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THE LESSONS OF TIME

"The minute you take what the dictation of the time is instead of the dictation of your own eternity, you have capitulated to the devil.   And you are in hell."  --Joseph Campbell

 

Three of the dominant religions today, Islamic, Judaic, and Christian share a common root that evolved into the belief that time and history are one. All previous cultures held time to be an eternal cycle—like the seasons, the adventure of life was constant renewal. The Three broke the great hoop and stretched it into the staff of authority. They read their myths as prose; the prose was fact. Irrefutable. All other religions, even the other two among the Three, were wrong (sacrilegious) and were tossed into the dustbin of history. The audacity of their position gave rise to holy wars. The sacred became secular. And like soldiers trashing everything in their way they began the long march of history. And their destiny is a dead end.

Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the only way to prove the truth of their position is to provoke the world toward the end and invoke Armageddon—the final resolution.

A century ago this was beyond their secular power. But now, with atomic bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple warheads; with a network of instantaneous communications and the widespread dissolution of governments anything can happen.

How do we break the mesmerizing trance of history? How do we divorce ourselves from this suicidal vision of Mutual Assured Destruction. We need not negate the teachings of Mohammed, Moses, and Jesus to do this. We need only change our way of thinking about time. Let go of the fact and embrace the metaphor.

We need only see history as the myth of  the victor. And accept science as an aspect of magic. The earlier cultures centered their lives around magic, myth, and metaphor. We invented science, history and fact. Today we have an opportunity that has never presented itself—that is to accept both as coequal modes of existence. However it is imperative that history be seen as a lesson, not a way of life.

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