The Pursuit of the Answer
I spent most of my day today in very “Deep” conversations that could basically be described as trying to answer obvious truths in divided ways.
Structurally speaking, so much of Western thought relies on man hankering after some sort of answer. The truth is combative; it isn’t “yes, and”, it’s “versus, or”. Is that really the point of living your life well, regardless of on which side of the secular and nonsecular divide that we’ve instituted you happen to fall?
Faith isn’t secular here. You can’t have faith and also believe whole-heartedly in reality. You can’t accept the things you know, because you have to limit them and divide them down into what can be “proven”. It seems that the divisions between different disciplines are not truly divisions in and of themselves, but of what ways of thinking are deemed as “appropriate”. And if any real solution is to be had, the idea of dividing reality into parceled chunks like stolen lands and shared Hershey’s bars at recess is more of a bullying reality than the truth of the world we live in.
Is it optimism to think that surely, if people made an effort, it wouldn’t be quite so bad? Is it cynicism to recognize that “that would never happen.” It hasn’t happened, yes. But could it? Why do we waste time in asking the question, when in the utmost, clearly present reality, ours, we could just try?
I do not see why we search so carefully for answers we also ignore, looking for more answers. What isn’t broken should not be fixed, yes? No…? Oh. I’m sorry. I’ll talk to other people outside of western culture. Maybe they think so. I will visit various places in the world, and knowing God made all people, I will see what they think too. We can’t be so different, you guys. I don’t believe that is a thing.
But I do believe that we believe in the barriers we construct, because we control them, and they can be cozy, for us, at least. We live and relive an ongoing history of colonization, and it’s as if the simply act of pretending we know better prohibits us from acknowledging where we, as the descendants of Western culture, have done wrong. We can’t hide behind “What would Jesus do?”, because Jesus was perfect, and neither of us are. But we could ask ourselves “What should I do, to aspire towards what Jesus might ask me to do?” I’m not sure it even matters to spend much time thinking on it, so long as you practice an attitude of goodwill, and gratitude towards God. He decides, after all.
Is it necessary to condemn and divide, to live in harmony? Is it the opposite? Could it be both the same, and the opposite? We condemn murder, and yet, we balk at the death penalty. We condemn abortion, but yet, we leave people to die just blocks from our houses, in plain sight. Could diminishing from the differences be only so worthy as the sameness that is built in doing so? Is balance the goal, knowing that none of us can judge?
I hate how people who are in the business of “WHY” ignore “How?” The Hows are so much better questions. They help us understand without value judgments. Are Whys even helpful, except in specific instances, anyways?
Sure, I can explain the cause and effect. But is the fact that something appears to cause something else to happen translate into “WHY”? Does “WHY” really mean “Who?”, if we’re talking about God? It’s like we ask for the greatest lone reason for any one thing to occur. And if God controls the entire Universe and is the only reason, by hill will alone? Do we really need “WHY”?
People conflate the two. How is about the process and observing exactly what is being done. Why is about the value and the hierarchy, power, or intended cause and effect (as in, purpose) an action or event has, in the context in which it takes place. Your “WHY” is not my “WHY”, because we may view things differently, given different understandings of the situation. It could be as simple as being the same person, and yet, standing a few feet away. I may still not agree with you. If the goal is harmony and coming to the best decisions as a community, why is it an issue if two people disagree? Remind how those “WHY’s” work, on the long term. Do people still starve? Do people still die alone? Do people still abandon one another and turn to their own selfishness, across the world and across discipline? Can we finally resolve that maybe the quest for the answer can meet its’ silent end, and actually begin to solve the problems that have always been with us, seeking not to judge but instead to collaborate long enough to separate our egos from goodness, like a yolk from the white of reality?
I am tired of struggling after why, and I would much rather use what I have to fix. Now, it will not be fixing if I fix only with my own definition. That should be obvious. There is more than one definition to “fix”, or “help”, or anything, and the translations become jumbled as it all gets mixed together in a symphony of intentions that can be wordless communicated. Communication is more about making an effort and the desire to share than any inherent trait or set of skills a person is born with. All babies learn language. No babies inherently have it better off by one specific group of persons or another; all babies need the same things to aspire to become healthy adults. We may not agree about what those things are. But maybe we should leave that up to the babies, given that they will choose one day anyways.
I’m not saying we should endanger infants, but perhaps our solutions are endangering our own health and safety. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. It may not be good or bad, but it is certainly ineffectual. Let’s sidestep the bitter bickering about who is responsible or why and progress towards attempting to find an objective solution that doesn’t diminish from the contexts that all solutions come from. You can try to remove as much humanity as you want to unravel a question, but perhaps adding more humanity is the answer, not less. How is that a new concept? Or is it just now acceptable to be asking that question?
Even if it isn’t acceptable, so long as no one kills me, isn’t that basically acceptable, anyways? I’m not dead. Even if I turn out to be hated, I am accepted in the way that I am tolerated. The rest of it just boils down to the context and the scale, as demented as that may be. Innocent or not, I have somehow been lucky enough to not offend anyone to the verge of death. To me, that means I am accepted.
But merely not being killed isn’t acceptable. To reduce what is and isn’t down into value judgments does just that, though. It makes excuses on murderous actions and excuses them based on personal opinions and biases that all humans are born with. Murder is genocide on a smaller scale. There is no difference, except in numbers.
There is no answer to death, but there are answers to accepting others, which largely go unnamed. You experience the answer, and you love it for merely existing; you don’t “condone” or “condemn”. That is not your right, or your place. If you are a Christian, then you are called to love, and to abstain from judgment, pursuing God through Christ and Christ in others. Apart from that, who are you to know such answers? No one.
We could solve so common issues if we allowed things to not be good or bad while we seek global consensus for the goodness and badness that no one tolerates, and a means of solving them. Murder. Rape. Forced prostitution and sexual slavery. Some things happen everywhere, and where there are larger amounts of humans, are pretty generally bad. I don’t know that for sure and I may be completely wrong. Does that mean I should stop pursuing my sameness with others? On the contrary. It just means I should listen better.
All of these things come down to a matter of attitude in the individual, in their smallest form. Will I choose to value investing my time, attention, and care in believing that there could be better today? Will I open my eyes objectively, in order that I may see and not blame? Will I trust that the God who made the Universe will be the judge for all people, and not just the people who are “wrong”? I believe in God, and I do not believe it should be nearly this hard to understand one another, as a planet. If he made all of us and no one uses that as an excuse to maim others, under the guise of seeking after God, then where will murderers hide? Clearly, this relies on active participation. Why not change your small corner for the better in a Gospel that breathes?
I hope that you have a lovely evening, morning, or whatever, where ever you happen to be. I for one will probably be trying to force myself to sleep soon, and I hope that won’t be too difficult. That you have a lovely week, and you have peace over your actions.