Modern Religion: Waiting for Godot, or ET, or the Eternal NOW…

Buddhist Temple in Laos

Buddhist Temple in Laos

I’ve always marveled at how certain songs just feel good, regardless of whatever words are being sung, while other songs are sad for the same reason, something about minor keys, I think. Words are the same way, it seems, especially when you’re trying to get all philosophical. I mean: nobody really wants to hear about categorical moral imperatives—borrrring. But everybody loves to hear about the ETERNAL NOW, philosophy in a spray-can, shake well before using, get in touch with your energy, etc. Why are such words and ideas attractive?

Simple, dahling: because it feels so good, and it can’t be proven or dis-proven—nice touch. We Western Europeans used to exult in our rationality, our Age of Reason, beyond superstition and the dictates of the Mother Church. And it worked fantastically—up to a point. We still love the fruits of such labor, but not the labor itself, and the discipline that achieved it in the first place. Now we want all that and superstition, too, but without the church, thank you. That means New Age fad religions and pop psychology and life-coaching: people who can’t run their own lives will try to tell you how to run yours. Isn’t it wonderful to be alive in 2015 with so many options?

Yes, you know your culture is in a severe tailspin when the world’s most popular ‘spiritual leader’ has a philosophy that basically adds up to ‘live for the moment’, though none of these purveyors of pleasure would ever cop to hedonism, preferring some wafer-thin ‘metaphysics’ that consists of basically defying modern physics with One Eternal Now that somehow equals One Eternal Wow, Other Worlds and that Oneness supposedly defining us, with a nod or two to Buddhism, though the Buddha never EVER said anything even remotely similar.

Me, I find solace in truth, or some rational likeness. I just want to find whatever meaning there is to be found wherever I can find it, and people can do whatever they want with it if they find something there for themselves. I have no special clue to the ‘truth’, but I tend to follow the dictum that ‘all paths lead to God’ and that includes science. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle whose problems somehow seem insurmountable until all of a sudden they just magically fit.

But I’m not going to diss other writers and thinkers who specialize in ‘nowness’ and ‘otherworldliness’ (unless they’re talking about Mongolia and Madagascar), any more than I’d say what I think people want to hear just because it’d bump up my ‘likes’, ‘follows’, and ‘shares’. I can learn how to arrange letters and words to make people feel good, but that’s not honest. Serendipity: now there’s a word that feels good. That’s a good abstract noun with a concrete future, I can feel it. Other sure winners include ‘love’, of course, and ‘soul’, ‘energy’, ‘aura’, ‘spectrum’, ‘eternity’, ‘potential’ and ‘infinity’.

What about verbs? ‘Manifest’ is a good one, much better than the same noun, unless you’re moving cargo across oceans. Other good ones include ‘realize’, ‘intuit’, and ‘enlighten’. But spiritual buzzwords do not constitute religion nor philosophy, unless you want it cheap and easy. I think the things you work hardest for will yield the richest rewards. ‘Yield’! Now there’s a good word. But I digress.

If I were a cynical charlatan, I’d advise you to love love love resplendently transcendentally achingly beneficent, manifesting the energy inherent in your spiritual orb of being, rejecting all logic and proportion, all past and future in favor of an infinite now that transcends the dialectic of history in one quantum leap in order to bring us right back around to where we started, but magically reversed by synchronicity, looking in looking out to reveal our true nature as energy beings in perfect harmony with the universe.

I mean: that sounds good, doesn’t it? There’s only one problem: it’s gibberish. I just made it up one word at the time in free-association. It’s not that easy; it’s not that hard.