Tag Archive: Absurdity


Barefoot

With shoes we tread without a thought. We stomp around without a care in the world! There is no need; we are not discomforted by the place we choose to rest heavily for awhile. And more often than not we leave a small catastrophe behind with each step, blissfully unaware of the carnage, for our feet are encased in foot armour.

Going barefoot changes the equilibrium; no longer can we go blissfully unaware. We move to the other side of the equation, we are increated, acutely aware of what is underfoot. Stomping hurts, not only where we choose to stomp, but it causes pain to ourselves at the same time. Maybe we should rather say, the carnage is still the same, we just become aware of the effect of our tread, to others and to ourselves.

So please go barefoot, be increated, tread lightly, and live simply. Maybe such acts of simplicity and humbleness will allow others to simply live, and by grace, maybe, with an awareness of God.

Advertisements

So says Nietzsche and many others agree. Huxley was of the opinion Darwin did the deed, but is it that simple? Is all that is needed for God to die the opinion of an intellectual minority of the world’s population, which happen to reside mainly in the affluent West?

I have a growing suspicion it is not quite as simple as that. It seems that (wo)mankind have been religious from their earliest awakening. One of the earliest examples of human religious experience and expression is the awe inspiring Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave paintings in southern France with an early dating somewhere in the region of 32 000 – 30 000 BCE. The cultural heritage of this cave precedes the caves at Lascaux with almost 15 000 years!

Through the centuries the idea of God developed, were defined, redefined and cross-pollinated. The one constant being that people from all walks of live from every conceivable corner of planet lived from the basic knowledge that there is something like a God, a higher power or energy, that is the source and sustenance of all Life.

Then the ability of man to harness fossil fuels and utilize industrial-orientated machinery changed the world. Suddenly we had the luxury of power and time, and the concept of knowledge changed. For our survival, at least for some, we were not at the mercy of the natural environment anymore. In those reaches where this revolution had an impact (wo)mankind felt on top of the universe; who needed God? This feeling of invincibility and spare time allocated to thought combined for the inevitable conclusion that God is nothing more than the desperate projection of those in need. How arrogant could we become?

Nature is giving us the answer; very! It seems that at the pinnacle of our knowledge, the new kind; it was and is limited, even in regarding to the ecosystems on, around and under Earth. Through natural disasters, changing climates, oil spills and shrinking water resources, to name but a few, we are learning the hard way that not everything can be fitted into a neat system with the little knowledge we have.

It might be that God is a figment of our desperate imagination, but the claim that God is dead, is merely another statement of our ignorance. How do we know? Maybe the wheel has turned enough that we must acknowledge with generations past and present that we do not understand at all, but that, somewhere deep inside, there is an almost primal experience, the old type of knowledge, of that which can be called God.

People, especially those of faith, are strange. With the number of people on the Earth; trying to  catalogue the strangeness of them all will probably fill enough books to equal all the books written in the same place to date. I will therefore cast a cursory focus on the strangeness of people of faith, especially Christians.

Christians proclaim a faith which centres on grace, given freely by the Father through the working of His Son and enacted by His Spirit. The Earthly example they are bound to follow is that of Jesus the Christ. A man who walked the Earth approximately 2000 years ago; caring for the sick, dining with the outcasts, forgiving prostitutes and other sinners, whilst creating enough disturbance to justify his execution. (So much for a brief confession of faith.)

What gets me, is the way that Christians seem to forget the very example they proclaim to follow; the very core of what constitutes their believe. It seems that more often than not this liberating truth is traded in for a stagnant dogma, which it seems, is more concerned with discriminating between those who tout the party line and thosewho  upset the apple cart.

Christians, instead of embracing the simple life, loving their neighbour, caring for the down and out, spreading grace and dining with the Divine, seem to be on a modern crusade of identifying the cardinal sins, stringing up homosexuals, crucifying those who disturb the gravy train and ignore the marginal.

It is somewhat of a revelation that the sins identified are always those that points the finger at the Other, rather than looking at the Self. It seems you can abuse the Earth, as long as you are not gay; you can covet everything with greedy eyes, as long as you keep the “consumer” faith, and you can love the self at the cost of others as long as you drive by with darkened windows.

It seems that we, (wo)mankind as a whole and especially the faithful, are in serious need of a conversion. It is time that we turn from our torpid laws, on who is in and who is out, to lives filled with mercy, grace and love.

Questioning Reality

“Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one”      –              Albert Einstein

Juxtaposing God and reality is one of the popular statements of the day. God is un-visible and therefore, the argument goes, not a reality. However, before we commit ourselves to this statement too quickly; let us, for a moment, think what reality is.

The term “reality” originates in the Late Latin word realis which refers even further back to res; which might be translated with a thing or object or a matter, affair or circumstance. It was only in 1597 that the meaning of “actually existing” and in 1647 that “real existence” was ascribed to the word reality. Before these dates reality wasn’t purely used in terms of that which is visible.

Modernity seemed to coerce people into accepting the visible as the only reality and that scientific proof is the golden definition of the visible. Proof of reality is however not as easy to come by as it sounds. Before scientific proof is accepted, as the last word on reality, we do have to question how we know that the world, as we experience it, is not a projection of the mind.

Do our bodies exist, do others exist, does the earth exist, do natural laws exist, do others have feelings, thought processes and experiences like ours and do we use language in the same way? These realities, which form the basis of our world and sciences, are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to proof. Using any of our senses as proof, results in a circle argument; very similar to the one religion is accused of.

The reality of the answers to these questions are not based on proof but on acceptance or faith, a throwback to the original meaning of the word reality; that which refer to an object, matter or circumstance of existence.

Each of us accepts the answers to these questions in different ways thus creating our perceptions and, as the saying goes, perception is reality. This makes it impossible for us not to acknowledge and respect each other’s realities and not to realize that Reality might be more than the sum of our realities.

Language of Absurdity

This blog is wholly dependent on language. It is me, the writer, communicating with you, the reader, through the means of a written word, in this case English. This written is translated into a soundbite, physical loud or mental loud, which is then connected to a whole meaning. This meaning is in turn grounded in context, a journey, a history, a personality.

Thus language becomes a mumble-jumble of misunderstanding, educated guesses (sometimes more, sometimes less), understanding one another becomes an absurdity. If all of this holds true, I need to take time to explain how I use absurdity. Webster’s defines absurdity as “having no relation or orderly relationship to human life; lacking order or value”.

I use absurdity in an expanded sense of having no orderly relationship to human life. Absurdity in my context is closely related to reality. Where word interact with word, being with being, misunderstanding with educated guess; where despite all Life still happens, where me and you understand in the midst of misunderstanding. With all the many challenges of communication and taking into account the ever changing dynamics of language it seems that we are doomed to misunderstanding; yet we do understand.

When this absurdity becomes a reality for us, we start to have more sympathy with ourselves and with others. We strive to understand more, with humility and patience. At the same time it creates awe and awareness in the intricacy of life. We begin to understand something of the other logic; what is true for me is not necessarily so for the other, even though we have a shared humanity.

The challenge before us is therefore to live with confidence and awe, to seek to understand and to be understood, risking to be misunderstood and to misunderstand, with humility and grace. It is where we live with this reckless abandonment that we start to understand something of the Absurdity.