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Encounter with a Wise Man

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ENCOUNTER WITH A WISE MAN

A Christmas Tale of Wisdom

Paul T Kidd
ISBN 978-1-901864-14-4 (Paperback)
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Preface

Encounter with a Wise Man is a tale based on a meeting between two mythical characters: Balthazar (one of the three wise men of the nativity story) and Father Christmas. This is the seasonal aspect of the book, and in the reading of it may the contents add to your festive feelings. But the book also has a more serious purpose related to that which we call wisdom.

What is wisdom? This is wisdom: take the time to find out for yourself, for I cannot tell you. Let me explain a small amount to help you understand this statement. A dictionary definition of wisdom will typically describe it as an ability to make good decisions based on both knowledge and experience. This, it could be said, is also typical in another sense, it being the product of the western mind, with its focus on rational logical thought, which has little to offer when it comes to understanding wisdom.

So, rather than seeking out the definition that resolves, once and for all, the meaning of wisdom, let that place in your mind where your humanity resides take charge, and think about relationships, emotions, feelings, empathy and the like. If you do this, then you are moving towards an understanding of wisdom, for wisdom is most definitely not about allowing the dominance of the rational. And here are some words and phrases to help you in your quest: deeper understandings, insights, the bigger picture, perceptions, intuition, humility, compassion, accepting ambiguity, contemplation and reflection, the limits of knowledge, seeing things from many perspectives, tolerance, more than one way, more than one answer, and so forth.

So I repeat my message: I will not tell you what wisdom is, for I cannot tell you what wisdom is. And if you are uncomfortable with this message, read this book and start to reflect upon the reasons why you need to change.

Now I return to the matter of this book, and what motivated the writing of the tale here recounted for you. And what was this motivation? The answer is simple: a self-evident observation that wisdom is now often absent from contemporary civilisation, and increasingly so! In other words, as the condition of the planet, our societies, and the economic system deteriorates, we are becoming even less inclined to be wise, preferring instead to push ahead and continue doing those things that are responsible for the decline in the first place.
You doubt perhaps that this is the case? You are free to do so, for optimism is part of human nature, and it is good and positive to be optimistic. Optimism, however, as Voltaire put it, is a mania for insisting that all is well when all is by no means well. This, I think, well summarises the lunatic asylum in which we are now living; you will know this mad-house better by the label, the modern world.

This book is an invitation to reflect upon the insight that most of what is wrong with the world in which we live is a result of the actions of the children of ideology; specifically, those who adhere to the dogmas associated with religion, the free-market economy, and science (and its close relatives engineering and technology). These children, believing that they are engaged in some heroic struggle to construct the best of all possible worlds, but without any regard for that which makes us human, may be building the walls of a prison in which humanity will find itself incarcerated for eternity. This may turn out to be the true hell on earth; a place where many of those end-of-world apocalyptic prophecies, which from time to time are mentioned in the popular press, may seem like attractive options.

But do not misunderstand me, for I am not against religion, free-market economics, and science; it is just that they are not fit for purpose, and need to evolve. Key to this evolution is the development of spirituality and wisdom in those who would practise in these domains, and this applies to those who are religious as much as to anyone else.

So what of the ultimate point of my story? This is quite simple: to help people to understand that there is a choice – the world does not have to be the way the children of ideology would have it be. The free-thinking peoples of the world should not let this happen, and what better time of the year is there than Christmas, a time for salvation and redemption, to reflect upon such matters? People should not let those with ideological agendas determine our future and that of our planet.

It is time to change religion, free-market economics and science, and to begin to construct a sustainable civilisation – time for humanity to begin to walk a different path. How to do this, however, is another matter; one that is dealt with in other writings.

Paul T Kidd
June 2013

 

 

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