Thunderbolts of Illumination by Wayne Saalman

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AS A WARRING SPECIES, humanity has few rivals. There are doubtless animal and insect species with savage instinctual predilections for battling against their own kind for territory or resources, but none can match the sheer unconscionable ferocity of human beings.

 

Tragically, millions of our own are more than willing to slaughter competitors over anything and everything from petty grievances to perceived threats of a wildly trumped up, apocalyptic nature. Some kill for a few coins, some for the sheer thrill of getting away with murder. Some do it to secure power or stupendous riches for themselves, while others still murder for worldly love or, unbelievably, in the name of the “God of love” which surely raises irony to a devilish art indeed.

 

Once upon a more primitive day, many of the ancients were given to the belief that the God of love might well smite a sinner or a perceived enemy with a lightning bolt for his or her transgressions, be they against God or themselves. They especially wanted their “enemy” wiped from the face of the earth.

 

Certain sages saw it otherwise. They prayed that God would indeed send forth a thunderbolt to those of a wicked or ignorant nature, not to kill them though, nor to wipe them from the face of the earth, but to enlighten them.

 

This was known in certain circles as “the thunderbolt of illumination”.

 

Such a thunderbolt, of course, was purely metaphorical. The great wish back in the day was that the person given to violence and anti-social behaviour might have his or her mind lit up by God in order that he or she might finally “see the light”.

 

The “light” has always been a spiritual metaphor, for it carries the right connotation. Light illuminates darkness. It is comforting and healing, and it brings clarity to virtually everything. Darkness, on the other hand, leaves one straining to see what is going on. It leaves one “in the dark” on matters of importance and it can be just plain spooky at times, for it carries an infinite array of unknowns: beings, things, forces… Who knows what is in there in that darkness? It could be anything, but if we don’t find a way of illuminating the darkness, then we can never know for sure.

 

The ancient sages knew that just because a being, thing or a force was unknown, it didn’t mean that the being, thing or force didn’t exist. What it did mean was that what the human senses could detect was only that which could be fully revealed by the light of day.

 

The dead of night, however, quivered with many a sundry phantasm.

 

In time, the scientific community came to realize that the spectrum of life, as humanity knew it, was but a subset of a larger spectrum.

 

The clear implication was that appearances were deceiving, as the old maxim had it.

 

Those who got the message, and fully comprehended the full scope of what it meant, came to realize that the centuries of bowing to the tyranny of appearances was a foolish delusion.

 

For example, the bandwidth that carries the white light that the human eye can detect is actually a very narrow section of the full spectrum of light waves that at all times are flowing through this cosmos of ours. With the advance of more sophisticated detection devices, we learned that there is a huge range of rays fanning out in both directions from where the band of white light begins and ends. There are gamma rays, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, x-rays, microwaves and so on. None of these are seen by the human eye, but they do affect us in a very physical way.

 

The point is this: What we know and what can be known are two very different things. It, therefore, pays to keep an open mind.

 

And by keeping an open mind, we are keeping every option as an active possibility in our life. After all, we do get lucky sometimes.

 

Sometimes a thunderbolt of illumination strikes like lightning, not to kill us, but to enlighten us.

 

And in the absence of that, or while we await it, the truly savvy person will set about generating lightning insights of his or her own.

 

 

 

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