God’s Weight Loss Program

Color Photo; Mr Pumkin Head and daughter

An expert of some kind on a recent PBS talk show said there was “no way” a connection between my lucky hat and the good fortune I enjoy whenever I wear it (as I am seen doing above, 20 years ago, with my daughter).  At the heart of that seemingly sensible certainty is a form of delusion that causes so much of the harm we humans inflict on one another.  It is the delusion that “our best sense of things,” is, in fact, “the truth.”

I’m sure we’ve all spent a moment or two imagining what it would be like to be alive at another time in history.  Imagine living just 100 years ago and hearing a description of the life we enjoy today because of the Internet and services such as Google, ipod, Skype and YouTube.  Many a sensible person in 1910 would have said, “That’s just fantasy.”  As they would about the role of women in today’s society, not to mention a person with black skin being President of the United States, for crying out loud.
And jeez, that’s just 100 years ago, barely the time it takes to sneeze in the course of human affairs.

This is why I’m convinced the universe has a great sense of humor.  Despite an ocean of evidence suggesting that just about any conviction we have will be found, sooner or later, to be incomplete (if not downright nuts), all too often we remain infatuated with the notion that our view of things is “the” view of things.  We’re like first graders wearing our parents clothes, pretending to be masters of the universe.

The fun starts the day we start realizing how silly we behave.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), famous philosopher, pacifist and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, was once asked whether he would be prepared to die for his beliefs.  “Of course not,” he replied.  “After all, I may be wrong.”

If God has a weight loss program, I bet it doesn’t require giving up Twinkies.  It asks only that we unburden ourselves from the compulsion to be right.

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth