The aftermath of destruction is quite gratifying to the mind. There is a sense of freedom: of a return to the void where all is possible. No burdens and no responsibilities. Problem is, we often just go down the same path all over again, and make the same mistakes. Like a person who does not remember, and so cannot learn from their experience. Gratification and what is best to do, thus are rarely aligned. But just as a too willing desire to destroy leads to repetition, so a refusal to ever destroy leads to stagnation. We are stuck in a tight bind, a vise.
Can the forces of creation and destruction be harnessed in a healthy way or is there always an element of insanity in the breaking up of solidified habits and rituals? A madness that creeps in insidiously? Can the mind stretch to encompass its world, or must it always compartmentalize itself away in to some comfortable niche? Pure awareness would be the ideal goal for an integrated mental entity. But you can be certain that such would not be ideal for the propagation of the species. Do we choose our own integrity, or a world that will slowly tear us apart and break us down?
The only difference is in the way we depart. Maintain integrity to the end, and explode into a million pieces when the pressure reaches a critical point. Or steadily disintegrate and drift apart in the void. The life of the mind, it seems, follows pretty much to a tee, the life-cycle of the stars.
Excerpt from the posthumous writings of the last articulate human being, Daniel, E.L. Arving
The world had come to a graceless end. Truth and honour, once prized possessions of the noble amongst the human race, had been abandoned. Worse, they had been betrayed. It was a very subtle dismemberment, a very clinical operation. But the end result could brook no feeble excuses, to the effect of, “we didn’t see it coming”, or “it snuck up on us”, or even “it’s not my fault it was like that when I got here!” For the effect was no accident it was a cultural decision that we all partook in, and that we all would be destined to renew from here on out, from one generation to the next.
All the ritualistic gestures of adolescence: the hazings, humiliations, drunken episodes, debaucheries. All the cynical bitterness felt towards an adult world of following the orders of ones superiors. In each and every case, the human individual was being placed in a tight corner from which the only escape door, the only way out, was to leave his truth and honour behind him, and fall in line.
How to do this? Simple: a lie in plain sight was to be acknowledged. If a person would believe and affirm a lie above what their own senses, and their own better judgement told them. A lie placed so blatantly and arrogantly in front of their eyes. If a person, rather than trust their own vision, would bow down to authority out of fear on such a basic point of individual integrity as this, then there was nothing left for them but a life of slithering chicanery and back-handedness.
Yes, we have been told such lies. And guess what? We were even told that they were lies. No one was hoodwinked. Each betrayed not the judgement of reality, not the judgement of others, but their own judgement. Their own intuition. Their own instinctive feel for their surroundings.
We created a schism, a polarity, a compartmentalization, call it what you will, within on our own mind. We rendered ourselves insane so society could carry on as if normal. This was the crime that extinguished humanities hopes, and ensured it of an ignominious end.
Battles and destruction,
Envy and Aggression
A “rightful” Possession.
Laughs and Sneers
A shout and a scream
All not what it seems
A war waged under cover
for the sake of a “lover”
to give the girl her kick
A long hardened stick.
To give her airiness some solidity
to justify her vanity and frivolity.
Let me tell you my point of view,
though it is nothing special, nor new:
Conflict has its eternal source
in this crime against out better minds
for which we show no remorse,
and to which we remain willfully blind.
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.