Friday, March 28, 2008

Food For Thought...

The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you. In this way, cleverness may be gained, but wisdom is lost, and so are joy, love, creativity, and aliveness. They are concealed in the still gap between the perception and the interpretation. Of course we have to use words and thoughts. They have their own beauty- but do we need to become imprisoned in them?

Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn't very much. Language consists of five basic sounds produced by the vocal chords. They are the vowels a, e, i, o, u. The other sounds are consonants produced by air pressure: s, f, g, and so forth. Do you believe some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the ultimate purpose of the universe, or even what a tree or stone is in its depth?

-Eckart Tolle, A New Earth (bold phrase emphasized by me)

And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;

Ether 12: 23, Book of Mormon

I read this bit in A New Earth and was reminded of the scripture in Ether. It seems to me that this is why they talk of their "weakness in writing". How can you speak of things of the spirit with a weak "mortal" or "physical" vehicle such as words, whether written or spoken? Just some food for thought.


Maria Hart said...

Hey, great post. It is fodder for some exciting discussion. A couple of intial reactions:
1. "Out of small and simple things are great things brought to pass." Just because our english language is made up of a small number of sounds, think of all the liberating words that have come from them, poetry, independence, scripture, covenants. Jesus Christ admitted that it was, in fact, possible to explain who He was/is.. and that Isaiah did it better than anyone. Jesus Himself quoted Isaiah, as true master of putting words together.
2. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." John 1:1. Isn't it interesting that the God of creation, even Christ himself, called himself the Word. Words can't be all that limiting. If the Word is representative of all that is merciful and eternal, they can't be simple mortal tools either. (I know the JST is slightly different.) We also plant seeds in our hearts, representive of mere words (Alma 32)
3. I think Ether is deeply aware of how inadequate his words may be once written. He came from a culture with an oral tradition However, the Holy Ghost accompanies the Word of God, whether written or spoken. I believe the power of the Book of Mormon is real and unrefutable.
4. The defining charactistic that sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to think and communicate... with words. We desire to communicate with each other and with God. Words are the method, through the medium of the Spirit.
5. I don't think ascribing labels, mental or verbal, to all situations is inherantly bad or restrictive. For example, you walk through a corridor, realize it is dimly lit, realize you might be alone... and ascribe the word "dangerous" to the situation. We make judgement calls like that, for ourselves and for our children, on a constant basis. Retreating from a potentially dangerous situation is liberating... it saves you, it grants you wisdom as you learn to trust that inner voice. Some call it intuition, some call it discernment. Whatever it is, it is not a negative thing. Now granted, if we caonstantly live our lives in fear of the unknown, I agree that we miss out on some of the joy, wisdom and creativity. But in allowing some labels to remain firmly in place, we also make a stand based on inner conviction. Testimony is also irrefutable - because it is personal and individual.
6. Won't is be exciting when pure language, the language spoken in the garden of Eden... that language of man before the Tower of Babel, is restored to the earth. Do you think it will come with the coming of Christ? Will it come at all?
7. I think Tolle makes some good points, I just find I disagree with most of them. But it sounds like an intriguing book, one with good material for discussion. Thanks for posting - I enjoyed trying to pull my own thoughts together, sorry if they are incoherent. I am typing to keep up with the flow of thought. It may have been more of a ramble!

Britta said...

I thought of this post this morning when Mark asked me what it felt like to feel the baby move inside of me.

I was at a sheer loss for words as there really wasn't a thing I could say to really describe it. Like the things of the Spirit, it's just one of those things that you know but can't necessarily express well to another.