Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Over some kind of threshold

I've been getting the sense over the last couple weeks that I've stepped over some kind of threshold. The pieces of it I can see all look like "ideas", but they also feel deeper than ideas... I think maybe they're something else besides ideas too:

Parts of parts of parts: The idea that as we are made of parts, so we are also parts ourselves, The "bigger things," the "powers" that so permeate religious life are in fact those larger entities that we are part of, going all the way up to the unimaginably huge. That's really the heart of the place I'm sitting now.

Cells and communities: Analogous ways parts work together, forming entities that do different things than we or cells do as individuals. I am also mindful of the ways that those functions are often autonomic, not under any really Mindful will.

Steering and the cerebellum: Not every entity in the universe has a cerebellum or a medulla oblongata or even a vestigial nervous system. And yet the most basic bits of matter have this "tendency" to move this way toward each other or away from each other. To me this feels like the most elementary part of "will." If you steer a boat, some of the skill comes from knowing how to get the boat to do what you want to do, but part is also being aware of currents and the boat's momentum, things about the larger system of you and the boat that aren't really under your present will.

The ordinaries of Christian religious discourse and life that have made me itchy: prayer, scripture, miracles, sainthood, souls, afterlife, sacraments, communion... I get more and more convinced that I at least as a non-theist need to come to terms with as much of this as I can manage, and understand them from my own points of view. I've been taking baby steps here for a year or so, and I think this new place I've dropped into makes that more possible, if only because I have a sense of a larger entity I actually believe in.

The ill-fittingness of "non-theism": this term makes me itchy too—as I've said before— because it frames my sense-of-things as the shadow cast by the figure of theism. It's a negative space, a figure-ground problem, and I just don't see my path in these matters as shadowy or reactionary. I really try not to make them reactionary. So the question is, what is the figure, the positive space, that occupies the space that others call "non-theist"? Does it in fact matter what it's called, and if it does matter, why does it?


Anyway, this is my 100th post on the blog, and I think I need to take a little break and explore the landscape I seem to have dropped in on. Nothing definite in terms of length; I'll almost certainly be back by spring. Maybe a lot sooner. I just need to get my feet a little more under me before I can write coherently.

I also am finding my looming regular-life schedule for December through March daunting at best, and need to focus on that for a while.

Feel free to drop me a line at "nat dot case at mindspring dot kom" (except spell "kom" as it should be spelled and replace the "at" and "dot" with the appropriate stuff).

Thanks for reading... talk with you again soon!