books, Buddhism, christianity, Don Quixote, education, history, James Joyce, Joseph Campbell, poetry, Pseudomorphosis, spirituality, Zen
“Turning our eyes briefly, now, to the West, where a theology derived largely from the Levant [Christianity] has been grafted upon the consciousness of Europe, as in the Orient the doctrine of the Buddha upon that of the Far East, we find again that the fusion has not been without flaw. Indeed, the flaw here, which was apparent from the start, has now widened to a full and vivid gap.”—Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology
There is a world of simple and yet tremendously profound Truth in those two sentences.
And yet, how resistant to that Truth have we been and remain!
The first part of that profound Truth is that Christianity, as Campbell states, is a theology derived largely from the Levant, namely Judaea, and that it was grafted upon Europe. That is, it is not and never was organically native to our nascent Western Culture. Or as I put it in a post many years ago now, ‘Christianity was a foreign body weighing heavily upon the soil and soul of Western Europe for over a thousand years.’
Heavy, but actually simple stuff.
And then there’s the second part: that ‘the fusion has not been without flaw,’ and that the flaw ‘was apparent from the start.’
Folks, it is so simple and straight forward, and of course so overlooked or ignored. Practically every expression of Life by Western artists and thinkers and creative types for a thousand years or more has been subtly or blatantly altered, warped, disguised—you name it—for fear of censorship and reprisals from both secular and ecclesiastical authorities.
Take, for just one example, Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote. Had Cervantes added The Bible to the numerous books of romance and chivalry which contributed to Quixote’s madness how much more would the Don have epitomized the grandeur and decline of Spain! And yet to have done so would surely have led to a burning stake. Has anyone in nearly five hundred years hinted at that?
Everything, right up to James Joyce and countless others through the twentieth century! A thousand years of fear, censorship, violence, and even execution.
And that’s where we are today. We are free to redress these shortcomings, but the schools still teach the great works of Western Genius, which pretty much underpin our modern world, completely overlooking or ignoring the underlying message hidden between the lines, what wasn’t permitted to be said or written of.
How can there be balance today and moving forward into the future without fully embracing Truth?
The Truth of who we’ve been and hence who we are?
Heavy Truths embraced become light!