On my diatribe yesterday on fiddling while the world burns, Bruce Charlton had this to say:
Unlike all the traditional stories; there is no significant and coherent grouping on the side of God and Good that we might affiliate to; not even a small and weak group – at least, not in our actual, daily, experiential lives – just scattered individuals, remotely known.
So I must take absolutely personal responsibility for the Good in a ‘me against the world’ scenario. I suppose that is The Lesson behind all the many and various past, present and future lessons.
I may fondly imagine that I have taken this on board already; but my own recurrent negative reactions to events show, again and again, that my learning has not been very real or strong – and I clearly need to be taught the same lesson over and again.
There are a couple of points here that Bruce makes; the first is the idea that there are no coherent groups on the side of God and the good. I agree with this, but here’s the thing – I think that it has always been this way, all throughout history.
As a young boy I was enamored with the history of the Second World War. From a young age I read quite weighty historical tomes, mixed in with decent historical treatises with lots of period photography. For instance, I read William Shearer’s Decline and Fall of the Third Reich when I was ten. Precocious, moi?
My point is that I grew up convinced that the Allies were the goodies. Since that time, more historical evidence has come to light and more importantly my bullshit meter has become very finely tuned, so it now looks like that conflict was manipulated into play, first by Britain and then by the United States. Even as a young boy I puzzled over the what seemed to me obvious inconsistencies in Britain and France declaring war on Germany for invading Poland but not doing so against Russia when Stalin’s troops jumped over the Eastern border a few weeks after the shooting started. And then at the end of the war Poland gets subsumed into the Soviet empire with nary a murmur of complaint from the nations who supposedly went to war on its behalf six years earlier.
Go back throughout history and it’s the same every time. There are no groups or nations on the side of God and the good. And maybe that’s for the better. I mean, if you were born in Germany in 1920 and you get swept up in the war, does that mean that you’re a baddie? In the facile world of history and diplomacy the answer would be yes, which is why the German people have been browbeaten with history’s biggest guilt trip for the past eighty years.
But if every nation is just as bad as each other, albeit in differing ways, then that means that there is no national answer for the individual on this earth. The answer is in God. You don’t choose into which nation you are born. But you do have the choice to choose God. And we choose God over all things that are of this world, all nations, all earthly matters. Everything that is going on right now is just insignificant. And I think that’s the reason for my feeling of ennui.
And that’s the second point from Bruce’s comment; we have to learn this lesson over and over again because the matters of this world attempt to consume us on a daily basis. And just when we think that we’ve pulled ourselves out of it, it drags us back in, once more to blindly enter the ignoble fray of the blah blah blah.
That’s what this is all about. Which ultimately means that it just doesn’t matter. None of it matters. The only thing that matters is your relationship with God. Your spiritual journey and how you undertake that on a daily basis. That is everything that is the good and the true.
I wish that all of us could be physically together, truly I do. But the thing is, we are together through the medium of the internet. We are able to reach out and discover those few people who are on the same path to getting it. I take heart from you as you do from me. And this is really the first time in history where this is possible on such a scale.
For the rest of it, like I said, none of it matters. It’s all just distraction. It’s just a trick. Designed to keep us down and on the broad path. So know your path and do your best to stick to it. And help others when they look like they’re slipping off. Because we are all here for something far greater than the mundane trappings of this world, if only we have the courage to look for it.
God bless you all.