A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

FREE CHOICE AND FATALISM

As I read through the Bible, I am often confounded by some things, amazed by others, and then there are moments that really screw my mind up for quite some time.

When I was neck deep in Alzheimer's, I spent a lot of time trying to decipher Job.  Many times it seemed in Greek, which I guess it once was, but the point is I couldn't get a grasp of anything.  Other times I had these moments of breakthrough, but in the end I was always left wanting and not finding peace.  James, on the other hand, brought me great peace though I am hard pressed to say why.

I actually tend or gravitate towards the books in the Bible that begin with 'J'.  Job, Jonah, Joel, especially Jude, and John.  Yes, I know there are others but I am not listing them all, I'm trying to get to the point early in the blog - don't fall off your chairs.

My new behavior pattern while in training with, oops, almost slipped there, is to awaken, walk and feed the dog, then mix up my breakfast - milk and Nestles Quick - then sit down and read one, two, or three chapters of the Bible.  Great way to start the day: protein, chocolate, and God.  For the past 10 days I was reading through John.

I like John and Matthew for the gospels.  And I always like John 8 even though those expert theologians claim those first few verses weren't in the original, yet when my day comes to face God, if I can ask a question, I think I'd ask what Jesus wrote in the dirt.

But tonight, we are going to discuss a section of John 9, which I am glad I didn't read while taking care of my dad because it might have sent me over the edge:

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.  2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 
John 9:3
  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:6
  When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.  7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 

So why does this bother me so?  A man, blind from birth, and disciples ask if it was his sins.  This can cause a randomly firing mind like mine to spend hours or days on the thought, "how could someone not yet born, sin?".  Mind boggling, isn't it?

Scary part I comes next, his parents sin?  A man is blind for life because of the sins of the father?  Or mother?  Can this actually be true?  Well, biologically, I guess it can.  Think of the crack babies or babies born with issues from the behavior of the parents prior to the babies birth.  But theologically?  Would God really explicitly punish a new born child for something done by a parent?  Scary.

But it's the answer that is the really scary part.  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.  So a baby is born blind, goes through life blind, just so he can be sitting there when Jesus comes along to cure him with a miracle.

Now while I am sure the blind man is grateful beyond description to be able to see for the first time in his life, at some point in the future do you think he might ask "I was born blind and spent the better part of my life blind just so God could make a point"?

Man, there were some evenings or middle of the nights with Alzheimer's where if I'd read that line I might  have gone right over the edge.  We can be struck down with something like blindness or Alzheimer's so God can use us as an example?

These are the verses that try a man's soul.  I became so fatalistic as a caretaker and I'm trying to deal with that fatalism then I read that verse and suddenly I'm struck with the complete fatalistic nature of life.l,l,iku8778iy

Sorry, Bosco just wanted to type of few letters.

So, if we take the Bible literally, then do we accept the trials, tribulations, illnesses, persecution of the world as just being part of God's plan, nothing we could have done to change it?  Do we take it literally?

I don't have kids.  What does a parent do who reads that who has a child with X?

So I ponder that verse.  I pondered it most of the week leading to a test on Friday that I wondered if my ability to pass or fail wasn't based on my memory, work, efforts but simply a plan of God.  Thankfully, God's plan was I passed.

Islam is rather famous for it's fatalistic view of God and life.  "Allah wills it", they say.  Did they get that one right?  Did people in those periods after Christ understand something we don't?

Free choice and fatalism.  Throughout life, there have been times when things bothered me, from the simple and mundane to the complicated.  Sales managers and their arbitrary quota systems with no regard to natural variation for example.  I remember in the late 90's this group on an internet newsgroup, we'd been debating and arguing since 1995 together, and one guy always said to people when things didn't work out in their lives that they failed to plan.  Drove me nuts.  He honestly believed you could plan for anything and everything that was going to come along in life and several times made me wish one of those boulders in life would land in his path.

Trouble is, he wouldn't have been able to handle the boulder.  When your worldview doesn't allow for the unexpected, the unexpected boulder will crush you.

Free choice or fatalism.  Are they mutually exclusive?  How much of life is illusionary?  99% of matter is empty space, yet the sledgehammer breaks the rock.  Do we really control our destinies or are we just riding along making decisions about what book to read, what TV show to watch, and think those decisions mean we control the rest of our lives.  Yet all our plans, dreams, and goals go up in a puff of smoke at the intersection, the doctor's office, and maybe a few flying missiles in the coming days or weeks.

Free choice and fatalism.  My mind is totally wrapped around this debate.  A blind man, blind from birth, so he could be sitting there when Jesus came along so God could prove a point.

John 9 was a most interesting chapter in the Bible.

What once had been an endless realm
Of possibility and dream
Now laid to waste and ruin
Laid to waste again
You wash your hands in blood
You squander time
We borrow from eternity
Is it another lame excuse?
The day has come
You are the fatalist
The day has come
You are the fatalist
You walk on soil that dreams of blood
You are the fatalist