Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, August 28, 2008
Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
He who possesses art and science has religion;
he who does not possess them, needs religion.
- Goethe, thinker & philosopher, born on this day, 1749
An introduction to Goethe. (There is more of his wisdom at the bottom.) One of humanity’s Sages. But, let me choose one to reflect on.
Nobody wants to grow. There it is in a nutshell. Read the great thinkers, prophets, sages. All will at some point remind us that we have to grow in order to be “someone”. To grow means to change. And we all know how people in general resist change! Jesus had innumerable parables about it. He is recorded to have said, Anyone who wants to be great must become the least of all. But yes, a person grows in self-understanding when (s)he understands what greatness truly is - and it usually means having less inflated views of oneself. Again, the Gospel says it very baldly: Think less of yourself than of others. Of course this doesn’t mean that we demean ourselves. It simply means that we are open to discovering in what soil personal “greatness” grows. Growth is often a surprise.
In the World today, “we” still think that the person who has power and appears to control is “Somebody”. Wisdom says - and has always said - that it is the one who learns Service is great.
So: ponder Goethe. And here are some other things to keep you busy during the day! It would be useful to pay particular attention to the third.
Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive
heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.
Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem,
see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.
If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.
Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.