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Steven Maimes
Worked at SALAM Research
Attended San Francisco State University
Lives in Rochester, NH
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Steven Maimes

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Nathan the Wise - A Story

In 1779, the German Enlightenment philosopher and art critic Gotthold Lessing wrote a play, Nathan the Wise, that neatly encapsulates the problem of religious conflict and its solution in a way that might be extended to the argument between believer and skeptic.

The play is set in the twelfth century in the Middle East. The Muslim Sultan Saladin has won a victory against the Crusaders, but it cost him a great deal and there is an uneasy truce in Jerusalem, with Muslims, Christians and Jews all eyeing one another with suspicion.

He summons Nathan, a leading Jewish merchant, known for his wisdom. ‘Your reputation for wisdom in great,’ say the Sultan. ‘The great religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all contradict one another. They cannot all be true. Tell me then, which is best?

Nathan recognized the trap immediately. If he says Judaism, he insults the Sultan. If he says Islam, he denies his own faith. If he says Christianity, he offends both. Nathan therefore does the Jewish thing. He tells a story.

There was one a man who possessed a priceless ring. Its stone was a lustrous opal that refracted light into a hundred colors. But is also had the mysterious power to make the wearer beloved of God and of man. The man passed the ring on to his most cherished son, and so it was handed down, generation after generation.

Finally it was inherited by a man who had three sons, each of whom he loved equally. Unable to choose between them, he secretly commissioned a jeweler to make two exact copies of the ring. On his deathbed, he blessed each son separately, and gave each a ring. Each son believed that he alone possessed the authentic ring.

The man died. After the funeral, one after the other of the sons claimed to be the one to whom their father had entrusted his most precious possession, the ring. There seemed no way of resolving the argument because no one could tell which was the original ring. All three were indistinguishable.

Eventually they brought the case before a judge, who heard the story and the history, and examined the rings. ‘The authentic ring’, said the judge in his verdict, ‘had the power to make its wearer beloved of God and of men. There is therefore only one way each of you will know whether you have the genuine ring, and that is so to act as to become beloved of God and of man.’

‘Bravo’, said the Sultan to Nathan, and let him go in peace.

[Told by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in The Great Partnership]
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A nice description of the wise man from the Book of Sirah:
Happy is the man who meditates on Wisdom, and fixes his gaze on knowledge;
Who ponder her ways in his heart, and understand her secrets;
Who pursues her like a hunter, and watches at her entry way;
Who peers through her windows, and listens at her doors;
Who camps near her house and fastens his tent next to her walls;
He pitches his tent near her, and a good resting place;
He takes protection and lodges under her branches;
And he dwells in the shade of her glory.
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It is simpler to find a way to heaven than to find a way on earth. (Hazrat Inayat Khan)
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Good new year ~
Peace ~
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Spiritual Contentment (or wholeness or holiness or saintliness):
That when the one who has it sits in the shade,
His self does not desire to sit in the sun;
And when he sits in the sun,
His self does not desire to sit in the shade.
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Lead me from the unreal to the real
Lead me from darkness to light
Lead me from the fear of death
to the abode of immortality.
~ Upanishads
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Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. [George Bernard Shaw]
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Have him in circles
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Steven Maimes

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Good Spring ~
(photo by Dana)
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It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings to search things out. [Proverbs 25:2] - photo of Giotto ceiling: Scrovegni Chapel, Italy
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Beautiful: Real stars, not pentagrams like today everywhere. ✴❇ 
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On the Path Toward Wholeness
We strive to follow our own nature through actions involving our work, talents, calling or path. There are different types of activity that lead to wholeness.  Some are active, some passive. Many activities involve service, or creativity through the arts or trades.

Some people are called to simply be, which is also a manner of serving. These people may either spread knowledge or simply be a presence, not to do anything but simply be a silent witness to Being. This function of wholeness has been belittled in the modern world with its over-emphasis on action.

The eastern view of action communicated in Taoist philosophy is: the way to do is to be. The western view is: do more as Jewish scholar Adin Steinsaltz says: “Our goal is always to aim for greater heights, to be constantly struggling and striving to do better and be closer to God. It is not enough just to be.” 

Men and women choose different types of action on the path toward wholeness. Actions can also change with age and with the different seasons of life.

Self-help and religious teachings do not always acknowledge the changing nature of action. There is not one type of action necessary for everyone. We are all unique individuals with different paths.

When one follows the correct individual path there is a sense of balance or wholeness. There is a contentment in the moment not wanting more.

A strong faith in God or a true experience of Being can lead to a quality of wholeness or “eternal life.” This faith is the foundation for many on their path toward wholeness. 
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November: mandala awareness... mindful of the center... all ways ~
(ceramic artwork by Gail Kendall)
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Pink imagination ~
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Have him in circles
346 people
Sureh Rawat's profile photo
Masha du Toit's profile photo
Sanjog Londhe's profile photo
Monika Zaviš's profile photo
Shelly Seitz's profile photo
Lisa Roy's profile photo
Todd Smith's profile photo
Lucia Mitro's profile photo
Bily Foster's profile photo
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Researcher, Writer, Philosopher
Employment
  • SALAM Research
    salamresearch@gmail.com
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Currently
Rochester, NH
Previously
Los Angeles, CA - San Francisco, CA - Oakland, CA
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Research, Writing, Philosophy - New Hampshire, USA
Introduction
Steven Maimes is an independent researcher, analyst, freelance writer and philosopher. Principal of SALAM Research.

Business focus: Research, Intelligence, Editorial
Personal focus: Writing and Theology


Spiritual Watchwords: Remember. Be simple. Be kind.
Bragging rights
"The seeds you plant may not fruit before your eyes. Plant seeds anyhow."
Education
  • San Francisco State University
    World Literature; Philosophy & Religion
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Male