Monthly Archives: November 2013

If They Don’t Exist, How Can I Have a Favorite?: The philosophical implications of the question, “What is your favorite color?”

“What is your favorite color?”

Really?  I’m on to them now.  I see the brainwashing inherent in the system, revealed in the question, applied in the assumptions.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not a conspiracy theorist.  I’m not even that interested in conspiracies generally because, to me,  I just sort of assume that those in power use that power to fuck everyone over behind the scenes.  So what’s the novelty?  Where’s the surprise?  To me, lying and abuse of power by those who assume authority covertly will seek to maintain that authority covertly.  If it turns out that the government did have something to do with 911 or Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination…shrug.  It just sort of falls in line with everything I’ve been saying about those who think they have a right to BE everyone else…which is precisely the assumption held by those who presume to have some kind of divine enlightenment which grants them the power of the Primary Consciousness (the “church”, the “party”, the “people”, the “tribe”, the “Bible”…pick your tyrannical flavor of the month) to use force (violence) to compel human behavior.  And as soon as minds become fair game…well, lives are usually the flip side of the coin.  Remember, in every form of government ever established with the exception of certain representative governments such as the pre-Saul Jewish state and the American Constitutional Republic founded by Washington, et. al., which was built upon the legacy of John Locke and the Enlightenment, you don’t EXIST as a human being apart from the “collective” which is defined, continuously and impetuously, by the state.  So when I say conspiracy?  I am not trying to be a sensationalist.  I am trying to say…

Typical.

Still…take this with a grain of salt.  Whatever “conspiracy” may have existed as the purpose of the question, “What is your favorite color?”,  in some form or another in the past has long since been buried under the the many blankets of history…it isn’t so much a conspiracy now as it is a testimony to the fact that the conspiracy to push Platonism on the world actually worked quite well.  And now, there is no conspiracy to push Platonism on everyone, there is just…well, Platonism. In its  many tyrannical forms.  Catholicism, Calvinism, Marxism, Scientific determinism, Biblicism, and so on and so forth.  We are at the point now where most of us just shut up and tithe, to use a metaphor here. We bow our heads and surrender our wills and our property to strangers in front of plexiglass podiums because we think that just because they SAY they have been called by God to rule over you as God in-the-stead (which really just means “God”, period) then that is a good enough argument according to the philosophical assumptions that form the crux of all thought in the world today:  we can’t know truth; the pastors (or whatever leaders) must know it for us.  So we all just shrug and accept the fact that those urinal cakes in the men’s room aren’t going to clean themselves.  And off we go with our brushes and bottles.  Remember, being approved by God is biblically defined by doing a lot of free shit for the owners of the business called the “local church”.

This post will probably be a little more tongue-in-cheek than I want it to be.  What I mean by that is that I think there is something to this…I mean, at some point Platonism had to be foisted upon civilization.  What is “learned” at the academic level, in whatever generation, has a funny and persistent way of becoming “divine inspiration” when the academics are discussing their ideas with the masses.  In other words, what “educated” people discuss and and debate to arrive at their conclusions within the four walls of their ivory towers (with the requisite amount of beheadings and stake-burnings of the requisite number of detractors…Michael Servetus comes to mind) tends to be introduced by means of something like a slow, almost subconscious intravenous drip.  The masses in general never get a chance to debate these ideas because, well,  they just aren’t smart enough we are told.  The “laws of logic and nature which govern” are introduced as the primary consciousness of whatever body of thought happens to be in question, and they are bulwarked by small ideas, notions, rhetorical and self-serving questions, and “truisms” which are intended to be easily digestible, bite-sized morsels with which to fatten up the masses for the slaughter.

Okay, I’m sounding like an old crank.  And I don’t begrudge academics…oh good grief no.  How many times have we heard the mystic overlords rail against evolution or big-bang theory, plowing ahead with their rhetoric despite their utter lack of experience and education, possessing not even a rudimentary knowledge of the science? So it isn’t that, necessarily.  It’s more like…when you realize at a certain point in your life that you have been had by a foundational philosophy which infects essentially every body of thought and every idea in the world and is responsible for so much human destruction that even natural selection couldn’t hold a candle to its eviscerating power, you begin to see all the tidbits pointing to the philosophy which swirl about the culture and the language like tiny snowflakes as, you know, actually being there.  It’s like, you always knew they were there, but you didn’t really see them.  But now they are in your eyes and they sting like hell and you just want them to go away because you realize you can’t ignore them anymore.

Hence, here is me, offering this post for your pleasure.  Yes, here is me, probably reading way too much into this, and yet here is me compelled to pontificate about it in a way that will try to convince you that, no, in fact I’m not reading way too much into it, and that these little trivialities have done more to make you a slave of the philosophical destruction of modern epistemology, up to and including almost all of Christian “orthodoxy”, than you probably realized.

And…okay, maybe you’re right.  Maybe it’s not so much conspiracy theorizing as it as cynicism.  In either case, I don’t think I’m that far off the mark.

*

“What is your favorite color?” was probably the first question about which you were genuinely excited.  And you answered, like we all did and still do: Blue.  Green.  Red. Periwinkle. Okay, maybe not periwinkle, but you get the idea.  ‘Yes, Argo, I know what colors are’, you are saying in your mind.  ‘Thanks for that brilliant tutorial on common knowledge.’

And I respond by telling you that your answer to this question is a glaring indication that you still concede the Platonist foundational assumptions which form the philosophical superstructure of the entire western world today, if not THE world in general.  And as soon as you walk out of your annual meeting of the Discernment Blogger Institute for Free Thinking Thumbers of Noses I approach you as you hail a cab and I ask you “What is your favorite color?” and you say “blue” and I shake my head and put my arm around your shoulder and offer to buy you a drink while we sit down and talk about why it is you haven’t learned a fucking thing.

“But Argo, I know what colors are.  What haven’t I supposedly learned?”  And I tell you that you haven’t learned to come out of your meeting of the Free Thinking of Thumbers of Noses and not immediately concede the opposition’s entire fucking philosophical premise before you even get to the street!

And do you you really know what colors are?  Do you really think that the answer you provide is rational?  By that I mean, logically consistent?  If I were to ask you this question, and you said “blue”, and then I were to say “okay, show me blue”…do you know what you would do?  I bet I do.  I bet I know what you would do.  You would  look at me like I was an idiot and walk away.  And then I would chase you and pester you and follow you to work and throw paper airplanes at your head while you were typing on your computer, and jelly beans in your coffee and eventually out of sheer exasperation you would go, “What do you want from me, you freak?!”  And I would say “Show me blue.”

And you would pick up one of the jelly beans that missed your coffee and it would be a blue jelly bean and you would throw it back at me where it would ricochet off my glasses and land in my coffee and you would say with a smirk: “That!  That’s blue.”

But its not, you see.

It’s NOT blue at all.  It is a jelly bean, which we have qualified as “blue”.  We have made a distinction of a characteristic of an observable object (jelly bean) and have used a conceptual abstraction (“blue”, from the “macro” conceptual category of “color”) to define the object’s existence relative to other objects.  And incidentally, “blue” is just one of the many conceptual abstractions we use to qualify that particular object’s existence as relatively distinct from that of other objects.  The size, shape, smell, speed as it went through the air at my head, even the label “jelly bean”, itself…they are all abstractions used to define relative existence. Products of our conceptualizing brains.

You see, “blue” doesn’t actually exist.  Blue is an entirely theoretical concept.  We have a picture of “blue” in our minds, but even that very picture is a product of the senses.  The eyes at some point when you were just a youngling had seen an OBJECT which was called “blue” by someone you trust, probably mommy, and then confirmed by other people in your world and you noticed pretty quickly that there was a reasonable consensus about the application of that label according to the the language and thus you understood “blue” to mean that characteristic of whatever object you were observing at any given moment.  The image was thus fixed in your mind from that point on; and by now–through a lifetime of experience and persistent and consistent verification by society–your ability to properly qualify objects as “blue” is utterly firm…all of this without ever having actually seen “blue”.

Now, some of you might appeal to “light” as the standard of color.  But, Argo, you will protest.  I understand all that.  Blue isn’t really the Jellybean, it is the frequency of the light waves hitting our eyes making it look blue to us, the same way we see blue when we look a the sky.  Light is a composite of all colors, and how we see specific hues is merely due to the physical properties of objects which dictate how they absorb certain frequencies of light and reflect others.

How true…and how astute.  Obviously, you’re an educated soul.  Nothing wrong with that; and nothing you’ve said is false by any conventional standard.

But what is light, I ask, that it may be a “composite of colors”?

Light is a photon.  And a photon is what?

A thing.  An object.

And what are colors apart from this thing we call a photon?

A  conceptual abstraction.  Yes, even for color to exist at the subatomic level requires, well…an actual subatomic level, right?  A level full of THINGS which we can label as the “carriers of color”.  And further, you’ll notice in physics “forces” don’t actually observably exist.  There are “particles” which are the “force carriers”.  Even in physics there are real forces which somehow exist without needing to present themselves to man’s tools of apprehension (senses) or consistent logic (the logic which demands that everything which we qualify as existing must be a function of what is observable).  This should tell us a lot about the Platonist assumptions under-girding “hard science”.

But notice what this question–what is your favorite color?–does.  It reinforces not the fact that blue is an abstraction, but that it is an actuality.  That it IS something which can exist to be called a “favorite” thing.  Perhaps not in so many words, but that is the clear implication.  And the problem with this implication is obvious, or should be–namely the fact that colors do NOT exist by any reasonable definition.  And with this question we are asking someone to describe a favorite thing amongst a group of things which don’t actually materially exist.  So instead of asking the question, “If we consider this particular object, what color of it is your favorite?”, we choose the more abstract rout, which serves, I submit to reinforce the false notion that abstract concepts are causal.  The more reasonable rendering of the question is more like:  What is your favorite color of car?  Red.  What is your favorite color of dress?  Black.  What is your favorite color of wine?  White.

But no, the question is: What is your favorite color?

I stopped considering this a legitimate question a long time ago.  You see, at some point I realized that the question as it was commonly presented was quite silly.  Now, understand that I had no knowledge of Platonism as a philosophical superstructure back in those days.  I wasn’t really considering the difference between the actual and the conceptual…that didn’t register to me on John Immel’s “so what?” meter.  Back then, I would have said something perfunctory (and scary) like, “Yeah…of course math is real”, and went on my way with nary an inkling of the absurdity.  With nary a blush at such a flip and casual rejection of my own ability to observe reality.  Without even a brief start at how easily I could utterly reject any rational epistemology.  Still the question, “What is your favorite color?” just seemed…hmm, somehow all wrong.

I realized that I had been answering “green” all these years in the full awareness that I did not, in fact, desire everything in my life to be green.  I didn’t want my meatloaf to be green, for example.  Or my hair.  I despised the horribly tacky green bagels and green beer served every year on St. Patrick’s day.  I liked my cars red.  My coffee black.  My glasses frames sliver.  And I thought how silly for me to say I have a favorite color when clearly all reason pointed to the fact that this was simply not so.  I did not really prefer green.  My preference for green was actually quite arrow.  I liked a pair of green Dr. Marten shoes I had once.  And I wouldn’t want Ireland to be a desert brown.  But other than that, there wasn’t much I wanted green.

It was then I started answering this common question with, “Well, it depends”.  And it did.  I wanted an OBJECT on which to hang the concept on.  Without an object, the answer was utterly meaningless.  Because “green” doesn’t exist, green apples exist.  Black doesn’t exist, black cars exist…and so on. I learned that in order to rationally apply a wholly abstract concept required an object in order for the abstraction to have any value; to make any efficacious sense.  And this, incidentally is true not only for “color”, but for any abstraction we use to define objects.

The point is a simple one.  Look around and you will see how our society utterly roots itself in a de facto application of Platonism.  Whether we are talking color or time or direction or numbers or energy or force…notice the perfunctory assumption that somehow the existence of these concepts doesn’t necessarily require an observable, material object by which they can be valued.  Look at how often people cite the “laws of nature”, or the “laws of logic”…as though these things, like the Wizard of Oz, hide behind the curtain of reality and pull their determinist strings in order to give “existence” and “truth” to all that you see.  What is unseen is the source of the seen…which means that you aren’t really ever grasping TRUTH.  For TRUTH is a direct function of what lies behind the curtain of Platonist assumptions, hidden from all mortal eyes…and this is the root of all the oppression and violations of man.  An little innocent question like “what is your favorite color?” has massively destructive implications for human beings.

I heard a fairly well-known, Ph.D. level Christian scientist today refer to “God’s laws of logic”.  So now it seems that God is directly responsible for creating and defining abstract concepts which man can by no means ever observe but which man is somehow utterly beholden to.  Indeed, in a brief sentence, this hangman of reason managed to combine two Primary Consciousnesses into one great juggernaut of epistemological darkness.  And these are the best and brightest Christianity has to offer.  Dude…we are sooo in trouble here.

When the question is merely, “What is your favorite color?”, then the object which is an absolute prerequisite for one to observe “color” is completely removed from the equation.  And through this kind of thinking–this kind of subtle conditioning–we learn to put the cart before the horse.  We learn that what does NOT exist must precede, or as I would say, give value, to that which DOES.  Color gives value to the object by preceding it in the Platonist metaphysical food chain.   Abstractions give value, not the other way around.  In other words, it is not the jelly bean which is green, it is green which is the jelly bean.

And that backwards equation will lead to death.  For if the sum and substance of the TRUTH of what you see is unseen, then the sum and substance of its GOOD is unseen, and its VALUE is unseen.  This makes it impossible for you to really know anything at all because your senses have been eliminated from your epistemology.  Thus, you have no means to  challenge the tyrant, because you have no tools with which to fish for truth, let alone catch it.

Therefore, you have no standard of justice upon which to appeal when you are driven to the gas chambers.  You have no definition of SELF by which to demand that your government or your church “authority” stop robbing you blind.  You have no standard of LOVE to appeal to when they rip your family away from you and sell them into slavery.  You have no inherent “self evident” right to LIFE upon which to anchor yourself when they tie you to the stake and burn you for your apostasy.

So…I will ask you again.

What is your favorite color?

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Lest We Forget!: Another brief reminder of the illegitimacy of “Total Depravity”

It is time for a friendly remind from your sponsor…who is, yours truly.

This Turkey Day, let us not forget the things we are so thankful for.  I am thankful for those I have met on my journey of enlightenment over the past couple years or so, on this blog and on others where I can often be found commenting, and gaining a few friends, and pissing off a few others and quite possibly getting expunged from here or there, or teetering on the brink.

Oh well…welcome to the arena of ideas. A bloody place, and sometimes those with the loudest mouths run at first brush with “orthodoxy”, while other stand firm and refuse to stitch the scarlet H (for hypocrite) upon their petticoats and overcoats.  For those who stand firm, I write this reminder.

But before I get to that, let us give thanks for “orthodoxy”, and the never-ending source it is to us, never wanting in its provision of ludicrous logic and insane epistemology, debauched understanding, and its constant appeal to untruth as truth.  As an ode to the first of Calvin’s evils, let’s us remember why total depravity is so…well, silly.

Total Depravity:

If man is indeed totally depraved then man’s entire epistemology is flawed.  Total depravity means that man’s very physical body, down to the physical components that make up his brain and thus his rational faculties, is utterly flawed.  The very means by which you apprehend ANYTHING-any idea concerning anything at all-is deemed to be broken.  You are always looking through a “lens” of moral corruption and so you have no legitimate, working frame of reference from which to BEGIN to observe anything, and then of course from that, to form any understanding of it.

If this is true, then man is completely unable to recognize any truth at all.  Which means that man can never KNOW anything.  Man’s entire epistemology is determined purely by his “depravity”, which remains nothing more but an unknowable, unobservable, all-determining force which compels him forward through his blind existence.  Thus, the very idea of “total depravity” must completely remove man from himself and God by removing from him any ability to apprehend reality.  Again, ALL man perceives is seen through the lens of moral corruption.

Of course, this precludes ANYONE from declaring ANY truth, even “Jesus is the way to Salvation”.  If your entire epistemology is flawed,then how do you know ANYTHING, much less that “Jesus is Lord”?

Total Depravity is not only unbiblical (the term does not exist in Scripture), but it also cannot be rationally defended.  It, like any form of determinism, makes it impossible for man to know anything, and therefore, if one believes in total depravity, he cannot, according to his own “logic”, actually argue that it is true.  The DEATH of truth is a direct consequence of such a doctrine.

Words Mean Things…Yes; Words ARE Things…No: The ongoing conflation of material reality with conceptual abstraction

I got this comment yesterday (see the last post’s comments thread):

“I think perhaps in trying to escape the overly pessimistic view of Calvinism that everyone is pure evil you’ve gone to the opposite extreme that everyone is pure good. Surely there is a happy medium.”

No…because you are still not grasping my position correctly.  I recognize a complete distinction between conceptual abstractions and material objects.  I do NOT look at “good” and “evil” as material objects. Because they are not.  They are conceptual abstractions which come from man’s mind in order to organize his environment around a specific objective standard.  That standard is man’s LIFE…any other standard wrecks man’s epistemology.  Good and evil are purely descriptions then describing a material object  (which man is included…man is a physical object first, before being a conceptualized SELF), in a particular context.  The innate inner foundational core of all material objects is utterly removed from abstract concepts.  As such, it merely IS.  Human beings at their singular material root are not “good” or “evil”, they just ARE.  They are, so to speak, morally innocent.  Like God, good and evil are not applicable when man is viewed from this position, which I submit is precisely man’s state before he surrendered his moral innocence to the external standard of “good and evil”.  Once that happened, sin came into the words because now man refused the standard of SELF in service to standard of “law of good and evil”.  Man was on the hook for reconciling himself to an infinite abstraction which must by definition always be mutually exclusive to man. All of man’s good deeds are now not GOOD because they stem from the root of man’s physical, innocent SELF, but are “good” as a direct function of the “law of good and evil”.  And thus what must give definition to “good” if it is the law defining “good” and not man’s SELF?  Sin.  Good is defined as good because sin is there giving it meaning.  Good is the flip side to sin…they are part and parcel of the exact same absolute standard.  There can be no good deed removed from sin, and no sin removed from good.  This destructive paradox goes away the moment man throws off its chains and begins to see himSELF (and all SELVES…God and other human beings) as the root of all GOOD because he recognizes that there can be no abstract standard which can define the infinity of his physical existence.  Man is at his root morally innocent…which is precisely how God observed him when He created him.

Man at his root is purely an IS…how he is rationally described as “good” or “evil” then will depend how is actions serve to affirm and promote the standard of LIFE; his own and others.  This is the only way to properly apply moral standards.  Thus, man is HIMSELF, and his actions can be considered good or evil depending on the context.

Abstract concepts removed from any  material context–removed from man’s physical SELF–in a vacuum are infinite, and absolute (they have no “value”, or “meaning” until man applies them in context, again, as measured against the standard of LIFE).  Therefore, there can be no such thing as a combination of “good” and “evil”; just like I told Paul Dohse there is no combination of “light” and “dark” because these abstractions are infinite.  You cannot combine what is infinite by definition, because it is impossible to define a combination of “light-ness/dark-ness” abstractions which will arrive at any other value except “infinite”.  And infinity can have no practical value in man’s life because infinity must be mutually exclusive from man.  When man or any other object enters the picture, then what is infinite is no longer infinite.  It has a finite value.  Relative to what?  To what is MATERIAL.

Here is what you must understand that you are not understanding:  abstractions are NOT actual.  The source of every material object cannot be an abstraction, it can only be the SELF of the object.  There is no other rational way to define material objects except as direct extensions of themSELVES, period.  Because any other definition must necessarily remove man’s senses from his epistemology. And once this happens, man cannot know anything, because he cannot observe (sense) TRUTH.

This is difficult to understand; I get it.  But it is nevertheless true. There can be no source of anyTHING except itself, when we are speaking of the singular and infinite root essence of the thing.  All things are first and foremost, including and especially man, their own infinite SELVES. Their ability to BE is a direct function of themselves; of the physical material which IS them.

On the surface (and likely the typical knee jerk response will be some variation of this) the assumption I get ALLLLL the time is that this idea strips God of His Creative powers.  Not at all.  An infinite physical material is merely logically required as a prerequisite to being formed into a relatively finite object which can exist RELATIVE to other objects in order to be observed and conceptually defined by man.  This is God’s power.  But before Creation can be created someTHING must exist to be acted upon.  This is the root source–the root SELF–of all we observe.  Otherwise, we are saying that God created something (Creation) out of nothing.

Something out of nothing?  The very notion is LITERALLY indefensible.

It is an impossible logical contradiction and thus, has no possible chance of being rationally explained by anyone at all…not even God, I submit.  Because God is not in the business of reconciling man’s inane logical fallacies.

I do not hold God to be magic…God is real because God is reasonable.  If God cannot be explained according to reasonably consistent arguments which corroborate man’s ability to rightly observe his universe of his own ability, then there can be no rational argument for His existence.  Faith is not faith then, it is foolishness.  Attempting to “explain” God is besides the point.  That is a red herring argument designed to scare people away from their rational minds in order that they may continue to serve a particular primary consciousness which can have no logical motive besides control, and no logical outcome except death.  And further, if it is heresy for me to explain how God can rationally co-exist with human beings for the efficacious promotion of man’s LIFE to God’s glory then I submit the church is totally fucked. 

A Riper Harvest for Christ than Amongst the “Christians”: Is it Time to Shake the Dust of our Shoes?

I have been having a debate with Paul Dohse on his blog http://www.paulspassingthoughts.com recently (link- http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2013/11/21/biblical-metaphysics-more-free-writing-notes/#comments).  In this debate I have asked several times for him to tell me what he thinks the standard of TRUTH is.  I know he is a “biblicist” (a proponent of biblical inerrancy), and so I feel like he wants to say “Bible”…but he won’t do it.  I’m not sure why, but I have a pretty good idea.

You see, if he says anything other than “man’s LIFE”, which is my unequivocal standard of TRUTH, this puts TRUTH outside of man, which puts authority outside of man’s life as well, because what is absolute truth must be considered to have a MORAL monopoly on the force that is authority.  And if truth is outside of man and authority is outside of man, then Paul has no actual, objective, nor reasonably defensible grounds for savaging the Calvinists like he does.  Why?  Because he concedes the exact same premise: absolute truth is outside of man, absolutely, and therefore, man can NEVER be in a position to know ANYTHING.  And if man can by his very existential being, never really know anything, then man cannot ever question any idea at all, because…how the hell would he know?  If truth must be bestowed, somehow, upon man, and cannot be learned, then how do we know upon whom it has been bestowed?  Therefore, who the person is who gets to be the “authority” over truth, and thus has the moral right to force others into right thinking eventually just becomes an argument that goes like this:

“God said I’m right!”

“No, He didn’t!  That’s impossible!”

“Oh yeah, how do you figure!”

“Because He told me I’m right!”

In BOTH Paul’s and the neo-Calvinist’s ideology the Bible is the source of all truth and authority.  Which means IT is truth and authority.  Thus, the fight isn’t really over any significant change in how we understand reality, it is merely a fight over who gets to say what the Bible really means.  But, since in BOTH schools of thought (Paul’s and the neo-Calvinist’s) the Bible is the very proof of its own truth, it is impossible for them to actually KNOW what the Bible really says, because the Bible, being absolute truth outside of man, isn’t actually telling them anything at all.  It is its own end.   If the Bible IS TRUTH, and does not require the standard of man’s life as a yardstick for its TRUTH, then the only logical purpose of the Bible is simply to BE the Bible. The Bible is true because and only because it is the Bible.  Any interpretation of it thus insofar as man seeks to apply it to his life (as if that’s even possible) is categorically irrelevant.

Thus, Paul’s fight is simply this:  who has a more “convincing” form of the exact same argument.  Who is better able to persuade people that their opponent is liar?  And if that doesn’t work, well…guns are considered the great equalizer.  If you can’t beat ’em, shoot ’em.  And that’s what it always, always, always boils down to when we concede that ANYTHING outside of individual human life is the standard of truth.

So, this latest exchange has got me thinking.  Is it time to shake the dust…for those of us really and truly interested in a faith that has an end and an identity beyond fear and ignorance…is it time to look for a harvest elsewhere.  Is it time to concede that Christians today are just too far down the rabbit hole of orthodoxy to be led out.  Has the rope gotten too short?

Possibly.  For me…it is discouraging.  I’ll admit, I am pessimistic.  The Christian identity is rank FEAR now, which is why they continue to retreat into their caves on the mountains, like the Israelites.  They huddle together in packs and cling to their insane ideas like “literal six day creationism” or “the Word is the Authority”…ideas that are simply indefensible to anyone else, even a “secular” world which, despite is many flaws, at least concedes in general that the senses are the root of truth, not “revelation”.  I hate the Platonism of science, but at least scientists pay lip service to observable evidence.  The observation by  man is entirely irrelevant and illusory to Christians today…your senses deceive you; what you see washes nothing with “truth”.   And the pack lashes out violently and blindly at anyone who would dare challenge the idols on their mantles.  Look at how man people are run out of town on a rail from sites like Wartburg Watch for daring to offend the sensibilities of the blog hosts, or the e-Pastor, or the readers by proclaiming the irrationality of “orthodoxy”.

Anyhow, here is an e-mail I sent to my friend, John Immel.  I often seek solace in John’s heavy intellect.  In a sea of Christian insanity, he is one of a smattering of faces of reason.  A brilliant person, he reminds me that Christians don’t have to be woefully ignorant and stubborn to the point of utter spiritual death.  It’s just that most of them are.

That sounds mean and arrogant.  Too bad.  That is how much I hate it when you call the “Bible” the “Word”.  I know what you are doing.  You are calling the Bible, God…removing all distinctions between Him in the Heavens and the talisman you worship.  And by doing that, you remove the distinction between you “interpretation” and God.  And by doing that you make YOURSELF God.  And that is not cool. The Bible ceases to lead people to their lives and to God and leads them to YOU instead. That’s…wrong.

Here’s the letter.

That’s a great point.  Just enjoy learning…enjoy the pursuit of truth.  I tend to get wrapped up in the results; where, really, all that really matters is that I can now properly define MY life.  I cannot define anyone else’s for them.  So, yes, we should just enjoy being US, and understanding that this is exactly the point of existence.  Existence, life…are ends of themselves.

Unfortunately, you are right…most people don’t buy that, so sooner or later they are GOING to want to force you to NOT be you, by whatever primary consciousness they declare is truth.

I see this a bit on some blogs…it is not a matter of intellect, it is a matter of ideology.  They merely disagree because my conclusion is not convenient to their argument–that MAN’S life is the prerequisite for ALL truth; which is axiomatic, for how can you concede truth if you don’t exist FIRST, which means that YOU must be YOU first, before even God can be truly God in any way that He can rationally be defined as “God”.  If God is the God of the living, this presumes that LIFE is a prerequisite for Him being man’s God.  But this idea is an anathema to them, because they concede that if there isn’t any authority or truth outside of man dictating the sum and substance of his life for him, then there will be rank moral relativism; an orgy of sin.  Well, look around…has the Platonist assumption led to peace on Earth anywhere?!!!  If the standard of truth is man’s life, then the standard is knowable and observable; it is also utterly metaphysically and epistemologically consistent.  It is also completely compatible with a Creator God because now God can actually be KNOWN as God; thus, He has a purpose for man which is not only knowable, but practically applicable.

I ask, what is the standard of TRUTH.

They will not answer me.  Because it can only be MAN, and they , like so many, are just terrified to admit this.  But their beliefs are FAR more terrifying, because if it is something else, then ultimately man MUST be sacrificed in service to the EXTERNAL truth; because truth is absolute and immovable.  In order for truth to be absolute, everything in existence must be laid down in service to it.  In other words, the death of everything is required.  This is why they I suspect have such a hard time saying that truth is MAN…because if truth is MAN then they believe that this somehow strips God of His power.  This is of course is completely backwards…a product of the evolution of Platonism as the singular philosophical foundation for all of western thought.  The truth is that God’s power can only be truly revealed, loved, worshiped, adored and honored when it can be known.  In a construct where truth is outside of man, it is existentially removed from him, and thus, man is never in any position to know truth.  Without this ability, man can never really know God, or, even worse, be known by Him.

I am done with all “discernment blogs” from now on.  I am over it.  There are perhaps a smattering of Christians here and there that “get it”, but most are just too far down the rabbit hole of orthodoxy to see any light.  And, the constant appeal to the cul-de-sac of Platonist logic disguised under a the altruistic facade of “biblical inerrancy” is wearisome. Once we concede that the Bible is the “Word”, we have set up an idol…we have made God a thing to be handled by special priests “called” to “ministry”.  We have removed the distinction between God and a book…which, even if it were God’s very words to man wouldn’t make those words GOD, Himself.  Even God’s words must affirm man as the standard of GOOD and TRUTH in order to be true; so even if the book were written by God, Himself, it would still need to be held to the standard of LIFE for it to be both reasonable and relevant.  But there I go again, offending the poor abused…the neo-neo-Calvinist (as I am starting to think of the new discernment crowd) virtue in a vacuum.  So anyway…yeah, the “Word”… really, this just means we have removed the distinction between God and those people who would hold it aloft and cry “My Power, My God!”.  This is idolatry and paganism, and the implications are profound.  I am too old to be a hypocrite any longer.

I love Christ…I utterly reject the epistemology of Christianity, as it were.

There are some pretty cool philosophy blogs I’ve been checking out lately.  I think my time is better spent over there.  There is a better harvest for Christ than can be found amongst today’s Christians.

Isn’t it always that way?

There Can Be No Relationship Between a Free Agent and a Determined Agent: Foundational contradictions in Reformed thinking

“That which is infinite must be absent an observer, and that which is absent an observer must be infinite. That which is infinite cannot exist, because existence is a qualifier/quantifier which cannot be applied except by an observer, who cannot, by definition, be in the presence of the infinite.  If something exists, it is not infinite, but finite, because the presence of the observer mitigates the “self’ of that thing which would otherwise be infinite (and thus without any qualification) absent the presence of the observer.  Therefore, when the observer is removed from the metaphysical AND physical equation, all things are infinite, and are thus utterly valueless.  Why?  Because observation is existence.  Truly then, every human observer creates in the conceptual sense the existence of what they observe…they define TRUTH.  God, of course, creates what ACTUALLY is observed; He creates what IS.  God then creates objects (by observation), and man creates meaning (by observation).  Man’s power to create meaning and TRUTH is man’s word (the language of man); God’s power to create material objects in order that man may observe them and conceptually organize them with respect to himself as THE standard of TRUTH is God’s Word (the language of God).  This is why Jesus is often thought of as the Word of God.  Jesus is the material actualization of God within man’s existential frame of reference.  Jesus is the supreme material revelation which proves the power of God’s Word (His ability to create anything absolutely).  This of course presumes that the Bible is not, in fact, God’s  “Word”; which it is not.  

“Absolute to absolute.  Determinism to determinism.  Free to free.  Infinity to infinity.  Any attempt to couple these notions…to couple what is limitless to its limitless opposite (a free agent, like the Creator, observing His determined Creation) will result in an utter schism of reason; an inexorable contradiction in terms, a contradiction of TRUTH, and an irreconcilable chasm within man’s whole existential philosophy.”

The first quote is a thought from my head.  The second a quote from my notes, via my head.  I believe them to be axiomatic, having thought upon them for quite some time.  And no, to answer the question in your mind right now (perhaps), it doesn’t take much more than that.  Much more than thinking.  I mean…think about it, that’s all.  With respect to the second quote:  How does the free interact with the determined?  We presume this to be TRUTH so quickly and instinctively that we scarcely blink when we are presented with such a notion:  “God has planned out for you every day for the rest of your life.”  But try to reconcile that in your mind.  Your days are determined, and you are determined then, by extension, because the salient component of your day is…you.  But God, they demand, is utterly free, unfettered by determinist forces, doing what he pleases, with no predictable rationale.

How can that be possible?  How can God “freely determine”.  For if we remove any observable object from the equation, be it man or any other material substance in the universe, and strictly put in a “box” the concepts of “free” and “determined” it doesn’t take much to realize that these concepts, denied any object by which they can be valued, must be utterly infinite; that is, defined merely by the value of “itself”.  The only definition remaining is that they are what they are, period, full stop (and even that definition is a qualifier which is antithetical to an “is”…the real point is that a thing which is both infinite and absent an observer cannot exist because it can in no way be qualified or quantified as as existing).   So, the notions must be infinite.  And thus the question becomes:  how can infinite concepts be coupled in a way that does not contradict them?

But here is the thing:  according to our perfunctory Platonism we don’t remove observable objects, including man, from the equation.  We simply reverse the thinking.  Instead of what actually exists as a part of the material universe giving value to the otherwise infinite conceptual abstractions (like determinism and free; up and down; space and time; red and blue), we declare that those infinite, unobservable concepts somehow give value to what is material.  But the problem is that this does not mitigate the infinity of the concepts…they are still infinite and thus cannot be said to exist with respect to us.  Why?  Because the concepts cannot be observed…only material objects are observed.  And if they cannot be observed by man, then man has no way to qualify or quantify them.  They are still limitless, by definition…and determined is still infinitely determined, free is still infinitely free, red is still infinitely red, and so on.  All we’ve done is declared that man’s senses–the tools of his observation–are irrelevant.  Useless for declaring truth.  Truth is a function of the infinite unobservable forces which drive the material objects in the universe…and these forces, again, we concede are beyond man’s capacity to KNOW; perhaps we say that we can know the objects they absolutely control, but that avails man nothing in terms of defining what exactly the objects ARE or what they are DOING; for indeed, the objects are, as Plato declares, merely “shadows”…insufficient representations of the all determining forces, or as I call them, the concepts. And…actually,  I would submit that declaring them “shadows” is not in fact a reasonable description.  Because the concepts themselves which govern them do so absolutely, there can be no quantifiable/quantifiable distinction made between the concepts and the objects.  If the concepts are indeed infinite and absolute, then there can be NO separation between the concepts and what they control…because infinity can have no limit.  Thus, man cannot declare the objects shadows.  Man cannot declare them anything at all.  He has no idea and no capacity to explain just what he is observing.  Man’s entire existence is a lie.

Man’s definitions of these concepts then are always and perpetually false…an illusion, or a lie.  Because if man cannot see that which gives value to everything that exists, then man cannot see anything by definition.  If an object he observes is given a value by an infinite concept he cannot see, and thus cannot declare exists, then how does man exactly define the object he is observing? It is impossible.  All of reality is an illusion.  And if all reality is an illusion brought on a determining force which is utterly infinite because it is beyond the scope of man’s senses, then what exactly is man?  How do we even define the human SELF? To say that man is determined by the forces which drive the existence of all material objects in the universe means that man is a product of determinism, and therefore he cannot observe himself in any real way any more than he can observe other objects.  Because observation implies a free agent who can apprehend the truth/reality of what he/she is observing.  If man is determined, then so must be his ability to observe, which means that he cannot freely observe, which means that he cannot separate himself from what he observes…he, like the objects, is merely a product of the determining force.  He can no more apprehend SELF than he can apprehend the TRUTH of the things he observes.

What is my point?  The point is that NO ONE and nothing, not even God, can freely observe that which is determined.  Because “free” and “determined” are mutually exclusive concepts, which, if taken to be actual (that is, existing beyond the abstract value of them applied to material objects man and God observe), must be infinite and absolute.  And, like I said in my second quote above, the coupling of mutually exclusive infinite concepts within a singular existential framework is a complete contradiction in terms.

This contradictory thinking is, unfortunately, the foundational assumption of the most popular philosophy in the world today, I submit:  Platonism, functioning as determinism via the gnostic acceptance of the Primacy of Consciousness.  And the worst part is that it infects the church like an incurable cancer.  It is a totally impossible lie, and yet, it is this which is precisely taught almost categorically, in one form or another, in every single Christian church in America, and likely the world.

Why is this important to understand?  Because I firmly believe that this is a philosophy which denies salvation to the human race because it specifically denies the human race an identity.  And even worse, it makes God utterly unknowable.  The resistance to reason we see in the church is the resistance to the reality of God.  And any philosophy which denies God, can promise salvation…er, how, exactly?  It cannot.

Narrow is the road.  And that is why this is important.  We have generations upon generations who don’t know God and aren’t known by God because they OBSERVE and BELIEVE–which are the fundamentals of human existential reality–that they do not have an existence which is knowable!  There is no THEM to exist…and this is why a omniscient God can declare without contradiction “Depart from Me, for I never knew you.”

“God isn’t up there scratching His head saying, ‘Why did so and so lose his job; why did such and such get diagnosed with cancer?’ God has every day of your life already planned out.”

So said the popular TV preacher to his sprawling audience this morning as I was channel surfing while girding my lions for our family’s weekly excursion into metaphysical madness and epistemological insanity (church…it’s a long story, don’t ask).

This is nothing new.  I have heard a variation of this bullshit dozens of times over the course of my Christian life.  The idea that you are merely an irrelevant observer to your own existence is completely within the pale of orthodoxy with respect to Protestant Christianity.  And, as I stated above, being an irrelevant observer is not really observing at all.  And if you cannot observe, you cannot know, which means you cannot actually define existence, either God’s or your own.  And this is the insidious lie running like a burning thread through the theology of millions and likely billions of people around the world, propagated by the mystics who stand in the surety, and often the wealth, of their lies before those who have decided that they cannot make any rational decision at all save one:  to accept that some mystic behind a podium is more qualified to judge their lives than they are; that truth is not learned, nor applied, but bestowed and ridden like a wave by submitting one’s very SELF to the unobservable force of divine  determinism.

But let’s bring this down to the chalk board of philosophy, removing the vestiges of mysticism and the trappings of lights, and rock-band worship, and annoying, heavily-affected sermons.

How exactly can God be a free witness to the Creation He has determined?  How can man be a free witness to his life, which exists in an environment which is wholly determined?  How can this scenario–the free interacting with the determined–be possible?  How can two mutually exclusive ideas co-exist?  Well, the simple answer is that they cannot, and so this notion that God has planned all your days for you before you knew them must be false.  It cannot be true, at least, not in the determined sense that the neo-Calvinists always mean…and no, one cannot even appeal to God’s mystery to make them true.  The fact is that ideas are either reconcilable or not.  If we make what cannot be true according to man’s observable reality true, then we declare that man can know nothing and therefore, cannot possibly know truth from farce.

Never mind the simple fact that something cannot happen before it happens; it cannot exist before it exists.  To say that God plans your days BEFORE you go through them is precisely a declaration of this impossible idea.  God cannot plan what does not yet exist.  And, further, it cannot exist to God and NOT exist to you because it is your ability to observe objects and conceptualize their relative existence with one another and yourself which is the root of all TRUTH; thus if something doesn’t exist to YOU then it cannot exist period because only YOU are the absolute, inexorable frame of reference for all you know and accept as TRUTH because there can be no distinction between YOU and your LIFE, and you know anything you know and believe anything you believe and define anything you define inexorably and absolutely by your LIFE, and nothing else.  Moreover, existence and non-existence are mutually exclusive concepts which cannot be reconciled in a single object…meaning, your environment, your LIFE, cannot both exist and not exist at the same time.  If your day is not YET, then it does not exist.  And if it does not exist it cannot be planned…it cannot be anything, because NOTHING by definition cannot be something, no matter how hard we may try to make this idea work logically.  Certainly God can have plans, but they can be no more inexorable and inevitable than yours, because inevitability is merely an abstract concept.  A day of your life is a day when it exists, and not one minute before.  Thus, if you are a free agent and God is a free agent (remembering that like infinite concepts are the only ones which can co-relate) then there is no day which IS absolutely before it is.  You and God co-exist in the days together…they exist only after they are manifest as a function of your LIFE.  And if it is your life then YOU are the single most salient component of your day, just like God is the most salient component of His day.  Remember, when God interacts with man He must interact with him on man’s level, and that is the level of the conceptual abstraction.  God having “plans” does not in any way, nor can it, imply determinism…of existence of something before it exists to man.  God declaring He has plans is thus the exact same thing (conceptual) as you declaring that YOU have plans.  Thus, God freely planning for your life is only efficacious if you freely exist within your life…the plans then are not “determined”, that is, existing because you are nothing more than an extension of a determining force, but the plans God has indicate the relationship of two free, self-aware agents.  God acting, and man recognizing the actions through the objects he observes (which can include God, Himself), valuing those actions by the efficacious use of conceptual abstractions measured by the standard of his LIFE, and then acting in accordance or contrary to those plans as man’s free, self-volition decides.   Thus, the plans are nothing more than an idea of how God sees the “future”…but the actuality of those plans (and the “future”) must involve the free agency of man.  God is not deemed a liar or hypocrite if man freely thwarts those plans in accordance with his own free will…for plans are nothing more than conceptualizations God uses in order to relate to man as a function of man’s existential frame of reference.  The concept of plan does not actually exist for God to violate or affirm based on His own free actions.  And this is then the problem with this notion that God is not a conceptual Being, but a determining One.  If God determines, then the logical consistency of the idea demands that God is just as much as slave to the predetermined “future”, or plans, or reality as man is.  God can no more deny a future which is determined than man can.  Thus, if determinism is the force in play–if the concept of “plan” becomes a real thing in and of itself, apart from being merely a means by with the self-aware agents organize their existence with respect to a mutually efficacious relationship–then BOTH God and man must be determined by whatever is declared to exist inexorably, regardless of whatever God or man thinks or wants, because whatever God wants or thinks must be subservient to that which is determined.  Determinism is absolute, and thus ANYTHING that happens must have been determined to happen, and could not have happened any other way.  All of God’s and man’s thoughts and actions are merely extensions of the determining force.  To say that God determines contradicts His own existence as a free thinking, free acting Agent.

But on an even more pragmatic level…how is it a free agent can observe a determined object?  It contradicts the notions, again.  For in the moment it is observed, the determined object must be declared a freely observed determined object.  But this would have to mean that the determined object was irrevocably determined to be at that place at that time in order to be observed by that particular observer.  And if that particular observer had to observe the determined object at that time and at that place, then the observer could not have been free to observe it.  The observer is just as much a part of the determining equation governing the determined object as the determined object is.  The object had to be observed at that time and place by that observer which means the observer had to be there to observe it.  The observer could not have been free to be there or not; his or her life must have inexorably led them to that particular place and time in order that the determined object could be observed by them.    This is the absolute nature of determinism, and is why if man is determined, then the God who creates and sees man must be determined as well.

The converse is then true.  If the observing agent is truly free, then what he or she observes must be free to be wherever it is to be observed in equal measure.  Follow the logic through the same way.  If the agent is freely observing from a time and place which they have freely chosen, of their own free volition, then the object observed could not have been determined to be where it was observed.  The object must have likewise arrived at the time and place of its observation according to is own free ability to be there, of itself alone.  For if the observer is freely observing, and freedom is absolute, then whatever they are observing must be a function of that freedom.  If there is no external law or equation which demands that they must have inevitably arrived at that time and place to observe this or that thing, then there is no guarantee  that they would have been there at all.  Therefore, that they were there is completely by “chance” so to speak…a random manifestation of their freedom to act…which means that whatever they are observing may or may not have been observed by them at any given time up to the event; therefore, the object observed could not have been determined to be there.  It is observed then and there for no other reason than that is where it just so happened to be.

And finally, consider this argument as well:  How do you qualify or quantify cause and effect if you are a free agent observing the interaction of two (or more) determined objects?  That one acts and one responds (that one causes an effect upon another) is purely an illusion…for there can be no such thing as cause and effect if both objects are equally determined, and determinism is, again, absolute.  If one ball strikes another ball, for example, then the force of one, we would say caused the other to move.  But if the balls are both determined, then both the striking of the first ball and the resultant movement of the second ball were going to happen no matter what, regardless of what either one did.  That is the nature of determinism…it is the declaration that any act observed by man is inevitable.  In effect, existing before it exists, regardless of whether it is observed or not; the action IS, infinitely, and absolute.  Observation is irrelevant in the matter.

The determined action of the first ball is infinite and absolute.  The determined reaction of the second ball is infinite and absolute.  Therefore, there is no actual relationship between the two actions…they ARE determined effects and objects wholly in and of themselves.  Thus, what one might observe as a cause and effect interaction is merely a lie.  There is no actual interaction because both action and reaction are infinite and singular determined events.  What if the first ball had missed the second ball?  Well, if we say that the second ball would not have moved we have conceded that the resultant movement of the second ball was not in fact, determined:  If the ball had missed it, it would not have moved.  And if we accept this as a plausible event–that the first ball could have missed the second ball–then we cannot by definition concede that the second ball was determined; it only moved because it was acted upon by the first ball, and until it was struck by the second ball it may or may not have moved, because it could or could not have been struck in the first place.  And if it could or could not have been struck in the first place, then the the first ball is likewise not determined.  The movement of the second ball is a free response by to being struck by the first one, which was a free action.

What one will argue then is that the first ball could not have missed the second because it was determined to strike it; in which case the second ball must have been determined to move in response.  Thus, the determining force is threaded equally and absolutely through both balls, denying any actual relationship between the two, and rendering man’s qualification of cause and effect purely illusory, as well as dismantling man’s ability to make any actual distinction between the two balls.  They are utterly identical in terms of being  subservient to the determining force.  There is no distinction between first ball and second ball, because you cannot sequentially order what is absolutely and infinitely determined.  If there is no relationship between objects, then man cannot possibly identify an object, because the ability to identify an object means it must be seen as distinct from other objects.  But if there is NO relationship, then then can be NO distinction.  Man cannot actually say what it is he observes.  His very language-that which he uses to label and define–is perfectly useless and categorically insufficient for anything.   Again…to reiterate: there can be no separation in the movement/actions of objects which can be declared valid, and so there can be no valid separation between objects themselves.  Both balls in this example are nothing more than illusions…extensions of the determining force which not only controls, but must BE in ESSENCE the objects in question.

The point is this:  if determinism is a fact, then man cannot possibly conceptualize effectively his environment because man can never make an actual distinction between this object or that.  Both are singularities of the determining force.  What man qualifies as a cause is not actually any different than what he qualifies as an effect.  What man qualifies as up is not actually any different as down.  Left or right, two or seven.  There is no means by which man can organize his environment that isn’t a total lie.  There is no truth because the truth is hidden behind the objects which man observes to move relative to one another, but which man cannot actually qualify or quantify as moving at all.  The movement of each object is the determined force, which is unobservable because it is absolute and infinite.

And if man cannot really know his environment according to his own created conceptual abstractions which are given value by the objects themselves (that is, man can actually declare that the objects he observes ACT according to their own infinite ability to BE what they are, and that this ability is rooted in themselves alone), instead of the other way around, then man cannot define himSELF.

And this means that there is no YOU which you can declare exists.  And if there is no YOU, then how can YOU be saved?

This may seem like complicated semantics; a mere mincing of philosophy; the calculus of metaphysics.  Interesting, or confusing, but irrelevant to real life.  I assure you it is not…the only reason this is difficult for us to understand is because we have evolved from several thousand years of Platonist farce.  Our inability to perceive the difference between what are abstract concepts we create to organize what we observe and the actuality of the things we observe is what clouds our thinking in these matters.

All truth must stem from this idea first:  YOU ARE YOU, and you are no other.  Thus, all truth starts with the existence of yourSELF.  YOU are the object by which all TRUTH must conform…the standard of life is the admission that you actually exist, and are NOT a function of anything except your own physical ability to BE ( (from which extends your self-aware consciousness) .

This is the first axiom you must concede.  If you do not, you will never escape the bonds of false ideas, false religion, and false existence.

(CH. 6)-The Boy Stranger: A free allegorical novel

Bullet Five

            As she walked naked along the dusty ground, mother wondered if this was what the men of the War felt when they charged.  Did they feel stripped and bare?  Did the guns and the bristling steel in their hands turn to air and feel like nothing?  Did they feel the rough of the ground on their feet as if they had no shoes?

            Mother had nothing with her.  Everything was back at the ranch house, inside the great trunks.  But what use was it to her anymore?  All of it had become South Dakota, so there was no need to take any of it.  There was nothing in the great trunks that she did not see in the land right before her eyes.  Even she herself was South Dakota.  And not only that, but she finally understood that all the things of Richmond, the great trunks, the War, none of it had ever even existed.  It was only ever South Dakota.  That made her sad.

            Then she saw the vision.  An image of bristling steel, and the wheels of cannon, and shouting men and the legs and heads of charging horses, and pounding,  pounding, pounding upon the ground.  And it was all tangled up in a great battle where there was no ground or sky, no up or down.  Just men and things swirling around, and sounds and shouting and screaming.  And the image pulled away from her eyes and it became a writhing ball of violence and noise, and it grew further and further away from her eyes, as though she were rising into space and the writhing ball was the earth in orbit around the sun.

            Then the image faded and all that was before her eyes was the silence and the mountain.  The mountain loomed like the back of a great whale rising out of the ocean.  Mother stopped.  There was no getting over it.  Not for her.  Not now.

            Above her there were clouds swirling gray and cold, dangling down to her in spires, but she could not feel them.  They moved over the mountain and hung there, and the dark mountain now looked like an open mouth on the horizon.  It was hard to see.  But then, everything had become hard to see.

            Something inside her longed for Richmond.  Richmond during the war, even.  She wouldn’t even mind seeing the blue general.  At least he had a face.  She saw it many times in the papers, as well as the pictures of his army.  Endless army. So endless they were that the pictures could never hold them all.  They spilled beyond the edges of the paper and she just knew that they went on forever and ever.

But at least there, in Richmond, she knew who was coming for her and why.  But this.  South Dakota.  All unfamiliar.  This place.  Her bootless husband.  Her children.  All strangers.  There was no army, no generals, no burning homes.  It was all just South Dakota.  And there was nothing more to say about it than that.  This made her sad, too.

            “I know the way you suffer, woman,” Leonard said.  His voice came from in front of her.  He had come out of her vision.  Out of the churning ball of violence and shouting he had stepped and had walked towards her.

            “How can you know?  You are unfamiliar to me.  I don’t think you know me,” she said.

            Mother shivered and closed her eyes briefly and wrapped her arms around her naked torso.  She felt a wave of unconsciousness rush over her.  She started to fall, then came to and caught herself.  She looked up at the stranger and examined him with her muddy eyes.

            “One eye only,” she said.  “Where is the rest of you?”

            “Off on the four winds, perhaps,” Leonard said.  “Where it needs to be, I suppose.”

Leonard got down off of his horse.

“I have no face,” he said with a sigh.  “I am blind and deaf in this body.  It is true.  Still, I understand how you suffer in those ways particular to a woman.  And you are a very poor woman indeed.”

Mother wrapped her arms tighter, looked around, and nodded.

“Is there any going back?” she asked.

“To Richmond?”

“Yes, to Richmond.”

Leonard shook his head.  “No.  The line of marching and drumming from Richmond does not turn back.  It either ends in South Dakota, or sometimes it goes on and on to the great ocean beyond us on the other side.  But not too often.  Mostly, it’s just this for everyone.  There may be visions, everyone has their own, but there is no real difference in the end.”

Mother looked sadly at the stranger.

“I am cold,” she said.

“Yes.  It is cold out here.”

“Will you build a fire for us?”

Leonard shook his head.  “You cannot stay here.  Your line is still moving, for a little longer still.  It will end soon.  Not here, but not far from here.”

“But I could warm myself for a while and then continue.”

“A lot of work for no real purpose,” Leonard replied.  “You can’t build a fire that reaches all the way to the ocean.  You might as well stay cold.”

Mother shivered.  Her eyes were red and they rolled back into her head for a moment.  She swallowed a dry swallow. She rubbed her arms slowly then began to step forward.

“I have further to go,” she said.

“Only a little, yes.”

Mother took a few steps forward, then fell to her knees.  Her shivering became uncontrollable and her red eyes began to burn as though they were filled with hot grease.  Her dark hair was like rope on her head and hung thickly down her neck in cords that were so heavy and taunt that not even the winds of South Dakota could move them.

She looked up.  Was that the stranger standing in front of her, or was that the mountain?  No, it was the stranger.  She was nowhere close to the mountain.  She looked up at his face.  A face, but no face.  She understood at that moment where the rest of it was, besides just the eye.  There were pieces of it everywhere, all the way from Richmond to here.  It was a face that had been smashed and scattered.  She sat on the ground and pulled her knees up to her chest.

“Please give me your coat for a covering, stranger.”

Leonard walked over to her.  She looked down at the ground.  She did not look him in the face because there was no point.  Might as well just look at the ground, she thought. She shivered again.

Leonard pulled a pipe out from somewhere inside his thick, gray coat.  It was already lit and smoking.  He knelt down beside her and held the pipe to her lips.  Lemon pulled the smoke in, then breathed it out again.  It came out of her mouth and nose and wrapped around her head like a sack.  The smoked burned her red eyes as the smoke of Richmond once did long ago.

“You don’t need my coat,” Leonard said.

“I am cold.”

“Yes.  It is cold out here.”

“Please give me your coat.”

With a smooth motion, Leonard’s fingers quickly wrapped around the pipe, and he put it back beneath his coat.  The pipe was still lit when he put it away, and still smoking. His eye looked up and around at the fading light of South Dakota’s evening sky.

‘My eye is very painful tonight’, he thought.  ‘Just like the woman’s eyes are painful.’

The eye always hurt to some extent, though it was a little worse at that moment.  It was split in two and bled constantly, so it made sense that there was always some kind of pain.  His vision was very poor in that eye, too, and he cursed this fact more than once during the course of a day.  All he could ever see were the shadows of this or that.  Shadows with a little color.  The details were not sharp at all.  Everything looked smooth to him, with soft edges, like the edges of a sandy shore.

No good eye, he thought.  I should put a hot knife to it and stop the bleeding.  I wish I did not need this eye.  But at least I see better than the woman.  And I see well enough to tell the Strangers where to go and what to do.  And they go there and they do it.  Soon I will not need this eye at all.  I will have other eyes that I can use.  Sharper eyes.  He paused in his mind.  He brought his fingers to his chin and hummed softly for a moment.  It was tuneless.  He did not think his new eyes would make much of a difference in the end.  They would only be less painful, he hoped.

Leonard said, “If I give you my coat then I will be as exposed as you.  And then all of South Dakota will see, and that would not be proper.  We all must stay proper, especially in South Dakota.  In the midst of everything that happens, we must stay proper.  Even if it is during a great war, and our homes are burning, and our family, and our slaves and wagons.”  He paused.  “No.  That will not do.”

Mother did not respond.  The sound of the stranger’s voice had become just as the wind against her ears.  Mother was done.  No more commanding or shouting. Rest, soldier, came the general’s voice to her ears.  Lay against the ground and close your eyes.

Mother’s body relaxed and slumped, then fell to the side.  Her face was in the dirt of South Dakota.  Some of it was in her mouth and teeth.

“I will sleep now.  I am tired,” she said to the dirt.  “I would have liked to have your coat, stranger, but I guess all the gentlemen are dead these days.

“Gentleman is a nice word,” Leonard said.  “But if there are any left, they are back east.  They are always so polite as to let others come to the West first.”

Leonard knelt down and rubbed his hand and upon her hair and down her neck gently.  Then he grabbed her thick hair and pulled back on it, but only hard enough to lift her head off of the ground a little.  He brought his bandana and bleeding eye to her ear.

“And truly you have arrived in the West, woman.  And now you are here, and you have no further to go.  But South Dakota will continue for you.  All the way to the ocean.  For you, as though you were not ever born.”

Mother nodded and smiled weakly.  “It is good what you say,” she said, her eyes closed.  “And so it must be.  How can one with such confidence be wrong?”

Mother’s body relaxed and settled.  Her smile faded, and her head felt a little heavier in Leonard’s hand.  He put her head down gently and stroked her hair one more time.  He felt the back of her neck, and it was very cold.  Colder than ever.  But there was no more shivering because it was the kind of cold that made no difference.

The Stranger stood and looked over the body of the woman.  The he knelt down again and began to take some dirt of South Dakota in his hands and to cover the woman with it, sprinkling her from head to toe.

“Here is my coat, woman, that you asked for.”

Then he mounted his horse and left the woman behind.  He moved very quickly, as fast as he could go.  Soon the feet of his horse were above the ground, and Leonard’s eye was closed and his hands were down by his sides and his head was forward on his chest and he was truly flying.

Leonard moved faster and faster, away from the woman. His Witch’s Spur pounded upon the side of the snorting horse, and he opened his one eye and there was a lot of blood.  He pulled two long-barreled pistols out from somewhere underneath his coat and began to fire them into the air as he flew, over and over again.  At that moment, all he wanted was to hear the guns and see the color of blood everywhere as it spilled from his eye to the bandanas, to the ground, to the sky.

He did not want to think of the Strangers.  Or the boy.  He wanted only to think of himself and all that he had done.  he did not even want to think of the woman.  The woman.  She was now removed from him.  Covered in a layer of South Dakota, just like she had always been.

 

(CH. 5)-The Boy Stranger: A free allegorical novel

Bullet Four

Near the bottom of the mountain eight Strangers stopped for a moment at the foot of the trail and listened to the screaming and the song that the boy howled from somewhere above them.  Without a word, Rifle pulled away from the group and led his horse charging up the mountain.  Leonard did not stop him.  Fire saw Rifle charge ahead and he readied his reigns to go after him, but Leonard said no to Fire, and told him to let Rifle go.

“If Rifle wants to ride ahead, then let him ride,” Leonard said.

“But listen.  The screaming and the song have now just stopped.  There is nothing to follow.  So where is Rifle going?  Perhaps he will get lost,” Fire said.

“Rifle does not hear any song except for his own,” Justice said.  “Did you not hear it?  I heard it.  All the way from camp.  It was like a very soft whistling.”

“I heard the whistling,” Fire said, nodding, and staring up the trail.  “I thought it was the sound of his breath between the blood in his mouth.”

“Yes,” Leonard said.  “Then you heard it, too.”

***

The boy took his sister from the wagon and cleared a patch of ground near some tall trees.  The branches were bare, except for a little snow, and they grappled angrily with the gray sky.  The boy took the shovel that was strapped with rope to the side of the wagon and began to dig a grave.  His hand was on fire, and the ground was freezing, so the grave was very shallow indeed.  He wept as he dug and the handle of the shovel quickly became slick from the blood of his hand.

As he dug, the boy could not tell if he wept from the pain in his hand or from his sister, and then it really made no difference to him after a while.

Finally he buried his poor sister in the shallow grave near the bank of the cold river and covered her body with a little bit of dirt and dead leaves and some snow.  Then he made a crude cross from some thick fallen branches, tying them together with fraying twine, and placed it at the head of the grave.  Upon the cross he carved the word:  Imagine.

***

Rifle knew where the boy was and he turned his horse in the boy’s direction, which was the direction of the cold river.  He’d heard the gunshot and the bitter weeping.  He could smell the blood from the boy’s hand.  Rifle was like a dog.  He could smell many things from far away.  Leonard said he was born for this kind of thing.  But lately Rifle started to notice that everything just smelled the same.  Everything smelled like blood.

Blood.  That’s all he seemed to be able to track these days.  Maybe it had been that way all along.

Rifle knew that he was close.  He put his head down and gripped the reigns hard and charged the cold river.

***

The boy unhitched the wagon from the horse, and the horse immediately seemed relieved.  She snorted and pranced for a moment as he threw the saddle on her back and began to tie it down.  Then he swung his leg and drew himself up into the saddle.  He sat on his horse and remembered that this is what it felt like back in the woods near Richmond during the War of the States.  It was cold.  It was lonely.  And his gun felt heavy in his belt.  It was a sword.  It was a shield.  His gun was many things, and that’s why it felt so heavy.

He got the horse moving, but his bloody hand was flashing with pain and didn’t work right.  The hand made no sense and the poor horse was lost.  It had been a long time since he’d tried to ride a horse with a bloody hand.  Not since he killed the blue soldier with the knife.

But this time it was not the soldier’s blood in his hand.  It was his own, and the horse knew it.  She could sense that there was no confidence in this hand.  She dashed and charged this way and that, and the snow fell from the trees and down the boy’s collar, making things even more miserable.  The boy tried to steady the horse, but each time he pulled he had to cry in pain.  The pulling was weak and meaningless, and the crying from the pain made him afraid.  The noise of his crying would most certainly find its way down the mountain, and all manner of bad things would come to him.

Then came the sound of the rider behind him.  The horse the boy was on became agitated at the sound of the other horse. The boy grabbed the pistol from his belt with his good hand and held it close to his chest.  This meant that only the bloody hand held the reigns.

Finally, he gnashed his teeth and grimaced and managed to pull with enough strength to get the horse to slow down.  She did, and began to canter rhythmically along the banks of the cold river.  The boy sighed, then breathed heavy.  He knew that he could not outrun whoever was behind him.  Not with a bloody hand and a directionless horse.  He held his gun tight and tried not to be frightened.  He pushed the gun closer to his chest, and hard.  He felt the chamber press against his heart.

Slowly, grimacing in pain, the boy got down from his horse.  He knelt down next to her on one knee, facing behind her, and stared into the trees from where the sound of the rider was coming.  The noise of the man following him was very subtle now.  Inconspicuous.  There was no galloping, no crashing.  Just the occasional sputtering from the horse and a rustle of branches and snow.

The man following the boy was trying to stay quiet now, to surprise the boy, and he was very good at it.  This frightened the boy, because not many men were so skilled at following so quietly in the forest.  Men with this kind of skill were usually skilled in other things, too, many of which could easily kill a man.  Closer into his heart the boy pushed the chamber of the pistol.  The boy’s horse stumbled for a moment as her foot slipped on the muddy bank and caught the edge of the cold river.  There was a splash and a cry of pain from the boy as he grabbed the reigns and got her back on the bank.

Then the boy turned back to look at the forest. He saw nothing but trees and snow, but he knew the man following him was still in there, coming for him.  He grit his teeth and went as silent as possible.  He remembered the advice he had gotten from the older boys he rode with during the War.  Keep your head low under your hat, they said.  Do not exist where you are.  Listen carefully to the land.  The land will tell you the sounds you can make, and when you can make them, and make only those sounds and no other.  They will not be human sounds, but only the sounds that are there when you are not.  And pray that the blue soldiers only come when you are ready.

The boys used to make a game on some nights, riding to the edge of Richmond, to the trees.  It was summer and it was hot, and the leaves of the trees glistened and were greasy in the moonlight.  They were sweating from the heat and the war, just as the soldiers were sweating.

The boys would ride up to the trees and practice silence.  They would skirmish with the blue soldiers with their silence. The silence was very different from the cracking of a musket, but both sides feared it as much, if not more.

The boy became very good at telling the sounds of nature made by nature, and the sounds of nature made by man.  He could tell the sound of a man brushing up against a tree or a bush, or the crackle of a boot on a twig on the ground or a boot squishing in the mud.  It was different than the sound a deer or bear or other animal made.

It had taken the boy a long time to become good at being silent and hearing the silence of the blue soldiers.  It had taken a lot of practice. But in war, the boy had indeed practiced.  He had practiced a lot of things.  In war, you had no choice but to practice and to become good at things you otherwise would be a stranger to.  And the boy could hear Rifle now, even though the Stranger approached him stealthily.

Rifle saw the boy in the clearing.  He heard the voice of Leonard in his head, and it was saying the same words it always said.  Then a little thing happened in Rifle’s mind that he was not expecting. Or maybe he was expecting it, and that is why he was so startled and terrified and intrigued.  Along with the voice of Leonard, the voice of the woman he had seen back at the camp came to his mind.

Rifle pushed out the voice of Leonard and listened to the woman’s voice instead. He listened to her and thought about the things that the Strangers did to him back in the tent, things he could still feel and smell in his mouth, and decided that it was time for new things.

Rifle sat on his horse, but he was not moving anymore.  He was only observing.  Through the snowy slit in the trees he could see the boy kneeling.  One of the boy’s hands was dangling lifelessly next to his side.  It was dripping blood that was as red as a rose. For a moment, Rifle actually thought the boy was holding a rose.  But then he saw it was blood.  This made Rifle angry and he screamed inside himself and back at the voice of Leonard that was trying to work its way back into his mind and to strangle the voice of the woman.  Then the two voices, that of Leonard and that of the woman, argued and snarled and fought like two dogs in his mind, and he held his head and cried very quietly for a moment.  The soft whistling of his breath between the crusted blood in his mouth became faster and faster.  Then he stopped crying because he heard the thunder of the other Strangers coming up the mountain trail behind him.  His breath came hard and raspy as though a great tree were in his throat.

The sound of the other Strangers frightened Rifle greatly.  But more than he feared the Strangers, he loved the woman.  With one hand he held the reigns.  With the other he held his gun high over his head.  Then he charged.

Rifle never saw the boy’s other hand which held the gun.  He had concentrated too much on the hand with all the blood, and by the time he actually saw the gun, it was pointed straight at him.

The boy was very quick to bring his gun upon the Stranger called Rifle.  The boy noticed that the man coming for him did not look like a man from Dakota Inc..  In that instant, he could not tell exactly who or what the man looked like.

There was a flash of yellow fire from the boy’s gun, and it took Rifle by surprise.  The bullet struck the Stranger’s face, which spun around as it was struck.  Rifle’s own gun fell backwards out of his hand and tumbled down his back and bounced off his horse, then hit the ground.  Rifle’s horse reared up.  The boy’s horse heard the gun go off and she ran. She crashed through the trees and out of sight.

Things began to move very slowly for Rifle, and took a long time to happen.  In his mind, he talked softly to himself to pass the time.

‘This bullet is the only thing I have ever touched,’ Rifle said in his mind.  ‘I feel it on my skin.  Warm, and then becoming cold again.  Except, no, at one time there was something else I felt, too.’

Rifle slid down the side of his horse, face up to the sky.  The gray covering of South Dakota peered down on him, but it did not really know him, and did not care.

‘I remember mother, who was like the woman.  She would touch my face.  Yes, I remember that.  She would touch my face with her cold fingers and caress my face with fingers made cold by the wind of South Dakota through the holes in the house.  The many holes.  More holes than wall, it seemed, especially in the winter.  The wind got through those holes easily, and through the broken window in the baby’s bedroom.’

The ground rose up to meet Rifle, and as his body fell on it the ground was as soft to him as a great pile of leaves.  And indeed the ground was leaves, he perceived, and they exploded around him, going up in the air and then falling, fluttering upon him gently.

‘Hello, mother.  Touch your precious boy again before I go dying.  Remind me that it was not always only South Dakota that took care of me.  That there was once a boy, and you touched his face with softness.  And here I am, mother, with your cold fingers.’

And the woman that Rifle saw that day in the camp of the Strangers reminded him of mother.  And then later there was something in the eye of Leonard, and Rifle saw it and Leonard knew he saw it.  And that was the day Rifle was no more a Stranger. He lay that night on his bedroll and thought of his mother.

‘Touch me mother once again with your cold fingers, before you go and kiss the baby girl.  And then, not long after, you and the baby were gone.’

‘Now I feel your cold fingers again on my cheek, with this bullet.  And down my throat and behind my neck.  This is what I want, and now I know why I rode so far ahead of Leonard to find this boy.  I know why.  Deep down, I know this is why.  He seems like a very good boy to me.’

Then the last of the leaves fluttered upon Rifle, and the sky, the gray sky of South Dakota, went black before his eyes.

As Rifle’s body hit the ground his horse reared up with a great start and tore off into the woods, knocking the boy over as she went.  The boy’s face pressed hard against the cold frozen leaves and the mud and the snow.  The cold leaves felt like his own skin.

More horses, snorting and snarling like wolves, came closer and the boy could hear them.  He looked over at the body of the stranger.  His hat had rolled off of his head, over to one side, and the boy could see the scabby wound on his bald spot.

The boy was in pain and breathing hard.  He stood on two uncooperative legs which shuddered.  He still held his gun, and it dangled in his hand by his side.  How many more strangers were coming, he thought.  Did he have enough bullets?

The man on the ground did not look like Dakota Inc., the boy told himself again.  There was nothing of their shiny veneer upon his face or body.  Nothing of their beautiful and guilty wrapping.  This man was a wretch.  Hired, probably.  The boy could tell.  He looked like he had been tortured, and in his dead eyes was the look of the uncommitted.

Was he a partisan?  Maybe.  The boy knew partisans from the War of the States.  Some of them were committed to the cause of whichever side they fought for, but most only dabbled.  Fighting for profit or some other reason that had nothing to do with the War.  For some purpose that usually extended no further than themselves.

The sound of the horses came louder and louder, resounding off the opposite bank of the cold river.  For a moment the boy was confused as to where the sound was coming from.  He held up his gun and whirled around aimlessly, looking for where they might come into view.

And then they did.  Leonard and his Strangers arrived like a cold, sunny haze on the horizon.  The boy blinked.  They were a blur.  He could not hold his gun up, he had no strength.  The Strangers rushed around him and he felt the cold wind come in through the openings in his sleeves and around his collar and through the seams of his coat.  He fell to the ground, dropping his gun and clutching his painful hand.

***

Leonard looked at the boy, then looked at Rifle.  He got down from his horse.  It was a smooth, fluid motion.  More like a dancer than a rider.  In an instant he was upon the boy.  In one leap he was all the way from his horse to the boy.  The boy tried to grab his gun from the ground with his good hand.  He managed to bring it up, but then Leonard slapped it roughly away, breaking the boy’s wrist.  The boy cried out, and the gun went skittering into the trees.  Then Leonard slapped the boy’s face, which bloodied his nose and left a red hand mark which began to swell.

The boy moaned and fell on the ground next to Rifle.  His face was burning.  Both hands were burning.  And the fire came up higher and higher, from his face to the top of his head.  From his hands up to his heart until his whole body was in flames.  He turned his head to the side, grimacing, and saw the moving waters of the cold river.  He wanted them more than anything.

He groaned and felt the blood from his nose drip into his mouth and choke him.  The mountain seemed to move and lurch under him.  Even the once calm waters of the cold river seemed to be exploding in his ears now with their deafening howl. The gray covered face above him resembled the sky, and there was blackness around it as the boy’s eyes dimmed.  He was delirious, and soon all he could see was the sky.

“Van Carlo,” Leonard said.

The boy’s eyes rolled into the back of his head.

“Van Carlo,” the boy managed to spurt out.  “Yes.  Van Carlo.”

When he heard this, it was difficult for Leonard to contain his rage.  All the other Strangers gathered around the boy in an uneven circle.  Some sat.  Some stood.  Some even laid on the ground.  When the boy moaned, some of them moaned, too.  The boy move moved and twisted uncomfortably.  And every time he moved, some of the Strangers moved and swayed.

Leonard screamed at the boy to do something, but the boy did not answer. Once again, Leonard was upon him and he dragged the boy to his knees. There was blood all over the boy, but it was not enough for Leonard. Leonard always saw blood, thanks to his bleeding eye, so he never even noticed it upon others.  And anyway, it was easy to make a man bleed; harder to get him to answer.

Leonard screamed at the boy and commanded him to do something nonsensical.  He told him to put his hands over his ears. He told him to sit back and tap the top of his boot with his bleeding hand, then to tap it with the broken hand to see if there was a difference.  He told him to sing a lullaby to the dead body of Rifle.  Then Leonard said that he himself would sing a lullaby, and the boy would sing along, over and over, until he had memorized it.

But the boy could do nothing because of the pain.  He was not listening, and again his eyes rolled back until they were all white.  Just a blank face, as dead and silent as the features of a smooth desert landscape.  Leonard picked up the boy’s dirty gray hat and put it roughly on the boy’s head, pulling it down tightly over his eyes. He screamed something unintelligible at the boy, but there was no response.

Nothing was getting through.  The boy felt like a baby in a womb, where there was warm blood all around and a rush of pain and water, and there was a mother screaming.

            Leonard picked the boy up with both hands by the collar of his coat and shook him violently.  Then he threw him to the ground and kicked him hard in the side with the spur on the right heel of his boot, which was larger than the one on his left. This spur Leonard called the Witch’s Spur.  It was large and sharp and the edges were curled slightly.  The stabbing sent another shock of pain to the boy’s mind and there it flashed behind his eyelids like lightning.

            Then Leonard stood up over the boy.  The boy was unconscious now, and still.  Leonard breathed in and out slowly.  He tried to straighten his bandanas, which had shifted slightly, and he tried to smooth them. As he did this his hand caught his eye and some of the blood smeared on it, for the eye was bleeding heavily now, and it began to settle and dry where the bandanas caved inward around his mouth area, forming a large uneven blood splatter there.

            Leonard wiped the blood roughly away from his eye as best he could, but the eye did not stop bleeding.  He cursed through the blood splatter stain and wished that the eye had never been slashed.  He sometimes wished he had just walked away from that man and had not fought him.  The eye could be so much trouble sometimes, and he regretted it.

            He looked around.  He hated the mountain.  He never understood it.  Why did they always run here?  They thought they were running away from South Dakota up there, getting above its ground.  But they were liars.  South Dakota was all around.  If you started walking, inevitably you would go downhill, and eventually you would end up back on the ground of South Dakota.  So they were liars.  Stupid liars.

            And then Leonard looked around.  The horse.  Where was Rifle’s horse?  He screamed and cursed again.  Rifle would have remembered the horse.  Rifle used to be the voice of Leonard. But now only the small voice of Fire came to him sometimes out of the group of remaining Strangers, and Fire was nowhere near as good a boy as Rifle.  Thankfully there was the boy from Van Carlo.  Van Carlo used to be the voice, even before Rifle was the voice.  Van Carlo was a very good boy and a very good voice, until he turned to gambling.  Hopefully this new boy of Van Carlo’s would be just as good.

            And how would Leonard convince this boy?  By answering him always, when he finally awoke.  No matter what the boy said, or who he was talking to, even if he was speaking only to himself, Leonard would always have an answer.  Always something to say.  The boy would never be alone with his words.

            Leonard shouted at the Strangers.  He commanded them to lay on the ground next to the boy to keep him warm.  He told them to push themselves against him, all around, so that all he felt was their coats, and until he could not tell the Stranger’s coat from his own skin in South Dakota.

            “If he awakes,” Leonard said to Fire.  “Hold a gun against his head.  Keep it there and don’t move it.  Then talk to him.  But not about the gun.  Talk to him about anything else, but not the gun.  Talk to him until he forgets it is even there.”

            Fire shook his head.  “I don’t think he will be in the mood for talking,” he said.

            Leonard sighed, then lifted his head and hands and shouted into the air.  “Oh, Rifle!  Where is my good boy?  You have left me only Fire.  And he doesn’t even understand that the groans and mumbling of the wounded are the most important words of all. Oh, Rifle!  What made you think that the woman was anything?  Even in plain view, what did she matter?”  The Leonard sobbed in his hands.  Fire said nothing, but, still watching Leonard, pulled out his gun and placed it against the boy’s head. Then Leonard stopped sobbing and sighed.  There were no tears.  Only blood from his eye.  He was as hard and cold as he had ever been.

            Leonard looked at the Stranger called Blanket and commanded him to go find the boy’s horse and to bring it back to camp.  Then he turned back to Fire.

            “Fire, talk to him,” he said.  “You know what to say, even if the boy is not in the mood for talking.  Since when does it matter how the other is responding or what language they are using?  Words.  Groans.  Guns.  Money.  Eyes.  Don’t be a fool, Fire, and don’t hurt me any worse than I have already been hurt today.”

            Then, as a rushing wind, a blur, a bird, a swaying branch, Leonard was swooped up on his great horse and he rode fast.  Very fast through the trees.  The snow crashed from the trees, exploding, and the whiteness blinded both the horse and the rider.  Leonard cursed the white blindness. Some of it got on his bandana and froze into chunks of ice there, pulling it down, and he cursed it and smashed at his face with a fist.  Then the sharp pine needles from the evergreens stabbed him, and some even stabbed into his one good eye and the pain was searing hot.  Then branches slashed at him like sabers from cavalry riders and he screamed at them.  He hated the mountain.

He decided that he must get above the ground and the trees there.  High on a mountain and yet still choked by the ground, and what a dreadful place, he thought.  So Leonard leapt from his saddle and grabbed a high branch.  And then, running, climbing, flying, he went higher and higher to the top of the trees.  Above all the blinding whiteness of the falling and exploding snow, until he could go no higher.  There, running across the very tops of the trees he looked around and could see all of South Dakota.  Every town and barren place, and everything in between and under and above.  Then, down the mountain, on the other side of the cold river he saw Rifle’s horse.  Down she ran, out of the trees and into the plains.

The mountain began to slope down and Leonard ran even faster, chasing and gaining on the horse as she rocketed out onto the clear, a trail of dust streaking and widening behind her.  Leonard’s coat flew out behind him and spread across the sky like the swirling clouds.  From somewhere underneath his coat he drew a long-barreled rifle.

Leonard always had rifles and pistols and plenty of bullets.  He never had to look for them, never to ask to borrow them.  He had so many bullets that sometimes they rained down upon the ground from underneath his coat when he walked.  But he never bothered to pick them up.  They were endless.

Still running, Leonard brought the rifle to his cheek and let the barrel follow the running horse for a while as she ran.  Then he fired and the horse tumbled and tumbled, a tangle of dust and head and tail and legs, but none of it making sense anymore.  Then finally she came to a rest, and the dust slowly caught up to her crumpled dead body and settled gently upon her.

Leonard stopped running and stood on a high tree branch and stared at the dead horse.  He put the rifle back inside his coat somewhere.  Then he looked around, from one end of the sky to the other.  He could not see the oceans at all, but he could see all of South Dakota.  And he nodded, satisfied that it was enough for most men.

He sank below the trees.  Finding his horse, he rode slowly back to the boy and his Strangers. He was in no hurry now.  Everything that was coming from now on would take some time.

Leonard arrived back where the boy and the Strangers were, near the cold river.  He looked at the body of Rifle, and was sad that soon Rifle, and his voice along with him, would be in the ground.  Not that he would be buried.  There was no burial for the Stranger.  South Dakota would take him down soon enough.  Even if it took a lifetime, the ground would get him quite naturally on its own.

Leonard commanded the Stranger called Rope to wake the boy up.  Rope took a tin can of something heavy and disturbing and waved it close under the boy’s nose, sticking his nose right in it.  The boy woke with a violent shake and his eyes opened and darted around like a madman.

Leonard grabbed him by the cheeks and brought him to his knees and knelt down beside him and squeezed his cheeks hard until they bled and until the boy was still.

“Calm down,” Leonard said.  “Your hands are fine.  Bandaged as before. Bleeding a little, but good enough. I need you to get on your horse.  It has been found and brought to you. We need to go to Shadow.  I know that there are men there that have done this to you.  Not this.  Not just this.  But all of this.  They are Dakota Inc., and I hate them with a hatred as deep as a well that has no bottom.  I hate them as much as you do.”

(CH. 4, PART 3)-The Boy Stranger: A free allegorical novel

Near the bottom of the mountain the boy and Lucy stopped to rest and to eat some cornmeal.  Lucy could not keep any of it down.  She would just cough it up, and it would run down the blankets and make her filthy.  The boy covered her up tightly and put her in the back of the wagon.  Then he laid down next to her and they tried to sleep for a while.  But it was hard because of all the coughing.

            The boy worried.  He wished he could cough for her.  He laid close to her, trying to keep her warm, his chest pressed tightly against her back and his arms over her.  When she coughed her bones rattled, and the shuddering was so bad that the boy’s body moved, too.  Then she would breath and he could feel the deep, raspy vibrations as if they were coming from inside his own lungs.

            He closed his eyes and pretended that it was him who had the sickness, not Lucy.  It was easy to imagine because he was so close, he could feel everything from her in his own body.

             After a moment he leaned over and began to stroke her ash covered forehead with his bandaged hand.  He spit on it a little and some of the ash came off.  He thought about how they were out of food.  He’d only brought a little cornmeal.  Just whatever he could grab and put in his pockets on the way out the door.  They would need more food.

            He did have his gun, and he had remembered to bring extra bullets.  There were some in the room with the hole in it, in a drawer in a table near the bed, and he had taken them.

            If Lucy could survive the setting sun and the night, there was food in the mountain, and he would go and hunt it tomorrow.  Maybe there would be a rabbit, or something bigger.  Like a deer.  A deer that had become separated from the others.

But when morning came, the light of day began to make the boy nervous.  The slight bit of confidence he’d had about this day slowly vanished as the sun rose.  It was very cold.  The boy checked Lucy’s forehead and she shuddered and gasped and then went back to sleep.

            He wanted to make a fire, but the thought of even more light, even so much as a little burning candle, made the boy afraid.  A fire would make them warm, but it would also be a signal to those looking for them.  The smoke, the smell, the light.  It would lead Dakota Inc. straight to them.

No, the boy thought.  If they built a fire to get warm then they might as well just throw themselves on it.

            The boy decided that they needed to get up the mountain as fast as they could.  Maybe they could build a fire up there, high enough and covered enough so that no one would see.  Or even better, they might get up the mountain quickly, and there would be another road down the other side and they could just keep going.  Out of South Dakota and all the way to the ocean if they could.

The boy climbed out of the wagon and gave the horse a little water and fed her some gritty oats from a small pail that they kept in the back of the wagon.  He checked her foot to make sure it was okay from where she had stepped on the head of the man from Dakota Inc..  It was fine.  Nothing but a rock or a bump in the road to her.

            The boy heard men coming as he was climbing back into the wagon.  His heart stopped for a moment, and then it began to race.  He held his breath and turned to face the horizon, away from the mountain.  It was flat like the edge on an ax.  He couldn’t see anything.  But his ears were very good and as he listened closely he was sure he could hear them.  The voices of the men resonated off the rocks of the mountain and it made them sound as if they were all around.

Voices.  A leader.  Commands.  Then, just the feet of horses.  Many horses, and then, just one.  Pulling away.  Coming faster than the others.

            A moment later, just barely, the boy saw their heads on the horizon.  Blurry dots, going up and down in unison, parting the horizon like a mouth opening.  Eight of them coming.  One was out in front.

            The boy grabbed the reigns hastily and turned the horse towards the trail that led up the mountain.  It was bitter cold outside, and up the mountain, it was sure to be even colder.  But the boy did not notice how cold it was because he was too busy looking behind at the men coming after them.  Lucy did not notice either because she was in the back sleeping or unconscious, and not even the rocking of the wagon could wake her.

            The trail started up gently, but quickly became steeper and steeper.  It burrowed into thick trees and made the boy feel as though he were diving into a rabbit hole that went up instead of down.  A short while later, the road tapered and flattened and ran alongside a shallow river.  The road was smoother there, with the mud packed down and the rocks on the shore relatively flat.

            Lucy and the sparse supplies in the wagon made for a very light load, so the horse was able to move quickly.  The boy drove her with urgency, and she sensed it, and for the first time the boy noticed that she could move exceptionally quick for her age.

            The trail began to turn upward again as it wound throughout the mountain, and soon there was snow under their wheels.  The trees were not as thick there, the leaves having fallen from them, and the snow on the naked branches looked like sleeves.

The feet of the horses of the men behind him had finally faded away.  The mountain was quiet except for the sound of the wagon and the feet of the horse in the snow, and the occasional crack and swish of branches and leaves as the wagon brushed past them.  Snow shook free from the branches and fell upon Lucy in the back of the wagon.  Another blanket on top of the many she was under.  But she did not stir.

            For some reason, the boy began to feel a little confident.  He felt that he had escaped the men.  He had killed one.  His gun felt long and sure in his belt.  He decided that soon it would be safe to stop and rest and make a fire.  Then he would go and take his long gun to find some food as Lucy and the horse rested.  He slowed the horse and wagon down so that they were no longer running.

            The boy was quiet and contemplative.  Lucy was quiet.  She no longer coughed or shuddered in the back of the wagon.  She was resting well and quietly, which was very good for her.  Everything seemed peaceful now.  Even the horse did not snort or breath too heavy.

The boy turned to look at Lucy and saw how quiet she was.  He tilted his head a little and watched and listened.  There was no sound or movement from her.  The blanket no longer seemed to rise or fall with the breath of her weak lungs.

She certainly was quiet, the boy thought.

            Then he realized that Lucy was gone, and she was as quiet as she had ever been or would ever be again.  Gone from Richmond.  Gone from South Dakota.

There was a white line of snow on her forehead that had melted and washed away the ash, but it had since refrozen.  Her eyes were now the color of the gray sky, and grainy, like sand.  They were open to the sky and they examined it with the deep, deep indifference the dead.

And all of a sudden, everything was new.  With her.  With the boy.  With South Dakota.  The boy could feel it, but he had not the imagination to describe it.  For he was a fool, and a dullard, with the imagination of a pure white beach.

The boy stopped the wagon by the river and cried bitterly as the snow fell.  He removed his hat and tossed it to the ground and ran his clawed fingers through his hair slowly and tightly.  Then he climbed into the back of the wagon and shouted over her body.  He didn’t know what else to do.

He remembered she wanted flowers, and wanted her corsage.  But he had no imagination, so he asked her what he should do.

‘Oh, Jason, my brother,’ she said.  ‘A dullard and a fool with an imagination like the flick of a dog’s ear. Don’t you remember how lovely the flowers are?  And I will have one when my soldier returns.  And he will give me the corsage and the ring, and I will make the sweet muffins, and he will have saved us from the blue soldiers, and there will be no blood on him.  If you can remember this, Jason, you can remember the flowers.  This is the way it shall be, if only we listen to father and go with him out West.’

“Yes, Lucy,” the boy said.  “Yes.  Should we continue to go West?  What do you see there?  What do you think father sees?”

‘See how lovely South Dakota is,’ Lucy continued, as if she did not hear him.  ‘See, my brother, all the pretty flowers!  And they have grown in the ground from Richmond to South Dakota, popping up as in a line.’

Then there was only the sound of the snow falling.  The boy shouted over her body some more, and then he began to sing a loud song, tangled in spit and tears.  He did not care who heard him.  And when the song was over, he wept over Lucy’s body bitterly until the sun was at its highest point in the sky and he could not continue any longer.

For some time after that he lay across her body in silence in the back of the wagon.  Trying hard to sink down into her, and into the earth, to disappear.  But the snow on his neck reminded him that he still lived, and that he needed to move on.

He pulled the blanket up over her face.  He wished he had not accidentally burned the colored quilt back at the ranch house.  It was beautiful, and he would have liked to bury her in it.  This blanket was only black and white, but it would have to do.

The boy let out a great scream into the air, and then removed his gun from his belt.  He placed the barrel of the gun against his bandaged hand and fired.  He screamed again in great pain as blood poured and splattered onto the black and white blanket, and turned the bandage on his hand red.

“Here are your flowers, Lucy,” he said through clenched teeth and tears.  Then he took his bleeding hand and patted red spots on the blanket.  All over it, from Lucy’s head to her feet.  He looked at his bleeding hand and said, “It is a corsage.”  Then he threw his gun to the ground outside the wagon and lay across his her body for a long time.

 

“Self-Limitation” is Ironically a Product of an Absolute Self

“Self-limitation” is a contradiction in terms.  What this phrase really signifies is the affirmation of the “self” (whatever self is in question) as the only and absolute authority to which the “self” must ultimately answer.  Depending on what we define as the self this can be a good or a bad thing.  It affirms that whatever IS, must be, at its root, the singular and utter source of its own being.  That it “causes” and is “caused upon” because it is able to BE itself FIRST; and thus it is inexorably and categorically actual and infinite.  Not easy stuff to grasp, granted.  But we cannot underestimate the vast and tedious work involved in redirecting our thinking from its thoroughly ingrained Platonist roots, which infects every facet of our way of life like a cancerous tumor larger than one’s very body.  It is a cancer which, to quote Yoda, surrounds us and binds us.

That’s right.  I submit that the the same philosophical assumptions under-gird both the atheist and the reformed protestant, the scientist and the mystic, the liberal and the conservative, the government and the governed in our world today.  The most significant challenge facing us then is the learning of how to separate what is actual from what is conceptual.  When these two things are confused and fused, human beings become little more than lunch served to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the unobservable, all-determining forces beyond our senses.  This results in tyranny and all manner of death…physical and spiritual.  And as we are, by inherent nature, conceptual beings, and function almost wholly by abstraction, it is a given that there are many who, at this point in human evolution, simply cannot understand the difference.  They have evolved to be completely blind to it.  I’m not sure if this is their fault or not; whether they refuse to acknowledge it at some point, deciding that someone else is always in a better position to define themselves for themselves according to some usually difficult-to-understand construct (like the laws of physics and their mathematical corollaries; or the rational larceny (thanks to John Immel for that phrase) of Augustinian Christian theology which cannot be learned but must be divinely “revealed”)…or, do people simply fall into their Platonist reality by virtue of osmosis?  Beyond the “age of awareness” does the blurring of the distinction between the concepts which exist in man’s mind and the objects he observes with his senses just become the default process by which everything in life is vetted?  Perhaps this evolutionary change in mankind’s brain is “the fall” which necessitated God’s intervention on man’s behalf for salvation.  I believe that this is not a wholly irrational supposition.

But regardless of whether TRUTH is purposefully rejected by us or not, I believe that we are simply NOT born this way.  I submit that the “faith like a child” Jesus requires is the very understanding of the distinction between actuality and conceptual abstraction.  For I have yet to see a child who does not first and foremost understand that his or her life is GOOD.  That is why they cry when they are hungry and avoid the fire of the oven once they have been burned.  Inherently children understand that that which hurts them is BAD, and that which comforts them is GOOD.  In short, they instinctively recognize themselves as the root of all TRUTH, from which they are able to efficaciously and truthfully organize their surroundings into the concepts of morality (good vs. bad) and value (helpful to SELF vs. antithetical to SELF).

At any rate, back to “self-limitation”.  Like I said, this notion confirms that the self is the singular and infinite authority by which it acts or is acted upon.  And this then means that there can be no violation of any self-imposed limitation because there can, of course, be no breach of the limit of the self which is imposed by that same self.  Why?  Because the very authority appealed to as the right to set the limit is no greater than the authority which is appealed to as an excuse to violate it; the authority is the same in both instances.

The idea of self-limitation is ironically an extension of the self’s power.  Think about this the next time you decide to trust the “state”–be it the Church, or the Government, or whatever flavor of collective–to police its own power.  To police its SELF.  For in actuality, self-limitation is merely a euphemism for self-authority…the limitlessness of the authority of the self to act in whatever way it chooses.  The (misunderstood) notion of self-limitation is really the proclamation that all power proceeds from the self.  And whether the actions of the self in question are qualified as an extension of its power or a restraining of it does not change the absolute and infinite metaphysical singularity of the self, and therefore its categorical authority to act on its own behalf, infinitely and absolutely, which it MUST and cannot help but do, which again makes every act of the self an extension of its power of being, regardless of how an observer qualifies that act.

I told you…this blog is not for the faint of philosophical heart.  Well…I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but this is necessary medicine.  There is no easy cure for the cancer of Plato.  We must understand and integrate these ideas into our thinking if we ever want to be free.  We must make the fundamental distinction between infinite, absolute CONCEPTS and infinite, absolute OBJECTS.  And then we must learn how they interact.  And then we must define which one gives value to the other.  There is only one answer, but getting there is hard work.  And the answer is literally the difference between life and death; that is, does man exist to DIE as his greatest act of GOOD, or does man exist to LIVE as his greatest act of GOOD?  Is life the way to TRUTH or is death the way to TRUTH? It’s a choice…and it must be informed.

All actions of the self must proceed from the absolute authority of the self to BE absolutely.  The self in question then cannot be bound, in actuality, by any limitation; for “limitation” is purely a conceptual abstraction.  It isn’t actual.  The self is actual.  So, as I said above, every act of the self regardless of how an observer qualifies/quantifies it is an extension, not a limitation of the self.  The self is infinite and absolute.  It has an infinite power to BE self, and every action is a function of this.  Therefore, and again, self-limitation is not actually possible.

If we concede that the self in question is the individual human being, this metaphysical (and physical) truth is an unequivocally GOOD thing.  We are all dandy, and treat each other with respect to the infinite value of the SELF of mankind.  And all the values of conceptual abstractions are derived from human life…nothing is “true” unless it affirms man’s categorical ability to define his reality in accordance with his own existential perpetuation and affirmation; comfort, health and freedom from the violation of person or property.  Life, liberty and happiness.  Good old Enlightenment thinking.

But what happens if the roles are reversed, as they are in Plato’s world (and Calvin’s, and Luther’s, and Marx’s, and the Stoics’, and the Gnostics’, and Piper’s, and Mahaney’s, and Islam’s, and the Atheists’, and the Scientists’)?  What happens when the concepts, which cannot be observed by man, are declared absolute, and man is given his value by them?  Are you starting to get the problem?  If man is defined by what man cannot ultimately observe, then man is defined by what he cannot ultimately know.  And if man is defined by a “truth” that he cannot possibly know because it transcends his physical and epistemological ability to “see” then man cannot declare anything true, or good, or false or evil.  Morality is relative.  Man is subjugated to that which MUST own him and BE him, in a sense…that all-powerful, all-determining force outside of him.  And how is this done?  For if no man can apprehend TRUTH then who on earth can wield it?  Who exactly can declare truth truth if it is beyond man?

Enter the notion of the Man in the Stead of God.  The incarnation of the Law which Governs.  The proof that the law is real is found in the willingness of those “called” by the Primary Consciousness to take the match, the guillotine, the firing squad, the iron maiden, the chemical weapon, the noose to those who would deny the absolute “authority” of the law which demands they live as if they are dead, in service to its “truth”.

SomeONE must BE the collective in other words, in order that people can be compelled to to die in service to it.  You see, the “collective” or the “state” is not actually around to make its power known.  The responsibility for making sure that it is absolute then is put, somehow, into the hands of the very men who proclaim that neither your nor I can be in a position to question its ineffability because we are mere human beings.  Just like they are.  Except, remember, your eyes perpetually deceive you.  You can no more declare them hypocrites than you can explain your own existence in light of the absolute and infinite idea which they declare is TRUTH.  They are always right and you are always wrong…the reason is not rational, it is existential.  Because you ARE means that you cannot KNOW.  Your very existence denies your ability to realize you exist.  There is no definition for you outside of the abstract absolute which these men embody.  The “how is that possible?” is not a rational question for you to ask, then; it is merely a perfunctory symptom of your perpetually un-enlightened position as a human.

The idea that there can be any limitation, even YOUR existence, to the conceptual abstraction declared TRUTH is a farce.  It is a rational impossibility.  Thus, your observation must be flawed.  Period.  Full stop.  There is nothing more to say.  For all your words are pointless…a product of the utter vacuum of your false existence. 

Do you see why I spend so much time railing against the actuality of time and space; distance and speed; mathematics and measurements? These are things that cannot be observed.  They are “revealed” through things in the world and universe which are observed, which must logically mean that these abstract concepts are given their value by the things which man observes, the preeminent one being man’s SELF.  Not the other way around.  And if this is true, then we concede that ALL abstractions are products of man’s mind, by which he organizes his environment.  To what end?

The end of himself.  Which is his own life.  Which is his only context by which he can know anything at all.  Thus MAN is the source of all TRUTH.  Nothing else.  Not even God.

Off with my head.

But I will wager my reason against your Platonism before God’s Throne any day.  For my God declares the worth of humanity; and humanity which has worth is humanity which can be saved.  If humanity is worth-less, then there cannot be any salvation nor any God to know.

If the equation is reversed…if man is given value by that which he cannot observe and thus cannot possibly know, then man is nothing at all, by definition.  He is not life, he is death…he is, at his root, ultimately defined by nonexistence.  Which means that the source of truth is not the presence of man, but the absence of him.

And this is a lie from hell; the root of all tyranny.

Going “There”: Can Reformed Theology Actually Save?

“It might the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor.  🙂  Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson

The implicit assumption in this comment is that the pastor, regardless of his moral atrocities, can never be disqualified from his position of ecclesiastical leadership (i.e. his job) because he can always appeal to the “sin nature” of the congregation as an excuse for his evil actions.  “Just look what you made me do” has been the defense of many a psychopathic abuser.  It is the ultimate appeal to a “truth” outside of man, of moral relativism, and of a separation between God and humanity.  That these words should have even crossed the mind of a Christian teacher is disturbing, and should prove to anyone interested that those who would call themselves shepherds of God’s people need to have their doctrine thoroughly vetted in accordance with the plumb line of human lives.  If what they believe demands that humanity be sacrificed upon the alter of their philosophy, then they should be cast out the door.

The plain truth is that human life is the singular, absolute source and context and meaning and TRUTH for all we as Christians hold dear:  the Bible, the Prophets, the Lord, the Spirit, the Messiah, the GOOD.  Without human life, none of these things has any meaning or purpose.  It is axiomatic that all TRUTH (value and morality) can only be a function of the HUMAN frame of reference.  It is categorically impossible to declare any TRUTH beyond the context of human life.  We are all human beings, and thus we all have the exact same frame of reference.  Thus, TRUTH, even Christian TRUTH, and God’s TRUTH, both begins and ends with human life.  Thus, and again, any philosophy/theology/doctrine which demands otherwise…which demands, in any form (e.g. a “biblical role”, a “law”, a “collective…like ‘church body’ or ‘the party'”, a determining force like “sin nature” or “God’s sovereignty”), that man’s life is to be subverted in order that absolute “truth” can reign absolutely…well, this must be declared a lie; for it is impossible to make a rational argument that man can either pursue it, or even know it.  Anything claimed to be truth outside of man’s five senses cannot possibly be known, and therefore, it cannot possibly be truth.

And this is a fact that many Christians refuse to swallow…and this is why I submit that there will be fewer “Christians” in heaven than we might otherwise assume.  And this is a dreadful and terrifying thought.

I do not say this to bludgeon people with fear of fire and brimstone…I do not need to do that, for I have developed rational arguments for the defense of my ideas.  I don’t need to scare you; I’ll leave that for the Calvinist mystics who peddle Platonist Gnosticism for Christ’s love.  I only need to lead you (the Calvinist/Reformed Protestant/Augustinian Catholic) right where your false philosophy is dying to go…literally and figuratively:  to rank contradiction.  Once you have been forced to punt your fundamental assumptions into the great cosmic abyss of God’s mystery, my work is finished.  Thus, I do not cry hell to frighten you.  I do it to reason with you.

Look at my mock conversation between the King and Christian, which I posted a couple of weeks ago.  What is my point?  What does King’s last statement declare?  It declares that God is unable to save that which He cannot know because it has no actual LIFE to it.  In other words, God cannot save that which is NOTHING according to the philosophy which is presented to Him.  Since it is impossible for God to possess man–for it is axiomatic to say that God cannot BE what he is NOT–we must concede that man is man, and God is NOT man.  Thus, there must be a way in which man can truly exist to God so that God can declare him TRUE and thus GOOD by virtue of the saving sacrifice of Messiah.  But if man willingly denies himself in service to a philosophy that demands he cannot possibly EXIST, in service to the absolute-ness of the philosophy, then there is nothing for God to save, by definition.  For we greatly underestimate how what we THINK and what we BELIEVE defines our reality for us.  This is not subjectivity…this is reality.  This is actuality.  For if you observe all life through a prism of non-existence, then by definition you cannot actually exist, since existence is a function of observation and your philosophy explicitly DENIES observation as the means to TRUTH; which means to LIFE, which is YOUR REALITY…and there is no other.

But you might say that God can see you for what you really are, and so it is perfectly within His power to save you.  You might argue that it is what God observes that matters, not what you observe (never mind that you cannot make that argument without the ability to observe your environment and then create conceptualizations in order that you can define what you will accept as truth or false in accordance with those conceptualizations…but Platonism is rife with contradictions).  But this doesn’t lionize God, nor appeal to His absolute power and sovereignty (which are completely misrepresented in Reformed Theology anyway).  This is a lie. This demands that God make Himself a hypocrite and utterly remove Himself from the context of his own Creation and humanity itself. It demands that God become wholly unknowable to His children…and herein lies the crux of Calvinism’s evil:  That God is put away from His children and the power of His salvation and Truth, all of which are thieved by men who are obsessed with being God for Him.  It is the same sin as Satan’s.

To deny your senses and your observable reality in favor of “God’s truth” is nothing more than demanding that God contradict His own existence.  That God be a God of nothing.  Or, more poignantly, that God be a God of DEATH.  For implicit in its Platonist/Gnostic roots, Calvinism declares that man’s DEATH bring life, thus creating the contradiction of all contradictions:  that God Himself is responsible for bringing DEATH to the world; which implicates him in all evil and sin.  They, that is, the modern day Reformers, will argue that doctrine of God’s sovereignty elevates His goodness and power.  In truth, what it does is makes this goodness and power, and God himself, unable to be known at all by man, since man, in the context of an absolutely controlling God, cannot exist.  It demands that God possess man, and thus violate His holy perfect and absolute I AM in the interest of BEING that which He is not.  And when we claim that He is what He is not, we implicate Him in the violation of the human SELF, which thus violates man’s ability to know Him as God, which is a direct violation of God’s SELF.

Now, I ask you, how exactly are we asking God to “save” a people who function unequivocally from such an understanding of the universe? Who is it God shall save?  Who ultimately are we declaring does the saving?  There is no actual answer to this, and thus there can be no actual salvation.

We would do well to consider such a thing before we affirm what our modern mystics would teach us.

And if you don’t, well…yeah…maybe you should be a little frightened.