Painting… Praying… Reading…

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Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels

During the European Middle Ages, literacy and written texts were largely the province of religious institutions. Richly illustrated manuscripts were created in monasteries for use by members of religious institutions and by the nobility. Some of these illuminated manuscripts were embellished with luxurious paints and pigments, including gold leaf and ultramarine, a rare and expensive blue pigment made from lapis lazuli stone.

In a study published in Science Advances, an international team of researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of York shed light on the role of women in the creation of such manuscripts with a surprising discovery — the identification of lapis lazuli pigment embedded in the calcified dental plaque of a middle-aged woman buried at a small women’s monastery in Germany around 1100 AD. Their analysis suggests that the woman was likely a painter of richly illuminated religious texts. (1)

Reading. Writing. Praying.

We see the evidence.

To prove that something happened.

We analyze the dental plaque.

To know what this woman did.

And yet, all her efforts are cancelled.

By our lust for proof.

By our eagerness for knowledge.

For the books she helped write, called on for a different kind of knowledge. Knowledge not based on books or proof. Knowledge not based on what you see or hear. But wisdom based on the unseen and the unprovable. For it is that which is the only thing worth seeking in this irrational life governed by the unseen and the unprovable.

That woman did write or supported the writing of holy books. And she did so without the need to prove that to anyone. Her belief was strong enough not to ask for such earthly manifests of recognition. For she recognized the true essence of herself in the humility of a God who came to Earth as a Man and who was recognized by only a few fishermen.

So, the next time you open such a book, remember.

It is not a book written to be read.

But a book which is already read and that is why it was written…

Coronavirus, Christianity, Death, “sissies”…

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There is a lot of discussion about the new coronavirus affecting the world as we speak. Harmonia Philosophica usually does not deal with such news since our focus is philosophy and not everyday matters. Our subject is the eternal, not the ephemeral.

And yet, as we have said many times here, the ephemeral is sometimes more eternal than the eternal. And philosophy needs to take into account everyday life if the latter poses important and interesting questions.

The coronavirus has suddenly made humanity again aware of its fragility. And right when we thought we were “progressing” and ready to conquer the world, Death is suddenly again part of the discussion.

This is, understandably, unsettling to many people. I will not make the arrogant mistake of not including myself with all those people. I am also afraid of death. I am also afraid of suffering. But as we have said again many times, my personal or your personal feelings on the matter at hand mean nothing.

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

And here is where Christianity comes into play. Despite what most people believe, Christianity does not evangelize that if you are a good Christian you will not suffer; the exact opposite is true! Christianity reminds us of death and suffering. Christianity emphasizes death and suffering and brings them to the spotlight. Jesus and all the saints have died horrible deaths. No one is spared from death or suffering because of being a good Christian. Being a Christian does entail accepting pain and suffering, so that we can acknowledge that death is nothing more than a portal to real life.

The world had rejected Christianity because of those attributes of Christianity. Because the world does not like death and suffering. Because the world believes that it is – or can be – immortal and live for ever. Because we admire matter and we cannot see beyond it. Blinded by our dogmatic materialism, we fail to see the obvious only because we are cowards.

As Johnny Cash has said, “Christianity is not for sissies”.

Don’t be afraid.

Yes, at the end you will die.

Can you not cry?

(Where is your philosophy?)

Related article: How to easily win an atheist in a debate…

Memento Mori. [Remember to Die] (Poem)

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Don’t worry.

Everything is fine.

For even when everything is not all right.

At the end…

Everything will be all right…

[Photos from Hietaniemen cemetery in Helsinki, Finland]

Testability. The criterion for good theories. The death of modern humans.

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Scientists are testing a theory of particles in a Weyl semimetal instead of testing it near a black hole. Because the behavior or particles in a semimetal is similar to the behavior of particles near a black hole.

At the same time string theory has been maligned because it makes predictions that cannot be tested. (1)

The basic criterion of whether a scientific theory is successful or not is something very practical – almost childish in nature: Testability. You may have the greatest theory of all times, explaining all great mysteries of the universe, and yet the scientific community will not even bother looking at it if there is no way to test it. It is like a small child wanting to test the advice of his parents: he will never be able to do so because he just lacks the necessary knowledge and tools to do so. The child will only follow the advice of his parents out of love and trust. These are the most important criteria of a good theory: does it relate to humans? Does it stem from love for humans?

Look at religion. It used to be science. But now we have forgotten what true science is. Now we treat ourselves as machines and all we care about is numbers and data. We have dehumanized the cosmos. And we are paying the price.

We want to live. We want to exist.

And we want to be logical enough to justify that urge.

But these are two important things which cannot be tested or proved…

Look at the mirror. There is no way to test that this is you.

Do you love your parents?

Give. And you shall receive…

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Generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous. People who act solely out of self-interest are less happy. Merely promising to be more generous is enough to trigger a change in our brains that makes us happier. This is what UZH neuroeconomists found in a recent study. (1)

Religion teachings are always fascinating.

Give and you shall receive, said Jesus.

Because we are not different that the other man.

We are the other man.

We are not different than the bee.

We are that bee.

We are not different than the river.

We ARE the river…