In the latter pages of his Religio Medici, Sir Thomas Browne mentions in passing that in addition to several regional dialects, he knows six languages. He does not write so to impress; it strikes me more as an expression of his generous, liberal nature: he sees himself not as the center of the universe as it was then known and understood, but as a fortunate participant in everything it has to offer. His sojourn is brief, temporary. He is here not to condemn, but to learn. There is a balance between reason and poetry, between science and dream. The religion of his fathers is like a family heirloom, to be treated with gratitude and respect, but not at the expense of common sense. He is not a self-proclaimed or self-ordained authority; he does not consider himself the most intelligent person alive, or to ever have lived. He is in the habit of smiling.
As we know, to some the world is an open invitation to see and live beyond our perceived limitations. To others, it is a closed book that seems threatening for fear of what it might contain — challenges to our beliefs and assumptions, to our safe, narrow view of the world. These latter are the people who take sides, shout slogans, and equate justice and freedom with politics and guns. Whichever side they are on, the legislation they seek and the laws they flaunt and uphold are congruent with the chains they wear and the love that waits patiently in their heart.
January 14, 2021
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