As prayers are a disease of the will, religious doctrines are a disease of the intellect. They say, as those foolish Israelites did centuries ago, "Don't let God speak to us, or we'll die! Tell us what to do—you, anybody, and we will obey."
I can never meet God in my brother,
because he's shut his own temple doors
and recites fables of his brother's—
or his brother's brother's—
Every new mind is a new way of classifying the universe. If it turns out to be a mind of unusual activity and power—a Freud, a Jung, a John Locke, a William James, a Charles Darwin—it imposes its classification on other men and—presto!—a new system. The deeper the thought, the more of life's chaos it explains to the pupil, the greater the complacency.
This is most apparent in churches and support groups, which are also classifications of some powerful mind acting on the simple thought of man's duty and relationship to the Highest. Such is Christian Fundamentalism, Scientology, Alcoholics Anonymous.
The student of a doctrine takes the same delight in subordinating everything to the new terminology as a girl who has just learned botany does in suddenly seeing a new earth and new seasons.
For a time, the pupil will find his intellectual power has grown by the study of his master's mind.
But in all unbalanced minds
the classification is idolized,
passes itself off as the end
and not for a quickly exhausted means.
The limits of the system blend to their eye in the remote horizon with the limits of the universe; the luminaries of heaven seem to them hung on the arch their master built.
They can't imagine how you aliens have any right to see—how you can see: "It must be somehow that you stole the light from us." They don't yet perceive that light, unsystematic, indomitable, will break into any cabin, even into theirs. Let them chirp awhile and call it their own. If they are honest and do well, soon their neat new box will be too small and confining, will crack, will bulge, will rot and vanish, and the immortal light, all young and joyful, million-orbed, million-colored, will beam over the universe as on the first morning.
Last Edited: May 03, 2000
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© 1997 Richard Brodie. All rights reserved.