Thursday, March 08, 2007

Divine Images

From 1967 to 1974, Europe was witness to dictatorship, a regime of oppression and the widespread use of torture in a country considered to be the cradle of Western Civilization -- Greece.

Of course, intellectuals were tortured and one of them was the well-known composer, Mikis Theodorakis. In 2006, he said that he used to believe that:
"...the root causes of Violence and War lie with financial interests, religious or ethnic fanaticism and other similar phenomena."
However, he is now certain that:
" the end, the above are nothing but pretexts, and that the root cause of this quench for conquest and blood is within man himself; with one supplementary note: that as man becomes more civilized, his savagery increases. Meaning that so-called civilization is nothing but a mere robe used to cover and hide our true selves which throughout the centuries, remain equally savage and monstrous."
[bold face added by me]

This observation is not new. William Blake (1757 - 1827) wrote
Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secrecy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge.
The title of that poem is "A Divine Image". It should be read together as a companion poem to his more rhetorical, "THE Divine Image":
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God, our father dear:
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.
The point is, we all, in our daily lives, in our interactions with our fellow human beings and the rest of the world around us define the meaning of human being and thereby what sort of divinity we create ourselves in the image of.

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