Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Real Bagel

Dive into the sea of thought, and find there pearls beyond price.

Moses ibn Ezra
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I was doing a play in Virginia. Most of the actors were from New York. One day the husband of one of the actresses came to visit. He brought me a big bag of genuine New York City bagels. I was delighted and shared them. If you know what a real bagel is then you know there are a lot of things in the world that call themselves bagels that aren't.

The unfortunate thing is that this metaphor of the bagel crops up in almost all human activities and experiences. There are many things that aren't what they seem. The fact is a thing doesn't have to be true, it merely needs to seem true and people will believe it. There are things which call themselves science that aren't. I'm sure one of my scientific friends can give me examples of that. Now, in this country, we have a group of people calling themselves Christians who aren't. I know a few Christian friends who can cite examples of that. I can give you an example from my own life. I spent my working days as an actor. Drama is not life. It resembles life, and if it's done right it resembles life so well that we can believe it. But theatre isn't trying to fool anyone. It doesn't try to pass itself off as anything other than what it is: fiction, entertainment, art.

The insidious legerdemain that allows people to construct a facade so strikingly realistic that people will believe in it, buy the product and worship the false god, has a grip on too many. The tricksters know a great historical and worldwide secret. The secret is it is easier to let someone whom we think is an authority decide for us what we should think and do.

I have visited a few drama classes on various educational levels and witnessed a teacher who has no idea what he is doing pass on the most egregious nonsense to a bunch of unsuspecting students who think they are learning the right thing. How does someone like that get away with it? Because what he or she is teaching seems to be right, it resembles the truth. But it's not the real bagel. And I'm sure that sort of foolery goes on in all sorts of classrooms in one way or another.

But it doesn't stop there. We are stuck in a hall of mirrors. The false claims of advertisers about the amazing values of one product or another, some of which get recalled, the slanted journalism of our contemporary media, some of which gets apologized for and the outrageous remarks about right government by some of our politicians and commentators, very little of which ever gets intelligently challenged, or if it does it doesn't make the TV news.

So what is the antidote to all this sand bagging? I defer to Moses ibn Ezra. The answer is to start thinking and not just thinking but thinking deeply about the things that matter the most to us in our lives. Skepticism is the first step toward wisdom. Stop, look, listen, ask, think, and the deeper we plunge into the limitless sea of thought the more discoveries we make, discoveries which will, among other things, expose the false but true seeming for what it is. Truth is a difficult thing to understand, but the false is easy to believe, until it's error is seen.

We must dive deeply into reality and cease accepting without question the seemingly real. The "pearls beyond price" are there to be found and gathered by all of us and they are the gates to true things and the defense against the false.

DB - The Vagabond
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WINTER QUESTION
(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?

dbdacoba@aol.com

Only 6 responses so far

I await your answer.
DB
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moses ibn

3 comments:

Beth said...

I hear that there is nothing like a New York bagel. Something about salt water? Next time I'm there, I WILL have one!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is amazing how we must on a periodic basis simplify, things pile up over time that consume our time, preventing us from focusing on what is really important.

Liz said...

I once bought a 'genuine New York City bagel' in Cheshire England.
That it tasted like cardboard coated sawdust is obviously a testament to the fact that the 'real thing' doesn't really travel well across the pond!

As far as Christians are concerned, which in my experience is as far as the next personal discomfort, I have no delusions nor any religion to comfort me with lies while I address this world full of truth.

I will continue to explore this world all too full of 'carboard bagels' until I taste the truth.