Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Of Marx and Deity

At brunch I sat glumly, my mind a swirl around Marxist alienation and well aware that this was not acceptable fare for Christmas morning. (Don't have experiences that are different from everyone else's, and especially don't understand those experiences differently than everyone else. Whatever else you may then be, at least you won't be alone. This passes for humor, darkly.) At least when Dad asked what I was thinking about, he rescued me by then supposing that yesterday's drive was tiring. It wasn't, but at least then we were then talking about driving rather than alienation, though in some ways I suppose it amounts to the same thing.

After things were put away I sat to read for a bit and flipped my book to the marked page, my eyes falling first on a sentence three-quarters of the way down the right hand leaf:

Similarly, limited points of view emphasize the isolation of individual consciousness.

It's hardly acceptable to speak of Marx and deity in the same sentences, but of deity I must speak, because a single sentence at once distilled and crystallized my unutterably inchoate thoughts, and for this I blame deity.

(Parenthetical #1: Yes, lately I'm a theist. Deity could always retreat just beyond our reach and grasp; it would stand to reason, after all, and is the sort of absurdity that, given everything else, would only make sense.) (Parenthetical #2: We are alone, but also each alone with the Alone. That news is all comfort, and none at all.)  

So I leave these thoughts with you, dear Internet, because they're hardly the thing to send to anyone on Christmas, to start, and I don't know who would talk with me about Marx and deity, besides.


Paul said...

The need and desire to connect, to discuss and learn another perspective, to know another and to reveal ourselves, to connect but not judge, to differ with respect and admiration -- I sometimes wonder how many people feel these things. For the last 45 years I've wanted to be surrounded by a small group wanting to talk about Marx and deity, about evolution and psychology, about myth and religion, about adventures and dreams. I have yet to find that group.

anonymous julie said...

to connect, to discuss and learn another perspective, to know another and to reveal ourselves, to connect but not judge, to differ with respect and admiration -- Paul, I long for these things, and have for some time. It's so hard to find! At present I'm considering doing a PhD after my MFA (I've got a year and a half left on that, so this may be some premature thinking) in order to stay in the academic environment and, perhaps, intersect some parts of these conversations... and find the folks who tend to wander in slightly less conventional territory. Being an artist is a nice one-foot-on-each-side position; I can get away with being strange. (The sad part is that it seems like "getting away with" anything, when I'm just trying to be me!)

Jon said...

To get away with being yourself is a wonderful thing. I don't thing many people do, or make the effort to.

anonymous julie said...

True that, Jon... although there's also the sticky question of what "oneself" actually is, what forces shape it, what is responded to (trying to please, appease, resist, or ignore those forces), and so on. So, I mean, everyone's being themselves, however that self responds to a situation. Whether accepting it, trying to change it, trying to flee it... I seem to be one of those oddball selves that doesn't accept anything easily, or let anything be easy. It seems more stupid than noble, sometimes. My idealism continues, but my recognition of my limited ability to affect change in a situation has grown. Larger groups of people, community, but loosely organized, make for good forms for resistance and change. But only when their paths cross. So what's somebody to do? Work fragmentarily within situations, make the best of it, keep looking for opportunities that point more to wholeness.

jbmoore said...

I have felt rather alienated all my life, like I don't belong here. I want to discuss ideas and concepts that are utterly alien to my family and yet fascinating to me. The deep questions like why are we here and where are we going as a people and as a species? Has God been emerging from within us for the last 2500 years (emergent behaviour of human brain physiology and wiring). Jesus and Buddha being early bloomers and examples of such an emergence. Where are our genes taking us if evolution is a determinative process? Such thoughts and concepts are not normal fare for most people. They are interested in what are rather mundane things to me, but utterly important to their immediate lives soon to be forgotten the next day. So don't feel alone, because you have company. We are just very rare thinkers.