O.K... This one isn't scary. Actually, it's a downright friendly natural marking on a tree in the Starbucks patio in Hillcrest.
After yesterday’s blog writing, I’ve been trying to think of something which can be said to be absolute... Not something scientific like absolute zero, but an idea which isn’t open to interpretation. I couldn’t come up with much. I remember reading once that Ernest Hemingway liked cats. He said, “A cat has absolute emotional honesty:human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” I like Hemingway... I like just about everything he wrote (Notice I didn’t say “absolutely” everything); and I think he must have intended his ideas to be examined and questioned. I’ve known a few cats, and I don’t know about absolute emotional honesty. KC (... for Kitty Cat... We’re not very imaginative when it comes to naming pets.) was a cat I liked very much. I don’t know about emotional honesty. KC seemed to me to know a whole range of wily tricks to get what he wanted from everybody in our household. He definitely let us know what he didn’t like and refused to go along with any procedure that wasn’t to his liking. His strategies worked with humans, but not with other animals. He was killed by a brute dog in Louisiana. You might ask what he was doing in Louisiana... but that’s another story for another time.
Back to the subject of absolutism: I guess it’s absolutism in religion that causes me to back away and look for another way... another answer. Any declaration that begins with “God wants” or “God thinks” or “God demands” leaves me wondering where the person saying it gets his/her information. If I ask, “How do you know what God thinks or wants,” the answer is inevitably, “The Bible says so.” Some time ago I got past the notion that the Bible is absolutely true. I like the Bible... I like reading the Bible... Some of the most wonderful literature ever written is found there. But to believe it is to be understood as literal explanation for the way things are in the world and that it contains the solutions, the prescriptions, for all the world’s problem is naive.
So, I think my friend is right who thinks my problem is with absolutism, especially in matters of religion. Pity the ignorant fellow holding the sign declaring in bold letters that God Hates _________. If he should say plainly that he, himself, hates something, that’s one thing; but saying that God hates something implies an intimacy that is improbable... I was going to say “absolutely impossible” but decided against it... and I say pity because his ignorance is obviously not blissful.
Oh... Today is Halloween. I went out looking for a scary picture, but settled on images in bark on the ficus trees near my house. The eyes have it... and so...