Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Hear Colors

My grandfather used to tell me that:

“If god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him”


This is a wonderful thing to say to a young boy. It speaks of the power of imagination, and how there is stuff that must be known. Imagination builds patterns out of stuff, and condenses it into things, then nouns, then ideas, then thoughts which can then be communicated. Though there is a logical progression there are no physical constraints on this process. Anything is possible.

It can be argued that too much imagination is wasted on fantastical answers to mundane questions: “Does she/he like me?” or “what would it feel like to swim through an atmosphere made of blue Jell-O?” I believe this to be true; for even if she/he does like you they will probably change their minds eventually, and simply splashing around in a bathtub full of blue Jell-O for an hour will be both more than enough Jell-O splashing for a lifetime, and significantly more sensual.

Eventually a young person’s thoughts turn to domination of the universe. The universe is an unimaginably huge and complex space. At first we might simply dip our toes into the pool of unthinkable thoughts. Eventually we dive in, and we quickly adjust to the idea of imagining the unimaginable. We begin to understand the incomprehensible. We know things that cannot be known.

Each firing neuron is a bioluminescent fish. Each synapse a sparking Jacob’s ladder we can climb to forever.

Emotions become the tides and weather of this strange and familiar world.

Love washes over us as warm waves of liquid sunshine. Strange creatures plucked randomly from disparate mythology talk to us with voices we recognize as those of people we would have love us. They tell us that they do, and beg us to join them wandering aimlessly through whatever we invent.

There are days when the imagination seeps into waking hours. Moments are spent doodling or staring at walls. Most of us push the imaginary world into our dreams, then we push it into our sleeping hours.

Why not create something that cannot be created. Isn’t that the next logical step?

So we create something that cannot be created just to give the job of creation over to something that can do it full time. It can make stuff while we attend to waking activities.

Then, to top it off we imagine things that even the all powerful god cannot do. We imagine god creating a rock he cannot move. We imagine god creating itself. We imagine god creating greater and more infinitely powerful gods who create super universes filled with more self-referentially endless awesomeness.

We know there is stuff in our imaginary world we did not make. Places we visited while awake; other people. Maybe this is proof that everything is real; including god.

Sometimes we re-run clips of the day’s events. We try to change them in order to make the outcomes better, but they sometimes turn out worse. There are strange hallways that we must run to the end of that just keep getting longer and longer as we run faster. Sometimes there is something chasing us that we did not make. Sometimes they are gaining on us even as our lungs burn from effort.

Weather becomes more unpredictable. There are storms. It is cold. Freezing cold. We are naked again, but this time it is not in a good way.

We are washed up on a dark stony shore pebbled with the broken teeth of enormous reptiles. Colors and hue have all surrendered to shades of midnight blue. The wind mocks us by shouting our name using our father’s most disappointed tone. Shivering uncontrollably the rain pretends to warm us as it saps the last remaining heat from our fetaled form. It comes in sheets; each a fresh slap. We are so very cold that we only feel where we are bruised or cut. Crying out only raises the tide which threatens to wash us out to sea. There are giant slimy things in the sea with broken teeth, and they do not like us.

Lightning cracks the black; white and cold. The sky is a firehose, and every droplet a painful acusation.  They meld into one another and become proof of some mysterious guilt.  Our bones are magiced away, and we are an undiferentiated mass of cramped meat; cold and hard as ice.

We try simply realizing the nightmare is our own imagination. We try using the powerful entities we have created to scare the darkness back into the shadows. No matter what we try the insecurities of youth eventually fade away.

Most of us will transition elements of our imaginary world into our perception of reality. I have obviously tacked some word pictures on my mental walls. Many people try to take god with them.

But what is a god when it is taken out of the imaginary universe(s) defining it? For many thinking people god becomes a concept, then a notion, then a feeling, then a passing moment where things are just as you imagined they would be. The child grows into an adult. We learn to fear, then trust, then question, then learn, then love. The theist becomes deist, then agnostic, then atheist, then humanist.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11


1 comment:

Kimberly Wilson said...

Beautifully written and very moving statement.