In his famous book, MOSES AND MONOTHEISM, Sigmund Freud concluded that monotheism was not a Jewish but an Egyptian invention, descending from the cult of the Egyptian sun god Aten. Moreover, upon applying his psychoanalysis to the myths/stories of the Hebrew bible, Freud not only argued that Moses was an Egyptian priest but he was also perplexed by how the whole story of Moses/Exodus, according to the oedipal pattern of analysis, was inverted and didn’t make sense the way it had been told. In other words the Hebrew myths/stories didn’t seem original.
First let me say there is a lot of nonsense and misunderstanding related to the why of Monotheism, including Sigismund Freud idea of psychoanalyses of the Hebrew Bible!
Second let me say the word God it’s a loaded issue in itself!
Why is a loaded word? Because God means a myriad things to a myriad of people, in fact there is no man who may have a similar idea of the word God, and what it encompass. And that it’s why some religious people prefer not to give it a name, unfortunately because the intolerance of many religious groups and individuals through History the word God has become a word of dissension rather than unity.
One thing it’s not disputable is the fact that the word God encompass our private idea about it, which it’s by far not the same idea other individual may have. And if we can’t agree in a definition, or a meaning, how we will be able to sort this issue?
For some the word God it’s just a word, with no real existence, to others it’s not just a word but an experience, a way of life.
Some people rather than use the word God like to say it’s a Mystery, to which I wholeheartedly agree, ultimately any idea, or definition will be lacking…
Polytheism refers to the worship of or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a a creator God transcendental principle a monists theologies, which manifests immanently in nature as panetheistic and pantheistic theologies.
Unfortunately some of our Western pagans when trying to defend their views rely more on emotional issues like Patriarchy and it’s nefarious historical ramifications than on rational, and solid theological grounds.
And this by no means to dismiss their just claims, Patriarchy should be remember it’s a tribal institution adopted by migratory clans, shepherds and the like, who it’s independent of theological argument, unfortunately Monotheism was invested with these social garments in the Abrahamic religions, but I want to remind the reader these social characteristics are of no relevance when it come to the theological argument, of an All inclusive God, Transcendent and Immanent, I don’t see any problem with a vision of a religion with different social trappings based in equality and justice not only between men and women, but one that include social justice to the environment, Pachamama, our Mother Earth, and any non human creatures. There is a social problem around the world of a male dominated society independently of Religion, that of course reflects in our way of living, consequently some religious groups may still embrace this ossified mentality which it’s deplorable at this day an age.
VIEWS FROM SANATANA DHARMA =HINDUISM
Ed Viswanathan on : Am I A Hindu says:
“Hindus consider it absurd to state that any other true religion of the world is false.”
“The Bhagavad Gita (4:11) Krishna (a Hindu word for God) says: ‘Whatever and whichever way men approach Me, even so do I accept them; whatever paths they may chose finally lead to Me’….. From these lines, one can easily understand that Hinduism does not project itself as the only way to God-realization. It claims no monopoly on wisdom. It tolerates all forms of thoughts. A Hindu Yogi will never try to convert a person from another religion to Hinduism. Instead he will try to make a person’s faith steadfast in his/her own religion. The Gita says, ‘In whatever form a devotee seeks to worship Me with faith, I make his faith steadfast in that form alone.'”
“So, in Hinduism, you can worship the Almighty, which is formless and timeless, as Krishna, Jesus, Allah, Moses or as anyone or anything. As long as you have faith in that form of the Almighty, you will be following a true religion and you will ultimately realize the truth, even if you are following a crude form of worship. No one can be lost, according to Hinduism. In whichever way one may seek God, one is always in the path of God.”
“When someone calls ‘It’ Jesus Christ, ‘It’ comes as Jesus Christ; when someone calls ‘It’ Lord Krishna, ‘It’ comes as Lord Krishna. The great Muslim mystics, the Sufis, said, Wheresoever you turn, there is the face of Allah. In all forms of worship, ultimately the worshiper will transcend the name and form of his/her personal god. All of them started with their attachment to a personal god and finally ended up with an almighty which is timeless and formless…. The word Islam means submitter to the will of Allah, and Allah has no proper definition…. No religion has a monopoly on God.”
“All came from that which cannot be defined called Brahman (monism).” “All came from That, so all existence is good and divine (pantheism).” “There is only one God (monotheism).” “All of us are Gods. This, of course, is just like saying that if you analyze one drop of seawater, then you know everything about the entire sea, or that if you the properties of electricity within the light bulb, then you know all about the electricity in the entire network.” To search for God is like a pinch of salt finding the depth of the ocean, it becomes part and parcel of the ocean. Similarly, a devotee who seeks God becomes part and parcel of That.”
THE MYTH OF IMMUTABILITY IN RELIGION
The idea that religions are immutable in character it’s more a wish idea than anything close to reality, religion it’s linked to Man, and men change with time, places, customs, Historical periods, and new ideas, who come to discard old ideas who had lost their contemporary appeal, or reinvigorate them with new leaven, that it’s why it is of no point to stick to the letter in scriptures, literal interpretations encase words in to a straight jacket, when what it’s really important is to embrace the Spirit of it, and Spirit it’s a living thing, not a fossil encased on an old interpretation of a word, just like languages they evolve and change to become richer and useful, or they die and disappear as dead languages. “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.” (John 5:39,40).
This was true on Jesus days, as it is now. The world will be a better place if men will defend Truth, rather than words.
Most excellent scholarship, and reasoning. I can find no flaws, other than the simplest one common to any religious thinking I have encountered in my own reading and study… That flaw, simply put, is this: where is the evidential confirmation located, in Reality, which proves this universe was created? I have found NO religious philosophy which can either point to such evidence in the real world, nor provide any logical reasoning of how to find it.
As you describe it, Hinduism comes closest, perhaps to actual truth (we will leave aside, for the moment, Buddhism, which in truth never made any claim to divine influence, or the need for any…), yet, it, too, makes the assumption there HAS to be some supernatural being who has created all we perceive. Why? What evidence is there to even suggest such a notion?
If anyone can provide it, I’ll listen, and look. Until then, I’ll go with the religion as described by the current Dalai Lama of Tibet, who said, “My only religion is kindness.”
In Peruaosophy, a set of eight axioms of my own beliefs, predicated on my own experience and study, Axiom # 1 is, “I think I am. That’s close enough.”…. Axiom # 3, with an irony suffusing the entire philosophy, says, simply (stealing from Robert Heinlein, with a twist) “Thou ART God, you know. Let’s do lunch….”
If there is one unifying principle in this beautiful/ugly Universe in which we exist, I don’t believe it would have any need, or desire to CREATE anything…. nor if It existed, would it bother. Why would it? It is already Infinite…. and, thus, beyond not only our perception, but, our imagination….
A supernatural entity simply has no need to exist for us…. or, for anyone who is seeking the Truth in the only place it will ever be found, in their own mind/heart…. “You (We all) are a part of the Universe, the same as the moon and stars….” — Desiderata
gigoid, the dubious
Thank you for your comment, I respect your views, or any view on the matter, after all they are only ideas, rational or irrational, emotional, or logic, etc I am very much aware on the matter in this subject, each of us has a particular view, or no view at all, a diversity with no end on sight, undoubtedly the subject it’s a mystery were each of us has to come to his own views on this matter.
Our nature as humans is to wonder, and therefore the myriad of views about the subject, but the important thing ultimately it’s not what we have in our heads, or what we think about this, or that subject, but what we keep in our hearts.
Very nice post, Nate.
Just one quibble, but I feel it’s quite an important one.
“All came from that which cannot be defined called Brahman (monism).”
I would call this nondualism. If it is monism then Brahman can be defined as a numerical ‘one’ and opposed to ‘two’ or ‘many’, but as you note Brahman cannot be so defined. The term ‘nondualism’ would be a deliberate avoidance of ‘monism’. It implies not-two and also not-one. I feel that to call the Upanishadic view monism is to render it incoherent.
This seems to make no difference to what you are saying here.
Ed Viswanathan the author of that excerpt was trying to make an analogy between the concept of Abraham Monotheism with what we Westerners call Hinduism a large umbrella for a broad spectrum of beliefs, what you are referring specifically it’s Advaita Vedanta’s not-two, “no second” refers to the idea that the true Self, Atman, is the same as the highest Reality, Brahman, meanwhile the term Monism a Greek concept. Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness (Greek:μόνος) to a concept (e.g. existence). Substance monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance.
This of course it’s not free of different associations, and further splits in both concepts to complicate issues, but I will not go there since I believe there is no point to it, analogies always suffer in close observation, but they serve a purpose.
Thank you for your comment! 🙂
After over 25 years of studying with a teacher of the traditional Vedanta, I can say unequivocally that monism is certainly NOT a numerical oneness, and is exactly synonymous with non-dualism as traditionally understood by the Indian non-dualistic schools of thought. That it’s not a numerical oneness (as in monotheism), is precisely WHY the word Advaita translates literally as “not two.” The classic definition of monism is the doctrine that denies distinction or duality. Besides, there is a vast gulf between monotheism and monism. Celebrated modern Orientalists such as Max Muller, for all their shortcomings, in utilizing the term “monism,” do directly equate it with the advaitism of the Indian sages, rather than any sort of Christian monotheism. Muller himself was taken with the teachings of the sage Ramakrishna, himself a confirmed advaitin (with vashishtadvaitic leanings). As for the “Upanishadic view,” that is a contentious issue at best. It may well be that non-dualism is the true import of these forest treatises (I personally do believe that it is), but many Indian philosophic schools over the centuries have taken them in varying fashion, and as their competing commentaries each show some very deep reasoning, it may be best to accept that one’s idea of the Upanishadic view is in the end, only one’s own view on the matter.
One thing I have learned through the years it’s not to get in to Byzantine theological arguments, or should I paraphrase and say Vedantin arguments?
On the top of the post I mention:there is not two people who may have the same idea about God and I may add about anything, even less a complicated issue as Advaita Vedanta!
A wise Muslim sage Ibn al’ Arabi said:”He who knows himself knows his Lord.”
Knowledge is not just a bunch of information as we tend to think of it, but it is a knowing of oneself and life, which is to know the unity in oneself and with life. In other words, it is a knowing of God, within oneself and within the world. Ibn al-`Arabi says, “All the infinite objects of knowledge that God knows are within man and within the cosmos through this type of nearness. No one knows what is within himself until it is unveiled to him instant by instant”
Now I know well this is not Aidvaita Vedanta just an analogy, Sam Harris talking about Advaita 8 points says he is worry about point:3. “This consciousness (Brahman) is also our personal consciousness. (traditionally: atman)Mainly point 3, I can’t really understand how our personal consciousness could be the substance of the universe. Part of it yes, but the same?
Then he add
Practically it is usually approached as in point 4, we are our personal consciousness. So we are not our body or mind, but we are consciousness. The logic behind this is that we can perceive our body and our mind, but not consciousness itself, so it must be what we are. This doesn’t make sense to me either, I understand that we cannot reduce our self to just the body or just the mind, but why would we do this with our awareness?
Does anyone have any thoughts about this?
You might be wondering, why bother with this at all? The answer to that is, because of point 8, if suffering can be eliminated or even lessened, it would be worth it to follow this philosophy to the best of my ability.
The reason I post this here is because I want people to look at this critically. I would never get that from followers of advaitic philosophy.”
Now this are Sam Harris views not mine, different Traditions have different nuances derived from their own particulars, however the point of including Hinduism in my post in Monotheism was to show the degree of tolerance acquired by a society who embrace so many views as diverse the darśanas, that emerged in ancient India. The mainstream Hindu philosophy includes six systems ṣaḍdarśana– Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta, some as diverse, and opposing as Vaisheshika!
And not only that the flourishing of the Nastika schools who do not accept the authorities of the Vedas, and many other schools who have made a synthesis and combined ideas so different in nature to make our Western mind spin!.
I agree with your last thought:
“it may be best to accept that one’s idea of the Upanishadic view is in the end, only one’s own view on the matter.”
Thank you for your comment! 🙂
Your insights are appreciated, and though my words will not always show it effectively, we’re most certainly on the same page. So interesting (and appropriate) that you would bring Sam Harris into this. I was intrigued when picking up a book of his some years ago, I found positive reference to Vedanta. Of course, it wasn’t really surprising, as even darshanas like (nastika) Buddhism show conclusively that water-tight categories of theism and atheism aren’t really so water-tight after all. You mention the broad tolerance of Hindu society, accepting and assimilating diverse darsanas as the six traditional systems. I would add to this – especially as you mention Harris – that even Charvakas and Lokayatas were given space and autonomy in that culture. Some staunch religionists of course spoke disparagingly of them. But their philosophies were forerunners of the modern science that has given us so much. In my eyes, this is only one more area in which ideas commonly seen as mutually exclusive turn out to be. What truly thoughtful person these days finds no common ground between science and religion. As to Harris’ problem with “This Brahman is also our personal consciousness,” it occurs to me that the human penchant for categorizing every thing or idea into neat little compartments, often misses the simple, obvious unity of things. If Atman and Brahman are one, then where is personal and what is Impersonal? Where are the lines f demarcation that distinguish them to be found? Ramakrishna said that this was illusory, like a line drawn on water. Along the continuum of existence, is it not more a matter of degree or gradation, perhaps? The advaitic stance admits of only one singular and undivided principle of existence, and perhaps the more radical advaitists would admit – if they could more effectively yoke word to meaning – that the ultimate experiencing arising from advaitic praxis, though couched in such narrow terms, may more closely resemble a more nuanced, qualified experience better elaborated by someone such as Ramanuja? I applaud Harris for the courage to step outside the atheism of the past, closed to a more complete inquiry willing to look even at the same questions explored by the sages. From the other side of the rails, there are those spiritual types who also refuse to constrain themselves to the old conversations. No matter our starting point, authentic inquiry is necessary.
First let me apologize to you, I choose Sam Harris as an extreme case, you are too kind to him, as a matter of principle I respect all opinions, but not necessarily agree with them!
He is a particular individual who choose to be an Atheist activist, a contradiction of sorts who I find baffling, whose temerity and opinions seem to have no bounds, and seem to be in vogue now days, between the people disillusioned by institutionalize religion who find fashionable to reject the Divine or anything associated with the word God, but yet yearns for a spiritual manifestation, a void created by this materialistic chasm in to a sort of a new spirituality with no God, look at the popularity of choosing Buddhism between the young Western intelligentsia, just because it seem to fit their ideal mind construct, ignoring the fact Buddhism has been practiced as a religion in the East for thousands of years, with all the trappings, problems, and vices inherent to any old religious institution.
I firmly believe we all have to live, and recreate our own connection with Spirit be in the form it may take through our personal experience, the results will vary enormously from individual to individual, the spiritual experience it’s no different to any other endeavor of man you will take out what you put in to, just as Mathew’s the parable of the Talents.
Yes we are on the same page my friend, I just read the article you posted: The Interspiritual Revolution, I agree wholeheartedly!
Best regards to you! 🙂
Hi…Wonderful post and thanks for sharing with us! Wishing you days of Gentle winds—Soft curves and Wonder…Phil
Thank you Philip! 🙂
I echo Philip’s comment! Great read & wishes for success in the New Year.
The post date intrigues me as well. What an unusual way to spend Christmas Eve – the creative mind personified!
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to educate a world!”
It’s a long story, and you may not want to hear it, but basically we all have our passions, and we give way to them regardless of the time!
Thank you for your comment! 🙂
A very interesting read. Thank you!
Thank you for your comment! 🙂
Happy New Year ! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
Thank you for visiting ! 🙂
You are welcome! 🙂
Un tema è molto interessante purtroppo difficile per il mio poco inglese!
Grazie del pensiero di visitare il mio blog dopo tanto tempo !
Ha ve a very good year 2016!
Grazie, anche voi avete un grande Felice Anno Nuovo! 🙂
It is the Spirit that lives within each of us that determines our relationship to each other and the Universe. Man attempts to create too many rules and regulations in respect to God and/or religion.
Thank you for your comment! 🙂
Happy to read your post !!
Thank you! 🙂
Very informative and a beautiful wisdom to share, thank you 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your posts. ‘You shall see all things in your heart and you shall see your heart in me’ Krishna.
Wonderful, thank you! 🙂
Mr. Brigido Anaya
I browsed your blog from 2009 to date in a very hurried manner just to know about what your blog is like. Its great you have blogging since a long time. I feel there is lot for me here to know. I shall come time and again. There is no comment box in your about page.
Thanks for visiting my blog and reading my “Distant Heart” and putting just a like.
A person of your stature should have put a comment, please do not mistake me.
Please go through other posts and poems of mine, they may be of interest and like to you.
I follow you right now and promise to come again.
Love to You.
Thank you, for your kind comment, time constraints prevent me of commenting in every blog I favor, but I may do that in the future. :-).
Its the same here.
In the available time I also as far as possible try to comment on other blogs.
I comment only if I read them and put a like, that should be honest and bloggers really do lot of hard work to post their Posts.
You can see my comment box in every Post of mine I have not responded to every comment, I mean I do not keep chatting like the one liners, whenever necessary I reply to them.
I shall want to come to your blog and would like to read all your posts.
You will know.
Please visit mine.
Very interesting and informative post! Lovely words that inspire and bring forth a pleasant understanding…
Thank you for your kind comment! 🙂
¡Magníficos el texto y las imágenes! Es un tema sumamente complejo y sensible, pero coincido enteramente con la cita: “In whichever way one may seek God, one is always in the path of God.” Saludos.
Gracias por su comentario, se aprecia! 🙂
Molto interessante il tuo articolo….
Buon inizio di settimana e un sorriso,silvia
Thank you Silvia! 🙂
Amazing stuff! 🙂 Looking forward to really read more on your blog.
Thank you, very kind of you. 🙂
My pleasure! 🙂 🙂
Very interesting post!
Thank you! 🙂
A very interesting post. I am fascinated by the polytheism … always….
Thank you! 🙂
Excellent post! A very interesting reading…this is a subject I am passionate of…I teach Anthropology at University and I always read with pleasure this kind of articles.
And thank you for liking my post also!
I am glad you enjoyed it, feel free to come and comment, as you wish, thank you! 🙂
Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh. Kavanah, Kavanah, Kavanah..Thrice Holy is He and so must be our intention (Kavanah) Be! Most important historical fact so far in 5776 years in the history of Creation is when HaShem mixed up the people’s language so that they could not even understand one another nevermind know His Name.
But this fact remains true above all else…Hebrew is the Tongue of Creation as is recorded in the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Jasher.
The Name that is not to be blasphemed is not like the other so-called names that may represent God.
Thank you for your insight! 🙂
Lovely post. I’ve always had a problem with “religion.” On this plane of existence none of us can really know the “truth”… even that word bothers me. Whatever governs the universe we live in we cannot possibly understand it at our level. I choose to live the best life I can and not speculate about what may or may not be.
Yes that’s your choice and we respect it, however many other people do not have a problem with it, neither are bother by it, and that is their privilege as well.
Different people, different lives, different experiences, and therefore difference of beliefs, opinions, ideas, views, etc.
But that’s what make our world diverse, rich, and never boring.
Thank you for reading this piece, and contribution! 🙂
I came back to comment on this post now that I am reading a book by Diane Olsen called “Ancient Ways: The Roots of Religion.” It seems God has taken many forms over the ages and, indeed, today it still means many different things to different people. Olsen also talks in her book about “Adam” and whether where is just one man or whether there is an Adam to represent each new age. Interesting to learn about and when I reread your writing here I found deeper insights into monotheism and polytheism. Thanks for always offering us such thought-provoking posts!
Even if I am not familiar with Olsen’s Ancient Ways, it’s seem a good book to read Christy, I am glad you are reading my stuff, I confess know pretty well this subject it’s not for everybody, but I write for anybody who may be interested on this subject, or to bring it to those who if not familiar, it would provide a small platform for them to look.in to the subject.
About Adam there is a whole blog post I would have to write to give it justice, and yes the idea that every age has a primordial man it’s common on Religions, Ages, Cycles, or Manvantara, is a Sanskrit word, a compound of manu and antara, manu-antara or manvantara, literally meaning the duration of a Manu, or his life span. Each Manvantara is created and ruled by a specific Manu, who in turn is created by Brahma, the Creator himself.
Now Sanskrit been the origin of our Indo European languages you can find an association right away: Man Avatar!
The word Adam in Hebrew means the Human, some say that each generation has an Adam.
Some Muslims also speak of 100,000 thousand Adams, and in a way every Prophet from the Abrahamic tradition it’s an Adam. There is a Hadith where Prophet Muhammad was already a prophet when Adam was between water and Clay, Between Spirit and Body.
And I could go here talking for quite a long time, but as I said I should write a blog about it.
But since you are interested in the subject you should look in to some of my old post like:ON GOD, TRANSCENDENCE VS IMMANENCE of January 2012, or VIA POSITIVA, VIA NEGATIVA of May 2012, I believe you have read also AXIAL PRECESSION, AND COSMOLOGICAL RELIGIOUS CYCLES IN ANCIENT CULTURES, THE AGE OF AQUARIUS of January 2015.
In any case whenever you read a book on this subjects comment, and let me know.
Thank you Christy! :-).
Oh dear friend, thank you so much for this wonderful reply! I do look to you as a teacher of sorts for me, I admit. I have now learned from your comment that Adam is Hebrew for man and about the word manvantara, which I had not even heard of before! I’m going to look at those posts on your blog over the next few weeks; I have read one of them already but will certainly reread it. I am thankful for your friendship, in case I have not already said so 🙂 And, yes, if I do further reading on the topics then I would absolutely let you know~!
Well, some people had call me before a Teacher of sorts, when in lack for a better word to describe me! 🙂
And I am glad for you calling me a friend as well, nowadays so hard to find a person to have an epistolary relationship with. (Sighing)
Currently I am reading Dostoevsky first novel titled: Poor Folk that is written in the form of letters between the two main characters, Makar Devushkin and Varvara Dobroselova, who are poor second cousins. But get this, the guy rents a kitchen corner with a window where he can see her, at her place, and instead of talking to her they exchange letters! Preposterous for our contemporary ways that I decry, and lament, epistolary relationships are death..!
Talking about Ancient Ways, they have been replaced by instant media like texting, twitter, and FB where nothing serious is the rule, rather than the exception.
And please excuse me for my outburst, a tirade no doubt.
In any case I am at your service any time you want to share with me your readings, and thoughts, it’s a pleasure to be of service to you Christy. 🙂
Thanks for the encouraging words here and for being receptive to my wanting to communicate by written discussions, which you’re quite right are going out the window. Now it’s all text message abbreviations. And some people I know don’t like to pick up the phone! Okay, that’s MY rant 😉
And Poor Folk sounds interesting indeed. I have wanted to read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment for some time now but other reads always seem to budge their way through the line and get to me first. But I’ll get to it someday!
I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead and more conversations coming too. Hugs!
Thank you for the good wishes, hope your weekend it’s good too, as for our conversations you don’t need to worry, I am an INFJ, and if you know anything about us, we are crazy about the written word, I am short of time like almost anybody who holds a job, take care of households chores, blogs, and is involved in so many social media networks, like twitter, or FB, etc. Sometimes I bite more than I can chew, but appreciate very much quality writing, as oppose to senseless chatting, and of course if it’s about books, you got me hooked!
Well, the problem with writers of different ages like Dostoevsky, it takes time to get acquainted with, beside if we lack a Historical context it’s difficult to get motivated to read them, but every period has its particular mores, like today we care about sex, power, money, violence, action, etc. On those days was adultery, and the economic hardships people had to live through, which it’s no different from today, just the emphasis, was more into the morality of the deed, the consequences, regret, and the agony of it, stuff that nowadays seem left by the side by our contemporary authors, who focus more on the deeds, being these successful, or not, in other words he got away with, or he was a failure, and got caught, morality, shame, regret, seem to be of little relevance today were we focus on the exploit as a thrill thing.
Yes I know, so many books, so little time..!
Thank you Christy! 🙂
Reblogged this on ReBirth: The Pursuit of Porsha.
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