Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beware of Those Biceps!

In lieu of recent events, including the second presidential inauguration, a truth has begun to impress itself more persistently upon my mind than usual, and it is this: that the wisdom of men is foolishness.  The word "men" of course refers to both men and women.  In Shakespeare's A Midsummer-Night's Dream the mischievous Puck brings King Oberon to see the spectacle of confused lovers in the woods:

"Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Act III, Scene II)

Whereas Shakespeare's Puck and Oberon enjoyed the spectacle of foolishness before them, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob once lamented:

"O that cunning aplan of the evil one! O the bvainness, and the frailties, and the cfoolishness of men! When they are dlearned they think they are ewise, and they fhearken not unto the gcounsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their hwisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.  But to be alearned is good if they bhearken unto the ccounsels of God." (2 Ne 9:28-29)

Although I cannot claim to possess the magical perspective of Puck or the prophetic insight of Jacob, I have come to appreciate more fully the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell

"In a very real sense, all we need to know is that God knows all! If one searches for still other reasons as to why the doctrine of the omniscience of God is a stumbling block for some, some of these are attributable to the democratic age in which we live with its inordinate efforts at equalizing everything, rather than achieving justice. The deification of man and the subsequent deep disappointment with man have both happened within decades of each other. It has been a time of terrible wrenching for the humanist and the optimist.  The dashed plans of mankind have led many people to a despair and disappointment with life and with themselves. Mortals then impute their deficiencies, somehow, to Divinity.  Yet was it not God who, from the beginning, reminded earthlings that the wisdom of men is foolishness? We are only discovering, afresh, what He has long told us about all man's puny efforts that do not rely upon Him. Mortals are fretting over the weakened arm of flesh, but God has told us for centuries to beware of those biceps!"