Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Force Is Strong With This One

Via Ace, the Anchoress waxes poetic on the nature of energy and God. As she is wont to do. (This, not coincidentally, evokes The Force of the Star Wars movies. Lucas cleaned out the archetype store when he made those.)

It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine, for people to treat the brain-injured as being "pure" or otherwise magical. But it is fair to say that they see the world differently (and in our own dull compulsive conformity, we perceive that as a kind of stupidity).

I knew a guy who said that if you perceived the enormity--the sheer math--of infinity versus your time on earth, you would never do anything that risked your chances at heaven.

Makes sense, really. Although people are not always rational, if you could sustain the enormity of eternal damnation versus eternal happiness, it would be very, very difficult to sin, indeed.

A common problem with the brain-injured is an inability to filter. For example, our brains filter out the myriad sounds that constantly assault us. They all reduce to a hum that we forget, and this allows us to concentrate on what we're doing. Our ability to function in day-to-day life is thanks in large part to a brain that shuts out most of the stimulus coming at us.

You'd sit on a floor and rock back-and-forth, humming, too, if you couldn't filter out the constant barrage of sensations.

By parallel, could you actually function if you held in your mind a constant awareness that your action might eternally damn you? I mean, could you weigh every action against infinity--and still operate?

Or would you end up rocking back-and-forth, humming--paralyzed?

There's an episode of the '90s cartoon "Duckman" which has the title character unable to act, because every trivial decision he makes alters his future in radical ways. The effects of our own actions on our lives, while they ripple out, don't have the same power of the infinite (and are, one hopes, less random), but you could see being crippled, at least to the degree that random chance was influential.

If you were confident that you understood what would be judged right and wrong, you could still act reasonably well, presuming that your understanding didn't hold you to account for, essentially, randomity.

But given the chaos with which brain-injured kids often experience reality, and how often their choices turn out to not be the ones they intend, and how often the results can backfire, I can imagine God as judge being absolutely terrifying.

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