Saturday, March 6, 2010

where the facts snicker

I think it is natural that the one who can point out saints or villains might get resentful. It may take some time and it may take some courage, but let's face it, that which is elevated and that which is denigrated just refuses to sit still for our appreciations.

Gods and holy men, for example, are enough to make anyone resentful after we've done the accolade thing for long enough. We may long to be that good or that serene or that peaceful, but ... we're not. And the effort to keep on elevating and praising and hoping and believing is just plain tiring.

And equally tiring is the effort to keep the evil empire in some villainous category when what is called evil has some palpably delicious and alluring aspects. I may chastise the devil's works until I'm blue in the face, but the devil is sometimes quite a fun and perhaps benevolent guy.

Where the fictions meet the facts ... oh yes, it can be pretty cranky-making. These are my fictions, but the facts refuse to be impressed or subdued or in any way controlled, whether by oozing hosanna or disgusted diatribe.

Where the fictions of this mind meet the facts on the street, well, it can get pretty tiring.

Tiring, but also scary. If my mind's machinations -- which is to say my appreciation of who I am or who you are -- simply don't square up with life as it presents itself, then A. in order to be at peace, whatever that might mean, I would have to bring myself more into accord with the actual-factual stuff and B. If I did that, if I left the world of saints and villains to its own devices ... who the hell would I be? how could I be in control if I weren't in control?

When things get scary, some simply redouble their efforts to seek out or elevate their saints and villains. Which is to say, they redouble their efforts to be tired of their own efforts. When I doubt my god or my Buddhism or my job or my marriage or my love of money or my drug habit or my friends or my hopes ... well, this is the devil's work and I do my best to shore up what is known. Doubting my favored god is bad-bad-bad and I rush to reclaim the assuredness I have felt in the past. Doubting is ... is ... is ... well, whatever it is, it's uncomfortable. Doubting is uncomfortable but believing is so tiring when the facts keep snickering in my face.

Actually, when the clay feet of what is holy and what is unholy begin to assert their force -- when the facts are just too palpable to skirt -- it is a good time to relax, to find some peace at last. But it does take some patience and courage and doubt. It does take some slow breathing. It does take some laughter.

Do we really need these gods and devils with which we clothe our lives? This is a literal question, not a rhetorical one. Sure we CAN do the god-and-devil thing. But do we actually NEED to, are they some kind of factual imperative?

No one can answer this question for anyone else. Each makes whatever effort s/he feels appropriate. But I would say that that effort is worth it -- revising matters in such a way that the facts can no longer snicker.

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