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Showing posts with label free articles. Show all posts

17 August 2017

The Black Girl in Search of God and Some Lesser Tales

The Black Girl in Search of God and Some Lesser Tales


The title piece in this anthology is a parable on the nature of religious belief. When first published in 1932 it caused quite a stir and I wondered whether the intervening 75 years might have rendered it something less of a shocker. I found that, apart from one violation of current political correctness and a few inevitable stylistic issues, the message had lost none of its poignancy and perhaps little of its ability to shock.




"The Black Girl in Search of God" (free eBook) is not a novel or a novella. It is not really a short story either. I choose to describe it as a parable because others have, but equally, it could be classed alongside Plato's symposium as a vehicle for examining a philosophical idea. It's not a discourse, but it could be a meditation, albeit a rather energetic one. The idea in question, of course, is the nature of religious belief.

The Black Girl of the title is only cast as such, I think, to provide Bernard Shaw, the author, with a literary vehicle to convey his otherwise naïve questions about Christianity. To this end, The Black Girl is presented as a "noble savage", and thus a tabula rasa. It is here - and only here - that Shaw violates current correctness. The character could have been cast as a child, but then she could not have threatened to wield her knobkerrie, her weapon, and nor could she have been portrayed as bringing no tradition of her own. We must accept, therefore, that there remains a functionality about the role of this character. She does not represent anything, except her ability to ask the questions she is required to ask.

The Black Girl has been converted to Christianity by a young British woman who has taken delight in amorously jilting a series of vicars. She then becomes a missionary, despite her clearly thin grasp of the subject matter. She is, perhaps, an allegory of colonial expansion. She goes abroad to teach others despite not having achieved fulfillment or knowledge in her own life. It might be important that the teacher and the taught are both women.

When her convert starts asking questions, fundamental questions that the missionary herself has never heard asked, never mind answered, she reverts to invention, not scholarship. Shaw's intention is clear. She invents myth to mystify myth. And this cloak satisfies the curiosity of the average Christian, but not The Black Girl, who thus goes off in search of God.

And, guided by snakes, she finds Him. And not just once, because there is more than one God in the Bible she carries. There is the God of Wrath, who demands the sacrifice of her child. When she cannot comply, He demands she find her father so he can sacrifice her. A good part of the Bible thus disappears from her new-found faith.

She meets an apparent God of Love, but he laughs at Job for being so naively and blindly devout. More of her book blows away.

She meets prophets who, one by one, deliver their different messages, most of which conflict and communicate individual political positions or bigotry rather than personal revelation.

On the way, she belittles Imperial power and male domination. She learns that most "civilized" countries have given up on God and hears a plea that people like her should not be taught things that the mother country no longer believes.

Scientists offer her equally conflicting opinions. They are careful only to describe, never to conclude or interpret. In a way, they are just modern prophets, each with their own interested positions.

There is an amazing episode where a mathematician implores her to consider complex numbers, the square root of minus x, which The Black Girl hears as Myna sex or perhaps its homophone minor sex, and is clearly a reference to feminism. Along with economic power and male dominance, The Black Girl sees guns as the highest achievement of white society. This anticipates the description of colonialism's trinity in Ngugi's Petals of Blood.

Then, in a strange section, an Arab discusses belief with a conjuror. These appear to be a pair of major prophets in thin disguise. But their discussions merely confuse the girl and their words skirt her questions.

And so she meets an Irishman, marries and settles down. She devotes herself to him, their coffee-colored children and the fruits of their garden. Note that she does not devote herself to herself. She projects out, does not analyze within. And in this utterly humanist universe she finds not only personal happiness, but also fulfillment and, with that, answers to her own metaphysical questions that religion per se could not even address.

And so, as the parable closes, we ponder whether the Irishman she marries is Shaw, and whether The Black Girl is the questioning, non-racist, non-sexist, socialist and humanist vision of the future he has personally espoused.

And as for the Lesser Tales, they are generally lesser. Don Giovanni explaining himself was fun and the Death of an Old Revolutionary Hero was prescient of the role of the Socialist Workers' Party adopted in maintaining Margaret Thatcher in power in the 1980s. A great, historical and fundamentally contemporary read.



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Author Bio
Philip Spires
Author of "Mission", an African novel set in Kenya
www.philipspires.co.uk

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09 May 2017

The Mystery of Dreams by Isabel Kroemer (Guest Post)

“The Mystery of Dreams – Your Dreams Decoded”

by Isabel Kroemer

(Article reprinted with permission.)

Ever dreamed of falling, being chased or being naked? Scientists believe that paying attention to your dreams can actually improve your life. They said that dreams are a person’s unconscious assessment of their real-life situations. More so, you can use dreams to your advantage.
Dreams start when a person is in the REM stage of sleep. Experts say that this is the stage where emotions meet memories. This explains why we sometimes wake up crying or laughing. The brain also mixes our memories in very unusual ways resulting to really weird dreams.


#1 The ‘I’m-being-chased’ dream
Do you often run away or hide in your dreams? Psychotherapists explain that the entity chasing you may represent your own unresolved feelings of anger, jealousy, fear or even stress. Oftentimes, these issues can enter your dreams and manifest as a frightening attacker or pursuer.

The best way to stop recurring dreams of being chased is to take a good look of who or what is chasing you. Figure out the thing you’re most afraid of before it becomes a nightmare. So unless it’s Freddy Krueger, stop running.

#2 The ‘I’m-falling’ dream
Falling in a dream is a common theme. Experts say that falling may indicate insecurities, anxieties, and uncontrollable situations. It’s your subconscious telling you that your life is moving in the wrong direction. It may be your job, finances, relationship or something else.

There’s also a scientific explanation that says ‘falling dreams’ signal the first stage of sleep. This stage is often accompanied by sudden muscle spasms which explain why we wake up from a ‘falling dream’ with a body twitch or jerk.

#3 The ‘snakes-are-everywhere’ dream
Snakes are the most widely interpreted symbols in dreams which often vary according to culture. According to Freud’s theory, snakes symbolise an unconscious sexual desire or a male figure. For Christian cultures, snakes may mean temptation or opposition against your goal.

Furthermore, psychotherapists offer a simpler explanation. If the dreamer is afraid of snakes in his waking life, it indicates a need to overcome his phobia. That’s why Hypnotherapy SA is the best way to rid of snake dreams – by gaining access to your subconscious.

#4 The ‘swimming-in-the-water’ dream
Ever dreamed of swimming in a body of water with nowhere to go? It may be a sign that you’re seeking for emotional support. The water may also reflect your own emotions. Murky or dark water announces failures and depression. Clear water means undergoing a cleansing process.

Astrological interpretations also connect swimming with employment and knowledge. Swimming inside the house indicates working for a ruthless or unjust employer. If a man of knowledge sees himself swimming, it means he will attain his goals.

#5 The ‘I’m-a- famous-celebrity’ dream
Evolutionary psychologists say that it’s not strange to dream about celebrities. During a dream state, our brain can’t distinguish between people we ‘actually’ know and those we just see or hear a lot. In other words, your college friend may turn into a celebrity figure in your dreams.

For psychotherapists, dreaming of celebrities could mean that the dreamer longs for a higher social status. This reflects that the one dreaming has low self-esteem. In this case, Hypnotherapy Adelaide is the best option to boost confidence through the subconscious mind.

About the Author:  Hypnotherapy Adelaide offers hypnosis therapy sessions for depression, stress, and anxiety. Take control of your life, get help from Hypnotherapy SA today!

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** Butterfly, magic dream: Free image from Pixabay.com


14 January 2015

The Welcoming Culture of the Bedouin Peoples

Bedouin tribes have a central welcoming culture that is very open to visitors. They use this welcoming of guests to show their respect to God and welcome people into their homes through the uses of tea and coffee.
 
The Welcoming Culture of the Bedouin Peoples  By Brian J Thomas
» Read on »

Coffee Time
 Traditional Bedouin melodies. 

Brewing Coffee Outside a Bedouin Tent, Sinai, Egypt, North Africa, Africa
Brewing Coffee Outside a Bedouin Tent, Sinai, Egypt, North Africa, Africa ~ Nico Tondini ~ Allposters.com

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