Tag Archives: religion

Sacrifice

8 Mar

Lately, I’ve been wondering about the desire to share my injuries.  Why, when I do something stupid and hurt myself in the park, do I feel the need to share the image of my broken face with the world?  Why do the biographies of skaters often include a list of the injuries they suffered in the park?  Why do derby skaters post pictures of their injuries and eagerly search the images of other, similar injuries?  Are we all so morbidly obsessed?

But perhaps it is not a morbid obsession.  Perhaps this too is holy.  Like Paul of Tarsus giving his body to God, we give ours to the park.  Our sacrifice.  Scars and bumps and bruises become physical reminders of all we give for our love.  They become badges of honor, not to the injury itself, but to the commitment and sacrifice the injuries represent.

Tony Hawk relates a story about how he knocked himself unconscious in a skatepark, and his first thought upon regaining consciousness was a realization that he would never stop skating, regardless of what it did to his body.  Often, I roll over in the middle of the night, and my bruised hips or shoulders cause me to wake up gasping in pain.  But this pain almost always makes me smile.  I do not like the pain, any more than Paul of Tarsus liked being whipped or stoned or shipwrecked, however, I love what it represents.  It represents my love of skating, a love that exceeds the love of self, a love so overwhelming that even the destruction of my physical body could not diminish it.

If I die in a skatepark, rejoice for me.

So here, then, are some words on sacrifice from the Bible.  I have rearranged and changed them slightly, to fit my purposes.

Are they skaters?

I am more;

In labors more abundant,

in stripes above measure,

in jail more frequent,

in deaths oft.

Twice was my consciousness taken,

oft was I stoned,

many strandings I’ve suffered,

many nights slept I, as a dog upon the floor;

In journeyings often,

in perils of waters,

in perils of robbers,

in perils by mine own countrymen,

in perils by the heathen,

in perils in the city,

in perils in the wilderness,

in perils in the sea,

in perils among false brethren;

In weariness and painfulness,

in watchings often,

in hunger and thirst,

in fastings often,

in cold and nakedness.

If I must needs glory,

I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

Degrees of Freedom and the Theophany

3 Feb

To a rooted plant, the entire world consists of the singular spot it occupies.  Bacteria, however, operate in a linear world, moving towards nutrients and away from toxins. Lifeforms with bilateral symmetry are capable of comprehending a world of area, consisting of left and right, as well as forward and backward, while most creatures with spines and brains seem capable of operating in a volumetric world.  

Thus, degrees of freedom (DOF) inform the structure and perception of living things:
DOF        Lifeform        Worldview
0:             Plant                Point
1:              Bacteria         Linear
2:             Flatworm       Planar
3:             Fish                 Volumetric
4:             Human?          Spacetime

We humans, however, seem stuck somewhere between the third and fourth degrees of freedom.  We are capable of perceiving our journey through time in a way other animals are not; yet we are no more capable of determining our “movement” through that fourth dimension than a fish  We all fall inexorably forward, toward unknown futures.

But what if higher forms of life ARE capable of moving in the fourth dimension, or of perceiving dimensions of time orthogonal to normal time?  Left and right time.  Up and down time.  What if they could take advantage of other dimensions such as the extra six dimensions required by modern string theory?  They would be like gods to us, and we could no sooner make sense of their motives than a flatworm could predict our actions.  It isn’t a matter of a lack of language.  It’s a lack of shared context.  We occupy entirely different worlds.

So, when Philip K. Dick theorizes about God using a “high form of sentient mimicry . . . that no human (or few humans) had detected,” I’m skeptical.  I don’t think God needs to hide itself.  I think God needs to work to make itself known to our limited perceptions and in our constrained environment.

But what would that be like for us, that communication?  Pull a fish from the water and explain to it all about the evolution or possible extinction of it’s species.  You have imparted no knowledge, only pain and terror.  I think the same would likely be true of us.  Belief in a loving god could make the experience less terrifying and perhaps even blissful, but I doubt any religion can help make the experience any more comprehensible.

Still.  It’s fun to try.

The Complete Book of Apokalypsis

21 Jan

In the End:

There are no revelations beyond those you reveal to yourself, no purpose other than your own purpose, and no meaning in the Universe other than that which you bring to it.

Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law, and the law is the The Law of Fives*.

Even for God.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

* The Law of Fives, as stated by St. Celine is this: “All phenomena are directly or indirectly related to the number five, and this relationship can always be demonstrated, given enough ingenuity on the part of the demonstrator.”

In the Beginning:

19 Jan

In the beginning, THE INFINITE TRANSITION was without form and all was void.

The matrix of divine thought that sentient beings experience as the material plane, was the null set.  Not even that.  The domain of possible inputs was negative zero to positive zero, not including zero.  The output was identically restricted.  The inherent potential was zero.  There was no differentiation — not even between Here and There, or Then and Now — as space and time themselves did not exist.  Spontaneous independent action was impossible, of course, due to the complete lack of anything capable of action and/or capable of being acted upon.

Then, for reasons unknown and probably quite unknowable, the universe tried to know itself.  This spark of self comprehension is the first action, the birth of potential and differentiation, and the only true miracle that has ever occurred, since the beginning of beginnings.  Nowadays, it is fashionable to call this event the Big Bang, but it has been interpreted differently throughout time and across many different cultures.

Elohim flips on a light switch, differentiating light from dark.  The light wakes Pan Gu, who stretches and breaks the egg releasing all the matter of the universe.   Yin and Yang spontaneously differentiate themselves from this primordial chaos and begin their playful dance.  Lord Brahma splits in half differentiating male from female.  Amen finally gets out of his bathtub.

Q1: What kind of bath did Amen take?
A1: Nun.
Q2: What kind of meat does the Pope eat?
A2: None.
Q3: What if we switch the order of the last two answers?
A3: Pun.  (Though arguably not a good one.)*

The action of creating differentiation and potential where none existed before is the all important unifying concept behind all creation stories, and it is why all creation stories are true to some extent.  But it is the details that everyone remembers, that everyone argues and fights and kills over — the silly details that turn divine words into bad puns.  In the end, all holy texts are shaggy dog stories.  All holy men are pranksters.

And with the telling of the first sacred pun, the world began, not with a bang but with a chuckle.  After all, it’s as good a creation myth as any.

_____

*

——–

Amen didn’t take a bath, because he didn’t exist before he emerged from Nun, the primeval ocean, and everyone knows Popes have no dietary restrictions.

Creating Your Own Skateless Potential Fields

15 Jan

The potential field in a skatepark is easy to understand;  it is physical and unchanging, cast in concrete and coping.  Finding the potential field of an urban plaza, however, is more difficult, and creating your own potential field on flat ground requires a great deal of creativity and confidence.  The creativity used in flat ground work will determine the refinement and interest of the output line, as the potential field must be wholly conjured from the line artist’s mind.  However, the confidence required to create a potential field from nothing, to live in it and skate it and to truly believe in it, borders on the fanatical confidence of blind faith.

Think of the first bank and pool riders.  Even they, with their radical redefinition of the urban environment, did not create wholesale new ideas from nothing.  They had the template of surfing to build upon, and they had the environment to interpret.  Jamskaters have their music.  The structure of these outside influences guides the line artist.  The purest magic requires stillness and silence and isolation from outside influences.

The line artist, the magician, the medicine woman, knows this.  They create potential fields without the assistance of outside influences, and therefore are capable of redefining even consensual reality.  The rest of us just muddle through a world defined by them, never realizing that we are the shapers of that world, just as much as the world shapes us.  We are in a feedback loop with our environment, a loop of infinite potential, differentiation, and spontaneous independent action, just waiting for the barest hint of one of those inputs.

Some say that in 1979, Saint Mullen of Rodney inscribed the image of God into a potential field in Oceanside, California, though very few of the witnesses to this miracle understood what they had seen.  Those who stood in judgement on that day did not understand what they had witnessed, though they knew enough to honor him with sacrifices.  But even Saint Mullen at least had his board.