As someone who has loathed school since kindergarten, my list of favorite subjects has never included history--that is until ninth grade when I got a fire cracker of a teacher who was a little OCD but very methodical and passionate about the subject of history. He knew how to connect all of the dots that I usually just saw as random, floating pieces of information that neither connected or mattered. He took us through Egypt, surveyed the Roman Empire, sat us on horses backs that rode into wave after wave of forces on sandy battle fields, captured our minds and transported them to a different time and place with diverse scenery and alternate patterns of thought. It was then that I began to think more deeply about perspective and the flow of history and how those "hokey people from the stone age" were really innovative and brilliant in their day rather than the unenlightened nit wits they appear to be to us high schoolers--compared to the vast wealth of knowledge readily at our fingertips. They were the real explorers and pioneers--discovering the blueprints of the world. Modern civilization would be ushered into progress on their backs (and they did so with substantially fewer resources, I might add).
You may or may not be interested in history, but ponder it for a second with me. Visualize, as best you can, each century as if you had lived in it. Move around from continent to continent, and imagine your life there. Do you see chariots? What rapturous language fills your ears? What tones are the skin of the people around you? Are you walking a dirt road towards the coliseum or a dense forest path with spear in hand in a hunting party? How do you communicate with people? What sights, sounds and scents permeate your senses? What do you wear, and who dictates the cadence of your life? Are there slaves or philosophers; artists or martyrs? The possibilities are limitless.
Now that we've thought about all of the ways the world has changed throughout the centuries, what has been a constant since the beginning of time? It remains invisible for the entire course of history, but it has been a part of thought, death and life for every civilization of every country and for every individual since the dawn of humanity. It is the unseen world, the idea of spirituality. Does a part of us survive this mist of a life on earth? And if we do posses something that will make it to an after life, what are the consequences and responsibilities involved with being the bearer of something eternally valuable?
Fast forward through history to modern day USA--your hometown, the places you normally go, the things you normally see.
As Americans, we are inundated with the visual, physical world. We are shown commercials and billboards as we drive, we're given fliers and pamphlets on the streets, our colleagues use charts and graphs at meetings, our professors use slide shows and books with illustrations, we emphasize hand motions, body language and facial expressions. We are judged and measured on physical appearance, and we are naturally drawn to the colorful and flashy rather than the simple. This visual reinforcement is a part of our lives every second of every day unlike a lot of the rest of the world. In spite of this optical intoxication, musings about an unseen world are still circulated in the world, in communities, this country and the minds of individuals. We see, hear, feel, and smell the physical world around us, so if the material world is really all there is, why is there this persistent, superfluous daydream of an underlying meaning and significance?
As a writer attempting to address the weighty topics of faith and reason, I want us to consider the gravity of such an issue. If we do in fact have a spirit/soul, is this not the most worthy pursuit? Is this topic not deserving of your earnest efforts and a chunk of your valuable time? What effect does it have on you to entertain the quote by Maximus, "what you do in life echoes in eternity"? Let's take the time to ponder the possibility of an unseen world; it could mean your soul.