Free Electric Service

There were several responses to yesterday’s post that touched on BIG ISSUES.  That’s one of the things I like best about the interactivity of blog-world.  It is sometimes an extended issues panel dedicated to the exploration of essential philosophical questions.  I’m going to ask some of you to suspend disbelief willingly for the sake of examining a question.  Let’s assume God exists, just as a hypothetical construct, in order to frame this examination.  Why would God allow all the terrible, unjust, unfair things that happen to innocent people? Though my position on it is hard to elaborate properly, my answer to that question is simple.  In order for humans to exist with Free Will, it is necessary to accept the existence of evil, injustice, ignorance and suffering.  The conditions (or being) responsible for our creation would have to REQUIRE the enforcement of freedom of choice.

It takes a lot of love to allow freedom, total freedom, including the freedom to do the wrong thing.  This is the freedom we must have (as an entire species) in order to grow properly, learn properly, and fulfill our best potential.  We must be allowed to make mistakes.  We cannot learn unless we are free to do the wrong things, and create negative, terrible consequences that make the lessons unforgettable.  This is what will happen when you do not share your resources with the weak.  This is what will happen when you acquire wealth and power by force.  This is what will happen when you rule without wisdom.  This is what will happen when you pretend that a world with an undeniable million shades of gray is only black & white, us or them, conservative or liberal, sinner or saved, gay or straight, rich or poor, worthy or unworthy.  You can lie to yourself and to others, but it WILL cost you.

Within the hypothetical I proposed, try to imagine how much trust and love would be required to allow humans total freedom in which to become all they might be.  You would have to have endless patience, and endless time to wait for things to get sorted out.  You would have to be a bigger person than most I have met or heard of.  There’s a lot I have to learn about God, including the answer to whether God exists.  I’m pretty comfortable with not knowing because like everyone else, I’m dying to find out but I’m in no hurry to die – to find out.  However, I believe that whatever caused us (in total and originally) to come into existence, is 100% behind the creation of, and in favor of Free Will for all humans.  If you have a better argument for why evil exists, I would sure love to hear it.  To me, it’s the cost of doing cosmic business.

Free Will does not mean you get to do whatever you want.  As you learn, you learn responsibility.  You create your own support system by empowering those around you.  You support those in your system when they are in need, and they in turn support you when you are in need.  The most outwardly “helpless” of those I care for are providing me with important energy for my spirit by giving my activities a positive purpose and meaning.  This is as great a service they provide to me as any I can provide for them.  Giving is giving, and the boundaries between whether the sharing is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual are fluid and illusory.  Life exists as energy.  It isn’t contained within the realm of matter.  It is a network of invisible circuitry.

If I die today, my story will continue to be written,

because it is not mine alone.  It is your story, too.

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23 Comments

Filed under Communications, Ethics and Morality, Metaphysics, symbolism, Thinking about thinking

23 responses to “Free Electric Service

  1. Mikey,
    We are on very similar wavelengths here, I also don’t know if there is a God, but I do have Faith, that there is a higher “being” of some sort and that we are accountable for our actions at the end of our lives and responsible for decisions we make for ourselves and others.
    I don’t believe in reincarnation (as one wit said ” that appears to be taking recycling a little too far” the Wit’s statement makes more sense to me than the concept of reincarnation does LOL).
    I come to think too that there are two sorts of giving: one where the recipient just has their hand out with a sense of expectation and entitlement and the other where aid is given knowing that the actions – no matter how big or small, are gratefully recieved deep in the recipients heart and a smile might be everything in the world that that person has to give back.
    For the first sort of giving the giver gets the feeling that they are forever propping up the recipient, who just gets heavier and heavier, for the second it’s the feeling that the giver and recipient stand together leaning on each other and there is a special sort of joy that comes with a tiny squeeze of your hand from someones who truely appreciates the favour.
    The first recipient is pushy, in your face vocal and demanding and *could* do much themselves but doesn’t, the second sort is in the background, is capable of far less for various reasons, is quieter about drawing attention to this fact and oft forgotten.
    That’s how care for some of Societies most vunerable gets so little respect and attention, why work with them both on a voluntary or paid basis are both vastly under appreciated on all levels.
    “Service” to others just for the joy of it is not something that’s seemingly taught in families too much these days, and I fear that if it’s remedied somehow, then society and humanity will be poor indeed for it.

    • Every culture develops illnesses, just like people do. One thing I’ve learned (mostly through the courtesy of Charles Dickens) is that “modern society” since the so-called Industrial Revolution sacrifices human closeness and networking to feed artificial technological systems; the legal system, government, and big business.

      There are benefits and deficits for all in making this choice, and it is a process in perpetual play with opportunities to change it. I was as separated and techno-geeky as anyone I’ve ever known, and if I could learn to deal heart-to-heart, so can anyone. There’s hope for us all.

      • Well said. And hey, right on about Dickens and about the Industrial Revolution. I’m always astounded how many people don’t understand what the technological revolution of western economies has done to our connections to one another. [I pause to laugh at the man writing this comment on a keyboard to people in cyberspace he has never shared physical geography with -- oh well].

  2. I’ve really thought about it and I believe there is a God…..though a lot of the stuff in the Bible is perhaps not so divinely inspired. I think God threw us in the pool with a “Sink or swim, but call me if you think you’re drowning. If I didn’t answer, it will work out in the end or you’ll get to hang out with me in a better place.”
    I doubt the world was created 6k years ago, that it’s a parable or something. But then some parts of evolution I don’t believe either.
    Why I believe in God is that even if the Big Bang brought the world together, wouldn’t somehow the stuff to bang have to be created?
    Somewhere back there can’t be explained because as mortals we can’t fathom something without a beginning. What created the nothingness before everything came together? So that is how I am sure there is a God.

    • You’ve more or less re-stated a version of the faith position of the Deists, Lisa. Thomas Jefferson (among other Founding Fathers) was one. To Deists, a common symbolic metaphor is that God is a watchmaker who created the clock of the Universe, wound it up and then walked away to observe it in motion. They felt God does not intervene in the process of the clock’s functioning, being already fully informed of it’s structure and capacities.

      The faith journey is part of the trip to wisdom in general, and it is endlessly interesting to me. Thanks for getting involved.

  3. I’ve been stewing over this post all day long. And I’m not sure I’m ready to comment yet. But I do know that over the past few months something has changed inside of me. My spiritual compass seems to be jumping around a lot which I find really unsettling. For most of my life, and especially the last 10 years, I never doubted that God exists. I’ve been trying to put my finger on exactly what has changed. I can’t. But what I do think is that I am questioning the practices and doctrines of the Christian faith I used to follow so closely, despite not understanding it all. I think I am realizing more and more every day how judgmental many of my fellow Christians are as people and this is what is unsettling me. I think I am on a journey of spiritual growth and self-awareness. I feel like my mind is opening up for the first time. So, it’s not all bad.
    But, Michael I am still very saddened by the fact that any one of us could end our lives not even recognizing the people we love. Why? Why? Why? I know there are no real answers. Perhaps your answer will pacify me a while. But…
    In the meantime, I am so grateful that there are Earth Angels like you and I pray that I end up with somebody as caring and compassionate as you to take care of me through the last days of my life. You are one in a million.

    • I do think there are real answers, my dear friend, even if you and I don’t happen to know them all yet. Your passion to know them is the same as mine, and an indication of your spiritual and emotional health. It hurts terribly to not know!

      I’m writing another post now about bridging the distances, and some of the things that remain reachable, no matter how the disease process continues. That may help too. For now, I can only give you my best fatherly kiss on the forehead and say in my most reassuring tone,
      “There, there.”

      • I want to say as little as possible in response to Tracy’s comment, but I find, Tracy, that the expression you gave to the change happening in you makes me ache. I went through it, too, and it nearly undid me. My faith is stronger now than it ever was when I was towing the religious line. I still call myself a Christian, but my fundamentalist friends would say I am not, because I now rest more in the questions now than in the answers. Jesus always calls us away from comfort, something modern Pharisees always forget. I am sorry that the dream of a happy universe that always makes Christian sense is crumbling for you — it’s such a lonely catastrophe — but as Mikey said, your honest seeking is the proof that you are God’s own. I don’t know anything anymore, but it sounds to me like you’re asking healthy questions.

  4. Free Will aside, assuming there is a God, I believe he or she throws in the evil to make the good more obvious. Without the hard times, we’d be hard pressed to cherish the blessed. When life is good, really good it often becomes hard to remember the struggles of old. “God” then chucks a monkey wrench between the spokes, lest we forget. (Yes, if I were to believe in a god, I would believe it was responsible for the evil as well, since the creator of all, would be, well, the creator of all) The evil makes us thankful for what we have…what’s that saying? “There but by the grace of God, go I”?
    How’ bout “better you than me”? We look around at the evils in the world and immediately feel blessed, because it didn’t happen to us. Or if it did, we cling harder to the goodness and pull it closer.
    I think the key is learning to be thankful for every opportunity, good or bad. And using what goodness you do have, to create a better quality of life for yourself and those you have an impact on.
    Not to point fingers, but Tracy Todd is the most immediate example I can come up with. (*waves* Hi, Tracy) This woman is an inspiration beyond explanation. We read her blog, and learn her story, and take away methods for appreciating life in a greater sense. But every single one of us, has said at least once, “thank god, it wasn’t me”. Try as we might, we’ll never fully relate to the struggles Tracy has survived. Every time we read Tracy’s blog, we’re struck by the evils in the world, and cling tighter to the joys. Fortunately for the rest of us, Tracy steps beyond her boundries, to remind us all how good we’ve got it. I’ve only ever said two words to Tracy, but those words were “Thank you”. And I meant them with every ounce of gratitude in my soul.
    There can’t be good, without the bad. That’s my argument for evil.

    • To be entirely honest there are times I’ve wanted to trade places with you, with Tracy, and a lot of others I admire and read with regularity. Part of me is fond of the idea of losing my own identity, or exchanging it. That doesn’t last, but it is an interesting aspect of empathy.

      I agree with you that the spirit of light becomes defined and understood only in balance and with contrast to the shadow-self.

      • There’s a lot to be said about the experiences of others. Many take them for granted as mere “stories”, without much salt. Taking the time to put oneself in another’s shoes is an opportunity to grow, and learn…I’ve learned so much from you, through your experiences. Whether or not your lessons were intentional is not important, it’s the idea that you think through the eyes and minds of those you care about that makes you such a hero.
        Even Martha Nussbaum could learn a thing or two from you.

        • sbc,
          A note about what you wrote above about Tracy and “thank god it wasn’t me”. I used to have real fears specifically about becoming specifically wheel-chair-bound when I was younger, and when my wife and I experienced difficulty getting pregnant I had a panicky season of imagining the “horrible fate” of infertility. Well, we are infertile. Our adopted daughter is the supreme joy of our lives. On the BEFORE side of something that we imagine to be “unacceptable” — where our minds just sieze up with fear — we cannot imagine what fullness people can experience in pain and loss and grief on the AFTER side. We have a saying about it: when somebody says “That would be bad”, we say “Everything WOULD be bad, but nothing IS bad.” I’m not saying we were dealt a blow of the same crushing intensity as Tracy’s, but we and Tracy could all have just given ourselves up to bitterness. We don’t. So my point about this is, in some way, the horrible thing HAS happened to all of us. It already has. We fear something that has already occured. We have each been born into a dangerous, uncaring world. Starting there, we can chart the graces and mercies that can make us truly grateful, compassionate people. Like Tracy. Like Mikey.

  5. @jstwndrng…Thank you for your comment! For the most part, I agree.
    I was born into, and raised by a faith, which unlike most, teaches that tragedy, suffering and the evils of the world are to be cherished just as greatly as the wonders, the miracles and the triumphs. Gratitude for every experience is almost a science in my faith, for it teaches us personal advancement, “technological” betterment, and grants us the ability to look deeper into the negative and learn something by it. Have I suffered tragedy in my life? You bet. Have I lived through things that others have sworn they couldn’t possibly survive? Absolutely. I’ve lost a child, I’ve lost a parent, I’ve been a victim of an heinous crime, but here’s where I disagree with you. There will always be fears. There will always be something to lose. Being born into this world isn’t the most tragic thing that could happen, I believe it’s the opposite.
    In my opinion, it is not the event that is important, it is how we learn from the event, and how we use it to a positive advantage that is important. In that respect is gratitude most required. To survive, one must be able to not only accept the negative, but hold it dear for what it’s worth. Only then can we balance the darkness with the light.
    I used Tracy as an example (and I apologize Tracy, if I’ve offended) because she is someone that Mikey and I have in common. We both read her blog. And she most closely personifies a human’s ability to find a positive somewhere inside the negative and turn it into something massively productive, both to herself, and the rest of the world. She is my reminder that no matter how much I’ve struggled, no matter how strong I feel, Tracy is there to inspire me to be just that much better.
    My point really, was that we should all strive to be as inspiring as someone like Tracy, but that it more times than not, wouldn’t happen without great tragedy, be it your’s, or someone else’s.

    • shesboxingclever (sorry, I don’t know any other name by which to hail you),
      Beautifully spoke, and I am rather hushed by hearing of your losses. But because you yourself have suffered much it’s that much more important for me to make my point clearly. Withal I think we are in agreement about most things, but it is the very phrase “someone like Tracy” that demonstrates what I was trying to say. There is no such thing as “someone like Tracy”, there is only Tracy, herself, as she is. To make a category of people before whom I shudder from terror is an unconscious way of separating myself from people, even if I am ostensibly using that category to make myself grateful for my blessings. As a couple who cannot bear children the way “normal” couples do, my wife and I do not feel good when people use us as a reason to be thankful for their own fertility. If they are thankful, well for them, but being used involuntarily and automatically, even anonymously, for that purpose does not make us feel “part of” but rather “apart from”. I hope you can hear this in the spirit I say it and not feel like I’m picking a fight just to argue. I see that you are intelligent, caring, soulful (you wouldn’t be reading Mikey’s blog otherwise). And all of us do this categorizing to protect ourselves. But I think we should endeavor not to. In hearing that you lost a child, sure my first impulse is to imagine losing mine and recoil from the idea, but my hope is that my next choice is to sit with that pain and to know it with you, let that loss be felt as my loss, too. I also didn’t mean to suggest that being born into this world is a terrible thing. It is wonderful precisely because we have, most of us, other people to share the inevitable burdens with. Okay, enough from me.

      • It seems to be I, who is not making my point clear.
        You and I are on very similar plains, and I think collectively we’re going to come to a very mutual understanding.

        I think what is happening here is a collision of ideas that essentially began as separate entities. It appears I’ve given you the impression that I look to people who have suffered greater than I and am simply thankful that it hasn’t happened to me. What I was implying in my original comment was that “thank god it wasn’t me” is more often then not, the initial knee-jerk reaction. Such as yourself looking to your own child when faced with the loss of someone else’s.
        What you and I agree on is that this should not be the case.
        Again, as I suggested in my original comment, what should be more important is finding gratitude for the lessons in the tragedy and using what goodness you do have to create a better quality of life for yourself and others. It’s not important whose tragedy it is.

        Tracy is a prime example of a person finding goodness in her tragedy and using it to create a better life for herself and others. I stand by my belief that she personifies that which we should all strive to achieve.
        Perhaps I am simply misunderstanding you, but it appears you are suggesting one should NOT look to people like Tracy for empowerment and inspiration. One should not categorize her as a person to look up to, an empathy to achieve. To me, and again, perhaps I’m just misunderstanding, when you say that ‘There is no such thing as “someone like Tracy” ‘ you nullify her experience and the empathy she has achieved. The sole reason I read Tracy’s blog is not to feel better about myself, but rather to learn how to BE better in general. Tracy’s blog gives myself and those who read her the tools to look within themselves to find the strength to overcome. I don’t understand why this is a downfall. As I understand it, this is the reason Tracy writes her blog, this is why she’s had articles published and performs her motivational speaking. She wishes to empower those who have suffered tragedy/fell on hard times. Tracy appears to take on the task of teaching strength regardless of the suffering. I strive to be like her, as I think we all should but like I said before, it often won’t happen without great tragedy and this is unfortunate. I believe it’s important to take the lessons we’ve learned through personal experiences, like losing a child, breaking one’s neck, and use them to encourage and empower others. I’ll grant you I have categorized Tracy, and others, Mikey included, into a pile. But, that pile is a list of “to learn from”. This makes me thankful for people like Tracy, people who found a light within their darkness and made my learning possible. I, like you, also don’t “shudder” before someone like Tracy, I stand in awe of her. My original point was that empowering ourselves, as Tracy has, so that we may empower others is far more important than the tragic event. I have, on many occasions, used the strength I found after losing my son to help others learn to cope with their own losses. I hope in the end, that I have inspired them to use what THEY have learned from me, in an attempt to empower others. Your suggestion sounds as though I should not have allowed them to seek from my well of experience. I should not have allowed them to categorize me as “someone like her, someone who has lost a child”.
        (as an aside, yes, the spirit of meaning is clear, I also mean no offense, and there is none taken on my part, I have enjoyed reading your comments and our interaction with one another.)

        • sbc,
          well, one thing’s fer dern sure: you are an astute and thorough reader. Hmmmm. What to do?

          I think I have a grasp of the point you’re making (yes, grateful for each experience, yes, please God, give me grace to be grateful, yes!), and I don’t disagree except in the categorizing part, and even then, I only disagree in one direction. By that I mean, we cannot allow or disallow anyone’s categorizing of us. People will do what they do. So I’m only concerned with my own actions here. You cannot allow or disallow people categorizing you as “someone who has lost a child”. If they benefit from their categorizing, so much the better. But I’m not sure they do…in fact I strongly suspect that they benefit in spite of their doing it, because people are inspiring. Let me be more precise: each person is inspiring. You are inspiring because of your unique, shesboxingclever response to your loss, not (as you yourself have said) because of the kind or category of loss.

          Another clarification: I DO shudder before you, and Tracy and many others, but I can either shudder and turn away (inwardly, by saying “that person is not like me”) or I can shudder and let that person’s experience penetrate me by acknowledging that we are the same, both needy, both ultimately helpless, both worthy of love (which is what I think really happens, and which is what I think you’re talking about). In fact, although I may, like you, say that I “stand in awe” of Mikey, for example, I am right now digging down deep and examining that declaration and seeing that that is another way of shirking responsibility. Better I should say “Mikey has just shown me, again, how I can be in this and such situation”. I know that I’m really picking at the words here, but I think it’s important. Our language reveals our inner selves, and if I teach myself a new language I learn a new attitude.

          I really do hear you, sbc, and the fact that you disagree so strongly on this point makes me want to consider whether I may have more to learn here, or I may just be flat wrong about it. Too, I have a lot of compost in my soul. This could be just some offgassing of fear long buried. I don’t know if I can keep bonking foreheads with you on this, but I’m still listening. Thank you for being so intentional and present.

          Respectfully, Matt
          (and with apologies to Mikey for now having written more words on this post than are contained in the original post)

        • I loved reading the exchange too. Great, thought-cookie pass-around. I would have offered you both tea, but I can’t get it through the USB cable.

  6. I just realized that signing off “Respectfully” is redundant and possibly dishonest. My comment will either be experienced by you as respectful or it won’t, and I don’t need to announce my intention of respectfulness, since it should be assumed anyway.

    [am I channelling Emerson, or what?]

  7. And I thought I overanalyzed things

  8. Pingback: From Here to There…and back again. « } She's Boxing Clever {

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