matt (hbergeronx) wrote,

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on the mortal coil

The manager at the plant this week was participating in a huge screening of Narnia sponsored by her church. On her way in yesterday, her coworker asks her about it.

emp: "How was the movie?"
mgr: "They killed Jesus... again!"
emp: "again?"
mgr: "again! first they killed Jesus in the Passion. Then they kill him in this one".
emp: "They killed Jesus. Damn."

The whole church sponsorship thing takes on a whole different scale there. The local radio was broadcasting an ad for a "Narnia" costume event and dance, and there was one of those under-the-breath type disclaimers at the end like on car commercials: "wearing inappropriate or indecent costumes is strongly discouraged". This is very important, I guess, since the radio station I was tuned to also is the local home of the syndicated shock jocks Lex and Terry, whose "drunk bitch friday" wouldn't probably play well at Alpha. (Speaking of shock jocks, tomorrow is the last day for Stern on terrestrial radio. Howard, we hardly knew ye. Best of luck on your new endeavour.)

There's a local radio station somewhere on the drive back that I tuned to flipping channels, and the preacher was discussing the finer points of the Afterlife, particularly whether or not when we get to heaven, whether or not we would like the people there, be comfortable living eternally there, and whether or not there would be animals in Heaven. He cited the fact that Jesus was riding a white horse in Revelation, which might be just allegory, but likely means there must be animals in Heaven. He also said that since everyone in heaven would be Christ-like, formed into a corporation devoted to the praise of God, that when we go to heaven we will all like the people who are there because everyone will be like Christ, and everyone likes Christ.

I'm not comfortable with the idea that when that mortal coil begins to burn off, that part of me will be left, unattached to the worldly things and glorified in/to the presence of God. I'm pretty sure I'd like to burn off entirely at some point. But, as Augustine says, not yet.

Perhaps I just have no understanding of these things. I think we all suffer from uniformitarianism- we expect that the world and the people around us and all that pretty much have been the same as long as forever. I wonder, if in the face of plate tectonics and space exploration and supernovae if Plato would be so fired up about the immortality of the the universe. And yet, we also have some idea of beginnings and ends, in our life, and we want to conflate and make both things equal, and so we forever wait for the end times, talking about beginnings and endings as though our pitiful concept of time had eternal resonance.

It was brought home to me recently, driving past the house I grew up in, which had been transformed by a remodel to add a full second story. I nearly crashed the car. Even though the number, 64, was the same, the gap in the Camp Merritt wall was the same, the fireplug on the corner was the same, the distance between the side streets and the main road were the same: the entire neighborhood was no longer ever the same. It had ceased to be the place not in my mind. Some plece, which was once a place in this universe, suddenly moved forever into that universe prime I only ever thought was present in and only ever visited in my dreams.

My mother used to argue that energy is conserved, so when we die, that energy must go somewhere, and that that's why people must have immortal souls. But there's just no allegory that can be used to talk about those things without making no sense, or worse, nonsense, and perhaps the Talmudic proscription is the best wisdom on such things as can be offered.

I am not your rolling wheels/I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride/I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind/I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon/I am the night
--- Audioslave, "I am the Highway" (2002)

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