Awakened Heart Spiritual Center, 24 February 2019
SONG (Bob Sima): Insignificant Somethings, from The Movers The Shakers and The Peacemakers
Victor Hugo is famed for publishing the longest novel ever written in 1862, also claimed by many to be one of the greatest novels ever written. Whether in book, film, television, stage, or musical form, many of us know the title even if we are not familiar with the work. Les Miserables follows the story of life on the run and the dynamics of interrelated relationships created along the way. The main character of the book is a man, previously imprisoned, who seeks to redeem the value of his own life. The man and, eventually, his adopted daughter live incognito, their houses hidden in the overgrown gardens of Paris. This scenario is so important to the story that Hugo spends an entire chapter describing these gardens and the interdependent relationship between humans and the natural world. The most poignant line of the chapter, maybe even the entire book, reads: “Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view?”
Before we answer that question, let us back up.
The basic truth is that Jean Valjean was in prison for 5 years initially for stealing, then received an additional 14 years after attempting multiple escapes, escaping, and evading police trying to retrieve the prisoner. Looking through Victor Hugo’s microscope, we would more often than not say that stealing is not acceptable and the punishment was potentially appropriate for the action. That the disrespect Jean showed to the victim of his crime, and the rebellious nature causing clear defiance of his consequences for committing the crime are enough to devalue his life. This is the way that the antagonist of the story, strait-laced Police Inspector Javert, perceived this poor wretched man and his behaviors. To Javert, Jean Valjean was insignificant and deserves to be locked away from the rest of society.
Let us dive a little deeper.
Jean Valjean was in prison for breaking a window and stealing a loaf of bread from the local baker. He needed this bread to feed his sister and her 7 children who he cared and provided for after she was widowed. After Jean lost his seasonal tree pruning job when winter arrived, he was in dire straights during a time of great illness and economic suffering in France, when much of the population was in complete survival mode, often stealing items much more valuable and irreplaceable than a loaf of bread. Looking through Victor Hugo’s telescope, one might change their opinion about the crime and punishment previously discussed. This is why the audience falls in love with the beloved Jean Valjean, after witnessing him transcend his past wrongs as he recognizes and activates the love and compassion that he carries within himself to always assist the underdog and less respected castaways of society as he rights his wrongs along the way. To many characters in Les Miserables, Jean Valjean was something wonderful that they had never experienced before, which gave them hope and a newfound sense of support.
The moral dilemma of the story is that both views are correct. “Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view?”
Insignificant. Somethings. We get to choose.
We get to decide if we see insignificance or if we see something. Rest assured, there will be an opposite viewpoint from whatever you choose, regardless of how true and obvious our choice is to us, or how committed we are to see the insignificance or the something of it at any given moment.
We are all insignificant. We are all something. So if we can fully accept that we are all just a bunch of insignificant somethings, wandering around a world that is full of insignificant somethings, spinning in a galaxy that is an insignificant something… would we be better able to integrate the views from the microscope and from the telescope into a composite that is more accepting of the preserved God-nature of it all?
God is preserved in every particle and every atom and every fleck of matter and non-matter we acknowledge.
SONG (Bob Sima): Kiss God from It’s Time
God is preserved in every particle and every atom and every fleck of matter and non-matter we acknowledge. So what happens when we start to seek and understand that which is not seekable and not understandable?
Alan Watts said it best in Tao of Philosophy:
——— “…As you develop more and more powerful microscopic instruments, the universe becomes smaller and smaller in order to escape the investigation. In just the same way, when the telescopes become more and more powerful, the galaxies have to recede in order to get away from the telescopes. Because what is happening in all these investigations is: through us and through our eyes and senses, the universe is looking at itself. When you try to turn around to see your own head, what happens? It runs away. You will never get at it. You cannot touch the tip of your finger with the tip of your finger. This is the principle. Shankara explained this principle beautifully in his commentary on the Kena Upanishad where he says, ‘That which is the Knower, the ground of all knowledge, is never itself an object of knowledge, just as fire does not burn itself.’”———
“That which is the Knower, the ground of all knowledge, is never itself an object of knowledge.” To me, that then begs the question: Are we ever supposed to be able to figure out why or how anything happens here on this human plane? If every bit of us is God preserved, we are the Knower. So in the preserved parts of pieces of God that make up the form and formless, how can we seek or understand that which is already known unto itself? We laugh at a dog chasing its own tail, but we are the dog laughing at our own selves for running around in circles trying to meet something that we already know!
Watts goes on to quote Van Dallieu, “The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” Bob sang this in his own words: “I hold the mystery closer than I hold my beliefs.”
When we resolve ourselves and everything that is of this natural world to being the actual answer to the mystery of life, the mystery of evolution, the mystery of enlightenment, the mystery of faith, the mystery of God, the mystery of the Universe… all we can do is sit back and experience this current reality as God preserved.
Insignificant somethings as God preserved.
I hope that brings with it an appetite or calling to live the mystery in communion with everything else living the same mystery, with humility that will remove judgment, stop the blame, reward the ancestors, support the future generations, and keep this familiar dream of love alive in humanity.
The Dream of Love as God Preserved.
SONG (Bob Sima): Be Humble Be Hungry Be Love, from The Movers The Shakers and The Peacemakers