Friday 29 January 2010

As it is inside, so it is outside

In response to yesterday's blog, Roger sent me this observation:

"I saw a television documentary recently about the Delta region of Nigeria where young children are attacked and even killed because locals believe they are witches or wizards who have brought bad luck to the family or the community. Local witch doctors offer expensive and dangerous exorcisms and, when one was challenged by the programme's interviewer, she said it was only what happens in Harry Potter ..."

What is striking is this is exactly what happened with the Bible* too: it has been systematically used and interpreted by people who wish to prove their own ideas.

We really do see life through the lens of our ideas and thoughts, we use what we see around us to justify what we do, what we say and how we think; regardless of whether that was the intention of the author, in this case, or not.

It's rather like money: money is not good or bad, it simply shows us a person's inner self. The way we use it shows what we value, where our interets lie and how we see the world. Is there confidence that there is enough to go around, or is there never enough?

The same is true for anything in life, whether it's money, literature, ink blots or art. We see on the outside what we are on the inside. We cannot do otherwise. The world truly is a mirror of the thoughts, values and beliefs of each and every one of us.

The important thing is to keep a distinction between how something is used and its own intrinsic nature, which is ultimately neutral. I see Harry Potter as a symbol of the deeper potential within everyone, and the aforementioned witch doctors saw it as something else. They are both reflections of our world view and beliefs, nothing more or less.

From that point of view, it can be interesting to see what we are showing the world about who we are and what we believe. It is equally interesting to observe what others are telling us about what they value and what they believe.

* May I please note, this is an observation and not meant to imply that Harry Potter is equivalent to the Bible.
** If you haven't looked at this photo the last time I used it, take a second look at the t-shirt in the mirror.

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