16 September 1956
The only difference between me and many other people I knowis that I am a lifetime student and reader of the written word. As Kurt says, too– it depends also on what you read – the funnies, the sport pages, and trashynovels are not what I consider reading matter. They perhaps have their placefor relaxation, but even that is doubtful.
One of the best things for a person to have is good,
directed reading along general arts lines – plus specific trade (Butter &
Bread) training – plus natural phenomena.
By general arts – I mean economics – history – English – art
In other words – with a lifetime of hours – Everything in
and of the world can be interesting. The world and its creations. People – the social
customs, history and backgrounds – present changes. Food – clothing – shelter –
the arts – the sciences. There is no need for boredom.
There are enough hours in a lifetime to learn something of
all of these things of mankind: the language, art, education; religion, family
life, society life, political life, and economic life.
8 September 1956
Definition (acceptable to me) of God: “The incomprehensible,
ever-present ruling intelligence and power behind creation.”
“It is of no great importance that we should call this power
“God” . . . We establish an inner contact with this power as we give attention
to it. Because we do not all make the same contacts, men have dared to judge
and punish and kill one another in the name of their conceptions of God, which
each has arrogantly assumed to be the only correct one
“Probably the designation of God as Father is largely
responsible for the personal God of the child mind. This mind has clothed Him
with parent attributes on a large scale and has thus kept Him anthropomorphic
(manlike or resembling man). How many Gods have come down to us as legacies of
the past! How many ideas of Him, colored by the minds in which they took form
and shape! A just God, whose dominant principle was an eye for an eye, and who
meted out punishment accordingly. A changeable God, now giving, now
withholding. A jealous God, demanding sacrifice and service. A loving God, too
kind to be altogether just! And angry God, destroying and laying waste. A God
to be feared and obeyed, loved, flattered and praised, implored and cajoled.
“The wisest thing we can do is to abolish, once and forever,
all these man-made conceptions of deity, and to give some attention to the
creation of our own; to ask ourselves, “What does God mean to me?” When I turn
the brilliant calculus of Truth on these products of other men’s imagination,
what do I find that appeals to me? My idea of God may not be yours, not yours
mine. No one has a right to impose his interpretations upon another in the form
of belief or creed or dogma . . .