Bumping into God
We are a curious lot, we humans. We name and label and categorize and delineate. We box in our beliefs, and box out those who differ. We fill in the blanks and fill out the forms and try to squeeze the rhythms of life into measuring cups.
But none of us knows what life, or being, is, let alone non-being. We can go to the cusp of tomorrow, but never beyond. We can pore over the ashes of yesterday but stumble against the edges of prehistory. We create illusory maps of how the world works, but there are places on the map of being that we fear to visit.
Those places, before birth and after death, live on the borders of insanity. We don't want to go there, because they are out of our control. Time is an untranslated language there. There the chaotic world of nature won't fit into our charts. What if we found – there - that the Universe is God's epileptic seizure? What if She never recovers?
Being, is totally out of our control. Except, of course, that, being consummate war-mongers, we have finely honed the skills necessary to turn our fellow-creatures into non-beings. That makes us the smart ones, right? That puts us right up there with God, right?
In a poem entitled “Peace”, Stanley Moss wrote, “The trade of war is over, there are no more battles, but simple murder is still in”. We are into and out of many things, as fashion and the whims of politics dictate: hip hop, abstract expressionism, sports heroes, uppers and downers, long hair and short skirts. Are we really “in” to murder? Is conflict built into our DNA?
A friend sent me these words by Saint Augustine: “Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with our busy thoughts. Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still. And imagine if that moment were to go on and on.” I would dearly love to imagine that moment. I would especially like to see our leaders in Congress participate in that moment. As James Bovard said, writing in the Sacramento Bee, “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” Are we, as he says, victims of “Battered Citizen Syndrome”?
It is not the beyond of tomorrow or the before of yesterday that should concern us. It's today's humans, being, that have spun out of control.
c. Corinne Whitaker 2009
For more on the work of the wolves, see our April, 2006 Archives.