March 28, 2009

On Concerts and Original Sin

Ralf has been home since Thursday and Thursday night we went to a concert. It was fun although the hall was totally packed and at 5’8’’ I’m one of the shortest people in Germany. I occasionally meet someone shorter than me but they always turn out to be half French. Mind you, being short was a huge advantage on the German dating scene before I got married but kind of a bummer at a standing concert. So I didn’t see much peering out from behind everyone’s elbows and the guy right in front of me was unfortunately wearing a wool sweater and smelled like a moist sheep but the sound was good.

Domestically Disabled Girl recently posted about trying to figure out meaning and God’s plan for us. It was a good, honest post and some of the comments are worth reading as well, especially mine.

My take on God’s plan and free will for those of you who may be interested:

The chaotic, impermanent nature of the universe ensures that things will happen to us, some good, some bad. We may be able to influence some of these things but we don’t control the changing nature of the universe and we can’t see into the future so the best we can hope for is to delay the inevitable.
Free will comes into play when we decide how we will respond to things that happen. For example:
When bad things happen, will we grow, evolve and become better people or will we retreat into bitterness, fear and regret?

When good things happen will we become more vain, cocky and clingy or will we filled with humble wonder and gratitude that something like this could happen to us and want to share our good fortune?
That, my friends, is what we control. Nothing else.
Unfortunately there’s a catch – the cards are stacked against us. The human mind has limited perception and craves material things. And not only that, we are also programmed to seek stability and permanence in an unstable and impermanent universe. In other words, our neural wiring makes us dissatisfied and suspicious of what's around the corner.

(Bit of a crap design, really. Kind of like Blackberries: Your goal is to make a call but we’re going to make it really, really hard for you.)

I believe our work here is to try to rise above our humble beginnings and (remember, I design software) exceed the parameters of our design. Not that I'm working very hard on this in my own case but I do keep making mental notes to get started.
Now here's the interesting bit: there has never been anyone who has not committed at least one of the seven deadly sins (you know, greed, lust, something, something, envy, gluttony, something) because having a needy physical form combined with a primitive, unruly brain doesn't give you any choice. So in a way, just having a physical form is a sin.
Which could mean that Adam, not Eve, carried the original sin because he had the first human form.
Heady stuff, huh? Maybe they’ll let women be priests now.
To borrow an idea from the late great Isaac Asimov, I sometimes picture a scientist watching a petri dish to see if mankind is one of those parasites that thoughtlessly destroys its host and itself in the bargain or else can turn into one of those good bacteria that help the entire organism.
We are the means by which the universe seeks consciousness. And if we fail I believe that God will be bummed, like any creator whose experiment failed, but will not queer the experiment by influencing the outcome.
Thanks for all the great advice. We will definitely be signing K up for Ethics next year. With me as her homework buddy she'd probably fail religious studies.


  1. Sinister Barrier by Eric F Russell explores that conceit in a very Fortean way. The petri dish has a banding of antibacterial material around it...

  2. I've always just assumed Adam was the guilty one and he just blamed Eve.

  3. Er. . . Fortean? I wonder who borrowed whose idea then, Russell or Asimov?

  4. I'm sorry to hear God put so many tall people at that German concert.

  5. God wants you to have a blogging award.

    OK, that's not true... I want you to have a blogging award!


  6. Sorry about the tall Germans. You could maybe influence your ability to view the concert by wearing high heels... As for the Ethics class--good choice.

  7. In Germany I would be a pygmie, I tell you. A plus-sized pygmie.

  8. What do you mean: Maybe they will let women become priests? Sweden and other Scandinavian countries have loads of women priests and have had them for years. Even the Archbishop of Sweden is a woman!

    Just goes to show that God does have some good sense!

  9. I think you need to grow a few inches if your going to stay in Germany

  10. I have about 80 people I should copy and send this too. Well written and oh so true

  11. 1) I think you are quite tall
    2) I'm told there are 14 deadly sins now

  12. Get out! 14 sins now? I am so behind the times on sin. . .

  13. I always thought it was Adam and Eve's fault equally. But I was always pissed at Eve that our 'curse' was menstruation and painful childbirth. Thanks a lot, Eve.
    I think we get another glimpse of God's many facets through one another's eyes. Since He made us ('least that's what I believe :) ) obviously we'd be (and all of creation would be) some small reflection of His personality. Like baby chicks and bunnies and such.
    Or the insight of a software developer. Who comes off with good descriptions like 'smelled like a moist sheep.'


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