July 19, 2006
A bit more to write on the philosophy front regarding, as always, Catholicist Nation stuff. But the philosophy part is just thinking about stuff from the what’s really going on here perspective. And as is always the case, Scripture always comes through big-time to confirm. It is really amazing. Well, maybe it shouldn’t be, but since I’d been so Catholicized for so long—sad to say—sometimes when Scripture just so plainly says what’s what it just feels so good. Not to say that it shouldn’t anyways.
I am banging around the idea that there really is no such thing as anything that is irrational. That is, anything and everything that people do is rational. Yeah.
Anything and everything.
One may say, “Oh, how can that be? What do you say about someone who does something really really stupid or foolish and there is just flat no explanation for it? Like some wonton murder of someone the murderer doesn’t even know, you know, where he just did it, or, like someone knowing to do something and they admit they should have done it that way but they do the other thing that ruins them? Aren’t these actually irrational?”
I’m sorry but people always do something, whatever it is, for a reason. Even if the reason is no reason, then that’s the reason!
But that’s going too shallow. Going deeper I just think that there is no question that underneath the “no reason” is a reason. People do something because something inside them has convinced them that this is the thing to do.
In my own life I’ve been guilty of having something facing me, something to do, and I myself just don’t do it or cop out and wiggle out of it or just plain do something, yes, there it is, “irrational.” But in thinking about those times, I’ve done those “irrational” things for a reason. Many of those times it was simply because I was convinced that I couldn’t do the given thing or that it’d be actually truly better if I did the other thing.
See, a lot of it is in being convinced. And there is more fodder for the discourse.
Are we convinced about things that are not true? That if we really knew what the “truth” was we’d not do some “irrational” thing? Do people indeed do irrational things because they’re doing some wrong thing they believe is right?
I’m not sure, because what is the real actual true real actualitudinal thing that’s in the belief? Isn’t there indeed some truth component to it?
Let me cut to the chase.
What is the most “rational” thing anyone can do? Yep, trust in Jesus Christ because He takes away sin heals the heart saves the soul and—from Enchantment Theory—gives an individual complete fulfillment of Relationship, Discovery, and Accomplishment. All that. 1
Then I asked this question. Assuming the premise “No one ever does anything irrational,” I asked, “What indeed are the rational things that those without Christ do?”
What’s the answer to the question?
Right off the bat I just think of one of my favorite bumper sticker sayings: “Stupidity should be painful.” Oh how I rail against stupid people doing stupid things. But, ahh, there’s that premise.
No one really does anything irrational.
So what rational things do people without Christ do?
Well, I surmise that the chief thing is to get pleasure. Get that enchantment somehow. But because they don’t know the source of genuine authentic really real pleasure— Jesus Christ and His Kingdom— they are going to go get it somehow someway somewhere somehow. Or at least try to. From my website: partying, work, the big game, Vegas, giving gifts to those you hope to impress, the Great Glorious Crusade, hooking up, shopping for that boffo outfit, waterskiing, church, that severe penance. 2
And sure, they’ll always come up short.
This is because they know rationally they need that enchantment.
And here’s the harrowing part.
Many times—indeed many many times they murder another to get it.
Perfectly rational. I didn’t say it was righteous, just rational.
Too many people confuse the gospel with Greek thinking. Greek thinking is the idea that what is rational is the highest goal and what one does to get there the highest virtue.
Out of all this, I discovered the reason people would murder another. Remember, murdering another merely means doing anything without Christ. This is because living out of fear people will always be doing something or at least ready to do something that would undercut someone else if it threatened one’s pleasure attainment, and that will always ultimately lead to another’s murder— ahh that human sacrifice, idn’t it great?...
Anyway, what is that reason?
It isn’t any novel revelation or anything. It’s pretty simple, really. It is
I murder someone when I see that they don’t love me.
And do you know what the number one way someone gets across the idea that they aren’t loved? When someone says to them those magical ever so magical words.
I not only don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, but I won’t ever want to know. 3
Now, the whole I murder someone when I see they don’t love me thing is too simple.
People can live fine with others even when they know they’re not loved. It is just two things need to be in place:
1. One needs to feel at least a little like some of those people love him or her. Problem here is that without Christ one can never be sure of that love and will always do some things to overreach and really, emotionally, scratch and claw to get more of what they don’t have and instinctively know they can never have. (Unless of course they come to Christ!)
2. There must be some agency of Cain in place to restrain the evil that those others would do in going about murdering and trying to murder again.
In other words, without Christ we live lives of desperate misery—didn’t some guy like Emerson or Thoreau say something like that, about the “quiet desperation,” that kind of thing?—what a body of death.
No, to be a bit more elaborate on this point…
I murder someone when I see they don’t love me but at some point in the past they got across the idea that they did.
And how is this most abjectly expressed? When someone says “I not only don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, but I won’t ever want to know, even though at one point in the past I gave you the idea that I did want to know.”
This is the crux of the issue.
This is where deception comes into the issue.
This is where people without Christ must be deceptive because they can’t love—they don’t know love—
My God, they can never come through on their promise to want to know what you’re talking about—
so they work their rear ends off doing the pretend love thing.
And they are desperately miserable.
Anything they do is rational.
Who wants to be miserable.
Doing something to get out of it is eminently rational.
When I think about it, it does kinda relate to the idea, “How much do I have to sin to avoid the pain?”
But for people in Christ that is so not operative.
People really knowing and understanding Him.
Knowing that there is no pain when you know you’re fully His.
I’m not so naïve to claim we don’t have painful things happen. But we can go to the real true authentic source of what fulfills and not have the pain from Him, or we can go do the murdering thing.
In thinking about this I just thought of that Monty Python sketch, “Timmy Williams Coffee Time.” Eric Idle plays this shallow pompous television personality who’s supposed to be having a heart-to-heart chat with an old friend, and while the friend confides in Williams about very difficult emotional problems, Williams has turned it into a television PR opportunity.
At the end of the sketch the friend, played by Terry Jones, shoots himself, realizing that Williams actually cares little about him. Williams is a character who only cares about getting that pleasure, and his is the archetype of that someone who goes crazy trying to get people to love him—however that is— and in the end contributes to the murder of his friend.
What I thought about in thinking about Timmy Williams is precisely what I see everyone really trying to do in doing their completely rational things.
They are trying to be God.
They are trying all over again, all over it, over and over and over again no matter how “irrational” it is
To be God.
Yeah, hmm. In that sense is it indeed irrational for someone not God to work so hard to be God? I mean, how irrational can you get?!
But here’s the thing.
We all do want the things of God. Wholly rational. We do so want Relationship Discovery Accomplishment.
We want people to love us. To know and understand us. Hey, how about this one…
To know what we’re talking about.
(My stepbrother is fighting a brain tumor 4 and in his blog he offered this quote that struck him. Resonated with me too. “A true friend knows the song in your heart and can sing it back when you forget the words.” People who know Jesus can do that.)
And here’s the Scripture stuff. How amazing amazing amazing. Okay, got that.
It’s right there right at the beginning of the Bible.
People wanting to be God, and wanting that not loving or knowing or understanding or talking with Him.
Then there’s Genesis 4. God sending Cain off to mess with people who do too much of that wanting-to-be-God thing without Him. Hey, He let them go, off to be out of His presence, and doing very rational things like building cities and kicking ass all over people who want to hurt them.
That’s very rational, very much so, to want to kick the daylights out of some asshole who really deserves it.
And then there’s Ezekiel.
Been reading that phenomenal book. Yes lots of people think it’s just about a bunch of really weird stuff this weird prophet does and says. Just too weird.
But it so brilliantly captures what God is thinking and feeling. (And it really is not that weird…)
I’m in and around chapters 16, 17, around there.
There’s stuff about God’s indictment about the idol you’ve put in your heart. (Ahh, kinda takes care of the idea that an idol is only made of wood and stone.) The iniquity you’ve put in your way.
He talks about the Kingdom being a great beautiful bountiful tree that provides and protects, and when we dick around, the tree withers.
He even talks about not allowing us to ask Him about stuff, but then He goes into great detail about what precisely it is that keeps us from Him.
You’d think we’d be really truly actually rational about it all and go, “Yes, we’ve done these things. We confess and ask forgiveness. We humbly ask you to save us and heal us. Share with us what it means to love with Your love—We do want to walk with You.”
That we’d do that.
We’d be totally blastingly blasted by such rationality.
1 Enchantment Theory is my term for the idea that we do anything and everything out of satisfying the three basic needs: relationship, discovery, and accomplishment. When things happen in life that meet those needs in the most delightfully purest sense, then we feel that inexplicable "enchantment."
2 The web page that contains this quote is here. It is simply an explanation about what people do to find enchantment outside of Jesus. There is nothing wrong with some of these things, the point is simply that people will never find the true fulfilling enchantment of life without seeing Christ as the ultimate joyous end of anything.
3 I've seriously considered that the very worst words anyone can hear are "I don't understand you and simply will not do a thing to try to." Journal entries from the time I started it in March of 2002 to this entry in 2006 elaborated on this concept much further. I hope to include many more of them here. I have to add that it is quite revealing that the one thing God says is the thing he desires most, as He says in the ninth chapter of the book of Jeremiah, is that an individual "understands and knows God." I do believe Scripture declares quite clearly that God feels it when people don't even try to seek Him or, yes, understand Him.
4 My stepbrother passed away in April of 2007. At his services I met one of his relatives, a dynamic follower of Christ who'd beamed about the success of his efforts to see that he accept Christ before he died.
This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on February 28, 2012