Realizations

Philosophy in the Middle of the Desert

On the Tips of our Tongues April 24, 2014

Father, order my thoughts and make them words.

There is something on the tips of all our tongues.  It’s the look on the face of a dying man, just released from the hospital, sitting with his eyes closed listening to his friends read a book with him, resting in the gift of that moment.  There’s something there. Something so powerful that I’m speechless, and I don’t dare to interrupt the embrace of that bliss. We all felt it but we couldn’t grasp it; we didn’t know what to do except savor it before it was gone. There are no words for that feeling. We just don’t get it. It’s on the tip of our tongues but we can’t say it.   On the tip of our hearts and souls but we cannot comprehend it.

It’s when a random song starts playing and it unexpectedly brings you to your knees, brings tears to your eyes, and all you can think to do is stretch out your hands to praise God, the only one you can think to attribute such euphoria to.  We don’t understand why or how, but it’s there. There’s something there which we just can’t get at.

But very soon all will be complete and we will see it as it truly is. We will become real and experience reality. We will sense with maximum perception.  For we will no longer glimpse the divine with fleeting experiences, but we will live the divine.

When you smell a fragrance you haven’t smelled since childhood and the nostalgia overwhelms all your senses and melts you inside, bringing you close to unconsciousness, it is a taste of what is to come.  Though right now we can only taste it on the tips of our tongues.  There’s something happening in our midst that is deeper than anything we can ever know right now.  Something is about to burst at the seams.  And when it does we will look back and laugh at our finitude.  But until then all we have are snapshots into the Director’s commentary, glimpses of the divine.

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Cave of Lusts/Entrance to Paradise December 9, 2012

[written on 112812, with additions on 12812, Jeremiah 9:23-24, Revelation 7: 14b-17]

There is a cave that leads to Paradise.  7 men went in, hoping to come out on the other side.

One man, a coward, left the cave soon after entering, too paralyzed by his worries of the unknown to continue.

In the cave, the 6 found an abundance of the rarest mushroom delicacies in the world, and one man couldn’t help but start eating them.  Upon gorging himself, he grew an unnatural smile and sank to the floor, as the mushrooms had intoxicated him.  As the 5 moved through the cave they came to a wall with a small opening at the bottom.  If they were to continue they would be forced to crawl under it to get to the other side.  Unfortunately, the fat man was too dazed at that point to continue with them.  The group tried pulling him under the wall with them, but he just couldn’t fit and had to be left behind, though they doubted how much further he would have made it even if he could have fit.  But he told them he’d meet up with them in Paradise (though he acted like he was in paradise right now) after he slimmed down in size (as he popped another mushroom in).

Once the 5 all made it under the wall, they found themselves in a tunnel, with what sounded like flirtatious giggling echoing in the distance.  They followed the tunnel towards the noises and turned around a corner to find a band of extremely attractive, nude women.  The 5 moved awkwardly through their midst, trying to ignore eye contact.  But one man couldn’t help at least looking.  He caught eyes with one of them, and soon after was in conversation with her.  The tunnel opened up into a large cavern, but the lecher stayed behind, already being caressed by the women, saying that he would follow them shortly.

The 4 saw the flickering of light bouncing off the cave ceilings up ahead and entered into an elaborate treasure room.  After being amazed by the vast treasure, the group continued, coming to a small ledge that they had to climb over.  But one man shouted “Paradise indeed!” and, finding a treasure chest, filled it with as much gold as he could and planned to follow them out the other side.  However, the rich man could barely drag his heavy chest, and certainly couldn’t lift it over the wall.  They figured he’d figure out the futility of his plight and soon follow them.  He never did.

It looked like whoever had owned the treasure room also had an armor room.  The 3 stepped into a room lined with great, metal armor and powerful weapons.  They thought this would prepare them for whatever lay ahead in the other rooms, so they suited up and grabbed one big weapon each.  However, the only exit they could find was a small, dimly-lit hole towards the top of the far wall.  As they tried climbing the wall, they soon realized how difficult it was to climb with all of their heavy accessories.  2 men, giving up on trying to juggle the weapons in their hand while climbing, threw them to the ground and were able to climb much easier after that.  However, once they reached the hole, they couldn’t fit through with their armor and were forced to jettison it.  Meanwhile the strong man below was still struggling to even climb on the wall, not willing to give up his means of power.

The 2 fell with a crash down into another room, much lower than the previous one had been, and were bruised.  After a few minutes of recovering, they noticed a hole in the ground.  While light made their current room at least dimly visible, this hole below was pitch black.  As the one man sat on the edge preparing to climb down, the other man blasted him.  “What! Are you crazy?  You saw how far that last drop was, and that was through a dimly-lit hole.  This hole has no light at all!”  “Well, it’s our only shot of reaching Paradise.”  “Well, who really said this cave leads to Paradise in the first place?  I’m starting to think it was all made up.”  “Believe what you want; I’m going for it.”  “You fool!” said the smart man.  “It’s common science that if there’s no light then there’s no other exit down there! You’ll fall to your death or get stuck with no one to save you!  This was fun and all, but it’s time to go back.  Was the life we had so bad anyways?  Not even paradise is worth this.”
“Say what you will.  I’d rather die trying to get to Paradise than be stuck in the Hell we were in before.”

With that, the last man slipped into the black, bracing himself for whatever lay below.  In the darkness he hit a rock which rolled him into another rock which rolled him into another rock and there he lay, in the darkness, in the silence.  After coming to, and somewhat in pain from the fall, he balanced himself to his feet.  There was darkness all around him as he felt around the cavern room for anything.  He thought that maybe the 2nd man had been right.  Then his eye caught a tiny beam of light coming out of a small hole in the wall, only the size of a needle’s eye.  The light danced around with wild colors, and as he pressed his eye up to the hole he could see glimpses of Paradise on the other side — green pastures and still waters — accompanied by cheerful voices and laughter.  Prying himself away from the hole and its bliss, he began frantically feeling the wall for a door or some kind of exit, as if his separation from Paradise had set him on fire.  He felt nothing.  The room around the hole was completely bare, with no ledge or anything to climb on.  With fury did he pound his fists at the hole, trying to break it open to the other side.  Futile.  Finally, he dropped back into the darkness to his knees, helpless.  There in the dark silence he could hear weeping and gnashing of teeth from his former companions in the previous chambers above, held in bondage by their lusts.

Yet here was this righteous man, who forsook all those temptations in pursuit of God and still couldn’t make it.  He was no better off than they.  In his depravity, the self-righteous man cried out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Suddenly there was a crash, and the needle-sized hole broke open, filling the room with phantasmagoric light.  Another crash against the wall and the hole opened more.  Then, with a 3rd crash, a sheep from the pasture burst through the rock, bruised and bloody from the struggle, and collapsed, dead at his feet.

It would be the easiest door he’d gone through of the hole experience.  But it was even easier than that.  He didn’t even get the chance to step forward before he was escorted out by a shepherd from the other side.  He had seen the sheep rush over, hearing the man’s crying from within the cave.  But the shepherd was content to have this new man take its place in his flock, saying to him, “I will guide you to springs of the water of life: and God will wipe every tear from your eyes.”

Which part of the cave are you stuck in?

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These Elaborate Machines November 6, 2012

[as written 81311 – 31712, with additions on 11612]

 
On 81011 during our Bible Study prayer time, when it came time for my prayer requests, my small group leader prayed over me and lifted up my requests from the night, and I just started praying for the requests myself as if I wasn’t me.  As if from my universal, eternal soul that is not confined to a body or circumstances or personality, but the universal spirit that we all have before being shaped by our lives.  As I (the spirit, of God Himself perhaps, which is universally the same but individually molded depending on each person’s nature and nurture) was praying for Miles Prowers, who he is and has become, all that makes Miles Prowers Miles Prowers, that particular character in God’s story of Earth History.

And it produced in me a bizarre sympathy for me, as if I was praying for a dear friend who I knew more intimately than anyone else.  I prayed for his job, knowing just how stressful it was and how it conflicted with his extreme desires to be an artist.  I prayed for his brother, whom he’d always known and loved since youth.  It was a surreal experience that had no reason for happening, it just happened.  Since then I’ve never attempted to recreate that perspective, because it was kind of weird, and I’m not sure it was God-honoring, though I have no reason to believe it isn’t either; it’s just that I’d never thought or heard about something like that, so I don’t know what to think.

 

Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

 
But what are we really?  I can’t figure out how to distinguish between soul and spirit and mind and heart and body.  All I know is that in the beginning God created Adam from the dust and then breathed life into him, as if breathing in His own Spirit into him.  As if he constructed all these little organic machines and then turned them on by breathing His electricity into them.  So then do animals have spirits?  Do they have the spirit of God in them, keeping them alive?  Or was it just His Spirit that sparked them into motion and got fate in motion to carry itself out?  Obviously there is a stark contrast between the most sophisticated animal and the dumbest human, in that the dumbest human is still a human being.  Is the contrast because man has a spirit and animal does not?  As if when you took away the spirit in man he became an animal?  Or do they both have the breath of God’s Spirit in them both keeping them alive and man’s body is just that much more elaborate than the animal’s to allow for consciousness?  The electricity through these elaborate machines of ours.

 

Or do man and animal still have spirit at all after the initial God breathe?  If man is cloned will it be an animal version of man, with no consciousness?  I used to think so, but I doubt it now.  He’ll still have all the functions for consciousness that the physical brain allows.  He may be mentally retarded, as a copy is never as good as the original, but that doesn’t make him unconscious.  We are truly unique, self-conscious beings, but are we only machines made to resemble the one true Being?

 

[11612- An interesting note, made by an old, pot-smoking hippie I randomly met in The Parthenon while writing “Fade To White”: The Bible doesn’t say God breathed animals into being, only humans.  So there is a spiritual difference between us and animals, whatever that may be exactly.]

 

Humans are in a class of their own, caught between the animals and the angels, but the choice is ours as to which end of the spectrum we fall on.

 

And yet there is something supernatural in us that allows us to transcend nature and have intuition, feelings and other supernatural capabilities.  So do we each have individual spirits of our personalities, and that’s who we are?  Or are we anything at all?  Isn’t our individuality just the unique combination of our two parents’ previously-existing traits, mixed together and shaped through our surroundings in life?  If we do have individual spirits, where do these spirits and personalities come from?  The only logical conclusion is that they must have been directly assigned to us by God Himself who put certain spirits in certain bodies to have certain outcomes to make History go according to His great plan.  So it all comes around to the fact that we have nothing God has not given to us and we are nothing that God has not made us.

 

But there is no evidence of individual spirits that give us our personality aside from our nature/nurture make up.  I think perhaps more logical is that there is only one Spirit, that is, God Himself, who, according to His will, moves in us individually to give us those supernatural capabilities in certain times.  He periodically manifests His spirit in our hearts and minds and the natural realm to intervene and guide us away from the natural path of fate so that by divine inspiration we change our natural course, that we would naturally go down aside from His intervention.  Of course if there is only one Spirit, then what are we when our bodies die physically (the breath of life leaves) and yet we live on separately?

 
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

 
In Heaven what are our souls if we no longer have the body that created our personality?  Without our bodies what’s left?  If we do each have souls are they all the same generic soul/spirit that manifests differently given a different body to come out of, a different-shaped outlet?  It’s a mystery no mortal can solve.  So then, when those bodies die, wouldn’t the Spirit of God return to its source (God)?  This is the equivalent of Nirvana, where we exist in the afterlife, conscious, but not as our individual personality.  Rather we all exist as The Personality of God Himself.  And yet, there’s no mention of that concept in the Bible (our only sure-fire source of truth on the subject).

Isn’t it interesting that the Apocalyptic Bible passages all refer to us having bodies in Heaven.  Almost implying at times that we have no consciousness until our bodies are resurrected/glorified.  So, “we” are nothing without our bodies, but in Heaven our bodies are there, therefore our bodily-induced personalities live on through the bodies that make them.  Still, it’s entirely possible that at some point in the future of eternity even our glorified bodies will fade away, leaving behind the One Spirit in all of us, and “we” return to experience the euphoria of existence in oneness with The Spirit.

 

John 17:22:The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me.

 
Our bodies are simply our parents’ bodies combined.  God breathes spirit into us, giving us life, but it’s just the natural mysterious energy as it naturally flows through that machine of our parent-combination bodies.  However, when we’re born again, God’s Holy Spirit indwells us, which is not just the spirit of life, but actually God’s own personal Spirit living in us, actually Christ Himself.  So it’s not just our natural bodies at work, but Christ living and working with that physical body.

Which is why you actually witness people change to become different people after they’re Christians.  Non-believers can try to change and do self-help formulas and show signs of change, but they’re still the same people they’ve always been with the same tendencies they give into.  Only when another being comes into your body, living through you and changing you (not of your own energy and will-power), then can a person actually change into a real different person.  Because it really isn’t them anymore. It’s the perfect spirit of someone else, His mind living in our bodies, making choices and offering an alternative to our natural bent.  I am now partially Miles Prowers and partially Jesus Christ, but gradually becoming more of Jesus Christ and less of Miles Prowers, to the point where Jesus Christ is me, just with the looks, personality and memories of Miles Prowers.

 

Who am I? What am I? What even is “I”?  I don’t know.  Something between a random combination of atoms and God Himself.

 

[The mysteries expressed in this essay were condensed into a song entitled “Fade To White”.  You can hear it at soundcloud.com/terremotoothers.  Enjoy!]

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CASTING [BAL]LOTS September 25, 2012

[as written 51212-61312, with additions on 92412]

 

Is it wrong to vote for something good, if it means that that same vote will support something bad?  When it comes to voting, it’s always a packaged deal.  And unfortunately, while politics used to just be about how the government operates, now America is so perverted and complicated that you’re forced to vote for and against moral issues.  And it’s come down to voting for the lesser of 2 evils.  Every single election. There’s just too many things you have to vote for these days.  But voting for 3 out of 4 good things isn’t bad, right?  I mean, if abortion is really the same disgusting holocaust in God’s eyes that it is in ours then it trumps all other political issues.  Shouldn’t we do whatever it takes to stop it just like we would stop Hitler if given the chance?  It seems obvious!  But it isn’t.  If killing a baby is murder and intrinsically wrong simply because it’s killing a human life, then why is it less evil to kill Hitler?  Is it less intrinsically evil to kill human lives if those lives are evil (or what your country sees as evil)? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Jesus is silent about it and so people are forced to disagree.

 

Stereotypically if I vote against abortion I’m also voting for a government with tendencies to enforce capital punishment and prolong war.  So it ultimately comes down to killing the unborn vs. killing adults.  With something as important as people’s damnation on the line, if you’re going to truly determine the “lesser of two evils”, you need to over-analyze all-case scenarios, taking logic as far as it can possibly go; and you’ll inevitably end up on metaphysical grounds.  It’s wrong to kill, as God commanded in the Ten Commandments right from the start, but which is worse: killing the unborn or adults?

 

Looking at it from a politically conservative side, the unborn are innocent and have absolutely no guilt worthy of punishment, whereas a criminal on death row has been tried and convicted for a crime which the country/state’s majority has deemed deserving of death.  It’s not unfair for the man on death row because he knew the consequence for his action before he did it; it is unfair for the innocent infant.  And when it comes to war, the soldiers that die died for a cause, usually a noble cause like defending their country and family or liberating an oppressed people group, and they also die with honor as a hero in their country (most of the time freely signing up for it).  Whereas the “noble cause” of abortion is to retain people’s careers, convenience and money.  And in the miniscule cases of rape, incest, or potential birth defects (which is often a wrong diagnosis on the doctor’s part), the benefit of abortion is that the child won’t have a potentially miserable life (by not existing at all).

 

But now we get to the crux of the whole issue.  As Christians we don’t live according to a physical perspective, but we need to see everything through the lens of eternity (aka salvation and damnation).  Our first and foremost goal in life should be to help the most possible souls go to Heaven and the fewest possible souls to go to Hell.  This includes the area of politics.
But coming from this traditional Christian perspective, if you’re completely honest, which is really worse: abortion or just war?  What happens to an aborted fetus in the spiritual realm?  Sent to Hell for the sins it didn’t exist long enough to commit?  Most Christians I know (clergy and laity alike) consider this unjust and they assume there must be an age of accountability, in other words a soul isn’t responsible for its sin until it becomes old enough TO sin, or at least consciously reject God’s salvation.  If this turns out to be how God really does things, then all abortees (over 50 million by now) are in Heaven.  But what happens to a “soul-dier”?  Chances are he goes straight to Hell, especially if he’s from a non-Christianized country.  And Death Row?  If they committed a sin worthy of capital punishment they probably ain’t going to Heaven.  Legalize abortion, no one goes to Hell.  Outlaw war/capital punishment and people have a better chance of finding salvation through Christ.  Outlaw abortion and you’ll possibly get a sudden surge of juvenile delinquency.

 

By that reasoning infanticide must be good!  And why stop at the infants?  Why not take it up to the very age of accountability?  Some say it’s 13 as that’s when a Jewish boy officially becomes a man, but other, more lenient, Christians point to the Biblical passage of men going to war at age 20, as if that’s the age that they truly became adults.  So then we should exterminate all people under 20?  And then we’d have to keep people from having any more kids lest they go to Hell.  So amp up the birth control and abortion, and bring back eugenics.  And soon there would be no one to repopulate the Earth and we’d all die.  But surely less souls would be in Hell!  With that line of reasoning you might as well just nuke the whole Earth right now because inevitably there are less people to go to Hell now than in 100 years when the population is doubled!

 
Hold on.  Take a breather.  How’d we start with “who should I vote for’ and end up with nuking the Earth?  Isn’t it always right to save a soul from Hell no matter what it takes?  At that rate it’s better to kill them and essentially save them from Hell in doing so (Hell being infinitely worse than death).  But then we’re playing God.  Taking vengeance when “Vengeance is Mine,” says the Lord.  Breaking His clear, certain commands for an uncertain greater good.  Isn’t there something intrinsically evil about murder?  Should you ever do evil, even if it produces a good deemed as more significant/influential than the evil?  Isn’t there really absolute truth and morality?  So that if it’s wrong to kill then it also must be wrong to kill Hitler, even if ending 1 evil, guilty life saves 6 million lives.  But isn’t that essentially the sin of omission?  You personally commit no murder, but by your refusal to murder you murder 6 million innocent people instead.  And here we are back to the “lesser of two evils” stale mate.

 

[Checkmate:  While it’s wrong to kill, isn’t it worse to assist in someone going to Hell?  In the case of the holocaust, it isn’t as much about saving the lives of 6 million Jews as much as it is about saving 6 million souls from being sent to Hell early.  Isn’t it better to send one undeniably evil man to Hell in exchange for the souls of 6 million Jews ?  Surely many of those 6 million (though many were undoubtedly Christians), if they were rescued, would have sought and found Christ after the horrors of the holocaust.  This is the one valid argument for killing I can think of.  Still I feel safer not killing anyone and leaving the mysteries of the after life to God.]

 
All this to say, no one really knows what’s truly right and wrong on these issues, because quite simply we don’t know for certain exactly how the after-life operates.  We outlaw an obvious evil like abortion (only for it to cause more souls to go to Hell), and we hasten the hand of God’s “obvious” justice by wiping out the Hitlers and Charles Mansons (but they, along with the evil and good soldiers fighting around them, go to Hell in the process) before they murder the innocent (which are more likely to go to Heaven when killed than the enemies when killed).

 

But abortion is an obvious evil which surely God wants stopped as soon as possible, and war is a less obvious evil, some would argue a necessary evil (as it’s always been around, has been used for many noble causes, and was even God-ordained in the Old Testament).  And when you consider how many deaths we’re talking about here, when it comes down to it, nothing touches abortion.  All the murders of Hitler and Stalin combined are less than the number of abortions in America alone.  And there’s no way to know how many executed criminals and fallen soldiers will actually go to Hell, versus how many un-aborted juvenile delinquents will go to Hell.  Maybe one is more than the other, maybe they’re the same.  But the whole point of this is to show that you can only follow the logic so far before you get sucked into a whirl-pool of circular arguments where philosophical speculation is the basis of your conclusions.  Are you willing to take the gamble?  There’s nothing in the Bible that definitively says “there is an age of accountability” or how many “infidel” soldiers go to Hell.  But you make your theoretical calculations and cast your lots.  Inevitably voting for someone’s damnation.

 
So.  When all the arguing dies out, you’re left with one question:  Is it right to support something that seems good even though it will have some consequences that seem bad?  Good luck with that one.  In other words, which would you vote for?  Blowing up Africa, Europe and Australia, or just blowing up Europe and Australia? Obviously I’d never vote for Hitler, but if he was running against Stalin, I’d have to think about it.

 

Or should you wash your hands of the whole thing, being innocent in your own eyes but essentially assisting evil by not stopping it? It’s because of your uninvolvement that the world keeps getting worse and worse.  The sin of omission again, perhaps even worse in this case since you did no good at all, neither to the 1 man nor the 6 million.  Was Pilate really guiltless just because he publicly washed his hands of the whole affair, protesting it?  No.  The blood of the Son of God was on his head as well, even though he didn’t scream with the jews “his blood be upon us and our children”. (Matt. 27:25)

 

But what if by voting for the lesser evil you’re withholding your vote for good, withholding your vote from a candidate who is not evil?  Who would you vote for: Hitler, Stalin, or Jesus?  Jesus has no shot at winning, because he tells the truth and not what people want to hear.  By voting for Jesus (who won’t win) you’re essentially voting for whichever candidate does win (which is inevitably going to be a worse candidate than Jesus, but more than that will promote some form of evil).  But wouldn’t Jesus want you to vote for Him?  Your vote for Jesus is a vote for the right thing in every area of politics.  Even though he doesn’t win you are still voicing your opinion as to who you want to win, and what policies you want the government to have.

 

After all this, past all the questions and ambiguity of my own personal opinion, politically I’m leaning towards finding the best possible candidate (even though he isn’t likely to win) and getting involved to do whatever I have to to make it likely for him to win.  Even if he doesn’t win this election, I’ve made it more likely for independent candidates like him to get elected in the future, outside of the 2 party nominations.  Isn’t that what Jesus would want?  If He was running for president, we’d feel obligated (but excited) to vote for Him (a vote for nothing evil, unlike the other candidates), but also forced to realize that the only way for Him to get elected is for us to get involved and make people want to vote for Him.

 

I end with an open-ended statement:  Vote for the candidate that will allow the most souls to go to Heaven, and the fewest souls to go to Hell, but is there any way to truly know which candidate that is?  I know one that definitely is, but he won’t win…yet.

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