In the story of creation in Genesis, God brought the animals to Adam to name. I believe this is the purpose of human life: we are not authors, like God, we are translators, called to give meaning to the elements of creation around us. There is nothing we create: we take things that already exist and translate them, give them meaning. Food, oxygen, building materials… we take what is around us and fashion it into something else. We give it meaning and acquire meaning ourselves. But we like to think of ourselves as authors, as owners, as originators. I don’t believe that anything originates with us, not even life, not even breath, not even love – they simply pass through us: we give them meaning and take meaning ourselves in the process. This is the act of translation.
Hence, in the word name we can find mean, and also amen, which is our acquiescence in this process. In the garden of Eden (again, from the account of Genesis), we had all that we required, but God asked us not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because, if we did this, we would die. We would become like God, we would have free will (the ability to do good or evil), but without the necessary experience. So, from the very start, we were in danger of need.
This choice between good and evil can be seen in the word live: turn it around (one might say, pervert it) and you have evil, one possible course of action, but remove the I, the ego – instead of counting up, count down from 1 to 0 – and you have love. The choice is clear.
Through the exercise of free will, we learn the consequences of actions on ourselves and others. If we allow sin to take root, it becomes very difficult to remove, and we can only do this through repentance, a change of mind whereby we dislike or are sorry for what we have done, we listen to the voice of our conscience and strive, again without the ego, to become a son.
This ability to listen requires us to cut off the voice of our passions, the noise of the world around us, and to be silent. But the truth can hurt; it takes time to turn the stain of our past into something new: becoming a saint. We are lucky in that we have a guide, but time is limited and, if we rely on the proximity of the vowel i to the semi-consonants j and y, we see that guide is also judge. While we are alive, we have the opportunity to change our course of action, to repent: in the crime, there is mercy. There is no point looking back just to feel sorry for ourselves: nostalgia, with the letters rearranged, gives lost again. We must seek forgiveness and live in the light of this new knowledge. The law of action and consequence is contained in the words rape and reap. We cannot escape what we have done, but we can learn to love, and this allows us to evolve.
Can you make any connections by changing the order of the letters in the following words?