Simple Honor

Simple Honor

This episode looks into timeless goodness. Can some of it be bred into the digital age?



This is Spiritual Reality Plainly Seen a podcast that takes a look at spirituality in our lives and the world around us, here's your host, Dr. Frank Kaufmann.

Good morning.

This morning's podcast is a little bit different from what I customarily offer. Usually I'm citing thoughts and commentary from a friend of mine who's younger and speaks a lot about accomplishing and attaining advances in contemporary culture and kind of the spirituality, associated with an individual's pursuit of their growth and the development of their professional accomplishment. And it's a great enjoyment of mine to reflect upon these types of matters of how we can be engaged, active, and proactive in seeking professional excellence. And to weave that in with the rare and unusual spiritual insights that this friend and teacher of mine, offers. 

The reading that I came upon this morning is something entirely different. And as I say atypical of what I ordinarily send out as podcasts. This is from an older teacher. And the difference is clear. But it was so sweet to me. And so instructive. And it had so much timber, so much depth, and so much simplicity that I wanted to get this out too. It didn't have the kind of electric bright flash in it but it had a deep mahogany, a deep resonance, and a sense of life, that in many ways is lost, I don't want to do the old man thing of time gone by. I think even young people have to be feeling somehow what's becoming of the nature of life and culture in our times, is becoming very thin, very, very empty, very shallow, very hollow. And certainly I'm not calling for old times, I'm ready for digital currency, I'm ready for blockchain and ready for the advance of AI in fact, I think the pursuit of AI should have no limits. The Singularity is a genuine concern of mine but my recent experiences and in prayer and meditation, make me feel like there's nothing irreversible, I know the Singularity is a genuine source of concern, but there's a lot going on right now about, about how AI reflects its creators, so that it inherits our biases. AI reflects the shortcomings, the moral shortcomings of those doing the programming. This is natural. But the inspiration I received lately, internally, is that everything ultimately is reversible, everything ultimately can be repaired.

And I somehow, somehow, I don't believe there will ever come a time when humans can create something that we ourselves can't also un-create or repair or reform. That's an entirely different question, a different issue. The only reason why I went off on that, is because I'm introducing a set of thoughts here that I want to juxtapose over against this type of contemporaneity, and at this type of digital and technological culture that is that is dominating our experience these days, the core reflection here is simply goodness and how the reading struck me is, “is this type of goodness, still accessible.” How will this type of goodness be made available to people who are growing up in the digital age. To me, there are a lot of shortcomings in the digital age. One of the biggest of which is what has become the severe mockery of what goodness is. Our brothers and sisters in France, get murdered because extremists don't like drawings of their founder, and suddenly there are millions of people posting a French flag over their Facebook picture. This is goodness, or getting online for hours every day yelling and screaming and accusing people of having some sort of shortcoming or moral failings that somehow I've earned the right to call other people racists or other people, transphobic or just to be just kind of sitting there and the loneliness of your little cubby hole raging at individuals from a position of judgment and moral superiority, the very things that everybody condemned about classical religious believers, not too long ago and suddenly we're surrounded by school marms and and nuns with rulers. Only the nuns with rulers are all tattooed up and ringed up and instead of, and instead of our crime being chewing gum in school it's for being born white.

But this is not meant to be a political social or cultural reflection, it's a spiritual set of thoughts. And as I said, my focus is to look at an expression, or an instruction on the nature of goodness. And it just struck me as radically juxtaposed or radically over against the type of things that are passing for goodness this day and age.  I'm not blaming the perpetrators or the people living in this environment, this kind of moral environment. But, just listen to this, and just feel for a second. What this instruction is like how it feels. And if it doesn't, make sense vis a vis an additional element rather than being the smartest, the fastest, the coolest the latest phone and the biggest number of cameras in your phone. How about this and here's how the reading goes. It also has some classical religion language, classical God language. But, but listen to the essence of what's being inquired about, as I read from, from this passage I came across today.

Why don't you build the kingdom of heaven, first in your home. What is the Kingdom of Heaven? It is a kind of place where a passing beggar feels welcome to take a rest, where the birds make their nests where people of the village like to visit. God would be attracted to such a home, and would want to make that His dwelling. Also, why not make your home like this, when you have guests don't hope that they will leave soon because it costs money to feed them, Godly families should take care of their guests. Even if they have to sell their own clothes to raise money to care for them. This is one tradition which has been handed down from generation to generation in my family. We were raised to take good care of guests. Even travelers passing through our village. When my grandfather was the master of our house. If a beggar showed up on a cold winter's day, he would give the man all the food on his table. When my grandmother would complain, he would say supposing you were a beggar. Would it be easy for you to beg, door to door on a cold winter day. Therefore, if someone comes asking for food, you must feed them. Beggars live day today, at the risk of their lives. If you understand their heart, you will let them eat as much as they want. My grandfather thought that beggars were important. My father also felt this way he too would give someone the entirety of his meal, the head of a household is responsible for helping others, even when you don't have enough food for yourselves. You must give food to your visitors. So here's a person, not kind of pounding a Bible or or pounding, a pulpit or yelling and screaming about some version of political correctness or not demanding that legislators vote in a certain way to zone things a certain way or that schools be districted in this way or that are constantly looking for in the qualities and constantly demanding greater and greater that somebody … that’s the point. The nature of goodness seems to be that your capacity to demand that somebody else take care of problems. And so when I came across this reading today, it was so contrary, in my feeling to everything I read and see and feel these days about what is good and God knows there's tons of crap that is not even good at all. You turn on the TV and 90% of it is just vile it's gossip it's licentious.  I'm not even talking about that stuff. I'm talking about the side of TV and online life, that imagines itself to be talking about goodness. And you never see or hear or feel someone saying, giving this kind of advice. Even if you don't have enough food for beggars. Sell your clothes and feed them. Or if you have guests in your house. Don't hope that they'll go away because it's costing you all your money to treat them well and feed them. As long as they want to stay, it's, it's how he was raised. And this, this is what I called this this resonance this deep natural uncomplicated integration with just the way of, of recognizing what's good in the world, it's,

it's not hard to recognize goodness of this sort. So, it's, this is the only thing I wanted to put forth, it seemed to me to be such a simple and inarguable, and basic rooted advice that just did just doesn't take a lot of philosophy or conceptual teaching, it's what his grandfather taught his father and what his father taught him. The head of a household represents a basic humanity, a basic humanness, a basic goodness, that is the foundation for the way to live properly in the world. It isn't a complicated morass of trying to identify the subtleties or the shades of what's right and what's wrong. It's plain and grand, even in this small way. So, I hope this was an enjoyable reflection. I hope that the juxtaposition is a splash of cold water, so that we have a moment to see and feel. What's the nature of the culture and the world that is arisen around us and to see how will we be able to, to embrace the outstanding opportunities that come with technological advance, and yet, infuse it with the obvious basis of genuine goodness. Thanks a lot for listening. Talk to you again soon.