Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thoughts in the Night (or, Perhaps)

To be human is to exist in the tension between despising the world as it is and knowing that you can do nothing about it. Perhaps that is why suicide is so damnable: it is a rejection of your humanity, of that glorious struggle against that which cannot be beaten, i.e., the world as it is.
Cooperation as redemption is a lie because cooperation is not possible. History is littered with examples of where humanity, in a glorious attempt to coalesce and rise out of the ashes, is immediately consumed by some former or new ill unperceived and yet somehow of our own making. Perhaps history is no more than collective humanity's record of when and where it slits its own throat.
Perhaps the image of the ghost is apropos for humanity: unreality trapped in ceaseless deathlessness. Like all ghosts, we are bound by some damnable link to the region of our demise where we walk as disembodied shades in the night; and no matter how many times we band together in humanistic coalitions, we remain in the land of the dead.
Yet the image of the phoenix is apropos as well, for it is a startling quintessence of human nature: hope that never dies, the indomitable spirit. Beneath (and perhaps in the midst of) our troubled layers, there still burns a last vestige of desire, a yet unyielding ember that dreams of restoration, eucatastrophe, redemption, victory. When the breath of God blows on that dying coal, what a fire it kindles!
It is indeed victory that God promises those who follow Him; not meaningless words and phrases, but victory, final and sweet. Victory over the world, victory over death, victory over guilt, victory over the monsters, victory over all the things that have haunted mankind out of the depths of our dark antiquity. That is perhaps the greatest goodness that the gospel produces.