Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Infinite Ocean

What infinite ocean lies above us that we float on our tiny puddle?
“Men, finding no answers to the sunnan [the ten thousand religious questions from the Shari-ah] now apply their own reasoning. All men seek to be enlightened. Religion is but the most ancient and honorable way in which men have striven to make sense out of God’s universe. Scientists seek the lawfulness of events. It is the task of Religion to fit man into this lawfulness.”

* *

“Much that was called religion has carried an unconscious attitude of hostility toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.”

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“Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, ‘I am not the kind of person I want to be.’ It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.”

— Frank Herbert, Dune

With our cities and our lights, pale and ridiculous reflections of the heavens above, I fear too many of us have cut ourselves off from one of the greatest and most beautiful reminders of our own insignificance.

It has been too many years since I have lain out shivering under the stars on a clear, dark, cold night, far away from the city’s glare. Lay there long enough, and I remember feeling pressed against the ball of the Earth, suspended above an infinite ocean of stars with no sensation of up, down, left, or right. Only clear indigo emptiness stretching away forever beyond my reach, out there.

I never look up from the pavement anymore. I miss the stars.

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