Greatness: Real Truth

So far I’ve used this term a little loosely, but relied on the capitols to convey my meaning. Let me attempt to clarify a little.

When I say “reality,” I don’t mean it. I mean what we THINK of as reality or, in other words, the whole constructed universe. In other words, I’m using YOUR definition of reality.

When I say Real Truth, I’m talking about the opposite thing. That basic essence which is unconstructed, the God-breathed foundation on which our ephemeral fantasy is built.

Everything in our reality is a pale reflection of some Real Truth, although generally so distrorted as to be unrecognizable. Here’s why:

We expect the world to make sense.

On a basic level, there’s no good reason to expect this. The Rationalists reasoned that God had made Man greater than all the rest of Creation by giving him Reason, and therefore it only made sense that a loving God would cause the rest of Creation to be inherently reasonable.

God never promised that, though. And, until the Rationalists, Reason wasn’t really all that prized by Man, so even that expectation is a fairly new one. Naturally, all of modern Western Science is BUILT upon that assumption (which originated in the Catholic church, naturally), and we worship modern Western Science, so we tend to make the same assumption.

However, Science without God must admit that there’s no good reason to expect the universe to be reasonable and ordered and, moreover, God himself never promised it would be. In fact, nature is, itself, plenty testamental to the fact that it ain’t. For this simple reason: things don’t start out ordered and reasonable, they have to be made that way by Science.

Now, in my effort to clarify Real Truth, I’m obfuscating Science a little, and I apologize for that. Science is, essentially, the codification of Social Constructionism. Outside of Science, Social Constructionism just happens. Within the Scientific community, however, it is pursued as a constant, all-out crusade.

No, Nicki, I’m not talking about Science as a political agenda. Yet. I’m just saying, the very principles that are foundational to Science also generate a constant, dramatic and altogether proactive Social Constructionism, whereas most Constructionism through the course of history has been reactive.

Real Truth is fickle, chaotic, inscrutable. Real Truth is far greater than physical existence, than our temporal shells. You can imagine it as a hundred-dimensional entity that we are trying to observe from our three (or four, or five, or whatever you want to call it). What we glimpse of Real Truth makes no sense to us, and leaves us feeling uneasy.

So we call it a Thunder God or a Phoenix or a dragon. Real Truth is chaos within our ordered world, and irritates us so, as Creators in our own right, we begin trying to make sense out of the chaos. We react to Real Truth in exactly the way a clam (oyster? whatever) reacts to a mote of sand — we begin wrapping it in layers to make it easier to deal with.

Our first step is to give it a name. Remember what I said yesterday about Symbols? A name is the first Symbol of a thing. We name it, and use that name to try to understand it. Not only that, but to share our understanding of it with others. Once we have named the thing, we begin the process of taming it. We construct little realities which can contain it, and see how it behaves within them. With each test, we drape a new layer of understanding over it (the Thing behaves like this, and THAT makes sense, so we’ll consider the Thing normal). Once we’ve reasoned away a sufficient amount of the Thing, we can accept the minor irritations of its quirks, until it finally settles quietly into our reality.

Electricity is like this today. Electricity is an excellent example of a Real Thing, because it still has some vestiges thereof. Scientists feel like they have a pretty good grasp of what electricity is and how it works (they’ve mostly tamed it), and so for the most part we consider it normal. It’s definitely got its quirks, though. Sometimes, against all reason, it will misbehave. And, of course, its great-granddaddy — Lightning — is still more mystery than not.

As recently as a hundred years ago, I think, you could argue the same thing about Heat. And human blood. As little as two hundred years ago it could have been dragons.

Our world is an ocean of mother-of-pearl. Our world a massive, extremely complex facade that we have built to make the thin threads of Real Truth fit into a reasonable pattern. It is ASTONISHING how well Science works, how well the pieces fit together to be SO accessible to the human mind — until, of course, you consider that perhaps the human mind built the structure it’s seeking to understand.

I think we rob Real Truth of some of its potency with each layer we drape over it. Then again, we make it something we can use. Consider how Man trembled at Thor’s thunder, and the significance it bore in his world whenever it flew. Then, it was not just a dangerous thing, it MATTERED.

That’s not true anymore. There are some people who still give it strength, but we’ve made thunder safer by naming it and beginning to describe it — we’ve robbed it of its moral significance but we’ve learned from it and made electricity of our own, which serves our purposes instead of us serving its.

We take the big “F” out of Prometheus’s Fire, that lit the darkness and gave Man the power to rival the Gods, and turn it into little fire, which can be used to temper steel and from tools and weapons and make everyday life a little bit easier. That is what we do to Real Truth whenever we find it — we tame it, bury its essence beneath layers of utility, and use it to make our Constructed lives easier.

That’s what I mean when I say Science is a magic — it’s the last magic. It has tamed every beast, it has conquered every land. There are still threads of Real Truth out there — quarks, strings, even fusion — and new ones will constantly appear. But we’ve given up on prophets and soothsayers, on Oracles and story-tellers to examine the Real Truth and give us something Meaningful for our lives. Instead, we immediately rush it off to the Scientists and ask them to make something useful out of it.

That gets me down. More than being a tech writer, more than 18 months straight of writer’s block, more than the children hurting and dying in Dan’s sad Number 5 — more than anything else, I hurt for our constant, overwhelming desire to understand, rather than to be amazed.

Greatness: The Forms of Magic

There are various kinds of magic. Essentially, it is just this: changing the world to suit your desire. It can be done gradually with tools, and then is considered no kind of magic at all, but just “doing stuff.”

As I said before, sorcery or bulldozers. It’s all the same, really.

I would try to define it differently, but really there’s nothing other than “not by normal means” that will do. I can add that in — “changing your world, not by normal means, to suit your desire.”

The simplest method is expectation — expect the future to be more suited to you than the present, and wait for that to come true. It allows for failures in faith because, instead of being one instantaneous flash forcing a change to reality, it’s more of a constant nagging, incessantly requesting a little something and reality, eventually, will give way.

You see expectation in many religions, as well as the “Power of Positive Thinking” guys, and it has been sanctified by the Scientologists. I believe in the power of scientology, because it’s nothing other than optimistic expectation (with some symbolism to power it). At least, from what little I know about it.

Not far behind expectation is symbolism. It is a very common kind of magic, and absolutely central to the idea of Social Constructionism. Symbolism uses an easily manipulable symbol (concrete or abstract) to reference a less manipulable object (concrete or abstract). Once a sufficient similarity has been established between symbol and object, manipulating one affects the other.

The ultimate example of this is language itself. We use word-symbols to reference reality and, by changing and using names, we are able to alter reality. I’m doing it right now, and every one of you is under my spell (at least for a moment, until you manipulate your own word-symbols right back into the shape you want them).

I highly recommend symbolism — it’s the story-teller’s main craft. The purpose of myths, archetypes, and legends is to provide a single symbol for a highly abstact (but highly significant) concept. By saying, “Man can be this” and putting forth Odysseus or King David or, yeah, Jesus, you can then use the symbol in direct details in ways you couldn’t trying to describe all the vast kinds of Man.

(Yeah, that’s why I capitolize it, I’m doing that very thing.)

One of the most commonly-used and absolutely dreadful kinds of magic is the symbolism of self-image. We have this idea that “I am this” and “I am this bad” and “I have these weaknesses,” and we create an entirely imaginary symbol that we call “I” — and let me tell you, self-image is a LOT more manipulable than an actual person — and we twist it and turn it and, over time, become as people more and more like the symbol.

There’s a good counterpart to the same thing, naturally. We just don’t use it NEAR enough….

I’m not positive on this, but I’m fairly confident Man is not the only creature capable of manipulating the void. I don’t know whether I draw this from the Bible, or just from Milton, but it seems like Satan and all his demons have the same faculty. I imagine the demons are those angels, Heavenly beings with the capacity to shape reality but not the ability (because there is nothing intangible in Heaven, all of it is Real Truth, all of it is Established), and so they abandoned Heaven, in their pride, for the opportunity to muck about.

I don’t imagine they’re any more powerful than we are. Probably less so. But they’re also mostly Outside — they have SEEN Real Truth, so they have no trouble recognizing how very much of reality is entirely insubstantial. So they have an easier time of it.

And that gives them the illusion of great power, superhuman strength, and so throughout time people have turned to demons (faeries, what have you), asking them to change the world for US. And that is the same as sacrificing your authority over reality in order to have one, for the moment, more like what you want. You’re stepping OUT of your constructed world, into theirs. A dangerous place to be.

This is probably closer to what you think of as magic. It’s a systematic manipulation of reality based on a pre-defined Symbol structure. I really like the classical elements (Earth, Fire, Air, Water), so I’ll use it as an example. Wizardry describes all of reality as a combination of these symbol-pieces and suggests that if you manipulate just the BASE pieces, everything else will fall into place.

You can add to the Air in a bird, and it will fly higher, or add to its Earth and it will drop like a stone.

Eventually, Wizardry becomes basically mathematical, at which point it becomes kinda boring. And, yeah, you guessed it, I’d refer to all of modern Science as precisely this.

Sorcery is really just something I like to imagine for my novels. I can’t really conceive of it existing. Sorcery is the manipulation of Real Things. Changing or controlling the base energies and powers that are reflected in our Constructed realities. Sure, God could do it, but he’s got no reason to. Even if there were sorcery, it would still only allow for manipulation of Real Things, whereas God holds the power to CREATE them, giving him still the trump card.

That said…I haven’t gotten NEARLY far enough in this conversation for you (or even me) to clearly picture what a Real Thing might be like, or how it could be manipulated (other than manipulating its reflection, which is just normal, everyday magic).

God and Greatness: Jesus, Miracles, and Social Constructionism

I very nearly wrote this as a comment on my previous post, but decided it was important enough to merit a post of its own.

It’s important to note that all of my thoughts on God and Greatness, as expressed throughout this blog, began sometime in high school (yes, BEFORE the Matrix), while considering the words of Jesus.

It began at the passage about the mountain and the mustard seed.

Jesus said, “If you tell this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea,’ and you have even the faith of a mustard seed, it will do it.” That made a lot of sense to me. Didn’t God, in Genesis, give Man dominion over all the earth? Didn’t Jesus call us all Sons of God? Jesus did miracles. Moses did miracles, too. And Elijah, and David, even, if you want to look at it like that….

After all, isn’t that the point of prayer? That you can, by asking, get a miracle happened? That’s like performing one, no?

Well, that’s how we’re taught the passage. If you ask God for something, and have faith in Him (and if you’re a faithful enough person that what you want meshes with God’s will), it will happen. God will answer your prayer, and move the mountain.

That is…that is not at ALL what Jesus says. It’s not even CLOSE to what he tells his followers.

And reading through his actions, the miraculous things he does, you see two sorts: there are those things he asks God for–and God grants them instantly–and then there are those things that he commands. He commands the injured to be healed, and they are. He commands the fish to have his tax payment in its mouth, and Peter goes and finds it true. He commands the fig tree to whither, because it displeased him. And he tells his followers, “If you command a mountain to move, it will.” And the story of the Bible gives us NO REASON to try to explain that away, as anything other than literal, direct truth.

That’s my basis. There are things that Jesus does as the Son of God. Then again, there are things he does as the Son of Man, and it’s not for no reason that he is called both. Yeah, I did it on purpose to make you read the sentence twice. Paul calls us co-heirs with Christ. Jesus, in the passage with the tax-paying fish, called Peter (and–as I’m not Catholic, I’ll say this–and by extension, all his other followers) equally sons of the king.

This feeds into the Don’t Worry speech in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “When the one greater than the Temple comes, what does the Temple matter? Eh?” Reality was made for us, not the other way around. Mountains don’t MATTER. Water doesn’t MATTER. Jesus walked across the surface of the sea, defying reality, but when it comes right down to it, the sea is just a THING. Jesus is the son of God.

And we are too. That was most of his point.

Reality is just a dream we’ve constructed. We, on the other hand, are True Things. We are from a place greater than this, we can reorder EVERYTHING around us because we gave it the order in the first place.

It fits with everything else you’ll read in the Bible. It fits with everything Jesus said. This is not just a sojourn, it’s a fantasy. We have a responsibility to learn from it, to grow in this temporary soil, but it’s not Real. It doesn’t MATTER.

When you look at it like that, miracles are easy. Magic is easy. But, then again, isn’t magic evil? No. I’ll say that immediately and without reservation, no. I’ll go on to say, you shouldn’t do it, but that’s another issue entirely.

Tools are not evil. Power is not evil. What Man does with it…that can be good, or it can be evil, but a capacity for change is not, in itself, morally aligned. Reordering reality can be used to improve people, or to destroy them. That’s true whether you’re using Social Constructionism or bulldozers. Same thing.

That said…I already answered this in yesterday’s post, and Nicki brought it up specifically in her comment. When we attempt to Construct a reality to suit our needs, we tend to build something other than the Paradise God provided. It’s possible to be making something closer to it than the world at large (happy families do it all the time), and that’s a good thing, ain’it, but the most powerful wizard couldn’t match the happiness, or goodness, of a truly submitted Christian.

Hmm. Thoughts. Let me know your reactions.

God: The Fall of Man

This is, in fact, one of my conclusions, several months from now, but I’ll post it now, so you can scoff and ridicule, and several months from now, you can feel sheepish. Because I’m that kind of tyrant.

It is my goal to establish that Social Constructionism (that very Human Greatness that I’m attempting to describe in other conversations) is the “Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

It is my goal to establish that Man, in his rebellion, learned the secrets of world-building.

It is my goal to establish that, upon these premises, we can understand a God who does not create pain or death or suffering in the world, but constantly strives to prevent it.

Also that God keeps no record of wrongs. God is Love, right, and Paul lists it right there with the rest, “Love keeps no record of wrongs,” and how — EXACTLY how — does that jive with the Book of Life, in which some are scheduled for destruction? Eh?

Yeah, I kinda left my pattern there.

That’s the point, though. Where does “Love keeps no record of wrongs” fit into it? What about Jesus, lecturing in the Sermon on the Mount about not worrying? Consider the lillies of the field, and how beautiful are they, and how much more valuable are you, and yet even Solomon in all his glory couldn’t match them.

That one strikes a discord for me. Are you saying (forgive me for getting into theoretical math here, but)

Solomon < lillies < me


I don’t think that’s the point. I think Jesus’ point is that Solomon got it wrong. In all his striving, he couldn’t achieve what the lillies do just by living, in complete submission to God. And, more importantly, any one of us CAN achieve far greater glory than that, by doing the same.

But very few of us could even get CLOSE to what Solomon did, no matter how hard we try.

So it’s all about submission. It’s about giving up. It’s not about works, it’s not about effort, it’s about living entirely in submission to God….

Yeah, nothing new there. And yet….

Go read the Fall of Man. It’s Genesis 3:16-19 (at least the bits I’m talking about here). Oh, fine, I don’t trust you at all, so here’s a pasting:

16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

That’s NIV, and it’s not my preference necessarily, but it’s the first one I found. Read it in your own version, if you’ve got one handy.

Okay, this is where I’m heading with these articles:

God didn’t punish Man by cursing the ground (not even because it was God’s fault). God didn’t cast Man out of Eden. God didn’t hit woman with birth pangs. None of that happened in the passage you just read (although we’ve been taught that it did since we were two).

Here’s what did happen:
God created Man, and made Reality to contain him. He shaped Reality exactly like Heaven.

Man discovered within himself the ability to shape Reality, to make it what he wanted. Man had a perfect example available (Heaven, Eden, it’s where he’d been living for his whole life), but out of pride, chose to create his own, inferior reality, rather than living in perfect happiness in the one God had given him.

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven,” and all that.

And God looked down on Man, and saw what he had done, and in his wisdom recognized what Man would do with his power. Now listen closely: at this point, God did NOT punish Man in order to encourage him to grow up better. He didn’t expel him from Heaven to protect Heaven’s purity. He looked down on Man, and said to him, “Look, you have chosen to exercise the ability to shape worlds. You are not God, you are not good enough to make what I made for you. As long as you keep trying to build your own world, it’s going to look like this…” and then he described what life would be like in a Constructed world.

And THAT is what you read, above, in Genesis 3. Not his punishment, not his divinely-inspired, unknowably mysterious justice, but a simple prediction. He said, “This is the BEST you’ll be able to do,” and described what we know as Life. And in sharp contrast to that was the immediate memory of Heaven, in the form of Eden.

Which was still there. Which still is. It’s just submission. It’s just Constructing a world like the one God provided, not like the one we want for ourselves. It’s surrendering. It’s living like the lillies, not living like Solomon.

The angel with the flaming sword? That’s Man’s pride, it’s no agent of God’s. So say I. I’ll get to it, in time.

God, Government, and Greatness: Suggested Reading

Well, we’ve already discussed the viability of my ideas in the classroom. How about a reading list?

These are a few of the works that I’m closely familiar with which, I would say, bear direct and meaningful impact on the ideas I’m discussing in these conversations. If you have a recommendation of the same sort, I’d very much welcome your posting it as a comment to this post, or in response to any post that brings the recommendation to mind.

Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel” – Novel
I’m about a third of the way through this one, and quite confident it belongs on the list. Daniel recommended it to me personally, and even before that I’d heard such great things of it that I was already convinced. I just resumed reading it today. It deals with a modern day revival (during the Napoleonic wars) of practical magic in England.

Richard Dawkins’s “Unweaving the Rainbow” – Treatise
This is another I haven’t finished, and also one Dan recommended to me. It’s an atheist scientist’s reaction to the non-scientific world’s (specifically the poetic world’s) complaints that scientists strip life of its magic in exchange for petty knowledge. I’m very interested in what he has to say, because I very much hold the claim he’s directly refuting.

Roger Zelazny’s “The Chronicles of Amber” – Novel series
A series of five short novels (with a sequel series of five more) concerning a family of Princes able to construct worlds out of their imaginations. It is a direct exercise in the fantastic aspects of Social Constructionism, as well as a VERY well constructed story, as well as a really uplifting piece on the human condition. I recommend it above any other piece of literature, ever.

John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” – Umm…poem, right?
Read it. Actually, take a course on it. It’s worth it. If they offered the kind of lit courses on Zelazny that they offer on Milton, I’d be saying the same for those, but go enroll right now for a course on Paradise Lost if you haven’t taken one before. If you’re a Christian and a remotely academic person, you need to realize just how much of our mythology derives directly from this one piece, as well as the power of its imagery in the original setting.

I know there are more. I’ll follow up with further comments as they occur to me.

God, Government, Greatness: The Concept of Sin

Sin: the deliberate prevention of the realization of potential.

Just like that.

I don’t believe in Positive Divine Law (that is, something is Evil because God says it’s evil). I don’t think there are sins that are sins because they’re “against the rules.” It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t WORK (God MADE people in such a way that they constantly test the limits, they constantly tear at any boundaries around them). Establishing any Positive Divine Law is the same as forcing Man to sin, which is, I believe, antithetical to God.

No. I really don’t believe in “sins” as atomic units. Rather, I think of “sin” as a term meaning, “those actions which prevent us from attaining Paradise.”

Close enough — those people who want to look at it that way could still use that definition to incorporate those atomic sins which, by being committed, keep us from getting to Heaven. Telling a lie — bam! You’ve sinned, so you can’t get to Heaven so, in effect, you’ve committed an action which prevents you from attaining Paradise.

My point with that last sentence was to convince you to accept my definition of sin, so that we can have some mutually-agreed-upon term. From that point, I’m going to establish my position (which you’re most welcome to whole-heartedly reject).

I do feel that the ultimate goal of Man is to attain Paradise. Philosophically, that’s referred to as living the Good Life. Theologically, it’s getting to Heaven. I’m talking about both, but most concerned with the latter.

Okay. So…. There’s a very long argument here, which I should get into exclusively under the topic of God, but I think I can posit a little bit here. The ultimate goal of Man is to attain Paradise, and every Man has the potential to achieve that goal. I believe that utterly, and encourage you to believe the same. Sinning is acting in such a way as to lose your opportunity or, in other words, failing to meet your potential.

Honestly, I feel like the only Evil Thing is deliberately preventing the realization of potential. Whether it be Murder (in which you stop a life, thereby preventing the realization of the ultimate potential, in that every Man, in every moment of his life, has the full potential of the Creator within him), or good ol’ Catholic Sloth (in which a Man, with the full potential of the Creator within him, chooses not to act, not to create, but to waste his potential).

This is my beef with the Church, and with the U.S., and my answer to several of your comments. Yeah, it’s good in it’s current form. Yeah, it’s doing good things in the world, even. It’s successful. But it’s NOT living up to its potential. A church as a social club can be quite helpful to its members, but it’s squandering all the authority given it by its being the embodiment of Christ on earth. NOTHING ELSE GETS TO BE THAT. The church is the only entity with that potential, and it is using that potential in only the smallest of ways.

That I call Evil.

The U. S. as well. Most representative governments, I believe, cater to the lowest common denominator, and that inherently limits the realization of potential. That’s not just something to shake your head over. That’s SINFUL. Every bit as much as Murder.

That’s where I’m coming from. That’s my starting point. You might hear me talk of the “Godaccountant Myth” and think I’m claiming there is no evil, there is no sin, there is nothing barring Man’s entry into Heaven. By no means. I’m just saying: God doesn’t make sins — people do.

Now…I DO have answers to the theological and ethical questions that raises, and I’ll get to them in another article. For now, I’m just establishing my basic concept of sin, which goes a long way to explaining why I feel the way I do about several of the issues I’ve already brought up (spittle flying in my bewildering vehemence).

Hope that helps. More later.


Looking Forward: Future Discussion

Okay, as I probably got across clearly with that last post, I’m pretty into the whole religion discussion. Actually, I was mentioning this morning that I feel kinda compelled to get on with that conversation but, and this is pretty important, most of what I have to say there depends on an understanding of my concept of Social Constructionism (that is, the Human Greatness conversation).

So, unless I want to waste a lot of my time arguing in circles, I should really get some pretty heavy foundation laid on that track, before I proceed with the religion conversation. So that’s my plan.

Before I do that, just real quick, I’m going to post three poems — one for each conversation. We can discuss them at length, or we can skip right past them. Whatever you guys prefer. I’ll probably come back to them later, though, if we don’t deal with them now.

These are all older poems, and most anyone who knows me well enough to be reading this blog has probably read all of these poems (at least once). Sorry not to have new material, but I wanted to choose the bits that best illustrate the conversations I’m trying to start.

So, three poems, and then I’ll start heavily into Greatness, with the intent of segueing that directly into God. I’ll throw in little vignettes on Government just as filler mostly, because I’ve got no particular agenda there — just very emphatic personal beliefs.

Now, on to the literature!


God: Opening Shots

Personal Introduction
And now I’ve come to the one that scares me most. For one reason: Mom and Dad. I invited both of them to read this blog, and I know they strongly disagree with me on my premises here and, most of all, I realize that this is not an issue of differing opinions but of spiritual salvation.

I understand their concern.

However, for the selfsame reason I cannot casually abandon that which I understand to be God’s own Truth, for the sake of a comfortable religion. Not even for the sake of Mom. It hurts.

In the same vein, I have higher hopes of productivity from this one conversation than from any of the others. For, though I will likely never overthrow a government or practice practical sorcery (or even wizardry, but I’ll come to that later), Theology is one of few realms of philosophy in which a concentrated effort to achieve higher understanding may, in fact, significantly improve one’s life. Know what I mean? Quite simply, if I figure THIS one out, it actually makes me a better person.

So, for those reasons, I won’t hide it, and I even invite Mom and Dad to read and argue with me on this. If they do, and you find yourself reading their comments, please bear in mind (as I always do), that they are speaking to their only son, concerning his salvation. That’s…a significantly different thing from most philosophical (even Theological) conversation.

Actual Discussion
I believe in, as we called it in college, an Infinite-Personal God. I confused Daniel with that once, because he hadn’t taken the same classes I had. By Infinite, I mean the usual: Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent. By Personal I mean an actual Person. Not a human (for how many of them are Infinite?), but a distinct Person, with Personality and, more importantly, identity. I’ve got no patience with a vague concept of Nature Spirit or Life Force. Without the Personal, it might as well be evil. So say I.

I believe in an interactive God, as well. One that actively participates in our lives and responds to our prayers.

I believe in Christ, and the power of his rising. Specifically, I believe in the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. That is, I believe it to be true, and of great significance in a personal, historical, and universal sense.

I believe God made Man in his image, and by this I primarily mean…well, the whole Greatness conversation. Social Constructionism is the “image.” God made Man capable of making worlds. We do it every day. We are Creators, every bit as much as the first God. However, we have exhibited a tendency to constantly chase after pathetic shadows rather than recreating a perfect existence…ack, I’m getting into my Genesis story already, and that’s several articles all by itself.

I believe in Miracles. That’s not a big step, for a Social Constructionist. Faith is the name of the game, there. If we create our own realities, naturally they should be a certain kind of fluid, given a faith-induced flexibility on the part of the Creator (e.g. “us”). Miracles are some of my favorite aspects of my theology: they are exciting, pleasant, potent, easy to accept, and don’t tend to upset anyone.

I haven’t said much upsetting yet. Here’s this: I believe, with religion, we have consistently through every iteration returned to the pre-Christian state that necessitated the existence of a Christ in the first place. I feel we have sanitized Judaism by removing the sacrifice (and, with that sanitation, robbed it of the gold and fire that kept our hearts entranced), but maintained the cold, fictitious feel of rightneousness. I feel every human religion — and in this I include every subtle brand of Christianity — every human religion eventually attempts to place God precisely at arm’s length.

My father’s religion doesn’t do that. My mother’s religion doesn’t do that. But their church’s does. That’s a very important point.

What, then? Ack. I can’t possibly answer every question (not even touching on the basics) in one post, but I can’t do justice to any point without answering every other.

I read in every word Jesus spoke a call to a personal relationship with God IN SPITE OF the governing religion — the religion handed to the people directly by God. This is the story of Jesus. He started with Judaism as a foundation (and I won’t deny the whole canon of Christianity that I use as my own foundation), but he called his followers away from it, to something better. He defied it, for something better.

Not only did he, but all of his followers as well. It was his command.

What does this all mean? I don’t know yet. I certainly can’t say yet. I’ll get to it. I don’t ever see someone going to church and think, “That person is evil for what he’s doing.” Rather, I see this thing, this shadowy, vacant social club, and know what it could be, and grieve that it’s not.

That’s much like what I said in Government earlier. I don’t hate America for being a terrible thing — I grieve that it is only what it is, when it has such potential. I feel the same for the religion of Christianity. It’s not a painted clown (I have far more respect for it than that), but it is also no Christendom, no glowing firebrand to sear the heart and capture the eye. It’s an accountant’s rulebooks, and a mumbled answer, and a carrot on a stick.

I haven’t finished. I haven’t even properly begun. I feel like I’ve said enough to get myself in trouble, but not nearly enough to explain anything. You’ll notice I generally feel that way, throughout these posts — I feel that way at the end of every conversation like it. I’m a Born Christian, and the guilt is strong in me. I often let it get in the way of making my point, which is unfair to me and to those people trying to understand. It’s part of why I’m doing this (and part of why it’s so hard).

Bear with me, please. As I said, this is the most important bit TO me.


Greatness: Opening Shots

I’ll say up front that most of my thoughts on Human Greatness are nothing more than a wholehearted adoption of Post Modernism. If you’re familiar with Post Modern thought, and Social Constructionism in particular, you’re already aware of most everything I have to say. That said, I haven’t read the canon of the philosophy nearly as extensively as I should have, so I would still invite you to read my comments and question or correct me where appropriate.

As a matter of fact, very little of the radical philosophy I’m espousing here is, in fact, new material. Ehh, I’ll take Solomon’s word for it and just say “none.” I’m very much aware of that — most of what I’m trying to do is revive old ideas that have been forgotten, primarily (in my opinion) because of the unique success of the United States model. Something absurd happened here, and because of that the whole world has begun to define what it is to be human, based on what it is to be American.

Yeah, that sounds arrogantly American, and it is, but not in the way you’re first reading it. Perhaps I could say more clearly, that we now define what it is to be human based on what it is to live in a world dominated by the unique American culture. Perhaps you’ll at least give me that?

Anyway, I’m blogging here, not debating. If you pressed me on it, I’d probably surrender that point, apologize for offending you, and word it differently. As it is, I’ll just say things the way I mean them, philosophically, and leave the literal politics out of it.

So. We have this: Human beings construct their own realities. It is the divine spark within, it’s the breath of God. Personally, I think it’s in the blood (thus Vampires, but I’ll get to that later, here or there). This particular concept will cross back and forth with my talks on religion, because I think it’s clearly the message of the Bible. But, as I say, I’ll get to that later.

People construct their own realities. Complete, whole, real realities. Not that you construct a fantasy within a naturalistically true and real environment — not in the LEAST. Naturalism is, itself, constructed. That’s why Science works, and why it’s so comprehensible to us — we made it that way. But I’ll get to that later.

People construct their own realities, and merge these individual realities by way of Language. The spoken word is the means by which we enforce our conception of reality on others. I hold that there IS a true reality, but our individual realities need not overlap it in any way, ever (not that it is a defining baseline for our experiences). Also, there’s no concrete way of distinguishing the real from the constructed, although I like to hope that people have an invisible instinct for it.

This…will probably be my least coherent conversation. But it’s my favorite, and provides a starting point for all the rest of my philosophy. It also gets a lot less argument, because it’s hard to argue, so I haven’t gotten much chance to refine my opinions. I generally get either, “That’s absurd. Shut up. You couldn’t possibly prove that,” or, “How interesting. Really, I’m interested. Hmm….” which, in either case, lends little to the development of a clear curriculum.

Government: Opening Shots

I will (always) begin with this: The United States of America is an exception.

Ack, I wanna put that in bold and repeat it four or five times. You cannot — CANNOT — discuss philosophically what human government is or should be based upon what the world has seen in America’s wholly unique situation.

You can argue this with me if you want, but I doubt I’ll surrender the point. It is a base fallacy to believe that another country — ANY other country — could mimic the structure and philosophy of American government and achieve anything resembling the success the United States have enjoyed.

Honestly, in these opening shots I’m saying almost everything I have to say about government. That, no matter how much you like the US government, or how successful it may have been, the government that made it so is NOT the ideal form of human government.

That’s where I’m headed. I’m a monarchist. A Monarchist, even. Not a Constitutional Monarchist, inasmuch as I can avoid it. A true, pure, absolute Monarchist.

Ah, one more thing: no, my belief in monarchy is not founded on the condition that I get to be king. That’s NOT the point. Ever suggest it again, and I’ll punch you in the face.