Writer’s block has taken up residence in my brain, and seems to have made itself quite comfortable there. Times like these, I cast about desperately for ideas. I ask friends, read about current events, and I have even been known to Google “What should I write about?” Because you never know where you’ll get an idea.
Sadly, all those sources came up empty this time around, so I went to my place of last resort: the random word generator. I asked for three random words. And even that was no help the first 4 times I asked. Nothing inspired me. But then I asked one final time, because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. And this is what the generator generated:
release distant situation
Okay, whoa. I don’t know if this just highlights my tendency to read something into just about anything, or if this is as profound as it seems to me. Because, yeah, I do need to release some distant situations.
There are a lot of things I need to let go of. Resentment about abuse perpetrated by people long dead. Disappointment keenly felt when people whom I thought I could count on have let me down. Insults. Hostility. Cruelty experienced or observed. Manipulation. Lies. Corruption. Criminal behavior.
Letting these things fester in my soul doesn’t do me any good whatsoever. It doesn’t solve anything. And the only one it hurts is me.
So, yes, I think it’s high time I work on releasing distant situations. In fact, it’s overdue. Like draining an infected wound, it may not be pleasant, but it will make me feel much better in the long run.
Here’s why I take exception to the implication that any multi-language translation of an ancient text is the exact and perfect word of its author: Have you ever used Google Translate? Seriously, most old texts that are still studied today have been through so many idioms that the very idea that they bear even a passing resemblance to the original intent is laughable, at best. And even if you go to the original documents, in some notable cases, they were written 40 years or more after the events in question took place. Could you accurately describe something that happened 40 years ago? I couldn’t.
In addition, ancient scripts were written in the context of the times, and now we’re attempting to interpret these messages through our modern lens. That’s like dropping a modern teenager into the year 1530 and expecting that kid to fit right in. Whatever, as they say. Good luck with that.
Now, you also have to realize that many of the texts that came down to us came without spaces between words, or even vowels and punctuation, and you can see where the finished version that we currently rely on is a little sketchy in terms of accuracy and original intent. So maybe those words were separated rather, um, randomly.
I’m not bashing your religion. I’m just saying that rigidity is not the way to go. Add common sense into the mix. Throw in a dash of critical thinking. Remember that historical context is everything. Then you can be as spiritual as you want. Amen.
But thinking about all those translations and all the loss of integrity that has crept in over the years as various people added, deleted, and changed things, has made me think of my old friend, the Random Word Generator. What if religious texts got so altered over time that the words seemed random, and we were forced to interpret that mess?
I decided to do a little thought experiment. I pulled up a fairly standard version of The Lord’s Prayer (which is the only religious thing I know by heart), and I determined that it was 71 words long. Then I asked the Random Word Generator to spit out 71 words. Whoa, Nelly. That makes for one strange religion.
For added fun, I broke up our random words as if they were the Lord’s Prayer, giving it the same word count in the stanzas, and the same punctuation as this English version, and wound up with this:
The Lord’s Prayer (as per the Random Word Generator)
If I tried hard enough, I’m sure I could find some great advice in there. It might even alter the way I live my life. There does seem to be a certain level of violence implied as well. (That’s something that most world religions can’t seem to avoid.) It also shows hints of politics, a little bit of economic socialism, and it has me thinking that maybe children shouldn’t be able to get drivers’ licenses at the tender age of sixteen.