Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It is a curious thing... that every creed promises a paradise
which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.
- Evelyn Waugh, British author, [Vile Bodies, Brideshead Revisited],
born on this day, 1903 (died at my age, 62)
Harps? X number of virgins? Streets of Gold, with much casting about of golden crowns? Reunion with family and friends (whom we may have spent a good deal of time in the earthly life desperately avoiding)? Boredom? No sex? No hearty Burgundy, or dry vodka martinis?
No, forget it. Waugh is absolutely correct. Absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste. (And let’s just ignore for a moment snobbery, or any delusion that any of us can define civilized.
What’s paradise for you? And remember, it changes as you age. At least, that is my experience, and my wise “warning” to the younger among us. Gene Rodenberry (creator of Star Trek) understood this: he had alcohol that didn’t intoxicate, and food that didn’t fatten - but he also did away with religion and God among the human race in the 24th century!! I agree with him; good idea. I would choose A Star-Trek starship as my paradise – except for the fact that they didn’t outlaw violence and war. However, from my present perspective, religion and God (in the hands of human beings) creates often a place absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.
Not to say that religion and God couldn’t provide a habitable place for anyone of civilized taste in this world. It’s just that we are leaving the determination of this to the experts, so-called. Like, the clergy. And a lot of the clergy have, shall we say, neuroses that disqualify them from being able to provide good guidance on this, mostly because they are minions of an institution rather than servants of the God/ess of Compassion.
So. Think today about what your Paradise would be like! If you like, send them to me (not too long please!). I will either rewrite the Book of Revelation, or I will use them in Reflections (with comment, of course), or write a book about people and their strange ideas about Paradise, or use them to inform my prayers to God for your rehabilitation!
But also: think about what Paradise really is for you. And use it to start a plan for How I Will Live Now.