Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reading The Bible Changes Your Mind

Time to read something that might change your mind for a change!  

 First Read This Post and Then Open  A Bible With A Life Enhancing Question in Your Mind
Next Thing You Know
Is A Miracle
Is Becoming

The odds that we will ever meet face to face are infinitesimally slim. Never the less, modern technology has made it possible for you to take my ideas into your mind and give me a voice in your head. As you read the screen in front of you, I presume you are silent and listening to the mental sound you wrap around my thoughts, as they arrive and  materialize, word after word in your mind. You have the freedom to stop doing this the moment reading my words makes you uncomfortable and I could never know and would not be insulted. I have no way of  knowing anything about you, not even that you exist.

   Here I am inside you and I  would  like very much to stay where I am, but like anyone else in your life,  that won't happen unless you come to value me and what I have to share with you. I value you and that is what brings me to write what I do. I don't know you, know nothing whatsoever about you, but you are alive with me in my generation, or in some future generation beyond my own,  and it is very probable that you are perplexed and concerned and even anxious if not outright scared, because of  the ever increasing chaotic momentum world events seem to have.

   There are people in every generation who care much more about the world around them than they do about themselves and their own personal interests. I am such a person. Perhaps you are, too. If you are, then it is possible that what I desire to share with you here inside your mind, in your heart, will resonate within you. It is my hope,  that my presence here will be an agent of increasing harmony for you and all you love of the world. I wish that you experience an exciting, exhilarating, dynamic peace of mind. I wish that your heart grow and grow and encompass the whole universe within and love it and feel gratitude for the vision of  it's wonderful ever transcending nature. That is why I am here now talking to you from within the confines of your concentrated attention. You are constructing me and as far as you are concerned, I am alive because I am evolving and growing within your mind, like anyone new you have ever met.

Now I know nothing of the nature of your beliefs about the world and how it is created. I can say that personally, I regard the world as coming together in my own mind, in an ever changing sequence of  multifaceted and intricately detailed sensations of many different kinds. I have my own world which started with my first memories and my ideas of what came before them, arranged coherently from the beginning of my life until now, this very moment, that I am here writing and striving to project myself into your life. At this very moment, as a context for what I am writing, around me is my imagination of your mind and my words appearing in it. Based on everything I know about the commonalities of human nature, particularly of those with an altruistic character, I am trying to light a candle so I can see better what I am most likely surrounded by, in the mind of someone who has read as far as you have.

Once again, here I am.

 Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, here in Israel, and I am a Jew. For me, being a Jew means more than anything, caring about the greater world that surrounds me. I admit, my first concern is for my own people. This is natural but also, even more reasonable because I believe that my people have a role to play in human history that transcends national self interests of  survival and quality of life for Jews. I care about the Jews because since the time of the Hebrew Prophets, starting with Abraham, the essence of The Evolving Spiritual Hebrew Culture has been to care about the world. First the Jewish world and then the Gentile world that surrounds it. Theses worlds are and have been interactive from the time of Abraham.

     Abraham went down to Egypt with his beautiful wife and had an influence and came back influenced. It doesn't matter one iota if this story is true or not in the sense of whether it actually happened the way told. It has become an icon of western culture in that it appears in The Hebrew Bible, which is undoubtedly the most  influential book of story telling ever written. Billions of people believe that these stories are historically accurate, and in that sense, they have become like any consensus, a description of the nature of objective reality.  Those that believe these stories are divinely inspired are greatly influenced by them in their lives.

  This might be a mystery to you. You might not believe in God or Divine Inspiration. You might consider the belief in these stories to be the consequence of  an ignorant clinging to ancient superstitions, out of a fear of facing the reality that we are children of chaos. Be that as it may, can you deny the success of the Hebrew Bible in playing upon the fears of people from the unknowns and unknowable, that brings about our existence? It offers an explanation, which whether true or not in fact, factually is attested to be of great assistance in achieving a better quality of life for those who come to believe  in it as being Divinely Inspired. It's influence goes far beyond the power of placebo. People dedicate their lives every day anew and have been doing so for thousands of years, to promulgate what they consider to be the wisdom they have found in The  Bibles. No snake oil in history has achieved anything even resembling such success.

   All  I ask that you do is suspend any preconceptions you might have, about the lack of wisdom there is in searching for wisdom in The Bible.

    What is wisdom and how does it differ from intelligence? I dare say that intelligence exists upon having whatever mental faculties are entailed in achieving a creative or destructive purpose. Knowing how to create an atom bomb takes intelligence shared by many people in a cooperative effort. Knowing how to deliver an atom bomb to a target and destroy a city and kill a hundred thousand conceived enemy people also necessitates intelligence shared by people in a cooperative effort. But is the application of this intelligence towards the successful accomplishment of a purpose that is first creative and then destructive, wisdom?

   It might be wisdom if it succeeds in attaining the prevention of far greater death and destruction in the absence of its application.  This was the rationale justifying the use of the atom bomb by the American Presidential Administration of  Truman in WW11.

   Wisdom is the application of intelligence so as to affect the overall enhancement of the quality of life for those influenced by it. If one enhances the quality of one's own life and by so doing, increases the number and virulence of one's enemies, whatever intelligence initially demonstrated must become in time, counter productive, as such a person will find themselves ever more involved in self defense and this undoubtedly must infringe on the quality of their life. Sometimes it is unwise to apply intelligence. Short sighted application of intelligence might prove to be very unintelligent, as happened to Nazi Germany. If all the intelligence one has applied to creating  means of destruction eventually leads to the destruction of one's own brain in an atomic blast, how intelligent has one truly been?

Intelligence? Wisdom? Either? Neither? Both?

  The Hebrew Bible is attested to have brought about an improved quality of life for many of those who have found wisdom in reading its pages or in  listening to the telling of its stories. Perhaps the most influential of all these people was Jesus of Nazareth. Again, it matters not an iota to me whether Jesus actually lived the life portrayed in the Christian Scriptures, just as it matters not to me whether Abraham actually lived, or whether there was an Exodus or not. It doesn't matter that I don't believe myself that the world was created in six days about six thousand years ago. Many very intelligent people do believe so and share this belief with many others, turning it into an objective truth, as far as they are concerned. They attest that their belief in this truth and the truth of the Bible stories, has an increasingly beneficial influence on their lives. They give witness that their appreciation and gratitude for life has exponentially increased since becoming believers. They become less prone to violence and more altruistic. There are many instances where they report the abandonment of very bad habits and addictions. Sometimes they claim to have miraculous healing. Couples report salvaged marriages. Based on Biblical Precepts, charitable organizations feed, shelter, cloth and educate those for whom such necessities are otherwise unavailable.

   They find great wisdom in Jesus of Nazareth's interpretation of  The Hebrew Bible and in The stories  of Jesus's life, and then in the interpretation of Jesus's Disciples and followers  of his teachings, and in the lesson teaching significance of the events of Jesus's life, who proclaimed of himself  that he was the living embodiment of The Torah of Moses, which is the foundation of The Hebrew Bible.

Can one deny the presence of wisdom in the Bible for those that seek it there?

    There are critics who say that the Bible has caused far more violence than it has brought about peace and that it is full of violent stories that only encourage more  mayhem. Basically they are saying that the  Bible is not a true source of wisdom. There are those that assert that it is used manipulatively by despots to control the minds of ignorant masses for nefarious purposes. Saying this acknowledges the potency of The Bible to have an effect on the minds of the masses, when wielded intelligently by power seeking organized religions and their leaders, generation after generation, for at least 3000 years. Of course one must consider that the very same Bible inspired those under the yoke of religious hierarchies to escape and  embark to new lands in their own attempts to live by Biblical Precepts.

    Isn't such a tool of power worthy of study? What is the metaphysical mechanism that enables the authors of The Hebrew Bible to have such an enduring influence over man's mind and history? Being as the The Hebrew Bible has only grown in it's potency to shape the History of the world since the rise of  Zionism, the rebirth of Hebrew as a modern language, and the recent realization of prophecies and predictions that go back at the very least, 2600 years, isn't it yet premature to determine if it's overall historical effect is finally just superstitious remnants of ignorant spiritual paradigms, collapsing under the onslaught of modern science, or truly life enhancing perennial wisdom?

How does one measure the success of a literary  accomplishment?

  First lets agree on the purpose of literature. While the purpose might be far more sophisticated than just having an influence on the mind and life of the reader, that would be a common denominator of all written art. It is an attempt to influence and to do so, it must engage.  It must be so  engaging that once a reader begins its perusal, they continue reading until the work of written art begins to make waves of consequence in their mind. Consequence is the accomplishment of influence.

    Secondly, it is reasonable to assume, that the author of  the vast majority of written works, wants  to attain engagement and influence in the greatest number of minds possible. This can be accomplished best if the work persists in duration by being reproduced again and again in every generation that follows its first publication, by more and more publishers, and that  those that read it have such a positive experience as a result of its influence, that they invest time and effort into getting others they care about, to read it too. So of course it helps if it is translated into as many languages as possible and made available even to those who can't afford to pay for it, by those with altruistic inclinations.

    One of the powers of a Work of Art is that it inspires interpretation by those who have insight because of it, for those yet who don't. No work of art in human history has been more interpreted  and explained for the layman than the Hebrew Bible, particularly if one includes the Christian Bible as an interpretation and extrapolation of what is most important in The Hebrew Bible, which is what the Christian Bible purports itself to be. The translations, interpretations and extrapolations of The Hebrew Bible are themselves the inspiration for further works. These works might not present themselves as art, rather they bear witness to the success of The Hebrew Bible as a Work of Art.
Critics don' always present themselves as artists, but I dare say that anything produced which invokes lengthy and persistent criticism, even if the criticism is negative, must be artfully constructed and has accomplished its purpose of having an effect or it would fade away and disappear as a phenomenon because it no longer was of any interest.

Nothing in the Universe is more Contemplated, Interpreted, Criticized, Blessed  And Condemned Than Life Itself. Life is Divine Art and Man Made Art is All Replication

   It is interesting that The Hebrew Stories in The Bible have had so much influence on those with altruistic characters, because that is a key element in the success of its long lasting and widespread influence.  People who innately want to do good to others, after experiencing the good The Bible does for themselves, want to spread it around. And many who were inclined to antisocial and criminal activities, were so influenced by reading The Bible, that they repented of past behavior and dedicated themselves to spreading their own version of the Good Word they extrapolated through their own reading of Biblical text. The Pure Power of Biblical scripture to influence human life is evident in all the cultures it has penetrated through translation.

There is Something About The Bible That Has The Power To Penetrate and Change The Minds of People From All Walks Of Life, In All Cultures, and Whatever It Is, It Has Been Doing This For 3000 Years

   In the Moslem world, the validity of parts of the Hebrew Bible is questioned by some, but overall, The Books of Moses which are the foundation of The Hebrew Bible are accepted as the platform of God's revelation of The Law to man through Moses. Islam is based on the stories of The Hebrew Bible and has no historical and cultural root without them. Both Christianity and Islam owe their existence to stories about and of Hebrew Prophets.

   The Hebrew Prophets share in common the quality of professing the value of speaking the truth. They all agree upon what they consider to be the most essential truth there is, and that is the world we live in and on, is a creation affected by a Single Cause, That Cause  being The Benevolent Living Lord of The Universe, who created us and the world around us as an act of Divine Will. A Creation that comes into Being, Something from Nothing. The Hebrew Prophets all say that to recognize and adhere to   this truth, is the beginning of wisdom. Which goes to say, such wisdom is essentially life  enhancing. They call this teaching of life enhancing truth, that there is a single benevolent  creator God, The Torah. The Teaching. They say of it metaphorically that it is a tree of life for those who eat of its fruits and live in its shade.

  What is the truth about truth? Why is any  truth and this particular truth so important? It is evident that those who accept this truth as true, are vastly affected by it in ways they would share not only with loved one and neighbors, but sometimes with strangers living across the planet in  vastly different civilizations and  in very primitive  cultures.

  The truth is most important to those who are struggling to survive. It is a very practical necessity. The acquirement of knowledge that can be consistently and pragmatically used to preserve and prolong, defend and enhance life, is the primal motive to discover, remember and record in the minds of loved ones, life enhancing truths. The human brain, however one believes it came to be, is designed to seek out and discover, remember and record in any way possible, life enhancing truth. Practical  pragmatic  knowledge is what allows humans to achieve a state of mind where issues of daily survival become less urgent and thus stress is relieved and relief is achieved.

  In cultures where children do not participate from the first moments they can, in the gathering and production of life's necessities, when they are not being taught and trained in the life preserving knowledge of their culture, when they are too young to worry themselves with the mystery of  death and how to avoid it, they play. Play inevitably involves the creation of  games that are mind engaging and entertaining and that means creating truths held in common by the players for the duration of the game. The purpose of truth has become it's entertainment potential. In addition to this, it is no longer essential that the truth of yesterday's game endure, if repetition of the game is no longer engaging and entertaining.

The more acute the need to survive, the greater the threat of annihilation, the more urgent it is to discover and attain life preserving truths that endure in their value and validity over time.

The Hebrew Prophets, starting from Moses, present the  Teachings of The Torah, purportedly received from The Creator of The Universe on Mount Sinai, with the intent to give them to mankind and thus guarantee one's survival for the full extant of one's time and until one achieves a Faith in God that makes death not only acceptable, but welcome at the end of the fullness of one's days.

The reason the Hebrew Bible is so full of threats and acts of death and destruction, is to help one who reads it focus on its potency to enhance the quality of one's survival. It's appeal is far greater among the poor and the struggling, the sick and the oppressed.  The Hebrew Bible teaches rebellion against any and all kinds of human tyranny.  Life is barely worth living if one's time is not one's own.

The Hebrew Bible teaches that truth seeking in one's own nature and honesty with one's self is the greatest life enhancer there is, because doing so establishes a communication with one's Creator who is of course the Creator of everyone else, too, and such a relationship is the key to achieving an ever more enhanced quality of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment