Chapter Nine – the Ninth letter
Yes, it is like your questions somehow answer themselves when I am just getting on with life. This seems especially true when I am acting in compassion. Existence somehow feels most OK in such moments.
Remember we talked about compassion and its qualities – inclusiveness, kindness, sharing, truthfulness, trust, inquiry etc. In other words, compassion is all that the ego is not. The ego tends to make us an exclusive, greedy, deceitful and an arrogant know-all.
Compassion is a word you don’t hear much in our English language these days and I feel a bit strange using it. I am afraid other adults might condemn me as a wus, a weak softie, a coward. They also might deride me as flaky and unrealistic.
However a benefit of the body getting old can be the awareness that we all die soon enough. As a result, I don’t care so much what other adults think of me. Speaking the truth becomes more important than the fears of the ego. And the truth seems to be I don’t have an easy answer to your questions. The more I think about them, the more I am left stranded in my armchair chasing paradox…
Get the picture? Thought cannot capture the essence of paradox and every single thing I think about is paradox. This sure makes it very tricky to talk and write about paradox. Using thoughts and words to communicate paradox is like trying to capture rainbows and clouds with a butterfly net.
Rainbows, like paradox, remain just outside our grasp no matter what we do. Maybe you, like me, learned early on as child that rainbows move just as fast as you run after them – no faster, no slower. They pass through rocks and trees and yet vanish with the slightest puff of wind. They change position with your every step and turn of the head. And every rainbow is unique to the viewer. We only detect a few of the million possible colours, a dog even fewer that us. Other creatures, such as snakes and butterflies see colours invisible to us…
Hmmm. The sun must always be behind you if you want to see a rainbow. Is that a rule, a law or a principle of the way the universe operates? We adults argue the difference.
Some say a principle is a good idea that cannot be proved correct whereas an idea becomes a law when it is proved correct using mathematics.
Me? Part of me insists, “I know an idea is a proved fact and that makes it law.” Another part of me says, “ We cannot be truly sure about everything because we are mere mortal beings – it’s all a bit of a mystery and we are always learning.”
What idea do you reckon best describes the way of the universe? Here’s my pick. Maybe you guessed it?
“No time for time! Anyway, so boring! Move on,” a voice in me insists. It persists, “ I don’t have all the time in the world and nor does any reader of this letter!”
Another voice in me asks, “Hmmm…why the hurry? Isn’t it rather intriguing and funny the way we adults worry so much about not having enough time? Maybe this desperate sense of time-poverty reveals a lot about the human condition?”
Time: curiosity or obsession?
We even build atomic clocks
that won’t “gain” or “lose” a
second of time in 15 billion years.
Remember Fun with Paradox and The Trickster Ego letters? All the universe seems paradox when we think about it. Chances are the ego is up to its usual tricks and deceits about reality- its busy confusing and tangling us up in the paradox of time…
It is more than 25000 sunrises since I was born. I must have asked “What is the time?” a million times and more. However now is the first time I have asked, “What is the time?” It turns out to be such a fun, mind-boggling question.
A few things seem clear to me. Like energy, time is vast mystery to us all. It’s paradox. And time is involved in all our daily calculations. Its seems even our unthinking decisions involve lightning fast calculations of time, energy and power in some way or another. We have to be wise to thrive.
Misuse the power of fire and… disaster.
Misjudge the power of a chair to support us and… crunch.
Miscalculate the power of an approaching car and… splat.
Misunderstand the power of the passing sun and… famine.
Undervalue the power of air and…
Giving time. Waiting. Wondering. It’s like always: a cartoon gradually emerges on my sketch pad, I colour it up best I can on the computer, post a draft version on the Internet and then, well, I sit, wait, walk, sit again, wait and all the time ask, “Where are we at?”
It sure is not easy for me to make good sense of the “weird” ways of us adults. Your helpful questions are most welcome.
We have explored the nature of energy, power, change, time, economy, paradox, the ego, compassion and physics (the ways of the universe). It seems these ideas are inseparable and together they shape our experience of the universe, for better and worse. Everything seems to go bad for us when we get one idea wrong.
Sages throughout history have tried to explain how and why this is so. In general, they suggest the ego prevails when people lose compassion and so they become greedy, talk nonsense and behave like fools. We tend to “lose our way in life”…
Let’s assume these people are correct: words form extremely powerful forces in our lives. This means, as with all other forces, we can use the principles of physics to better understand them. In particular, we can use the principles to estimate whether an adult is likely to be talking good sense or unhelpful nonsense about the best ways we can follow an OK way of life.
Conservation of Energy Principle:
Energy cannot be created or destroyed;
and it continuously changes forms.
Imagine these people from history got together. Do you reckon they would agree with the following statement?
Our “careful” use of “a goodly word” enables us “to know more”, enjoy “wisdom”, expand “the limits of our world” and better shape “our destiny”.
Of course, as we discussed, the trickster ego in us has us believe we are above and beyond the principles of physics. It constantly strives to the use the power of the tongue (words) to deceive us into going its way, as we can see with our different uses of the word “energy”…
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