Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

A Mythic Response to Feelings of Uncertainty

Originally posted on December 9, 2010

A friend asked me what I thought about two items and it occurred to me that what occurred to me to answer might also be worthy of being on my blog.  First: How should we live with the uncertainty of knowing yet not-knowing? What an evocative question! Okay, try this on, just improvising: As I pause and reflect, one answer comes to me: It’s the same as the question, how to live with uncertainty, period. The answer is to practice faith-ing. That in turn has two components. One involves, turning to the light, an act of will, focus, attention. It’s not repression of the dark, but simply not giving it energy. Example: Yeah, I’m gonna die! And to say I’m uncertain about what that means is an understatement.

So I made up a myth, and I find it satisfies me: I am a cell in God’s growing body. (I mean, we all are cells.) In this myth, God is imagined to be more like an embryo than a king on a throne. It’s a way of God’s sort of saying, “Hey, I’ve never been here before, I’ve never done this kind of universe. I wonder what it’s like?” This “being” is not just physical, but also partakes of all dimensions of mind! It’s multi-dimensional, exploring all possible experiences. (I confess, I’ve drawn a bit from Spinoza, a bit from Whitehead and Hartshorne and other process philosophers, but the image of a growing God as Embryo is my invention.)

In this multi-dimensional organism, this “living” cosmos, I’m the equivalent of just a blood corpuscle in a human body, but, being multi-dimensional, I don’t just serve one function, but many, many functions. I have roles that are more like sensory nerves, others more like muscle cells, others more like communications apparatus. In this myth, I offer experiences to God that cannot be otherwise experienced except through our three-dimensional, time-bound, material, yet sentient body-minds. God has never before had these experiences, ever, in this myth. Well, perhaps in another universe, a little, but then, that’s like saying that just because I’ve been a bird means I know what it’s like to be a bat or a jet fighter pilot! Each of us offers a unique story.

Can God be so distributed in attention to be able to absorb all our varied experiences? Sure, no problem! Indeed, only that which is worthy of being caled God can pull that off, but that’s part of why God—perhaps also known elsewhere as the “Great, Strangely Unified in Spite of Infinite Diversity, Living Wholeness” is due wonder and reference.

Now being a part of this great becoming process—in spite of my being near infinitely small and insignificant in terms of time and space—is nevertheless a great, great honor. I get to be part of the sentient part of the becoming universe. Sentient beings make up less than 0.000001 of the cosmos, maybe a millionth of that, or a billionth! Still, we’re the part that gets to realize we’re waking up and helping God to wake up.

And it’s a great honor. Think of it!  99.9999+ of the cosmos has never experienced thinking about stuff. Animals have minds at a certain level, and feelings, but humans have the level of reflection. Tiny animals and maybe even electrons (according to some philosophers) may “experience” and have a rudimentary sort of subjectivity. But “sentience” is quite rare. And even in this inconceivably vast universe, even if there are millions of us—maybe even millions of millions! —s still, that’s only a tiny, tiny fraction of all that is. So it’s a great honor to be able to look around and meet other “sitting-up mud,” as Kurt Vonnegut characterized us through the Bokononist’s prayer in his 1963 novel, Cat’s Cradle.

So in this myth, our role is that we get to help God wake up, we are an integral part of the awakening process, we’re the nerve cells in the cosmic brain making connections with each other. If we don’t wake up more, God doesn’t wake up more. But faith: It will happen, even if we don’t do it perfectly.  It may just take a bit more time. Resting into this myth, or the general sense of meaning-in-life that it suggests, reassures me greatly. I know it’s not fact, but fact has little to say about that sense of meaning, so I choose to do mythmaking when it seems useful.

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