Twenty-Twenty

One of the more curious figures in Raphael’s “School of Athens” is Ibn Sina.  He is more well known in Europe as Avicenna. He was a Persian scholar whose contributions to philosophy, medicine and astronomy were core curriculum for much of the middle ages. In philosophy one of his major contributions was the “Proof of the Truthful” and despite being Muslim he sought to prove his religious ideas through reason and logic.

It feels like a different planet. It is hard for me to imagine that anyone would set aside their religious beliefs and simply seek to back up their convictions with reason and logic. Many beliefs we simply must take on faith because there is no reason or logic outside of their religious context.  

My view of religion it is intended to make a person more like the deity.  The person is to emulate those qualities attributed to the deity.  Ideally becoming more kind, charitable, benevolent, etcetera. 

Today, the United States is gearing up for the presidential election and each side is yelling into their own echo chamber. There doesn’t seem to be much emulating of a deity right now.  Unless we count the wrath and hellfire part.  Its disappointing that we are so entrenched in our own echo chambers to appreciate the value respectful discourse can have.  Aristotle put it best when he said “it is the mark of an educated mind to able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

I believe and hope educated minds will prevail and that respectful discourse will return.  The political awakening of a country cannot end in a permanent state of tribalism. During covid-19 this tribalism has indirectly caused a loss of life. We no longer trust experts, we no longer do for the common good, and we argue with one another as if we will live forever.  Hopefully we can all hope as Avicenna did for “a short life with width to a narrow one with length.”

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