Tag Archives: belief

On the Incredulous

Not that the incredulous person doesn’t believe in anything. It’s just that he doesn’t believe in everything. Or he believes in one thing at a time. He believes a second thing only if it somehow follows from the first thing. He is nearsighted and methodical, avoiding wide horizons. If two things don’t fit, but you believe both of them, thinking that somewhere, hidden, there must be a third thing that connects them, that’s credulity.

Incredulity doesn’t kill curiosity; it encourages it. Though distrustful of logical chains of ideas, I loved the polyphony of ideas. As long as you don’t believe in them, the collision of two ideas — both false — can create a pleasing interval, a kind of diabolus in Musica. I had no respect for some ideas people were willing to stake their lives on, but two or three ideas that I did not respect might still make a nice melody. Or have a goot beat, and if it was jazz, all the better.

— Umberto Eco, from Foucault’s Pendulum

Share This:

My religion

Beyond the walls of any church,
between the lines in ancient texts,
behind the crumbled, cracking walls
I have sought the gods of this place.

Before others were imported,
if they came with those who traveled
(and sometimes I doubt that the case,
for once accustomed to a place
it seems unlikely they would up
and move here and there on a whim
or chance relocation to some
distant shore, lest for a good cause –
and who can guess what makes causes
just? Gods can be inscrutable)
there were other spirits right here,
energies that birthed and flowered,
changing form, being and ceasing
like in any place, alive.

I know they are still waiting here,
for despite the sometimes quite grand
displays that some claim for others,
I sense their hand behind the scenes;

They laugh, I think, at my attempts
to contact them by strange methods —
calling out dusty, foreign names
(whose owners can be found at home,
in the deserts where they may dwell,
perhaps, but need not travel here)
and reciting stiff and hackneyed
prayers, that describe embraces
between a Lover and Beloved
that are not me and these gods here
and now. These are not ancestral
roots feeding the tree of myself
that is today seeking water,
not a mere picture of a stream.

What need have I of these strangers’
gods? If I were by history
connected to them, tied through blood
across time, their divine fingers
laced with mine in a clasp of clan,
perhaps they would answer my call.

But the Semites, Egyptians,
Hindus and Buddhists have their own
claim of descent; and my Celtic
genes dispair of calling Roman
or Greek divinities my truth.

And Cernunnos, Herne, and Woden,
the myriad of Tuatha?
They call me, true enough, but stay
their ground, there in their own homelands.

So I have sought the gods that live
here, that dwell right where I am now.

Not in the visages of those
who bartered in Mobilian,
but who were found here long before,
without the names of man applied
upon their manifestations,
coursing formless throughout this land,
filling up and emptying swamps,
raising the river and scorching
through the summer months, their glances
giving and taking life and breath,
beyond the illusion of death
and waiting in infinite space
for those who seek them out and find
the universe inside themselves:

behind the crumbled, cracking walls,
between the lines of ancient texts,
beyond the walls of any church.

23 OCT 2003

Share This:

Like the World Does Not Know

If all the world would find you lacking grace
and see in every thought and act some fault,
behind the smile that lights up your sweet face
discovering some dark and bitter vault,

if some belittle and would treat you poor
because your heart is open, reaching out,
believing it a weakness, nothing more,
or cast on your intentions scorn and doubt,

have faith that I have never been deceived
by those nay-saying cynic tongues that bite,
and will not place my trust in any voice

that speaks ill of you and would be believed.
When I look in your eyes, I know what’s right,
and choosing you, know love to be my choice.

09 SEP 2003

Share This:

Confession of Faith

This is my confession of faith:

That which is real is wholly real
and fills even the gaps between
what I think seems to be real
and what I am incapable of
imagining it might be.

To divide one thing from the next
based on my limited viewpoint
denies that there is something else
capable of containing both.

What I think is the possible
limits what I can understand.

Energy does not fade away;
It changes form, perhaps, and fills
some things now, and others later.
The filling up is called living.
The emptying for another
purpose is called dying.

When I am thirsty for the truth,
a mirage does not satisfy;
but truth’s lake has different sides,
and the water from one shoreline
(though called by a different name)
is the same as from another.
It is one lake, although I can
only see the spot where I now stand.

Awareness of ability
comes with responsibility.

If I can understand this fact
but refuse to heed its lesson
I have no advantage over
those more ignorant and unable.

Without direct experience,
it is not possible to know
whether the things I have been taught
are useful or are even true.
Real meaningful experience
is rare, and always personal.

Hypocrisy means living life
as if what I believe does not
apply to me – by my actions
proving that it is not the truth.

The only sin is thinking that
I see the truth of everything.

My eyes are not that wide.
My mind is not that wise.
My heart is not that big.
I am smaller than I think.

I am less important than I would like to appear to be.
I am not in charge of everything.
I am not placed above anything.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I am only made of fuel.
Something else will need that fuel when I am finished with it,
and I will give it away gladly,
having no further use for it.

This world is not a proving ground for somewhere else.
This world is not a possession to be dominated or stewarded.
This world is part of the sacred whole.

So am I. So are you.

There is no Other.

25 AUG 2003

Share This: