I find it very difficult to understand the desire of my Christian counterparts to ascend. It’s too abrupt for me. Not the fact or matter of dying itself, not that that is too quick. By all means; were dying from the minute of birth. Death is long and dragged out. And that’s how it should be. There’s nothing glorious or honorable in safety and security. In no nation or culture or generation do you find a great longing for comfort and passivity. It’s become a normative response though, In this era of forgotten mortality. We forget we’re living under the slow arc of a fist, and decide that the moment to strike is now, before its too late.
Death doesn’t frighten me too much; in fact, if I had it my way, I’d be dying forever. What frightens me greatly is the idea that one day all will be clear. IN a quick flash of light all of the complexity and mystery of the human condition will be revealed. That kind of knowledge is often adjectivally winked at with words like: great splendor, and pure radiance. It needs to be put out and stomped out. The whole point of life is that no one quite knows the point of life. A generation or two might reach some sort of common idea, or explore some sort of myth. But eventually the darkness wins out and they just get in the way. It’s not until the next generation looks back and terms it history can the myth be explored more successfully; and at that point no one quite knows what anyone else is talking about – but there’s just this great sense that what they’ve come across is some how right and true. I’m never afraid more than I am when I think about knowing everything – life would be a pointless endevour. That’s death, really. Knowing it all. Total understanding. That’s when you know your in for it.
That’s not for me, though. I’ll never die – I know too little. You know?
People often ask me – and of course by people, I mean people I think up – ‘would you if you could, change yourself? Would you take the pill that cure’s all your ailments? Would you go off and marry a beautiful woman? Settle down’? The answer of course is no. I’d rather live my life in the slow lane falling apart than with the rest of you bunch breezing through – you all know too much. And the real trick of it is, you have no idea how much you know is nothing at all. If some doctor proposed a bi-monthly stem cell therapy with the promise of a ‘pain-free-life’ stapled to one of the viles, I’d turn tail and run in the other direction. No way, man. What I’m doing here is too important, to vital to the success of my own understanding. You know, suffering is alright. I mean, its horrible shit. It’s painful and lonely and tiresome and agonizing and tortuous and sadistic, but at the same time I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. Every day is a new lesson. You know. You could be the stupidest creature ever. You could have absolutely no idea how 1 and 1 sum two, but yet if you suffer, if you live through pain and never quite edge out of it, you’ll still die knowing more than 99% of the worlds population. I mean, they’re all off living ‘great’ lives. But the true test is written, wrote and scored by the 1%.
The great objection to the theistic impulse is the idea of universal suffering. And it sort of goes like this: If there was a God, lets say the personal God of the Judeo-Christian religion, and he truly loved his creation, why wouldn’t he just create them without all the flaws and the troubles and worries and the loneliness that we see today, and then place them in this great place of peace and Joy – like ‘true’ joy, whatever that is. Where they have both the means to provide anything they want for themselves, and everything they would want provided for themselves previously provided for. And, and on the surface when you quickly look at it, it seems a great objection to this way of understanding the world – that is, through the lens of the created. But do you see how absurd that is? And many, many bright men have worked their hardest, and searched and searched and searched for a single resounding explanation that fits in all the little corners and holes – even the ones that we can’t see – like pouring water into a container of some sort does. You know? And they’ve come up with things like ‘free-will’, and so birthed determinism and libertarianism and compatibilism. And it has all been great fun trying to get a grip on this rope that’s just too slick; some can hold it up a bit better than others. Yet they all search in the wrong way. They’re all trying to explain away the suffering. Whether that it’s a test of some sort, or a punishment, or some sort of cockeyed spandral. But they’re all wrong. It’s a gift. It’s a great gift. If anything all the suffering is a great way of identifying God in this world, because I’ll tell you this, not many can take all the suffering. And it’s not those who suffer a life-time un-helped and left alone to fend for themselves that tests my faith, but those who are cut off too short (the children with Cancer who don’t get the chance to understand, or those diseases, the wretched ones that burn up all they touch).
So I think we need to rephrase the question. It shouldn’t be, ‘Why is there suffering in this world’. It should be ‘Why isn’t there suffering in this world, and can it carry on to the next?’ Because I’ll tell you this, giving us intentionality and teasing us with all this mystery is far more demeaning and evil than any of the atrocities this world has to offer.
This is why heaven scares me. Heaven is a place apparently free of suffering, where we all live in peace and harmony. And in many ways heaven is the greatest unknown, because we know so little about it. Maybe were just looking at it all the wrong way, though. Maybe it is a place where we can continue suffering. Where the words we write and speak, the people we see and those we don’t, don’t conflate into one unifying stream of information that can be accessed at all points, entirely, at once. Maybe we can still learn. I hope we can still learn there. I don’t wan’t everything explained in me. I don’t have that will to power. I don’t have a will to pleasure. You know, I don’t even have a will to meaning. I just have this will. Let’s just call it that. Just Will. And Will just likes being, he just like’s exploring and learning. He doesn’t mind being beaten down all the time; when you’re forced under the surface many think to jump to your aid. To prevent you from drowning. But so long as you can hold your breath a little while longer, you’ll find that life and things are everywhere. A new door opens a room full of new doors, always. And there’s never a dull moment when your still capable of taking a step forward into an adjoining room.