Before writing this I had to ask myself why? Why would I even attempt to present myself as someone who should comment on a subject so deep.  The dictionary defines authority in a number of ways, including the right to make laws, to control certain people or territory and to exert power. So right away we must exclude all of those.

It also includes, “The confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something.” Seriously!!! It’s there! The “confidant” reference reminds me of that description of people we’ve all known who are, “Often wrong, but never in doubt!” So let’s set that word aside as well, and we’re left with, “The quality of someone who knows a lot about something.” Now even that, when it comes to a subject like philosophy is really pushing the envelope. So I definitely don’t want to go there.

Yet looking at my bookshelf, I see “Islam In Focus” by Hammudah Abdalati, “Emerson’s Essays” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Science Of Mind Textbook” and other works by Ernest Holmes, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey Jr., “The Essential Zohar” and other Kabbalistic works by Michael & Rav Berg, “The Bhagavad Gita” by Stephen Mitchell, ” The life Divine” by Sri Aurobindo, “Ethics For The New Millenium” by The Dalai Lama, “The Story of Unity” by James Dillet Freeman, “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran, “Jesus” by David Flusser, “The Oxford Companion to Philosophy” by Ted Henderich, “The Heart of Christianity” and other works by Marcus Borg, “The Power Of Decision” and other works by Raymond Charles Barker, “Spiritual Economics” and other works by Eric Butterworth.

…and that is the short list!!!

So at this point I feel like I just have to own it, and acknowledge that while I certainly dont know everything about every philosophical concept, school of thought or “leading light”, I do know a few things.  In fact I have spent a significant portion of my life reading these works, listening to tapes, attending seminars and lectures, going through multiple structured courses, seeking truth in many places and from many teachers. The conundrum I have is that regardless of all that effort I am still so flawed! It is daunting! I make so many mistakes, say things I regret, have to apologize for my shortcomings, that I wonder how I can have the audacity! And it is only because I know the inside story about some of the authors above and their human flaws, that I have come to the conclusion that understanding key principles of life does not necessarily suggest perfection of the individual.

In my case , to be sure, there is no claim to “authority” of any kind. Moreover, whatever does appear in this space will not be intended to reflect the general study of Philosophy. There will be no attempt to present the history of, or the great thinkers of philosophy, or to focus on any particular “movement” of philosophy. Even though along the way, I may make reference to or even blatantly plagiarize any and all. If I do it will be without remorse or regret, as I am pretty sure that in their day they did the same.

This is so, because in actuality original ideas are few and far between. I’d say all, but for the sake of probity will stick with “most” of the “great thinkers” were simply re-hashing what they’d learned and putting what they hoped to convey, in their words and the language that could be understood by the folks they were trying to reach. If they actually made a contribution to the “stream of truth” that nobody else had ever articulated in kind, all the power to them.

Personally I have no such aspirations or delusions. My aim is to stick with only what I, from my viewpoint and experience, have learned and consider to be true about how life “really” works. I fully acknowledge that others have known and possibly shared the very same truth. Further, they are ideas that I consider to be true whether I am a good example of them or not! For as I have confessed, there are few if any categories where I would claim to be a paragon of anything.

If that is disappointing, or off-putting to you, because you’d prefer to take your wisdom from only the Holy, and the righteous, I certainly understand and relieve you of the need to go any further here. Just one request. If that is the case, I would greatly appreciate if you would let me know who you discover that qualifies for those descriptions, so I can add their book to my shelf as well!

Yes Elizabeth, most of the truly great ideas about life that any human can think of, have been stated over and over again. Perhaps there were different nuances or examples used to illustrate them, but nevertheless making the same point. Mine will simply be the latest iteration. At least until someone else supplants me as “the latest!”

Please keep your eye out for my future postings. Most importantly, in all aspects of these efforts to entertain, inspire, elucidate and share, your observations and suggestions are welcomed and treasured.

Wishing you much joy, health, prosperity & love.