"I Am The Light"
"In order for the light to shine so brightly," observed Francis Bacon (1561-1626), "the darkness must be present."
Such a reductive either/or, black-versus-white view of human potential pervades most major religions, whose teachings to do-this-but-lordy!-not-that amount to simplistic cookbook recipes for earning your halo and joining the winner's circle in Paradise instead of, you know, the other place. We're talking top-down authority here, and you're either with us or against us: I am the light, or you can go to Hell.
As an orthogonal counterpoint to this all-or-nothing thinking, the Vedantists of ancient India still offer the most sophisticated cosmological alternative to monotheism's insistence that light shall conquer darkness, period.
Primordial Upanishad texts argue instead that reality indissolubly unifies light and dark within a single principle, Brahman, and that the believer's goal through living is to transcend the limitations of self-identity and realize one's borderless absorption within Brahman in all its infinitely dimensioned glory.
Well, ok, interesting, but then, who's giving me clear and simple, Ikea-styled instructions to assemble a well-ordered life? How shall I construct my step-up to Heaven? Where's Big Daddy in this picture? And where can I hunt down the holy spirit's impatient rendition of Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Cookbook? Reminds me that I never got around to reading Erich Fromm's Escape From Freedom, did you?
TITLE - "I Am The Light"
WHERE - Koeln Cathedral, Koeln, Germany (2015)