So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

23 May, 2007

I Can See In Myself Wings As I Feel Them

I had one of those moments of hilarity when I came across someone arguing a position that can be expressed, "Come the revolution, we will no longer be Fallen."

(The word "Fallen" was used, with the capitalisation.)

Encoded paradigms are funny, funny things. The notion of the Fall is one of those bits that rattles around, culturally, without getting questioned at all -- this notion that there is something fundamentally wrong with people, something intrinsic and uncorrectable without salvation (which may come in the form of some sort of divine presence, or The Revolution, or some other thing).

And, y'know, when I got sophisticated enough cognitively to explain why I couldn't manage to be Christian, the essential problem was: I can't bring myself to believe in the Fall.

And it's not the misogyny of most interpretations of that myth -- the whole "women are the mechanism by which humankind was flung out of paradise" fragment of the Eden thing made the whole notion of a radical-feminist sympathiser appealing to salvation from the Fall the funniest damn thing I've read all week, though -- it's just ... I can't believe in it.

Glass half full, glass half empty. It really comes down to a certain sort of optimism vs. pessimism, as far as I can tell.

It would be very, very easy for me to just go off into the "there's something just fucking wrong with people, look at the way they behave" cognitive pattern, and justify it from my experiences. And there is certainly enough wrong with the world to justify misanthropy on a grand scale, to suggest that this world of flesh is no more than a vale of tears, and all of that weight of past theologies. And I still can't believe in it.

I can't believe in it. I believe that humans are drawn to groups, to preserving the well-being of the groups they perceive themselves to be in; I believe that humans are prone to drawing lines and saying 'these humans are not in my group', and have wildly varying treatments of those outside. I believe that work to expand the groups that people are willing to affiliate with leads to an expansion of the basic goodness that drives that urge to protect and develop one's social group.

I believe that some people are willing to be utterly, utterly vicious to the other, the outside-the-group, and that these people should not be allowed to dominate the definitionals of the groups they are in. I also believe that this requires care and maintenance, because there's an easy false support one can give one's group by dragging the not-group down and treading them under, not improving one's own status in real terms, just making everyone outside the group worse off, and because this is so easy, it's easy to slide there by being lazy. And once there, it's so easy to see how dangerous it is to challenge that state, so risky to possibly lose the group's support and become one of the ones in the mud.

I believe in laziness far more readily than I believe in innate evil. I believe in fear far more readily than I believe in innate evil.

I believe that a well-ordered and healthy reality requires maintenance, requires vigilance, requires work. I do not believe that it is outside human scope to get there; I do not believe in the necessity of salvation.

I think back to some of the most miserable times in my life, when I was the favored target as an outside-the-group person, that long pattern of sexual harassment and degrading behaviour. I think back to how they would taunt me, and I would sing to myself to close them out, and then they would challenge me to sing for them as if that was a taunt, too.

I sang.

And there was the one in the back who was quiet and thoughtful when I sang. I always remember him, and the way he so clearly knew that I was human too, even though he wasn't strong enough to admit that he could see.

"I did not put it in their hearts to do evil", said Ra, in one of those bits of mythology.

I believe in the essential possibility of purity of heart.

I believe that sometimes it is very, very hard to be strong enough to let that shine.

No comments: