Tag Archives: Makes you think

Universal Religion

I bet you’re wondering what this post is getting at, already, aren’t you? 😀 Because not everyone has the same beliefs, and not everyone professes the same religion, right???             All in due course.

You see, language reflects people’s beliefs-there have been some influential psychologists historically, actually, who believed language determined thought.  https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Sapir%E2%80%93Whorf_hypothesis.html So if there’s a word, or turn of phrase that comes easily to your tongue, you can infer that (whether explicitly or implicitly) you believe in it-or that it means something to you.

This argument could open up an interesting can of words if I were talking to people who swore a lot.

But in the meantime, I argue that a large proportion of people-possibly even all- believe in or worship one thing in common.

Luck.

“I’m so lucky”; “Oh, bad luck”, “Good luck!”; “I’m fortunate that…”…

These ritualistic greetings, and almost codewords reflect a belief in an impersonal force, beyond our reckoning, that turns the world to our advantage, or not. Some believe they can influence this force-that doing certain things will change your luck. Walking under ladders, smashing mirrors, killing spiders…even cutting your toenails at night! These behaviours and beliefs vary from culture to culture, but the core is pretty consistent.

Now, having made you put your back up a little bit, I’ll put it up a little more :).

You see, luck doesn’t equate to probability, which can be measured, and which has mathematical laws governing it. Au contrare, luck is seen to be a fickle beast, unique to each person or situation. Almost as if, say, people were using it as an excuse for lack of skill on their part, or lack of effort. Or almost as if you were trying to make the world a more pleasant place by hoping it would be (for some light, extremely repetitive and amazingly sincere reading on that belief, feel free to pick up a copy of “The Secret” sometime. Then burn it.) The thing is, walking under a ladder does make it more likely for it to fall on you. The thing is, smashing mirrors is a great way to get fragments of glass everywhere. Possibly in you. Let alone the fact that the owner may be a bit miffed (especially if, say, they were the kind of person to whom mirrors are very important).

But the fact is, probability is not determined or influenced by luck. The stars aligning reflects more about how you tilt your head than it does your future, your past, or your personality. Amazing as it may seem, if you randomly select a group of people, you may get a group with the same interests, even the same name, randomly. Because that’s how randomness works. Sometimes statisticians use semi-random sampling just so that they can’t get those crazy random patterns.

And I’m not saying that there isn’t a God who does do stuff. But any god that really is God, wouldn’t be magically swayed by you saying certain words, or have to give you a bad day if you accidentally squash a spider. A real God-the real God in whom I believe-is bigger than all that.

And the thing is…The real thing is, if you don’t believe in luck, don’t follow the religion! Don’t say the codewords. Don’t obey the rituals!

And for goodness’s sake, please think about what you say!

🙂

Image

(Image from http://animal-backgrounds.com)

 

Feel free to comment below. Or argue :).

The temptation to be “creative”

You see, having posted well, or semi-well crafted pieces of writing, I’m a little tempted to only post things that are similarly written. But that’s not what this blog is for! Occasionally I might come out with something good, but I meant for it to be a ramble in my mind, not a military march.

So I will blah. And my thoughts will be muddled. And I will not claim writing as a hobby, or announce with grandeur that I have a blog, that I’m good enough to have a blog, like a real writer…no.

Thus.

I wonder if humanity is a language. If every human is a word, with its meaning worked out across the lifespan. If our relationships reveal the syntax. This person’s life is primarily of doing, so they are a verb! Or of being, so a noun. Or of revealing characteristics of others, so an adjective or adverb. And then, different groups of humans behave differently, so you’d get a different dialect of that same language, different jargons, or levels of formality. I wonder what I myself would mean.

Or perhaps humanity is a pattern of colours, with each person’s colour their personality and history, changing and deepening as they mature. And the colours you interact with would blend at the boundaries with yours. And so, the closer linked a group of people are, the more blended together, the less distinguishable the colours, althoug at the heart, they would each be unique…and then, the only sharply distinct colours would be the outcasts, the lonely, the hermits… But then, I wonder what the pattern as a whole would look like! Obviously I, as a part of that pattern, would be unable to see more than a part of it: but someone (sentient) on the outside could see it, and see what landscape it created.

I do wonder how I would change the colours around me. But then, I desire to see that landscape, which I blatantly cannot-nor would I understand it if I did see it. 

🙂

A dream I had once

This story has no name…let’s call it “Reminiscence” for now.

The corridors are filled with people-students and lecturers, and the randoms who walk in from the street. Not in the normal, between-lectures scurry and rush, with everyone so courteously keeping to their side. No, it is a flood, strangely silent, which carries rumours the more contagious for not being said. A silent alarm. A kind of danger, undefined and mysterious. So the flock stampedes, hurrying down stairwells and corridors, away. Not to anything, you’ll note, as you yourself are pushed along. That implies a safe destination. But a nameless threat is boundless, its limit imagination. And so there is no to.

But I question this. This sheep-like running in circles, hoping vainly for the protection of the flock-as likely to run off the metaphorical cliff, or drown in the (again metaphorical) river in the mindless panic, mindless madness of the mob. I always question: it is my nature, I suppose. But now, it seems more pertinent than ever. Is it not better to know what you’re up against, to know how to defend yourself? As it is I have no idea. And so I halt.  And the people part around me, and join on the other side. A rock in the middle of a river. A single woman is no obstacle to their rush. But a moving one?  I turn, and forge my way up the stairs, and through, through to the corridor beyond. This one is almost empty. The geology floor, still as the rocks it holds at the best of times. Now, a couple of absent-minded people dutifully locking up labs, and hurrying to the stairwell. Hear the swish of lab coats, clanking keys, tap-tap of feet…back to the flock they go.

After wandering for a while through a maze of turns, using back stairways and crossing empty rooms, I reach a familiar corridor. The library. And I see Mrs M, with curly hair, a stubborn and well-padded woman. She’s well-known for her unwillingness to ever, ever miss her show. Her reason for putting herself in danger makes mine seem really robust, but I don’t doubt she’d think the same of mine. Doubt? Knowledge? The concerns of only the few who are at university to actually learn.

And now I’m face-down on the floor, with the idea of a great explosion echoing in my mind, a force slamming me to the ground. I twist around to see what it is. Standing above me is a dark figure, black-garbed, long-haired, and smiling faintly. But what really attracts my attention is the gun aimed at my head. I don’t know much about these things, generally hating the noise, so crude and violent, but this gun seems pretty big. And to focus my attention, pointing, no, being aimed at my head. He shoots, once, twice, five times at this point blank range. My head thwacks against the floor, again and again. Annoying, really.

As I get up, I register the shock on Mrs M’s face. I think it’s because I was shot. I mean, it doesn’t happen every day on campus, does it? And gone. When I turn, I see no dark figure; when I look back, no library staff, no Mrs M. The place is empty.

And now there is an idea of green, of eyes watching me. And I realise that I’m seeing myself in the glass doors-the automatic ones. They’re not opening now-closed for the night. And so they reflect my eyes. Like twin stars, shining green and vague, distant. Maybe that’s what Mrs M was staring at. My eyes were brown before, a brown dark enough that sometimes you couldn’t tell where iris and pupil met. I have no such troubles now. I have no pupils. Strange. But not stranger than standing after 6 shots to the head. Not stranger than the lack of blood-I mean, I’ve read that head wounds bleed heaps…but a hand inspecting my face and head finds no blood or matting, no protruding bullets. I muse a while longer before seeing.

There are others approaching me. I don’t recognise them, but it’s hard to really see them with all these green, blazing, flaring eyes coming towards you from the shadows. And they’re so quiet. Feet noiseless, and not a rustle from their clothes, like the evening has wrapped them or my ears in cotton wool. Either way.

We move along, a slowly growing group. I’m trying to find a space for us, safe, and dark, where we can talk. Their eyes don’t leave me, so it feels like there are dragged along by their eyeballs. Where has the dark man gone? Is he the cause, or a witness? Did he, zombie-killer-like, try to stop it? Is it-are we- the danger we were fleeing? Questions. I come up with them too easily. The hard thing is finding answers.

We gather in a wide, open hall. My feet lead me here, but I don’t rightly know where here is.  But it’s dark, shadowy, and still. The roof, arching high above us, adds yet more shadows. Not a light on. Pin-pricks of starlight shine through a single skylight, far from us.

And the eyes surround me now, gathering, building, and stopping. Not a crowd as such, although they crowd around me-more a large gathering. Silent, probing, dark-robed figures. You see their shadow-garments before their clothes. Or have their clothes, like their eyes, changed colour? Not a word, but they question me; look towards me, with growing trepidation-some mixture of fear, respect, and impatience.

Leader: first-changed: eldest.

Those around me are the alright. Their clothes are torn, some of them, and their hats riddled with holes, but they stand, unharmed.

 Are we safe? Are we different? Why the darkness? Why our eyes? Why the silence?

 And I try to find answers within myself for them, for those questioning eyes. My story, my mind, my questions laid bare: the best answers they’ll get.

Do we scare the others? The people? For a reason? Can we hurt?

The last is really two questions. Some want to know if they are invulnerable, undying. Others worry about hurting their loved ones. Oh God, do we still have loved ones? What if we can’t avoid hurting them? One question, at least, I can answer.

The university is uncharacteristically dark-unlighted. But this hasn’t bothered us. Indeed, we seem to have naturally migrated to the darkest point on campus. That tells me a lot. Light isn’t our friend anymore.

And so I walk across the hall toward the skylight. I leave them behind, but their eyes follow. Towards the skylight, and underneath it. There, purposefully, I lie down: As a lesson. There is stillness, a waiting, and time passes. The sun rises, and eventually its light pours down through the skylight, spills into the hall-stopping feet short of the gathering.

And the screaming begins.

Pain, a million shades of agony, that little-sampled spectrum, dances, a thousand plucked notes. Chords, broken, shards. I view this, I watch this, absently: that is to say, in absentia, I watched me lie there. Watch me writhe- surprisingly little, if truth be told… I view this from around the corner of my mind, unwilling to be quite in the same room, so to speak.

And my fellows listen, shocked, despairing. They listen, they think, to the sound of their death, their freedom, and their death.

We can hurt, but can we die?

The sun passes over. Shaking, I stand. Maybe my eyes are dimmer than before, but other than that, physically, I am unchanged. My skull, smooth, bulletless; My eyes, green fire; My mind, ready to question as ever; But finding answers, a new quest.

I return to my fellows. And we stand together. And we live.

Why don’t I die? Why do I cry now, as I write this?

We do not fear the coming of day, or the guns of many wary returning students. How hard for freaks to live in a land of strangers anyway? No harder than waking from death.

So we think we are the knockers

So we all think we are the knockers. We stand around this hermitically sealed cell, pounding at it, trying to find cracks and openings, and painting doors on it in the hope that maybe, just maybe, wishing, or talking or thinking about being in there will make it happen. Like magic. Maybe.

That’s what we think, anyway. And in this cell, the secrets of the universe. Riches, youth, health, life, happiness…guarded by a tremendously wise (maybe senile) and extremely old man, or maybe a woman. There’s a general consensus about a beard, anyway. So we keep rapping at the window and tapping at the door (the one we painted. Keep up.)

And inside this cell, unbeknownst to us, this guy is looking at a chain, never-ending and hopelessly convoluted, a chain of cages.

He tries to open them, but their inhabitants rail at him to go away, cling to the gilded cages of their prison cells. The very bars are precious to them.

He tries, and tries. He suffers in the trying. So he does a thing completely unexpected.

This guy-not so very old-looking, by the way, for all his white beard, does something incredible, impossible. In the very midst of these tangles of metal, he places a man. A child is born. A man created from nothing, and borne by one as enslaved as the rest of us. His genetic code would be very interesting, I expect. At least we know his blood is red.

How do we know this? This man lives among the cages, but never within them. Everyone he meets tries to impose a cage upon him, a few bars at the very least, but he declines, and continues to walk among the cells. Finally, a cage is thrust upon him, black and sick, and wrought with pain -a cage bare of gilt, but made instead, of death. That’s how we know the blood is red. He steps into this thing willingly, this night, this hell of hatred and badness and lack of hope.

And, calling out to the one who made him, he escapes this cage. Escapes and destroys.

And he walks between the cages again, invisible until he is at the door-for someone who can deny death can easily deny sight-he comes to every cell in turn and knocks. Politely, gently, and keeps coming back. Most don’t hear his knock. Some do. And some even let him in.

And he comes and eats with them. He leads them out, into the wide hermitage, and the cages vanish, blown, crushed, burned and washed away, not a trace remaining.

I’d like to say we rejoice as soon as this happens, and keep rejoicing.

The truth is that we mourn for the lives we’d lived.

But soon we find ourselves knocking with him, on the doors of other cages. Because pity for others still trapped as we once were. Trapped by their own doing, fills us.

Because these people build their own cages, and build cages for each other.  They lovingly craft locks too. They spend days and years on bigger, better, shinier…bars.  And they forget about the door.

Only when they hear this knock do they remember that the doors exist…do they realise that they can come out, and that others can come in. That locks and bolts, and bars and chains do nothing good.  And only then do they realise that they don’t need their cages anymore.

They come to live in the hermitage with the old man -after all, he’s the one we’ve wanted to know so desperately since we began.

And in that cell is fellowship. And the old man with every secret. And the greatest of these secrets is his love. The best-kept too.  Because the world bars it out. It’s not willing to accept its existence, this true, pure love. But the name is kept, and because it carries some good “ness”, is kept to label lesser things.

And in rejecting this love, the world misses out on the freedom it brings, to those who live with the old, bearded man in his cell.

All the world is in his cell, but they don’t know it.

So, when I knock on your door, hear me. When I call you by name, hear in the air I breathe, the breath itself, a life that is purely given, not one jot of it earned. And join with me in welcoming he who denied, overcame, and destroyed death. Let us walk away from gilded misery, and towards peace, and hope and joy. Let us walk together.

I have one last word to speak to you. You’ve heard it before, and will again. But hopefully this time it will mean something to you.

Hopefully, even just this once, you see it truly is everything. And I mean that. I believe it. It is all.

Love.