It's possible that the one thing which has kept me from offin' m'self, on any of the hundreds (thousands?) of occasions when nothing seemed nearly as good an idea, is that I recognized early that I'm an intelligent animal. I not only have intellectual abilities not evolved in other critters, I have options galore to choose amongst when deciding "what do I want to do with my life."

Now, sometimes that's just a plain pain in the brain. Sometimes I do indeed wish - Oh! How I wish it! - that someone would just pluck me outta my morass and set me on a path; not necessarily the straight and narrow (I've got holes in my ears the size of pencils and prefer my hair half-way down my back... what the hekk could I find interesting there?) but a path from whence I can see all around me and know, without sifting thru the sticky, cloying memories of dumb things done in my past, exactly which way will work out best for the silly emotional and intellectual animal I have no choice but to be.

It's a good thing then, that I witnessed all of my childhood heroes fail in oh so human fashion as I grew. I've no fear of fallin' into cultism or hero worship, just because I'm presently too whacked out in my own head to have any visceral belief in my own abilities to survive and thrive. That one little bit o' knowledge - no human is without imperfections - means that I can learn from others, without becoming a slave to their way of thinking. That's something which none of the folk I admire would ever want anyhow, so I'm saved the disappointment of having yet another saviour send me packing due to their own humanness.

Monday morning, I got an emotional lift from professor Myers. Today, Mannion writes the kind o' words of only human wisdom which I'm still surprised to see another person sharing in a way which just freakin' touches my head and heart in equally compelling ways.

There is, at any rate, a difference between the Christian Scientist who refuses an operation because he plans to cure himself through prayer and a surgeon who prays for strength and guidance before operating, even if you want to call them both superstitious.

There are plenty of people, some of them surgeons, some of them physicists, biologists, chemists, and geologists, who are by training, inclination, and habit empirical, rational, and generally materialistic, who are not content with what science has taught them about how the world works, because it doesn't answer other questions.

Why am I here? What am I to do about it? How do I go about living a decent and happy life?

For many of them, and for many people who aren't scientists, philosophy is enough. They can invent a rational system of ethical and moral behavior that doesn't include God.

I don't see how such a system is any better than one that does include God except that it doesn't include God.

But I can't see how including God necessarily makes an ethical system better or more compelling.

Most people aren't satisfied by the answer to the questions, Why am I here and what should I do about it, being, You're here because of a gigantic cosmic accident and all you can do is make the best of it.

I don't see any way of making them satisfied with that.

But I don't think people should be satisfied with the answer I got from Sister Mary Francis when I asked her why we're here and what we should do about it.

"God made us because He loves us and He wants us to be good and well-behaved so that we are worthy to join Him in heaven after we die."

I was in first grade when I asked her that and even then I wondered why if God loves us so much and wants us to be with Him in heaven He didn't just put us in heaven to start with?

Or why didn't He make earth a Heaven?

These days I'm unhappily of the opinion that He didn't have anything to do with putting us here. But when I was younger I was satisfied with Jesus' answer to my question.

We're here to love one another.

That struck me as a gift. Love. The ability to give it and receive it. You don't need love in heaven.

I guess I still like Jesus' answer.

I like it whether or not Jesus's divinity has anything to do with it.

I like it said the way Kurt Vonnegut's son, Mark Vonnegut, the doctor, says it.

"We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is."
[Read the whole "sermon" {-;]


  1. Yes, that was a great post -- and I thought of you when I was reading it!

    The comment thread is also reeeallllly interesting -- lots of good thinking going on.

    Just ignore my stupid comment when you see it -- I was just being a silly human.

  2. Another good one from Mannion.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts