Archive for February 15th, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Zeal of Living

Last year I had a discussion with another blogger about spirituality and what it can do to save peoples’ lives. He replied that spirituality doesn’t necessarily “save” people, that spirituality can be both good or evil, but that someone either believed in something transcendent beyond mere DNA replication, or he would be amoral otherwise.

Our discussion gave me some insights into my own values from a new perspective. I wouldn’t ever deny that there may be some kind of God, because it doesn’t make sense to negate something without evidence. That life on the other side of the cupboard, assumed by many people, is beyond confirmation or rejection for me. I can only discuss matters that I can feel or see.

But above all, our discussion made me feel that many religious peoples’ notion that only someone religious or spiritual – or someone whose views transcend mere materialism – can appreciate the value that life has.

I believe that I have this one life. I know when it began, but I don’t know when it will end. I don’t really understand either its beginning or its end, but I can make the best of it. I can open my senses to the world and “do nothing” – one might call that meditation, but it is no established methodology for me. I can make choices and fight. I can make a choice and I can love someone. I can make friends with people. I can make enemies, too. I can smoke and wonder how much it is enjoyment, and how much it is addiction.

When working hard, I can feel how my awareness is becoming stronger. When I’m working hard, I’m usually also best at writing some bullshit on this blog – sometimes pretty good bullshit, I think. I feel the intensity of life best when working hard. I’m best at sports when having worked hard just before. I’m also best at more playful competition after working hard. And I’m best at doing nothing after having worked hard just before.

I think it was Wilhelm Lehmann, a German poet, who used the term “zeal of being”. As far as I can tell, he was a religious man, as he referred to the world as a creation, and if he was religious, he might also be a good example for my spritual blogging colleague’s bid that spirituality can be both for good or evil. Because Lehmann was a lifetime civil servant, he joined the Nazi party in May 1933 – according to wikipedia -, for fear of losing his job otherwise. But he was a great poet, and although his poems were probably religiously motivated, I can relate to them in my own way without being religious myself.

So there must be something beyond and outside religion that can make people value life. That makes sense to me anyway. After all, if you believe in only one life, you might cherish it all the more. Life is nothing that I could take for granted. When you believe in one life, the one on this side of the cupboard, you might cherish other peoples’ lives, too. Just as much as someone who believes that life is a divine gift or loan.

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