So. I’m sitting here to my desk at four am, wondering what, inthefuck, is wrong with humans? Are we so afraid of death that we feel obligated to wreck our civilizations, our species, our planet? Are we so brainwashed that we cannot distinguish between right, and terribly—oh, so very terribly—wrong? Why do so many of us—even the best of us—need to believe there is more than there actually is?
OK, those were silly questions because of course we are willing to kill the golden goose that is humanity. We’re marching our way to extinction at an alarming rate of progress. Mayhaps I’d better communicate by stating “The Originating Question”, tell you the queries that kept me awake last night, elucidate my thoughts thereon, and elicit ideas from you guys. I, for my part, find myself unable to provide a succinct answer to The Originating Question as I can find numerous answers, several of which are in direct conflict with other answers. Before I ask you The Originating Question, allow me to provide some background.
I’ve been thinking on religions for several weeks now, wondering why they even exist. Then last week I was in conversation with a very pleasant Christian woman, a woman I call my friend. Deeply Christian of the evangelical variety, this woman spends considerable time in Bible study and seems to live her life to the answers she finds therein. She’s kind and considerate and never presses her religion at others. She is thoughtful and charitable, honest and solid. I like her in spite of her devotion to a fairy tale I see as a danger to humanity.
We were discussing something or another, and my cancer and attendant treatment entered the discourse. Turns out her friend has prostate cancer, newly diagnosed, and we had a discussion about my experiences. That discussion led to her telling the friend what I said, and he (him?) getting a positive outcome based upon a lead provided by me. When I ran into her a few days later, she said to me, she says, “I want to thank you for providing me with that prostate info. I passed it on, he had a good outcome.”
I told her I was pleased to be of some help and glad to do it. Then she says to me, she looks Heavenward with her left hand held skyward to the heavens, her right hand—fingers closed in a loose fist held palm down over her heart—and she says to me, “I prayed on it and felt the hand of God as He sent you to me so He could intervene and save Mr. X from the cancer the Devil placed in his prostate.”
While I was almost vibrating with desire to tell her that I have one: felt the actual hand of God, and; two: begged God to make my cancer go away, and; three: been told by God—right to my face while looking Her eye-to-eye as She lay beside me in bed—that it wasn’t Her job to worry about one man’s predetermined propensity to get ill, and die, my God told me She had no interest in altering the natural progressions of things; then I fourth: held my water, smiled and said to my friend, I told her, “Glad I could help.”
ADHD-fueled, grammatically awkward run-on sentence aside, where did “Hold your water” originate, as a phrase, and why do I seem to be writing so many complex, run-on sentences? I know that soldiers and the general populace living in high-walled castles under siege back to the days of burning oil dumps and using The Pear of Anguish for interrogations, would pour hot oil and likewise pee, and crap, down on the heads of the siegers. While Microsoft Word has just informed me that “siegers” is not an actual word and for my part I don’t really give a shit, maybe “Hold your water” originated thereat. Therewhen, maybe. You know, “Hang on to that hot oil and enema, soldier, hold them until you see the whites of their eyes.”
Maybe, and maybe not the origins. If not, this side car is off the rails and totally unrelated to The Original Question, which is stated as follows:
Why did we invent Gods? That, dear friends, is the question.
Why are we not happy enough simply existing that we feel compelled to imaginate ourselves these powerful deities? Why can we not be satisfied to live our lives in the natural order of things—grow from seed, prosper, procreate, wizen, fall ill and die? Why do we have the need to make ourselves more than the organisms we are? Why can’t we celebrate the simple fact that we’ve evolved—through some lucky spin of the Protoplasm Jackpot Wheel—to be the biggest brains of all species? We dominate every other species on the planet, why is that not enough?
Why do some religious followers speak of the hand of God as some super-freakish intervention into issues which no real god would concern themselves? Me, I’ve felt the hand of God and it can be a soft as Montana Wildhack’s as She held my face in Her palms to tell me that my sister’s death wasn’t my fault in any way, and it can be as rough as when God showed to hold both of my hands with the guitar-picking callouses and pot-stained fingers of Willie Nelson. The hands of God are actual hands that are not used to answer prayers. God’s hands are for holding, comforting in time of need. At least my God is happy to hold my hand for comfort when I need it.
This one time I questioned my God about prayers, as I see praying as a silly, wasteful substitute for personal effort. “Prayers are wishes, Mooner,” God told me with the leathery lips of the grapefruit-sized Amazonian sweat toad It used as visage to me. “People find comfort in counting on their imaginations to work magic, son, so let it go. Let them have their hopes and you move on.”
When I tried to lick God’s back in an effort to revisit a college weekend when Streaker Jones and I met this weird guy from Colombia who had this aquarium stocked with a pair of hallucinogenic sweat toads, I found myself licking the nasty tongue of the Cheshire Cat my God had transmuted into.
Ever accidently licked a cat’s tongue? “Disconcerting” would be the word, and not the least hallucinogenic.
Which reminds me. Have I ever mentioned that I’m crazy? I have all these quite good buddies with whom I love to communicate, and, likewise, love. People with high moral standards, real and true standards. Moral standards not born from selective application of the teachings of some silly cult, but standards developed from the essence of character. Morals with a foundation of fairness to all.
I love their writings and I love to comment thereupon. But for some crazy reason I haven’t been able to pull the trigger in response to their writings for days. I get ready to punch buttons here to my keyboard, and my brain goes all discombobulated and freezes in a swill of words and thoughts. I feel as though I have nothing interesting to say.
It’s weird and is the main subject of my therapy sessions, and when I get it figured out I’ll let you know.
So fuck Walmart in the meantime.