What to do with this information? Christians and atheists really aren’t all that different. But is a list an argument? Perhaps this is just a variant on the Flying Spaghetti Monster approach. But just because we might agree that Angus Og doesn’t exist as a god doesn’t mean that “our” God doesn’t exist. Why have I just capitalized God? Is that a tacit acknowledgement that “God” deserves as much respect as all of these other gods? Is the Christian god as provable as all of the other gods?
Was going to rant about the Super Bowl, but decided this was more interesting:
Talking with a friend tonight, and with another friend the night before, about how life has become a blur of commitments, kids’ birthdays, workload, sleeplessness. Then, almost like a perfect case-in-point, our babysitter showed up while we were in the middle of serving dinner to guests – we had arranged for a date night to get out and relax, then completely spaced it. Both of us. (The babysitter joined us for dessert and it was all good, but sheesh). We’re all ridiculously over-extended, over-committed, over-saturated, brains turning to … not quite mush, but something closely resembling it.
I sometimes feel like I can make things better, keep shreds of meaning afloat, by browsing RSS feeds in the margins, scanning a few sites for news of the weird and wonderful, blogging a bit. But ultimately, all those little tidbits amount to nothing, and life is no less blurry. In fact, it’s all just more noise, more crazy multitasking, and the extra information just contributes to the blur. We try to use software and organization techniques to bring order to the chaos, but in the end we’re just trying to tame the noise rather than making it go away.
Lately I’ve had the feeling that what I need is to just make a lot of my inputs go away, and to spend some time reading books, having conversations that last more than a minute. More than that, I find myself wanting to be gathering chicken eggs from a henhouse, shoveling goat shit… When I was a boy, we lived for a couple of years on a very small farm, and my brother and I drank nothing but goat milk – sometimes directly from the goats’ teats, warm and hairy. We raised a pig, then slaughtered and butchered it ourselves. I’ve never taken meat for granted from that point on. My parents were trying to create a real environment for us, and to some extent I think the message got through. And yet I’ve allowed my life to become disconnected from dirt. Something in me wants to make sure that Miles can suckle from goat teats too.
The more noise that gets through, the more drowned I feel, the more I find myself wanting to reconnect to something elemental and permanent and meaningful. And yet I’m so embroiled in this digital world that I can’t see my way clear to enjoying a simple Sunday without tending to everyone else’s needs… how many years has it been since I’ve read the Sunday paper, or been able to read more than one or two books a year? Looking in this particular mirror makes me feel like something is desperately wrong.
Right now I’m longing to hear the clang of goat bells outside my bedroom window, to know I’ll be heading out to gather breakfast from the chicken coop in a few hours. But I can’t see how to get there from here. How do you re-organize a life that dramatically?
Remember why you’re here. Unknown surfer on monster wave in unknown location, about as close to the immensity and awe of naked existence as one can physically be.
Also awesome: “In the Brazilian state of Amapa, on the full moon closest to the March equinox,” a set of waves form twice a day that ripple up through the Amazon jungle, providing surfers the opportunity to experience the longest rides of their lives – up to half an hour long.
Aside: Photography and film used to signal to us “truth,” while obvious animation signaled fiction. But while watching surf clips on YouTube with Miles this evening, he kept asking “Daddy, is that real?” Already, he’s so accustomed to photo-realistic special effects and the blending of live film with rendered characters that he’s utterly unsure what’s real and what’s not. Trying to explain the truthiness of a show like Prehistoric Park, which is scientifically accurate in every way and yet totally fictional, I never feel sure whether he’s making the distinctions clearly in his mind or not.