— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Unitarian, poet)
Whether this geocentric image of the universe matches the way the universe actually works is beyond the point of its value. In fact, long after Copernicus and Galileo demonstrated that reality is very different and heliocentric, the older model of the universe persisted. After all, with a few minor adjustments, it worked for the moment and became a staple of farmer’s almanacs.
At some point, however, this model or image was no longer tenable in light of new discoveries about the reality of the world and it was discarded for newer models. For (C.S.) Lewis, this change was not simply because human beings were now somehow brighter, rather, the model itself no longer gave meaning to the world. “We can no longer dismiss the change of Models as a simple progress from error to truth,” writes Lewis, “No Model is a catalogue of ultimate realities, and none is a mere fantasy. Each is a serious attempt to get in all the phenomena known at a given period.”
In other words, transition from older models is not merely about discovery, it is about how human beings understand the facts in light of what else they believe about reality. Models can change because of “an unprovoked assault of new facts” or because we, not the facts, change. We become discontent with what is and discard what no longer makes sense."
— Brandon G. Withrow writing in the Huffington Post
If I am full of myself, there is no room in me for what you bring. I keep myself intact when I convert you; I keep myself intact when I politely tolerate you; in a mutual interaction, I lose something of myself to create an opening for your perspective, your experience to enter my world…
‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2). This ancient advice to “entertain strangers,” to be open to others, to invite them in and offer them food and listen to their stories, point to the reward that comes from this “entertaining,” this response of mutuality: in that other, we may just find an angel.
Now I admit that I have never seen any sort of mystical angel, a divine glowing being with halo and wings, and I suspect I never will. But I have met a fair number of angels in human guise, if an angel is also someone who offers me something I never expected to receive, tells me something I never expected to hear, shows me something I never expected to see, helps me understand something I never expected to grasp, or otherwise breaks into my usual mindset. When another manages this feat, moving past my defenses and my absolutely true opinions to remind me that I really, finally, do not know everything, then I have been visited by an angel."
— Rev. Dr. Kathy Hurt, Unitarian Universalist minister
— Sidney Jourard (via journeytoenlightenment)