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"It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still."


That is god: The benign indifference of the universe.


For so long I've felt cold, spiritually. Perhaps it was a cleansing period. I guess I'm a "recovering Catholic", in a sense. I felt cheated by all the emotion, good and bad, that I expended for a belief that I now see as ridiculous. I also guess I fell back on logic and science, exclusively, as a defense against...well, I don't know, and distanced myself from any emotional feelings of spiritualism. That's the point, really; I was defensive, when I didn't need to be. I don't know when I started becoming spiritual again. I suppose I'm still working on it. Spirituality, to me, is just an acceptance of things that I don't have control over, the awe that comes when I sit back and feel like a part of something that is enormous, maybe infinite, and the wholehearted belief in the benign indifference of the universe. God, I can still definitely use some work on the acceptance part. ;-)

I've always loved this poem from the Madeline l'Engle book A Swiftly Tilting Planet:

"In this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness,
All these I place,
By the help of God’s almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness."


If you replace "heaven" with "the universe" and "god" with "the benign indifference of the universe", it works perfectly. The powers of darkness being my internal demons, circumstance, other people's ill will, etc... I find great comfort in the universe. In it's motion and manifestations. It's hard to express. i don't require anything more, spiritually, than to know I am a part of this.


Eh, anyway. Sorry about that. It must be all the damn coffee I've been drinking today. It's a great cathartic. Or maybe it's that fucker, mswas, posting all that religious dreck. I don't know. Anyway, ::belch::, spank ya later!

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
jamespolk
Oct. 3rd, 2003 02:35 pm (UTC)
Define for me the distinction between "benign indifference of the universe" and "malignant indifference of the universe".

Just curious.
justplainbryan
Oct. 3rd, 2003 02:37 pm (UTC)
I think it may be the same difference between the half empty and half full glass of water.
democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 02:50 pm (UTC)
To me, indifference in itself is benign. Meaning, there's no force that is intentionally looking at me and causing me harm, or really causing me to do anything, which, to me, would be intrinsically malignant; Would take away my free will.

To use one of the dictionary's definitions: "Having little or no detrimental effect"
jamespolk
Oct. 3rd, 2003 04:17 pm (UTC)
That's what I was thinking, so I was trying to see if there was something I was missing.

So, "benign indifference" is essentially redundant?
democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 04:25 pm (UTC)
Yes, to a degree, but the word "indifference" has a negative connotation to many people, so I think it's important to reinforce the meaning that I intend.
(Deleted comment)
democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 05:59 pm (UTC)
That's a great thought Manny! Good point!
justplainbryan
Oct. 3rd, 2003 02:37 pm (UTC)
I'm a personal believer in deity as metaphor for the self, and from that belief my entire spirituality flows. God may or may not be a benign indifference, but I know that I exist.

Therefore, it can only make sense that all spirituality begins with the self. It is the self that perceives deity, that percieves moments of transcendence, that feels awe at the nature and immensity of the universe.

What distinguishes an external deity from the internal one residing inside each and every one of us? The benign indifference won't care either way. ;)
(Deleted comment)
democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 03:14 pm (UTC)
I understand that, and at a point, it becomes semantics. This is simply the way I percieve the concept of a deity(which I really never care to personify in the first place, but it makes a good metaphor, as you say, when explaining it to others). I also find spirituality in myself and, in that sense, I find it in the sense of my potential in the universe.
justplainbryan
Oct. 3rd, 2003 03:33 pm (UTC)
The macrocosm mirrors the microcosm, and vice versa. It's an amazing concept. One that I learned only a couple of years ago. What you call the macrocosm, or the microcosm for that matter, is indeed merely a question of semantics.
democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 03:39 pm (UTC)
I'm actually not willing to take the metaphor that far. I disagree. Especially depending on what you consider the macrocosm and the microcosm. For example, subatomic interactions do not mirror galactic interactions at all. Nor does human nature, biology or...ummm..metaphysicality( ;-) ) reflect the universe. At least as far as I'm concerned.
justplainbryan
Oct. 3rd, 2003 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ah, but are not subatomic interactions, biology, and human nature part of this universe as well? None of it exists outside the macrocosm. And none of those galactic interactions are possible without those subatomic reactions you mentioned, and so none of those gigantic events occurs outside the micrcosm either. The smallest event can cause galactic reactions, and vice versa. It may turn out that the mirroring can only be seen in some very complicated fractal equations.

When I first wrote what I wrote, however, I was thinking more figuratively than literally.

democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 04:27 pm (UTC)
Well, let's leave it at figuratively and call it friday. ;-)
wlight
Oct. 3rd, 2003 03:03 pm (UTC)
demo and L'Etranger... a combo I had never thought of before, but makes perfect sense together.
democritus
Oct. 3rd, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
mswas
Oct. 6th, 2003 10:43 am (UTC)
I just posted a bit on this subject in my journal. It's the entry about religion being artwork.

I view it all as just lenses to understand conciousness.

And yes, atoms DO reflect the Galaxy. An atom is a nucleus with particles of energy surrounding it.

The solar system is just a Nucleus(Sun) with particles of matter(planets) surrounding it.

The Galaxy is just a nucleus with particles of matter (Stars) surrounding it.

Now the level of complexity comes in when you add scale to it. However, I am a strong believer in Infinitesimal. In that, you can keep dissecting an atom into smaller component parts infinitely. And you can take the larger aspects and keep getting bigger and bigger from solar system to galaxy to probably galactic systems, where the galaxies are satellites of something. At each level there is some sort of reflection of the outer/inner micro/macro.

Each dimension is defined by an axis with a polarity. Because of this polarity, every point becomes an axis. Therefore there are as many dimensions as there are axes and as many axes as there are points. In otherwords every single point is the center of the universe and if you view that point as the center of the universe then it exists in entirely different dimensions from all other universes that revolve around a different center point.

However, there is one point that is infinitely small and contains everything, this is the "Benign Indifference of the Universe". If it were ever anything BUT indifferent, the universe would be destroyed because then it would have to choose one center over another and the entire structure would be changed.

In my religious beliefs I follow a Goddess. This is much more fun, aesthetically pleasing and sexy. Every woman I relate to manifests as this goddess, and I am able to treat every woman as though they are this goddess. Now this is good and bad in that it can seem to make women interchangeable which is not true. When I find the woman who embodies exactly what a Goddess would embody to me, then to me, that is the goddess. I found this in Lisa, but as she is now away from me, I keep looking even though, thus far, it seems like pretty much from the point that I revolve around that is the center of my universe, she's the real deal.

My external manifests my internal the more I understand the micro/macro reflection. From receiving things I wistfully asked for earlier in the day, to meeting a person that embodies a certain aspect that I was trying to understand in the interpersonal relationships I've already had in my life. So the Goddess does not reflect an all-powerful all-knowing deity for me. It's not that simple really. But it's at the highest level I can go, where I still feel like I have some sort of interaction with the divine, before I get to the "Divine Indifference".

As an addendum, I'll point out that both Ancient Gnosticism and Kabbalah view YHVH as the Divine Indifference. In Kabbalah YHVH is the Cause with an Effect that is not also an Effect itself. Whereas every other cause/effect relationship the cause is also an effect and the effect is also a cause. In Gnosticism, it is the primordial energy from which the God and Goddess take their power.
democritus
Oct. 6th, 2003 11:03 am (UTC)
I appreciate the time you took to reply to this entry and I'm happy for you for having such interesting beliefs but, really, I can't get with anything you've said in this post. Frankly, I wish I never would have mentioned "god" at all, because I neither desire nor require the concept of a deity in my life and pretty much all mysticism seems to me like snake oil and pipe dreams. I'm not saying that that is wrong or bad, I just personally don't desire it. I think your spiritual exploration is pretty cool though. good luck with that.
mswas
Oct. 6th, 2003 12:20 pm (UTC)
Hehe, alright, I'll keep that in mind. I still agree with what you said. ;)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )