My Embrace of HOPE  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I know I told all of you that I gave up the rant; that complaining and pontificating upon the state of the world is not improving it to any real degree, so when the machine makes all that noise and accomplishes nothing, you turn off the power and put it out to pasture. What I am writing tonight is NOT a rant, it is simply a manifesto; a declaration of what I believe and why I believe it. So, enjoy, take it or leave it, for it is not intended to indoctrinate or illuminate or start a revolution in human sociology. It, as my friend Buffalo would say, is what it is.

When I was eighteen, full of coming of age and able to give vent to my own identity, I of course knew everything, was an expert in everything, and could not be persuaded otherwise that I was not the master of everything. I wish I was that young again, for I have lost most of that wisdom that comes only from never having experienced most of that which one is so expert in.

Now that I have witnessed wonders, and discovered that tomorrow I might very well learn something new, whether or not I choose to accept that new fact, I have also discovered a new kind of wisdom, one anchored in that wonderfully grey landscape that lies between utter conviction and fully recognized ignorance. Once, I thought of math, the more esoteric and advanced the better, as a pox on the common man, for only those full of themselves and seeking power over others could have come up with something so complicated and hard to grasp. What I now know is that yes, it remains complicated and hard to grasp, yet is the key to wondrous things, which alas, I will always be bereft of, due to MY inability to grasp it, rather than it's irrelevance.

I grew up with religion. I was indoctrinated in the most theatric and profound of religions, the Catholic Church. This was the first boys club that was established based on the teachings of Christ that gained a foothold in the pathos of the human condition, which is that man, no different than that other social pack animal, the wolf, then in time the dog, requires a place in the pecking order to function in, be it the rip-out-your-throat-if-you-cross-me Alpha Male, or the I-bow-down-before-you-please-be-kind-to-me bottom of the food chain. Using the power of GOD, the priesthood practiced that unique form of "algebra" that the common, or perhaps even mentally lazy, man cannot handle and thus depends on the priest to interpret for him. The Bible was even written and passed down in the scholarly language of Latin in order to keep it's secret and thus sacred knowledge close to the vest, insuring the power of the Bishops, and by proxy, Kings.

But, just like Martin Luther King (not Jr, but the original real deal) challenged the power structure to put up or shut up, I broke free of the dogma, and dared ask questions that never were answered to any logical satisfaction. This proved to be a genuinely brave endeavor, as I was informed in no uncertain terms that to question the wisdom of the Church in all matters related to the Divine was nothing more than the tool of the devil, and to allow such blasphemy to rule my live would damn my soul to eternal torment in a place made for me by my "loving" God. So of COURSE I had a rather schizophrenic weaning period from this terror, until much later in my life when I simply grew tired of being afraid and learned to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

I know an invisible goblin named Ralph. Ralph just happens to be somewhat almighty, in that he knows EVERYTHING and can turn a pumpkin into a battleship with the snap of a finger, but I can't get Ralph to demonstrate this really cool omnipotence because, simply, Ralph being all-powerful and everything, told me to tell you people all this and will punish you with bee-hive hairdos if you dare challenge me on this. Do you NOT believe what I have just told you? Why not? Many of you have believed many things equally as ludicrous concerning a dead dude named Jesus who died a horrible death in order to save us all from......well, it's complicated, but dogma is like that.......delightfully complicated, thus independent of independent and rational examination. The things I now believe results from that very independent thought which is so discouraged by ANY mainstream religion, and thus must mean that I have embraced the ultimate evil, which these priests and purveyors of truth have labeled as SATANIC. (You may all shudder for effect if you wish....)

Only I do not entertain evil thoughts, at least not as is defined in the dictionary, and I don't even believe a guy named SATAN ever existed, but is nothing but a scapegoat for a totally illogical belief system which cannot stand up to honest scrutiny. So, you ask, what new truth has so totally supplanted what I was taught that I dare risk the fires of eternal damnation?

Nothing, really. Yes, I honor and practice the teachings of Wicca, an Earth honoring nature religion, but I do not embrace these teachings in such a way as to abandon all my responsibilities as a rational, critically thinking human being. I have a brain and NO religion or dogma is going to rob me of the joy of having one. Yes, I honor and "converse" with such characters as Hecate, Diana, and the Green Man, but I do so simply as tools of metaphor that assist my frail human intelligence in attempting to connect with the universal mind of all that is and all that has been and can be. This can be everything I wish it to be or nothing that I could conceive of, but it is not my job to decide what is or what isn't beyond those concrete realities that I can sense with this biological vessel I now inhabit. I even entertain the possibility that all that I think I am will not survive beyond those chemical processes in this brain which allow me to think that perhaps I might have a soul. If I DO have a soul, well, how grand! If I do not, then all that was I shall cease, and there will be no arguments to the contrary afterwards, at least from that which WAS me.

Mine is the "religion" of HOPE. I HOPE that striving to be a good person that seeks to harm none will benefit not only those in my sphere of influence, but selfishly, myself, either here or some other plain of existence. I do not expend my energy in this effort to be "good" simply for the brownie points, but simply because it is the "right" thing to do. Why do I think it is the "right" thing to do? Easy! Because I know how I personally benefit from the kindnesses shown to ME, and I have witnessed the effect these kindnesses have on others. I also can contrast this against the effect that the alternative has on my world and that of others, and for me at least, the choice is clear..........I cannot embrace evil or harm to others, not even the harm that those "chosen by God" so easily inflict on those who challenge them or stand in the way of their path to "glory". Perhaps those of us who choose this path are misinformed or delusional, especially as your average atheist would decree, but I choose to leave that to whatever end we entertain, all of us. I would think my most glorious joy would derive itself from the utter disappointment of both Christians and atheists alike.

I cannot find solace or joy in the act of bowing down to some "supreme being" who has it all planned out from the get-go and takes great pleasure in my suffering for making the "wrong" choice. I was given the same sort of choices by bullies in my school years and I find no difference in the inherent evil demonstrated by both, although I actually suffered for one and have yet to suffer anything from the other. I cannot find honor in the detached limbs and limited lives of brave young men who had faith in a leader who so eagerly fed them to the beast we now know as fear, disguised as patriotism, and will cost us all dearly in the coming decades, as any Vietnam veteran can attest to. I cannot find solace in the fact that Iraqi deaths now "only" average in the hundreds per month rather than the thousands, surely demonstrating how effective our surge was in dampening down the terror all Iraqis' live with everyday. And I cannot find any happiness in knowing that fueling the avarice of the filthy rich the world over will kill us all AND the planet that nurtured us for all these thousands of years.

So, what DO I believe in? Nothing. I embrace the concept of HOPE, of yearning for something beyond the coldly rational and sterile facts that shape the universe as we actually KNOW it. I HOPE that fairy dance amongst us, just beyond our perception but having influence, however mischievous that might be, upon our own narrow dimension. It is HOPING that when we die, those ideas that our souls know as JOY can find flight, however briefly, until such time that we have to, perhaps of our own choosing or as dictated by laws we cannot now understand, we must return to this plain and learn more lessons on how to TRULY live, while living. I find HOPE that there is a karmic balance which makes justice possible and balances the books when horrible things happen by choice, which I equate with evil, and when wonderful things happen, which I think illuminates our universe. And I HOPE that I was given this ability to think, not to be squandered, but to be exercised to it's fullest so that one day, I might be CAPABLE of uniting with the cosmic ONE, knowing all things knowable, and rejoicing in the truths which agree with and are celebrated by science, and not beaten down by it.

Thus sayeth THE Michael, as is written by his own hand this night of Tuesday, September Ninth, in the year 2008, that many years since one man from his death forward was never allowed to rest in peace......

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at Tuesday, September 09, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 slick comments

Well said, Michael. Very well said.

September 10, 2008 at 1:07 AM

I'm with him above.....

Buff I meant ya dolt!

September 10, 2008 at 3:42 AM

Life is and always will be a pilgrimage.

September 10, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Very well said.

September 10, 2008 at 1:50 PM

I may have sid something similar here before, but I really do think people have to find a path that best fosters them to lead good lives and be compassionate. It doesn't matter to me what metaphors speak best to a person as long as they are helping the world and its inhabitants rather than harming it.

September 10, 2008 at 4:56 PM

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