Clouds of Glory, Atheists and the 3 O'clock Tune

Dr David, Publisher / Editor Lokkal

I do yoga every morning up on my roof . This morning, good Jew (and late-riser) that I am, I cut the session short and went to synagogue. This is our holiday season: Rosh Hashana / New Year, Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement, and today, Sukkot / Tabernacles, or better, Booths.

Science has a religion, a religion to not believe in God. The odds of the four cosmological constants (gravity, electro-magnetism, the nuclear strong and weak forces) being calibrated as they are, to allow a universe like ours, are 600 billion to 1. So these atheistic scientists assume the multi-verse, 600 billion other universes where there is nothing but helium, and us, in the lucky universe where there is anything other than helium. Darwin had no idea how complicated a living system is; way too complicated to be the product of random evolution. The great skeptic himself, Richard Dawkins, admits "...if you look at... biochemistry, microbiology, you might find the signature of some sort of designer." (starting at 1:26:37 on the video below)

Scientists (with the exception of Stephen Hawkins) don't like to talk about God. They are, however, talking about a Great Mystery.

Consciousness is a complete mystery. Scientist now suggest that it may just be a universal force, like gravity, not derived from anything else. It always seemed to me that if you wanted to talk to primitive man about these invisible forces (subatomic, et al.), angels would be a good way to do it. If you want to assert that these forces are intelligent and organized, conscious, God may be your metaphor. Sure, you can argue about form, about religion, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu..., but the question as I see it is, what is your relationship to the Great Mystery? What are you doing for or because of it? At least the people attending houses of worship are acknowledging, talking, singing, dancing to God.

Sukkot, commemorates the 40 years spent in the desert. During this holiday we are commanded to leave our houses and dwell in booths, like those of the Israelites in the desert. The roofs of these booths, or sukkot, are plant material (branches, fronds, reeds...) through which the sky must still be partially visible. Besides the harvest, these roofs also symbolize the Clouds of Glory that accompanied and shaded the Jews from the fiery desert sun; "Hey, we may be in the desert, but do we have to sweat, too?" It's a great holiday, that gets overlooked because of its coming after two blockbusters (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur); people are Jewed out.

It is a humbling experience to give up your well-appointed home and dwell (eat and maybe sleep) in a makeshift booth outdoors. Then, there is no complete ceiling. You can see the stars through the roof. The sukkot, and those humbly in them, are permeable to heavenly influences. Which is a good state of affairs.

So, after synagogue I am back up on my roof, alongside my sukkah (singular), completing my yoga regimen. There are clouds shielding me from the fiery desert sun, although after weeks of inclement skies, it feels good to bake a little, even in mid-afternoon, when their shield breaks down. (What's with this weather? A woman visiting SMA for the last 6 weeks, thinking of moving here, wanted to, but, despite my insistence, just couldn't believe that these clouds are atypical.)

Mexico has humbled me. I no longer imagine that people are in my way. They are just doing their thing without hurry, and it is not my way. It is easier to overlook the noise. If the neurological signal is not given enough importance to make it out of the auditory cortex to the frontal, then you don't hear it. Just because I, with my two left hands, could do better workmanship than what often passes down here, makes no (or, at most, little) difference. The over-development, the corruption, the loss of charm... I am just an extranjero, a stranger in Mexico.

My neighbor, the Church of San Antonio, towering over me, looks down at my yoga and my little Jewish sukkah, and, through newly installed loud speakers, booms out a recording of chimes in an extended musical phrase. This is done, to different melodies, at 9, 12, 3, 6 and 9. To my ear the chimes sound off key, distorted, and they are dissonantly overlaid with the regular chiming of the church clock. These recordings are a new, loud addition to the neighborhood. At first they bothered me, but I'm getting used to them. I even am beginning to like this 3 o'clock tune.

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Dr David started his long publishing career as the editor of his prep school newspaper, which he immediately changed into a monthly magazine with feature length articles. He moved to SMA six years ago this November and started publishing San Miguel Events six months later. Please visit his new project, the "new" Lokkal: www.lokkal.com/sma/magazine/2017/september/welcome.php

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