Proverbs 2 King James Version (KJV)
1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
The verse starts out with “my son” solidifying the theme of imparting Wisdom patrilineally. This translation chooses hide my commandment with thee. It has been translated as treasure or store, but something rings true about hide. To hide something with thee is to carry it with you, but to protect it as well. It avoids the sentimentality or perhaps materialism of treasure while maintaining that both that there is something to loose and something after it. Wisdom may never be truly lost but it can certainly be lost from our lives.
The next two verses remind the son that finding Wisdom is both passive and active. One must first listen, then ask for knowledge when it does not find you, and when there is no one to ask, seek it out. Like silver: is an apt metaphor Wisdom both valuable and, like that hidden in your heart, obscured and protected from the rest of experience. Verses 5 and 6 answer the question of who we are listening for which is the voice of God.
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A Recurrence in Forms
One of the fundamental mistakes of the American experiment was the separation of church and state. Now ostensibly this was about freedom of religion. As with everything that was written in words and not men, it has become about the denial of religion. The trick to taking over a secular state is to create religion that doesn’t call itself one. Now whether this religion was grown in a lab or just appeared in the wild one day is neither here nor there. Such things exist we’ve seen plenty in the 19th and 20th and century. So what’s the solution? Why, state religion.
If you’ve hung around these parts for long enough you’ve probably heard the idea of state religion. Not the state running religion mind you, just admitting that if a state religion is inevitable we might as well pick a good one and write it down on paper. Of course, paper doesn’t make a religion people do. The paper is just for show, and record keeping, the people are what counts. Tolerance, as it turns out is not a property of the writing on the paper but the people and what they believe. If you have tolerant people, even if everyone in the state believes the same thing, the state is tolerant. If you have intolerant people even if you have a bouquet of belief systems they’re still intolerant. So what do they believe? Us today? What do our actions tell us about our beliefs?
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Proverbs 1 (KJV)
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
Let us begin with the apparent but important. This passage begins with the naming of Solomon. Not only is it important that we know who’s proverbs these are but who he is, king, and who his father is. What is implicit in this statement is that both station and lineage are important. The speaker has authority not only because of who he is but who his father was. This is something I will remind you which is lost today. Implicit in the assumption of Tabula Rasa is that it doesn’t matter where you came from. While it is true that truth can come in many forms we should be careful to listen to the those who have the lineage to back it up. Knowing where someone came from in today’s day in age is not easy, but a family which can maintain itself through the generations is both something to behold and to value. The chances are always higher that the son of a good family will be able to say something worthwhile, that being said today higher is a low bar.
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“With increasing abstraction and breadth of representation, the essential features comes to dominate the particular. As Eliade points out: traditional (that is, nonliterate) cultures have a historical memory that may be only three generations long – that is, as long as the oldest surviving individual is old. Events occurred previous to this are telescoped into something akin to the aboriginal Australian’s “dreamtime”: into the “trans-historical” period when ancestral heroes walked the earth, and established the behavioral patterns that constitute the present mode of being. This telescoping is the “mythologization” of history – and is very useful, from the perspective of efficient storage. We learn to imitate (and to remember) not individual heroes – and not the “objective” historical figures of the past – but what those heroes represented: the pattern of action that made them heroes.”
-Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief by Jordan B. Peterson
We live in what is or what is approaching a post-literate society. That is not to say we can’t read, though literacy is decreasing, but that we do not record cultural knowledge in a literate manner. Ask yourself, will a child educated in a top grade private school have accurate knowledge of his great-grandparents? When they become adults could they explain the objectives of their great-grandparents? Could they imitate faithfully their patterns of actions? No it would be nearly impossible. When our ancestors are attacked as racists, do we have a defense? They were racist. Yet as we know that does not explain their actions or lives. It is reductionist. This reductionism breaks any mapping of meaning from past generations.
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