Download the awe inspiring “Short History of Nearly Everything” with an audiobooks.com account (to support this series) — LINK HERE: http://bit.ly/1PpHFUN
Audiobooks.com is awesome. Like Netflix for books.
Transcript of the video — It’s not exact. There’s improv and editing throughout the process. Hoping to have the resources in the future to include sources, subtitles, and word-for-word transcripts.
My name is Matthew Cooke and this is HOW TO WIN A HOLY WAR.
To wage a holy war is to fight with all we got for the ultimate cause and be willing to sacrifice our lives.
The word “holy” means perfection, sacred, divine — of a nature more fine than the courser elements of this world.
So how do we know what’s so sublime — so good it’s worth our lives. How do we know anything?
One of my favorite books is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and if you download it as a free audiobook with the link in the description you’ll be helping support this series.
And you’ll learn to tune your television to any channel it doesn’t receive and notice the 1 percent of dancing static that’s an ancient remnant of the Big Bang.
So the next time you complain there’s nothing on TV, you’ll remember you can always watch the birth of the universe. And that’s part of it. The perspective we need. To know how to win a holy war…
In Christianity and Judaism there are 10 commandments.
And if you believe in God, and you’re a reasonable person it’s unlikely you think God sent us those commandments for his sake.
Why would that, which created everything, encompassing and enveloping all the infinite universes, who extends back to before anything that ever was and reaches into the future beyond the after all that will ever be — that that infinite oneness some use the word “God” to try to describe — which is well beyond our feeble brain’s ability to begin to comprehend — why would that infinite everything that creates everything need us — we’re just a mob of microscopic bugs on a single grain of sand hovering for a flicker of a second inside eternity.
So if you are a Christian or a Jew and you believe in an al-mighty, all knowing reality surrounding and flowing through everything seen, unseen and in between like an eternal ocean than you more likely believe the commandments weren’t written for God but you and me — to help.
And the first commandment says Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
So there’s the literal meaning of that phrase like don’t kneel down before a Golden calf and maybe that’s helpful but not really — so thank God there’s also the holy meaning, the deeper and wider meaning which is a metaphor — a warning not to bend in total submission to money, or wrath or greed or any other compulsion of our egos which might pull us and anything in a 500 foot radius around us ultimately into misery but to ever orient our selves in service to that which guides us toward the highest good.
Not just the highest good for me but for all things good beyond our self interest.
That kind of highest good is worthy of that word, “holy”. A holy inspiration. A holy spirit.
To have no other gods or impulses driving us other than the highest good — would be of great help.
If you’re an alcoholic and you’re recovered the god you no longer worship is alcohol, first driving you to embarrassment before tearing your liver apart and eventually dragging to an early grave at the expense of everything you loved — I speak from experience because that was once a god – an ugly lowly god before me.
But… if we let go of our devotion and addiction to those “other” gods and as the Muslim sufi poet said we stop seeking love but instead find all the barriers within ourselves we’ve built against it — there will be no other god before us. And that’s helpful.
And if you’re an atheist or agnostic you don’t need the word God, you can just submit your will or the multitude of wills within you to a higher power by any name. That great oneness — that’s holier than thou.
But then how to win a holy war?
And what sort of war could be deserving of the word: holy.
A war for the highest good?
The word Islam – the deep and wide meaning of that word — is submission to the highest good present within the ONE al-mighty, all encompassing force surrounding and flowing through everything seen, unseen and in between like an eternal ocean — and in Islam the word jihad in the divine sense, the holy sense means the effort to be free from our lower compulsions, the effort to educate and improve our communities, the effort to defend the oppressed.
So the word Jihad does not refer to a holy war with guns or swords, because that kind of war is never holy, it’s simply just or not just — but a holy war is a holy effort made for the highest good.
And that sort of effort would be very helpful.
So how to win a holy war. Maybe it’s like this. I am a Christian.
Because I believe the teachings of an ancient Jewish prophet who overturned money tables and was heard saying I should not judge.
That I shouldn’t look for a speck of dust in my brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in my own. That’s a hard religion to follow. Whosoever shall smite me on my right cheek, turn to him the other also?
How helpful would it be if we could all follow that advice.
How to win a holy war. Maybe it’s like this. I’m a Jew.
Some say you can be a Jew just through your mother’s line so there’s that but there’s also a tradition and a man of legend that in this country we call Moses who freed slaves from tyranny and was inspired to write down ten commandments, not a one of which isn’t helpful for the highest good but hard to follow.
Thou shalt not covet — I should not covet what others have. I should let go of greed… I should share. Good advice.
So I’m a Jew by blood and by choice.
How to win a holy war. Maybe its like this.
If you believe in facts and science and doing good for no reason other than it’s good to be good and you refuse to believe there’s a man in the sky with a big white beard who gets angry if you don’t do this or that and you call your self an atheist well I agree with you on that.
I don’t believe there’s a man in the sky.
Unless he’s flying a plane which in itself is a miracle. The plane. And the man.
And if you’re agnostic and don’t know if there’s an intelligence greater than ours then I respect your skepticism because how can we assume we know anything — and if you believe in science which is the learning and application of things we know and can prove I agree with you.
Absence of proof is certainly not proof of absence so in an infinite universe anything is possible.
And as they say in Buddhism there are either all perspectives or none. Buddhism Which comes from the word budhi means to awaken.
It’s also a name for the power of the great oneness that’s within us all.
How to win a holy war. Maybe it’s like this.
I’m a Muslim. la ilaha illallah, there is no god but One is what they say.
The same as the first commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Just the highest good.
And as a Muslim I’m taught to remind myself of that 5 times times a day because it’s so easy to forget, fall to my knees and obey which ever force happens to be seated on the throne of my ego.
So I’m a Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and I’d be a hindu too if I knew more about it but I’m only a human being so in reality I know next to nothing but little things like a superficial sense of the meaning of the word holy — sacred, divine, complete. Whole. One.
So how to win a holy war. To have no gods, no ego, no tribe, nothing other than the highest good before us and devote our lives to that effort in every moment until we‘ve won. Until we are one.