Saturday, July 15, 2006

octavia e. butler

d. lent me this book to read a couple of days ago, and i just sat down with it this afternoon. would not have stopped to write here, except i am trying to savour the last few chapters and not finish too greedily.

"A lot of people seem to believe in a big-daddy-God or a big-cop-God or a big-king-God. They believe in a kind of super-person. A few believe God is another word for nature. And nature turns out to mean just about anything they happen not to understand or feel in control of.

Some say God is a spirit, a force, an ultimate reality. Ask seven people what all of that means and you'll get seven different answers. So what is God? Just another name for whatever makes you feel special and protected?" Parable of the Sower pp 13-14

and if it helps, and does not hurt anyone else, what is the problem with that?

she also writes a few pages later:

"God is Power -
And yet, God is Pliable -
God exists to be shaped.
God is Change.

This is the literal truth.

God can't be resisted or stopped, but can be shaped and focused. This means God is not to be prayed to. Prayers only help the person doing the praying, and then, only if they strengthen and focus that person's resolve. If they're used that way, they can help us in our only real relationship with God. They help us to shape God and to accept and work with the shapes that God imposes on us. God is power, and in the end, God prevails.

But we can rig the game in our own favor if we understand that God exists to be shaped, and will be shaped, with or without our forethought, with or without our intent." ibid p 24

kind of alongside the buddhist idea that all our suffering derives from attachment to material things ... as if having stuff makes us real, because we own it, have power over it ... what i hear her saying this evening is we should shed the illusion that god is a deity that may indulge our whims upon supplication. god has god's own plan. our choice is to accept that and deal with the hands we are given, or not. if we do not, shit still happens. if we do, things may be different. or not. but at least we take part in our own destiny.

off to play ping-pong. small objects that may be struck with great force and yet suffer no damage nor cause it to other persons and objects. excellent.

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