I lost the reference for the following paragraph by it was from a magazine called, “The Sun” from an edition from this past year. The author is going to make a statement. After you read it, stop and think about it. Do you agree with it or not and most importantly WHY?
“The self is always moving. It isn’t going to continue existing after you die. The minute you buy into the idea that some part of you will hang around, you’ve removed yourself from this world of trees and clouds and birds. And if you’re not in this flowing world of change, then you’re nowhere.”
Now stop, pray, and think. Is this true? If it is true or not true, why?
Now that you have done that, here is one possible response:
The man who made this statement is a man of deep faith. He bases his theory upon ideas that are no more “provable” than that of the Christian – I would argue even less so. That nothing of us lives on is an assumed principle upon which the rest of his theory rests. But even if we grant him this, does the rest of his hypothesis hold true?
If that to which he is referring is the Christian theology that is held by much of the Protestant world and that of some other religions that creation is bad and spirit is good, then he may have something. Those who call the body evil (or at least opposed to that which is good) have to deny the body and focus on the spirit exclusively. Mud is bad, angels are good. Therefor the world is something to be used and discarded. Its sole purpose is to steer us toward the spiritual. Then it is true that we not ever really here and a part of creation.
But is the opposite true? If nothing of us lives on does that ipso facto make us more here among the birds and the clouds? If this is the case then there are no consequences for how we treat the nature other what than might recoil back on ourselves as the line goes, “Don’t pee in your own well.” But when I die, I cease to exist. Eventually there will be no one to remember me. The Earth is a fluke that will one day also simply cease to be. Humans will not even be a memory. You might want to keep things nice “for the next guy” but in the end that would just because you want to not because there is any truth to the idea of “the good.” Preservation is just as much a selfish act as abuse. So why not suck as much life out of this earth as possible? Throw another log on the fire, drink out of Styrofoam cup, and rev up the gas generator so that you can listen to some tunes on your radio. If you are abusing anything, you are not really present to it either.
But what if, as in Catholic theology, everything that is is good. God created all from nothing and he holds it in being. Then everything to some extent participates in God. The computer screen on which you are reading this is good. The paper, ink, persons depicted, and form of a porn magazine are good. What man did with those things is bad. (Hence the true perversion of sin!) If the world is good, if there will be an accounting of how we handled the world (as there was with Adam and the garden,) then won’t we appreciate more, be better to, be more aware of, and be more present to the trees, the clouds, and the birds?
I had a skateboard once that I used on the parking lot across the street from my house. I would skate down the hill and then kick the board back up. My Mom stopped me one day to explain how expensive that toy was and how I was expected to take better care of it. Knowing that my actions would be seen, and being taught about the value of my board, I was much more present to it.