Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Thoughts on the Referendum

"How can you live and not know why the cranes fly, why children are born, why the stars shine in the sky?  . . . You must either know why you live, or else . . . nothing matters." These are questions asked by Masha, one of the three sisters in Anton Chekhov’s play Three Sisters (1901), and are those we all ask deep down at certain moments. Religious faith believes that each person born (or in the womb on the way to being) is destined by God as a unique being, sent as part of an overall purpose. Are the parents similarly destined, their meeting and falling in love "meant to be"? Following the same reasoning and extending the How and Why questions ever outwards and backwards, how much of what happens is "meant to be"?  All of it? Religious faith would answer, "Yes. All, though in an inscrutable way, unfolds according to the will of God."

Each of us is a child of our parents and holds to the idea that our coming into the world is also a being sent into it, willed by a divine power. But to actually know the reason why we are here for our short span, what exactly we have contributed to mankind (obviously parents have contributed their children), what all our contributions, all the successive generations, are adding up to in the ongoing process of history -- that remains the greatest mystery of all, as perplexing (even more so) to us today as it was to those three sisters at the turn of the twentieth century. 

It is autumn in the last act and the cranes are migrating. Masha says:  "They have flown every spring and autumn for thousands of years now, and they don't know why, but they fly and will fly for a long, long time yet, for many thousands of years -- until God reveals to them his mystery."

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