left edge.

The rest of the puzzle’s pieces didn’t exist yet, only the first row. But like any puzzle, each piece was in search of the next piece to fill its unique void.

The rules were simple. Two factors dictated the creation of the next piece; Humanity and it’s desires/needs and something bigger; God, Mother Nature, whatever. The second just made sure that the first didn’t destroy the world or itself; that it survived.

Now here’s the deal. Each new piece is not random. The piece before it created the space that only that particular new piece would fit. The prior piece is looking for a solution to what it perceives as a problem and in theory, the new piece solves the problem.

A modern example: Polio is ravaging the world. The desire of its citizens is to end the disease. This piece of the puzzle will only allow one other particular piece to fit; the cure.  Enter Dr. Jonas Salk, the matching piece. He was the right person, at the right time and he was a perfect fit.

A Historic example: What happens when humanity becomes too dense in a confined area? Starvation, unsanitary conditions, war. The World has a problem and needs a solution. The matching piece; the solution, if you will, is usually something horrible that quickly “thins the herd” returning the affected area to levels that are sustainable. The European plague of the 1600’s comes to mind.

The point is, what we receive is usually what we asked for. We just didn’t think it would be so painful.

A tragic example: In 1919, Germany “accepted” the Treaty of Versailles. This once proud country was now on its knees. An economic depression ensued, and its citizens were starving, miserable and searching, desperately, for a solution. They remembered, fondly, the heady days of a great and powerful Germany and they wanted it back.

In 1923-1924, the missing piece of their puzzle wrote a book, and in that book, he addressed the problem and then he offered a solution. His name was Adolf Hitler and we know how that turned out. He was the right person, in the right place, at the right time and it ended in disaster.

The moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for as you may just get it.

What I’m suggesting here is that when enough people perceive that something is a problem, they create a space where only a particular and unique solution will fit. Adolf Hitler, in any other time, would have been “laughed off the stage,” but at that particular and unique time, his piece attached perfectly to the piece before it.

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, in any other time, may have never succeeded and been just another unknown name. But they were known, they did rise above, and they were the desired piece of the puzzle for the time and place in which they existed.

Each time we add to our linear puzzle, we must accept the results of the outcome. We, the prior pieces, formed the design of the next piece, insisting that it align with our desires and once found, we provided the opportunity for it to thrive.

Fast forward to 2016. Hillary Clinton could not have won the election. Actually, she really never even stood a chance.

The business of Politics had become synonymous with the words: Status quo, Corruption, Gridlock and Dishonesty. The cries for change were at fever pitch and it was inevitable that the next piece of the puzzle would be someone “different.” That is not to say “better,” just “different.”

Enter, Donald Trump: “The everything else but a politician,” piece.

History will judge President Trump as it judges us all. Bickering over whether he should remain in office is a waste of time and energy. The reality is that he is the President, it is his time, it is his place and we, the People, did create this particular and unique void in which his piece fit perfectly.

Humanity really should be much more careful about what it desires. As each day passes, we are actively creating the environment for the next missing piece of our puzzle to thrive; either good or bad.

 

We choose not who will be good and who will be evil; we choose only to open the door and let them in. It is then that they take root and choose the path that they’ll follow. It is also then that we yield to them our fate.

Michael McCown

 

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Dear Humanity, It’s the Pedal on the Right…

Sometimes, I’m absolutely amazed that we’re not extinct. We really should be. We certainly didn’t get this far in human evolution because of our superior intellect. Most likely, it was just pure dumb luck; think, Forrest Gump.

Whether you believe in the theory of Creationism or Evolution, really isn’t important for this argument. What does matter, is that we agree that we’ve been living here for a long, long time. I’d like to think that after this long, we would’ve learned SOMETHING about getting along with each other. Getting along should be ingrained in us. It should be easy. It’s a “core” thing.

What’s a core behavior? So, you’re walking down a trail and you come face to face with a bear. No one has to tell you that this is a problem. You won’t find yourself thinking, “I wonder if this bear would mind if I scratched its tummy” or “let’s poke at it with this stick”; you just knew you were in danger and “fight or flight” kicked in. You also knew that the odds were bad and that most likely, you were going to be the largest part of the next crap the bear was going to take. Either way, you just knew. We also know not to blindly stick our arm into a deep dark hole or eat 3 day old roadkill. Again, somehow, you just know that this is not a good idea. It’s critical knowledge that’s been passed down thru life experience and recorded deep within our genes.

Throughout our very long history, inevitably, some idiot would do something like I mentioned above, then we would all start to cringe, but refuse to look away, and it would usually end very badly for the person; proving that the odd “gut-feeling” we had, was probably worth paying attention to. It also proves that we like drama. Don’t think I’m right? OK, next car crash, don’t watch as you drive on by.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say that humanity, in some form, has been wandering the earth for 15,000 years. In that time span does anyone really think that someone today could make a mistake that hasn’t been made at least a thousand times already? I’m speaking in a general way; a core mistake. Obviously, playing “chicken” with a hand grenade wasn’t possible 2000 years ago, but tempting the Fates was, and stupid is stupid no matter what year it is.

Pain and Death are great Teachers and we’ve been in their class for eons. You would think that there wouldn’t be any mistakes left to make, that prior generations would have warned us, that our “gut” would have warned us. We’ll they did, it does and we still don’t appear to have learned a thing; nothing. It’s hard to believe that we are capable of the horrible things we do to ourselves and to each other. Maybe we just don’t “get it” or we are simply unable or unwilling to “learn”.

To be fair, lets define the word: Learn:
“To gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught”

Let’s check the boxes; It appears that we’ve acquired knowledge, we’ve studied, we’ve had experience AND that the prior generations HAVE “passed it on”.

Clearly, I’m missing something here. With all of the wars, cruelty, self-destruction and hate around us today, how exactly, have we evolved since the biblical times of Genesis or the days of the Cro-Magnon Man? Maybe if someone would have just written it all down so that we would have a guidebook, or maybe a list of suggestions, say 10 or so, on things we should or shouldn’t do, to get along with each other and then passed it down…

Bottom line. Our ancestors have shown us what has worked and what hasn’t. We live in the shadow of so much history, yet we ignore it’s lessons. Our language is full of clichés and idioms that try to warn us; Once bitten, twice shy, Those that do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it (Santayana), War is Hell, Cruelty is contagious in uncivilized communities (Jacobs) and We as Human beings, have the capacity for extreme cruelty (Nyong’o).

I’m beginning to think that we just exist day-to-day. We are not growing, learning or evolving as a species. Humanity is like a bunch of monkeys trying to drive a car: Their all in turning the wheel and honking the horn, fighting over how to make it go, but none can agree on anything, so they just fight amongst themselves and go absolutely nowhere.

So, please, remind me again, how have we survived this long? Oh, that’s right; pure dumb luck.

 

Constantine and the Priests

This story is old, yet few know the tale, of the divinity of Christ and the day it began.

Read to the end and surprised you may be for few know the way in which it all came to be.

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The Emperor heard stories, of a prophet long gone, his followers still present, and their numbers quite strong.

He summoned the priests for he was curious to see, who still followed this man from Nazareth and Galilee.

An audience was had, and the Emperor did learn that the priests of this man, were cause for concern. The Emperor, a pagan, many gods he believed, but these priests followed one, which they divided into three.

The priests warned the Emperor, the Roman, Constantine, that he must no longer be a pagan, and get baptized in the sea.

Constantine was no fool and the future you see, included these priests and what they believed it to be. But the religions were many and what each chose to believe, he left to the citizen, to decide how to be.

The priests were not pleased, only one God need there be. All symbols of others must be thrown in the sea. All people must change, for our numbers are great, or your rule as the Emperor, will suffer ill fate.

Constantine listened carefully, as great Emperor’s do, and saw the advantage in one religion over two. He could control these priests and watch what they do, while they keep the people in line, for fear of heavenly ruin.

A gathering was needed, and he called all to meet, in a city called Nicaea, which is down near the sea.

He invited all religions, to come seek accord, to agree on one thing; the one written word.

Gathered here by one, a mighty Emperor was he, but the priests took control and said now what will be. They spoke of one book, one religion to be, and of one God who was also divided into three. They warned all the others of heresy and hate, for they must now all agree on the rules of their new faith.

A Prophet no more, his divinity now known, Jesus and the trinity; Father, Son, Holy Ghost. The day he arose, now holy indeed, the date of his birth, now celebrated with glee. Sixty-six writings, now law, for those who believe, and hell and damnation for all who don’t agree.

He must protect pagan souls, from hell’s fury you see, by converting his religion to what the priests say it shall be. His motives not pure, but for the greater need, no longer a pagan was Constantine thought to be.

With his kingdom at risk and not a god to be seen, pragmatic he was and must continue to be. The Emperor agreed and many suffered that day, for if they differed in belief, they were then driven away.

Heresy was charged upon those godless few, who offered their thoughts about different religious views.

To the hills they did flee, the “heretics” en mass, all those who disagreed, with the priests decided path.

Their writings erased, but their faith still intact, they were forced deep in the caves, where they hid from the past. Their future now sealed, they wrote in the dark and buried their writings in large clay covered pots.

The priests were quite pleased, and all formed a pact, they would spread to world, this new religion as fact. All people would follow or suffer their fate as their prophet became the son of God, on that very date.

Constantine won the battle, though the priests couldn’t see, thought to be Christian, but a pagan remained he. His throne remained strong, and he did as he pleased, for he reined in those priests, a truly difficult task, indeed.

 

Divine Inspiration?

It’s been a tough couple of days. I feel adrift which is an odd feeling for me as I usually stay “my version” of focused. I don’t believe that positive words or statements solve problems, although they may bring a needed momentary distraction. A motivational speaker would hang himself in frustration trying to “lift me up”.

I am a fixer; identify said problem, create solution and then work the problem. But not today. I’m a bit farther down the rabbit hole than usual. I have too many questions that I can’t quite answer and that brings frustration. I am not at peace and I’m not sure why.  Today, I need solutions.

I once asked the pastor of a church why he felt the bible had the answers to life’s questions. He replied, “because it’s divinely inspired”. I was about ten years old at the time and that answer has always bothered me. It bothers me more today as I could really use a book with all of “the answers”. I would love the bible to be the answer to my problem but divine inspiration sounds too broad a qualification to rely on the writers word alone.

What is it to be Divinely Inspired?  The dictionary defines it as “a concept of a supernatural force, typically a deity, causing a person or people to experience a creative desire”. That sounds simple enough. Perhaps if I was divinely inspired, I could focus and make the hard decisions necessary to bring clarity to my world.

Wait a minute, sixty-six “books” all by different authors who were divinely inspired?  What about Dante, Milton or even Joseph Smith. They all wrote of heaven and hell. The argument could be made that they too were divinely inspired.  Inferno, Paradise Lost and the Book of Mormon, respectively, all contain the writer or writer’s version of  heaven/hell, what’s considered right or wrong and offer suggestions on how to bring your life back into alignment.

I was in the shower this morning thinking of where to find answers; the Bible, Plato or even “Hey Siri”, when I decided to write of my internal conflict. Was it divinely inspired? I did think of God, multiple times, but it’s probably a stretch to say that it was divine. I’m suddenly feeling very alone in this world as it seems that the answers to life’s problems are actually the written thoughts of men and women of history who have a questionable pedigree for offering advice to future generations. In other words, if you’re a “religious” person, I imagine that you are divinely inspired every day.

So for the future’s sake, please watch what you write as today’s snippet’s of wisdom may become a chapter in tomorrow’s Bible.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that most of the answers to our questions lie within the passage of time and not within the written muses of man.