Wednesday, 22 July 2009

798 - All Right

There's an experience I've had, and it has convinced me that everything is all right.

And if everything was not all right, somehow, after all, I'd still go down fighting for the values that my experience of all-rightness has taught me.

That is, that is-ness is at the heart of things. That all things unfold from it. That it exists before the words I conceive of in order to explain it, to myself, to others. And that love is as good a word for the existence of everything as any other.

That's it, really. From my reading, of religious experience, of philosophy and psychology, I reckon I'm in good, and I'm sure, by the time we pop our clogs, universal company.

So I've been reading Hilary Mantel's novel, Beyond Black, which gives as fine a description of cold-reading as one could hope for (not finished the novel, so there may be twists and turns along the way, but I think I know where it is heading). I've Derren Brown in my bookshelf, and analyses of brainwashing and comparative religion, Michael Shermer, Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong's latest - a history of not knowing God.

A couple of rows-worth of evangelical Christian books have not been chucked, though the more embarrassing among them I've relegated to the bedroom, along with my collection of poetry.

Enough books about quantum physics, molecular biology and cultural studies line the dining room for me to be clear enough that most interpretations of most things are retrievable, if I browse with a little patience.

And as a librarian, I'm a pretty skilled browser (which is itself the art of cold-reading books).

What I'm wondering is, even if spiritual or psychic experiences were illusions, delusions or frauds, given my conviction that everything is all right, there has to be a way of understanding them that credits them with value, however they come about. And if they have value, that must be enough to justify their existence.



Dominic said...


Steve Lancaster said...

'Kay. So what are we going to do about it?

hadge said...

Julian of Norwich said something similar when she said, ". . . all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well" - oh, and spare the poetry having to sit alongside the more embarrassing evangelical books - pit them in a box in the loft ;0)

Steve Lancaster said...

Hi Hadge!

Brilliant quote, yes.

Here's my take on the evangelical books: they remind me of some of my teenage angsty roots, and stand as good examples of how far in one direction you can push a metanarrative. But they're scary. And I have to admit that, for all I revisit them, they might as well be up in the loft.

(Not sure what the loft has done to deserve them, mind...)

Off to Greenbelt for the visual arts pre-build and festival itself. Will you be there?

hadge said...

sadly not since I'm now living and working in Brisbane, Australia - but I hope you have an excellent time!