thu 20 mar 2008 23:24:40 witte de withstraat
tonight pani was in town, leaving again tomorrow for paris, so because i will miss her birthday i took her to dinner at shiva. then we went together to the krijtberg and attended the witte donderdag mass. it's quite tall in there, and smells good cuz of the incense. nice singing too. at once point a whole gang of people paraded around the peripheral aisles of the church, singing an "ad locum reservationis" or something like that.
wednesday night i went alone to nw and ate part of a cow. talked to nico. i didn't realize he was old enough to have been born during the war. he told me that as a young man he was a thief. i'm realizing that some of my favorite people either are, or used to be, thieves.
then i walked to the cave and met djox. we talked about the film as i'm rewriting it now. then a young polish woman came to sit with us.
at some point i was talking about how, back in october 1994, faced with the prospect that i would have to *choose* to unplug my mother, i "wanted god to do it for me", but instinctively knew i wasn't gonna be let off the hook. i can remember what room i was in and what window i was looking out when i realized this.
at the very sound of the word "god" the young woman seemed to abort listening to me, and instead tried to impress upon me how stupid it was to have wanted "something that doesn't exist".
i told her "well i don't know what exists, but ..."
(by which i meant to say, "and neither do you, you human being.")
i was just trying to explain something i went through spiritually in 1994, at the end of which i had come out stronger -- specifically because i got no "help" from god. but having once used that offensive term, i got the feeling i was abruptly excommunicated from the ranks of the sentient. and of course that kinda hurt my feelings.
as i've said elsewhere, my position on god is that i *feel* there is god, but i don't know why.
there are plenty of people who act as if they are sure, not only that there is a god, but exactly who/what god is, etc. me i've grown up over the years to be pretty sure what i don't or can't know. that's why it bothers me when people use religion to subdue or control each other. there are lots of people who pretend to know more than they can possibly know. i think kierkegaard defined faith as certainty in what's impossible. and that would also be a definition of psychosis, wouldn't it.
so i have to be just as patient with my religious friends as with my athiest friends -- and i have several devout of both.
but what strikes me lately, is how much the devout religious and the devout atheist seem to have in common. i find it ironic: some athiests can be so "believing" (in that they think they know) and even "evangelical" (in that they think others should be converted).
on the other hand, even some religious people can be quite humbly and humanistically uncertain. i wish there were more like that in the world: people willing to profess their ignorance.