Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Flags are in the heads of people"

I live in Vancouver. Our hockey team, the Canucks, is about to play in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins. The city is completely abuzz with the possibility that the team will win its first Stanley Cup in the forty years of its existence and that the Cup will return to Canada (after all, hockey is our sport) for the first time since 1993. There have been comparisons made with the excitement in the city around the hockey final between the US and Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, held here in Vancouver.

There are Canucks flags flying everywhere.

Here is another gem from Anthony de Mello's book:

Something more about words. I said to you earlier that words are limited. There is more I have to add. There are some words that correspond to nothing. For instance, I am an Indian. Now, let's suppose that I'm a prisoner of war in Pakistan, and they say to me, "Well, today we're going to take you to the frontier and you're going to take a look at your country." So they bring me to the frontier, and I look across the border, and I think, "Oh my country, my beautiful country. I see villages and trees and hills. This is my own, my native land!" After a while, one of the guards says, "Excuse me, we've made a mistake here. We have to move up another ten miles." What was I reacting to? Nothing. I kept focusing on a word, India. But trees are not India. Trees are trees. In fact, there are no frontiers or boundaries. They were put there by the human mind; generally by stupid, avaricious politicians. My country was one country once upon a time; it's four now. If we don't watch out it might be six. Then we'll have six flags, six armies. That's why you'll never catch me saluting a flag. I abhor all national flags because they are idols. What are we saluting? I salute humanity, not a flag with an army around it.

Flags are in the heads of people. In any case there are thousands of words in our vocabulary that do not correspond to reality at all. But do they trigger emotions in us! So we begin to see things that are not there. We actually see Indian mountains when they don't exist. Your American conditioning exists.  My Indian conditioning exists.

And our Canadian conditioning exists, our Vancouver conditioning exists, and our Canucks conditioning exists. 

(Go Canucks!)

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