“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45, New International Version)
In my mind, it is as if Jesus is saying “What would be the point of my performing a sign? It’s not like it would do this wicked generation any good in the end.” But the claim Jesus made that news travels, even among wicked spirits, went unchallenged by the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
News travels, even among thoughts
In the days of Gunsmoke (see earlier post), Dodge City, Kansas was hardly the only town in the region. Great Bend was (and still is) about 80 miles away. Hays City (now just Hays) was about 100 miles away. I can clearly see in my mind’s eye the various villains, outlaws and no-goods of the region, commiserating in a saloon in Great Bend. One of them says “That <expletive> Dillon ran me outta Dodge City!” Another one says “Oh, I wouldn’t let that discourage you. I believe there’s some opportunity here for a man of your…talents.” Talents such as gun fighting, horse stealing, cheating at cards, etc. News travels, even among villains, outlaws and no-goods.
A Course in Miracles teaches that the very idea of private thoughts is an unidea, non-well-formed, gobbledygoop:
“I have no private thoughts. Yet it is only private thoughts of which I am aware. What can these thoughts mean? They do not exist, and so they mean nothing. Yet my mind is part of creation and part of its Creator. Would I not rather join the thinking of the universe than to obscure all that is really mine with my pitiful and meaningless “private” thoughts?” (Lesson 52 (review of Lesson 10), Workbook for Students)
I don’t know if this is really true, but I have a picture in my mind’s eye of thoughts comparing notes with each other, looking for minds in which they might be welcome. Just as the villains, outlaws and no-goods compared notes regarding how welcome they might be in various Kansas towns. News travels, even among thoughts.
I realize that some people may not see what I see in my mind’s eye. But the idea of the spreading of thoughts has been around for a while. The English biologist Richard Dawkins coined the word “meme” in the 1970’s to describe a thought-complex that commandeers a mind to assist in its propagation. It is similar to the way a virus commandeers a cell to assist in its propagation.
American poet Mary Oliver wrote that “news travels, even among foxes, as you might know, or not know.” I realize I’m not being exactly precise in what I’m saying about thoughts, memes and impure spirits. But I’m here to tell you that news travels, even among thoughts. Why am I here to tell you that news travels, even among thoughts? Because I haven’t said everything I have to say about the Prodigal Son.
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