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Cookie Dough

5/01/2009

Okay. This one is mostly for the ladies, but I think most men will appreciate it too.

Imagine your favorite food. I’m not talking about Maryland crab cakes or fettuccini alfredo. I’m talking guilty snacking pleasures. For ladies, chocolate used to be high on the list — maybe it still is — but I’ve been hearing more about chocolate-covered pretzels and cookie dough lately. For this exercise, I’m going to assume cookie dough (substitute your favorite guilty pleasure as warranted).

Now imagine that you don’t have any cookie dough. You love cookie dough. You want cookie dough. As much cookie dough as you can get your hands on.

Half the people you know and half the people you meet are carrying cookie dough with them, but it’s covered. Oh, you can make out the outline. You know what’s under the cloth. The shape is uncanny. It’s a container of cookie dough. No one is saying anything. And no one is sharing.

Even half the people at work are carrying cookie dough with them. You are too embarrassed to look directly at their cookie dough. And, God forbid!, you would never ask them to see their cookie dough or certainly request a taste. (I mean, there are people who share cookie dough at work, but that’s a different essay.)

And then you come home from work. Your spouse (or significant other) has cookie dough ice cream. Only he has it covered too. He’s carrying it around everywhere. You keep staring at it, hoping he will share. But he ignores you.

You ask about it. “Hey, is that cookie dough? Can I see? Can I have some?”

“Maybe when the kids are asleep I’ll take out the cookie dough and give you some. Maybe. Unless I’m too tired,” he says.

All evening you wait for the kids to go to bed. You hope they fall asleep fast so that you can have some cookie dough. You might even do some of his chores to help him out. You know, to keep him from getting too tired.

After pulling the trash cans to the side of the road, you try to sneak a peek under his cloth to look at the cookie dough or even touch the container through the cloth. Insulted, he slaps your hand, “If you keep that up. You won’t be getting any cookie dough for a week.”

You sit in front of the television hoping that it will take your mind off the cookie dough. But guess what? Half the people on television are carrying cookie dough too! And by the looks of it, most of them don’t have the pint containers — they have quart or even gallon containers!

You start thinking, “You know, I can’t see the cookie dough. I wonder if it really is cookie dough; it could be brownie dough. Brownie dough is good too. I’d take brownie dough!”

By the time the kids are asleep, your spouse is too tired to share his cookie dough. It’s always that way. You knew it. He knew it.

In bed, in the dark, you put your arm around him and hold his cookie dough and dream: “Maybe tomorrow he’ll let me have some cookie dough. If he won’t let me taste it, maybe he’ll at least take off the cover let me see it for a while.”

Sweet dreams.

For guys, boobs are like cookie dough.

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On All Things Big and Small

24/12/2008

From the feedback regarding my essay “Dirge of the Butterfly“, I am compelled to explain and expand upon my relationship with God and Soul and Existence and Spirituality and All Things Unknown and Unknowable.

I am not an atheist.
I am not a deist.

I do not believe in an Unknowable God.
I believe that the True God cannot be known.

I do not have a personal relationship with God.
I believe that God may be that Relationship.

I do not believe that God can break the rules of nature.
I believe that God may be the Rules of Nature.

Sometimes I look back to the religious traditions of my family. I come from a long line of people that believed that Jesus was tortured and punished for the sins of all people that came before him and all the people that came after, that he died as a sacrifice on a cross, that he was resurrected and sits, even now, at the right hand of God. That Jesus, in deed and in fact, is the Son of God.

I believe that Jesus is God’s Son, but only in the way that you are God’s Child and I am God’s Child. I don’t believe that this is very far off from what Jesus taught when he was alive.

I don’t believe that Jesus had to be resurrected to give validation to the things he taught. I believe that what Jesus taught is far more important than the mystery of his death and the myths that have sprung up, like flowers, after it.

Life, I am certain, is a Great Ocean on a dark, starry night. And all that we see and do, touch, taste, smell, and hear are but ripples, waves, and reflections on the water’s surface. I believe there are untold and unknowable mysteries in the depth below the waves and in the space reaching to and through those stars. There is more to life, Constant Reader, then what our senses perceive. Of this, I am certain.

I do not believe in the supernatural. Anything that Is, by very definition, is natural.

To the ancients, lodestones were magical, supernatural things. Now we know them as mundane magnets. The history of science has revealed many lodestones. And there are many more yet to be discovered.

But, like magnetism and gravity and the wave-particle nature of atoms, we feel their vibrations and see their effects every day. Perhaps this is the nature of déjà vu and premonitions and the like. Perhaps this is the Nature and the Essence of God.

One vaguely pretentious and condescending commenter noted that “Intellectual understanding is the booby prize” that I should “Follow my own lasting happiness (to) discover all that matters,” as if following my “happiness” (my daemons, my inner thoughts, the magical nature of me) has not lead me to these conclusions. Dear Constant Reader, it is this exact following that has lead me down this road and not the interminable treatises of a thousand thousand other Seekers.

At some point I realized that the Unknowable Nature of God and the Unknowable Nature of His (again, forgive the pronoun) existence is just that. Unknowable. And it’s okay. I was not given a handbook when I left my mother’s birth canal that said, “Start here and seek the One True God. If you get it right, you don’t have to worry about (insert cultural/religious prize of finding the One True God here) ever again. You win. Hosanna!”

I also realized that I don’t need magic to feel Spiritually filled. All This is magic enough for me. That a single point of everything and nothing, a “singularity,” exploded to form a universe with all its tricks of space, matter, and time is magic enough already. That it all has culminated from that single point of nothing-and-everything to me writing this and you reading it is more magical than I could dare expect or even imagine. That, Constant Reader, is the Essence of God. That is God.

I don’t pretend to have come to any conclusions. And I don’t have one answer. Not one single answer. Because I realize:

Any answers that can be made
Are not the True Answers.

1 Comment

Dirge of the Butterfly

23/12/2008

Right Now

A friend of mine thinks that Adam and Eve is a story. That there is no truth to it. My daughter was concerned.

I don’t believe the story either, I told her.

“But it’s in the Bible.”

There are a lot of things in the Bible. No one believes all of them. I don’t think the Adam and Eve story is fact. It has some allegorical truths, but God did not literally form man from dust and woman from Adam’s rib. Humans, I’m certain evolved.

“You think we evolved? From what?”

I don’t think we evolved. I know it. And I don’t know much.

“What did we evolve from?”

Whatever came before us. That’s all I can really say; I’m not smart enough to answer it any other way.

“Do you believe in God?”

I don’t know. I used to try to know. I tried hard. I used to believe, I think. And then, for a while, I didn’t believe.

I’ve thought long and hard about God. Wondering if there is such a thing or not. Reading everything from the Bible and the Baghavad Gita to Dickinson poems and zen koans to physics and math books. Studying, I listened. To everyone.

It’s a frustrating business when you don’t know. When you’re a Seeker.

But then I opted out. I realized that you can’t know if God exists. You just can’t. A lot of people, more learned and devout people, have sought God before me. They have had mixed results. No one has yet pinned God down. Because you can’t pin down God. If there is a God.

One day I realized that I didn’t have to know. There’s no rule that says that I had to pick a God, pick right, and be buried in his church.

So I don’t try to believe anymore.

I do know one thing though. If there is a God, He (forgive the pronoun) doesn’t care whether the Jets win this weekend or not. It doesn’t matter how many of the faithful pray for it.

“If there is a God, why would He allow babies to die?”

I have two thoughts on that. The first gave birth to the second. And the first comes from a Van Halen video.

Do you remember the song, “Right Now”? Do you remember the video they made for it? (Of course, my daughter didn’t.) During the song, images were juxtaposed with text to try to stir the thought process. Pretty cool for a pop song music video.

One string of text stated, “Right now, God is killing mums and dogs because he has to.” Of course, God has to. What choice does he have? It’s the system. And that’s why babies have to die too.

Which, over time, led me to a further refining of the idea: God kills mums and dogs and little babies, not because he has to, but because he doesn’t care.

Follow me in two directions:
Assuming that God exists and that He is eternal (and assuming time means anything), it doesn’t matter if you live for a minute or a hundred years. Both are a blink to someone who lives forever. Do you care if someone blinks in an instant or holds it for a half-second. The time that you’re alive isn’t even that blink.

Assuming that God exists and that He has given us a Soul that comes before and continues on after the body, you don’t die to God. You change form. What difference does it matter how long you’re in any one form?

Do you care that a caterpillar wraps himself into a cocoon and becomes a pupae? Do you care how long it stays in that cocoon before it emerges a butterfly? Do you mourn the passing of the caterpillar? The pupae? The emergence of the butterfly?

Neither does God.

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