By becoming chemically dependent on e.g. heroin, it makes me realise: “Oh, I’ve objectified salvation. I’ve made it into something [material] and then it hurt me and I had to let go of it. Sometimes it does feel phoney.
Now, remember it comes down to these very basic questions, about whether or not you’re optimistic or pessimistic about human nature; whether or not you believe humans are ultimately good… if you go deep, deep, deep down enough.
The will is what you’re going to find there. Is it going to be motivated by love? Or is it something more cynical and darker than that? And I have to believe that for most, it’s love and I have to rationalise that love is itself some kind of certainty of oneness. Or at least not separateness.
Linguists did some sort of etymological analysis of the word love in various unrelated languages and they found that what it most commonly meant was union, coming together, as if on some deep pre-linguistic, pre-linked limbic aspect of our awareness and awakeness, humans know that we are one thing, individual but sharing in consciousness; that what’s looking at me from behind your eyes is the same as was looking back at you behind mine.
This, for me, feels like a choice. I don’t care about existential arguments over free will. The choice needn’t be conscious.
In William Blake’s engravings of the Book of Job there’s a perfect expression of what I’m trying to say. Blake explores whether your way and Job’s are depicted as looking identical…
Job goes through these trials. He’s put through the gauntlet and ultimately he’s proven a good guy. Anyway, it seems was because he was unaware he was unconscious.
And Job shows the always, shows to Job. But amidst these trials, out of the heat, God says “here is the behemoth that I have made others as I made thee…”
And we see the behemoth made, and it’s a scary looking thing as Blake depicts it in this engraving. It’s grotesque. It’s got no skin on it. It’s just muscle and sinew and appetite. Some roaring, priapic, ever-fucking Punch exists in the larynx. Some insatiable fucking thing Yeah.
And then God says, “here is the Leviathan that I have made, as I made thee…” That creature of the deep, the serpent or silky, flat fangs and grimy scales. And these things are in us. We are them.
Here in this book, this sort of Jungian analysis of these engravings of Blake it says we might like it. It indicates, at least, if it doesn’t say outright: if we aren’t good, then God ain’t good. That’s our challenge. That’s why we have to become good. That’s why we have to become holy. Because God is ambivalent, the universe doesn’t give a fuck, hasn’t the capacity.
In all things, if we don’t manifest glory, if we don’t manifest good, then there is no good. It’s critically important. We’re not trying to get a little badge or a stripe or some sort of approval. No such potential exists. It’s not on offer.
God isn’t judging to pass sentence There’s no heaven above, hell below, good admitted to rise, evil doomed to descend. We are the only ones manifesting God’s glory. Because if we don’t manifest it, then it isn’t there. If we never manifest it, the darkness that’s nothing is all there is, in a universe of unseen fire and unfelt rock and gas.
I was doing this visualisation and for whatever reason it led to a dream where in it I was trying to imagine I was hanging out with Jesus. And you know, in this case, it was the white Jesus my dream pictured. Probably because that’s the picture my subconscious has seen the most of, and in the most different expressive forms.
And suddenly I’m sitting with Jesus, in some kind of Middle Eastern hermitage. And I’m looking at him, in this dream visualisation, knowing what I’m seeing is real – not merely a scene created in my imagination. There was no serenity, no overwhelming bliss or joy in me.
In fact, it was was terrifying because the being – Jesus or whatever the Jesus form was manifested by – seemed beyond sensitive, beyond vulnerable. The being, whom we’ve been taught to perceive as God, omnipotent according to scripture, was the opposite of potent. More than anything it seemed like the being needed help.
And what terrified me, in the dream, was that’s the last version of Jesus I wanted my mind to create. We want a Jesus that’s gonna help us, an all-knowing, all-certain manifestation of divinity… What the fuck! This vulnerable, frightened, trembling, lonely Jesus didn’t or couldn’t see me. But I could see the desperate need, the crippling sensitivity.
Afterwards I tried to make sense of this. It was so beautiful, in hindsight. And just purely on that one vision, a lot of things made more sense.
Do a Google search for “anything you do, you give the world the permission to do…” The results are all wrong. Inversions of the sentence’s meaning, in a predictably egocentric trite way. What permission means, I think, is you’re the only arbiter of morality and every act that you do, you’re saying ‘anyone can do this to me’. You want to lie? Then you’re saying everyone can lie to you. You want to cheat? You’re saying everyone can cheat on you.
We’re the embryonic God, right now. This is it, is it? Yeah. This is it. There is no omnipotent God. There is potential but no more. God is still a work in progress, for everyone in their own turn.
The universe is ambivalent? But that’s just because the rainbow wheel – like on your computer – is spinning. Searching. Loading.
If the sum total of sentience in the damn homo sapiens species veers in the evil direction, the opposite direction to the promised land MLK was talking about, then that’s what we get. We get the Leviathan. We manifest the demonic Leviathan. Because we’ve chosen the Leviathan.
And then we’re stuck with it perhaps, for as long as its cannibalistic self-destructive behemoth can hold its chaos together…
And if that’s all we can do, it ends in nothing. No God. We deny the universe a God of grace and love and existence.