Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thoughts on Easter

This event, like Christmas, inclines some to ridicule the religions and religious among us, but my inclination is to give it the credit it is due as an extension of an ancient human response to the yearly renewal of life in the spring.  This renewal was celebrated long before Jesus walked the earth, of course, in various forms, as was the winter solstice.  To resent it or ridicule it is like resenting or ridiculing Spring itself, or at least the human view of it.  That view has long been spiritual if not religious in nature, and has been informed by the longing for immortality which is typical of us mortals.  And Easter like Christmas can be a joyous event for children as well, for reasons which are not religious.  Joy is not something to complain of either.

We're naturally inclined to make this and other events all about us, of course.  The Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus was for our benefit only; as, apparently, was the creation of the universe itself according to some traditions.  The extent of our self-absorption can be astounding.  But this is the case not only with our religions and religious--one can see the same mistake being made by those who believe themselves to be the only measure of reality, or as "shaping" reality in some selfish sense.  It's entirely appropriate for us to focus on human problems, but we're better able to do so if we acknowledge ourselves to be parts of a vast and complicated universe rather than God's special favorites. 

It's a matter of perspective.  If we believe ourselves to be all-important, we tend to impose our opinions and desires on nature and even conceive them to be determinative of the way in which we should interact with others and with our environment.  This is the beginning of totalitarianism.  Selfishness is the cause of most of our problems, and self-conceit.  Our gods and our views regarding what is naturally right and appropriate tend to be very much like ourselves, and absolute.  Once we are convinced of the absoluteness of our opinions we consider it our duty to enforce them on other creatures and the universe as a whole, to the extent we can.

It's natural to celebrate the Easter season as it is natural to honor and take joy in nature when it delights us. 

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