Thursday, January 1, 2009
Rumi warns us against those leaders who turn humans against humans with appeals to patriotism and love of home. Only a fool will allow this love, which is understandable and natural, to be transformed into hatred of others he does not know. In this way, he becomes the slave of the schemes and machinations of a nature which is clever but also base. Hence the first warning: Do not believe an absurdity, no matter who says it. These absurdities may and often do roll from the lips of persons set in authority above their fellow men. But those who preach hatred, distrust and hostility against other peoples do not merit our trust. They try to ensnare the feeble-minded with their bile.
But what, then is home? First, Rumi condemns as a fool the man who would define his home in terms of a political creation, be it city, state or empire. The true home is a boundless ocean, he writes. Man must think in terms of his species, linked across time and space. Equally he must cherish the planet on which he dwells and must avoid through love for any locality doing harm to the whole. But finally that “home” is something which the wiseman seeks, accepting suffering and loss as he does so. The way home, as Novalis would tell us, is an inward path.