Sunday, May 6, 2007


One can sometimes discern the underlying conflicts and yearnings within a culture by paying attention to the outward manifestations of same in the form of popular art. Are we so enamored with reality tv because we, in fact, feel so out of touch with reality?

A show which has been popular for some time is "Lost" which tells the mysterious tale of a group of plane crash survivors stranded on a desert island. But this is no ordinary island, and many inexplicable things happen on a regular basis. What, if anything, does the popularity of this show . . show?

I have long valued the experience of being lost but at root there is something highly paradoxical about it. In the bible sheep are repeatedly getting lost and then when they are found, it's a very good thing. The Jews wandered the desert for years and when they finally found their way to the promised land, again, it was a very good thing. The prodigal son was lost but then he was found. So apparently, it's a good thing to somehow find your way in this world and wherever possible, get back on track.

And yet I think there is something in many of us that wants to be disoriented, that wants to go where we haven't been before, that wants to be lost. Many feel lost these days. Perhaps that is as it should be. The well worn roads of our culture do not appear to lead anywhere particularly inspiring.

These are times with few clear road maps spiritually. Oh yes there are old teachings of many faiths and these do provide comfort, reassurance and inspiration to many. Still I wonder whether we sometimes strive too mightily to know the right path, when what we perhaps should be doing is examining more carefully the contours of the path we are on.

I wonder who has the greater faith - the one who strives to stay true to their chosen path to their god or the one who hasn't the slightest idea where they are going, but keeps going anyways?