Ramble: Spark

Where does it all begin?

That eternal nagging question of what was before I remember remembering?

There is the seed and there is the tree. Yet what comes first the seed or the tree? And does that even matter at all?

Isn’t there something before the seed? A mystery beyond our poking and measuring? A spark that ignites into being and life? A spark that becomes seed, imbues seed, consumes seed, and becomes root and leaf, transforms into tree, and in turns becomes spark for the next cycle of becoming and being.

What am I but a spark? Drifting in the darkness captured inside the dust of dead stars. Bond by gravity and weak quantum attractions to molecules and masses. What am I? Why am I?

Where do I go when it ends?


Ramble: Godless

godless(ADJECTIVE): Not believing in God.

I find the Oxford English dictionary primary definition of godless rather amusing: they capitalize the word god. Implying that godless is not to believe in the monotheistic Abrahamic God. Psst – it really is the lower case version of the word because it is general disbelief in god(s) of all stripes and flavours.

Looking at other dictionaries gets even more amusing since godless also means “evil or wicked”. “to be profane”. And a synonym of godless is atheist. A the joys of language – judgement passed without even making an accusation.

Now just to be clear I am not an atheist. An atheist is one who believes there is no god. It is an absolute conviction that there is no greater being, no creator, no primal consciousness of any kind. And well I just don’t know that, and I think we can never know the truth of that. And I think it doesn’t matter. That makes me an agnostic.

agnostic(NOUN): someone who does not know, or believes that it is impossible to know, if a god exists.

While I don’t know if there is a god at all, I am absolutely certain there is no such thing as a personal god. A god that walks along with you to guide and protect your life. After all, if god will protect me from all harm because of my faith, and protect your from all harm because of your faith. What happens when we go to war?

There could be a god, a creator, prime-mover. I just have no proof there is one. And even if there is one (or dozens) – a god has no need to spend their time monitoring and judging my actions. What a waste of an infinite mind to act as a cosmic voyeur tsk-tsking everything the little people chose to do in private. “Oh my god did you see that he put his thing in her thing and they had pleasure! And they aren’t even married”

That type of observation isn’t godly – it is simply being a peeping tom. Tsk tsk.

And in the end I guess that makes me godless. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an ethical or moral code to guide my life and my choices. I believe in the precept that we each should strive to “cause no harm.” Which is a great starting point until you end up in a conflict because you want cherry cola and I want plain cherry soda – and we can only have one bottle to share. One of us will be disappointed – and one of us will be “harmed” in some sense by that conflict. Yes it will be a minor snowflake of harm, and truly the single snowflake of harm is no great event. However, the infinite accumulation of snowflakes does tend to leave an impact of some sort. The point being that striving to “cause no harm” isn’t a complete moral code in itself. One needs more principles to navigate the complexity of humans and human interactions.

In that light my next guiding mantra is “find the greater good.” Sounds simple enough. And as slippery as all hell. What is “good” anyway? Who decides? How is it measured? And there you have me – I cannot completely define what “good” might be, or what makes something “better” than something else. Yet we all seem to have a shared sense of that concept of goodness; and what is harm. The reality is that sometimes in order to make things better there has to be a loser.

I am not sure I can take you any further in this ramble except to say there are no elegant perfect solutions to any of this. Just do your best to keep it simple and cause no harm whenever possible. And if that isn’t possible then share in the suffering.

Ramble: Nothing is Sacred – and that is Good!

No, nothing is sacred. And even if there were to be something called sacred, we mere primates wouldn’t be able to decide which book or which idol or which city was the truly holy one. Thus, the only thing that should be upheld at all costs and without qualification is the right of free expression, because if that goes, then so do all other claims of right as well.
~~Christopher Hitchens

Sacred is an adjective used to describe a person or thing worthy of worship or declared holy. Sacred usually has a religious context, however something or someone that has been set aside for dedicated purpose can also be sacred. Anything designated as sacred is considered to be untouchable, and inviolable. In an absolute sense any critique of that which is sacred is itself an act of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is the act of insulting; showing contempt; lack of reverence to a deity, to religious or holy persons or sacred things; or toward something considered sacred or inviolable. Blasphemy is by its very nature in the eye of the beholder. If I don’t think of an object, place or person as sacred then my lack of reverence cannot be blasphemy. Yet to those that hold an object, place or person as sacred, my lack of deference is clearly blasphemy. This disagreement about what is sacred and what is profane is the heart of all conflict. And how are we to judge what is truly universally sacred?

We are simply imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. If there is a divine being somewhere out there we have no way of knowing on our own what is inviolable. We have no proof of the divine, or even the message of the divine. We simply have myriad stories of what others have declared to be the ultimate sacred message. Zeus, Odin, and Mithra have been sacred, and now are mere mythologies. When faith fades and crumbles, it is clear the sacred transmutes into the mundane. Think of all those who died because the profaned Jupiter and Apollo – their deaths meaningless punishment for an imaginary crime.

This is why it is best that nothing is sacred.

That is not say we should display contempt towards the sacred beliefs of others. There is still the need for respect for other ideas, other thoughts, other needs. I accept that there are those that feel the need for “something more”, all I ask is that they accept in return that I do not and never will share those same beliefs.

There is no god out there that cares what we individual humans think or do. There is no god out there to judge us for our greed and stupidity. We humans own our own misery and cruelty. No outside agency is to blame for the raping and pillaging of the world. If the world is to be a better place, it will only be better because we collectively have chosen to make things better. It is our choice to live as a swarm of locusts on our mother earth, consuming everything within our reach. It is our choice to leave nothing behind but our toxic excretions.

Nothing is sacred. Everything is allowed. And in the end it is what we chose to do with that freedom that matters. It is the essence of human nature to rely upon the divine as an excuse for inaction: hey not my fault! Don’t worry god will look after the consequences.

It is all just excuses. There is no god that compels us to behave, or to do. Our sins are our own. We make the choices – and we own the consequences. Fully and completely.

Time to grow up people. Nothing is sacred. And you have no excuse for the mess you are making.

Haiku: Rumble

sonorous sky call
vibrates my windows and soul
August has arrived

Haiku: Chervil

gentle green chervil
offers me slow subtle warmth
Parisian spring air