What I am interested in is wrongful hiding from, escaping, avoiding. That presupposes that there is rightful hiding, escaping, avoiding. One of the things I love about moral analysis is that the more nuanced and elevated and rarefied my considerations the less verifiable. At the top is the ineffable and unverifiable divine. Kierkegaard proved to me that one of the great terrors of this life is the way in which that which is everything (the divine) is in some ways indistinguishable (from the finite mind’s perspective) from nothing. The way he puts it? Faith looks like sin. Both are unreasonable! Oh the insight! So, I write about wrongful hiding, escaping, avoiding knowing how readily misunderstood I might be.
I am interested in hiding, escaping, avoiding sinlessness, rightness, purity. That is wrongful…by definition. Maybe I am lying (you don’t know dear reader). The longer I am here the more I see that the achievement of moral development is at one and the same time the best thing I can do for me and the best thing I can do for the rest of the world. When I think of the world I think of the ripple effects of my life that begin with my wife (she who bears with me most intimately), my children, my brothers and sisters and father and mother, my neighbors, he who I meet at the regular social gathering (club or trade center (store), and it only gets more distant from there. The internet has in some way made contact possible very differently. If WordPress is truthful I have had contact with souls in China, India, France, but who knows. But the contact is sooooo cheap.
My sense is that hiding, escaping, avoiding sinlessness, rightness, purity is a way of capturing in summary form doing everything right if I nail it and everything wrong if I don’t. I like the hinge moments where I can feel the everything move against my thought.
In reflecting upon my life, and I am half way done for an average man in an average wealthy industrialized “democratic” state, I have had long seasons of grasping tightly to sin, wrongness, purity. They are season where I knew the entire time that I grasped at death and emptiness willingly and with a kind of full knowledge of what I was grasping, but I cannot understand the seasons without admitting a kind of irrational darkness that must be present in such seasons.
Maybe a more important question: what now do I know to be wrongful and yet willingly hide, escape, avoid dealing with by embracing wrongfulness instead of being willing to live dissatisfied?
Because we live in a time of productivity and tyranny (the two will not last together forever) we ask/demand for that productivity to be geared toward our comfort there is much that is ready to distract us from dealing with our soul undevelopment and much to trade when whatever we currently choose ceases to distract and hide us from our own undevelopment. Our addictions are easier than ever before to maintain and yet not rock the boat of minimal survival. I, in the past, have been addicted to that which distracted me from my own undevelopment.
The satisfaction with dissatisfaction that is in the patient waiting for filling from the divine is the opposite of addiction to that which distracts me from my own undevelopment. The problem with distraction from undevelopment is that it is always only temporary. Once again facing the reality of my own condition I am faced with the question again of whether to consume that which distracts me from my own undevelopment or to persist facing reality as nasty as it is.
Kant, in his wonderful, Religion withing the Limits of Reason Alone, talks about the community of men of good will as the “church”. Since then I have wanted to join. Now, I am interested in joining a less rarefied club that maybe will put me in readiness for possible selection into the community of men with good will. I want to join the club of men in the wilderness patiently satisfied with dissatisfaction.
Here is what I know. There are men (and women) from every continent there. They mix though it feels like isolation. They stand strong though it feels like weakness. They, tied by growing purity, rightness, sinlessness, are like an unseen force of that which is growing toward what Buddha called the setting in motion of the wheel of dharma, what Lao Tzu called taking the Tao, what Socrates called following logos, and what Jesus called the coming of the kingdom of the god.
I will not assert my membership. I cannot even be sure of my own status. But more than ever I long to NOT hide from the Puritanical Libertarian. I want to be freely clean. Not cleaned by coercion. I want to be he who consents and voluntarily chooses cleanliness and purity. I want to join with those who are moving in the same direction. And I don’t think those taking that path even need to worry about evangelizing. Their difference will be attractive in itself (but they could be even more attractive if the coercive state did not aggress against them (persecution) and take their productivity (taxation) and use it to compete with them (through welfare spending) for that which they would do to attract others (charity). We will not know again the power of the community of those who refuse to hide from sinlessness until they are liberated again to freely associate, produce and become a city on a hill to attract those in hiding. But I wax political).