Archive for the 'creation' Category

Contraction, incarnation, and fragmentation

September 8, 2014

I had put in the back of my mind the issue of what I thought of some competing conceptualizations David Brooks mentioned in his column about “The Body and the Spirit” last week.  The conceptualizations had to do with “the mixing of the finite and the infinite,” to quote from the column.  One was “contraction,” the other, “incarnation.”  I was wondering which one spoke to me more.

So I threw it out there as I was walking around the Res today.  And what came to me was “fragmentation,” “fragmentation without intention driving it.”  As in, fragments of the infinite embedded in the finite, fragments of the finite mixed in the vessel of the infinite.

Now I can contemplate that, too.



November 19, 2013

I came across this yesterday and I think it’s really amazing.  It’s Elton John improvising music on the spot to a text (and singing it).  Master class, indeed.

The world must be a certain way for there to be “God”

August 7, 2013

I was reading opinion pieces and comments on prayer on the NYTimes website the other day, and there was the usual dismissal with certainty of what many people with faith believe and do.  It occurred to me some time after that that it’s not just about rejecting the straw man or red herring of God conceptualized as a cranky parent, it’s got something, I think, to do with reacting to a notion that God’s existence should mean that the world is perfect or on balance pleasant.

But I don’t think that thinking about the “existence of God” as an all or nothing proposition is all that helpful.  Lots of believers experience God as a force who strengthens and comforts and imparts flexibility and resilience for life’s difficulties.  God doesn’t even have to be a “who,” God can be much more impersonal than that and still be the source of the kind of energy that guides us and gets us through.  It’s a matter of accessing that guidance and help, the strength, flexibility, and resiliency — it is such a matter for believers, and I don’t see why “non-believers” wouldn’t be able to seek things like strength, flexibility, and resilience through a process of their own.  I don’t think it’s necessary to “go through” “God” to access those things, in the sense of believing in a particular concept of a divinity.  I think the idea of asking God helps some people focus and open themselves up to accessing these resources (strength, flexibility —  which I mean in the sense of not being brittle and breaking —  etc.) — but I think they are accessible without traditional belief in a traditional God.

I think theism vs. atheism is one of our dualistic pieces of human nonsense.  There’s no reason for us to form up into two such teams.  Once the world is allowed to be as it is, and a more perfect world is not the objective of belief in God — the controversy stops being about whether there is a happily-ever-after — and then maybe more people can entertain that there is more to the world than what is visible and material.

This is a version of what I had written this afternoon, and I’m too tired now to do much more with it tonight, but I wanted to try to post something on it before I head south to New Jersey tomorrow and probably become even further removed from my original thoughts on the topic.

[God is part of creation, we are in a sense inside the belly of God — God is not outside of creation. — This is a note leftover from before, I’ll leave it here as an afterthought.]

Yin and yang

June 14, 2013

About which I know very little.  But there is a concept I do know of, about needing to keep tension in a system in order to sustain motion within the system.  That I think may be how the returning wayfarer functions at the outskirts of the society to which they return.  But it’s tough to sustain that note that seems to cry out for resolution to the tonic.  Maybe if it did resolve we would end up dismantling creation?

Who reaches out

December 17, 2012

I was going to write a post about “Fear, pain, and damage” and what seems to me to be going on when people perceive “evil.” I would have talked about how it’s all perfectly fine energy, it’s just that some of it is difficult to process if a person has not sanded down enough of their “flaws,” enough of their humanness.  I would have tried to show how we can get rid of the dualism of “good” and “evil” by realizing that evil is in the eye of the beholder and by subsuming both under “energy.”  I might have talked about destruction being part of the cycle of creation, and that we are better off seeing destruction as just that, and shy away from distinctions like accident, tort, and crime.  I was going to talk about including everybody in our community, and finding a way to mourn for Nancy Lanza and Adam Lanza, too.  (I think, almost paradoxically, that until we maintain a compassionate connection to everybody, we will not resolve the problem of our safety.)  I was going to talk about attachments getting in the way of our clearer perception, about my reaction to watching President Obama reflect his strong attachment to his children in his remarks in Newtown last night.  I was thinking of making the case for celibacy in leadership positions.

And then, as I was crossing the street, I was reminded (because I suspect I’ve had this understanding before) that we need to reach out to God affirmatively because that is the posture in which we are open to receiving God.  Without our having that posture, nothing terribly helpful will happen even if God reaches out to us.  And I thought, trying to communicate that message is probably a more constructive thing to do, rather than trying to get people to see what I see.

Because part of what I see is that we’re not going to reduce the problem of gun massacres by the “mentally ill” by demonizing them, their caretakers, the people who love them (who are able to love them because they connect with something not diseased within them).  We’re not going to resolve the problem by doubling down on our attachment to our children.  I think we need, rather, to spread out more evenly our love and caring to all.  Gun control is fine with me, but I think if we improve our mental hygiene, people’s desire for guns may decrease, so I would include coaching people in general to improved mental hygiene (through teaching coping skills and how to become more self-aware, for example), so I would include that in a broad effort to reduce the presence of guns in our society.

I think I see myself a little like a bleating sheep, or maybe like that cow in the Richard Shindell song “Stray Cow Blues”  — I keep repeating what I perceive and hope it helps.  If people don’t want to hear, I accept that, even if I’m disappointed or frustrated.  I can see my reaction as a form of impatience, maybe even with a little fear mixed in (fear that not enough people will ever perceive clearly), and those are things I can work on.  I think I’ve developed enough detachment to keep doing what I do regardless of its reception.

Big bang or rent in the fabric (or both)?

November 25, 2012

I seem to have discovered that if I have a lot of love for someone, but don’t act on it in the usual way, and resist trying to form a particular relationship with them, something else is produced instead.  It feels almost as if, if I pull away, something pours forth from the rent in the fabric of the connection.  At a mundane level, that something sometimes seems to be seeing others engage in a pattern of behavior I have engaged in, or it may be some new insights that occur to me or some lessons I finally come to learn in my own life.  At a different level, what pours forth feels analogous to something beautiful, like music, streaming out.

This got me thinking about the Big Bang theory.  What if the initial movement was more of a tear than an explosion?  A tear in which an original unity separated enough into two parts to have the parts interact as distinct entities in their own right?  Maybe the bang came out of that (subsequent) interaction, maybe the tear was in a way a bang itself.  I don’t know, but a tear would be an easier way at least for me to understand how things could have gotten started.  I guess we’ll have to wait to see what science discovers through its own means.

Creation theory

March 30, 2012

I wonder if God is able to achieve some kind of greater personal internal intimacy with himself through our existence, if by fracturing himself and lodging those pieces in beings with self-awareness, God is able to see himself in a mirror of sorts — sometimes by means of a crude glass that gently distorts but sometimes in the face of a clear reflective surface of that version of our love that is pure.

Chip off the old block

November 4, 2011

I think I learned from the Brian Greene series on space and its physics which is being broadcast on Nova on PBS this month that scientists want to chip a piece off of space to create a particle, using the particle accelerator under the Alps.  I couldn’t tell whether this would replicate a natural process or be something new.  And my thoughts about that left me wondering whether this experiment was a wonderful thing or a terrible idea, something that would lead to changes in our world, for better or for worse, or something that is neutral to our present dynamic.

I guess I wish I trusted scientists and thinkers who rely on reason more than on other faculties, to have thought through the possible consequences of their actions in a way I don’t think their chosen means of discerning is actually capable of;  in other words, do these folks really know what they’re doing?

But I can also see the possibility that these scientists may be actually replicating, unknowingly, an important event that took place in another place at another time.  Which doesn’t mean this experiment won’t have consequences, just that it may be a natural outgrowth of previous events and in a way “necessary,” regardless of where it leads.  And for all I know, it may lead somewhere very helpful.

What I guess I wish I could be sure of is that the scientists have enough “willingness,” the emotional orientation of wanting to serve the greater good, that if their experiment doesn’t serve the greater good, their efforts will be blocked or edited in some way so that the greater good is served, regardless.

I do think we make progress regardless, but I also think some paths in this progress are more painful than others.  I think we can’t discern which path will be which with our intellects and reason, however prodigious.  Making that discernment I think is a place for what I think some people, especially those oriented towards using reason and intellect to navigate the world, call “intuition.” I guess I think of it more like asking for directions at a gas station when we’re lost, or maybe listening to that global positioning device.  I would like to encourage scientists to do it, if they don’t already, and I think they will actually make more progress in their chosen fields by their own measures if they do.