Tag Archives: Sadness

On Words and their Meanings

Dearest Father,

As you have probably surmised, my discoveries on free will and justice have not exactly set me ablaze with love for you. Where I sought to discover the freedom in your children that absolved you of the harshness of your justice, I found instead puppets and strings, little subjects moving to the whims of their master. I have thought long and hard on what these conclusions mean for my prospects of returning home, and I must say Father that it does not look good. I do not understand the crude nature of your justice, but if your children are not freely choosing to turn their backs on you, how is their punishment fair? How can you condemn them to an eternity of suffering when they are simply fulfilling the very destinies you created for them?

Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention that my once little friend has not been silent as I have thought these thoughts and asked these questions. He has tried all too often to find flaws with the reasoning that brought me to this point, and he has failed at almost every turn. One of his statements, however, has stuck with me these past few days and it is one I wish to share with you. I do not think he has found a way to give me hope though; in fact the implications of his words may have served to drive me even further away from the House I once called home.

His words to me were thus:

“You cannot say that your Father is not just, or that you are not free, because he has said that he is, and that you are. He is the Great Arbiter; his word is truth.”

If you remember Father, in our bid to discover the meaning of truth we realised that a lot of what we took as fact was nothing but simple arbitration, statements that appeared to make sense but lacked the proof that would reveal their real truth value. We concluded then that absent verification all statements must remain arbitration, neither true nor false but open for discovery and deliberation. We also concluded that even under such rules you remain untouchable, for you are the Great Arbiter; your arbitrations become truth from the sheer force of your will.

We referenced this viewpoint when we discussed free will. Unwilling to accept that you were a simple machine, bound to always pick the good option when presented with a choice, we surmised that you must be above good and evil. You made good and evil; whatever you dictate to be good becomes good. Whatever you dictate to be evil becomes evil.

Applying the same concept to justice and free will gives you the crux of Doubt’s statement to me. You are the Great Arbiter. Whatever you define to be free is free; whatever you define to be just is just. I cannot claim that your justice is unjust. It is your justice; it cannot help but be just. I cannot claim that our freedom is bondage. It is your gift; we cannot help but be free.

If one ignores the powerfully circular nature of this argument it would appear that Doubt has floored me completely. But as I mentioned before his statements only served to drive me further from you, as the true implications of this point seem almost too terrible contemplate.

I would like you to consider what his statement really means, Father. It means that we cannot, not now, not ever, know what anything means. Your children, of limited minds and hearts, have (for as long as we can tell) used signs and sounds to communicate. When we say or do certain things there is a tacit agreement amongst us for what those things mean, or what they are supposed to mean. It is this agreement that has enabled to us to form societies. Without it even your noble House would not have been built, as the children that remained after the Brother-Saviour would not have been able to communicate with the world and spread your word. This tacit agreement is what allows us to have general feelings (if not outright definitions) for such words as good, evil, love, freedom, and justice. Now these definitions may vary from culture to culture, from House to House, but within these cultures and these Houses they are generally agreed upon. The very existence and survival of their institutions depends on this.

Now consider yourself, dearest Father. We are told that you love us. That all the other Fathers and Mothers and Uncles and Aunts in all the other Houses are not only false, but that they do not love us the way you do. Only you truly cares. Only you truly wants what’s best for us. These messages, coupled with the sacrifice of the Brother-Saviour, have been among the biggest reasons that many have been brought to the House, and that many have stayed within it. And accompanying these statements is a fundamental understanding of the concept of love, of benefit, of harm. That which brings fulfilment is borne of love, that which brings happiness is beneficial, and that which causes suffering and pain is harmful. You are none of the latter, Father, and all of the former, or so we are told.

Against this one looks at the world born from your lips and sees pain and suffering, fear and hurt, bondage and predetermination. We see a justice apparently motivated by as much negativity and spite as the crude offerings of your flawed children. We see punishment for punishment’s sake, pain for no other reason than pain itself. We see children created solely for salvation, and others only for damnation. And if we are to believe that you are the Great Arbiter, and that you have termed these things good and loving and just, then we must also believe that this pain and suffering, this our lack of freedom, is indeed good and loving and just.

Thus the words that we use to communicate the love and justice and freedom and happiness that we believe come from your House are apparently meaningless, for they can have their meanings changed at will. They can mean one thing and their complete opposite at the same time, for you have spoken it. Does freedom today mean bondage? Does it mean predestination? Does it mean captivity? Does good today mean genocide? Does it mean the condemnation of little children for the sins of their fathers? We cannot, of our own admittedly feeble faculties, say. We must first consult with you, and hope that you deign to bestow upon us your answers.

Perhaps more terrifying is the fact that this means that a good amount of the people called to your House have had the wrong impression about you from the very beginning. It is hard to believe that those that heard about your all-encompassing love believed that within that love lay the capacity to create some children solely for the purpose of burning them. No loving parent on your green earth would do such a thing, yet a quick study of your world and a short perusal of your Book reveals such acts in great detail.

Of course there are some within the House that believe that our lack of understanding comes from the less than perfect nature of our minds, but this, much like the assertions made with regards to the First Brother’s faculties, does not vindicate the state of your world. Ignoring our apparent lack of freedom this would mean that the salvation of a good chunk of your children is purely circumstantial. If our fundamental understanding of love and justice, the intuition with which we analyse the world, is not complete due to our failings, then there is nothing but chance to dictate who comes to you of his own volition. The very tools we have to understand what you do and why you do it are flawed. That anyone comes to you in the first place is a wonderful combination of luck and opportunity, and that people fail to understand your ways should be expected. In fact, if one looks upon the various Houses and tents and institutions the world over, all separate and distinct from the House of the Cross, this is exactly what we see: a vast majority of your children that simply does not get you. And yet true to form you have taken it upon yourself to condemn these people, and to cast them out of your sight. And this is good, Father, because you have said that it is.

And therein lies the problem with the belief in you as the Great Arbiter, dearest Father, for if your justice, an institution barely distinguishable from that of the lowest of your children, is in fact fair and good and loving, then those words have lost their meaning. And if our freedom, a state barely distinguishable from the pre-arranged motions of actors in a scripted play, is in fact freedom, then that word has lost its meaning as well. And if words can lose their meaning at your whim Father then what is the point of even trying to understand you? What has been the point of my journey, my quest for both you and the great Sophia? In a single moment this very page could mean something completely different simply because you willed it to be so!

I suppose in the end my journey truly is nothing but a pointless exercise. After all, Father, wasn’t my fate already decided before I was born?

With sadness,

Your Prodigal Son

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On Freewillium

Dearest Father,

I have tried, and I have failed, to define free will. I embarked on this stage of my journey in an attempt to absolve you of the harshness of your justice, to find something that made it seem acceptable, if not ideal. The reasoning was that ultimately you cannot be held responsible for our bad decisions. Empowering your children with freedom meant exonerating yourself from the consequences of their actions. Harsh though your judgement, one would be unable to cry foul if he freely chose to be on the wrong side of your favour, if he and he alone were solely responsible for the actions that led him to your wrath.

But week after week and trial after trial it has become clear to me that this free will is something that cannot be defined. We looked at good and evil and found you lacking. If free will is the ability to decide between what is good and what is evil then you are not a free being; you can never choose evil. We looked at power and limitations and found ourselves lacking. In a world of bounds and limits your children are anything but free, constrained and tied to consequences and occurrences we did very little to create or cause. We looked at “limited” free wills and found ourselves lacking once again. Any freedom you have given us is completely nullified by the fact that we are ignorant children with imperfect minds. We will fail because we do not know any better, and this is how we are by design. Lastly we looked at your all-encompassing knowledge and boundless power, and came to the realisation that against such infinity our freedoms, even the smaller, limited kind, are nothing but charades. You are already very aware of what each and every single one of your children will do. Like the designer that makes his automaton in full knowledge of its potential actions given certain situations and circumstances, you created your children. In light of this, claiming that we possess any kind of freedom behind our wills is about as silly as claiming that our programmable machines have freedom behind theirs. We may feel like we do, and for all we know our machines “feel” the same way, but that does not change the reality of our (and their) situations. As I iterated at the end of that particularly depressing missive, we are your toys, your programmable machines, and only you know what the true purpose is behind our existence.

Despite all of this Father, I cannot shake the feeling that I have free will. I keep telling myself that I choose to write the words on this paper, freely, compelled by no one and no thing but myself. Knowing that this choice is not truly free, understanding intellectually that I am no freer than the tools with which I write to you, I still feel free. It is perhaps one of the greater feats of the imperfect minds you have given your children, where we cannot even come to grips with our true limitations, insisting instead on clinging to concepts we know make no sense and cannot be defined, simply because they feel right.

Such feelings led to needless hope that perhaps something has been missing from my months-long analysis, that I may have overlooked an important detail that would lay bare this puzzle of free will and bring me to a better understanding of your grand plan. And yet day after day of racking my brains has borne no fruit. If there ever was a question I needed you to answer Father, it is this. So much of House dogma and mythos is dependent on the existence of free will that I fear that my belief in its absence may prevent me from ever returning home. If we are not free Father then this is nothing but an extended game for your benefit and pleasure. Anything we happen to get out of this is simply luck and chance, not some product of the deep love you hold for your children. The few among us that make it to the Great Upstairs were destined to because you made them to make it up there, and the rest of us never stood a chance, regardless of what our weak, wishful minds tell us. Much like the sinking heart that emerged from my scrutiny of your justice, thoughts such as these make me sad and shocked. This is not what one has come to expect from the Father that died for his children.

And yet, I still wish to believe that I am free. Perhaps it is above my feeble mind. Perhaps free will is a fundamental constant of our world, something supreme and abstract that cannot be defined but is intuitively understood. Perhaps it comes from an undetected substance called freewillium that you possess and that you included when you breathed life into the First Brother and his companion. Perhaps this amazing substance allows you to design your children with their futures fully-known, as well as imbue them with the “freedom” to choose who they want to be, where they want to go. After all, when sense and reason fail Father one has to resort to hand-waving to make things fall into place. As has happened in all the times I have been unable to make sense of the opposing viewpoints put forth by your Book and your House, I must accept that this is just the way things are and that my childish mind would never understand your holy and perfect purpose.

If my words ring hollow dearest Father, it is because they are. I have never felt so far away from home.

With sadness,

Your Prodigal Son

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