Archive for the ‘Epiphany’ Category

h1

On Genesis

September 10, 2009

“We always know who we should love \ but we’re never certain how.” John K. Samson.

From the dark silence of several weeks… a spark. A spark to start a fire. A spark from the void to ignite a word, and from that word spoken comes words written. The word is genesis and the words follow beneath. The subject is a particular genesis, the beginning of a book that represents the beginnings of humanity. Nothing in my life has intrigued me more than this particular account and it is often during the genesis of new and wonderful things in my life that it returns.

The book of Genesis speaks to the beginnings of humanity. That is to say, it gives an account for the root of human nature by creating a theoretical beginning. It is not a historical or scientific account but rather an observation of the things that were happening around the author at the time. Perhaps divinely inspired, perhaps not, it stands regardless as one of the greatest summations of human experience in the western cannon. Not because it accurately describes a moment in time, but rather because it describes every moment in time.

The stories, whether divinely inspired or not, serve as guides to human nature that tells how man lived, how we currently live, how we will most likely live in the future, and how we should live despite all of this. It is a summation, a prediction, and an ethic. Not only is it this, but it is all of those things for an individual life, for a community’s life, and for humanity in general. It accounts for personal ethic, political life, and ethical existence for people and does so while confronting man’s natural desire to wrestle with meaning at its metaphysical core. 

One story, the topic of this entry, is the story of Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel are brothers who live their lives in unfettered contact with God. This becomes important later. It must be noted that God is a character in Genesis and as a symbol means a great deal. Cain and Abel give worship to God through sacrifice. It is assumed by the reader that this is not a faith based worship but rather a necessity. They seem too close to God to really require faith to believe. He is more a fact. As if all the barriers between physical and metaphysical reality have been stripped.

Cain kills Abel. But why? After both brothers give sacrifice Abel’s is favored over Cain’s. Cain, assumingly out of envy, kills Abel. But why? For what end? I posit this – to achieve God’s love. Cain’s crime, one that is the ultimate in damnation, heinous in nature, and base in motive was caused by his desire to be loved by God, and his love for God. Having failed to achieve God’s love through worship, Cain removes the one that God favors, eliminating the completion if you will.

Thus Genesis not only confronts such base human behaviors as murder but does so while intertwining vicious behavior with the one true God. God, the greatest of all things, the good to which no other good should be sought, even without the veils between physical and metaphysical existence, gives man such great desire that man, given his freedom, will commit the ultimate atrocities to achieve His love.  

Thus we, whose mode of existence is weighed down by the barrier between physical and metaphysical beings, are even more likely to have our love misguided or to love improperly. Yet faith tells us to love God with all our hearts. Was Cain any different? We always know who we should love, we are never certain how. This to me, is most true with God himself.

The truth is we are all more like Cain than Abel. We will always love improperly, will always have misguided attempts at love, and will often confuse where and who God is. The punishment for this human flaw? Homelessness.

Following Cain’s atrocity he is punished by God. He is not killed, nor harmed, but rather exiled to forever wander and never rest. Cain is not only spared by God, but protected with a mark. Any of those who commit the atrocity of murdering Cain will be punished 7 fold. Cain must live, must carry the weight of his body, and wonder forever. This is humanity in the embodied state. Disconnected and wandering without true rest. For true rest comes in God. “Our hearst are restless until they rest in you.”

This is more bleak than hell, or at least equivalent. Unlike Cain, we are told of mercy and a possible return home but are left to wander until then. The possibility of mercy and home is a topic for another discourse on Genesis. For now, let us drain the final lessons for the story of Cain about how to deal with ourselves in the state of wandering.

Cain having been banished builds a city. A curious fact for a homeless man. Once again showing that earthly buildings do not provide man a ‘home’. The city is called Enoch, after his son. So Cain also has a family whose lineage continues. Cain’s family begets all those that play the lyres and pipes, and the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. A pretty prestigious class that gives birth to things so intimately woven with human culture that one cannot divorce humanity from them. They are the very finger prints of man.

Music shares in Godliness because its power can insight man to do both evil and good things. Music itself evokes love and as a product of love comes hate. It is the very lineage of Cain playing in our cars, or homes, while we run, while we read, from our computers, IPods, and stereos. In reminds us of the Cain inside all of us.

Beauty is a terrifying thing as much as it is an uplifting thing. The most beautiful and good things guide us but our weakness misguides us. Our love, coming from such flawed things, move with the power of all mighty God, but with the direction of the wind. We are pushed and pulled to the paths of least resistance. Yet even without resistance we would still be Cain. So engrained is freedom in our lives that even in the presence of God himself we can still falter. Faith is not loving God, no that is easy if you try. Faith is not thinking He loves you back, He does. Faith is thinking that His mercy will outweigh his justice, and that despite your flaws he will bring you home.

h1

L’Chaim

July 14, 2009

It is incomprehensible to me the absurdity of life. How sudden despair with depth and edges like teeth still uplifts and fulfills and how such transcendent moments come in the shower occasionally. Yet, sometimes after toweling off and rubbing the condensation off the mirror it leaves with both its wonder and its weight.

I find it crazy that people commit suicide. Note here: not they. I don’t find them crazy. I find ‘it’ crazy. The action set apart as a platonic form if you will. Suicide quo suicide. Half of me doesn’t care. I mean whatever, right? Either there is eternal existence beyond the body or not. And either way, they are going to be ok. I feel. They might regret the decision on the other side, but they’ll be ok. I have to believe that because I have too many faults to be afforded more mercy than them. And if there is nothing… well then what did they lose? Pain, loneliness, despair.

I like the way a book smells. New and old. And often when I read them on the love seat in my kitchen, or by the window, or outside I find myself thinking of women. Each page like clothing, each letter like strands of hair that alone would look peculiar but together form a beautiful style. Every turned page is a removal of a layer of clothing, until ultimately we are both naked – at first exciting but then disappointing after a while. The undressing, it would seem, is more important than the being undressed. There is something about knowing the whole story that disturbs me. All I want to do is go back to ignorance so I can experience the unveiling again. That’s a metaphor… Sometimes.

I find it intolerable to not read… something, anything. But not nothing. I find it crazy that people could find it boring. I guess that’s what makes me intolerant. Oh well, so sue me. I wonder how such people view women, and love, and family. How do they view history, humanity, and art. Do they view them at all? I guess they must. But everybody reads, right? Such people don’t really exists. I mean, I read too much, it’s not good. I am not talking about that much. But everybody reads…. sometimes.

I love it when people are honest. And when they touch you a lot. Hugs and handshakes. Kisses and kicks in the ass. I thinks that’s why I like alcohol and people who drink it. I don’t like it when people run for fun. I understand why they do. I just don’t like it. I mean, honestly, what are you running from? Or toward? And are you getting there? I don’t like it when people don’t do things out of fear, though I’m shockingly cowardly in that same way. Perhaps that’s why I like it in others. Perhaps that is why I drink alcohol. For honesty, and touching moments, and foolish bravery that makes you experience things you never would.

It unnerves me when people don’t drink. Even more so when they feel it makes them righteous. Even more so when they do so because of God. I don’t think he could possibly care less, really. On the other hand I understand them. What are they really losing but abstaining? Hangovers, bad livers, hurt feelings (the bruises of honesty), people who touch too much because their motives are other than humanity. The smell of vomit. The feeling of cold porcelain on your face. Not missing much. So it could be worse. It still unnerves me, and that is confusing to me.

I like children. I want some. My own. I have nothing against adoption. I just have no desire to do so. My love for children comes only after my love for women. Such a kind and gentle sex. Like children with minds of adults, and adult inclinations. Like interesting, social, and educated children. Not to mention, they are great on the eyes. As such, you can imagine I love families. I want one. My own. Yet being a father scares me. A lot. I had a good example though, so I should be fine. My wife would help too. I have friends that would be glad to help out. Yet still. I am afraid. What if I raise a Hitler, you know? Do I really control that? Such worries are ridiculous. But they come in those moments in the shower too. How desires and fears are twin brothers. Note here: not sisters.

I have no tolerance for people who think goods come without bads. Or that bads don’t have a silver lining. My theory: take a day, a real day, to be whatever emotion you are feeling – then get over it. Everybody needs to take a day for themselves. Then they need to understand that life is complex and not every day can be a day off, yet occasionally you can have one, and they are good.

Of course I say all this. Yet I still adore many a person and humanity as a whole. I can never look into an eye and not feel something. All these things that perturb me, before and after the fact, are nothing when I am with somebody. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I don’t know if I am being dishonest or a social construct. It just doesn’t happen. That is the blessing of my life. All people have to be upset, have to feel pain, they have to be disappointed. It is good for them. But if you can enjoy the time when you are with others, forget your problems, read a book, have a drink, and just be. Well, if you can do that, you can be happy. People will either make you happy or sad, and 9 times out of 10 this depends on your perception. I got lucky. I naturally love people and because of it I love life. That is really all I had to say, so why I wrote the rest, and why you read it, is all a mystery to me.

h1

The Ear Tests

May 7, 2009

The ear tests words as the tongue tastes food” – Job 34:3

How does one that will die have faith, and to what effect does he imagine this faith to have. Life as test, trial, or testimonial is ingenuine and incomprehensible outside of theoretical jargon. We must be alive first and foremost. From that we should arrive at any ethic, even a faithful one.

Faith cannot, and mustn’t, spit in the face of a life genuinely living. A faith that abandons the body and its goods is ultimately incompatible with our existence. Man as flawed, as embodied, as contradictory, as ignorant must be taken into consideration. Not to remove man from this turmoil but to help him understand it. We are here to understand humanity, to understand our self, to know ourselves. This can be the only conclusion drawn from our continued sense input. In a faith system this means that something, someone, somewhere out there, wants us to experience this, for a reason.

To say that the bible is the word of God is to say that the world is not the word of God. To say that Jesus is the only son of God, is to say that we are not all children of God. To say that the law is the only way to live is to say that natural law is inadequate and the law of our consciousness cannot lead us to God who graciously put such a soul within us. To say we need a savior is to say that God’s grace needs physical action in order to be fulfilled – that he is imperfect without this nitty gritty world. Or, if not imperfect, at least inadequate.

We must take all of this into the matter of faith. When we believe something must be, we preclude and limit our understanding of God. Yet, we mustn’t be afraid of these conclusions. After all, this world can be hard to understand, and undoubtedly it’s hidden God is a complex one. But we must understand what we are inherently sacrificing when we believe. Too often we focus on what we are believing IN, rather than what we are believing OUT. That is to say, the things we can no longer genuinely believe IN because it contradicts other things.

I urge us all to reconsider this system of belief. I urge everyone to keep the faith.

h1

Midnight Contemplations

April 17, 2009

Why do we waste our time talking about a ‘perfect world’ when such a thing cannot be imagined?

I have grown so tired of theories that attempt to remove complexity, remove contradiction, and by doing so, remove humanity.

h1

1000 Ships

April 7, 2009

There is no better personification of beauty than Helen of Troy. As symbol and as a person she is as close as I can get to an apt metaphor on this thing, this overpowering, frightening combination of wonder and awe that can cause a man to launch 1,000 ships.

h1

Beyond Chaos and Order

April 1, 2009

I will grant you that any complexity can be arrived at through random process IF you grant me that all processes appear random until fully understood. Likewise, all complexity appears random in origin if its complexity is beyond our understanding, since the term ‘random’ most nearly equates to faithfully chaotic.

I will agree that order is subjective IF you agree that chaos in any form implies an order. Furthermore, if you want to say order is illusory than so much be function, or purpose, or anything really. Happiness, sorrow, death, and life have no order and hence no hope of construction, reconstruction, or understanding.

h1

Heresy

March 23, 2009

Time, as a formal structure does not exist. So let us first set out by understand future and past without relation to time. We first become aware of our present – that which we experience currently. As those current experiences vanish we arrive at some understanding of the past. Using this understanding of the past we come to understand that our current present will eventually be past and hence we talk about what will eventually be present (and then past) as future.

Hence Future is: All that has not happened yet that will.

Past is: All that was that is no longer.

It is important to realize that the future then, by definition, doesn’t exist. EVER. ANYWHERE. TO ANYONE. Hence, even God doesn’t know future.

Likewise, past too no longer exists – though it clearly has an effect on the present and in that way its indent exists.

All that exists is the present. This present is under the pressure of past causes and our ability to perceive the future. Just because the future doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that jumping off a cliff won’t necessarily leave dismember at the bottom – it merely means that the dismemberment will exist in the present and the present alone.

So much is evident from experience alone. Then why when confronted by the idea of God do we throw out this easily understood observation. Why do we thrust future into the realm of his “all-knowing” when it causes clear contradictions and confusion around our everyday experience. The answer is prophecy.

The only problem with prophecy is that it only ever happens in the future. If I tell you that I will give you five dollars tomorrow – then I do – have I committed an act of prophecy? No, because it was in my power to do that. Now make me infinitely powerful and infinitely good – any promise I make will be made (because I am all good) and I will be able to keep it (because I am all powerful) and hence any promise is as good as true but does not become true until acted out in the present.

Why is this a big deal? Because Christian Theology is losing – or has lost. It is detached from its Christian root and fails to pass the vigor of modern philosophy. Science has become the new idol in its place and in light of all its trouble it still fails to make sense of common experiences like time. Why? Because they hang on to an aspect of God that is not as it seems. God cannot know that which doesn’t exist – hence he cannot know what will happen (from His, or our perspective). Instead they convulute things by hiding behind his omnipresence as a product of his all-powerfulness. To say God is everywhere throughout time makes no sense to any laymen or philosopher and hence only a scant few theologians can ever agree on its precise being.