This morning I had one of those moments where a long past memory jumps into recollection and lingers, hence this blog post.
Eight or nine years ago I attended a few bible studies at the Concord Church of Christ. There were about 12 people present, I was the only newcomer. If you've read a few of my previous posts then you know I am not religious in the slightest but at this time in my life I was actively seeking a greater sense of truth in the world.
The discussion revolved around the unique gifts and abilities instilled in each of us by our creator and how best to use them but also what, if anything, we wish that we had more of. Some of the others wanted better patience, understanding and all that jazz.
I said that I longed for Clarity.
After an initial mistaken impression that I wanted clairvoyance we cut to the heart of the matter. My problem with christianity at the time, one of many, was that knowing more about the consequences of your actions would essentially lead you to realize that you committed an ever greater number of sins.
This troubled me because I think its a little shitty that the most cognizant and introspective people of a faith should carry extra guilt as a consequence. However the issue, and the need for clarity goes something like this:
Any number of neutral actions or behaviors can have no apparent consequence for you directly but still lead to great good or great harm independently of any intention. For example if you accidentally drop a 20 dollar bill and don't remember where you lost it then the next person who finds it will have 20 dollars that came to them through no benefit or virtue of their own.
Whether it will be used for good or ill is impossible to know. A needy child might find it on the day his parents need money for medicine for a sick sibling. Another child might happen upon it at a time when he has unique access to something like drugs, or even fireworks or candy and that might negatively affect them.
There is no way to know how far the consequences of our actions, intentional and otherwise, will carry. Do the ripples reach the other side of the pond? This bothers me!! It still bothers me today.
My desire was to know, with absolute certainty, which of my actions, my mistakes and even my sins most heinous would lead to good or ill not just for me but for those who touched the ripples of my conscious mind.
In the light of greater understanding, having a college education, a few hundred more books and a near decade of experience to give perspective I now see what I lacked back then. I lack it still and will forever but it no longer troubles me so much.
The search for truth at some strange conflux of events has become a search for good information. I know I have rejected the need for truth many times because it is such a weird human contrivance and gives undue credit to certain bad ideas. Arbitrary social norms and ideals are held up for no reason other than the certainty that they are right according to some majority of active pushers and passive enablers.
Clarity will never come from wishing. It will never come, you have to go out and strangle it out of the wilderness or you will never find it. I know the whole 'life's a journey not a destination' cliche sticks in most people's throat but it fits this post so I use it.
What the cliche fails to make mention of is a simple and inescapable truth: People, left to their own devices, will often fail to seek adventure or enterprise if they are left in comfortable situations. Finding a comfortable groove and staying there seems as innate to the human spirit as the discontent that skips us out of it.
Our desires, our wanderlust and our weltzschmertz all fluctuate and so does the world around us. Its very easy to miss those opportunities that befall us. Its much harder for them to slip away when you put a knife in your teeth and pursue them into the night.
Or in the day...