Friday, July 20, 2007

Why, indeed?

Barak is skeptical of Pretty Lady's faith in Matters Supernatural:

While I agree that this is a pretty run-of-the-mill miracle, why bring the holy ghost into this? I have long noticed that the quality of a gathering is directly proportional to the quality of the comestibles consumed. The vintners at the Chateau (not to mention Cha-Cha) clearly deserve more credit for taming the beast than any supernatural being.
Barak, my dear, Pretty Lady intends no disparagement of either vintners or Cha-Cha in her insistence on speaking the name of the Holy Spirit aloud. This is not a Random Attribution on her part; although it might appear so, Pretty Lady is not guilty of Magical Thinking, Sloppy Reasoning or the Dissing of Human Effort. The Holy Spirit's influence is Key.

You see, unlike many Modern Rationalists, Pretty Lady sees no inherent conflict of interest between Human Wisdom and Divine Inspiration. It is her experience, rather, that reliance upon the latter naturally leads to the former. She would go so far as to say that this appears to be a cause and effect relationship.

Because, dear Barak, a person who relies on the strivings of Self alone to meet all incoming needs--safety, security, solvency, bottles of Chateau Malescot and freedom from gunfire--is, of necessity, a Tense person. Since he places no trust in things intangible, and since he can see ugliness and mayhem all around, he is certain that his own situation depends solely on his ability to control his environment completely. And of course this is impossible. Ergo the neckaches, backaches, joint problems, eyestrain, and heart attacks before the age of 50.

Moreover, a person who is hell-bent on maintaining control at all costs has little energy left for entering the present moment--for appreciating the subtleties of a particular vintage, for example, or listening closely and non-judgmentally while his then-girlfriend expounds her notions of the Holy Spirit. He may take a temporary vacation to do these things, of course, but his inner sense of panic and exigency never disappears, and reasserts itself in triple force after every moment of indulgence. Moreover, he finds discourses upon the Holy Spirit to be, not amusing conversation, but deeply threatening to his sense of control, particularly when issuing from the lips of his then-S.O. For a lady who trusts in the intangible is not likely to succumb to the stringent dictates of Extreme Paranoia, and is thus, in his judgment, a Loose Cannon On Deck.

(This character portrait, dear Barak, has utterly nothing to do with what Pretty Lady knows of thou. Specifically. She'd just like to make that clear.)

The end result of an attitude which entirely dismisses the likes of the Holy Spirit, then, is a character which is utterly incapable of producing miracles like Chateau Malescot. For where does the faith and the patience come from, to venture into the void without the certain assurance that this next bottle of fermented juice will turn out well? Whither exploration, invention, and ambitious business plans? Whither the willingness to embrace the threatening person with the gun?

Pretty Lady can assert with perfect confidence that this person--the faithless, untrusting, empirical Control Freak--does not create a life full of miracles. Rather, he ends up friendless, joyless, rage-filled and unproductive, crouched in a mouldering building, tromping on insects which dare to breach the perimeter.

18 comments:

Doom said...

You slice things so finely, yet like a good chef who serves blow fish, you must. Thanks for the reminders. Urhm, yeah, I think things are that finely sliced, and more, but you do well for a mortal.

Oh, and blessings. I hope you are finding joy in life, even around the frustrations. Not to worry, regardless of boards, meetings, and Neanderthals... *cough*… some of us know you are an artist. Don’t you mind the peasants that wander through from time to time, throwing tomatoes or other unpleasantries. Or ghost whisperings… Ha.

danonymous said...

Perhaps we should reconsider a step before concluding with the need for higher powers. Perhaps an issue is not the reliance on oneself, but the absolute trust in oneself that one can "accomplish". If you want to bring in higher powers, then perhaps consider that the higher powers have already given us all we need and the shortfall is that we haven't developed the belief in ourselves. So of course...we distrust others as we do ourselves as well.
But only perhaps.

prettylady said...

perhaps consider that the higher powers have already given us all we need

Yes, indeed, as can be seen in the story below; the elements are at hand, and only need to be assembled correctly.

But I must insist--how is it possible to 'trust in oneself' if one does not acknowledge the overarching patterns of harmony and intention, of which one is an integral part? Trusting in one's own small self to prevail over a meaningless and chaotic universe, in whatever amount of time and with whatever amount of effort, is the true insanity, not belief in a Higher Power.

I hope you are finding joy in life, even around the frustrations.

Yes indeed! Thank you! I will be sharing some more of my projects shortly. Things are going Excellently Well.

Bobert said...

"...perhaps consider that the higher powers have already given us all we need..."

Something I can totally agree with...

It would seem to me that the higher powers gave us all a world to be born into... the rest us up to us... good luck.

danonymous said...

Pretty LAdy responded "Trusting in one's own small self to prevail over a meaningless and chaotic universe, in whatever amount of time and with whatever amount of effort, is the true insanity, not belief in a Higher Power."

IN my thinking, I view this as the overall intention of religions and mystic movements, both old and modern and I think after the thousands of years of doing so, the stone left unturned is the human being. Belief in a higher power is fine, and optional....belief in the human being may be the key to the kingdom.....and of course....the dreadful answer to all that we wish to avoid....i.e. taking responsibilty.

thimscool said...

Ya make me dizzy, sister, by spinning such fine threads.

Are you in love?

Desert Cat said...

Doesn't being in love tend to make one fuzzy-headed and loopy? I don't see that here. I think Pretty Lady is pretty well centered at the moment.

Crusader said...

belief in the human being may be the key to the kingdom

Wow... just wow. That is Humanism, pure and simple. It is also heresy and a lie. A damning lie.

thimscool said...

Point taken, DC.

Although, after the free fall part, it can lead to incredible confidence and a joy that shows itself in everything you do...

k said...

Well! Certainly there are those that perceive me as fuzzy-headed and loopy. I suspect they may be right. But that was just as true before I met Walter as it is today.

Of course, the way it is now is often more fun. LOTS more.

I'm not so sure that belief (or lack thereof) in any higher power is key here. This person, the control freak, is just as apt to appear in the context of any religion on earth. Sometimes more likely, in fact; and often in a position of great power over others.

Perhaps where they err is in perceiving themselves to be actually capable of controlling things they cannot - even if that erroneous belief doesn't rise to the level of considering themselves as on a par with deity.

Besides that clear factual error, there's an error of value judgement at work. It's not just a question of whether they can completely control their destiny. It's also a question of whether they should.

And of course, as most of us have discovered to our regret, this is the very type of person who believes they both can, and should, control not just their own destiny - but the lives of others. Not their purview under any circumstances except special parent/child relationships and so forth.

They tend to violate all boundaries both of reason and of true morality.

You may have realized by now that this is one of my LEAST favorite types. I'm afraid I have no sympathy remaining for the secret despair they feel every minute of their sorryass wasted lives.

danonymous said...

In response to K ( if I understand what you are saying correctly) ...
let's change the person we are talking about from acontrol freak who mistakenly he/she believes can control things and "knows better than anyone" what is good for others, etc....and exchange that person with one who is OK with the fact that they can't control much, but that they are suffciently equipped to handle situations and life for the best, through thick and thin, through mistake and recovery, through risk and discovery, without any guarantees of success, and without a finite endpoint to aim at?

Doom said...

I keep seeing people judging those whose job it is to judge, or seemingly. I might be mistaken, so I will make this very light.

If I was to become dominant in my field, and lets say I was to really believe what I had learned, experienced, experimented with, and felt, would I not be called to surety? Of course, professors do exactly that. Beyond, anyone who does not submit to those ways, his or their ways, is expelled, one way or another. So, why do you judge these. I changed from Pope or such to professor to show the point better. Now, which is more right? I have my answer, it seems most have theirs too. But judging those one believes are judgmental becomes a losing battle fast. If their job is to ensure a science or a holy belief is kept viable, and do this because they have believed and done so all their lives, how can you really disclaim them even if you do not believe them. It’s their job!

From what I have seen, the Pope speaks to Christians, Einstein to physicists, Freud or Young to psychologists, etc. It is only when Freud, Einstein, or the Pope goes out into someone else’s field that it is being judgmental.
And, no, his "heretical theories" were not the problem, they were openly taught by him in the only (Catholic) universities of the day. He ran into trouble when, as political correctness has reversed today, he doubted the church, mocked it openly, and chose to bite the hand that fed him. You might say he was the first real intellectual, nah, the guys who developed Marxism but forgot to write it down would be the first (around 1000 A.D. is the first I heard of communism). Assistant professors today lose their chance at full professorship for simply believing in God, certainly for openly believing anything in the bible. It is just as bad today as it was then, but it’s the way of it. No, actually it is worse. The modern Christians are not attacking, they seem rather humble in their beliefs. Unlike him.

If I am out of place, please let me know, Pretty Lady.

prettylady said...

Doom, I don't know that you are 'out of place,' but I confess to some bafflement as to which 'him' you are talking about.

Doom said...

Oh, if he is the him you are talking about, Galileo Galilei. I have been getting my days and nights rearranged, a minor adjustment more suitable for more normal and active function, and I have been up a bit too long. I do apologize for the confusion.

I think my argument blurs a lot too, though, that is usual, I think.

Morris said...

"This person, the control freak, is just as apt to appear in the context of any religion on earth. Sometimes more likely, in fact; and often in a position of great power over others."

Indeed, more often than not such people are *attracted* to such positions because of the power inherent. I dare say, though, that such people have no knowledge of God and we should beware of them as being wolves in sheeps clothing. God Himself tells us the facts and is a gentleman in that he gives us free choice and forces nothing on us. All I know is that the more I experience of Him, the more I know I can trust Him.

Doom said...

Hmmm, I wonder. I think the only free will left to us is to accept what he has created and set forth, obey our destiny, open our lives to him, or not. The rest is his clock, as if all matter and energy where a special God made time-piece. Nothing we do, say, feel, think, or believe will sway the precious precise reality-time-piece one whit. His will IS reality, not physics, chemistry, psychology, or our actions.

As for attractions, I think of it this way. Lust is a necessary thing, evil only through abuses. Same with greed. With neither of these, children would not be born and work would not be done. These things draw men and women together, they draw workers and employers into contract, and men to military, police, academic, or holy pursuits. It is what it is supposed to be, if we are indeed flawed in our use of these natures at this point, and to some degree. To judge because one is drawn to what they are supposed to do seems odd to me. Of course, this makes me have to reconsider some of my own unsavory beliefs about myself too. Hmmm, I’ll have to ruminate. I really don’t like falling into my own thoughts that way.

k said...

Morris, you understand, perfectly, where I was going. Free will and free understanding can, should, keep us taking care to spot such people. Using our discernment that way is, I believe, part of taking personal responsibility. Your own careful approach is why I said, so soon after *meeting* you, that you think for yourself.

Doom, I think there's a difference between judging the characteristics of an individual, and judging the worth of those characteristics. The first addresses factual matters. It's using our fine brains - wherever those brains came from! - to take the responsibility of figuring out for ourselves when that pastor is a sheep in wolf's clothing.

The second addresses the value of the person in question. I dislike control freaks. I believe there is real evil in that behavior. When the poser pretends to be acting for God, rather than for their own greedy interests, it raises the level of their wrongdoing by quite a bit. It's predatory.

danonymous, I read your comment a couple days ago and have been mulling it over since then. I'm a little confused on this point: Sure we can change the character in question to someone other than a control freak. But, isn't that *who* Pretty Lady was describing? Perhaps I got fuzzy on it, so clarify at will! However, while that would be an interesting discussion on its own, it looks to me like a *new question entirely,* rather than, *look at THIS question from a different angle.*

Still, I'll give it a shot. Sure, why not? I like, very much, your description of m. *OK*. Seems a fine human, and standing on their own two feet.

First, I'd say that many theological beliefs do NOT guarantee *success by virtue of being a believer.* Even a *finite endpoint* to aim at is very much open to individual analysis and interpretation by believers. Second, OK can feel that way whether OK is or isn't a believer, just a believer can feel like OK does. Third, OK sounds like a person who's not elevating themself to the level of deity, in the sense that they have a deistic-level faith in themself, but rather a confidence that they can, and will, try their best, and with a reasonable expectation of some success. Personal responsibility, that.

In a nutshell, I don't see these characteristics as mutually exclusive.

k said...

eeek! Excuse typo, please: *...just as a believer can feel...*