Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I'm not, strictly speaking, a believer in astrology, but I do believe that when wisdom shows up on your doorstep, it's likely to have been on the road for a while, and thus might not look it's best. In other words, be open. Which is why I subscribe to Rob Brezny's Free Will Astrology newsletter. Well, that and the fact that he manages to entertain and provoke me just about every week. This week, he quoted an Anne Herbert essay, "Tricky Prayers". Here's a taste of what she said that made me smile:
There's a story about training dolphins in Gregory Bateson's "Steps to An Ecology of the Mind." The dolphin trainers had a rhythm of teaching dolphins tricks, and dolphins picked up on them at a fairly predictable pace. It took a few days to a week for a dolphin to get a new trick down.

Then the dolphin trainers thought of trying to train a dolphin to do something the dolphin had never done before. Not a specific new trick, but anything the dolphin had not previously done. It took a while to communicate that idea, but once it got through, the dolphin whooshed out of the water and did 15 new tricks in a row. Like, "Oh, you finally asked me something interesting."

All of which brings up the question, "Is God as smart as a dolphin?"

I come up with tricks I want God to do. I ask for local tricks like, "My toe hurts. Fix it." Or "My heart hurts. Fix the situation I think is causing the pain, now." I ask for larger tricks: "Nuclear waste hurts. Fix it."

But I'm sure God is as smart as a dolphin. And the stuff I can think of asking God to do isn't close to being the coolest stuff God can do. So it might be more useful for me to get out of the way and make it easier for God to generate God-style tricks, instead of my keeping up this patter of tiny me-style suggestions.

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