You will need:
- A Representation of a plant which can be used like a mask
- A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending
- a candle
- a bell or signing bowl
- a candle snuff
Leader: Who would like to share?
The participants briefly update each other on how they're doing and what's going on in their lives.
The fifth Liturgical Season runs from the summer solstice to mid summer (approximately August 4th) and covers the rise of intelligence. What are the major advances during this period. Warm blooded-ness, social interaction, tool use, language?
- We gather to mark the passing of a week
- To align our hearts as one.
(Light the Sol candle)
- Instinct ... still ... instinct ...
- And then ... <gasp> ... a spark!
- Amidst the growing diversity of SolSeed,
- a new attribute emerges,
(hold a picture of a plant on cardboard (or other representation of a plant(s)) in front of your face and then rise up from behind it and look around expressing surprise, awe and/or curiosity)
- In the lush green forests, minds are born.
- And for every mind ... there is a story!
(open a book motion)
- So many stories...
- Our stories begin with warm blood, endothermy,
- The constancy that lets delicate brain cells flower!
(use prayer hands to hold a flower to your forehead)
- Next comes society, groups living together.
- Both a shaper of behaviour
- and the environment in which behaviour can be taught.
(Everyone hold hands. If there is a connection via Skype then each person or group can reach toward the screen (one person from each end of the chain for groups) and imagine taking the hands of the other people on Skype.)
- Then comes tool use!
- The sharp teeth and claws we needn't grow.
- The hands with which we reach for the stars!
(Make the sign-language sign for rocket ship , then raise your arm high, keeping your fingers pointed up. As your hand reaches zenith open it and change it to a grasping motion)
(Everyone say these words together)
- Finally, humans begin to speak!
- Turning knowledge into a shareable resource,
- freely available to all learning children.
- Warm blood. Society. Tools. Speech.
- From instinct ... a spark!
Quotes of the Day
- 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
- because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
- 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
- 5 And hope does not put us to shame,
- because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,
- who has been given to us.
- ― the Apostle Paul, Epistle to the Romans 5:3-5
- Because kids are attracted to big changes,
- they can sniff out places rich with potential energy
- just waiting for their interaction to create a big change.
- As a result, kids’ first interactions with a new situation
- tend to degrade that situation.
- The Second Law shapes a learning curve
- in which destruction tends to precede creation.
- ―Paul Krafel, Seeing Nature: Deliberate encounters with the visible world, p 170
- in which destruction tends to precede creation.
Contemplation for the Day
You are riding your elephant through endless fog. But you feel a presence, hidden in the fog, a presence which you know is always with you, "Ruach, Holy Spirit, " you call out, "Yahweh sent me to see you, to understand why I should be grateful for the universe as it is, predetermined yet hard to predict."
In your mind, the knowledge appears that the spirit has spoken, "Gratitude is a beautiful and intricate thing."
"Paul said we should be grateful for suffering because of its fruit.” you say uncertainly "But as members of Gaia’s People we do not believe that suffering can ever be said to be good."
You suddenly know that the Holy spirit has told you, “You believe that learning is the most evident form of emergence.”
“Sure,” you respond, “No one can predict what they will learn and learning involves the encoding of information which is patterned complexity. Of course, it is an obvious and precious form of emergence.” You wait but the fog is silent, "But what reason do I have to be grateful about the difficulty I have in predicting the future."
The you realize that even before you asked the question, the spirit had told you this, "It is easier to predict the future from memories of the past than it is to predict the past from memories of the future."
You call out into the fog, "But I don't have to predict the past. I can just remember it. If I could remember the future, I wouldn't need to predict it."
It takes a moment for you to remember but you soon realize that the Holy Spirit already answered this response, several minutes ago, "Perhaps you should talk to El. I think you are mistaken about the nature of memory."
You feel frustrated. You can't even tell if you are having this conversation or if you are just remembering having it. "My point is that my life would be easier if I could remember the future the way I remember the past, regardless of what the nature of memory is. But Yahweh seemed to indicate that I should be grateful that I can't."
You realize that the Holy Spirit told you something about this hours ago, "Yahweh predetermines everything. If you could remember the future, then you would know what you were going to do and would have no choice but to do it. Perfect knowledge of the future would actually eliminate your free will."
You feel a great let down, "So we are back to that. My free will is an illusion. I don't have free will at all. If I had better knowledge of the future, I would be able to see that clearly."
Then you remember that yesterday, the Holy Spirit explained this to you, "You are confused about the nature of free will now. You have free will. If you were given perfect knowledge of the future, it would change you. The price you would pay for perfect knowledge of the future is loss of free will. But that doesn't change the fact that you have free will in your current state. You don't have perfect knowledge of the future. Perfect Knowledge of the Future is incompatible with free will. You can have neither or one or the other but not both."
You think about this, "So I should be cautious about seeking knowledge of the future. If I am too successful, I could lose my free will."
You realize that next month, the Holy Spirit will say to you, "That is why you should be grateful. It is the nature of the universe that you will never be able to predict the future with that much certainty."
You laugh, "Then how do I know what you will say next month?"
Then you realize that the Holy Spirit said to you last week, "Next month I will say, 'That is why you should be grateful. It is the nature of the universe that you will never be able to predict the future with that much certainty.' But you can't be certain that what I predict now will come true. Even if one with perfect knowledge of the future tells you the future, you can never be certain that your interlocutor really has perfect knowledge of the future or that he is telling you the truth."
"So, if you and Yahweh have perfect knowledge of the future, then you do not have free will." You realize with sudden surprise.
You realize that a fort night ago, the Holy Spirit told you, "We are personifications, not people. Of course, we don't have free will. We just say and do whatever the author tells us to do."
You think about this for a while and then say, "The only reason I am learning all of this from you, Ruach, is that you personify the emergent nature of the universe and it is the emergent nature of the universe that makes it so difficult to predict the future. If no complex patterns arose from the simpler laws of the universe then the universe would be easy to predict. Like a boring array of flashing lights with a simple pattern. Easy to predict but meaningless."
The Holy spirit told you last month, “As personifications we live in a world of metaphor. Have you considered why this conversation has occurred in backwards form. What is that a metaphor for?”
“I remember what you said rather than hear you say it. Partly that is how you speak to me, because memory is an emergent phenomenon. In this case, you are telling me about the nature of memory and prediction. About how they are related concepts. But I feel there is something else.”
Years ago, the Holy Spirit said to you, “I will tell you this story backwards, to point you toward the past as its conclusion. If learning is an upward spiral, then the conditions of its beginning are as important as the conditions of its end. It couldn’t be an upward spiral if it did not begin in an undesirable state. Why does Paul Krafel forgive his daughter for smashing the piles of blocks he builds?”
You know the answer to this one, “He forgives her because she is at the beginning of a learning curve. One way to express the second law of thermodynamics is to say that it is easier to destroy than build. We begin by learning to destroy and only later learn to build.”
You realize that it was a decade ago today that the Holy Spirit said, “Why does Paul the Apostle say that suffering is the beginning of an upward spiral toward hope? We know that suffering is only a misinterpretation of pain.”
You consider this for a while, “Is suffering related to perseverance in the same way that learning to destroy is to learning to create? It is the easier interpretation, the one that we understand instinctively as babies. We are born suffering at the least thing; we are a little hungry and we wail like our world is ending.”
How many centuries has it been since the Holy Spirit imparted this wisdom? “Paul is not glorifying suffering; he is telling you that it is the humble beginning, where we all start. But we learn that pain can be persevered, that we can understand it, grieve it, live it and pass through to the other side. We can learn not to suffer from it, but only to experience it as part of the universe. From this comes hope, because we see that regardless of the pain that we are experiencing in the present, there will come a time when we experience joy and the pain is but a memory.”
You experience a moment of emergent revelation, “But it runs deeper than that. We can be grateful for the undesirable initial state of any upward spiral because that is what makes the upward spiral possible. It is not a matter of glorifying the undesirable. It is a matter of recognizing that the state is considered undesirable because better states have been found and were made possible by the initial now-undesirable state. Thank you, Ruath, for teaching me this.”
Over two thousand years ago the Holy Spirit taught you, "I give you many reasons to be grateful. As the personification of emergence, I make the universe, complex, interesting and meaningful. I keep you from predicting the future and thereby keep your free will consistent with your nature. Beauty is emergent. The eye of the beholder of beauty is emergent. Intelligence is emergent. Everything you value is emergent. I make all of that possible. So gives thanks to me. Praise me. Worship me. Not because I demand it. I don't. Do all of this because it is in your emergent nature. And go see El and Jesus. El will tell you why you should be grateful for your imperfect memory. Jesus will give you hope."
Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...
(Service Leader rings the bell)
(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)
Leader: Who would like to share?
The participants take turns talking about what they were thinking about during the contemplation.
Reading of the SolSeed Creed
Please respond to the portions of the Creed highlighted in bold in unison:
- Life is precious.
- It has always been precious,
- it will always be precious.
- Life exuberant
- bursting through boundaries
- to flower and spread
- creates the conditions for more Life,
- in an Upward Spiral
- of ever-growing possibilities.
- As you are alive, and I am alive,
- and in kinship with all other beings
- who call Terra home,
- we are Gaia --
- the body of all Life.
- The Destiny of Gaia
- is to take root and flower amongst the stars --
- to give birth to a family of living worlds.
- As intelligent sparks of Gaia,
- we are called to express her excellent nature,
- we are called to attend the Great Birthing.
- We who answer this call
- dedicate ourselves to Gaia,
- We join together
- in a community of practice
- to align our words and actions
- with our highest aspirations.
- Through awesome experiences
- of cosmic, biological, and cultural creativity,
- we awaken within ourselves and others
- the Cosmic Religious Feeling
- that ignites wonder,
- fosters compassion, and
- inspires invention.
- Our three sacred duties are to
- embrace Passion,
- cultivate Empathy, and
- pursue Wisdom,
- So that our being honors Gaia
- and our striving hastens the Great Birthing.
- Passion drives us.
- Without Passion
- Empathy and Wisdom are lethargic.
- I pledge to stoke the fire in my belly,
- to compassionately care for my inner elephant ---
- to really be me, Happy in the Sun!
- Empathy is transcendent.
- Without Empathy,
- Passion and Wisdom are evil.
- I pledge to love others as I love myself,
- to consider their needs as if they were my own --
- to Grow Ours, not just Get Mine!
- Wisdom is effective.
- Without Wisdom,
- Passion and Empathy are reckless.
- I pledge to train my elephant through regular practice,
- to stand ready to transform my worldview in the face of new evidence --
- to cultivate sound instincts.
- Through Passion, Empathy, and Wisdom
- we have come to know that:
- We are Gaia's People --
- children of the Earth and Sun,
- awakened by starlight,
- discovering --
- We Bring Life!
Leader: We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community or the fires of commitment ... these we carry in our hearts until we are together again.
Leader extinguishes the candle with the Candle Snuff
Leader: May your week be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.