Sunday, April 22, 2012



At this point, I think I need to take some time to examine something important to my personal theology, the interconnectedness of all reality, from the lowest levels to the ultimate wholeness of it, which includes the divine. 


It is important, as always, to remember that none of us knows everything. That certainty in belief is usually the sign of someone who is unwilling to think about what he believes. We have to be willing to see new things and accept or not accept them not based in whether it agrees with what we already know, or think we know, but based on whether or not it makes sense in a logical manner. 


Applying this kind of thinking to religion is, of course, problematic, because religion relies on a few things that, for those inclined to logic, are illogical. Faith, belief (not the same thing, by the way), personal experience, and group experience, often are undefinable, because they are personal, or shared on a limited basis, and as a result cannot be reproduced in a way that allows for examination. 


But it is important to try to apply this kind of thinking even to religion, even if in non-absolute ways. On the topic of totality, the interconnectedness of everything, it is also important to note that both religion and science have a few problems. Religion attempts to explain the totality of all "creation" in terms of the divine, and it is of course necessary to admit to ourselves that we simply do not know divinity in any concrete way. Science attempts to explain the totality of the universe through one of its most demanding and exacting languages, mathematics, and again, even the best scientist has to admit that the theories produced by mathematics cannot be accepted without observation and verification. 


In this science has the upper hand because unlike many who accept things on faith they seek to verify and prove rather than simply accept and not question. In either case, however, there are symbols and important concepts that come to define the cosmos and our place in it in ways that fill us with awe. 


It is my personal belief that the cosmos is like a meeting place for distinct forces, forces we call Gods, but which science may, perhaps, refer to simply as fundamental forces. By this I mean that the cosmos we see around us is the result of the interaction of several forces, like water is the result of the combining of two distinct atoms in a particular configuration (H₂O). Myth, for example, tells us that at the beginning there was chaos, and that from the chaos arose Nyx, Erebus, Aether, Hemera, Eros, and Ge, and probably a couple of others I may be forgetting. To me, these are clearly representative of the fundamental reality of the beginning of the cosmos. 


The big bang is the chaos, a spectacular explosion that renders the nothingness that was (nothingness is not quite right, but I can't think of a better word as I write this) into a turbulent mass of interactions. Nyx is the night, space itself, Erebus is the darkness, beyond the shockwave of the big bang and together, space and darkness are joined and bring about what are often seen as the darker aspects of the divine, such as death and decay. But with the explosion comes Hemera, the day, and Aether, the space within the shockwave. That is, the turbulent space unfolding from the big bang itself. Then there is Eros, a very special power. You see, Eros is there as the chaos of the cosmos begins to coalesce, and as a result, there is gravity, and from gravity there comes matter. Eros, though a weak power in comparison to the chaos around him, is a very pervasive and patient power. It interacts with everything. He draws things together as well as binding them. Then there is Ge, matter itself, which we call The Earth. Together, these forces in interaction, form what we call the universe. 


Of course, we are beginning to understand that the universe is much more than what we can directly observe. It would appear to be multi dimensional, some dimensions perhaps being hidden from our view yet at the same time interacting with the rest of the cosmos. Things like Dark Matter are poised to be proven without doubt, even if the proof we already have is nearly conclusive enough for all but the most stubborn. 


For us, however, I want to consider the interactions of our Gods and how they affect us. 


See, we are living, thinking creatures, but we are not in any way separate from the universe. We like to think we are, but we are not. Everything about us, our behavior, our thinking processes, all of it follows the "laws" of the cosmos. Laws which are part and parcel of how the Gods interact with different things. 


For this conversation, we accept that the Gods are in some way or another synonymous with the forces that drive the universe. And we accept, though it is not really a matter of faith but provable fact, that we are affected by those forces on a daily basis. 


The forces of the cosmos, the Gods, are all pervasive. A God does not decide one day to shoot you with the arrow of love just to fuck with you, for example, but we are affected by them continually, and we are forced to endure ebbs and flows of their influence based not just on the forces themselves, but our interaction with them, because in spite of our influence from the divine forces of the universe, we are still thinking creatures with free will, and so our decisions affect how we cause those influences to be stronger or weaker in our lives. 


So, we are constantly being influenced by Artemis. It is a primal power, one that forces us to make decisions on a daily basis because hers is a power that is instinctual. Hers is a power that drives us to behave in ways that make sense from a purely instinctive perspective. It is part of our animal instincts, part of our survival and predatory instincts. But, Artemis is more than that, and so as we interact with her power, her force, her natural essence, we must rely on our own mental ability, our own sense of logic, of emotional stability to set how we react to that influence. 


But it is more than that, because just as we are being influenced by Artemis, we are also being influenced by Aphrodite, Athena, Hera, Dionysos, Hephaestos, Ares, and Hestia. We are, in fact, being influenced by all the Gods to different degrees, always. 


I think that the influences of various Gods, and their various aspects, is different on different levels of the cosmos. Eros, for example, is a force that draws things together. He draws light to the black hole, but he also draws men together in friendship, and lover to each other. It is not an emotion, the way Aphrodite's power manifests, but a deeply instinctual need in mankind to be one with another. A deep need for companionship and contact. It is easy to see how one aspect of his power, the literal force of gravity, can be seen as more powerful than the other, the need for human interaction, but both have a deep impact on their respective fields of influence. 


But when we are drawn to others, and then also influenced by Aphrodite we have that wonderful mix of emotions we call lust and love, and when another influence, a need for bonding, to form a family unit comes into play, you are now being influenced by yet a third power, Hera, and it is the combination of these, that forms the union we call marriage, in whatever permutation it may manifest in your life. 


We begin to see that the many influences of the Gods can become complex. The trifold influences that create the basic family unit can then be infused with others, like the wisdom of Athena, as we have children and seem to impart our knowledge to them, and the power of Ares, and contentious issues brought about by individual characteristics create friction in the family (Eris) and again, the Wisdom of Athena must be brought to bear to fix the problems that may arise, or perhaps dissolve the union for the greater good of the individuals. 


In groups, the influences become even more complex. Ties of friendship, civic duty, fear, aggression, all manifest in the group just as they do in the individual, and in groups we are influenced yet again. From the influence of artistry from Hephaestos and Apollo applied to create beauty for the group to enjoy to the use of those very same influences to create implements of war to defend the group, we see that these influences carry weight and force our hand (in reaction to them) on a daily basis. From the smallest family unit to the largest nation.


So, understanding this, and understanding that on a physical level, these same forces apply to far greater things, the way gravity, a relatively weak force, can also create the monstrosity that is a black hole, so too do the forces of attraction and instinct (things behaving as they do because they must) affect us deeply even as we often seek to deny those influences. 


The power of man lies there, in that innate ability to decide how to act. In accord with those influences or in denial of them. It is our ability to decide what to act upon that makes us what we are, and it is in deciding what influences mean the most of us that we decide which Gods we have the most contact with on a daily basis, and in turn, which are most likely to receive our adoration and worship. 


Blessed be, and happy earth day!

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