… in « Real Life »
Without getting too deep into the consciousness debate, consider a couple of simple questions :
Are you real ?
Are you alive ?
One would suppose that you are, but the questions seem valid. You are reading these words, you are understanding them, contemplating what I'm telling you and wondering at this point where I'm going with all this. You may be having a wonderful day or a day from Hell ; you may be in Love or lonely. You are feeling well, healthy & strong or perhaps tired and a bit worn out. Perhaps you feel as though you are coming down with something. You are experiencing some sort of mental and emotional state. You have, or had, a mother and father and a family experience of some sort. You have lived for presumably a certain number of years during which you have had some sort of education (scholastic, cultural and possibly religious) which has led you to think and feel how you do about the people and event with and within which you interact.
And then, somehow, you found our Temple … Now, you're reading this (and of course, I don't when “now” is – but you do). And you're finding this and other things you read here enlightening, entertaining or utter rubbish. But you're having some sort of feelings and thought about it. Even if this allows you the choice to ignore it completely ...
Of course, I'm just supposing – for this is going out from my personal contemplating, through my typing it into a machine which will then transmit it to the Temple of the Jedi Order site on the internet. I'm writing it to you, and believe that you are real living people. I do not know how you are feeling, what you are thinking, what sort of day you've had or how your emotional, mental or physical state is – nor for that matter when you'll be reading this, if you will read it or how you will respond to it.
But, is that because this is not Real Life ? Are you real ? Are you alive ? I feel that I am, and I'm talking (writing though it may be) to you as very earnestly and sincerely as if we were all together in the same space and time.
So, without going into too much detail about what reality is, should we respect what we’ve learnt about how we ourselves make it by what we think and believe, let’s now consider the point of the present message :
We often make the distinction between On-line Life and Real Life. Why ? What is the difference ? As we have just pointed out, when we communicate something in our community here, we know reasonably well that it will be received by others, a few or many, all of which are real, living people – all of whom have thoughts, feelings, good days and days which just suck, and a variety of emotional, mental and physical conditions which change … Every one of us has the need to connect to people who share our fundamental beliefs. In most cases, this is how we all came to be here.
Does the simple fact that it has an internet support make it less of a real community ? In these days, one can do most shopping on-line, from groceries to computers and car parts. Pay for these things on-line from an on-line bank bank account. Many universities offer for-credit online courses. There are on-line casinos where one can just as on-line easily empty those on-line bank bank accounts, and of course we all know of E-bay and Amazon …
So, if I order my groceries on-line and pay for them on-line, am I only virtually nourished at dinnertime ? If I buy a book from Amazon (even if it is a Kindle download), would I be only virtually reading ? If I were to take an on-line course, am I only virtually educated ? When we declare our tax forms on-line, don’t we still have to pay real taxes ?
Thus, how is an on-line spiritual community any less real than any of these other very real yet on-line establishments ? I don't know how you feel about it, but I would say : “Not really.”
One may say : “But one must be careful on the internet ! There are so many dishonest and perverse people on-line ! I don't even really know these people !” As though there aren't dishonest and perverse people in our own local communities ? And do we really know most of the people we come into contact with, face-to-face, on a daily basis on any given pavement ? In restaurants, pubs, at parties and even in churches even if we've 'seen them around of months or years?
We have a beautiful institution here, in the Temple of the Jedi Order. When one has been here only a little while, become involved in conversations – be they forum debates (disputes, as they sometimes turn out), in chat, in the 'unofficial' Skype channel, Google + or even by e-mail and telephone, it becomes more clear that these people are as real as any one may meet in any place in the universe. The essential element herein is that we have a set of principles by which we live as best we can ; our Code, our Creed and our Teachings are honest ones. We care about other people – wherever they may happen to live. Our Temple is not just a hobby. Or at least it shouldn't be …
We are real people, with real bodies somewhere, with families and friends, with jobs (or not), with needs, desires, confidence, worry, doubt, triumphs and failures, who come together in real community for a real living faith. We are fortunate to live in such a time where no matter where we are in the World, we can be together. One could even say that we are more of a real community because we are on-line.
We are a real community of real caring people. We are real Jedi.
Que la Force soit avec nous tous …
29 mai 2013