I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.Gospel of St. John 10.10
Last October I began a new series of blog “Old Stories That Tell Us Where We Are Now” . The chosen stories were The Tower of Babel myth in Genesis, Plato’s well-known story of the Cave and Coleridge’s long poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Unfortunately going through the Coleridge poem the series lost its initial thrust , meandering rather as I found other subjects to take on at the same time. As a result many new followers will be unaware of the original design as will more occasional blog readers. I have therefore decided to re-run the series over a short period so that readers can follow the developing idea from beginning to end with the original posts being re-edited and re-blogged. This post can act either as a postscript to the series or an introduction as suits the reader.
POSTSCRIPT OR INTRODUCTION
To what extent can we survive without a proper relationship with creation. Science has given us the power to exceed limits of what was long thought possible. Explainers of science have suggested that science alone shows us true knowledge and tells us who we are.
An ancient story from early on in the Bible challenges this idea. It shows us there are limits to what we can do and there should be limits. God as Creator is not to be mocked.
God’s creation is to be respected and indeed loved. Does it not come from God? But humanity is wilful, seeking over-weeningly to impose his power on the Nature. As a consequence the balance of our relationship with the Nature on which we are dependent is distorted. Coleridge’s poem tells a tale in which a mariner loses his connection
Retired from the action of the world as it were comfortably seated in my study-chair as I write this, it is nevertheless easy to be dismayed by what the screen unfolds of the world around me. A recent Climate Change report by the United Nations paints a dire picture of our future based on humanity’s insufficient awareness of the interdependence of our lives with that of Nature. Humanity does not simply belong to itself. Both Coleridge’s poem and the Biblical myth of the Tower of Babel remind us of this.
But the human world also clamours for our attention. Is our hold on life, on life in its fullness reduced? T.S. Eliot reminded us “Humankind cannot bear too much reality”. The Plato story, with its mythic dimension, seems to confirm this. For the dwellers in the cave, conditioned to a type of life they think normal, reject the urgings of one escaped from their midst who tells them of a better life elsewhere in the open sunlight.
Meantime those who live in the open sunlight know life is beautiful. We need to get our thinking right and join them.
(Tomorrow see “The Tower of Babel”)