One of the central teachings of Thomas Hora was that there are useless questions we often ask and intelligent questions that we rarely ask. These are examples of useless questions: Who is to blame? And, what should be done? They are useless because almost always we will attempt to understand and solve the problem with the same level of understanding that created the problem.
Consider the Don Imus controversy. Until he was fired most of the focus was on who to blame and what should be done. As the controversy expanded other voices pointed out that there was a broader systemic problem in hip-hop music that was being overlooked. Others pointed out the absurdity of allowing Al Sharpton to claim the moral high ground.
Instead of rehashing the controversy, let us ask one of Dr. Hora’s two intelligent questions: “What is the meaning of what seems to be?” Clearly what seems to be is that minorities and women are being subjected to degrading speech. But what is the meaning of that speech? Are Imus and hip-hop music the cause of societal attitudes or did Imus and hip-hop music reflect back to us what already existed?
The answer is clearly the latter. In other words, if degrading attitudes did not already exist, there would be no demand for Imus or hip-hop culture. The meaning of Imus’ comments is that ignorance exists in our society.
The late quantum physicist David Bohm observed: “Problems originate in the consciousness of mankind and manifest itself in each individual. You see, each individual manifests the consciousness of mankind.” In that sense the hate spewed by Imus or by a hip-hop artist or by Al Sharpton are just manifestations of what Bohm called the “the river of the sorrow of mankind.”
A moment’s honest refection will allow us to see that this river flows through all of us. Who among us can say that we have never had a negative thought about another human-being? While our own negative thoughts may not be racial or sexual stereotypes, they are a reflection of the same basic ignorance.
The antidote to this ignorance is Dr. Hora’s second intelligent question: “What is what really is?” The truth of reality is that our superficial differences in color and sex dissolve in the light of our spiritual reality. We are all children of divine Love.
The ultimate healing for this ignorance, is for each of us to take the journey to realize that spiritual reality. When we do, the outer manifestations of our ignorance, such as shock-jocks and hip-hop music, disappear as the demand for it does.