The Whisper Gallery

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The Whisper Gallery | Poetry Random Specific Thoughts

“I talk to God but the sky is empty.”
― Sylvia Plath

Come forth and listen –
To the whispers thriving in the atmosphere.

Take a glance at pain and joy, dancing
On the soft meadow, against clouds
That look like turtles*.

Let anxiety and fear soar; and
Watch closely as
Love and innocence
Are stripped to the bone.

Let your fears
Twirl to the hills’ beats,
And listen to the prayers in the air.
Trudge softly and look
To the relics, etched in forgotten minds
Enslaved by time; and –
Knock softly, I plead
On the doors of perception.
For reality adopts visions
As wills bend for the better.

Step ahead and shout your secrets
Show your heart love
And let your anger free.
‘Tis, life that validates death.

Let your feet sink into the damp mud,
Pause under the willow and lend your ears –
To centuries worth of secrets, flowing unguarded.
Bear witness to a whimsical
Empire flourishing and falling.

Hush, little one and listen
To a raw, vulnerable world and
Realise – I pray you do,
The Whisper Gallery is where
The beauty of pain is glorified,
A home where your tears blossom.
In sweet solitude do we hold you captive
For your secrets, will we shield forevermore.

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”

― Epictetus

(Featured image by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash)

* Turtles are frequently depicted in popular culture as easygoing, patient, and wise creatures. Due to their long lifespan, slow movement, sturdiness, and wrinkled appearance, they are an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures around the world. {Wikipedia}

As unrelated as it may seem, this poem was initially written to depict a whimsical take on heaven but I enjoyed seeing the above poem take form – in a way, I feel like it could pass for a whimsical take on heaven. It’s all about perspective, I suppose; the doors of perception are after all, open to those who knock 😉

Thoughtfully yours,
D

The Cassette Store

I was born into this strange period that served as a transition bridge from what was new to what would be new. I grew up watching recorded movies and listening to songs on cassette tapes, something that my parents had a proclivity for collecting – and today, my life is all but dependent on screens with an almost instant access to all the information I could need.

Dear Tom and Jerry,

Don’t you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?― Sarah Addison Allen, Lost Lake Dear Tom and Jerry, Life’s not the same anymore. Almost half a century after the final story on your lives was aired, your adventures continued to keep me in tense […]

heart & soul spill – art

Gone are the days when art conveyed a crisp image of the perfect stick figure, with straight lines and a plump, round head. Now every cloud, every scrap of discarded paper and pencils too short to use are all masterpieces to eyes tired of a bleak image, that the world radiates, facilitated by greed and […]

Rise of Religion

Origin of the word ‘Religion’
Source: Google

In a world where progress is constantly being redefined, morality and ethics questioned; there is one aspect of the human experience that has remained firmly rooted to man’s conscience, occasionally swaying but never faltering – religion.

I have developed a general appreciation for the numerous religions people practice worldwide and have grown rather interested in how the very idea of religion as ‘a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements‘ was birthed. {Wikipedia}

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

Origin

While the origin of religion is uncertain, there are a number of theories regarding its origins. Earliest archaeological evidence of religious ideas dates back several hundred thousand years to the Middle and Lower Paleolithic periods, where apparent intentional burials are considered evidence by archaeologists.

Various theories regarding the origin of religion, most notably those by theorists Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) and Herbert Spencer revolving around animism (the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence), and archaeologist John Lubbock (1834-1913) who brought in fetishism (attribution of inherent value, or powers, to an object) have all been widely criticised, rendering religion’s origin yet to be discovered.

9130–7370 BCE was the apparent period of use of Göbekli Tepe, Turkey – one of the oldest human-made sites of worship yet discovered.
Source: Wikipedia

The history of religion refers to the written record of human religious feelings, thoughts, and ideas. It is a period of religious history that began with the invention of writing about 5,220 years ago.

Wikipedia quotes anthropologists John Monaghan and Peter Just on why religions could have begun – “Many of the great world religions appear to have begun as revitalization movements of some sort, as the vision of a charismatic prophet fires the imaginations of people seeking a more comprehensive answer to their problems than they feel is provided by everyday beliefs.

In ‘The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History’, John Robert McNeill mentions the following as a potential argument as to why religion arose – “religious congregations, in turn, helped to stabilize urban society by making its inherent inequality and insecurity more tolerable.”

As of today, there are 10,000 distinct religions worldwide with 84% of the world population associated with one/several religions. Several large-scale belief systems emerged between 1200 BCE and 700 CE.

{Abrahamic and Indian religions’ source – Wikipedia}

Religion Origin
ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS:
Judaism 2000 BCE
Christianity 1st century AD
Islam7th century AD (the youngest of the major world religions)
INDIAN RELIGIONS:
Hinduism2300 BCE (world’s oldest religion)
Jainism 7th–5th century BCE
Buddhism late 6th century BCE
Sikhism AD 1500
ConfucianismConfucius, founder of Confucianism, was born in 551 BCE with the earliest Confucian writing, Shu Ching, incorporating ideas of harmony and heaven sometime in 600–500 BCE
Zoroastrianism 600 BCE
(world’s first monotheistic faith)
Taoism
550 BCE
The Pyramid Texts are the oldest known religious texts.
Source: Wikipedia

Evolution

(The following text is paraphrased from various essays on BBC Future)

In order to gain a better understanding on how and why religion evolved, evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar emphasises on examining religions without their cultural accretions. He further states that instead of focussing on Gods and creeds, we need to think deeper about the capacities that emerged in our ancient ancestors that allowed them to achieve a religious way of being together.

Dunbar goes on to mention that the largest group size that chimpanzees can maintain through grooming alone is 45. However the average human group size is 150, known as Dunbar’s number. In justification, Dunbar says humans have the capacity to reach three times as many social contacts as chimps for a given amount of social effort. This in turn potentially portrays that religion emerges out of this increased capacity for sociality. Yet another argument Dunbar’ proposes is that religion evolved as a way of allowing many people at once to take part in endorphin-triggering activation.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

With the neocortex figuring prominently in several theories regarding evolution of religion, Jonathan Turner, author of The Emergence and Evolution of Religion, mentions the more important alterations as concerning the subcortical parts of the brain, which enabled hominins (extinct members of the human lineage) to experience a broader range of emotions which led to bonding – a crucial achievement for the development of religion.

Voltaire, when asked why we need a religion answered, ”If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” This answer seemingly implied his belief that God is necessary for society to function. The broad idea that a shared faith serves the needs of a society is known as the functionalist view of religion. One recurring theme is social cohesion: religion brings together a community, who might then form a hunting party, raise a temple or support a political party. {BBC Future}

Karl Jaspers
Source: Wikipedia

According to German-Swiss philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), “the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently… And these are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today.” The axial age, a term coined by him, refers to the period from 900 to 200 BCE.

From Wikipedia, ”Intellectual historian Peter Watson has summarized the axial age as the foundation time of many of humanity’s most influential philosophical traditions, including, Platonism in Greece, Buddhism and Jainism in India, and Confucianism and Taoism in China.

Development

The development of religion has taken versatile paths in different cultures with some religions placing emphasis on belief, practice, the subjective experience of the religious individual or the activities of the religious community. Parallelly existing alongside religions that claim to be universal, are others that are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group.

Several medieval religious movements emphasized mysticism (popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute) such as the Cathars, the Jews in Spain, the Bhakti movement in India and Sufism in Islam. Christianity expanded to Africa, America, Australia and the Philippines as a result of European colonisation during the 15th – 19th centuries .

The concept of “religion” was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The sacred histories and narratives of religions aim mostly, to give a meaning to life. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source and basis of religious beliefs.

Photo by jossuha theophile on Unsplash

The 19th century, considered the formative period for the modern study of religion, saw a dramatic increase in knowledge about a wide variety of cultures and religions, and also the establishment of economic and social histories of progress. By the late 20th century religion had declined in most of Europe.

[Paraphrasing from an essay on BBC Future]
Andrew Newberg, who studies the brain in light of religious experience, says in How God Changes Your Brain, that contemplating God long enough, produces certain reactions in the brain involving activation and deactivation of synapses, formation of new dendrites and synaptic connections along with a change of neural functioning. In short, perceptions are altered accompanied by a change in beliefs. If God has meaning for you, then God becomes neurologically real.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

The late sociologist Robert Bellah mentioned, how the religious rituals of Neolithic humans (10,000–4,500 BCE) focused above all on one person, the divine or quasi-divine king, where only a few people, priests or members of the royal lineage, participated. It was also during this period that “king and god emerged together and continued their close association throughout history”.
{BBC Future}

To conclude, what does the future hold?

While the origin of religion remains veiled by the vast expanse of life we’re still discovering, religion continues to heavily influence our lives and provide a basis for how, many discern the right from the wrong. As such, religion like every other aspect of human life continues to grow and expand its reach with several new religious movements having been founded in the recent years. But is religion growing, evolving or does it follow a finite path which ends at some point? Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced religions is today, a fading religion.

Linda Woodhead, an academic specialising in the sociology of religion, mentions political support is what paves the path for the rise or fall of a religion based on history. In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari argues that the foundations of modern civilisation are eroding in the face of an emergent religion called “dataism”, which holds that by giving ourselves over to information flows, we can transcend our earthly concerns and ties.
{Source: BBC Future}

According to the future statistics modelled by The Pew Research Center based on demographics, migration and conversion, people unaffiliated with any religion will increase in countries such as the United States and France but will constitute a declining share of the world’s total population. Instead of a sharp decline in religiosity (religious orientations and involvement), the projections predict a modest increase in believers, from 84% of today to 87% of the world’s population in 2050. Excluding Buddhism, all of the world’s major religions are predicted to grow in absolute numbers in the coming decades. However, these projections cannot be considered absolute when factoring in the potential consequences of international migration.
{Source: Pew Research Centre}

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

The past houses the fractional percentage constituting human error while the future remains uncertain owing to the unpredictability of life. But analysing what little we have been able to learn, religion is a unique aspect of the human experience that has grown and evolved in its own path supported by life and based on the cerebral capacity of our ancestors and it sure has been interesting to learn the course of it all!

Hope you had a lovely read!

Thoughtfully yours,
D

Referred sources:

BBC Future:
How and Why Did Religion Evolve?
Do humans have A Religious Instinct?
Tomorrow’s Gods: What is the future of religion?
Wikipedia:
Timeline of Religion
Religion
History of Religion
Britannica:
History Of The Study Of Religion
Pew Research Centre:
The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050
Khan Academy:
The Origin of World Religions

A Thank You Letter to My Body

A Thank You Letter to my Body Random Specific Thoughts

Just a few days ago, I came over a heartfelt letter Shelly @ Growing with Spawn wrote to her body, after being inspired by the one Ang @ Lose Weight With Ang penned. It seemed like a lovely idea and I do believe it’s random acts of thoughtfulness like these that leave a generous impact on our mental health and on certain readers as well. I wasn’t sure of what to write but I decided to do it anyway! A huge thank you to Ang for this tag!
Before I begin, please make sure you check out the two letters below; they’re absolutely worth a read and resonate deeply on certain levels.

Writing Challenge : A Thank You letter To My Body // Lose Weight with Ang
A Thank You Letter To My Body // Growing with Spawn

Please feel free to join in on this and please don’t forget to tag Ang if you do!

“and I said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.’ it took a long breath. and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.”
― Nayyirah Waheed

Dear Body,

In all our years of knowing each other, I never once thought to thank you for being there, for being me, for being strong and just for being who you are. A week or so ago, when one of my cousins were visiting, I sat with her infant son for a while; just watching him sleep and smile in his peaceful slumber, every now and then. He was tiny, just about the length of my forearm. I’ve never had younger siblings or been around babies much, but the fragile charm he exuded was profoundly strong.

I can’t believe we met when, you were that tiny or that I was born as you. The fact that you’re the one who holds my mind close when it threatens to break away, tether my thoughts and dreams to reality or that my hands that are attached to you are the ones who do everything that I love are truths that are now beginning to dawn on me as I remain speechless not knowing why or how I didn’t see it before.

We’ve had a rocky relationship because of all my allergies and our mutual disinclination towards food and while I don’t regret our food choices much, I wish I could treat you to a healthier lifestyle. I’m sorry for all the times I picked on you, for not carrying yourself gracefully, for the times I wanted you to be, who we both weren’t and especially for all the times, I tried to pretend you and me just didn’t exist in the other’s illusion of the world.

Photo by lucas-mendes on Unsplash

I’m sorry I consistently subject you to my erratic sleep patterns and then drag you out of bed just because sleep doesn’t come easy; for I never let it feel welcome either. I wish I could take you out on more walks and give you the brief respite outdoors, you scream for on some days. I hate that I prioritise my relentless procrastination when you are in need of help and attention. I so appreciate all the hours you let me stay up, no matter how ungodly the hour may be; and I love and appreciate how you always succeed in dragging me out of bed in the morning, in time for school irrespective of whether or not, I let you succumb to sleep at night.

Dear body, you have been kind and occasionally rather hard on me, but I now realise all the strain and pressure I forced you to go through was even harder and I apologise for my inconsiderate behaviour. You’ve been there for me when no one else has, you’ve stood up for me and given me a voice and I’m so grateful for all of it. I thank you for accepting all the awkward falls and stumbles without any acknowledgement of the pain that followed and for getting right back up, like nothing had ever happened.

I hope we can learn to get along better with each other. I’ve grown so much from that fragile child I see in photos and know, as long as I breathe, it’ll be you who carries me through.

Much love,
The child you shelter

“I am getting used to my voice not sounding like an apology, my hair looking like a thunder storm, my face resembling a calamity, my smile looking like jagged tombstones, my soul feeling like an abstract art.”
― Ayushee Ghoshal, 4 AM Conversations


Thoughtfully yours,
Introverted Thoughts aka D

The Pen’s Lament

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The Pen's Lament | Short Prose Random Specific Thoughts

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Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.
― Yip Harburg

With every word I pen down, I see how your innate melody distorts them to fall in line with the tune you were born with. In all its splendour and glory, I see your music seeping into the hearts of the grieved and happy. The music whose essence I create. As I write and scratch off words, I see you in the distance, giddy with the impatience of not being called sooner. I see you held prisoner at the threshold of the paper that shelters your would-be lyrics while I struggle to find that perfect word that sends pangs of warmth and sorrow flying to every listener, kind enough to lend you their ears.

My heart grieves with every syllable I give birth to, on this magical night, knowing they won’t be mine after you enslave them to your tantalizing beauty of rhythm. I can feel myself running out of ink while my metal nib continues to write and scratch words over and over. Oh, how I wish I could make them sing for me like you will.

Through parchment after parchment, you sit and watch as I grow wearier and wearier exhausting myself to hunt for that perfect word we both know doesn’t exist yet. Word after word, syllable after syllable, period after period; oh how we toil through the moonlit night! I’m at the last verse now and I hear your heart flutter with the joy of completion as I admire my handiwork.

“Won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom?”
― Bob Marley

Source: Pinterest

I find myself letting out a long, sad sigh of relief as I put that period at the end of the last word of the final verse. I survey my piece of work and watch as you soar into the words, breathing life into every nook and corner of every word. I take my place on the chipped wooden box reserved for me and listen as you’re sung, every word falling into a place of its own. I listen as the music drifts and drips down my soul, seeping into my heart and enslaving my mind forevermore.

My soul twirls to the rhythm of the song, you make the skies sing tonight.

Oh, dear song, how I wish I could write you all over again.

Perhaps it is how we are made; perhaps words of truth reach us best through the heart, and stories and songs are the language of the heart.
― Stephen R. Lawhead, Merlin

Thoughtfully yours,
Introverted Thoughts aka D

Quick note: My friend, Diamond @ Build A Bears Furever is hosting a photostory contest to observe her fourth blogiversary! The best part is, you get to choose which of her bears play your characters (if you want) and believe me when I say, she’s got all sorts of bears with different outlooks and personalities! I’d absolutely love it if you could check out this post and participate!