The title of this blog is purely and simply a “note to self” about the fact that I have been wrong before and will be again……too OFTEN.
As I wrote in Volume 1 of “The Ramblings of my Madness” – a dedication to my children:
“To my darling daughters, be mindful, be aware, as you journey through life, things may not always be as they at first seem”.
Insofar as I think deeply about what I write, all too often I also let my motor mouth off the leash…..without doing my best to find out the facts…….I have made the mistake in trusting the basic honesty and decency of the human spirit. Yet, not a day goes by where I find that my eyes are opened to greater truths.
Once again, I was lucky enough to spend some time with some extremely intelligent, decent hardworking folks in Mae Sot, late into the “wee small hours” recently. Another round of those quick fire questions (prompted by me on this occasion, I think) commenced. My question was, something like….”if you could meet with 1 person from history (in other words someone who is no longer alive) for an evening of conversation, who would you choose?”.
There were some really fascinating answers and in truth I often feel ignorant in these gatherings, because I’m not particularly articulate, I have been lucky to have the life I have, though I don’t perceive I have ever had to work that hard, and I grew up in a working class family with three “squares” on the table each day and shoes on my feet. So what do I know about REAL life (?) Anyway, we went round the table and each person had a great answer and gave a short reason for their choice.
I have often written about People Like Mahatma Gandhi, William Wilberforce, Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, and many other well- known people in history, but also much less known people like Martyn Joseph, Christina Noble (the latter three obviously are still alive)
I think on this occasion my choice was Martyn. And I have been extremely lucky to have met Martyn more times than I can count, and his energy and presence, his gentle though stoic strength and what he stands for, inspires me. (Volume 5 of “The Ramblings of my Madness” is dedicated to, and all revenue goes to his “Let Yourself Trust” Charity. For more details please visit www.letyourself.net)
Other answers, if my memory, serves me right…..(which it may not) so if I get this wrong then please forgive me, Hoh Chi Min, Margaret Thatcher and the Leader of the IRA.
The conversation broadened into a wider perspective of others that we would really like to meet, and then one of our group, an extremely intelligent and well- read man who I will call Mark (not his real name out of respect for privacy), made a comment that (I’m paraphrasing again because my memory is not the best!) “There are many people in the world that have iconic and almost saintly presence in many people’s minds, but these folks have a darker and sometimes very sinister side”….Mother Theresa and Gandhi were two of these people mentioned.
Now I know nothing about Mother Theresa, and I really wanted to ask “Mark” about Mother Theresa……because I had only ever heard what the mainstream media “chucked” out, but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of conversation.
If you had asked me, previous to this conversation, of Mother Theresa I would have been able to regurgitate a little of her humanitarian work, but not with any real detail. However, as far as I knew she was in line for beautification for her dedication to her work in India.
So, after this conversation, a few days later I asked another of our gathering that night, (who I will call Billy) “what was Mark alluding to with Mother Theresa the other evening?”.
Fast forward several weeks and I have discovered several inaccuracies in my knowledge of Mother Theresa.
First, as I understand it, to be beautified, there has to be proof (to the Vatican) of performing two miracles, or, and I quote :
“To become a saint in the eyes of the Vatican, a miracle needs to be attributed to prayers made to the individual after their death. Incidents need to be “verified” by evidence before they are accepted as miracles. Often they are cures and recoveries from illnesses which have no logical medical explanation”.
Second, some of Mother Theresa’s practices in the homes are alleged to be of extreme negligence. Re-use of needles being one example. However, let’s look at this one example. In an environment where you have a child dying of a treatable disease for which you have an injectable serum, but you have run out of needles, would you risk using an old needle or let the child die?.
I suppose my point here is that, even with the virulence of modern media, we, in my opinion, rarely, if ever, get the full story.
Now this is just my way of trying to understand and interrogate the information available to me. As you all know I have a terrible contempt for most Media Channels and, for that matter, through my personal experiences, many prescribed religions. Now the latter comment must be tempered with the reasoning that, all too often religions are judged because the extremist elements of such. These extremists and charlatans of religion exist in many religions, and it’s sad that Faiths of all manners are often judged by the actions of such exceptionally small minorities.
Third, it is alleged that the funding provided to many of the Mother Teresa homes, actually was not used to help the needy, but to further the spread and promote the “word” of Catholicism.
As I write, I ought not to be shocked, but the truth is I am. That’s my naivety.
Fourth, it is said that the involuntary baptism of people from the Hindu faith, who were on the death bed was performed without permission.
What on earth gives any human being the right to act with such self- righteous conceited zealousness?
I have experienced this over zealousness in my life by many folks and the fact is, when i have been warming to certain ideologies, its has spun me around and i have gone the other way….which, is not a regret, indeed i am greatful, because it has formed my own singular quiet philosophy.
I was at a Pink Floyd Concert many years ago with my then wife. The stand collapsed…….(there’s footage of it on You tube if you care to look), we were both lucky to escape with minor injuries. Shortly afterwards a “newly born again Christian” said to me that if I or my wife had died we would have gone straight to hell because we hadn’t “given our lives” to Jesus!!!!
So, I proffer, this BLOG as an example to myself of why I should look even more closely at the state of this world……..what I can say is that I still believe in my heart that, irrespective of Faith, 99% of people on this earth just want to live a peaceful honest life………so in this respect….I wish you all peace, hope and love and respect, irrespective of your faith or philosophy.