I’m trying to get into a new habit. Each morning when I get up I’m reminding myself of how little I know, of how much I have left to learn. I’m doing this because I don’t want to become some arrogant arse.
And my position is supported by the facts. Sure, I know a lot more than I used to, but compared with all knowledge out there I’m a midget in intellectual terms. I never want to reach a point where I’m no longer open to new information, where my views are so stultified and fixed that I can no longer see beyond them. That to me would be truly horrible, to have a mindset so dimmed and blinkered and hermetically sealed.
I carry in me a fear. I fear being fooled again. I know this stems from my religious days, and I know that this same anxiety can sometimes cause me to speak with undue harshness. I have a genuine love and respect for those I left behind in the wild woods of Christianity and wish them nothing but happiness and good times. Yet I also feel a burden to challenge many of the ideas that ground this worldview. Beyond this there are many other areas where I can confess only to ignorance, moral and social and political issues where I perceive, as they say, through a glass darkly. Its not that I expect to know it all; but I do want to protect myself from the sins of my past. I allowed myself to be driven not by the pursuit of truth but by a need to satisfy my own desires that the world conformed to my hopes.
It doesn’t. How could it? What was I thinking?
Actually, my thoughts were no different to many. We all want to create a safe haven around ourselves, to insulate ourselves from the things we find unpalatable and hard. At the end of the day I completely understand why anybody should want to make their stay on Earth as comfortable and stress free as possible, and I get totally why some of us adopt views and beliefs that achieve this goal.
The world is harsh. Yet it’s astonishing, too. There’s beauty and warmth and hope and real wonder to behold if we’d just open our hearts and minds to it.
Whenever I look up at the stars I’m awed. I know the atoms that formed me came from such long dead celestial giants. Whenever I appraise a sweeping landscape I understand in my core that I am connected to every living thing before my gaze.
Is this not wondrous? Does this not inspire you? If not then what possibly could? And if not then perhaps you’re one of those people whose eyes are open yet whom see precisely nothing. Do yourself a favour and starting using the senses you’re equipped with. Look and see, listen and behold. Breath in, taste, drink in the beauty of it all.
At least, that’s my humble advice.