Week 23: Wednesday – Onwards & Upwards

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In today’s world, we have grown by leaps and bounds in the world of technology. Day in and day out, we invent things that seemingly come out of a sci-fi movie. An interesting idea that has floated around about all of this was that when the Apollo program sent men to the moon, they had significantly less computing power than the smartphones we have in our pockets! Yet, seemingly despite all this growth there is one place where we have stagnated. That is the aspect of the soul. There is one quote that many people have forgotten—or rather, glossed over–: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole word, and loses his soul?”

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Gary Hart wrote about how that is precisely what we have been missing in the past three centuries. We have lost the enchantment of the soul. We have forgotten the nourishment of the soul in the pursuit of the feeding of the mind. Have we lost our general concern for the people around us? That is a question that many people have asked. From this grew Internet jokes (memes) that talk about loss of faith in humanity, simply because we have forgotten that life is not about materiality or what we have received or not. It is not about things, but about people.

Peter had it right when he talked about what we need in life. In light of the fact that God has given us everything we need to live life to the fullest, we need next to cultivate our soul. “Goodness” here is translated as “virtue” in different translations of the Bible. Isn’t that a good basis for our actions? Before knowledge, we must have a foundation of virtue. After knowledge, we add self-control, patience, service, kindness, and of course, love. 

I marvel how Nature could ever find space 
For so many strange contrasts in one human face: 
There’s thought and no thought, and there’s paleness and bloom 
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom. 

There’s weakness, and strength both redundant and vain; 
Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain 
Could pierce through a temper that’s soft to disease, 
Would be rational peace–a philosopher’s ease. 

There’s indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds, 
And attention full ten times as much as there needs; 
Pride where there’s no envy, there’s so much of joy; 
And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy. 

There’s freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare 
Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she’s there, 
There’s virtue, the title it surely may claim, 
Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name. 

This picture from nature may seem to depart, 
Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart; 
And I for five centuries right gladly would be 
Such an odd such a kind happy creature as he. 

William Wordsworth
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