Embrace the Fourth Scenario
There really are just four scenarios to explain your current difficulties. No doubt planet Earth is desperately broken—as evidenced by active shooters, nuclear wastelands, child abuse, economic oppression, incurable illness, catastrophic injury, and numbing loneliness. Of course, I'm not referring to the dirt, air, and water that’s bundled into this thing some call “a big blue marble”—I mean humankind crawling about the surface.
While I don’t market this blog as a religious product, regular readers know that I’m a person of faith. Humanist readers ought not check out at this point (seriously)—this week’s blog has something important to say no matter if you embrace eastern pantheistic monism, mainline Protestant Christianity, Harry Potterian magic, or nothing trans-rational at all.
In order to unpack the four scenarios, let’s employ a literary device. For the sake of this blog, let’s equate one’s personal paradigm to his/her god. I know that word (god) has a lot of baggage for many. Stick with me and I promise it’ll be worth the trip.
The reason it's reasonable to equate worldview with god is because every individual is privileged to put their paradigm right alongside the theistic worldviews of practitioners of Asatru (celebrating Odin and heroic manhood), Gardnerian Wiccans (celebrating the god and goddess), and Yoruba mystics (revering the Orisha). Every single one of us is a free moral agent. Period.
With the preceding list of non-traditional faith systems, I run the risk of alienating those of my readership who embrace the dominant religious cultural lens. So, now that I’ve made both the nonreligious humanist and the devout Christian believer uncomfortable, let’s get to it. (Nothing is born without pain and stretching—so, do your Lamaze and keep reading.)
The first scenario to explain why things are so bad has to do with you and me. You suck. I do, too. We’re just too flawed, ugly, fat, sinful, selfish, insecure, addicted, lazy, and ignorant to expect anything other than what we’re getting. Therefore, the best bet is to settle for what we can use to anesthetize ourselves. Given the popularity of local bars and head shops, millions obviously embrace the first scenario. Hey, a friend with weed is a friend indeed.
The second scenario to explain your conundrum is that the devil is too powerful. And everybody has a devil. Maybe it’s a wingnut deplorable, or fanatical libt*rd (Sorry, I couldn’t type it), or a greedy one-percenter, or a white devil—or even Lucifer, the morning star. Everybody has a devil. Since the devil (in this scenario) is too powerful, it’s best not to piss him off. Millions have adopted this worldview as needed, too—from Vichy France to Kangdong Reeducation camp, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, right?
The third scenario is that god is too distant and disinterested. He wound the clock, and then went on a trip or something. The humanist god (or paradigm) doesn’t get a free pass in this scenario. If divine disinterest can be likened to ineffectiveness, then a godless worldview is just as impotent as anything else. Things still suck.
And this points us back to the other scenarios. Maybe, just maybe, if we elevated the humanist god with legislation and law enforcement, then we could eradicate the sucky-ness of scenario one and knock the hellishness out of the devils in scenario two! Wouldn’t that be grand? Sheev Palpatine, after all, was just trying to bring a little order to that dang messy empire.
The fourth scenario is that God (or god, if you prefer) desperately loves you and is currently working to give you your best life. (Humanists stay with me. Don’t you love yourself—and doesn’t evolutionary theory demand natural selection of the fittest mindset?) God, or the evolutionary process, is handling you rightly, even though it doesn’t always seem like it. Either way, you’re getting what you’ve got coming from a source that knows best.
For the nonbeliever, scenario four requires belief in science. Based on research, Dr. Martin Seligman said, “Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better."
So, imagine if humanists actually believed the science and let optimism permeate every moment of their impermanent lives. Imagine if Wiccans actually embraced the Rede to harm none (including themselves), and Christians actually looked like Christians. (Bara Dada said, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians, you are not like him.”)
Can you imagine that? Well, you must see it before you can be it. Maybe the real problem is that, for a lot of folks, their field of vision is too intransigent.
Embrace the fourth scenario.
The meaningful life is the life of purpose or mission. It’s the life of self-actualization where people come into tactile contact with why they’re alive. Head, heart, and hands are all in the game. Intellectually focused, emotionally motivated, and kinetically engaged, they’re in the zone. One of the great wastes of human potential, due to opportunity inequality (whether produced by capitalistic selfishness or socialistic slovenliness), is the inability of people in poor subcultures to move beyond survival and discover purpose.
Affirmation of the Week: I embrace the fourth scenario. Everything that happens to me today is all part of an overarching conspiracy to give me my best life. I can’t wait.