Monday, February 15, 2010

universal solvent ... not

In the same-stuff-different-day department, "ecumenism" whispered in my ear again this morning.

After some experience and some noodling, I guess my thinking is this: Ecumenism is a social function. As such, it is really pretty good -- encouraging tolerance and a wider mind -- but if it acts alone, as a continuing point of view and a promoter of kindness ... well, the deeper questions will never get solved.

I am a male.
I have grey hair.
I have a variety of persuasions.
I am neurotic according to my needs.
I have the scars to prove one thing or another to my satisfaction.
I have blind spots which I do not see ... if I saw them, how could they be blind spots.
I try and fail according to capacity and bias.
Etc. Etc.

I am not a female.
I do not have blond or brown hair.
I do not have precisely the same persuasions as anyone else.

It's nice to get along, to seek bridges rather than a scorched earth, to help out where possible, to talk sweetly as a means of encouragement. Really, it's nice stuff.

But it will never reach, never settle the scene, never provide the actualized universal solvent that can rest so pleasingly on the tongue or in the mind. Water is pretty close to being the universal solvent. But "pretty close" clearly isn't the universal solvent.

Ecumenism oils the social wheels. It inclines some to utter the word "miraculous" with a lot of sincerity but without much examination. "God is known through man's activities," some may say. But that begs the question, who is God? And without answering that question, the universal solvent will always remain "pretty close" and life will remain a pretty-close compromise. And living a constant compromise is pretty thin gruel when all is said and done.

These days, as this morning, I find myself delighting in the fact that one person might be a Buddhist and another Christian, one person is a stock broker and another is some other sort of thief, one person loves dogs and another loves cats. This is this and everyone would like to be at peace and to live a life without compromise.

Good stuff. Sometimes mistakes, sometimes not. This is this ... it's not as if it were obscure or mystical or complicated. My hair is grey, that's all. My sex is male, that's all. I can bang my gums from now until breakfast about "oneness" or "interconnectedness" or "compassion," but hell, that's just part of my compromise.

Life without compromise, without goodness, without evil ... just this life. Relax, no need to state the obvious: If you drive a Chevvy, you don't drive a Ford. It's the driving that counts, don't you think? We all make mistakes -- get speeding tickets -- and, with luck, learn to correct them. It's the driving that counts, not the car makers.

Come home safe!

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