Posts Tagged Truth

Spiritual Realities

I’ve been engaging in dialogue with a kindly professor of comparative religion who espouses Universal Unitarianism with a Buddhist flavour.    All on the road to “the divine” are moving forward and we should celebrate both the places where we concur and our differences.  However espousing this view trivializes the unique claims of each faith- in particular, though not exclusively, the distinctives of monotheistic faiths: the five pillars of Islam, observance of the Torah, the merit of the sacrificial blood of Christ.  There is no need to embrace Christ’s sacrifice, or observe the Law of Moses, or the Five Pillars, because any of the three, not to mention a whole lot of other options, will do just as well to ease us through this life.

To the post-modern mind it becomes an anathema to set one belief system  above it’s fellows as having unique merits, or worse to claim it is THE TRUTH. Dichotomous thought-  particularly, endorsing the idea that there are black and white distinctions between right and wrong and not just shaded grays, is also heavily frowned on.  Your opinion is valid for you alone and should not be splashed into someone else’s personal belief space.

This kind of fuzziness doesn’t hold much water in some places.  I found a news story from Uganda that seemed to make spiritual choices starker.  It didn’t stay on the active news very long so you might have missed this.

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Here be fish bones

We all know the pyramid of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  It is omnipresent in our education system.  I can remember studying it in nursing. So intuitive, so obvious.  Perhaps that little pinnacle of “Self-actualization” gave me a pause for thought once, I don’t know.  I think I  just swallowed.

As I’m sure, did most of my classmates. We assimilated Maslow’s theory into our thought processes, memorized the pyramid, and built  nursing care plans around it; just as would-be-teachers applied it to students , and incipient business managers to the needs of employees.

Last night I listened to a lecture that made me take a wake-up look at the pyramid I had so naively swallowed whole.

“Maslow taught that humans are essentially good,” said the lecturer, illustrating this with an appropriate quote.

Today I went on the internet to refresh my memory:

“The basis of Maslow’s motivation theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower factors need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, survival, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs “deficiency needs.” As long as we are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy, while preventing gratification makes us sick or act evilly.”

I suspect nobody waved  the underpinning philosophy of the innate goodness of man at us in so many words in nursing, or  it might have activated my automatic response, “But- man’s heart is evil and desperately wicked unless redeemed.” The underlying assumption was just assumed.

Last night my misgivings were well triggered. Perhaps this pyramid, so deliciously geared to self-gratification has some flaws.

This morning, chewing over Maslow and his pyramid, I thought about two things.

I thought about the little girl from Dafur who said,

“It is very kind to send us food, but this is Africa and we are used to being hungry. What I ask is that you please take the guns away from the people who are killing us.”

And most particularly I thought  of Christ’s classic encounter with his arch-enemy.

After forty days of fasting he was challenged by Satan to make stones into bread- and satisfy his physiological needs.  He responded, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.”

In one brief sentence he redefined priorities.

The same article I quoted above also says,

“Though Maslow’s hierarchy makes sense intuitively, little evidence supports its strict hierarchy. Actually, recent research challenges the order that the needs are imposed by Maslow’s pyramid. As an example, in some cultures, social needs are placed more fundamentally than any others. Further, Maslow’s hierarchy fails to explain the “starving artist” scenario, in which the aesthetic neglects their physical needs to pursuit of aesthetic or spiritual goals. Additionally, little evidence suggests that people satisfy exclusively one motivating need at a time, other than situations where needs conflict.”

Chew before swallowing, and then with care. Here be fish bones.

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A Dirth of Tolerance

It would appear that we are not a tolerant society after all.  In Calgary a religious statue is stolen from a church, defaced, recovered.  Such acts of vandalism have happened before.  But the out pour of vitriotic  comments on both sides on the CBC website is even more indicative of  the sorry state of our society.  One bleats blatantly, “ We owe no respect to your personal beliefs.”  Over 30% of those reading his comment agreed with it.   Teaching school children that all truth is relevant, there are no absolutes, for these last twenty years or more, apparently has not produced a tolerant society.

Time to quote Booker T. Washington,

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”


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. . . . I wanna get off, revisited

One of the things living in Africa has taught me is that, ‘ It is always appropriate to be led.’   I remember once that I wanted to go to a funeral in another Nkonya town to pay respects.  A close family member of the deceased had done a  large favour for my husband, who was away at the time, and I knew that it would be appropriate to express condolences.

However I did not know the people, who were not Nkonyas, nor the house.  I recruited a respectable woman friend to go with me, and when we reached the town she recruited an acquaintance, a man, to lead us to the funeral site, and through the protocol of making a formal visit as a stranger and leaving a funeral donation.

“It’s always appropriate to be led.” I’m pretty much a novice in searching through the internet haystack, but I have principled techie friends who have great needle finding skills. They led me to this find.

Thanks to Andy and friends who located the source of the escape key who stopped the world and got off.  They also found the follow-up, though I understand that the case is still open, and the causes are still being researched.  Andy says,

“I understand that as a result, Ctrl lost it and is now getting soused at the Space Bar.”

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Tales Retold

The Happy Moron has a new parlor game, rewriting fairy tales, leaving out one major character.  I’m becoming rather addicted to his posts.  An early one was charming, but basic as it explored the “Two Little Pigs,” and they have become more elaborate, as witness “Puss and Boots Minus the Kitty” in three parts.

Today, I came across a re-write of  the story of the  “Six Blind Men and the Elephant” which somewhat fits the genre and is worth a read.

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