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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Love

When you fall in love, it transforms you like alchemy. The whole world changes in the light of this love: things that might have been boring before take on an extraordinary vibrancy. The whole world suddenly makes sense and the suffering in it becomes almost incidental. The person you love seems more valuable than you are yourself and you know that you would willingly die to save that person. To use Bertrand Russell's word, everything is 'transfigured'. It fills you with extraordinary joy.

Now I am going to stick a pin in the balloon I have created. You may find that your love isn't reciprocated and the person isn't nearly as good as you thought they were.

But heck, the love was real and the experience was real. The world in that transformed state was just as valid as it was when you were doomed and gloomy. That leads you to search for the experience again. The person may have let you down, but you still love love. The love has a reality of its own, like the fragrance of a flower.

When you love someone, you love them just because they are there. They don't even have to do anything.

What if you could love the whole of creation like that, just because it's there? What if you could love the source of all things like that?

Surds

I wish to coin a new word, or rather extend the meaning of an old one. 'Surd' has only, to my knowledge, been used as a noun to mean an irrational number or a voiceless consonant. As an adjective it can mean 'stupid' or 'insensitive' and in philosophy 'surd evil' is the same as 'natural evil' - the evil of a falling rock that has no human agency.

I want to call this word into service as a noun, to help us with the problem of forgiveness.

We all know that most of the problems of the world come from not forgiving. We feel aggrieved and we think we must get our own back in some way. 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord' but 'for goodness sake, Lord, when are you going to get on with it?' So we wait for a bit, and then we do the job ourselves.

The trouble is, we misfire. If the person who wronged us had a green face, and that person is unavailable or dead, who can we punish? Easy. We can punish somebody else with a green face, because he is in the same group. He must deserve punishing pretty well just as much. That is why a woman punishes her husband for what her father did and a man punishes his wife for what his mother did. They belong to the man group or the woman group and they must deserve punishing just as much as the rest of their kind. Most wars are like this, e.g. Protestants like to punish living Catholics for what their dead forebears did and vice versa.

Now to summarise what I have said in previous blogs: in order to do evil, you have to know that you exist. Knowledge of your own existence leads naturally towards goodness. A conscious person who tries to do evil is extremely rare.

Most of those who harm others are unconscious. The stories we have inherited from such as Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley express this metaphorically and that is why I have toyed with the words 'zombie' and 'vampire'. They are the people who want to punish a leader because the crowd has turned against that leader, like hens pecking at an injured bird; the sort who yell 'crucify him!' for no good reason except that everybody else is doing it. They are following unconscious evolutionary programming. This is not fictional and that is why I want a new word: I think 'surd' will do very well.

Once consciousness is present, it is self-corrective. Conscious people can't do harm to others without suffering themselves, because they are CONSCIOUS and they feel the pain of the other person. That is not to say that they are soft and weak or cannot be cruel to be kind.

This makes it possible to forgive. The one who has wronged you is quite possibly a SURD. He or she is following an unconscious routine, running an entirely selfish program. The surds are legitimate fodder for evolutionary psychologists. They survive at the expense of others and over many generations this will produce a passable receptacle for something better. The whole process takes place in mental darkness. 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

If, on the other hand, the person you think has wronged you is conscious, there are only two possibilities. Perhaps he or she was trying to do you good (tough love), but you didn't realise it or you didn't like it. If a conscious person knowingly tries to harm you, there is absolutely no necessity for revenge. Why? Because consciousness inflicts its own punishment, and believe me, that person will suffer horribly.