Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love and The Purpose of Human Life

The other day I realized something. I got into a conversation about something deep (although clearly not important enough for me to remember the subject matter), and as usual during such conversations I said super profound stuff that I had never thought of in my life but just came out. Anyway, I was discussing something about love, the human capacity and calling for it, and the inherent and central nature of God as one who loves beyond understanding. And I came to the conclusion that God did not merely create us to love him. In fact I would say this is not even the primary reason. Christians tend to say stuff about the necessity of a being having free will in order to be loved, and angels don't have free will or the choice wether or not to love (also wrong, whole other story), and thus The Lord of Heaven made human beings to love him. I came to the conclusion that this is totally wrong. Rather, I would say that God created us so that HE could love US. The whole life journey of the human being is, I believe, centered around this love. God did not, I think, create us to so that we would serve or lavish ritual praise to him as many Christians seem to think. Naturally, grasping the true creative intent and nature of God leads to many acts of love on our part. But really, I truly believe God created us specifically so that he could love us, in a similar way that a human couple bears a child: they bring a baby into the world so they can love them and give a great deal of themselves in doing so, and walk through life with them. We do talk of God as being our father, after all. And i think it goes even further: this sort of love is tied into the very fabric of what it means to live. As humans, I think it is central to our life, and our ultimate purpose, to learn to love each other and cultivate compassion, empathy and community with our fellow man and Creator. If I had to narrow the meaning of life down to one thing, it would without a doubt be this.

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Reflections on Puddleglum, Pessimism, and Dealing Effectively With Crisis

I just had a thought: I'm currently reading The Silver Chair from the Chronicles of Narnia, and very much enjoying the remarks and personality of the character Puddleglum, who for those of you who do not know the story is the pretty much ultimate archetypal pessimist. He serves as the guide for the other two main characters in an extremely dangerous and seemingly hopeless journey. He is very kind, loyal, and unexpectedly wise. However, he is often disregarded by the other characters as a wet blanket as a result of his persistent over the top negativity. However, once they end up in the midst of their worst danger and trial, he is very insightful, quick on his feet, clear thinking, incredibly helpful and to the surprise of the other characters, actually uplifting and encouraging in the midst of utter hopelessness and despair. And I realized that just like in the book, in reality it seems that it is often the pessimistic and harshly realistic people who actually do especially well coping with crisis and trying situations. I'm not saying this is neccesarily because of their pessimism, but I have seen this often in my own life, the lives of others, and the lives of people in well written fiction. I think it may have to do with the fact that pessimism tends to go along with an understanding of crisis, or disappointment or disaster. Sadly this all to often breeds a counterproductive and self defeating hyper awareness which leads to cynicism. However, I find it no coincidence that sometimes people who are put down for being "a wet blanket" often seen to have the capacity to think clearly and cope effectively in times of crisis, disaster and pain. Like any weakness, there is strength that goes along with it, and like any strength there is a burden to bear that goes along with blessing.

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