Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Age of Babel

I don't know why, but I've been thinking about the Tower of Babel recently. Perhaps it's because I was recently asked if I spoke another language other than English. I said I did. "The native language of Jibr." Otherwise known as Jibberish.

Anyways, the Tower has come into my mind, and there it sits. So, whenever anything like that happens, I look into it. And you know what? It's a very simple story in the Bible.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar (Babylon) and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel — because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

There are a few things that stand out for me, reading this now for the first time in a long time. To start, there is the obvious mention of only a single language. Then there is the idea that humanity, as a body, moved eastward. Next comes the idea that they were technologically advanced, because they used bricks and tar. Then, of course, there is the pride involved in wanting to make a name for oneself.Then there is the interesting thing about being able to accomplish anything if we can but communicate, and God not wanting us to do that at that time.

So, here we have the entire human race, as a body, moving along through history, on a single path, if you will. We then encounter Babel, which literally means "the Gate of God". We pass through this gate and, on the other side, begin moving along many language paths. Got it? One path going in; many paths going out.

Now, thousands of years later we, once again, encounter the Gate of God, the Bab, and He sets us on the path towards a single language again.

It is as if we had to take these many paths in order to learn what we could, for each language has its own peculiar perspective of the world. Only with so many perspectives could we begin to get a three dimensional view of the world around us. With only a single view everything appears to be flat. But now that we have this understanding, we seem to be allowed to speak a common tongue again. If we took the "easy" route, and never had multiple languages, then we would never have had this understanding.

They were technologically advanced for the time, using bricks instead of stone, and tar instead of regular old mortar.

We are technologically advanced, as is evidenced by me writing these ideas on a blog, on the internet, readable from pretty much anywhere in the world. Just look at the map on the bottom of the page, if you don't believe me. Pretty awesome, no? The technology, not the map.

And what happens now? Another warning, but this time, instead of a toppling tower, something far more futuristic. Baha'u'llah, in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, says, "They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations... Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence."

It seems that every time we forget humility, we get into trouble. Whether it is the Tower of Babel, or the fall of Rome, humility would have gone a long way to saving us. Every time there is a great revolution of human endeavour, a lack of humility seems to be a major factor. In Rome, the Emperor thought he was a God, and treated the people appropriately. And while they may not have revolted against him, it did weaken their sense of endeavour and innovation. They seemed to expect others to obey him, and were seemingly unprepared for resistance. In France, and many other countries, the royalty and upper classes thought they were somehow entitled to greater luxury, and when things got bad enough for the average person, they revolted. If those in power had been grateful for the gifts they had, been thankful to those under them, then they would likely still be in power today.

Today we can see something similar brewing, with the incredible economic disparity that is growing around the world. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy, or working hard and earning a higher salary. When that comes at the expense of other's well-being, however, there is a problem. Nobody should be so wealthy that it forces another to starve. And today, there are numerous people using the laws and culture to build themselves up as somehow more worthy, or deserving of these bounties. They are passing more laws to ease the grabbing of more power and wealth, heedless of those who are suffering. Humility and gratitude would go a long way to curbing that unhealthy situation. Unfortunately, as that doesn't seem to be happening, and the problems appear to be multiplying, it seems that we will need to go through this lesson once again.

But we shouldn't despair. Hope is there, on the horizon.

Today, our primary concern seems to be "profit", and material profit, at that. Just think how often that cause is cited in the news. And with that as our primary concern our laws, the way we educate our children, the focus of the sciences all bend to that pathetic and destructive goal. As but one example, of which there are many, it is currently better for me tax-wise to give money to Wall Street than to charity. I will get a bigger credit on tax refund. The education system is also filled with examples of this, unfortunately.

Soon, though, this endless desire for more will no longer be our goal. We will, sadly, come to such a state that we will recognize its cancerous-like power, and be forced to change our primary concern. Perhaps we will choose unity, or the well-being of each individual on the planet. And then our laws will bend to that.

As we begin to care for each other more, as we begin to educate our children to more concerned for each other, as we begin to enact laws that look after the well-being of the masses instead of the corporados, then we will find new and more innovative ways to look after each other.

One thing that will go a long way to ensuring the safety of all will be when we can all communicate with each other. One world language. A language that we would all learn, in addition to our mother tongue.

And then, when we can all communicate, God made a very interesting statement way back there in the story of Babel: "Nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them."

No comments:

Post a Comment