Monday, February 06, 2006

starting point?


a friend of mine who used to play in our band is a new-age pantheist. i don't think he'd mind being categorized, as in his view we are all God and simply struggling through varying stages of self-realization and memory. it shouldn't matter to a real part of god if other parts of god have the wrong picture of what it is... it is not the worship of the other parts of itself that a god desires.

so he was talking to me one time about zen moments where one is simultaneously enlightened and confused, and it put me in mind of the richard bach novel illusions. the book relates the adventures of a reluctant messiah. in the story, the main character (richard) is a travelling barnstormer who meets another (albeit suspiciously perfect) barnstormer named don. don never has to change his oil or polish his engine- he's got it all together. richard decides to disciple under don, a new guru.

as will happen within a fallen world of action, reaction and causality, richard's plane needs some repairs one day, and the two find themselves in a hardware store for parts. richard is moving down an aisle when he hears the most beautiful soulspoken music of his life coming from another part of the store. he follows the sonic fragrance to its source, finding don playing a toy guitar in a makeshift toy aisle (how many really good toys are there going to be in a hardware store?).

'i didn't know you could play guitar...'
'what kind of messiah would i be if i couldn't do something simple like play guitar? the only difference between you and me is that my belief in my ability to play guitar is greater than your belief in yours. some people have to practice for ten years before they actually believe that they can play...' (okay, really sloppy paraphrase, but that's the gist of it)

and so on. well, if godhood and guitar prowess are related in any way, then i think that the realization of my friend's own personal godhood is still a long way off. he recently moved to korea and doesn't have to practice as hard or even change his strings. he sends us photographs from time to time, but never song ideas.
***

my friend kinkazzo spoke recently in an email of his restlessness and a desire to unite with the universal mind. he outlined a story of how he had once launched an online cosmic consciousness group that caught on and grew so quickly that they were even to the point of discussing the prospect of holding a convention. yet amidst all of this excitement, and the realization of a lifelong dream, my friend found himself in a funk and told the whole lot of them to piss off so he could shrink back once again into relative obscurity.

i think that it must be really hard to be a god.

it's frustrating to author something that ultimately means nothing. chasing after the wind or whatever. certainly in kinkatso's case, the experience is heavily reminiscent in its conclusions of the teacher in ecclesiastes: it still speaks of an unfulfilled desire to be a necessary part of something bigger than big, realer than real, and above all, satisfying. although he had created something 'ex nehilo', it was not from love but from restlessness that the new incarnation arose. the thrill was all in the chase.

I had something going there, just as I always wanted. But I couldn't follow through, I lost my appetite: that's the way I am. I lose interest quickly, and my dynamism disappears... This is surely due to my disquieting mind, my irregular personality and my pressive character. Right.
But why?
What am I looking for?
Why couldn't I keep it going and create a REAL movement? It would have been sooooo good: just the way I liked -- people talking in-depth; people looking at important issues; people being spiritual and superconscious.
Damn it: I really wanted to CREATE A STAR!
A "conveyor" for my Fire.
A channelling for my Inspiration, my Creativeness -- (all capitalised!)
Egocentric? Sure, but what a goal!
And I ruined everything with my instability...

you can't create something real from something unstable. you can't create something that is perfect, balanced and needing nothing to survive from a personal need to create something that is blah blah blah. it's strength is tied inextricably to its author but realized in the quality of the materials used. it's like trying to create free energy with a mechano set and a bunsen burner... some things cannot be created, only discovered.

a laugh for the man in the eyes of the world trying to make things work
tried to create a new jerusalem and ended up with new york...

(bruce cockburn)

look at humankind. our greatest strengths seem to reflect that perfect ideal personified that we have named God. (i love how God dodged that one from the beginning, knowing that if we were to be given a specific name to address him as, we would just use it wrongly anyway... so he let us identify him in the most meaningful way we could) our greatest weaknesses, by choice, seem to be in direct contrast to those strengths.

however, i just can't subscribe to nietzsche's 'beyond good and evil' thing- that subscribing to a morality which jives with universal law on things like 'goodness' and 'justice' is somehow subjecting oneself to being repressed; and that God's choice to permit free will is evidence of his weakness as a deity: a flaw indicative of the fallacy of God- i choose to push against that one. free will is our greatest gift- superceding even Jesus in God's grace. i mean, Jesus was the remedy for the bad stewardship of our free will which resulted in a severed relationship between love personified and goodness actualized: between the creator of all things and his crowned of creation. the ability to choose came first.

but as long as we choose to be gods we will be frustrated.
we create, but it's never out of the raw material of love alone.

do you think that all creation came from nothing but the word of the intelligent designer in need of an outlet one day? although the creation story begins with the spirit of God hovering over the face of the deep, as it were, how figuratively or literally are we to take this? i love the idea that everything good (including time) was concentrated to a specific location having no dimensions and a specific moment having no duration- a starting point only- and that the voice of God is what the ancients a thousand years from now, schooled in antiquities and curios, will call 'the big bang.'

over the next few days, kinkazzo and i continued the dialogue further. originally i was going to just copy and paste the whole thing in the comment box of this blog, but then i thought 'gee, maybe that's rude...' so instead i've just linked his blog on the side.

(tangentary questions: in this information-processing epoch, to what degree is any dialogue between two consenting adults a private matter? especially among bloggers where so much intellectual property is released into the public domain? i don't know the answers to these questions, except that i believe the more we can interact with each other's ideas, either directly or indirectly, the more opportunity we have to grow as people. i still struggle with what that means pertaining to 'obscenity,' censorship, and ideas that contribute to the moral and spiritual unravelling of our planet, however. my parenthetical point is that, like effects without cause or yang without ying, i can't seem to isolate and articulate ideas from the dialogue without at least partially citing the ideas in italics which led to them... hope that's cool, k-man!)

anyway, he cited eregina:

God is eternally partially self-ignorant. If he knew all of himself, he could define himself. If he could define himself, he would be finite.

but is the lack of definition an inability or a refusal?

i mean, i recognize the logic that binds the infinity of God to the unknown and incalculable, but what if God exists beyond logic as he exists beyond time and beyond evil? what if that which God does further affirms his capacity to be all things and do all things, whereas what he does not do just continues to be that which he has simply not done, neither defining nor deifying him?

"I AM who I AM"- nothing logically comparable- no appropriate simile or metaphor when it comes to his power or his holiness. then the questions return to that old human stomping ground: what does God do? what has he done? what is he responsible for? or, my personal favourite: what is he NOT responsible for?

But all he knows of himself is what he has created. What is created is his knowledge or represents the expressed, revealed and therefore finite aspects of his actions and his knowledge

what is potential is his mystery: mysterious in him and to him. i don't think that God is a mystery to himself. it is like that guitar story- until don had played guitar, all that richard could possibly say was that don had never played guitar- no, not even that... all he could say was that, to his knowledge, don had never played guitar. were don to share, would it be necessary for him to qualify his ability by saying 'yes, of course i knew how to play before playing' of might it be enough for the playing of guitar to be within the realm of don's capability, but not, as yet, something that he had done? does 'if can do' logically imply 'then has done' or are there in fact things that God can do that he hasn't done and, seated outside of time, will never do? there must be. i mean, there are things that i am capable of doing that i've never done- how much moreso God?

i agree that our causative, hierarchical thinking is problematic at best, mainly due to its subjectivity. through this lens we quantify, qualify and classify, attempting to catch a glimpse of some meaning. that's probably the problem. we attempt to examine and explain the rest of the world (let's not even bother with theology, let's just scientifically and experiencially comment on our existence alone, like descartes) from this tiny and subjective point of context rather than to seek to comment on this piece of turf upon which stand against the backdrop of everything around us.

God is caused by what it causes; is made necessary by what it necessitates; we cannot comprehend. I cannot comprehend, and I can't accept it.

i cannot comprehend but i am okay with accepting it. i find the whole fallacy of entitlement to be a bit of a red herring anyway- to conclude that we are entitled to answers that allign with our reason is a bit presumptuous, i think. if i as a man believe that i can somehow comprehend the mind of God without being God, then surely it must follow (although probably not very logically, as my brain doesn't work that way most days...) that i would be able to comprehend the mind of a woman without being one? i mean, there is probably much less difference between the thinking and purposes of a man and a woman than there is between a man and a relationally able, conscious creator of all good things both seen and unseen. yet what an incredible mystery my wife can be somedays...

dare we presume to be capable of drawing finite parameters around one who is, by virtue of basic doctrines like omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, perfection and holiness, absolute and without parameters apart from those which attempt to address his very nature? that might be a bit much for a creation to accomplish, using only created materials and means to measure and summarize the immeasurable. might that be like trying to use a ruler to measure the mass of a beam of light- the tool selected to do the job being not only insufficient, but in fact irrelevent? rather than a box to keep him in, perhaps our understanding of God would be better served by trying to sort out the things that are at the centre of who God is: the things that characterize that location having no dimensions, that instant having no duration. it is from there and then that love and life did begin.

so play the game of existence to the end of the beginning
(lennon/mccartney)

time to go practice...

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8 Comments:

Blogger Internet Street Philosopher said...

Interesting post. A lot to think about.

2/12/2006  
Blogger curious servant said...

I love the ideas you share. Thank you for another good post.

You must have been reading my last post as I was writing a new one. I almost missed your comment.

Thakn you for the words. I especially like the part about the guitar.

Take care my friend.

2/12/2006  
Blogger Pensive said...

I can't help but wonder/think that Richard's illussions have gone too far while ours have not gone far enough.

Why did Peter need a hand up from Jesus after walking a few steps?

Keep the pictures coming.

2/12/2006  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

That's another deep blog, again I like your wording in this defense of the gospel (or the whole bible - I think I saw some Genesis in there). Then I had 2 cents and I gave them to you.
Not that I don't agree with the whole idea your peddling, it seems quite valid from a believer's POV. This 'god-typology' that you talk about and the people invloved in it, i forget the dude you always mention, kinkazzo, he must be an interesting fella. I like your ideas, I like to read them and respond to your blog...another reason to continue writing and that's all you need.
However, this 'god' debate seems a little weak, I guess from either side. Again how can I suppose to argue 'God' and suppose someone will accept it...unless they have faith already (which seems to be happening in previous comments). On the other hand, how can a human argue for a 'god', or that they may be one, when they are as fallible as the next dude. Having no control, not even over how their day will turn out. They don't know if they have tomorrow yet pertain to 'reasoning' they are a 'god'?
Well we are created in 'God's image', we are something sacred, even our very breath is life. But when the light's go out, even we doubt the afterlife. But if we have to go by 'what we know' on a daily basis...created to live not to die...or do we die day after day? I think not. But even rationale can only explain what we 'experience' and know. The end being, we argue about 'God' with as much basis as we argue what tomorrow will bring.
Still, I like the blog, very intriguing and mind-bending (are you going for mind-bending?). Answer the small questions they are asking, and that's all between the lines.

2/24/2006  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"Again how can I suppose to argue 'God' and suppose someone will accept it...unless they have faith already"

yep, that whole ethnocentricity thing rears its deformed head regularly, especially when those who believe speak to those who don't... particularly about that which is believed or not believed in...

for awhile i was even trying to refer to people who did not subscribe to the 'christian' faith as 'achristian' as opposed to 'pre-christian' or 'non-christian' or whatever. really, why do we feel this need to somehow separate ourselves from each other with qualifiers and titles and the like?

we are spiritual beings encountering each other and trying to sort out who we are in the larger drama before our character is written out.

i dragged this one out a bit on an earlier post (http://e-pistles.blogspot.com/2005/11/culturally-sanctified-set-apart.html)

thanks for reading.

2/24/2006  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

The defining line, the dividing line, I get ya, and I am down with it. I guess I hate the dividing line that comes in church also, like this 'holy' vs 'unclean' debate that has raged for years over people of faith and non-faith. As the church, we have allowed a dividing line between 'saved' and 'unsaved', with our religious articles. They have to say this 'prayer' to be saved but you never see a disciple do that? It was 'follow me' and they did...what did they follow? Which leads to us...what are we following? Some religious articles of faith that draw the dividing line or the words as written? I agree, I hate the lines of division.

2/24/2006  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

the 'pray the prayer or go to hell' form of evangelism is not everyone's chosen 'method'- although in evangelical tradition i guess it has been effective for many. some people find God in a moment of spiritual crisis and cry out that someone would lead them in a prayerful renouncing of the old life/receiving of new freedom thing (stop, turn 180, go) while others find themselves negotiating more of a hairpin curve in their faith journey... it's the job (?) of the believer in this second case to help keep his or her friend from slamming into the wall at 200 mph.

the real work of life change is done by the Holy Spirit anyway, not by some well-intentioned believer with a big heart trying to save all of his or her friends or relations from a Christless eternity using pressure sales tactics, like selling time shares in heaven or something. that is taking too much responsibility in a world blessed/damned with free will. only the Holy Spirit can bring a heart to breaking- whether he does so through the mildly preachy words of a friend or simply through that friend's life or grace, love, justice and service lived for all to see and experience. not evangelism and not philanthropy... just life in real time.

if knowing a believer is knowing Christ on earth, then the believer needs to make sure that he or she is actually knowable. i think that that means being real, attentive and accessible. i think that it means being the same person at any given time of day or night, rather than having one's godly-box and one's worldly-box and one's workplace-box and one's ministry-box and so on.

that's too modern. life is ministry. anything we do should be worthy of being written down as the work of God.

everytime i speak or write these words i stop in my tracks. we all have so much to learn about being faithful... at least i do- can't speak for the rest of christendom.

time to get back at it.

2/25/2006  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

I agree. I am trying not to fail in the 'real' things anymore but I see where I fail a lot...but I can live with myself and my dumbness. What I can't live with anymore is wasting someone else's time with my dumbness. I agree that life is a ministry and that everywhere and at anytime something can be done, even a little effort goes a long way. All I know is I am to follow those gospels closely and what I find is simple, and maybe I am complicating it for some...but I am trying trying my best to say the least. It's 2 commandments and the rest of the book will fall in place and that has become so clear to me as of late.

2/27/2006  

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