Acabei de ler na revista Salon uma excelente entrevista com o biólogo evolucionário, autor de livros de divulgação da ciência e ateista militante Richard Dawkins. A entrevista traz apenas um pouco mais da personalidade lógica, racional, franca e de convicção inabalável do cientista. Ele não se importa de dizer o que pensa, mesmo causando polêmica, criando inimigos e aprofundando o fosso entre religião e ciência, fosso esse que tantos cientistas e religiosos tentaram enterrar, com uma suposta “divisão de domínios”. Fiquei decepcionado ao ler o tom de várias das manifestações dos leitores do artigo na revista Salon. E por isso escrevi um texto também, que reproduzo aqui…
Dawkins is right, of course, but he will die mostly alone
Just reading these comments here it strikes me just how differently various people think. Dawkins is correct, but he will be hated by more people than those who love his ideas. This will happen simply because he is a frank speaker. He is proud of his (substantial) reasoning power, and willing to say what he thinks. The reaction on this letters section proves (once more) that the human population, as a whole, is not ready yet to let go of the one last god, to let go of the supernatural. Richard Dawkins will not live to see his ideas become mainstream (neither will I, though I am younger). And yet his ideas will stay… because they are basically right. Another reader attacked him by calling him someone stuck in his teenage years — well that fits greatly with the image that I have of Dawkins, the young boy in that “The Emperor’s New Clothes” story. The emperor is naked, and he is simply saying it.
As for everyone who is outraged at his answer to the “Why are we here, what is the purpose” question, well, don’t be. His crudeness echoes similar answers for millenia given by wise men in the far east: these men, zen budhist masters, monks, students essentially repeated his same answer (if more elaborately). The question of purpose is misleading, invalid, even uninteresting because it assumes there should be one, that if there were we could know beforehand, and that spending time debating it would be worthy. The zen vision brings that the only life we have happens in this present moment. While you are doing something for a future purpose you are taking yourself away from the present moment — you are therefore robbing yourself of the only life you have — the present life. Nike’s motto is actually a Zen motto: “Just do it.”. Don’t do it for a goal. Just do it. Enlightenment is empty mindedness. Just do it. Enlightenment manifests as “flow”, a state where the greatest musicians are when they perform — a state where there is no “me”, no “musical instrument”, no music sheets, no audience, no past, no future. In the state of flow there is only the present moment, and no distinction between “me”, and other things. No need to be a professional musician to be in the state of “flow”, though. Just do it. For the few who can, but for a moment, it is the top of their lives here on earth.
Well this is all very argumentative, and perhaps very foreign for the western (jewish/christian/muslim) culture. So I’ll try to tease you with the more traditional way of Zen teaching, a simple, short story. Hope you can enjoy it.
ZEN STORY: FLEEING THE TIGER
One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice. As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine. Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!
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