Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inner centre in us all
Where truth abides in fullness; and around
Wall upon wall the gross flesh hems it in
That perfect, clear perception which is Truth
--Paracelsus, Robert Browning
Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity,
comfort and advantage.
He lives... by make-believe
--The Summing Up, W. Somerset Maugham
The eye sees only what the mind
is prepared to comprehend
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
and put your helmet on
--Space Oddity, David Bowie
Sunday homily: Power and delusion.
Ranger volunteered long ago at Tuskegee Veterans Psychiatric Hospital, where one long-time ward denizen -- a paranoid-schizophrenic -- felt he was transported to earth on a spaceship; he yearned to find the mothership to take him home. The ward psychologist thought this assertion was insane, but in a group discussion Ranger proffered: "Can you disprove that he arrived on a spaceship?" Haven't we achieved space landings? After so many billion years, is it not possible that life exists in distant galaxies?
The point was, neither side had an infallible position, although one had the drugs, keys and controlled the ward's lock up policy. The patient was barred from finding a launching pad from which to return to his home.
Crazy stuff this alien talk, and yet this same shrink believed in Jesus sans a scintilla of proof of his divinity, or even of A divinity. In fact, the 15 1/2 billion years of this universe suggests that God, even if He does exist, is a finite being (despite the ontological argument). It was irksome that a man who placed his soul's well-being in the hands of an unverified being found fodder for jokes in the Space Man's contentions, without the slighted sense of irony. Of course, he felt no compunctions because he wasn't locked up in the nut house.
In fact, to be in Alabama and NOT believe in the Big Guy Upstairs would cause more than one well-respected man or woman about town to cast a skeptical eye one's way. In fact, to NOT believe would jeopardize one's standing in the community.
What fantasy places one deluded person in lockup and allows another to be a pillar of his community?
This meditation is about power, as every human endeavor hinges upon who has the power to lock you up and lock you down. If a Ph.D. is delusional, is it a far stretch to believe that a congressman, Secretary of State or President may be delusional? As a society, we live by our delusions, packaged as realities.
What can we say? God's will be done, or Allahu Akbar! When's that fish fry start?