December 2008

The Argument - Part II

Right.

The Boat.

With those eight people on it.

Iím just going to roll up my sleeves for a brief recap and get myself back to the dirty work.

Actually Iím just going to quote myself, because thatís easier and Iím a big fan of the copy paste approach.

ďGod created the universe knowing how it would begin and end. God created the universe the way that he wanted it to be as God is perfect and to suggest that God can create something that he didnít want or was flawed is to suggest that God can make a mistake and is not all powerful, all knowing and perfect.

God wants the people on the boat. The people being on the boat is all a part of Gods plan, because countless events in history that God set into motion at the time of creation all of which he knew about before creation would lead them to being on that boat and no other place.Ē

Right.

So essentially we have eight people on a small boat in the middle of the ocean, and if we accept the idea that God exists as a flawless all knowing deity than we have no choice but to accept that they are there as part of his design.

Now I feel the need to once again stress the idea that itís absolutely laughable and useless to try and understand the why of things from the perspective of an infinite and non-linear God. Your head would explode. So motives and understanding of the whyís of things is not something that we could ever even get close to.

But it is pretty easy to see that once you take time and the expectation to understand the why of things that God must have wanted those people on the boat, or perhaps somewhat more palatable, that it is all part of the grand scheme that God has set out at the dawn of creation.

So now letís clarify the description a little further. Weíll keep it realistic and feasible, something that not only can happen but most certainly has happened in the real world.

Letís say that the eight people on the boat are the survivors of a spectacular and tragic shipwreck.

Boy lucky them!

And this is where we really start to get into the mess of subjective morality as well as the trappings of where finite beings choose to put their focus.

So with that first new piece of information, that theyíre survivors of a shipwreck, depending on what our own individual values are there are many different ways we can interpret the situation. For example, one person might thank the heavens that these eight lucky people survived such a calamity while another might focus on all of the people who didnít survive. Both peoples focus are based on the need to understand, at least on some level, the why of things, or at the very least ascribe some morality to the events in order to make sense of them. The first is grateful that these eight people were ďsparedĒ. The second is affected by the tragedy of the other lives lost. Either way, itís good or bad, just depends on who you ask and where theyíre looking at the time.

But again, that shipwreck and those people all must be part of the design.

Which is where Iím going to introduce the concept of faith, at least as how it would make sense to me to define it as.

Most people like to define faith as a belief in the existence of a higher power. Being that weíre all modern and such, the popular definition of faith seems to have been somewhat smeared to include a wide variety of things, but few of these popular interpretations really seem to include what would be, in my humble opinion, the two most obvious and critical elements needed to accurately define faith.

If youíre going to believe in a power greater than yourself, you have to first accept you now believe in a power greater than yourself. Now if itís greater and more than you, depending on the degree of the greatness, you also have to believe that there are elements of whatever that power is that you simply canít understand.

Cause itís so much more than you are.

The second rather critical element that you have to include in faith is that if youíre going to believe in a greater power than you, you must accept that you are in many (if not all) ways at itís mercy.

But you wonít always necessarily know what drives that mercy, what motivates it.

Itís an exercise in blind trust.

To me there are huge differences between belief and faith. You can believe in a higher power but not trust in it. That just means that thereís a big something out there that may not be looking out for your best interests but it can do really whatever it wants and all you can do is hope that you donít end up on itís windshield.

Now if you have faith in something, you accept that that something is out there, but you also choose to believe that it is looking out for you. You trust it.

Now with that in mind, itís probably important to revisit the whole as-human-beings-weíre-stunningly-limited-in-our-understanding-of-the-universe side of things.

Itís probably safe to say that our understanding of what is in our best interests long term pales in comparison to a higher power that already knows what the outcome of the situation is going to be and actually designed that outcome.

So then, I would think that itís reasonably safe to say at this pointÖ

If you choose to believe in a higher power that is infinite and flawless and free from the linear progression of time, and you choose to have faith that the higher power is on your side, it follows that the higher power designed the ďgrand schemeĒ with your ultimate best interests in mind.

So following thatÖ

The eight people on the boat are on the boat as part of the grand design and it is for the ultimate best (which we canít possible know or understand and must accept as we choose to have faith in the aforementioned higher power) for them and the entirety of creation that they are there.

In short, the higher power put those people on the boat for a reason (which again we canít even begin to guess at), even though they had to be the survivors of a shipwreck to get there.

Let me know where Iím wrongÖ

Year End

I had contemplated putting together a hit list of sorts for everything that I think is wrong with music these days, which was then going to morph into a wider argument for everything that I find detestable with the world today.

It was gonna be a home run of a piece.

Let me tell you.

Truth be told told though, Iím just not feeling up for it at the moment. Not because I donít have a long list (heck Iíve been keeping notes in a notebook and when I finally do decide to wind up it will be a knock out) but more because given my present situation and location (at last report over 10 kilometers in the air moving at well over 500km per hour) it just seems to easy.

Traveling seems to bring out the absolute worst in people, myself included. For others that appears to be drunken ignorance and what can only be described as an extremely compelling argument for the abolition of large portions of the population.

For me it appears to be an unrepentant ability to put together the most venomous sentences without even putting any effort into it. I mean itís fish in a barrel easy. I tried a couple and itís past all points of reason how much unapologetic rage I can conjure up and put into written form.

And these yahoos only make it all the easier.

Iíll tell you about them next month, like I said, I have a list of complaints that I intend to take to the good old internet with a bullet.

I probably shouldnít be talking about bullets on an international flight. Thatís the sort of thing that gets folks in trouble these days.

It just occurred to me, that if someone was to examine the contents of my hard drive, I would probably land myself on a couple of watch lists.

Luckily though, Cuban customs and security is, as always, tailor made for folks like me. Not that I have anything illegal with me mind you, more that I simply enjoy when people treat situations as they should be. Walking through metal detectors and getting waved through after explaining I have steel toed boots on without having to get taken to another room to be the victim of some pinhead custom officials need to assert his authority on the longest ďunprotectedĒ border in the world is something I could get used to.

Heck, I knew I was somewhere I would fit in when the hotel official advised that we could take whatever we wanted onto the plane when we were leaving as long as it was clearly not a weapon or explosive because after all, in his words ďyouíre safe here, weíre the terroristsĒ.

Which they obviously arenít, but you donít find that many politically savvy people these days, let alone ones with a sense of humor, so it was a nice breath of fresh air.

This, coupled with the fact that I got to meet some very uplifting people and most significantly that I was on my honeymoon in a tropical paradise no less has left me in a rather positive headspace.

In fact, I find myself in one of those rare spaces where I am simply at peace with the universe. Seriously, I just tried to eat eggplant because it was all the airline thought they had after discovering that they were two sandwiches short for all the passengers. In classic me fashion, I drew the cosmic short straw and was offered the eggplant as an apologetic substitute.

Someone should look into weaponizing eggplant.

I mean, my god.

Luckily, they managed to find an extra crew meal, so I scored myself a tasty little chicken wrap. The lady who was behind me who drew the other cosmic short straw but pitched a dramatic fit on the issue was left with the eggplant.

When I was in college, I once dragged Karma out of a flaming car wreck, every once in a while it seems to remember that.

So yeah, Iím pretty much at peace with the universe right now.

That being said, given the choice between bathing myself in vitriol that would come all to easy and simply being content despite the present situation and surroundings (thereís going to be a long bit on parenting as well next month) Iím going to go with content and peaceful.

Vitriol takes a while to wash off and while at peace and with Karma seemingly at my side, Iím not entirely ready to try my luck with the washrooms up here.

And it has, after all, been an uncharacteristically good year.

A wedding that went as smoothly and as well as we could have possibly hoped, followed by a honeymoon to the aforementioned tropical paradise (which it should be noted was the second of two trips this year to said tropical paradise), released two CDís that a couple of people apparently thought were worth the effort so thatís cool too, discovered a new day job career path that wonít leave me feeling like I have to rationalize my actions away to be clean again as well as countless other positive changes and events.

So to quote one of my all time favourite songs, ďpretty good yearĒ, and Iím going out on a up note this year.

All the best to all your best and weíll see you around cause Iím not going anywhere.

Peace.

you know where to find me.

Nate@natepike.com