Belief

“Do you believe in God?” she asked. The trouble is, “God” is such a loaded word/concept. So is “believe”.

My current quest is for experience. Belief is, by definition, outside experience: it’s an attempt to explain experience — at best your own, at worst someone else’s — to cage it and control it. Having been subsumed by beliefs of one kind or another for so long, for now I’m quite content to avoid them wherever possible. So what I’m left with is a kind of day-to-day “this is how things seem to me to be”.
Now that I’m over the existential angst that is probably an inevitable initial reaction to a pretty steep drop from absolute certainty to near-absolute uncertainty about everything I held as important, it works for me and I don’t feel any burning desire to “know” more.

Instead, I notice the way that certain ideas resonate with me, as if I hear the ringing of some crystal of “truth” that they contain, “truth” in quotes because it is a truth for me, for now, rather than for everyone for all time. Today, for instance, alchemy; one of my keywords on a certain social connection website. Someone asked me why it was there, so I explained that it was in the sense of self-development rather than turning base metals to gold, but this got me asking myself why I’d put it there, and realising that the key component of alchemical transformation is fire, and it burns. There’s nothing like going through hell to achieve enlightenment. Perhaps indeed it’s the only way. Death and rebirth. Fear is conquered after the first Bad Trip. And so on. Anyway, then she mentions Crowley and that’s synchronistic with the part of the Illuminatus! trilogy I’ve just got to on 3rd reading, the black mass, and all the while I was reading it I was observing my own reaction to it, the fear and disgust which can only be a residue of Christian upbringing since I have no direct experience of such rites. Do I want to? Not especially, but neither do I want something from my past to continue to hold such power over my present. It maintains, and is maintained by, a lack of belief in my own power, my own ability to experience all manifestations of life without being possessed by any one of them.

Wine (a cautionary tale)

I poured a glass of wine and then returned to the slightly over-ambitious cooking project underway (sesame-crusted marlin steak with steamed broccoli and cauli and red leicester cheese sauce — only over-ambitious because it involved doing everything all at once (including washing up when I discovered I didn’t have basic implements like saucepans and wooden spoons), and because I’ve never before cooked (or eaten) marlin (bought on impulse with no clue what it would be like), nor made cheese sauce. But it was fine. Actually it was lovely. And for someone who is addicted to complex carbs, a surprising lack of craving for starchy accompaniment.)

So, after a digression of a few minutes, with many sub-digressions, not unlike the above parentheses, I returned to my wine to find a small fly floating in it. A tad larger than your common or garden wine-seeking black fruit fly, and stripey, but presumably a drosophila of some kind. The alcoholic kind, it seemed.

I fished it out (no pun intended, but by now you’ll have forgotten that I was cooking fish, or at least I had, so even if I’d thought of the phrase at the time, I wouldn’t have been aware of the pun; the pun (which, please be assured, was really not intended) arises only now with hindsight and the benefit of reading back through what one has written and editing or augmenting or clarifying or deleting it, which is a capability I would very much like to have with the spoken word also (except that no-one would then be able to follow what I was saying due to my propensity to insert vast parentheses (and sub-parentheses) in medias res (not to mention gratuitous Latin, but let’s not mention that lest we lose our way)), and (after checking, re-checking, and still not being entirely sure that I’d closed the same number of parentheses that I’d opened) I’d have to recap. QED.)… Where was I? Ah yes. I gently lifted the fly from my wine. It began to move drunkenly on my finger. Not dead then. Now, some people would have killed the thing there and then for the heinous crime of wine invasion, but I’m a softie so I deposited it gently out of harm’s way, took another gulp of what was still a reasonably subtle, pleasant and drinkable Californian chardonnay (makes a change, especially for Gallo), and started to serve my dinner.

After dinner I did a few more bits of washing up, and again returned to my wine to find the same bloody fly in it once again. (Ok, I can’t say for absolutely sure that it was the same fly, as although I’m not a speciesist, they probably do all look the same to me, though I’m sure they’re all really nice and I don’t believe any of the stereotypes etc, it’s just that most of my friends are humans rather than fruit flies, but don’t get me wrong I have nothing against fruit flies as long as they keep themselves to themselves and don’t take our jobs, and sure I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one but it’s not a speciesist thing, I just think we should stick to our own kind…). Anyway, blatantly it was the same one, back for more. Observing more closely this time, I saw it was not floating but swimming, not drowning but waving, lazily, probably quite happy there.

There was a point to this story, but it has been bracketed away. I got so carried away interjecting with gay abandon (absolutely nothing intended whatsoever) that the paultry substance of this tale has been utterly swamped by the deliberately meandering style. Let that be a lesson to you. If a fly’s been swimming in your wine, don’t drink it afterwards. There must be strange stuff in their wee.