Friday, March 01, 2013

Campus Event: Matthew Fox on "How to Fall in Love with the Spite of History."

This event is part of Berea College's Convocation series, and it took place on September 27, 2012. Yes, I am still catching up on notes. Matthew Fox has a Wikipedia entry, which gives a bit more information about him and his work. These are my notes from the event:

  • "We are the first species that can choose not to go extinct." He was quoting a biologist. We do need to make that choice. 
  • The question: how do we fall in love with the world again? 
  • Science is not value free. It has to remind us of the beauty of which we are all a part of. 
  • Aesthetics, the philosophy of beauty, has been neglected. Yet beauty is everywhere. It brings us all together. As bell hooks says, the next revolution will be one of aesthetics. 
  • If you can talk, you are an artist. The poet in you is the lover in you. Fall in love at least three times a day-- with people, animals, poetry, art, so on. There is plenty of loveability in the world.
  • Service is about cutting ropes and liberating others. 
  • Book suggested: Jesus and the Disinherited.
  • Spirituality is about who you really are and allowing others to discover that. 
  • Einstein saw intuitive mind as a sacred gift and the rational mind as a servant. The rational is the one usually honored while the intuitive is neglected. We need a balance. 
  • Talking about wisdom in a university is a bit like talking about chastity in a brothel. We forget that university is about discovering the universe. Intuition tells us the purpose of life. Ask how the universe is asking you to serve. 
  • We need to relearn to love our bodies. We share bodies in common with other creatures, our ancestors, so on. Yet our society sends such mixed, often negative messages, about the body. If you love your body, you would grow conscious of what you put in it and what you need to care for it. Want to know how sacred food, water, or sex are? Fast (or abstain) for a while. 
  • We need to be warriors. Warriors are lovers and prophets (by the way, now that I think about it, this also reminds me of some Paulo Coelho's ideas, see for instance Manual del Guerrero de la Luz. Link to my GoodReads review). Warriors speak out and make a stand. A mere soldier is not a warrior; a soldier is simply told to kill or be killed. We are here to give out our wisdom, love, service. But to do this, you must fall in love, discern what you really fall in love with, what you cherish. This is what makes us human. How do we know? By silence and reflection. 
  • In the end, all religions are trying to teach us about compassion. 
  • Meditation, which calms the reptilian brain, is about being still. Meditation can take various forms. Meditation is good for the mammal brain, where compassion resides. 
  • When you fall in love, you contemplate the beloved. To contemplate, you have to be still. In fact, being still is the most radical thing you can do. Love speaks to us in stillness. 
  • Three lessons for life: 
    • Pay attention. 
    • Be astonished. 
    • Share your astonishment. 

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