I prayed before I wrote this (but I’m still a Bad Man)
This is the first of the four new ones I referred to in the 9/27 post.
I was talking to a friend of mine that I hadn’t spoken with in quite some time. He was shocked to see references to prayer and God scattered throughout my work. He had known me as an atheist, a rationalist, and a hardcore existentialist and I also know what he was thinking, (without him ever stating it because, as I stated, he is my friend) that my mind had gone soft. Perhaps, but I have taken this time in my life to reexamine my perceptions of this world and the subtlety and nuance of it leads me to spiritual thinking. It is the necessity of poetry, examination.
Poetry, in the musical sense, is the tonal vibrations of words given cadence and rhythm. When I was teaching my children to read, I came to realize they had already learned to speak and hear words, had learned meaning though context, and now only needed to associate letters and words with that which they already knew. As I taught them to deconstruct words by letters, “sounding out” words, I, myself, started to deconstruct them, to reexamine words by letter, noticing for the first time the subtlety of the process. I read at a very early age (3) and have no conscious recollection of learning by letter, only seeing words I already knew. To this day, tone, cadence and rhythm are the bane of my poetry.
Ezra Pound had a theory about Chinese ideograms carrying the spirit of each character composing the the whole of the statement (apparently dis proven by Chinese scholars, but an interesting concept.) Later, his friend Charles Olson made a similar claim about language,”Force stays, is therefore stays,” meaning the properly chosen words carry more than their meaning also carrying the energy of the thought as well. If you coincide the law of conservation of energy (from physics) could one consider the energy of thought as energy captured in this universe, not disappearing into the ether, perhaps just changing form?
So letters give language its tone or vibration and, from Pound and Olson, we get thought carried as vibrations in language. Add in string theory (again from physics) and you have matter comprised of energy strings. Okay. So from thought in one’s head to spoken word carried on energy strings to the recipients brain (including the energy strings in neurons, muscles of the tongue and ear) and one can make the case for “Force stays, is therefore stays.” Whether the concept from the speaker is what is heard by the listener is a question all together different, but the energy would be the same, some of it being consumed by confusion.
You know what I mean?
This afternoon I noticed for the first time the vines that grow on my house. The common name is Cat’s Claw, given to the anchors that it extends in order to climb. The climbing I understand; they climb toward sunlight. What I don’t understand is how do they know where to anchor? The claws only grow toward an attachment point, not in all directions. Is there a consciousness there? When they touch the wall do they recognise it? Remember this is only a plant, much less than a person.
Sunday morning, as I was driving my children home from the park, we passed a graveyard. My seven year old piped in with, “Look, a graveyard. Why is it near the park?” I took that as an invitation to discuss death with both of them. I said, “Yes, it is. Do you know how that works?” No reply. “When you die, you are returned to the Earth to replace the nutrients from your body so they can be reused. Parts of you always remain on this Earth, first as soil, then food for grass and trees that people and animals eat, the water from your body rejoins the water cycle, you learned about that in school, right?” “Yeah, it evaporates and then we drink the rain.” “Right, we are always part of this Earth from before we are born, during our lives and after we are dead.”
Children, while having beautiful souls, have not achieved consciousness yet, so I skipped that whole question entirely. A different discussion for a different day. Later, at home, I started thinking again about energy strings and conservation of energy and the thought popped into my head: Thoughts produce measurable waves that proceed from the brain. Does the energy from consciousness stay captive in, or is made continuous in transmission along, energy strings? Can the same strings that comprise matter and energy be influenced by consciousness? Does more than the matter of us remain on this Earth? The conservation of matter and energy would indicate the force stays, is therefore stays. Does thought have varying degrees of density that might allow it not to shuffle off this mortal coil? Are they trapped in varying strata or quanta, or are all the same? Does the good or bad stay, or does it all? If it proceeds from this Earth, what replaces it, where does it go, how is it drawn there or does it just know like Cat’s Claw?
Energy is energy, isn’t it?
So what then of God and Heaven; would those be negated? Another friend, J.M., and I were discussing prayer. I stated to him that I found it clarifying and I couldn’t tell whether it was a reaction from God or just “rearranging the furniture in my mind” that brought about the clarity. J.M. said “What makes you think there is a difference?” My reaction, after several seconds of stunned silence, was, “I’m going to be thinking about that one all day,” (and I have now for weeks.)
I came to the realization that God (and God’s actions) was an external construct to me; the thought of God’s intervention in my life would be more of a bolt from Heaven than a fire in my heart. I now watch very carefully after I pray to see if I can feel or otherwise discern thoughts that would otherwise be foreign to me. I haven’t noticed them yet, but the examination is fascinating.
So, let’s make the assumption that God acts as a fire in your heart, a thought in your head. As we just discussed, conservation of energy would indicate conscious thought would stay in some form in this universe. Would prayer and thoughts of God create a larger footprint of that type of energy, perhaps that quanta? Like I said, fascinating.
So now we have God, possibly, what about Heaven? The concept of Heaven as an external concept is well explored. Heaven as an internal concept, well, I can think of nothing more heavenly than a child’s mind; the purity of perception, the stark wonder of the world that they experience. As they experience it, we rediscover it with them. So we come out of this Earth, to Heaven as a child, to create God as an adult and are returned to the Earth. All is conserved.
By the way, my child’s reply to the speech about decomposition was, simply, “That’s why there’s so many flowers.” Kids just can’t grasp this darkness and despair thing very long.
So to my friend I want to say keep an open mind, it’s more fun this way. Now I may get an email from a physicist or a theologian with a hardcore counter proof, but I’m okay with that. I’m just looking for a good story after all; I’m really just trying to provoke you. Discuss.
Ps. I wonder if there has ever been an experiment measuring the brain activity of a pious person in thought or prayer?