God: Suffering and Longing
The reason that such immense ideals have an “otheworldly” feel to them is because God is the ultimate Other… which isn’t the same as saying God is separate. This Other can also be experienced inwardly (if such a word applies), but this doesn’t change the esential Otherness. God’s Goodness isn’t human goodness meaning it isn’t comprehensible in everyday terms nor can it be conformed to our purposes. God undermines our entire sense of self and reality which isn’t a bad thing per se, but its hard to interpret such an experience according to our normal beliefs and expectations of goodness.
This world of suffering is Hell and our complicity with suffering is Evil. I use these strong words because only they can convey the power of suffering when felt deeply. But, by this, I don’t mean to assume any particular theological claims. And, yet, I do mean to say that essentially both the Christians and Gnostics are right about God. Thusly, without logical consistency and without psychological reconciliation, I accept my inability to separate my experience of suffering from my experience of that which is other than suffering… whatever one may wish to call it.
Or, anyways, this is what makes sense to me at the moment. Unlike a pessimist of a materialist bent, I don’t deny any metaphysical possibility. I have experienced something that felt like an Other. Was it God? Was it even good in the ultimate sense? I don’t know. It felt real… and, in this world of confusion, a glimpse of reality may be the closest one gets to the Good.
There is only one essential statement in this whole blog:The Good of God is not the good of man. Its just my experience and that is all.
The only other choice is to go entirely with the Gnostics and call God Evil… which Icould agree with in the sense that they speak of the god of this world. The problem with the latter interpretation is such dualism doesn’t make sense of my experience, but maybe the Gnostics didn’t believe it as a fact… instead as something like a useful means.
What I do know is that this world is filled with immeasurable suffering. Yet, when I explore this suffering, I discover something other than any normal sense of this world.
I think too often we ignore or gloss over this Otherness and its implications.
Part of me would say that I’m exaggerating too much, but there is a purpose for my doing so. Suffering, strangely enough, can be one of the easiest things to ignore or distract ourselves from. This is as true for me as for anyone else.
There is something freeing about simply stating that this world is hell. I spent years struggling against suffering, but I feel that struggle has become less. Whatam I freed from? I’m not entirely sure. An element of it has to do with imagination. For me, to imagine what might be is founded upon seeing things as they are. So, in allowing hell to be real, I can imagine heaven. Or something like that.
In case you were wondering, this blog actually wasn’t intended as a direct response to the guilt thread in the God pod. This is just an extension of my recent thinking. I wrote this down in my journalaround a week agoand finally got around to writing it up.
The direct inspiration of this post is the essential statement I mentioned. I’ve had that thought for a long time. The realization that the Good of God isn’t the good of man came to me during a time (which we’ve talked about before)when I had fully relented to my own experience of suffering and longing, but I also feared losing myself in this experience of Other. I didn’t feel capable (or willing) to stay with this experience. Nonetheless, the memory of it is very clear and an everpresent reality of sorts… even if I haven’t yet come to terms with it.