Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nothing New in this World?

Solomon said that there is nothing new in this world – a cynical view from an old, spent man-of-the-world. On one hand, he was right. Our memory makes us “think” we have seen this or that before. But even that is a paradox. A song, particularly, may lose its newness and may seem so “oldie” that we hate listening to such songs. But even with the spate of constant revivals and reissues of old songs, why do people still want to listen to the original version? It would seem that they want to refresh the memory or the old feelings and thoughts once again. In that sense, the oldness brings about certain newness in experience. Hence, nothing really becomes old or, at least, the memory and the mind make things “look new every morning”, as the gospel song goes.

A flower that blooms in the morning may not be a “new” phenomenon as it occurs billions of times around the world daily. But again, the memory tricks us only to think that it is old. Our lack of total awareness of what creation truly means makes us jaded and cynical. We think the red rose we see as we pass by a public park is the same plain rose we saw in a vase at home. They all look and smell the same.

But the newly-bloomed rose is a new creation – or, if you please, reproduction – of the original rose – the first ever rose in the world. We remember because of our “old” memory, but a rose or a sunset does not have that memory. God designed the Universe to obey certain rules, patterns and aesthetic variabilities. What He inputted in nature may repeat or reconstruct itself by some kind of divine magic but every new day brings fresh beginnings.

Hence, creation recreates itself daily. The rose comes into being by virtue of its own new discovery of its own essence. It is not a reincarnation or a reformed creation of something in the past; no, such a thing does not and cannot exist in a Universe that progresses as it leaves behind in its path what is decayed. A nova or new star forms from the existing elements left by other stars that had died in the past. What may seem like a reborn and similar star possesses unique qualities and potentials.

And so, a puppy or a baby comes into the world laden with its own new purpose – not to burden humans who have unrenewed or unborn sensibilities with a mere repetition of “what has been done before” but precisely to refresh the world with new and unending possibilities. Thus, for us to awaken fully and wondrously and not merely with the incidental opening of the eyes at sunrise is our daily goal in life. Robots and many humans are usually known for automatic response to regular stimulus. Unless and until we see God working daily in Creation or nature and in the new day’s re-creation, we will have missed the real essence of life

It is understandable for an old and dying king like Solomon who spent his life in dissipation and wanton search for physical pleasures to become cynical and jaded. To such a person, nothing would seem capable of reviving the senses, much less renewing one’s capacity for new adventures in living and learning. But for the truly creative and spiritually reproductive, the challenge to bring out the new and un-created will remain forever. To them, nothing becomes old in this world.

Morning has broken like the first morning; blackbird has spoken like the first bird. . . Praise every morning, God’s recreation of the new day.”

To wake up every morning with the vividness of this vision intact is one of the greatest blessings in life.