I have often put much thought as to how some of the greatest minds of ancient times and yesteryear had so much wisdom and creativity. The framers of the Constitution put together an incredible document that has stood the test of time in its unfathomable forethought. It’s dumfounding, really, knowing what the world was like back then and the dearth of resources at their disposal. Or the likes of a Da Vinci, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis pushing our imagination to its outer boundaries and forcing us into another realm of thought entirely. What was a part of their world that no longer seems a part of ours? Of course you could argue that there are still those brilliant super novas out there today, but what about us ordinary folk….us non-magical folk…how do we become like them?
A few years back now, we had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Scotland to visit our son who was studying there at the time. One HUGE thing I noticed was that the Scots were a friendly bunch. We never went anywhere that a kind soul would not engage us in an delightfully accented conversation. But the true revelation was that they were so knowledgeable about everything. I learned something from every single person that spoke to us from the street sweeper to the nice little old lady that was just “resting her legs” in the art museum. They knew their history and they had insights that made you cock your head to one side and say “huh, I never thought of that”. They could talk upon a myriad of interesting subject matter and I must admit I was completely enthralled at their ability to do so. That doesn’t happen here….or I should say it doesn’t happen to me.
Once when voicing this very concern to a wise someone, (I confess that I can’t remember who it was and if it was you, please remind me) they observed that perhaps we don’t produce those kind of minds today because, instead of TV or video games or computers to suck their time away, these people of long ago sat in public houses around old wooden tables and talked and discussed and argued and forged their beliefs through the lively interaction with others. Brilliant! This resonated with me because it was so glaringly obvious. Sometimes, we miss the obvious in looking for a more complex reason. We miss “the forest for the trees” so to speak. I also realized that this same principal applied to the wonderfully “ordinary” 21st century Scots that brushed in and out of my life on that visit. The pubs are still quite the meeting grounds of the minds in that corner of the world. A mug in hand, a thought expounded to be thrashed about or brandished into something meaningful. It still happens there. Heck, J.K. Rowling wrote a good bit of Harry Potter in one such place.
I think that we live in a world where we spend more time with inanimate objects than real people. We are acted upon instead of the actors. We have forgotten that we need to spend time defining and understanding who we are and in what we believe. We need people in our lives to force us into those realizations. We use to get versions of that in our schools, but I’m not sure that is the case anymore. There is no room between the testing bubbles for true discourse.
Of course, we can live our whole lives without it. We will still be able to breath and eat and perform our daily routines, and juggle our overly booked calendars, but what are we missing? I think that we are missing a life force that will only make us better and wiser.
I am inspired by my son who has taken the bull by the horns and done such a thing. He has surrounded himself by six men that he admires and respects….a circle of seven…a board of directors. They are men in a variety of spheres in Athens. They are moving in a similar direction and they are refining each other as they move. They meet and discuss and ponder and dream. Out of their togetherness I can only imagine great things will grow…and others will benefit.
I want it to happen for me. I am ripe for the sharpening. It is beyond friendship. It is an intentional quest of like minds. I want my own version of the Inklings! What could we learn from each other? What could we do IF…..???
I always reminded that the Bible is our book of great truths. Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, told us centuries ago that we could move toward this wisdom in a community of others.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17
Anyone up for a journey?