The past 110 years since Einstein published a set of papers outlining his Special Theory of Relativity has been an intense period of intellectual warfare among some of the greatest minds of our times: Einstein, Heisenberg, Oppenheimer, Wheeler, Dirac, Weber, etc., etc.
The battle consisted of competing ideas about the nature of space, time, gravity, quantum mechanics presented in competing papers, at conferences, in competing for funding, sometimes in acrimonious disputes, but often friendly. They fought, drank together, smoked together, traveled the world to be in each other's presence and talk neutrons, gravity waves, bosons versus femions, balck hole evaporation. They went to study under Penrose or Wheeler, or Eddinton, why between academic pursuits they worked developing radar for the British defense of the island from the Germans, or before that, like Scwartzchild, died in the trenches in WWI after theorizing about event horizon's and singularities.
These were exciting times for the entire world and for them.
No one spoke on Facebook telling them they were foolish for thinking, searching, trying to understand, to know. No one said just "just rest in yourself and be happy." Most died however, forgotten and mostly in security because once past 40 or 50, they stopped adapting to new ideas, new data, and dismissed evidence that show they may have missed the boat defending an old theory that no longer seemed true.
Their competition was of the mind, yes, but the results were of understanding and a scientifically advancing world.
This also was the case 1,000 and more years ago when great teachers such as Shankara argued Advaita against other Advaitists, Buddhists, and all other comers. This war of competing religions, competing insights, competing truths, competing methods continued is the same sorts of "conferences" and debates between traveling Zen teachers, Taoists, Shintoist, Confucists, at universities throughout Asia, for another 500 years.
That stopped hundreds of years ago. Most of these teachings ossified into the deadness we have now. No competition, no debates, no discussion, no nothing.
Such is it today. Nothing going on in spirituality. No big debates betwen various teachers. They avoid each other and only talk to other teachers that share the same ideas or or to their students, or write books.
Many are like the elderly physicists and mathematicians slowly evaporating preserving their legacy.
And students? Where are they, those who burn for real spiritual knowledge and to know themselves? Instead, we have tens of thousands who quote dead masters. There is no life here.
Francis Bennett considers all that disagree with him as immature, non-integrated, unbalanced. Chetanananda, much as I love him, has built an empire around himself, surrounded himself with a phalznx of adoring students and protectors.
Chidvilasanda still runs her evil little empire and interacts with no one but worshippers, while former Muktananda swamis fawn over her, or stay far away from her clutches.
The last of the great Zen master's of the 60s died with Sasaki Roshi and his teaching dying under a cloud of orchestrated moral triviality trumped up by the new feminist takeover of political correctness.
Even Robert Adams was afraid to say much for fear of being persecuted by moralists and people of little minds and small of heart. Thus his teachings are sort of bland.
Where are the great spiritual teachers today? The Dalai Lama? Don't make me laugh. Sakya Tensin, the sexually perverted if he is still alive?
We are in a period of spiritual cowardness and of barren earth with no fertilizer to make spirituality grow.
Where are the teachers with courage? Where are the students who are not politically correct martinets? A world of cripples up and down the line, who do not fight evil and injustice, and just want to stay safe.
Does anyone out there have an original thought besides a quote? Are there any who burn for truth of Self, or for anything?
I know a few heroes and heroines, but they are in the area of animal rescue, shelter reform, animal welfare and animal rights, where they put their bodies between Japanese whalers and whales, where they confront baby seal pelt killers in Canada putting their lives in peril.
But mostly animals get the short shrift. Few care enough even to stop eating meat.
Where are you heroes? Where are you caretakers? Come, show us what you are made of. Loudly announce yourselves. Knock loudly on the doors of evil doers demanding that they show themselves. Expose evil despite Obama's war on whistle blowers and journalists.
Of course, I forgot Manning and Snowden who do have the right stuff.