Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Mad Genius

So, my friend Paul McEnery wrote this post and I feel the need to share it here so as to avoid putting up original content, 'cuz that's like, work.

Heh. Which hat do you want me to wear for this issue? The querulous swot who can give you chapter and verse? Or the incomprehensible mystic who'll fluff Shiva's underbelly for a laugh?

Oh hell, let's do both at the same time. Just think of me as Severus Snape.

The first thing to understand is that the Creator God is just as much of a human creation/projection as spaghetti carbonara. All cultures come up with creation myths. Hell, not just myths of the beginning of the world, but myths for the beginning of every little detail. For the last ten years, we've seen one after another creation myth trotted out on DVD about how punk rock got started. It's just one of the things people do, like swapping lists of the best ever graphic novels. And on every occasion, the face of the God looks just like the countenance of the culture. (Fun fact: Monty Python's "God" is the great cricketer W.G. Grace, which is exactly what you'd expect them to pick.)

The thing is, for me, that it's idolatrous to pick an avatar for a universal paradigm and choose to elevate it above all others -- especially when the counter-examples against that paradigm are conclusive. The question for me is always: does your idea of "God" truly match your experience? Does the physics for which He stands actually hold water? If the answer to both of those questions is no, then what are you doing hanging on to such childish things? Sure, when I was a child, I spoke as a child. Now that I'm older, I'm obliged to upgrade my interface. Even so, now I'm looking through a dim screen that's only 15 inches across. In the future, I'm going for the full immersion, altered state, elf-hugging virtual reality.

For my money, the poetics of the "Creator God" are really, really dull, and do nothing to elevate the "soul" to the place of ecstatic participation. For that, I prefer to think of the universe as Shiva's dance. Those buildings towering above me? Nothing less than a slick move on the celestial dance floor. That sunset? It's Kali's flying into the air and over the shoulders of her divine consort -- check out her pleated skirt! It's all one big organismic illusion, and we get to make pieces of it ourselves as we go. What a trip!

But illusion or no, it drags us off the straight and narrow to trudge along in the mildewed boots of false perception. We're part of the constant recreation of the universe! We gave it a spring cleaning and tarted up the old place with a swank four-poster quantum foamy mattress and some lovely string theory curtains in the bay windows. So out with the misery shades of dead man's drapery; that dinge won't wash any more!

Creation is a single instant that takes a bloody age to unfold, scattering its fractal providence all over the Elysian fields. Toss out last week's tulips; they stink of wilt. Blossom your own self like a nursery sunflower, all radiant and frolicky, sucking up the mulch of yesterday's thought and transforming it into a big round yellow smiley face. Beam on!

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