Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reminiscence, Mythology, and the Will to Power

To my readers, I must apologize for my prolonged silence. It was at once unintentional and a product of things that are now no longer the case in my life.

I am experiencing something similar to what happened to me when I wrote a previous post, one that I just read over. Lately I have experienced loss, a sense of being divided and broken, frustration, anger, and genuine grieving. At the same time, I have also experienced freedom, the feeling that I am moving forward, contentment combined with ambition, and a sense of well-being through all of it. What a complex array of feelings and thoughts.

I've thought lately on all of the wills I have experienced. Wills of other people, their methods of imposing power on the world and other people, and of proving they exist. Some people don't even know they do it, and some people are aware and control it in ways that benefit themselves or others. Some people, like myself, tend to fool themselves into believing they have no power at all, and thus end up recklessly causing harm, or perhaps a lot of good at their own expense. I still have much to learn.

Some of my experiences with the will to power lately have reopened some old wounds, things I didn't even know still exist.

I'm not anti-traditional. I'm not hostile toward peoples' beliefs, nor am I of the belief that I am better than any other person. However, I am genuinely offended by intellectual, emotional, and religious bullying. It is an irresponsible and damaging use of the personal power that people possess, by virtue of being human.

I'm not anti-categorical because I think it's cool or because I enjoy it or want to justify my actions. Those that know me know I am harder on myself than anyone else can hope to be, and I reject notions of morality imposed upon me for what they are: yet another expression of the will to power. No, if I am to be convinced of something, I will be approached as an equal. Perhaps that is why I have been told I have a problem with authority.

I don't wish to hurt people, and I suppose I have every time I embrace an ideal instead of looking at things how they are. The notion that sometimes you must obscure the truth to spare someone's feelings is faulty at best, wantonly destructive at worst.

When I see a person embrace a category for themselves, I see them wielding a weapon, a lot of times with consequences they do not even realize. By nature of wielding a weapon involving other people, one must do damage control constantly. For example, if one embraces the label "Christian," they must constantly explain the incredible amount of sexism, racism, and genuine disregard for human life that comes with it. They must explain how they feel about how damaging religion is and they must explain why they don't necessarily participate in all of the good that goes with the label as well.

Categories are extraordinarily useful, but they make poor labels for people. A person's beliefs are much more than any category, their faith, whatever it may be, is much more than a creed or a set of beliefs they deem necessary. People are rarely so static as a solid set of beliefs unless they are afraid, tired, or simply the sort of person that hasn't met the challenges their beliefs will afford them. It does not matter what those beliefs are, everyone's deserve to be challenged because no one has the corner on truth.

I look at the authority that my companions I graduated with appeal to constantly, the scriptures of Christianity (AKA the Bible), and I don't see anything they do. In fact, I have barely read it for years because of my experiences at a Christian college. The idolization of the book did nothing short of drive me the other direction as fast as I could go. Perhaps this comes from my problem with authority, or perhaps it comes from more than that.

Such a deeply flawed book by modern standards, and yet such a beautiful book to the eye of someone looking for metaphor, story, and genuineness, deserves nothing short of its' proper category: mythology. Not mythology as in "this isn't true," mythology as in "this is more true than simple facts." What I mean is, if you read the Bible as a history book, as a set of moral imperatives, as a textbook, or as a end-all guide for truth, you are going to be disappointed, disillusioned, or you will fool yourself by the end because of your philosophical and emotional orientation. I've found beauty in thinking of it as more of a story regarding ultimate reality that is a fusion of the divine and the human. It is a story about how humanity is, how God is, how we relate, how it all fits together, and there are a lot of flaws, mistakes, and a lot of prejudice and other problematic things along the way.

That does not make it any less true of a mythology. I do believe in the historical Jesus, but I do not believe most of his ideas were brand new. I also do not believe there has ever been or ever will be a person like him. Because a person isn't their beliefs, and isn't their categories. They're more than anything we could say about them.

Jesus understood his own power, and used it wisely, even to the point of laying it down and refusing to use it when he could have, all to say "this is a little bit of how to be truly human."

In light of this, I see a lot of work I have to do to have a better life, to be more satisfied, more content, more of a benefit to those around me, and a better person. I'll not pretend to be happy right now, but I do have a purpose.

Perhaps if we can get over our use of power to impose ourselves on others we can stop misunderstanding each other but wishing people understood us, and we can let go of the belief that the only way to be understood is to be louder, faster, more forceful, and to obey the urge to use our power to acquire what we seek.

There is more than passion, more than logic, more than our past. There is a better us that exists in the future that we can run toward. The Will to Power can never succeed in the end, because it ignores part of who we are.

"What is your hand for? What is your heart for?"

"You're the weak one. You'll never know love or friendship, and I feel sorry for you."

Love. Think on it.