Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Part 3 -- It must give pleasure

The gods had no great love of humankind. Adam and Eve had -- what? a day? a week? a fortnight? -- in the Garden before they were dumped into a world of woe. Henceforth they must earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. Pandora opened her pretty gift box from father Zeus and you know what toil and sickness that brought among us. This world of ours was the valley of the shadow of death, the vale of tears. But never mind, sweet pleasure awaited us in the afterlife. Well, some of us anyway.

The new supreme fiction must give pleasure here and now, or such as we can make or discover for ourselves. Certainly, through the application of science and technology we have alleviated some of the woes that popped out of Pandora's box, thumbing our noses at father Zeus. Those of us who are fortunate to live within the new dispensation can expend the sweat of our brows on projects of our own choosing. More important is the permission the new fiction gives us to enjoy the world as we find it:
As when the sun comes rising, when the sea
Clears deeply, when the moon hangs on the wall
Of heaven-haven. These are not things transformed.
Yet we are shaken by them as if they were.
Our task, as difficult as it is, is not to suffer in silence awaiting a problematic Blessedness, but to expend our creativity and energy to make the crooked straight and the rough places plain. The place we live is what we love; it is neither heaven nor hell. It is here -- just here, in this world, just now -- that "love's characters come face to face."

It is of course a fiction to say the world is good. The world is neither good nor bad, except in as much as we make it so. Our challenge is to find the real, to make a happy marriage with this our only Earth. The supreme fiction, when we have made it, will celebrate the light that burns in the heart of every cell, in the hummingbird at the vine, and in distant galaxies that turn on inhuman axes.
...To discover an order as of
A season, to discover summer and know it,

To discover winter and know it well, to find,
Not to impose, not to have reasoned at all,
Out of nothing to have come on major weather,

It is possible, possible, possible...
We can do all that angels can.