Claim: (v) to state or assert that something is the case

I often find myself caught between the emphasis in our society on speaking up for oneself and the wisdom of the ages, which quietly screams, “Shut the hell up.”

I sometimes tremble when I hear people make claims. I especially find it curious when men or women insist they are great lovers. Oh my
God–that’s one that is proven out fairly easily, and can certainly leave you with your pants down.

Why do we need to claim? Maybe Yoda was right. “No try. Just do.”

But for some reason, the braggadocio that precedes our efforts makes us feel reassured. Maybe it’s because we know that when the game is over and the score is tallied, we’re going to lose, so we might as well have some pre-game appreciation.

I don’t know.

But most of the claims human beings make are altered by circumstance, lack of talent, nerves, superior fire-power or just dumb luck. For after all, time and chance happens to each of us.

Recently I was asked at a party, “What is it you do?”

I piped back, “Are you asking what I claim to do? Or what actually gets done?”

They looked at me with a hint of a smile, but perplexed. After all, I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do–tout the bloated extent of my capabilities.

For what would happen if we claimed less, and then, on rare occasions, ended up doing more? Isn’t that the true definition of a genius? Someone who scores higher than expected. Someone who exceeds expectation. Or someone who fills a need that seemed unfillable.

I don’t claim much.

Maybe my best claim is that I don’t have really anything to claim.

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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abstract: (adj.) existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete reality.

Isn’t that religion?

I mean, I’m not trying to be provocative, but I believe that would actually be the definition of a religious experience–something that exists in thought or in belief, with no actual physical manifestation readily available.

People would object to that characterization. They would say that their particular brand of spirituality was ripe with fruitfulness and examples of prosperity. But there are those who would contradict them by saying that the cases they cite could easily be explained by pointing out the individual’s  talent, perseverance or by what some would view as “dumb luck.”

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

In other words, faith is abstract.

And even though “abstract” is considered to be an insult, especially when we sling it at someone else to explain their reasoning powers or value to us, the removal of the abstract is an attempt to live on a diet of mere practicality–things that can be handled, observed or studied. Believe you me, that kind of intake is very similar to attempting to convince yourself that the Caesar salad you had for lunch is great–and JUST as tasty as partaking of the pizza buffet.

Yes, spirituality is the pizza buffet. It is the intake of emotional and eternal calories which plump up our spirits with joy and hope.

That’s why I make a distinction between spirituality and religion. Religion points out how I’m different from the person kneeling next to me. Spirituality reminds me that I’m part of a much larger earth family.

So in a discussion with anyone about the integrity of atheism or agnosticism over believing in an eternal spirit and Creator of us all, those who share a Father in heaven rather than a mere common ooze will always lose out and be accused of being ignorant and believers in fairy tales.

But amazingly enough, when a bomb blows up in Boston or a fertilizer plant explodes in Texas, nobody ever runs to the library to gain greater knowledge. We turn, instead, to the abstract. We bow down and supplicate. We hope, deep inside ourselves, that life has a greater meaning than the mere passage of hours, days, months and years.

I guess some people would insist that in our hour of need, we become more ignorant. I think we just become more thirsty for the power and the comfort … of the abstract.