Saturday, July 30, 2005

Speculations On The Higher Authority

I’ve always found it easiest to consider the nature of god as the Organizing Force of the universe. As such, divinity is not a particularly appropriate or germane term to use as a synonym. In effect, god is the creation itself, after which the hope for a god of personal interest is vain, indeed. And prayer is beneficial only in the sense that it is the half-time speech one gives to ones self.

I suspect that each human brain has a limited ability to conceptualize beyond the system in which it exists, and that limit varies from human to human. Every system, every organization of interconnected fact, is limited in what can be perceived or perhaps even imagined outside of its system or reality. An Einstein may be capable of great speculative powers far beyond the usual, but the ultimate limit exists for him, as well.

But because we are given imagination, we know fear. And when, at reaching that barrier beyond what we can see, we invest that mystery with a name and a purpose as an anodyne to fear. Trembling, we must address the Universe. The Universe, however, has no need to address us.

Happiness, as the goal of life, is empty. The closest a human can perceive of Joy is, by its very nature, transient and the ineffable companion of Process. Like, as I wrote in a play once, the warmth one feels when one rubs his hands together. Happiness, however, if it exists at all with any sense of permanence, is simply the static absence of Desire, which is a state of discontent requiring or demanding satisfaction.

So, if God is Creation, we are all sparks in the spray from that initial strike on the celestial anvil, with no more purpose but to be, while we burn, and then be not. And if we need to create God in our image, it should be enough to imagine Him watching the sparkling fire as a thing of incredible beauty. When it dies, He can always strike again.

It is easy to see how comforting a more touchy-feely Divinity can be. If the God of the Hebrews had been more commercial, Jews might have been spared Christianity. The God of the Hebrews is a Jewish father, rational when emotion would be better, emotional when rationality might be more effective. But then, the Jews invented him, what would you expect. The Christian deity, trifurcated and mellowed out by the revisions of Roman demographers, is just touchy-feely enough for wide release.

If the kind of god I imagine has any gifts beyond initial existence to give, they are the gifts of Randomness and Entropy. Those are the truest answers to the world’s most often asked question: “Why me?” The strongest of us, I think, can not only accept but appreciate those two gifts. If there is any truer place to put one’s hopes, I don’t know where it is.

I wonder. Who do the ants pray to? When a heavy step on the ground above their community crushes them, what do they think is happening? And what or who do they believe responsible? And do they take it personally?



Anonymous Philip II of Macedon said...

Beautiful post, Puck.

If prayer is only beneficial to the degree that it provides comfort through self-delusion, then all I can say is that I wish I were more easily self-deluded.

On your metaphor for creation: looks like you're saying that we're all Embers of the Human Race!

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about prayer as a mental exercise? If you want to remember 150 people in your prayers in different categories, I would suggest this might be better than playing bridge or doing cross word puzzles, particularly if ou continue to add to the number. One doesn't have to pray to a personal God either.

As for happiness, "if it exists at all with any sense of permanence", what about the person who has had wonderful parents, married a beautiful human being, adores his or her children, is blessed with long lasting friends, is in tune with nature, and fortunate enough to live in a setting which is heaven on earth with time to help others less fortunate than that person? He or she has gone through life with many desires which were not satisfied, but never the less is a happy person with a sense of permanence because that person "thanks his or her lucky stars" that they have it better than 99% of the human population. Isn't this happiness? Don't you know people like this?


5:53 AM  
Blogger Puck said...

What you call Happiness, I call Contentment. I fear semantics will make this dialog most difficult to carry on. I'm talking about Joy, definitely a transcendent state.

As to Prayer, if you are not going through it with some expectation of being heard by some omniscient and omnipotent and sentient entity, then it's not Prayer as commonly understood. It becomes merely a rhetorical form, like a sonnet or a sonata.


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