Monday, October 30, 2017

I am done with the "real world."

Coming to terms with the real world

"Because that's what adults do" or "because that's the way the real world is" are stupid arguments for doing things. 

I will no longer be swayed by them. I will no longer choose how to behave, what to teach, how to raise my daughter, or how to express my spirituality because of them.

They are the equivalent of "because I said so." I am going to a class on Tuesday nights offered by headstart called "Father Power." It is good.  One of the things the facilitator has taught us is that saying "because I said so" is the ultimate in verbal and psychological abuse. It suppresses the human being emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, ethically, and creatively. "Because that's how the real world is" does the same.

Good things don't happen in "real life," but they happen to me. 

Every truly great decision I have made and every good thing that has happened to me has been in defiance of "reality" or at least the "real world" to which people are constantly referring. Packing stuff into a car and travelling a thousand miles to a place where I had no family or friends for graduate school was good. I had no money to move to where I am now, so "in reality" I shouldn't have taken the job site unseen on a temporary basis, but I did. So, a person I kinda knew packed everything in a horse trailer and moved me here. My temporary position became permanent. That doesn't happen in "real life." My wife couldn't get pregnant. One ovary was gone the other had a 6cm cyst blocking it. Now I have a 4 year old girl. Forget the "real world."

I've written poems, played D&D, danced and sang before the throne room of the Lord God Almighty, swam in lakes, built fires in the back yard, watched superheros crash into buildings, written books about things I was thinking about, thrown rocks into a puddle, caught fish just to throw them back in the water, and shared peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches with a loving dog. I've told stories, ridden horses to which I am allergic, fired hundreds of shotgun shells at little clay plates, watched the sunset from the Eiffel tower, sat down to wait for Old Faithful to erupt again, had sex, drunk whiskey, read the Bible, hugged a gangster, developed a reading knowledge of a dead language, and bought a guinea pig.

These things have all been varying degrees of "real" but none of them was done because that's what you have to do in "real life." In fact, all of them were done to a greater or lesser extent in defiance of what you have to do in "real life." They were done in rebellion against "what adults do." They made me happy and are, I would say, all good, moral things to have done.

The "real world" makes you do bad things

I could create an equal list of things that I have done because "that's what you have to do in real life," or "that's what adults do." I won't, but I could. I started to, but deleted it. The things on that list range from the dreadful, to the banal, to the downright evil. I've done them because while I might have ideals, I had to face "reality."  

Do you think Manafort is being indited today for ignoring the "reality" in which he found himself? No, he did what you have to do in real life. Do you think that a little boy in the SS thought he wanted to grow up and gas Jews? No, he was responding to the reality in which he found himself and doing what he had to do in the "real world" because he was an "adult." All of the most horrible things I have done have been because I was "facing facts" and "doing what I had to do." 

The "real world" that "adults" live in isn't even real

My intellectual life for the past four years has been increasingly influenced by media ecology. Media ecology is all about how media and thought patterns interact and exist. What I have learned is that the "real world" that "adults" inhabit isn't even real. It's constructed by our interactions with various communication and can certainly be constructed another way through different interactions. Worse than that, however, it is manufactured through various interactions that actually make us think that we consented to various things that we never would have wanted or needed or desired if the world were "real." Well, guess what, you no longer have my consent, "real world."

As a Christian, we aren't even supposed to be like the "real world."

We are supposed to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2). Jesus prayed about us saying, "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). This world is one in which the Devil is prince (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), not someone we want to be like.

Instead of "acting like adults" and facing "the real world," we are to come as a "little child." Sunday we were visited by our district Pastor from the denomination. He challenged us to have "God sized dreams." You can't have those while focusing on the "real world."

There are good reasons to do things.

This doesn't mean I am going to stop paying my bills. To use electricity or water without paying for it is stealing and stealing is wrong. Exercise and healthy eating make our bodies better and are sometimes fun. The work I do is important and I am pretty uniquely equipped to do it, so I'm going to go to work.

There are good reasons to do things. Do them because they are beautiful. Do them because they are good. Do them because they are good. Aristotle chides young people because "καὶ μᾶλλον αἱροῦνται πράττειν τὰ καλὰ τῶν συμφερόντων" [and they grasp more at the noble than the useful], however, using similar language Paul argues that "πάντα δὲ δοκιμάζετε, τὸ καλὸν κατέχετε" [hold on tight to that which is noble] (1 Thes. 5:21). Aristotle's argument for practicality seems to fall on deaf ears for Paul and with good reason. That reason is that the purely practical is not a good reason. Good reason is a good reason.

No comments:

Post a Comment