The modus operandi of the Gods fascinates me. The idea that there will be a final visitation, a tallying of the score card before final judgement reminds me of trying to be a good boy so Dad wasn’t angry when he got home. The idea is widespread across the pantheon of religion, a seemingly central theme with various ideologies in orbit vying for precedence. Some wait for the second coming of Christ and the day of Judgement, or Kalki the final incarnation of Vishnu. Zoroastrianism keeps checking its watch for Saoshyant and Mahdi will come for Islam at the end of time.
Even in heroic myth and legend there are tales of the awakening, rebirth if you will, in the hour of need. King Arthur has apparently been sleeping in a hollow hill for centuries awaiting his call in Britain's hour of need. A post Roman tribal chieftain or warlord that will turn up and face the enemies of the realm when the people who are fighting the good fight need a little help.
The recurring theme in all of these ideas, beliefs, and faiths is that these various versions of Deity are going to turn up when we've made such a mess of the place that there's nothing for it but divine interjection with a liberal dose of judgement and world destruction thrown into the mix. A cosmic spring-clean ushering eternal life and joy in many and various forms, or damnation and everlasting pain.
So what is it in human nature that makes us so sure that we need help from the external world of the spirit to clean up our mess? Why have all these God's and heroes given us the keys to the place with the warning that they'll be back, and cranky to boot, if we don't keep the place in good working order? Is there an innate trait within us that knows that regardless of how hard we try, ultimately we are just going to throw everything in the cupboard and hope the landlord doesn't see it during the inspection?
What? Oh, you thought I had the answer.
Because all of these second coming ideas involve a timeframe where chaos rules, if I was of that bent then the state of politics and religion around the world coupled with the whole ecological crisis would probably have me wandering the streets in a sandwich board imploring people to be ready to meet their maker sometime next Wednesday just after lunch. But I'm not.
I think the concept of Godly intervention and being shown 'the way' has been a part of the human psyche since man first looked into the heavens and wondered what or who was out there, who it was that made all this and what their purpose was. The concept of ultimate responsibility resting on our shoulders at the bequest of a Being so intangible, and in those days so difficult to get along with, was really a natural process in a world that ruled you rather than vice versa. Yet over the centuries this need for belief in a higher power was seen by the canny to be a way of gaining earthly power, and the scariest thing to imagine was that the Gods who gave you all this were going to come back one day and see whether their trust in you had been justified.
Of course all of these ideas come from the writings of men. Interpretations of divinity by the mere mortal. When the day of judgement comes we will need to have fulfilled the criteria so we are judged well. We also know from these writings that chaos will precede the return of the Deity, and therefore chaos is inevitable, and perhaps even to be welcomed. I like the idea of chaos. It means I don't have to make the bed.
But I'm not so hot on the idea that when the end comes we should all get such a big boot in the spiritual rear end for being human. If you leave the kids at home and duck off for a couple of thousand years, what do you expect to find when you get back?
What a complete and utter cock up of a fucking week it's been so far, and it's only Tuesday.
Sorry, but I needed to say that. Generally I attempt to use my blog as a place to get away from the daily routine of swearing. Aussies in general swear in normal polite conversation. The blue collar industry I work in is staffed by blokes who think that the Queens English is what gets spoken at Mardi Gras. Delivery drivers smile and swear in a friendly way about the weather. And the way this week has been I'm just about ready to deck the next person who walks into the office. Not 'cause of the swearing, it's just been one of those weeks.
Sometimes you wake up and roll out of bed into a brick wall. Nothing you do works out in the way it should, and this week is the epitome of that. Generally when I'm like this I swim. I find a beach after work with the biggest surf, dive into it and while underwater you scream bloody murder, thrash around, punch the water and let it all out. The act of expelling the air from your lungs in a situation where you can surface only to be swamped by the next wave clears the head, and the animal instinct of survival kicks in. If you've been dragged a way offshore then you get to fight natures pull with every fibre and muscle in your body to get back to where there is sand underfoot. By the time you fall exhausted on the beach with shoulders burning with lactic acid you feel far more human.
I think we are less advanced from our tribal ancestors than we suppose. Sitting in an office all day cannot be anywhere as exciting as a good mammoth hunt. Back when I had more family on the land, riding fences, mustering, clouting and drenching and all those hot, dirty physical jobs that I often complained about now seem like a wonderful memory. I don't think I sleep anywhere near as well now. Even going to the local pool or riding an exercise bike fail to give you the feeling of complete physical satisfaction that really hard work give you.
But I don't have my swimmers with me and what I described above, if done nude, would probably be grounds for having me committed.
Is it Friday yet?
I'm not much of a moviegoer but this weekend on the telly I had the opportunity to change that mistake and really sink my teeth into this stunningly artistic medium. I managed to catch Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo and Sabrina the teenage witch downunder.
Why did no one tell me what I had been missing?
I understand that one of the movies was aimed at a young audience, though I thought the sexual innuendo was a little much for kids, but Sabrina on the other hand was a revelation of epic proportions. My favourite part was when in the middle of the movie, which is set at the Great Barrier Reef, they cut to Salem the animatronic cat climbing a tree with a Koala and having his salad sandwich stolen by a Kangaroo.
The Pommy girl sounded like a Kiwi, the Aussies sounded as if they had spent to much time with London Cockneys learning bad rhyming slang, and anyone who wasn't saying 'Crikey' was looking for 'shrimp'.
'Don't come the raw shrimp' just doesn't sound right, does it?
I must say though that I thought the merpeople were outstanding.
Sometimes you write stuff that opens the pressure valve, and gives that bit of relief. It may seem self absorbed, (generally those posts are the ones that get few or no comments), but if you throw a little humour into the mix then you can pass it off as blogging. Then there are those who do it in a way that is eloquent, interesting and utterly absorbing.
Learning about people and growing though their experiences and writings via this global community of blogdom can be very cathartic.
There are some wonderfully interesting people on this planet.
If this doesn't make a lot of sense it's because I have a cold.
I'm trying to find that point in life where existentialism makes a dovetail joint with the facts of my existence as they are described to me by my surroundings. If I have the freedom to manufacture the outcome of my existence, as long as I am happy to suffer the consequences of my actions, as a separate issue to all other people on the planet; do the outcomes of my actions to date describe a life that I can be proud to have lived? I view existentialism from the perspective of philosophers such as Kierkegaard who didn't find it mutually exclusive from theology, because atheism mixed with existentialism to me seems to elevate the atheist to a level of power that makes them Godlike insofar as their own reality is concerned.
I refuse to go back over that paragraph and check it for errors.
If Satre was right with his dictum that Existence precedes and rules essence, (and who am I to argue?), then I make the rules that govern my existence and if I lose my keys then I can only blame myself even if they were removed from the kitchen bench and placed somewhere else by my wife. Her participation in my life is determined by my reality, and therefore so are her actions.
So what of my existential angst? If someone hates me is it due to the fact that I fear that I am less than adequate as a human being therefore causing the hatred they feel by my own lack of self worth? Heidegger took the existential argument and explored the missing deity issue, concluding that human beings are free to do as they choose. That took the whole thing closer to the idea of humanism. As I said, I prefer a God or two in the mix so I have a higher and unreachable power to look towards as an ineffable yet somehow tangible explanation of where my life is going, and whether it is on the right path or not.
Actually that sounds a little like the Calvinist ideology of predetermination, a Que sera sera set in concrete by the powers of creation, but I have no interest in that philosophy as I would find it difficult to cross the road without looking both ways, determining that I am making my own choice of whether or not to be hit by a car.
So if there is no part of human existence that is predefined, and all human action is accountable to itself, how is a blanket of moral values that sets our laws possible in a culture? And if that moral blanket exists, how can it vary between cultures? Do I view the morality by which I set my own personal values as determined by my existence, or can it be discussed in terms of a people or a race? If it can be, then how can it not cover each and every person on the planet? I have to conclude that my existential existence has a limited scope and loses power with distance from the epicentre, being either me or the deity or figure I choose to give that power.
Existentialism determines that in my neighbourhood are people who deny my moral values and live a life of crime and violence. There are also those who live a life of purity and church attendance, or refuse to pollute the planet by owning a car. Even though I know that the morals that determine our laws and have you up on charges for murder are, in this case, a statewide issue, in an existential sense each individual interprets and chooses to obey or ignore those laws as they see fit.
From the aspect of psychotherapy, working through and/or coming to terms with your angst and understanding it is a way of realigning existentialist philosophy that has somehow left the tracks. If you suffer angst in a system where you determine the outcome of your actions, it seems to me to be a subconscious alarm to tell you that you need to re examine your view. If you set your own path in life and the path you choose causes you uncertainty, listening to that uncertainty should realign you with you intended goal, subconscious though it may be.
So if I want to dovetail my outlook with the person that I am today, and reassure myself that I am a fulfilled individual, I have to face any issues that are bugging me. I have no real urge to do that from a couch whilst Dr Lowenstien peers at me over half moon spectacles, so I need another plan.
From Calvin and Hobbes comes the idea of lowering my expectations in life to the point where they are already met. Simple, yet ineffective. I liked it for a while, but then I realised that I would only suffer further angst in relation to the fact that I have now achieved my goal and therefore have a bleak and boring future.
Climbing Everest? This is a mental question and getting all sweaty with Sherpas ain't gonna seal the deal for me.
So I am attempting to play existential golf. If the outcome of my actions provides me with a satisfying drive or putt then I am in tune with the reality that I am hoping to live. If not then I need to take stock of the situation and determine what is causing me six iron angst. Then I have to work on my view of life/golf to improve the situation. The driving range at Tempe is a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy, and I can take my friends along as long as I believe I have any.
I'm pretty happy with the way the quiz is going. (Link to the right for the uninitiated. Join up!) It's nice to have a little friendly competition. Just a note. We all get different questions in each daily quiz. I tend to fall in a heap when questions about US Presidents dominate, but on the same day someone will get a quiz without a political question in it. Behind the scenes I choose from a selection as follows:
|General Knowledge Trivia: Easy/Intermediate||3000||Select this pool|
|General Knowledge Trivia: Intermediate||3000||Select this pool|
|General Knowledge Trivia: Intermediate/Difficult||9000||Select this pool|
|Music Trivia Mix||3000||Select this pool|
|History & Geography||3000||Select this pool|
|Mixed Sports Trivia||5000||Select this pool|
|Bible Trivia||4000||Select this pool|
|Movie Trivia||4000||Select this pool|
|Science & Technology||2000||Select this pool|
|Hobbies||2000||Select this pool|
|Famous People||2000||Select this pool|
|The 1980s||900||Select this pool|
|The 1970s||900||Select this pool|
|Everything Baseball: Intermediate||3000||Select this pool|
|Everything Baseball: True Fans Only||7000||Select this pool|
|Australian Trivia: Easy - Intermediate||1000||Select this pool|
|Australian Trivia: Intermediate - Hard||1000||Select this pool|
|United Kingdom Trivia: Easy - Intermediate||3000||Select this pool|
|United Kingdom Trivia: Intermediate - Hard|
It is currently set to general knowledge intermediate, which seems the most appropriate as there are people from various countries and walks of life playing. Let me know if there are any requests.
I am thinking that after three months there should be a prize which will coincide nicely with Christmas. I'm thinking a choice between a Flickr subscription, a typepad subscription or a fun trivia subscription.