Sunday, March 07, 2010

Not Quite Quite What I Was Planning . . .

There were several things I considered writing about today: more on Sarah's inane antics, events in Kay's World, and assorted other things, but I got home from my walk and sat down to check on y'all and write comments and found something that really touched me deeply.

I know I've mentioned that I read Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish. He used to be a Conservative Republican until the nut jobs and Fox News took over the Republican Party. Now he calls himself of "No party or clique". I like that. I, too, refuse to be labelled or affiliated with either party. I like him -- he is more 'fair and balanced' than most people can ever hope to be. He posts throughout the day and is always is interesting whether I agree with him or not. There isn't a soul on the planet I agree with 100% nut he comes close.

Today he published this long quote from author/academic David Foster Wallace:

I like it because it is so intensely true and speaks to and about all of us.

"Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clich├ęs, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it.

But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving.... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day," - David Foster Wallace.

What do you worship? It's a tough question and it's been giving my poor, tattered Thinking Cap a workout all day and probably will for quite a while. I know what I profess to worship but, in all honesty, defining one's beliefs is as difficult -- if not more so -- as admitting one's prejudices. This is going to keep my alleged, albeit damaged, brain busy for a long time and if I ever figure it out, I'll let y'all know.

If this isn't your cuppa, it's okay and I do understand. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be back to my normal nutty self.

Hope y'all are having a great day!!!!

Happy Blogging!!!!!!!



  1. If the criteria for what I worship would be what do I think about the most, what do I love the most and show it by my actions, it'd be people I love. Sometimes, yes, there is that which is the mystery of the universe as in what made this all possible and what is there for me helping through dreams, through events. but mostly it'd be my loved ones. I don't think about it as worship but if a person has to have something, that would be what is most likely it for me. It certainly is what would I value the most and what would eat me up as he put it :)

  2. that's a little left-brained for me, and i have hard time putting his thoughts together. he starts out with "there's no such thing as atheism" and ends up talking about freedom. as you suggest, there's a lot of food for thought in there.

    thanks for making me think for a change...:)

  3. Rain: I like that a lot! And. as always you have said it very well.

  4. M.E.: It's a toughie for me, too, but it's something I have struggled with now and again for a long, long time. I think when he says that "there's no such thing as atheism" I think he means that we all have things we worship as we would a god -- like power, money, etc. and whatever it is can consume us.

    I often joke that I believe in God, the Constitution of the United States and the Ohio State Buckeye. I often question my faith in the first two but never the last. It makes sense if you want it to.

  5. Thought provoking, for sure.

    The whole application of belief and worship to the ways and days of our lives - and the whole twisting of those beliefs to suit agendas have me really thinking these days.

    Something that I am going to blog on soon but that I want to share with you here - more food for thought - not as deep as this one, and more about how we are as people, but one that I have been thinking about since your Sarah posts got me thinking....

    From the passage by E.M. Forster in his essay "What I Believe":

    I believe in aristocracy . . . if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and all classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others, as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.

    So glad I found you out here, Kay.

  6. WH: I simply love this! Trust Forster to cut to the chase. I think what he said was basically the same as Wallace did. I believe in the same sort of things. I don't want to be classified or defined by my politics or my religion but by my actions and how I treat my fellow man. I look forward to your post. And yeah, I'm glad you found me, too!!!! I sure liked your vacation posts -- I sat here drooling with envy!!!!!

  7. I haven't thought about worship and myself in the same context for a long time. I will though, and thank you for giving me the impetus

  8. Interesting, Kay, and thought provoking. I am going to have to cogitate a bit before answering.

  9. What we think we worship might be different than what we really worship. You can sit in church and covet somebody's relationship, jewelry, intelligence, lifestyle, etc., in essence worshiping those things.

    I think Rain is right—we worship the things we think about most. Examining our priorities tells us what we worship. (Using that criteria, tonight I'm worshiping the Blogosphere.)


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