Planting Too Many Seeds

During the early 17th century, pamphlets proclaiming the existence of a mysterious Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross caused a sensation in Europe. Yet, few, if any, were actually accepted into the Brotherhood (if it existed as such), despite a number of public petitions.

It is difficult for us to imagine why this was such a big deal. Today, we are flooded with choices — choices of movies, bars, restaurants, and shops, etc. Likewise, spiritual “traditions,” groups, Orders, sects, and so on, have sprung up in abundance. And if there’s nothing that really suits us, we can just pick from a few traditions, mix them together, and make our own tradition.  Continue reading “Planting Too Many Seeds”

Forming The Habit of Self-Development

Becoming aware of our weaknesses, or finding someone or something that we’d like to be more like, we make promises to ourselves that — once conditions are right — we will work on changing. It will be next month when things die down. Or once I’ve saved up for the best equipment. Or it will be at the beginning of the new year. And so on.

These timeframes won’t help you. Things won’t quiet down. Unless we’re already accomplished, we probably don’t need the most expensive equipment for that field. And New Years come and go with most people quitting their “new year’s resolutions” by the end of January. Continue reading “Forming The Habit of Self-Development”

The Optimism of the Will

The intellect is a curious thing. We talk about ideas spreading like viruses throughout society, or even across societies. (And note how, every few months, we see a sudden burst of moral outrage — around some antiquated symbol — flaring up in different states and countries only to die out like so many health scares. The moral outrage, the idea, literally spreads.)

But, although marketers and social media campaigners want to spread their particular “idea virus,” typically, we try to avoid catching actual viruses. But the term is a good one. Ideas not only grab hold of societies, they can become malignant in individuals themselves. Good intentions can pave the road to hell, to paraphrase a well-known proverb. Ideas can metastasize. Continue reading “The Optimism of the Will”