Sunday, May 24, 2015

writing your own bible

Today I think:

Everyone writes their own bible. This is the text that lies below or behind the text brought to bear in social situations -- times when politeness or kindness or the longing to be accepted and loved holds sway. The bible is what anyone honest-to-god holds ... well, if not sacred, then anyway true in some deeper and more honest sense.

And a part of that bible is based on what has been un-learned -- the stuff that has been invested with social acceptance up until now and yet, through experience or thought, has had to be reframed or reassessed or just plain thrown out.

A small example might be something like "multi-tasking." Here is a socially-bandied notion that business and academia may toss around as if it were a social good -- an indicator of adult behavior.

But in my bible, multi-tasking is a bald-faced lie which may make business owners feel as if they were cracking the make-money whip effectively, but in actuality diminishes the product they are selling or trying to sell. No one can do more than one thing at a time. They may shift from one topic to another -- back and forth -- but they simply cannot do more than one thing at any given moment. Asserting that such a simultaneous function is actually possible may scare the shit out of employees and encourage them to be more 'productive,' but what is the actual result? The actual result is mediocrity in both tasks as distinct from excellence in either one. Those who seriously assert "multi-tasking" are saying in essence that they want more money without admitting to such a crass or perhaps wonderful -- but praise-worthy, dontcha know --  greed. In short, in my bible, multi-tasking is so much bullshit.

Or "holy matrimony. " Matrimony has many tendrils, but a great many of them can only qualify as unholy. The initial bliss wears out its welcome. Holy matrimony is something to unlearn or reframe. Socially, we wish the newly-weds the best. But in the bible we wish them and greater clarity -- one that may, in fact, nourish and wonderful love.

Or "love." Lord love a duck! Who has not got some social construct to slather on top of that one ... and likewise a biblical revision?

Or "death." The I-don't-know of it cannot deter a rousing social framework that awaits a biblical reinterpretation. You're scared, I'm scared ... how cozy to be scared together. But where that doesn't work either, well it's time to consult your own bible.

And that's the hard part, I imagine -- recognizing that it is my own bible. Well and truly no one else's.

I ... am ... responsible...

And there's nothing novel about that.

I may hate it as much as I like. I may mewl like a kitten or caterwaul like a cat in heat. I may pray fervently for some reassurance from out there or in here ... some other know-it-all who offers not only answers but a warming lap in which to rock.

It struck me this morning that checking your own bible from time to time is not a bad idea. That way, although the social adhesives which make life more friendly but don't quite stick do not consume a perfectly good life.

PS. Post facto I find that Thoreau had posited the same "write your own bible" line. I hadn't known and no doubt he had better things to say ... I discovered it while surfing for some sort of picture to add to what I wrote.


  1. We tend to be pretty schismatic on the whole, always seeking support outside of ourselves for what we might shoulder for ourselves. According to some anthropologist somewhere an average tribe size in the most primitive of circumstances ranges around 25, a manageable number for personal politicking without standing on a stump.

    Maybe for most issues you can find that many people to agree with you vaguely about something. But then you must die, and 50 hands holding you wont make it any less lonely. I can say amen to your bible as long as i don't have to know too much about it. Plausible deniability perhaps.

    Maybe the concept of the sound bite speaks to it being bite sized and so manageable. I expect you can get an amen on the most dishonest morsel you can fit in a mouth. But honesty seems to me to be rare generally. How can you know how many are honest with themselves. How can you be sure you're being honest with yourself?

    An effort we avoid as can I suppose.

  2. Re: "Multitasking"

    This is a concept borrowed from computer science. Once computers reached a certain speed and programming computers reached a certain level of sophistication "multitasking" made better sense than sequential tasking.

    As far as people go, like eating red meat, multitasking is looked down upon by some let's-do-good-ers.

    Fact is some human multitasking is OK. Ever think while taking a walk? Ever have conversation over a meal, or in a bar, or cafe? Whistle or sing or just listen to music while sweeping. Well you've been multitasking usually to good effect.

    Of course, trying to do two or more complicated tasks at once is not so good. E.g. Texting while driving, watching Netflix while studying say, physics isn't so good either.

    Here's some current research on human multitasking:

  3. As to the effort to write one's own Bible, I most heartily agree with the effort and thought involved. I thought that was called something else, however, "living the considered life" immediately comes to the mind of this college philosophy major.