Monday, July 14, 2008

GETTING TO … OR HAVING TO




If there’s ever been a fulcrum fine enough to find a balance for the dynamic between gratitude and resentment, I’ve never run across it. The threshold between opposites usually reveals their resolution like the third leg of a tripod for stability on all terrain, but this particular slice of life seems insistent on being an either/or deal. It certainly defines a basic characteristic to my actions since fulfilling my last promise twenty-four years ago, but this is the first time I’ve thought to question my immediate obedience to keeping myself glad to exist; preferring to be happy. It seems so obvious that it is a wonder anyone would choose to resent their existence. But then, no one chooses to be miserable. Resentment comes on the heels of surrendering our freedom to choose by placing blind faith in authority to know better than one’s own experience may show, be they teachers, preachers or political leachers whose certainty about the unknown leads the trusting to make promises about a fantasy future where nothing ever changes from the moment the promise freezes time. Once one has employed the prosthetic of faith based knowledge, even the freedom to make up one's own mind for oneself can appear to be a "have to" chore to be resented.

I have often pondered Aleister Crowley’s declaration, “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.” The ultimate sense of this prohibition of prohibition is that chaos, nature’s way of constant change, requires the spontaneity of unrestricted choice to maintain harmony by adapting ourselves to its unpredictable variations. Only failure to recognize this can account for the atrocities committed upon nature and each other to suit our exceptionally spoiled, and growing more so every day, selves.

Once Crowley’s law is violated by anyone prohibiting choice for themselves or others the compulsion breeds resentment no matter how sweet the sentiment. I have often suspected that the motivation for pre-emptive commitment to prohibition is a fear of buckling under the terrible, imagined reality of the theoretical situation looming out there in the future one “has to” face. Or, worse, the reverse; promises made in the heat of the moment manipulating gratitude with a hasty tasty token of undying sincerity replete with a hangover of “have to”s all the mourning’s down the road.

None of this is to say one shouldn’t feel responsible for the effect of one’s actions on others, but the degree to which such actions are gratuitous rather than an expected due makes all the difference in the flavor of ones reliability. Western civilization is built upon the rubble made of the cultures it demolished for not accepting promises never intended to be kept. Growing up in such an environment has taught me to concentrate on matters before me in the here and now where lies are useless in the face of the obvious. My experience has proven me ready for anything when my hands aren’t tied by my past and I get to live my life as I see fit.

Are you getting to live your life, or having to?

17 comments:

Michael said...

Blind faith is like blind anything, but see and know the truth and then realize faith on the basis of observation, and it is a useful thing to have. What else is the theory of gravity, then, but the faith in our observations of things being predictive of future things? So too, metaphors of consciousness are powerful tools for understanding and transforming our universe.

Is Aleister Crowley the kind of divinity you want? That is one model you may choose. Do you understand the consequences of action?

Still, if you like, do what you will shall be the whole of the law, so mete it be, knowing that you will be done to as you do, and as much or more as needed to impart the lesson.

Here then is the Golden rule which you may call a suggestion, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How this "prosthetic" can be anything but useful guidance, I cannot think of a way.

gregra&gar said...

Michael,
Not sure about your "observation based faith" — except for trusting your own facilities over a lifetime of usage, where's the requirement for faith?

I agree that understanding it does transform the universe, but in a far different sense than the transformation wreaked by terraforming with bulldozers.

Who ever said I want any deity? You seem to be faulting an idea for the person who had them, always a mistake. If you have read me at all you should know the golden rule is a principle tenet with me, and, karmically, the same as Crowley's statement. But thanks for the permission nonetheless.

I do not consider either idea a "prosthetic" but a reference or guide. Whereas a prosthetic takes over the function of some natural ability to the point of its atrophying debilitation if it weren't useless already. Very different.

Michael said...

Todd,
Bulldozers are nothing compared to what faith can accomplish. While you profess denial of faith, you nonetheless clearly exercise it, and by invoking karma you acknowledge the universal operation of rules which transcend Crowley's blind authority. You may not "want" any deity, but that is a meaningless desire. What I am saying is that you are fully one with that which exists whether you like it or not, and based on your writings, you know it. However, you reject subjection to the rule of others who claim higher authority than yours, as you have every inherent right to do.

Words cannot convey this, and we could go back and forth for the rest of our present forms without proving anything. Consult your pineal gland.

gregra&gar said...

Once again, you let your detestation of the man, Aleister Crowley, taint your ability to see that I mentioned his statement to express the stand alone authority its good sense made, not his. If I had said I heard it from a bum would that change anything? A preacher? A straw man?? You have yet to address the message while twice attacking the messenger.

You may not "want" any deity, but that is a meaningless desire.

What could this possibly mean?


May your lotus bloom every day.

Michael said...

Todd,
Where did I say that I detested Aleister Crowley? Methinks you are reading things into my words that I did not say.

gregra&gar said...

Okay, Michael! Let's just say, he distracted your attention from the point of his statement which you still haven't addressed since you brought it up and then got off on its author.

Nor nor did you answer how not needing or wanting a deity could possibly translate into meaningless desire?

Michael said...

Todd,
My attention has not been distracted, but if you ignore what I wrote then I can see where you wouldn't have seen what I said.

Your "wanting" or not is irrelevant and meaningless in the same way it does not matter whether I might "want" to have a father and mother.

You are what you are and you came from where you came from, without regard to present desire.

gregra&gar said...

Oh, Your God!

Are you saying that, just like my father and mother, I have a DEITY whether I worship whatshis name (that whoever you and Lilwave were debating like the Arab saying about gagging on gnats while swallowing camels) or not?

Please? Give me a break. Even Lilwave hasn't been so presumptively righteous — yet.

I heed only what my genetic memory tells me, the Tao shows me and meditation on the Golden Rule advises for my actions. I am free to think anything unless I somehow learn how to fuck up the world with that too.

The conundrum here seems to be encapsulated in a statement by someone whose name I have learned not to mention. No,not the other guy, just anybody.
In answer to Sissy Hankshaw's question in the drowsy afterglow of a good fuck the night before, our friend carved on the right side of the entrance, "I believe in nothing, everything is sacred." And on the left, "I believe in everything, nothing is sacred."
And she looked out into the desert where he'd gone to pick peyote.

By the way, did you consider yourself one of the "others who claim higher authority than yours." Sorry, Charlie, but this is indigenous territory, no claims staked around her.

Michael said...

Todd,
I don't think you want to listen to what I'm saying to you, rather you are more concerned with arguing against than understanding. Your impatience with Lilwave was of the same kind you are now demonstrating with me, and it is apparently some internal struggle you have with the concept of a deity that you are opposing here. I am saying you are that deity, and so am I who is. And I am Michael, not Charlie.

If you don't like it, tough. God exists, you know it very well, as you acknowledge every time you recognize our divinity.

gregra&gar said...

Michael,
I guess you'll have to chalk me up as another atheist, or whatever else you care to call me, that you sent away shaking his head in disbelief that otherwise rational people not only believe in a divine creator but can't live and let live so long as scoffers exist.

Wait, this is my blog, where I intend to welcome all comments on my ravings. Thank you, Michael, for your input. I may never know the benefit your message was to me but I thank you for caring to deliver it. Further elucidation of the incomprehensible at this time will only serve to exacerbate my faulty faculties' tendency to melt down in the presence of the unknowable.

In the sense that a peasant in the presence of a flim-flam man is supposed to believe he has perceived genius, I grant you and all the other deity worshippers a divine authority I must be too poor of mental capacity to ever understand over everything He created. I'll even throw in the dinosaurs … but not me.

Michael said...

Todd,
Who said anything about worshipping? You really have an elaborate straw man to argue against.

gregra&gar said...

If you can believe in a deity without worship, then just change my last comment by substituting believers for the only word you seemed to notice, worshippers.

See, your authority is making me amend my ways already.

Michael said...

Todd,
Do you or do you not acknowledge that we are God, as Minx said?

gregra&gar said...

In the sense that she used it, I most definitely agree. I didn't notice her using deity or divinity to elaborate off into the netherwhere.

In the sense of the totality of existence and its ways using the word god bothers me no more than the much more inclusive Great Spirit of native North Americans, but when one assigns divine intent and intelligent design to some manipulator of events, count me out. There is nothing divine no matter how sublime, there is no deity no matter how let in on a grand secret we feel during epiphanies along the way. We are all part of the universe, made of the same stuff as the giant molecules we call galaxies, but at no point in the traversing of the scale from largest to smallest will you find anyone with more true authority than you take upon yourself to investigate what's going on. Nothing divine about it. No supreme god, just the good sense the gestalt of your genes manifest.

Michael said...

Todd,
Your authority is precisely the same as mine. That is the entire point. You are uncomfortable with certain metaphors, and have your own way of saying much the same thing. It would be nonsense to deny the Tao, if you prefer that frame.

We speak different languages, my friend, and that is all.

And we are all one connected consciousness throughout the universe.

The Tao that can be expressed is not the Tao.

gregra&gar said...

Michael, thank you for this resolve. I have been chewing on what we have discussed in light of your bridging the impasse with Lilwave. I will sign off for now and will pick up the thread in my next post if I can figure out how to express it without distracting people with their own personal buzzwords.

A.Decker said...

I really like the picture at the top. The one at the bottom, not so much, even though it's pretty well drawn.