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This stuff is endlessly interesting to me.  

And I am having one of those moments when various, otherwise unrelated facets of my life are coming together in a common theme.

It's all over the Camus I am reading.  

I have a friend who is a devout Christian and talks about her initial acceptance of Christianity being practical in nature.  It works.  For her, the basic guidelines, etc., just work.  Of course those guidelines aren't limited to Christianity or to religion at all.  One does not need God to understand the benefits of being honest or faithful.  But a leap is required to take something from the "practical" to the "good."  

And it is not just religion which requires a leap of faith.  Take classical liberal ideals to their logical end and you'll still end up like Camus' absurd man in the desert.  The road ends abruptly before you get to the place you ... are now, or the place where you can explain how and why you are now.    

So I think so much of these stories that create subjective reality are just tools.  Story telling has always been a tool to explain what is as yet unexplainable.  And if a tool works for you and does not cause too much harm to others, I see no reason to be hostile toward it.  It's the assumption that your stories and tools are the best stories and tools for everyone and that they deserve priority over really basic factual objective reality when the two come up against each other that upsets me.  And the complete dismissal, to the point of an absence of curiosity or inquiry, of someone else's subjective reality really gets under my skin.  There's an arrogance in it that suggests you alone have to take no leaps or accept no absurdity in your life.  That's why sometimes religion embarrasses us.  We can see when people are lying to themselves and asking us to go along with it.  

But why this idea that admission that something may be interesting or useful implies an acceptance that it is legitimate?  

Anyway, I find astrology interesting.  It touches a nerve, and I can enjoy it without "believing in" it.  

I say I am a Virgo.  What does it mean?  Can the alignment of the stars determine my personality?  Doubt it.  But after growing up hearing about how overly critical and perfectionist and freakishly neat and generally uptight and unsatisfied a child I was, it was comforting to know that just maybe I was meant to be that way.  So rather than trying to change those parts of me, I embraced them proudly.  They are characteristics of my celestial tribe.  lol.  So it is a tool I have for living with myself.  And Virgos find it hard to live with themselves. ;)

And I also think that, you know, if the weather can effect my mood (scientifically proven, you know!), maybe the alignment of the universe can also have a subtle effect on us.  I don't know that it does.  I don't know that it doesn't.  I do know that we live in the universe and are made of atoms like everything else, that we don't know how life began, and that denying we have any connection to anything outside our immediate environment is ... again, arrogant.  And embarrassing.

I don't need God to make me be honest and I don't need astrology to accept myself as I am.  But tools make the job easier.  Stories which connect us to a larger, mysterious realm make us more interesting to ourselves.  And there is room in the world and in our brains for both objective reality and storytelling.  If we have no place for anything outside the realm of rational thought, let's empty our libraries, our museums and theaters, our concert halls and brothels.  Mow down our gardens.  Stop breeding animals as pets.  Don't fall in love.  Don't wear a pretty dress.  Swear off chocolate and wine and drugs and sex and sleeping in.  Stop crying.  Stop flirting.  Stop daydreaming.  Stop dancing.

But we won't give up these things because, in one situation or another, they "work."  They keep working when rational thought reaches the point in the desert where it no longer cares if we are ok.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 03:29:50 PM EST

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