Meira began, “There was a time, twenty-four hundred years ago, when a light began to glimmer through the darkness of alpha-male dominance. There was hope in the discussions of the Greek philosophers when Socrates challenged the Oracle at Delphi, when he went on to challenge the intelligentsia only to find them wanting. He learned that only those who recognise their own failures, their own weaknesses, are fit to rule.
He was punished for it of course. People in power do not give up easily so he was sentenced to death but he couldn’t be hurt that way: He knew he had lived long enough. Gilgamesh on the other hand, sought to defy death. In his desperate search for the path to eternal life King Gilgamesh missed the point altogether because he, like Socrates, does live forever. So between the time of Gilgamesh and Socrates, a mere nine thousand years, we learned a fundamental truth – our bodies cannot live for ever but our minds can – our ideas and ideals can live forever. We remember Gilgamesh for his foolishness, and Socrates for his wisdom – both realised truth. Therein lies the wisdom.
The Theosophists, lead by Helena Blavatsky in the nineteenth century, claimed there is no religion more powerful that truth and they are right. Not in the immediate sense – religions continue to generate fear in the hearts of the uninformed because they are so vulnerable, so easily led. Purveyors of the Christian and Jewish faiths claim virtue in their laws, but their laws are enforced with fear: Fear of the afterlife, fear of immediate punishment, fear of the unknown. These are the weapons of those who would have us believe the absurd. These are the weapons to make us commit obscenities.
THE SCENE AT THE TURKISH HOSPITAL AT DAMASCUS IN 1918.
Fear of an imagined God’s wrath serves to limit the breaking of laws just as the wrath of a parent controls a child – if only to keep it safe. When the child matures the parental fear is no longer effective but that is not the case for the Christian, Jew, Muslim . . . Should they mature, think through and challenge their God’s laws, they have to be punished or the system fails because truth is largely absent.
“It is to truth that we should turn in search of guidance. Building temples and churches might be worthy communal employment but not for worshipping unknown entities. Given the wisdom we do not need songs and chants and hideous effigies to inspire our labours: We need only truth. In the understanding of truth we find wisdom.”