Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Lives We

Detail Michaelangelo's Pieta
The lives we lead are marbled dreams

- Anonymous

* * *

Marble is formed when limestone softens through heat and pressure and then recrystalizes into its familiar milky gleam. It shatters if not respected and only under Michaelangelo's touch does it take on flesh.

Not unlike what happens when we wake and think our dreams have ended only to find we are still asleep.

* * *

In The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie asks: What is the opposite of faith? The answer isn't not-faith or a denunciation of faith, for that is a simply a different sort of faith. No, the opposite of faith is doubt. We doubt the solidity of our bones, the origins of our consciousness, the world we have dreamed into existence.

O what befalls the Creator when he doubts his creation?

Frankenstein or Rabbi Loew?
The hand of God or the mind of Man?

Are we not the rebellious angels cast out from heaven?
Are we not the cause of their rebellion - fallible, doubting Thomases who shit on the hand that feeds us, forever slouching, stumbling toward Bethlehem, the rough beast waiting to be born?

Such dreams we dream.

* * *

The great mystery isn't whether or not God exists, but rather why we dream of such a puny God - like us in every detail.  Where is the grandeur, the awe? If it is not in us, then it is not in him.

* * *

We populate our dreams with such small things: money, goods, sexual conquest, the visceral. This is what I take Mr. Anonymous to mean when he tells us the lives we lead are marbled dreams: solid, stolid, heavy and cold. And yet, and yet...

...marble takes on flesh. Can you not put your finger into Jesus' wound? So skillfully has the marble been subdued, that indeed you can, at least, imagine it. Can you not feel Mary's fingertips pressing into the stillwarm flesh of her dead son, his weight so, so, so very heavy across her lap? This is not the son of God, but a mother's son. That other story starts in three days - the story of one kind of faith.

Other faiths struggle for your attention: Pick me! Pick me! I am the Truth!

No, you are just one kind of truth. Or, just one kind of doubt.

If you are fucked, and let's face it, Boy-o, you are, every faith is a doorway to doubt, every answer is a question, every step forward is two steps back. And what do you do? You dither, wring your hands, try out new types of faith that are off-the-rack ill fitting and wonder where you fit in, because, well, you've tried it all and nothing works. So you take on a new faith: doubt. You doubt you've ever been born; you doubt the ground under your feet; you doubt you've ever been loved; you doubt your ability to love; and you doubt such a thing exists and doubt it would matter if it did.

Such dreams we dream.

Why the long face, puddin' head? You dreamt it. You have exactly what you wished for: doubt.

* * *

You want to unfuck your life? Then have some faith in it, in yourself, any old sort of faith will do.

You don't need God, unless you do. You don't need religion, unless you do. You don't need evolution or science or atheism, unless you do. What you absolutely need is a faith that will turn marble to flesh, your lethargy and woe into Life.

Get off your ass and start working with the stone in front of you. You die whether you do or you don't. The work won't save you from dying, but will give you a shot a living.

That is all. That is all. That is all.


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