Indifference is my fortress
Solitude is my consolation
Emptiness is my distress
Pride is my self-immolation
Dwindling life seeps through my pores
I cannot grasp it or hold it close
Shadows of emotion shudder me to the core
To love, to feel are to me things otiose.
My fate left to the breeze
to knock me this way or that,
to lift me up to the sky,
or send me to the ground, face flat.
It is small matter to me,
for I have no company.
Just the cool aether waiting to embrace
My hardened, fractured face.
Take me if you dare
My spirit will yet rebel
For Love I may not care
But tough remains my shell
Unlikely even to despair,
though I plummet down to hell.
What is this force that remains
this power in which I trust
though all around screams and complains
I still don’t turn to dust.
My life cannot be captured,
I know no thing for sure
my soul continues enraptured
I can think up no lasting cure.
As Deadened as I may try to be,
From my passion, I cannot break free.
I have done some reading lately regarding the opinions on God of many intelligent people. I read a book of discussions about God with Norman Mailer. I read a couple of books on the same subject by A.N.Wilson: Jesus, and God’s Funeral. And I am currently rereading parts of the bible, and a new book called, The Future of God, by Deepak Chopra.
The problem I think we hit upon in Western Culture is precisely that though we may accept people could have Faith in God. The notion that someone could Know God seems like a step too far. Right back to our heritage from the Ancient Greeks, knowledge has come to mean Justifiable True Belief. It is the Justification aspect where there is some trouble with knowing God. A justification has to be independent of the thing justified to be appropriate. But how can something be independent of God to justify it, if God is present everywhere and in everything?
From the Deepak Chopra book I see him confidently pronounce on knowledge of God. But this comes from his connection to Eastern forms of Religion that developed alongside their philosophy. And don’t require the kind of justifications we require for something to count as knowledge. Knowledge for them is legitimate if it is an inwardly felt certainty, it doesn’t need an external justification. It is sufficient unto itself. For us in the West this would only be enough to class as Faith or Conviction, but not Knowledge.
When Descartes pushed back knowledge to the basic foundation of introspective certainty, he was asking us to suspend belief, but not thought, for I think, therefore I am, not I believe therefore I am. Thus the result of his introspection was already skewed in favor of this outcome, based on what he chose to suspend and what he choose not to suspend. Why is the act of thinking seen to be more primary than the act of believing? It is an act like any other surely? It seems to me as arbitrary as coming down to the fact that what remains when contemplating in a quiet environment alone is thoughts. But what makes this environment primary? Maybe a social setting is a primary environment, maybe a hunting environment is primary, maybe a sexual environment is primary. In these cases what remains as most primary is not thought, but some other thing, such as passion, belief, etc…
I don’t have answers here to this connundrum, I am just trying to expose the shaky foundations of what may seem even the most basic knowledge claims. For it is because of choices we make here about what knowledge is that then makes it impossible for us to even consider knowing God.
Even the most enchanting, mystical personal experience would not give me access to knowledge of God, according to the ways that we in the West choose to define knowledge. Even a life of faith and conviction would me give me less knowledge of God, supposedly, than a person sitting alone idly could have knowledge of fleeting thoughts that pass through their mind. Somewhere here I think we have lost track of the importance of activity to knowledge. We have come to the conclusion of complete passivity as the best way to be receptive to knowledge, when this may often not be the case. An active belief may be worth more than a passive justification in the balance of things.
So, can we know God? I think first we need to ask ourselves, what is our attitude towards knowing something. Maybe the answer lies in there, not out there in some impassive object we can point to as a justification.
In which ever direction I turn,
opportunities lay laid to waste.
hopes and dreams I spurn
with eagerness and great haste.
Do not try to tell me,
this world is neutral and void
I’m not determined, nor am I free.
I’m malevolently possessed, soul destroyed,
This is the reality I face
not a wishful dream,
not a factual disgrace.
But a nightmare in which I can’t even scream.
I have spent much of my life considering the evidence and arguments on the strict philosophical and logical levels as to if they support the Atheistic, materialist view of the world. The non-spiritual, purely natural/factual view of affairs that I inherited as a legacy from the enlightenment generation that preceded me.
And the evidence simply isn’t there. It is scant, circumstantial, dependent on accepting a whole new set of dogmas and prejudices, and is completely out of proportion to the confidence in this creed of its proponents.
I have come to believe it is rather the activity itself of following scientific methods: generalising, neutralising, etc… that, over a sustained time, deadens the more spiritual sensibilities of a person. The Materialists/Atheists grand truth is actually representative of a shutting down of a natural, psychological faculty of their minds as human beings.
The irony is that, for all the scientists generalisations followed in method, it has actually led to a narrowing of his own minds perceptive faculties. The method supposed to secure the reasoner and observer of empirical facts in his impartial general approach, has made its followers more narrow and partial in their own mental faculties.
This is the loss they bemoan, not the tragic death of God that they in practice proclaim with Atheistic confidence and surety. They have tried to dramatise their own personal biographical loss of a part of their mental faculties as a general loss for human kind of the objects that such a faculty gives us access to. This is their own little attempt at an immortality hidden amongst their supposedly courageous pioneering acceptance of the void lying beyond this mortal coil.
I choose to reject this rational atheistic inheritance, just as they rejected their religious theistic inheritance back in their day.
This society functions by positive reinforcement. It gives to those who do as they are told. It gives to those who kneel down at the altar of the idols of material wealth. To those who betray themselves to practices they cannot mentally or morally justify. It weakens the will to the point of a self-imposed powerlessness. It rewards passivity in this way to all but the minority. The minority we are then to idolise. Our new gods, the self-perpetuating elite, the supermen. The holders of all our dreams and fantasies in a form we can never realise in this life. But whom we yet aspire to with a religious devotion. An unshakeable faith. We are manipulated by this elite day in and day out. The cherry picked news stories, the uniformity of message drummed into all citizens. But we cannot fight against it. For this elite are our gods, and we are its play things. We let them weave our destiny, because we are too fearful to start our own thread. Knowledge cannot save us, for we know all this already, yet still it is killing us bit by bit, piece by piece.
We chose our idols: money, power, fame
there is no way back.
Only a way forward to utter corruption
devastation at the hands of karma.
we have no will power left,
we’re too comfortable to try.
And for some ideal or principle,
we’re too scared to die.
Sound and fury remain.
Echoes from an era and a generation that cared.
Though our minds when revealed and unbeared.
Show us empty and barren of passion
we only take things up on a whim
as a passing fashion.
Our heart beats are dim
barely audible to the perceptive ear,
lost in the echoes of time
vanishes all we held dear,
the silent and fatal crime.
Here was a reply I made to a yahoo post about how many people are happy in their work in the various towns and cities of the UK:
Only a small minority are actually happy in their work, I believe. Many others might claim to be happy, but they are only doing so to save face, and because they are scared of the alternatives. Either unemployment and the lack of dignity that comes with that, or finding another job. For me the biggest sham in this era is that we are all expected to identify with our jobs, as if we are doing them by personal choice, when we all know it is external compulsion in most cases. And the only incentive to work is to pursue material gains. So this over time selects out the most materialistically minded people to be successful at work. There is no enjoyment in any of this, we are just torturing each other, all out of bravado to save face.
This really is probably one of the most intriguing and critical problems in social science: that despite all the technological advancements made in the 20th Century people are still finding themselves by and large in a situation of having to make a hard graft at work in unsatisfying jobs performing unsatisfying tasks. How can this be? Are we as humans perverse by nature, and we like to make things difficult for ourselves? Is it that there is always a pressure from more impoverished parts of the world in this globalized economy that forces us to have to compete? Or do we simply not know how to control the impulsive side of our nature except when in a crisis, and so only when we are in a stark situation of survival does it hit home that we will have to change how we act?
Some subtle and all-pervasive mechanism is at work here throughout society that is making things this way. And until we can start to gain some more understanding and awareness of it, it is going to continue to control our working lives, making them predominately a struggle in a state of either misery, or at best of disinterest.