So many people are high on their religion. They’re delusional. They’re hallucinating. They say the stupidest things, and I remind myself, it’s okay, they’re just high. Some of them believe that they can’t know some things, after all, we never could hope to understand God’s reasons for why He lets bad things happen. That’s one extreme –denying the possibility of being sure about anything. The other extreme is equally nauseating. They think that they have everything figured out. They have God figured out, life figured out, and worst of all, that they have YOU figured out. It’s as if they’ve invented a typology indicator to tell them which of the seven deadly sins you’ve committed. Of course we must not leave out the multitudes in the valley of indecision, who are at neither extreme. These people will offer you endless hypotheses of answers which they will try to convince you are legitimate. There are so many options to choose from that they each find their own best fit. Religion can really warp an otherwise okay epistemology. Religion does not help us know, it only helps us cope with our lack of knowledge.
I wish I could claim that the following poem is a cutting edge neocortical analysis of perception, however, it’s just an assignment which I pulled out of my archives. Bon Appetit!
Human perception: how we find ourselves,
Surrounded on all sides by stimuli,
Listening to the stories which vision tells,
Finding perception more than meets the eye.
We do not blindly store remembrance,
But choose what information we accrue,
Unlike artificial intelligence,
Knowledgeless of value.
We prize our stored collections,
Of stimuli which once appealed to us, 10
And remember certain sensations,
Gleaned from sources we trust.
The way we see things we defend,
And cling to bias, the human flaw,
For over each eye is a certain lens,
Distorting what we think we saw.
Oh human mind! Easily captivated!
Your eyes so quickly come active,
Your perception easily motivated,
And your sight allured to things attractive. 20
I notice your sure propensity,
To movement, change, and repetition,
To sizes, strangeness, and intensity,
Though these things may alter perception.
I see other things which blur your vision,
Like prejudice and past experience,
Personal feelings and their collision,
Like peacefulness or violence.
What amount of the things that you see,
Do you see free from personal bias? 30
How much of what you easily believe,
Is that which causes blindness.
You are too cruel, human perception,
To the young men you often assail.
Restraining his tongue from action,
Who silently watches the pretty female.
Women also could claim your cruelty,
Of the assaulting voice from the mirror,
You leave her happiness a difficulty,
And herself as the only hearer. 40
Trouble me no more with these visions!
Human perception, how easy you deceive.
The minds like Descartes and cause divisions,
Between the blinded and those who believe.
Sometimes amazing things happen to us which we can’t explain, but in my typical indomitability, I’ll try to explain what’s happened. After all, how hard could that be? I realize I’m risking making no sense whatsoever, but it’s just an occupational hazard.
First, –philosophy before prose– I’ve come to believe that our ideas about heaven are merely our ideals of a perfect life we wish we could experience now. Eternity might be completely different than the scope of our mortal speculation allows us to comprehend. Heaven is a difficult concept to tackle with a priori alone, so having exhausted that approach, I’ll continue with a posteriori. I’m able to embrace the complete uncertainty about the afterlife, because my peace of mind comes from my convictions, not my reason.
Heaven is real. I know it because it’s happened to me. You can’t fool me now. I’m resorting to experiential intelligence as a means of understanding, having found reason to be dull and dry, yielding limited returns. You could say I’ve crapped out on philosophically handling questions about heaven. I’ve crapped out of methods which don’t serve me as well.
Heaven is the joy leaking through your fingers because you were the fool who thought they could hold it. It’s the moment you realize you’d waited for about five years, and it’s finally coming true. It’s the clarity in the air as you listen to the words which cut years of burdens off your young mind. It’s when the years of pain melt away into tears which are being shed on your shoulder, and down your back. It’s when you realize that your estimates of about ten years of drudgery on a path to reconciliation are inaccurate. It feels so good to be wrong. Heaven is when years of turmoil melt into a peace which comes from regret, retrospection.
Heaven is forgiveness. It’s real.
Heaven is lightheartedness slowly returning to a cynical, calloused, cadaverous creature of complicated concerns who’s been carrying crap.
Heaven is when burdens are being cut off, and you’re realizing that you’re ten times lighter.
Heaven is when the stupid humans get the hell over their petty drama, and drop grudges. It’s when people stop lugging all their crap around and spewing hate in the air about others. It’s when mortal arrogance ceases long enough to let heaven shed light on a situation.
Heaven is when NO ONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Why destructive habits stopped. Why one person just gained the clarity and cool-headedness in the midst of confusion that you KNOW something changed. Someone let them in on the cosmic secret: HEAVEN IS REAL.
To those who are bent on backstabbing: fuck off. I have a life to live. I’m bloody well going to live it free, without the need for self-righteousness to assert some sort of order or justice. I don’t have the answers to any of your problems. If you wish that I’d solve the world’s problems, by attempting to hold people accountable to some code of conduct, take a reality check. Forget it. It’s my life. No type of religious claptrap could convince me to play God and carry around a resentment for why people don’t act as they should.
2011 brought its fair share of good and bad. In retrospect, I think it was completely unfair. I was robbed of a gift I thought I’d have for 60 more years or so. but, I was given a gift –a big shiny one– that I didn’t think I’d get for years: reconciliation. Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with Your goodness.” I’m really thankful for the ways God helps me get over the jerk side of my humanity, and works good things into my life, e.g., giving me peace which I didn’t think I’d have for about ten more years. I like how He pulls me back from danger by getting dirt under His fingernails with me, and showing me what to avoid, why to avoid it. I’m also really lucky to know His unconditional acceptance, no matter what trumpery I dabble in.
Thanks for tuning in.
Heaven is more than 24 cookies eaten in less than 24 hours. [true story]
Heaven is when your mom is under your bed trying to find your owl. [true story]
Heaven is when people figure out the value of what they have to say, and then proceed to take the liberty of cushioning it with the most fitting expletives.
“Roses were red,
Back then at your visit,
The violets were blue,
Now they are wilted.
So long 2011,
You completely SUCKED.
If I didn’t have heaven,
I’d be royally (let’s see, what rhymes, out of luck?)”
If only I could bottle some, and give it to my family to cure them. I’d also give some of this magic medicine to a friend of mine. Here -this is what makes life life.