Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frustrating Dark Sides

I was a reading a certain book I got for.. a dime. Yes, literature is that cheap here. No one seems to think it's worth anything (local library can't hold all of its books, so they're having a sale. I got twenty books for two dollars!). I won't go into the specifics as they are unnecessary and I'd rather not personally identify the author. They really seemed like a good person. :)

First thing: The veil of Christianity is donned. It's a useful tool when you're trying to get a book featured on Oprah, I'm sure. But, of course, science has proven that Christianity is the source of all the world's problems, so a good self help book tries to ween the reader away from that most dangerous of topics. In a fairly admirable way, the author essentially says, “Show some balls. Pan the theism, get with the pantheism.” And that's to the author's credit, for sure. Eckhart Tolle just didn't have the guts to be upfront like that. But this is after 170 pages of Christian overtones, and it's only a 200 page book. I was pretty shocked by this sudden change of heart, though. First, we're talking to God about our dark sides, and now – surprise! – we're deciding that he's just a metaphor for the universe.

For all of the chicanery, this book is certainly something. I felt a whole range of emotions while reading it. At first, I was sort of offended by the idea of actively embracing evil. For as cool as I am with moral relativism.. there's some absolutist in me, for sure. Anyway, I keep reading, and lulz ensue; it occurred to me that the methods of achieving “wholeness” mentioned are not principally different from running on down to a pentecostal church and getting that holy ghost slapped on ya. Then, in a moment of clarity, I realized that even though the underlying philosophy is silly, the basic points to take away are still good. My final emotion -- and the one that made me take the time out of my admittedly unbusy day to write this post -- was a mixture of pity and frustration relating to the words between the lines. Here's why:

It became apparent from the author's own testimony. Long ago, someone had a bad experience with one of those ignorant, unenlightened, Christian mobs, and the event left the author with a dark side they probably can't even see. This book isn't so much about embracing shortcomings as it is getting back at assholes who banded together to call the author [intentional vagueness here]. I've been there, with the desire for vengeance against the oppressive majority, but it's not a path that leads to anywhere other than writing self-help/angry rant books. Not that there's anything wrong with ranting. Ranting is awesome, which is why I'm doing it now.

Call me a madman, but I see a glorious new day on the morrow. People of all faiths and lacks of faiths will come together, embracing one another, not for their commonalities, but for their distinctions. Young earth creationists will pray to the goddess mentioned in the old testament, and neopagans will develop their own canon of scripture and quote it excessively. Pantheists will look at deists, saying "I love you guys." And deists will do this also unto pantheists. Atheists will form an enormous love circle with agnostics. And such! Well, maybe not exactly that, but you see what I mean, right?

So, yeah, I'm a madman. :)

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