This letter is an attempt to offer my deepest and most sincere apology to everyone. It includes the dear friends, the family, and the enemies I made down the road. There is in me a deep sense of loss and grief, as I realize some of the truest and humblest realization I ever came across. Such realization is twofold: the first part being that I am no better than anyone else, the second being that for that, I could only atone for what dictated some of my choices in li(f)e. If that resembles a manoeuvre from a guilty ego looking for some sort of expiation, and while seemingly this attempt could only reach so far as a desire to be perceive as a better person through this current endeavour, such perspective would only account for a modicum of truth.
Deeper than that, my whole being begs for something more substantial, that is, a realization in the sense that a saint like Jesus himself was ever able to instantiate. Saints and leading figures incarnating higher ethics and moral order inspire in me tonight a reverence to a degree only matched by a respect for what they accomplished. For there is, after all, everlasting codes of moral conduct to abide to outside any religious narrative, I can also appreciate the immanence that I see and feel when I learn about Jesus’ teachings, Buddha’s wisdom, and Mohamad’s sainthood. If I ever come close to a pious life that would resemble theirs, I would deem myself as eternally grateful for that. The meaning of such project isn’t so much embedded in the structure of cultural imprint for these religious figures, more so than the actual sublimation outside space and time for teachings that would forever permeate human life, the same way they permeated it for three millennia. It took me quite some time to slowly unravel my own indoctrinated psyche to the subtlety of such precious teachings – and as such understanding unravels to me, I can only surrender to the experience of a real mysterium tremendum.
I believe that religious teachings touch on the fundament of human’s internal structure of symbology, ontological need for meaning, and framework of moral in face of the obliterating meaninglessness I swam in more than once. That is not to say that I only conceive the irremediable nature of their teachings, but I cannot – rather I would say with more honesty – that I do not want to dismiss the richness of their wisdom. Moral good, patience, forgiveness, tolerance, hope, and sacrifice are all epitomized in these old scriptures. For the rational mind – at least mine – my capacity to criticize only matches the potential blindness that I expose myself to. I can see how I have gone through life armed with years of misunderstanding of my own feeling for myself, as if I had been drinking something that has been adulterated.
How am I then, as person, to move past my own prejudices and afflictions, a blindness in the height of an ego contemplating its own drive? Over and over, that comes close to the feeling that it would reinforce consistency of truths which poorly speak to the name of any moral imperative. That is not to say that I never sought to integrate virtue in my own psychological configuration, but that, in the doubt and despair, I associated myself with an existential bitterness that only offer a weak shroud as comfort.
I am not sure of the “whys” and the “hows” of this present undertaking, regardless, the profundity of it can only bring me closer to a more compassionate life. How could it not be? For it to be predicated on the deep and humble conviction that I have a lot to carry on and reflect on my own attitudes. My rhetorical heights would not in themselves refute any of that – they did it for a long time – yet the outcome was poorly satisfying. And so, what I see as a nascent potential is the capacity here to move past my own judgements on what religious teachings are about, and accept the idea that I am no better than the ones who walked before me, or the ones that will walk after me.
In this current letter, I humbly offer my deepest apologies to humanity, which also encompasses my closest friends, but more importantly, my closest enemies. I think in a way that the sense of being lost in this quagmire is, at any rate for me, a feeling of inner emptiness when I let my own daemons running loose, as if there was a gaping hole in the centre of what I am, only for them to fill it. Such a feeling, is one, I think, that I have been carrying every time I would call myself more enlightened than any religious teaching – so much for a hyper-rational mind – which amplified something that I have been witnessing around me. Others too, have this feeling about themselves to know better. Perhaps we all do. There is underneath a need for love and affection, but more importantly, a need to held, comforted, and understood. I have felt easily suffocated by my own limitations when I would gain more understanding on how life works, at least in its principles. I apologize to the friends I have hurt and misguided, to the family members that I judged, and to the enemies I made. What I judged as wrongs in them were only the essence of my own mistakes and projections, wrapped by an enticing ego. And if I can kneel in the face of all that, I also want to find comfort in knowing that I can enrich the gamut of understanding what being a good person and a pious life mean.
Deep down, I do not aspire to much but realizing myself in a higher level of ethics and compassion. I do not know the extent of that project. However, I am confident that appreciating timeless teachings constitutes a good approach. Forgiveness and tolerance mean for me the possibility of a better future for myself and the people I am close to, as well as the potentiation of positive outcomes. One would critically argue as to why looking from a backward perspective the underpinnings of what constitutes a good life, but I cannot help, as the forces of modernity advance, to be convinced that saints of old ages held the key to understanding who we are as humans. Modernity as an evolutionary force was no able to restrain itself for some of the madness that plague our societies. That is not to say that religion is an answer in itself, but to acknowledge that we are not so advanced that we do not need to pause for a moment and be honest about what is missing today. On a personal level, this means for me accepting that the values ingrained in my life, as shaped by naturalism and positivism, do not fully quench my thirst for a complete renovation. In these intellectual reservoirs, if I feel a depth of efficacy and a tangible experience of my world, that poorly speaks to my inner landscape, which is, to some degree, what ends up permeating my external reality. The images, that I associate through that process, are devoid of any meaning and passion, but more importantly, they leave me with a certain sadness.
I can then also allow myself to find in apologizing the creation of a wider range for understanding the complexity of Life, and the quintessential answers that religious teachings offer. I see it to some level as an imperative, as I don’t understand how I could be a student of the History of Religions, yet refusing to penetrate their substance. Perhaps I fear to face the same critique that Theilhard, Eliade, Huxley, and Otto faced. If I were to resonate with how they pierced the veil of what transcendence means, then I would be guilty by association.
However, I still see a certain intellectual dishonesty for myself in building rational axioms, or embracing ones that writers such as Harrys did, while dismissing with a nagging bias rebuttals of my models. Could I ennoble my own being if I were to be of disservice to myself?
This apology therefore also embeds my own flaws. For I, after all, am no better than anyone else, and I would cover myself with these same flaws over and over before diving deep in the ocean of the collective ones. This includes all my prejudices, wrongdoings, judgements, and childish behaviours. I found that present letter disturbing, because it shatters to a certain degree my own ego, that is, my sense of identity. This is on a fundamental level an exercise in tracing with chalk some despairs on the sand of my futile hopes. I also realize that accepting and embracing that level of humbleness means accepting to let go of some notions, which I haven’t fully identified yet. Nonetheless I see the sacrificial aspect of that endeavour, and I do find contempt in knowing that it will only nourish what I cherish. Perhaps it can also mean to pay greater attention on how I use words like compassion and forgiveness, for the malice of the ego to fool me. Integration of religious principles also highlights a need for guidance that I have not fully found elsewhere. I wrote more than once that I do not believe men to be fully detached from a religious mode of being, as spiritual realization supports such a need for a renovation. Regardless of its plenitude, Life reveals itself, as a certain point, as a failed project. In saying that I am not holding a moral judgement, but the perspective that I do feel like that this resembles a confusing sentiment for a missed existence, as if I would have betrayed the best of what I could ever have been. I believe that an authentic life implies deep crisis, anxiety, loss of identity, death, and rebirth. In such moments of crisis, the only salvation I can think of is the possibility to restart anew; a regenerated existence which would prove itself to be meaningful, and which would transmute my entire Life. When moments of doubt and despair that punctuate human life become too heavy to carry, what else could be the answer? This ideal isn’t hidden nor lies deep, but is close to a living desire for an eternal and complete rebirth, akin to an authentic religious transformation. Such a project appears to me as highly significant, as this is the path that would, in a way, subtract my self to the destructive forces of Time.
This letter could then be my own attempt to seek out for such experience, knowing that it lies, buried in the structures of religious symbology. That tells me that there is still a long road ahead in front of me, in which lay many unanswerable questions, but such is my burden. I also want to bring forth that my own prejudices occlude the capacity to see deeper the meaning of the connection that I have with many people in my life, regardless of my proximity to them. I wish that I had for myself a better understanding of this process, but I am convinced that something that approximates a certain truth will be revealed to me later. For now, its full meaning is dormant below my own awareness. If not, that would not dismiss the noble character that I am trying to build for myself as each day passes.
I feed the hope that moving toward this direction will open the doors of something deeper and more complete in itself than any theoretical model on how I navigate my own life. I am not saying that these models do not suffice in the front of some complexities of life, but still, to this day, that which supports the conception of a God as an abstract entity poorly suffices when I have a deeper desire for the vistas that Sufi poets spoke a great deal of. I found in this apology the magnitude to descend lower in the realm of the body and the flesh, and accept to be guided by principles of compassion that transcend my mind. In the economy of my own psyche, I can’t help but see an interesting imbalance between male and female principles – without which I forever condemn myself to be ensnared by my poor ideologies. I also want by this sincere apology lift myself and the humanity, so that we can move forward as a single entity that knows no separation.
Feeling of superiority is a dangerous thing, immature as it is, which only thickens threads that pull us all apart. I sincerely hold the conviction that the current process that takes place inside of me is akin to a transmutation towards a more noble life. Should it not be, I would still do my best to pause and step back until I do find where things went wrong.
There would never be enough humility and humbleness in our world, for unmeasured hubris to be something that needs to be carefully monitored. Prejudices don’t need a big gap between ignorance and lack of tolerance.
Finally, this letter is my own way to look at myself with honesty and untangle the narratives that condition and indoctrinate me to some degree. I would try to offer and explation for all that ; my intentions, though good, don’t matter. Needless to say, this is a work in progress, but staring from somewhere seems a more fruitful option than swimming in my own ignorance, while drowning a little bit more each day…
What constitute’s one’s life, is the world fraught with meaning and value. It is the living perception of people.
That and that alone is what is meant by phenomena.
~ Allan W. Larsen