Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Mother on Inertia

My Mother understood the fundamental problem of this dimension—which she voiced around about the time when she had reached my age. She used to say, but only sotto voce and in private, that eating was disgusting. But eating was just her standing-in for anything to do with ordinary physical life; she chose that activity to make the point more sharply; because, no matter when, eating remains a pleasure and a need. She meant life-in-matter. The problem only appears when life in the valley is viewed from a point of view above it, thus from awareness, intelligence. Viewed through a materialist monism, thus from below, what you see is simply what you get, matter and matter all over again: the endless catch-as-catch-can and tawdriness of everything made temporarily neat and tidy only by massive expenditures of energy and effort; even then the daily functions of intake and elimination provide sufficient instances of grossness so that we cannot avoid eventually noticing that something is amiss.

Fighting the fundamental chaos that surrounds us—and it seems to have a powerful will of its own we call Inertia—is the principal occupation of daily life. Extraordinarily high levels of collective coordination and cooperation are required to keep that chaos at bay in the best of times. Life-in-matter is by definition conflict—of the soul against the random. Any ideology that embraces it, e.g., a free market ideology, invariably increases chaos by increasing conflict and directing energy from cooperation.

Not what God actually created. This world here is what we rightly call The Fall.

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