To life

I’ve just copied Marianne Williamson’s Deepest Fear passage into my new journal. I heard about it last week when I was doing a Living NVC workshop thing. And since coming back, because of the recommendations of someone I met there:

I see a theme. And, remarkably, it has to do with the nature of God being within us. I was brought up as a good protestant and subsequently studied science; now, as you might expect, I have no time for God. Or, rather, I have made no time for Him lately. Seen, darkly — through the glass of the Church of England — he looks too personal, too cantankerous, too Caucasian and altogether too Christian for my liking. But the ideas in these books, movies and words are that God is something universal, consistent, egalitarian and impersonal. That he is something that rejoices in adding to life. Or, perhaps, Life.Life exists. Here. on this planet, even as an existentialist agnostic I am inclined to concede that things live. When these folk say “adding to life” however, they are not speaking of making more things life, they are talking about living more fully. Living in the sense of “Get a life” rather than of being alive. On the back of the door that lead from the hall into the living room in my home in Kenya, I had a sign written crudely in pencil and then outlined in pen:


I put it there so I would see it each day. The door opened into the room and, once I was up, stood open all day so the sign was on display in the room and started many conversations. Some of my Kenyan friends liked to use the term “survivor” for someone resourceful and cunning. They might have had the connotation the other way round. Never mind, the point was to remind myself that the reason for my having chosen to be there was not to shirk from the challenges of life, but to embrace them. Sometimes I didn’t want to be reminded of that. But, in some sense, some non-scientific sense, I get it: if God is about living fully and we have the potential to do so, then doing is is exactly what it takes to express his glory, to live it. This is an appealing idea. I like it, as a metaphor for how to live my life, much more than I like the God of Abraham and Isac. But I want to have a rant:

Wallace Wattles irks me: he invokes scientific language in a way that, I feel, is intended to lend credence to his words. Natural Laws sound like Natural Philosophy, but he asks us to accept them on faith. There is no experimentation and no peer review. Science, as I understand it, is a process and doesn’t really discover The Truth, merely theories that explain and quantitatively predict. And therein lies its weakness: what of things we cannot quantify? The belief that Science holds a monopoly on Truth has become something of a social phenomenon; I prefer to think of the scientific method being applied in the process of investigation. WW gives us his theory but does not describe any process other than its application and no quantitative predictions other than its success. I object to the application of the label Science in this context, it feels dishonest and, as I discovered last week at the NVC workshop, I feel uncomfortable in the presence of what I judge to be insincerity.

This might be a semantic issue, a bit more searching on the Web has lead me to Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World by William Walker Atkinson. The very title of which sets off my bullshit detectors. Take a look at the excerpt here and see him struggling to defend his position: “that we cannot see, hear measure or weigh these vibrations is no proof that that they do not exist”, he writes; the same is perfectly true of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That so many people are ranting about it is no reason to assume that it contains any grain of truth or value; some might argue that many have been fooled by other authorities. And yet, what if they were both right? What if the god of Abraham and Jesus, and the law of attraction (I still can’t bear to write that word without at least putting it in italics) were metaphors for something else? I can’t help wondering. I must be getting old.

Now back to our scheduled programme:

Ever since I got back from Kenya I have been searching for something. The details of what it is and why I am looking for it, why I think it is worth looking for and how I think I’m going to know when I’ve found it are, I hope, going to be the subject of some future blog entries here. But this idea: the idea that a positive mental attitude guides one toward the fulfillment of ones noble desires, is definitely part of what I have been looking for.

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