Friday, September 28, 2007

Returning to Paradise

Its tantalizing memory of a lost golden age of uninterrupted peace and happiness infuses the oral and written traditions of all peoples on Earth. Poets, mystics and monks have labored to keep the spark alive inside the human soul. When we think with these heads, the idea that we're evolving becomes patently ridiculous.

In fact, we were born into, but rejected, paradise. Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we'll look at an intriguing concept that's been much considered in human historical thought, but completely ridiculed and discounted in our strictly materialistic modern view: the idea that we've fallen from a paradisal state. In this view, we're not evolving from the cosmic mud but spinning away from beauty and perfection.

You know, most of us have no idea about how the thoughts of historical figures affect our way of seeing the world today. Most of us are under the impression that our thought has evolved rather naturally and that our philosophies of life and perceptions of the world are more or less arrived at through experience and natural development.

This is very naive. Thought has always been influenced. For example, back in the 4th and 5th centuries, St. Augustine was enormously influential. He followed Plato's philosophy of the world of universal ideas and infused knowledge. Human beings were born with something for Augustine - not empty vessels who are filled by experience and interaction with society.

In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas began to lead the thinking away from Plato's universalism by reintroducing Aristotle's orientation: we are products of our experience, of our senses. The impact of this change in thinking was immense. Science began to orient itself more to materialistic evidence than to theological, universal concepts. We experienced a continuing erosion of the influence of theological and even philosophical wisdom in our worldview. To the point where we can say quite unequivocally that we have no philosophers anymore. Now we favor only what we can see or measure. In this modern world, all is relative. The universal questions - good and evil, from where do we come, what is the purpose of life - are seldom considered. Today, you go to university to get trained for a job - not to think about how to develop the human spirit.

Well, all of this is the reason I named this Podcast, Thinking with Somebody Else's Head. Because I wanted to explore the way we saw the world and how this always came from other people's heads. And if those heads made fundamental mistakes, then structuring a world view based on their ideas would be fraught with inconsistencies at best, and downright lunacy at worst.

Norberto Keppe's work gives us a road map to follow based on solid principles of goodness, truth and beauty. Universal reality.

Today, Dr. Claudia Pacheco joins me to look at an idea that's existed as long as human beings have existed: that we are golden creatures that once inhabited a golden age, but fell from it.

Click here to listen to this episode.

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