“I beheld the forces of Knowledge laying siege to the city of Inherited Privilege; but they were few in number and were soon dispersed.
“And I saw Freedom walking alone, knocking at doors, and asking for shelter, but no one heeded her pleas. …
“I saw Religion buried in books, and Doubt stood in her place.
“And I saw man wearing the garments of Patience as a cloak for cowardice and calling Sloth Tolerance, and Fear Courtesy….
“I saw gold in the hands of the wasteful, a means of evil doing; and in the hands of the miserly as a bait for hatred. But in the hands of the wise I saw no gold.
“When I beheld all these things, I cried out in pain, Oh Daughter of Zeus, is this indeed the Earth? Is this Man?’
“In a soft and anguished voice she replied, ‘What you see is the Soul’s path,and it is paved with sharp stones and carpeted with thorns. This is only the shadow of Man. This is Night. But wait! Morning will soon be here!” ~Kahlil Gibran
Knowledge and Freedom
If you ask almost anyone, they will say they want knowledge and freedom. They want it very much. Yet in many cases, when it knocks at the door, they hide under the bed. They want knowledge, but not if it means giving up their long-held beliefs. Knowledge is great, as long as it doesn’t shatter their fantasies. If knowledge insists on behaving like that, they will continue to hide from it. We have to open up to it if we truly want it. But morning comes.
Religion Buried in Books
If you ask a Christian if God is still alive, they will probably look at you in shock and reply, “Of course God is still alive, He’s immortal.” Yet if you ask them when they speak to God, they will almost certainly answer that they read the Bible often.
If you get your religious truth from the Bible, or any other book, you are saying, in essence, that your God is dead. If he wasn’t than what he has to say cannot be trapped in a 2,000 year-old book. Things change, times change, and religion needs to be able to change. Not according to social whims or politicians, but by talking to God Now, and finding out what he wants Now. That is real religion.
Patience, Tolerance, and Fear
Patience is certainly virtue. So is tolerance, though on a lower level. With real love, there is no need for tolerance. Fear is not a virtue. It is probably our worst enemy.
But while real patience is a virtue, false patience isn’t. As Gibran says, sometimes we are mislabeling cowardice as patience. Real patience is when we are willing to wait for something to happen that may actually happen. Cowardice is when we refuse to act against dictators, despots, evils of all sort out of fear of the consequences. Refusing to act because of fear may be called patience, but it isn’t.
Tolerance is similar. When we allow certain things to happen even though they may not be what we would like to happen, we are being tolerant. When we accept that other may believe different than ourselves and we must allow that, we are being tolerant. When we permit politicians and business leaders to commit horrendous crimes against humanity and nature, that is fear, not tolerance. We can be tolerant of behavior that is not destroying people. Allowing destruction and evil is not tolerance, but cowardice. Yet, morning comes.
Gold or No Gold
Gibran sees gold in the hands of the wasteful who spend it on foolish things. Also those who wish to do evil and use their wealth to help them do it. He sees no gold in the hands of the wise.
I don’t think he wants to say that the wise must live in poverty. He is using gold as a symbol of greed. Wise men can have enough money to meet their needs, but not be greedy. In order to be greedy, you must be willing to take that which is not truly yours. He wise would never do that. To be greedy, you must be willing to ignore the needs of others and step over the starving child sleeping in the streets. No wise person could ever do that. So the wise can have things, they just can’t be so attached to them that they become greedy. Today the greedy rule. But soon morning comes.
Watch Out Shadow Man! Morning comes!
The Daughter of Zeus assures Gibran that the world of Greed, fear, and hatred he sees around him is temporary. A shadow world for the shadows of men and women who haven’t quite realized their true selves. Morning comes! A new dawn of a new Golden Age. An age of truth and wisdom. The night of fear and death will end. The shadows of disease and hatred will disappear under the Great Light. But we can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen or we won’t be invited to attend. We must be an active part of making it happen. We must awaken our spiritual selves and help others do the same. Then the morning comes.