Jason's (and now Fr. BH's, and now Monsignor Rossbach's) post, or copy-paste yet more text from a word doc into a spreadsheet that will be morphed into yet another word doc in a few weeks.
Clearly, I am predestined to write this now.
In my comment on Jason's post, I began with my favorite expletive. "Bullshit!" It's totally apt for a number of things I run into in life. I'm adept at recognizing it. I am a Taurus. And I believe firmly that bullshit makes the flowers grow, but then again, I'm a predestinationalist. The bullshit is there TO make the flowers grow, on PURPOSE.
Now, I'm not just a predestinationalist, I'm a full-fledged Calvinist. TULIP, five points of Calvinism, baby. I waffle on limited atonement on occassion; right now I suspect the internet-runners that are as bright as a bag of hair when it comes to white horses being horses have no fucking soul. Overall though, Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Iressistable Grace, and Perseverance of the saints, that's me at the core. It seems pretty out-dated in this new-fangled world that has so blithely accepted the illusion of free will. I don't really care how hip it is.
Long ago, and far away, I got a Vision. The Universe stretched out before me into infinity, and I saw that everything was moving like clockwork, together in perfect harmony. I saw that "now" unfolded endlessly before me, according to all that had come "before." I saw the Angels dancing and singing and doing their thing, I saw the demons laughing and playing and doing their thing, and I saw crowned above it all a King. Who smiles all the time. (Good Omens reference, 13 points if you got it.)
Cabalists of the GD persuasion might say I received a Vision of the Mechanics of the Universe, the spiritual vision of Yesod. I wouldn't argue, but I'd also point out that it wasn't just the engine parts that I saw, but also the harmony of the movement, and the role of mankind as an angel working in harmony with all other things. There was the Vision of the Harmony of the Universe mingled in with it, the Vision that they assign to Tiphareth in the Sun. Its father is the Sun, and its mother is the Moon (Emerald Tablet reference, score 7 points for that one). And on their Tree of Life, the path between is Samekh, as in the Liber, and there's a damned good reason.
Now I don't pretend that it doesn't SEEM like we have free will. I don't use it as a cop out or anything that the ignorant so often accuse me of. The ignorant will say, "if it's all predestined, nothing I do has any meaning..." All I can answer is that everything you DO has meaning because it is in complete accord with the rest of the harmony and mechanics of the spheres and their entities. It wouldn't unfold the way it's supposed to without you.
The marvelous thing about it is that we have the illusion of free will. It seems like we get to make our own decisions. Smarter folks than I have argued and pondered the implications. Fr. S.L. is consistently using dice theory and other mathematics to demonstrate that even though only one thing can happen at any given moment experientially, that doesn't mean a thousand (well, 36 sometimes, if I remember right) other things COULDN'T have happened... He's quite convincing.
But I just know he's wrong. I saw it. I live it. I don't get left empty in the acceptance of that at all, instead it's really cool. It makes me eager to discover What Happens Next (Great and Secret Show reference for 22 points). I live in ignorance of the future, and I know that the way it unfolds is by my actions. Even though my decisions are predestined and are a given, I remain ignorant of what they are and am able to experience them as if I actually made a difference. And I did. It's through our choices that the divine plan set in motion and locked in stone at the beginning of time unfolds. And that's awesome.
When some relatively local nut went on a rampage and shot some Amish kids in a little school house in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago, someone suggested that I go in and tell them that the fact that their kids were killed is beautiful and part of god's plan, let's be all joyous that our children's blood is on the walls. His issue was that evil, bad shit, and suffering are part of the overall harmony too. I'm sorrowful, a tone that brings pain and longing for freedom and oneness, on his behalf, for the bitterness he carries over the idea that he's meaningless if he wasn't the only part of himself making the choices he makes. But that's beautiful ... too.
Why does any of this matter? Why are we stuck reaping the consequences of actions we didn't set in motion? How is it fair?
It ain't. It's just life. Sometimes it feels good and sometimes... not so much.. Two adult friends had grandmothers go into the hospital in the past week. One is recovering from surgery on the flesh suit, and one is recovering from her time in the flesh suit. Both are every bit as much existant as they were before. The difference is that part of one is done with her time here, part of one is still finishing up some shit that has to be done. Who got the better end of the deal? The one that doesn't have to drink metamucil to take a dump ever again, or the one who gets to hold her great grandchildren a couple more times? Who knows?
The reason it seems so fucking unfair to free-will believers is that they just don't have a perspective on life from the standpoint of ETERNITY. Ultimately, if half the shit we know is right in our hearts is really right, we're all going to be hanging out in the Elesian Fields, the Summer Lands, Heaven, New Jerusalem, and maybe the Mormons really do get theri own planets where they are Gods and their many wives become their choirs of angels. Doubt it, but it could happen. Point is, everyone knows it's etter to stay alive while we're here, and even better than that once we're gone.
But I guarantee that anyone (even me, I'm no perfect schmo who lives what I'm saying all the time) who is suffering, sad, angry, depressed, anxious, or upset has SOLID lost sight of eternity, and needs a refresher course pretty badly.
Where's the proof? Somewhere between the Moon and the Sun. It's right there. Samekh. Temperance. Art. And it's beautiful.
(If you got all the points and caught the reference of your final score, score youreself another 376!)