I recently traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, and toured the Medical Museum. The tour guide led a group of us through the history of how science has described human beings. She told us, “It was in the 20th century when science began realizing we are more than chemicals and material particles.”
All of us in the group nodded our heads.
The guide was correct. There is more to us, there is more to life, than what we know now.
And every one of us in that group probably defined it differently.
So, how do I know what is true in the face of not knowing everything?
I can think of 2 ways: loosen my grip on what I think is fact and fiction, and second, look to the model of an “all-knowing divine Mind” for good ideas.
I got that term, all-knowing Mind, from my religious upbringing, by reading the book Science and Health, written by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century. It also points out that the all-knowing can only know good ideas.
If it stopped, even briefly, to know a bad idea, it would cease being the all-knowing.
After I’d moved out of the house, got married and had children, I was talking with my Mom. We were in her kitchen discussing how to cook rice. When out of the blue, she told me, “Oh Cheryl, I’m going to get plastic surgery done on my eyelids. I think they’re ugly.”
I blurted, “You’re not ugly.” She looked at me. I looked at her. This wasn’t a case of fact and fiction changing places. It was a case of fact and fiction conflicting.
We were quiet. Then she changed the subject and starting telling me about how she was going to repair a cabinet.
I sat there, pretending to listen and wondered, “Great, am I supposed to reverse our roles and parent her with the fact that using a knife on the eyelids doesn’t sound all that smart? Especially for vanity reasons?”
Also, flashed before my mind, were memories, of not all that long ago when I was getting ready for school in the morning. Me, the teenager, was standing in front of the mirror, applying eyeshadow and mascara, while listening to the “top 40” blare out the radio. Mom walked by and said, “Cheryl, true beauty comes from within.”
“Huh?” was all she got from me.
Her statement didn’t directly get my attention. It was up against the propaganda that cosmetics make me beautiful. And, it had the competition of Barry Manilow singing “I write the songs that make the whooole world sing.”
But, her statement about true beauty apparently did have an unbroken influence that carried itself over to that day we were sitting in her kitchen.
After I heard Mom wrap up her dissertation on cabinet repair. I decided to take a stand knowing true beauty.
I went home.
After the plastic surgery, Mom looked the same to me. My knowledge increased. I realized, it was her compassion and perseverance that made her beautiful. I knew it.