“We gaze up at the same stars, the sky covers us all, the same universe encompasses us.
What does it matter what practical system we adopt in our search for the truth? Not by one avenue only can we arrive at so tremendous a secret.”
- Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (circa 340 - 402)
The first sentence in the quote from Symmachus makes me think of this community within the blogosphere. As Roo asked of
Ronnie the other day: “Does she [Sarah Faith] realise the number of virtual aunts and uncles she has?” I don’t suppose she does - not yet! But in addition to a wide circle of family and loved ones in South Africa, Sarah has lots of folks around this shrinking planet thinking, worrying and caring about her, celebrating her safe arrival and her beaming parents’ joy. That can only be a good thing.
The second sentence sends me off to more complex issues of belief, faith, religion and sadly, folks taking sides. Years ago I clumsily groped toward what Symmachus wrote so eloquently. I said that we all started out with the exact same set of Tinker Toys, we just built different versions of God with them; different explanations of the universe; different understandings of life. In the present day, to extend the image farther than I should, I would say a group of people got together and decided one particular Tinker Toy assemblage was the best; the right one; the only one. Then another group did the same thing with their favorite assemblage and before long we had monotheistic religions.
After half a century, I believe it’s only the common, human, moral truths that really matter. The most fundamental of these is the Ethic of Reciprocity or, as many of us know it, The Golden Rule. To loosely quote Hillel: “All else is commentary.”