Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Holey Logic Batman

Bird by Bird, a little book on writing, has this advice: - get it down then clean it up. So brewing has all this theory been, that I must get it out of my system. With what types of reasoning do I approach life etc? I find myself implied as wrong always. I pray the psalms, but not on my knees - though I fully know what repentance and the heaviness of sin is - moisture dried up as in the drought of summer. But psalm 32 is positive compared to psalm 38 and its reminder of psalm 6.

But did the psalmist believe the earth was flat? Well maybe I should not believe anything he/she wrote then. Ridiculous - as my mother would say. And to avoid ad hominem remarks like that, let me just say - that in my illogical mind, the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

The pristine perfection of logic has always been difficult to use. The purity of the condition is marred by the vagueness of the objects. We are more like balls in a pin-ball machine than preprogrammed elements in a logic diagram. (I never draw such diagrams.) Our trajectory is determined by the barriers we encounter.

Is our end any better than the gutter at the end of the game - should we just enjoy the bumps and the exhilaration of being bounced around? (Exhilaration already implies an answer - just consider the 'h' - shorthand for breath. It's a hard h, ח, the last of the fiery letters of ruach.)

End is itself an ambiguous word - terminal or telos? End-point or purpose? It suggests another metaphor for life, that of completeness. I find this best imaged in the death of Jesus - as any who read this blog will know. In my thinking, I have turned this event into the foundation of time and space. I have done this, because my experience of his life, my bare and insufficient knowledge in myself finds a completion in his presence that I can only point to.

But that is not helpful in an argument about history - so why argue. Let us reason together. Is there any ground we can share - our skeptical part, and our other part? The search is important but it is not the end. Do you remember the pin ball that bounces repeatedly between the 500 and the 1000 point bumpers - wow - what a score! Lucky ball, that one.

Is part of my search for an answer to the question what did Jesus believe? Not as if he 'believed' in that sense. He lived - and he lived always 'in the bosom of the Father'. If only we could have made up such a story - and gotten so many differing authors to agree even as close as the differing images that we see in the Scripture. If Jesus believed in a flat earth (it might have been convenient at the time in some circles), does that invalidate the whole edifice? If Jesus was not a Trinitarian (I was going to say Chalcedonian, but I am not sure how to spell it) - what can I say then, that this extra-Biblical construct is not useful? (Well, it has certainly been a serious obstacle - and I think you only get 5 points for hitting that one.)

If the pin-ball surface is not flat, the game becomes more not less interesting. What dimension will we stop at - why not an infinitely curved surface that returns onto itself outside the light cone, a five-dimensional view in which every space-time creature is able to be seen as a whole. Mathematically, it is a piece of cake. (But keep the cake out of the argument - no points for smearing the surface with icing.) The Jesus event is the origin of all things - he is the fullness of all in all - certainly not flat.

Some say that if your system of faith is not perfect in itself - or orthodox, or infallible, or right in all respects, then there is no game at all. The problem with such systems is that they will not hold without violence. The kind of violence that systems engender is incompatible with the absorption of violence that they intend. Absorption and transformation is not coercion for the sake of political or religious or economic control. (We aren't there yet - someone tilted the game and jammed a few of the gears.)

The real issue is how did we come to think that there was a word to begin with. Where did those letters of fire and their incarnation come from? He is just another ball in the game - and he became the game itself. I bounce first where the shadow of his ball might have been. What was that! - a score in the infinity range - I just glimpsed it for a moment - free games forever in a hyperbolic space where time is a Möbius strip. It says on the bumper - not by system, not by intellect, not by orthodoxy, not even by our own version of morality, but by the spirit, enfleshed (incarnate for you Latins out there), in your own body. Do we have to get the theory right to live? Not for a moment. Does it fall apart if our thinking is somehow incomplete? No.

But what must we do? - I will save that till later, but reading the psalms is not a bad idea.