All of Life, in Three Words and Two Syllables

Cool! Same picture twice!

Hey, all! Happy Saturday!

It makes me feel great that you are (if you are) reading my blog on a Saturday.

It also makes me a little sad. What’s the matter with you? Don’t you have a life?

Cool! I don’t either!

The Internet. Keeping people comfortably insulated since 1991.

Dig it.

Anyway, while doing the dishes right now (it’s like a life — only different) I thought of this Meta-Truth: Enlightenment + Time = Ignorance.

Being the bloggy-boy that I be, I then tweeted that formula — and then put it on my FB fan page.

Within minutes I had about five emails — and even a couple of (endearingly honest) comments on my fan page — all asking essentially the same thing: Huh? What’s that mean? John, are you drinking and tweeting?

I swear I’m not. I’m not saying I won’t ever; but I’m not now.

So. Paraphrase for me, anyone, if you wanna cuz it beats doing stuff like dishes?

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Mary Linda

    For me, enlightenment is, like, a flash of insight and instant amnesia. If I'm lucky, I write an essay or blog before the forgetting sets in so that years later I can reread what I've written and wonder at how far I've drifted from that lovely moment of awareness. Or, as Van Morrison said, "Enlightenment, don't know what it is."

  • http://joanneelaine.podbean.com Joanne Branson

    When my youngest son was in second grade, his teacher took me aside and said that his shyness was keeping him from answering questions in class. So, to bolster his courage, I quizzed him on a few words and he knew them. A few minutes later, we're almost home, I am pleased that I accomplished my task, and he said… "Mom, you know what I don't like about the other kids in my class?" "What?" I said. He replied…. "they're ignorant…. whatever that means." Now, at one time, I KNOW he had been taught the meaning of the word ignorant… but… with time… he embodied it. :/ (And yes, I know your post was much more philosophical than that, but this incident fit so well, I couldn't resist!)

  • Zoomer

    The thing that disturbs me is that I get less enlightened as time goes on, which is perhaps what you are trying to say. Like I was going through some old boxes of papers I wrote years ago and thinking, wow, I really acted like I knew what I was talking about back then. Now I usually don't even try to act like I know what I'm talking about. Cuz I don't.

    The Buddhists say chop wood and haul water. Washing dishes is sort of the equivalent. So you are on the path to enlightenment with that dishwashing thing you've got going on.

  • http://joanneelaine.podbean.com Joanne Branson

    And no…. I don't have a life, either. Stayed home alone and watched COPS. *sigh* (And, to stay on topic, they did catch a few people who WERE drinking and attempting to do other things… so that's good.)

  • AboundingJoy

    Enlightenment generally means an actionable fresh awareness of something. For me it's tied to some area of my life where I've strayed from the path. If I don't respond to it quickly, then the light bulb may as well never have gone off. The response to enlightenment typically means doing something I don't want to do or something difficult/sacrificial, so the temptation to pretend to be ignorant is really strong. The longer I play ignorant, the more likely it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • AboundingJoy

      By the way, I challenge the suggestion that reading your post on Saturday in any way means that I don't have a life. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118438574841738&ref=mf Dana Levy-Wendt

    Enlightenment is portrayed as an instant …an ah hah moment…humans (being imperfect) over time show our ignorance. That's why we need forgiveness… and have to continually keep working to find the truth.

    Or as Ram Das said "If you think you are enlightened…spend two weeks with your family."

    Now back to cleaning the garage…

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    Wanna come over and do my dishes? I'll even make coffee…

  • Ronn Reeves

    Enlightenment = Ignorance / Time

    That is Enlightenment is Ignorance over Time. Ignorance, perhaps not the best word choice, but to attain Enlightenment one must transcend (physically, spiritually, mentally — individually or in some combination) those things that detract from a true understanding of or insight into the thing one is trying to become enlightened about. Therefore, one has to become ignorant to a certain degree about the subject of study, its causes and effects, which (typically) takes a huge devotion of time, sometimes a lifetime, before enlightenment occurs.

  • venice1

    I heard this a while back: It only takes an instant to attain enlightenment.

    Several thoughts about enlightenment:

    1. Its connection with religion, meditation or any other form of intellectualism is abhorrent.

    2. It is very fleeting and inherently evasive. This is a good thing.

    3. The Republicans are repulsed by it because it's liberal by nature.

    4. The Democrats are obsessed with it but it's intangible by nature.

    5. The Independents are oblivious to it but that's their nature.

    6. Most of us should only take small doses of it and very very occasionally at that.

    7. Radiation and oxidation have nothing on enlightenment. They are afraid of it. Fact #1

    8. Enlightenment is playing "Plastic Fantastic Lover" by Jefferson Airplane on a Saturday night.

    P.S. The Buddhists don't know anything more about enlightenment than a gaggle of Tea Party folk. Fact #2

  • http://efrain.tumblr.com efrain

    time makes us forget the wisdom we may have attained in the past?

  • http://www.padontstandforpaloalto.wordpress.com Lauri

    I would hope that's not true. I would like to think

    time + enlightenment = wisdom

    You scare me sometimes John. LOL

  • http://www.chaseandre.com Chase

    My take is this:

    Enlightenment, like anything in life, takes a fair amount of work to keep from corrosion (since we're citing formulas, I don't feel it's out of place to quote the Second Law of Thermodynamics.)

    Entropy works on ideas, unfortunately, and if we don't do the hard work to keep ourselves polished, we lose perspective. But, being that we're creatures prone to entropy (when left to our own devices), It's bound to happen.

    What once was, well, Enlightening, has rotted over time. We didn't continue our Enlightenment, considering it a one-time achievement. So, grasping at our past success and attainment, we've become stuck. Confident of our previous wins, our ignorance swells. Until, one day, someone humbles himself enough to become, yet again, Enlightened.

    (That's just my stab at the paraphrase, anyway…)

  • Billy

    Ahhh John – We never reach "enlightenment"; Tomorrow brings another day, with all it's challenges and changes….

  • soulmentor

    The more you learn and the longer you live, the less you know……for sure.

    • Tim

      Woody Wirt, Editor Emeritus for Billy Graham's Decision Magazine, once said, "The older I get (and he lived well into his 90's) the more I realize how little I actually know about God" One of the most learned men of God I had the pleasure of meeting. I'd say his outlook agrees with your equation, John.

      Enlightenment + Time = Ignorance

    • Tim

      I'm such a noob. I started that post to you, but got lost and finished it to John. Sorry for the cornfusion.

  • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

    'Enlightenment' is a vision of eternity/the absolute. 'Time' is a man-made, earthly concept that clouds this vision. Ergo, Enlightenment + Time = Ignorance.

  • http://jfaraday.wordpress.com jfaraday

    To me, the equation sounds like "The more you know, the more you know that you know nothing."

  • http://marcusdehart.com/site/ Marcus

    Oh, I thought you said "entertainment" not enlightenment, which would be a more obvious formula.

    I guess I must be pretty enlightened, cause I'm feeling pretty ignorant right now.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    I always thought it was Enlightenment = Marijuana + Cheetos to the second power?

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    Innocence.

    IOW's, dont worry, be happy.

    It's that being childlike thingy….

  • Steve

    Here is a formula I tweeted (@s_df) a few days ago somewhat along the same lines: reality – ego – naivety = common sense

  • Leslie

    I am totally lost. What are the two syllables and the three words?


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