No Man is an Island, Revisited
A Look at the Evolutionary Nature
of Human Perception
by J. Erwin Solomon
[NOTE: Mr. Solomon, who will be 90 years old on his next birthday, is a Concert Pianist, Organist, Choral Conductor, Composer and former faculty member of the The Juilliard School of Music, New York. FreeThinke began his own formal study of the piano with Mr. Solomon 63 years ago. The two quickly developed a bond which was to last a lifetime. Mr. Solomon and his wife, Katya, a fine violinist, are still busy giving concerts, and still function as guides and a vibrant source of inspiration to FreeThinke]
The disciplines we call “the humanities,” subjects such as Literature, Art, Music, Philosophy, Theology –– and now basic sciences as well –– acknowledge that many in our species are developing increasing consciousness of our connection to the Cosmic Energy that defines and runs the Universe –– an awareness that has been in our subconscious all along.
Whenever we access this awareness we find answers to all our questions. Let me share a few examples.
The US Air pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, affectionately known as “Captain Sully,” through his training and experience focused his mind on something far greater than himself when suddenly confronted with a life and death situation. As a result, every muscle confidently made exactly the correct degree of movement at precisely the right moment to bring his plane and passengers to a safe landing on New York City’s Hudson River. If he had concntrated on his personal fear instead of allowing confidence in his connection to a Larger Reality, most likely everyone on board would have perished.
The superb British golfer Tony Jacklin expressed his connection to the larger reality as “entering the zone” which guides his movements so precisely that his thirty-foot pressure putt curves across the green and falls into the cup.
When inspired by the spirit within, writers get in touch with Something larger than themselves, words begin to flow so rapidly that they find it challenging to keep up. When the “trance like” connection is over, authors are amazed by the words they just put on paper. Sometimes, unconnected, they experience “writer’s cramp” and feel “tongue tied.” Falsely thinking they alone had created those inspired words, simply “unplugged” them from that larger energy source and the “light“ went out.
Once, I had too many students enroll in my Music Literature class, so the office scheduled the overflow into a second period. There were days I would find new ideas about the music we were studying flowing in both directions –– from teacher to student and vice versa –– in a very energizing way. Armed with this exciting new perception, I would try to present these thoughts to the second period class, but inevitably became “tongue-tied,” for no energy was flowing. It finally surfaced that most of the students who signed up because of a real interest in learning through music, were in the first group, while many who signed up only for a “breeze-course” credit, were in the second. No real depth of connection occurred with this second group, so I had to try new approaches to connect inside these beautiful, but disengaged young people.
These various examples suggest that anyone and everyone who connects to something larger than his conscious self will find answers. This to me is the truth behind the well-known biblical sayings –– “Seek and ye shall find" –– “Ask and it will be given unto you,” and “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst.”
We can all gain entrance to the cosmic, the universal, through connecting our inner self –– our true nature –– to the inner selves of others, and find real answers to age-old questions. Trying to connect our “self-constructed personality” or false sense of self to others, rarely brings anything but grief.
So, I would like to make a proposal that hopefully might lead to a less stressful, more satisfying society:
A conference of up to fifty people, sponsored by all branches of government, chaired by someone like Irving Stubbs of Richmond, Virginia. who has had broad international experience with such gatherings, and was co-founder of the Values Institute of America, to be held in some centrally located city, preferably not Washington, D.C., New York, or Los Angeles.
These participants would be selected from a genuine cross section of the population who could agree that their most basic nature is located in our common humanity –– not in their sex, individual culture, or ethnicity. They should be invited to participate at their own expense –– and possibly include CEOs from two large and two small companies, Bankers, Teachers, Doctors, Professors, Presidents and Board Members of Colleges and Universities, Union Leaders, Artists, Authors, Poets, Philosophers, Lawyers, Judges, Transportation Workers, Low-Wage Earners, etc.
I believe that these people, who already have a subconscious connection they may not yet have discovered, would consciously find workable solutions to our most pressing needs as they gather in the name of all humanity.
The FIRST objective would be to propose a Stimulus Package containing, not more money and greater public debt –– the coin here is Care not Cash –– but a reduction of compensation at all levels –– especially in government –– of perhaps fifty-percent by willing top executives, as a positive example, down to one or two-percent for production line workers and low wage earners.
Everyone is bound to benefit, because more and more jobs will become available as the cost of our goods and services become more competitive worldwide. As the cost of living drops, the lowest earners would not only feel themselves part of the great effort, but would actually enjoy a net increase far beyond the one-percent or two-percent they sacrificed to the process.
In reality, the living standard will not be affected at any income level, even though some may be motivated to modify their life style. Luxury will cease to feel like a necessity.
The SECOND objective would be to, suggest GUIDELINES –– NOT LAWS –– for fair and just compensation at all levels of economic activity. This would further reduce costs across the board and eliminate much of the obscene disparity that often now exists between top and bottom.
Wide publicity of this conference of peers would have the power of persuasion that reduces the fears and illusions that breed selfishness and greed –– the sickness of imagining there could be a genuine need for always acquiring More-More-More in order to gain a sense of security or feel satisfaction.
I have no illusions about how difficult it would be to get all of us even to admit let alone set aside our habitual limitations, because all cultures and faiths –– even Christianity –– are filled with simplistic misunderstandings of the evolutionary aspects of the intuitive perceptions of the elemental guiding principles their originators were trying with mere words to reveal.
Having served the Church as an organist and choirmaster for almost seventy years exposed me to countless examples –– such as a belief that is still holding many fundamentalist Christians in thrall –– the insistence that earth and all life began between five and six THOUSAND years ago. Fortunately, many are now expanding their understanding because of the overwhelming evidence gathered by geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists and anthropologists that reveals earth’s age to be at least fifteen BILLION years old by conservative estimate.
If we could gather a small group together with the common goal of attempting to connect to something larger than our habitual, individual, acculturated perceptions of reality, [politicians, especially would be invited to loosen their grid-locked minds from personal and partisan political agendas] we would find earth-shaking, and deeply satisfying, solutions for all our difficulties. This would be truly “NEWSWORTHY,” instead of our Daily Dose of Discouragement, Depravity, Depression and Disaster, which now tends to support another fiercely counter-productive misperception –– i.e. that human nature is fundamentally flawed.
There can be no question that our behavior is often abominable, but our true nature –– the tremendous power that lies innate-but-largely-dormant given us by Cosmic Energy –– an alternative, probably more accurate name for God –– is magnificent and longs to connect with others to create an altruistic society.
Truly “No man is an island.”