So I had this weird flash this afternoon. Normally the medication helps, but I still have those moments when a whole new concept explodes into my brain, the germ of a story.
Assume a plot device allows a character a choice; good fortune to himself and his, or good fortune to the world.
If he bestows it upon his life, it is full of good and happiness. Things are going well, families are meshed, the tribe is as one.
But the world starts to suffer for it. Calamities natural or not befall people, sometimes on a grand scale.
That's fixed by wishing the world your luck -- the lot of all improve, but all around you, personally, your life is just...not happy. Not even bad, per se; Just "bleh".
Your life becomes all encompassed by figuring out what the balance is. Bring enough fortune on your life, and there comes a point where the troubles of the world would intrude. Focus on the world at large, and you become more and more miserable.
Soon, you'd have a choice; You can hold it all for all it's worth, and to hell with the world.
Or you could die, freeing the world from this terrible taskmaster it had no idea even existed.
Of course, this sad tale is worse in the details, and those I don't have yet. But it made me think about the nature of luck, fortune, happiness, and other big questions of our respective lives. Some would say they were the big questions, which usually turns into some long drawn out quest for "meaning".
But putting a fairly large metaphorical pin through that knot for the moment, it pre-supposes that luck, which people associate with good fortune is a finite resource. If I have a lot, then everyone else's suffers. If I don't have any, but some have more, does that mean I can take it?
Personally, I think that's bullshit. For a story I would use it as a way to examine all sorts of big questions, but it's a contrivance at best; Real "luck" has always been, in my experience, a lot more about paying attention then any pool of limited goodness. I like Friday the 13th because I see the good things that happen that day, while everyone else has their attention on the bad things that "prove" the day was evil.
I made a joke about the 2016 election, and at the time I almost believed it. "Atheists are delighted in the results, as they say it is proof positive of the non-existence of god."
Apparently even joking about something like that sets wheels in the back of your head in motion. I recalled once defining sin as "anything that blocks you from your heart", annoying the local realists and other very serious people. It made me think more about how there are so many things that move me, make me who I am, that are ugly or even offensive to other people. Perspective.
With the upper-case, non-ironic "F".
Faith is the perspective that good still happens. The world still turns. The sun, as Obama put it so beautiful, will still rise tomorrow.
The pragmatic types who hate poetry and feelings will focus on how it might rise, but you can't see it because it's cloudy. Or that maybe you'll die during the night. And it doesn't matter, because eventually, the sun DOES stop rising.
I think the confusion I was having for a long time was confusing "truthiness" with truth. It's one thing to have faith in good and hope, another to "feel" something is true, even when it's easily disproven.
And, having grokked "sin" not so long ago, I think I understand what a false god is now. It's not real faith, it's a placeholder for the real thing. It's like soy bacon, or the really mass produced generic bacon; Remarkably good if you don't think about it too much, but ultimately not as satisfying.
False gods limit you in ways a real god doesn't. They convince you that you can't be happy if other people are happy. That happy is YOUR happy, so if you're not happy enough, it's THEIR fault. They demand that happiness be snuffed with extreme prejudice, should the happy people have the bad manners as to not care what the fuck you think.
Some truths are too big to conceal. They hide in plain sight in the strictest of scriptures, flaunt their outrageous implication in the driest of religious tomes.
God is love. Goddess is everything. God judges all.
The universe FORGIVES all.
People get hung up on our mortal interpretations of concepts that are still just a bit too big for us, as a race (the HUMAN race) to fully comprehend. I always loved the Hebrew word to describe god, Elohim. It's not a name, it's a pronoun; Multiple singular masculine feminine both and neither. Reality IS bigger than we know. We make it smaller so we can deal. And, no matter how convoluted or odd a religion is, it is defined by the works, words and writing of man.
Yes, I can see the arguments of the rationalists, and they have a point; It all could be a pretty story we tell ourselves to sleep better at night, knowing that there's something there to catch you should you pass over whilst dreaming. But then I ponder the idea that, if we can't express what god truly is as it is beyond comprehension, then how can we prove their existence?
So I choose to believe that the goddess is love. She watches over us. Is there a literal earth mother, arms folded over her belly nestling her milk swollen breasts? Not likely. But the symbols and meaning of the images I choose to sustain me speak to that "oh goddess it's too large to live and know the TRUTH" hit right to the crown of your being. What we call a soul.
The feeling that being good to people is better than being bad. That excusing your hatred with the idea that it's somehow justified by a higher calling is bad, and (ironically) self defeating; A true form of perversion that, perhaps, explains the obsessive drive to condem those different then themselves as the perversion.
There's been a lot of talk about Hitler, and I often wondered if he tried to hold on to that power too long.
(Fun fact: Trump is not Hitler. Hitler WON the popular vote.)
He kept wanting more, at the expense of the world and others. I have waking nightmares about what would have happened if he had, at some point, just stopped. The ovens would have continued working for years... even decades. Imagine they were still running, because instead of trying to take everything so that they would have all the luck (which he liked to refer to as liebensraum for some reason), he let the world have some back.
Things would have settled into a routine, where people would be exterminated within the German Empire, but that was none of our business. We had no more fears of what would happen to us, so why care?
Because that would send us down a spiral of not caring and self loathing that would destroy us just as surely than if the nazies had the bomb.
Hitler married the same week he killed himself. One last defiance in the face of his luck running out, proving that he could still have some measure of control. I often wonder if, even in the weeks immediately prior to pulling the trigger, if he would have considered the very idea a capitol offense? But in the end, he did pull the trigger, because he was a coward who wouldn't face that he was wrong.
And it all comes back to the inspiration for that story. How, for a moment, I had a larger perspective. That, as terrible as things seem at the moment, there are places and people in the world that haven't a clue. Couldn't care less. Sometimes we get so stuck on the small things (or in this case, small hands) that we lose sight of it.
Faith can be a tool to see past yourself when it seems like the world is just total crap. Except it isn't. Good things kept happening this week. Great candidates were elected, big choices were made for the better, and the sun continues to rise in the east until the poles flip or the sun expands or we just move the whole human family to a better neighborhood nearer downtown... you know, that really great nebula just close enough to the galactic core to hook up with whatever god really is.
When our heads are big enough for god's love, we'll no longer need god to feel it. Until then, I'll keep that placeholder, and ponder how to keep as many people from getting hurt as I can.
In the end evil defeats itself by it's own actions. It refuses perspective because that would show their lives and beliefs to be a misshapen monster. Better to outlaw comfortable chairs than admit your monster can't sit in them because their tails won't bend that way. If you lose perspective, you lose your way. And once you've lost yourself into your self absorbed viewpoints, you've lost.
People who can't see past themselves never see it coming.