Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sleepwalkers

Oh boy .. Oooo dear. Is it despair that induces me to get lost in litres of Port, or a genetic predisposition to excess. Cannot buy a block of chocolate. Some people have the self discipline to nibble, one square at a time. Me? .. I scoff the lot. Same with booze.

Woke up the other morning with an empty two litre cask on the desk. 'Now where did that go?' irrational mind asks, to be answered by rational mind .. "You fool."

Is there another persona hiding inside the taciturn, uncommunicative body. A soul that escapes when I'm not looking. Who is the person I call me.

"children should be seen and not heard," was the mantra infused by my mother, so perhaps I never grew up. And yet, unguarded, I begin to reach out; fingers clutching the empty air, seeking .. what? Knowledge? Affirmation that I exist outside of the collection of organised cells contained within the bag of skin that I walk around in?

A child masquerading as a man.

I know I began as two half formed cells. Two people created a condition where those two cells conjoined, and my life began. Nine months later rejected, ejected; squalling and bawling I discovered independent existence. For what purpose? Was it simply to live and breed or, having the capacity to learn - collect knowledge. But what happens to it after I'm gone? Are my offspring and those who come after destined to endlessly repeat the same tawdry cycle. Birth, reproduction, death. 60 or so years of endless repetition.

What is "spirit"? What means these words 'spirited' or 'dis-spirited'. High spirits, low spirits. "Aspiration".

Have noticed a quibble on various blogs about the validity of the words 'atheism' and 'agnosticism'.

Bigot: One blindly and obstinately devoted to a particular creed or party. (O.Fr. origin unknown)

Atheist: Disbelief in the existence of god. Godless. (Gr. atheos - a- , priv. and theos, god.)

Agnostic: One who holds that we know nothing of things beyond material phenomena - that a First cause and an unseen world are things unknown and apparently unknowable. (coined by Huxley in 1869 from Gr. a-, priv. And gnostikos, good at knowing. gignostikein, to know.)

Gnostic: An adherent of Gnosticism - having knowledge, knowing, cunning. Gnosticism: the eclectic doctrines of the Gnostics, a syncretistic religious philosophy, esp. in early christian times, that taught the redemption of the spirit from matter by knowledge, and a process of emanation from original essence. (Gr. gnostikos, good at knowing.)

Lie: a false statement made with the intention of deceiving; anything misleading or of the nature of imposture: to utter falsehood with the intention to deceive or give a false impression. (O.E. lyge, léogan; Du. liegen; Goth. liugen; Ger. lügen.)

Idiot: a person so defective in mind from birth as to be unable to protect themselves against ordinary physical dangers: one afflicted with severe grade of feeble-mindedness: a flighty fool: a blockhead: a foolish or unwise person.
(L. idiõta. Gr, idiõtes, a private person, ordinary person, one who holds no public office or has no professional knowledge - idios; own, private.)


It is the paradox of human consciousness that I claim to be ALL of the above.

On the one hand logic tells me that there is NO god. It is purely an emotional fabrication by the ignorant. Began when Australopithicawhatsis first had time to stop stuffing their bellies and wonder what that big orangey hot thing was that regularly passed overhead. From there the myths began.

From there, knowledge and exploration of the physical world has progressed (albeit in fits and starts .. resisted by the shamans with a power trip agenda) to a point where we have Hubble telescopes, and foot prints on the moon. (am not including probes to Mars and other planets .. there is always the possibility that the data could have been manufactured via 'PhotoShop' or Madison Avenue.)

Personally I find it difficult to comprehend, wrap my mind around the concept of 'infinity' and 'eternity'. . my mind is 'conditioned' to see 'limits'. A backyard fence, four walls or, when on the boat, the defining line between the 'earth', 'horizon' and sky.

It is quite possible that there was no "big bang" defining the beginning of the galaxy. Or rather, if there was a "big bang" when this galaxy began, it is just one in a series of such. Just one of an infinite many in an infinite universe. All pulsing, coming and going over infinite time.

Have always been curious about this word "god", given the various interpretations by diverse collections of tribes, until I came across the notion of this bloke.

Democritus (c.500BC):
As to when this Greek philosopher existed, it is not certain. Tradition characterizes him as a person who was continually laughing at the follies of mankind. Only very few fragments of his work have come down to us. According to Chambers, "Democritus's atomic system assumes an infinite multitude of atoms." That all of these atoms exist for no particular reason, and, from "their multitudinous combinations springs that vast and varying aggregate called nature ..." Nature, Democritus further supposed, conducted itself by a definite set of laws; but followed, and follows, no design.


Democritus gives a little more background on a 'forgotten' philosopher. (Five HUNDRED YEARS B.C. and he gives us the word 'atom'?)

There is also a book "The Sleepwalkers", by Arthur Koestler, that explains in 'non technical' language much of what is driving this post. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

We are forgetting ancient history. The world is too much with us. Getting and spending.

And yet, there is an ancient hunger to 'call on the gods'. That emotional need to influence that which is beyond our individual power to change.



THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
William Wordsworth 1806.

10 comments:

JahTeh said...

If you can drink two litres and still post like this, I doffs me lid.

Davo said...

Nah, that was three days ago.. and this post has been written, mostly, over several days in the few minutes between earning a quid and sobriety. Am working on this weak- ends version.. Am sort of normal.heh.

Arthur_Vandelay said...

Had to memorise that poem for the TEE Lit. exam back in 1993. Thanks for reminding me.

Hayden said...

Instead of thinking of myself as godless, I prefer to see it as god-free.

The ancient religions are wonderful (Inanna is my personal favorite these days) - it's the poetry of religion that I crave, not the daily belief business.

perhaps religion is simply the first version of story-telling, we are a story-telling species.

Anne Johnson said...

deep thinking = steep drinking

put another way, "I think, therefore I drink."

GreenSmile said...

OK, Davo. two bits of advice from one old fool to another:

1. Don't indulge the passion for gliding free of the surly bonds of gravity at the same time you have tanked up on wine to slip the away from the unsatisfactory sensations, some sharp, some vague, that crop up when your nature or you mates get you to reckoning the worth and point of your particular journey.

2. to find answers to these hard questions you bedevil yourself with, look first into the nature of the very thing that is asking the questions. How does that thing work and what are its predispositions and susceptibilities to the accidents of its own history? Its all so much more naturual than most expect...and a lot of the questions just go away.

An A. E. Houseman line my dad quoted more often than most:
" And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not."

Two glasses of wine a night to take the edge off, and no more, was all he ever drank. [and a cup of coffee a day will lower your risk of cirhosis of the liver]

GreenSmile said...

"and yet there is an ancient hunger to call on the gods..."

Well, I have my theory. I will get my hands on that Koestler book and see what he has to say.

Davo said...

Thanks for the 'advice', good people but, while I generally read it with intent, mostly am just stubborn and do what I do.

Am not "religious", apparently. Have just looked the word up and, while the common application is to 'faith' and stuff, it basically applies to "constant repetition" of the same. i.e. " .. he religiously took two glasses of wine at night."

I have a tendency to "just make things up as I go along". The 'port cask' episodes are erratic, and depend on circumstance. Have to say though, a series of (catastrophes) problems tend to focus the mind toward solutions, instead of 'escape from boredom' .. heh.

GreenSmile said...

hmmm how different is it if it is only one glass of wine and only on Friday nights and it is crappy wine?

[that would be "religously" blessing the Manischevitz and sipping as little of the sugary bilge as you can get away with....yes regularity is highly suspect here.]

BTW, Davo, the missus asks "is Australia worth emmigrating to?" She hales from Baghdad by way of Teheran and so in spite of having a profound dread of poltical activism or even a political voice, the stupidity here is really getting to her.

Davo said...

"is Australia worth emmigrating to?"
Hooo boy, that's an interesting and complicated question, Gs. Am thinking about checking out New Zealand, meself .. heh.