POEM: Barbarian Hordes

Only after building the wall
To keep the barbarian hordes out
Did I realize
That we are the barbarian hordes

Exclusion is the most barbarian practice.  Inclusion is the most enlightened practice.  To evolve in our we need to move beyond our self.  , and its companion egocentricity, is a stubborn barrier to .  Recognizing the oneness of all things is a practice that moves us out of an ego .  As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it:

“In a real sense all is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of .”

I am fascinated with meditating upon what I see as the most fundamental paradox of human , the juxtaposition of the oneness of with the “myriad of things.”  Of course, this apparent paradox is most pronounced, perhaps paradoxically, if one accepts no difference between anything.  My most clear and palpable retort to folks who assert that there is no difference between anything is to ponder a hypothetical punch in the nose — I avoid the actual punch in the nose because I believe that there is a difference between and !  It seems that the post-, characterizing lies silent, levelled if you will, stubbornly incapable of granting legitimacy () to any difference or hierarchy, even though differences and hierarchies are omnipresent.  How do we move or evolve beyond the self-mutilation of to a self-?  I am partial to E. F. Schumacher’s A Guide for the Perplexed, which I would highly recommend if you are perplexed in most any way.  On nugget in this regard:

There are physical which the bodily senses pick up, but there are also nonphysical which remain unnoticed unless the of the senses is controlled and completed by certain “higher” faculties of the . Some of these nonphysical  represent “grades of significance,” to use a term coined by G. N. M. Tyrrell, who gives the following illustration:

Take a book, for example. To an animal a book is merely a coloured shape. Any higher significance a book may hold lies above the level of its thought. And the book is a coloured shape; the animal is not wrong. To go a step higher, an uneducated savage may regard a book as a series of marks on paper. This is the book as seen on a higher level of significance than the animal’s, and one which corresponds to the savage’s level of thought. Again it is not wrong, only the book can mean more. It may mean a series of letters arranged according to certain . This is the book on a higher level of significance than the savage’s . . . . Or finally, on a still higher level, the book may be an expression of

In all these cases the “sense data” are the same; the given to the eye are identical. Not the eye, only the , can determine the “grade of significance.”

To make the grade and avoid continually devolving our into some nihilistic where can find no root in our being we might benefit from looking up to a higher , living in an ever-higher — and thousands of years of on such things informs us that this should not involve looking down on our fellow beings.

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