Original Katydids and Pan-Dimensional Mice

This essay is necessarily sketchy and incomplete.  I write it merely to give everyone a handle on the ideas involved for the Annual Meeting topic, so that you may prepare your deep thoughts, ammunition, references, and cantankerousness beforehand.

On the Retreat last month, we were sitting in the hot tub the first night and discussing the nature of God and how we understand him/her/them/it/us.  I seized upon the metaphor of the katydid, i.e., the pretty little insect who sings and sings, but who has an extremely limited perception of the world around him.

But more than that, the katydid perceives the world around him in ways that we cannot. The main idea was that a) our perception of the universe is as limited as that of the katydid’s; and b) no matter how much we think we understand of the universe, our perception can never be complete, because we will never have the perceptions of the katydid (or the cat, or the dog, etc.).

Fast forward to last week, as I finished reading Forgotten Truth, by Huston Smith. He makes some pretty outrageously recherché claims near the end, and in his epilogue he tries to sidle out of them by claiming that he’s not really reactionary, he’s getting back in touch with the original meaning of the word original.  Nowadays, he says, due to our entrapment with scientism (with which argument I can agree), we focus on the “completely new” definition of the word: “He’s so original!”

But, he says, we should, in our relationship with the universe/God, we should remember what it really means: the source, as in Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Titania bitches to Oberon that the climate change disasters are due to their disagreements: “And this same progeny of evils comes / From our debate, from our dissension; / We are their parents and original.”

So combine those two ideas: the Artist who creates without a full understanding of his Universe.  Or you may go further if you wish.

Our second motif is of course from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  It seems that the Earth is merely a supercomputer constructed for the benefit of a race of pan-dimensional beings to answer the question to Life, the Universe, and Everything.  [Actually, of course, it’s seeking the question.  We know that the answer is 42.]

In order to operate in our dimension, they insert themselves as mice.  Again, from Huston Smith, humans are manifestations of the Eternal.  He posits essentially a Great Chain of Being (although not hierarchically arranged as the Elizabethans had it), in which the Levels of Reality go from Terrestrial to Intermediate to Celestial to the Infinite.  Likewise, he says, the Levels of Selfhood go from Body to Mind to Soul to Spirit.  (He puts Infinite and Spirit in all caps; I shall refrain.)

So while we may be katydids, we are pandimensional katydids: merely the bottom end of a great slice of the Infinite.  We are in fact part of the great Eternal that we yet cannot perceive.


Free to a good home

Dreamed this one last night–good idea for a scifi crime novel, but of course it’s not my job to write such things.

Society in which some people have been born with the Gift, some set of psychic skills which include ESP, mind-melding, pyschokinesis, the usual.  Society as a whole has come to depend on these people to regulate the social mechanisms, and by some fluke of genetic luck, all Gifters are of the sort who contribute positively to the effort.

One Gifter is examining a serial criminal–and here I wish I could remember exactly what the crime was, because it made perfect sense, but I forgot it between one dream session and the next–and is astounded to find that the guy has the Gift–but shouldn’t.

There followed, depending on the dream session, investigations into how he got that way, whether there were others, whether there was an organizing force behind the surreptitious Gifting, the threat to society as a whole and Gifters in  particular, etc., etc.

There you go.  Run with it.  Write me a nice check from your royalties.

L.10.5: Lyles

Looking with dismay at the role of adventurer? Disappointment with a gift of haberdashery? Disbelief at the weak protection from the sun afforded by a cheap imitation pith helmet?

Used for “Fear & Loathing in Kilimanjaro,” Esquire.

(Should have made more sure of a blank background.)

Towards an aesthetic

What with my reading of Opening to Inner Light and other tasty books, I know we’re heading towards a fireside discussion more meaty than we’ve had in a while, but I think this bit may not be able to wait.C4090-456

Yesterday, as I mindlessly surfed the intertubes, I came across this site: ugliesttattoos.com.  It is OMG•NSFW, so I’ll provide a couple of samples here and links to particularly egregious examples. [NSFW!!!]

Those should suffice.  The entire website is jawdroppingly, gobsmackingly, entirely like these samples.  Only much, much worse.  Much, much, much worse.

I like tattoos.  I have a couple myself and wouldn’t mind one more, if I were allowed.  And I find them to be fascinating body modifications on others in most circumstances.  But honest to God, I came across very few tattoos on this site that I was able think, “Wow, that’s cool/beautiful/transgressive/sexy.”  They were all grotesque.  (I did like this one. [SFW, if weird])

So in our neverending discussion of “What is art?”, I’d like to ask in the immortal acronym embodied above, “WTF?”  How are we to fit these manifestations of our creative imperative into the schema of that imperative?  (I’ve tagged this with the Corroborative Evidence category; is that where we are with this?)C4090-455