The creation of Man whom God in His foreknowledge knew doomed to sin was the awful index of God’s omnipotence. For it would have been a thing of trifling and contemptible ease for Perfection to create mere perfection. To do so would, to speak truth, be not creation but extension. Separateness is identity and the only way for God to create, truly create, man was to make him separate from God Himself, and to be separate from God is to be sinful. The creation of evil is therefore the index of God’s glory and His power. That had to be so that the creation of good might be the index of Man’s glory and power. But by God’s help. By His help and in His wisdom. Robert Penn Warren. “All The King’s Men” at pp. 658-59 (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt: N.Y., N.Y. 1996).
As stated in Part I of this series of essays, the last few weeks of mass hysteria have given me an opportunity to re-read Robert Penn Warren’s magnum opus partly quoted above and to apply its conclusion and the mass hysteria to the original question of a previous longer series of essays in this blog: Why Does God Hate the Poor? Prologue / Part I? My original answer written several essays ago was:
He hates the poor because He can. He is the ultimate power and can do whatever He wants. In fact, since She acts by necessity, She must do whatever She wants. If you could choose your acts and had the power to do whatever you want, you would choose to exercise the power to do whatever you want. God acts by necessity, not from incompleteness requiring choice. He is what He is and can be. Why does God hate the Poor: The Answer
I then went on to ask and to decide if the answer matters or changes anything. My conclusion was that in the big scheme of things, it really does not. Why does God hate the Poor: Does the Answer matter? As a result of the last few weeks, have my conclusions changed any?
Warren’s words are a true thing of beauty. In a few sentences, he has summarized libraries of theological verbiage. But, there are problems. The most relevant to the topic of this blog is that God may have created a God-less universe, but God most definitely did not create a god-less universe. Whatever help and wisdom She is granting creation, it appears to be limited or preferentially handed out only to the gods that make up a tiny portion of creation — by any measure they should be insignificant or at least of no greater power than anyone else but this is most certainly not the case. There is a hierarchy of help and wisdom resulting in a hierarchy of power that can be seen and described in words but not explained.
For the lifeless portion of the universe, be it made up of dark matter, dark energy, atomic particles that may or may not exist except when we observe them, numbers that are more real than the waves of nothing they describe, or whatever, in its benign inertness there is no “help” or “wisdom”. The non-living universe spends its entire existence exploding so that it can then come back together to explode again — unless it just explodes back into the nothingness from which it came. It created life so that immediately after this creation it can begin trying to kill it and life can begin trying to survive. Is a virus alive or a form of life or is it just one of the countless things in the universe seeking to kill life? More likely, a “virus” is an example of how words are a form of life by giving order and meaning through social construction of language to the meaningless inertness that is the universe.
What about whatever we can agree upon as being life or alive? Does it have help and wisdom in some form?
Things are not much better for non-human life than it is for the universe. Considering a virus either to be or not to be life would not do much to change its existence just as it does not do much for other non-human life. For non-human life, it spends its entire existence not much better than the universe: explodes into life, hunts and kills each other for life, and then dies. Fortunately, non-human life does not appear to be self-conscious that this is their existence so they are free of the pain of this existential knowing.
How about human lives? Is there any help or wisdom there? The last few weeks like all historic events prove there is some help and wisdom available to human life if you are one of the few with the power to define “help” and “wisdom” so as to maximize the power of the few doing the defining. As with any words, “help” and “wisdom” are socially constructed relevant to the needs of a social group. The social construction of the meanings of these words is ultimately controlled by a small proportion — more accurately described as a handful — of individuals who have the power recursively to define “help” and “wisdom” or at best randomly and arbitrarily to define them axiomatically. Both definitions are done through their will to power and not based on any objective truth that exists independently of their will to power. God’s help or wisdom is granted to a few and not to “Man” or to any significant portion of Man. Just as with everything from the first tribes on earth to the World Wars of the 20th Century and the pandemic of the last few weeks, a few decided what the rest of us ought to do and then we do it. If we do not like it, we used to be able to leave but even leaving is not allowed anymore. The gods speak about choice but that is all nonsense. For most of humanity, the choice is work or go to jail; in the last few weeks, for some the choice was stay home or go to jail. The will to power of these few gods not only defines what constitutes God’s help and wisdom but goes on to create the aesthetics allowing them to pretend they are not acting as gods in a hierarchy of power but with the consent of those over whom they exercise their random and arbitrary godly power. The aesthetics consist of words such as: rule of law, social contract, will of the people, universal rights, social justice, and all the other social constructions aesthetically created to keep our Heart of Darkness in check so that the gods may rule.
Is that what all of this is about? A God-less creation means we are all “sinful” with this Heart of Darkness but it would be easy to forget this if we were all in fact gods with a power to create a world in our image. Maybe there are only a few gods so that only a few have the temptation to forget they are God-less. Is this the help and wisdom provided for most of us: to deny us a temptation we would most certainly not be able to resist and thus deny us failure?
I do not know the answer. In the end, I am stuck with agnosia but I do not like it and most definitely do not love it. I hate it. I must accept it to survive but hate it with my whole heart, mind, and soul. Given this agnosia and the act of will required to deal with it, the answer to my question does not really matter as at best it will be aesthetics as is Warren’s answer. At that point, even the question does not matter. Asking the question pretty much answers it as it is a dead end.
It is this new school agnosia that is the biggest problem with the beauty of Warren’s above epigram: the beauty created by Warren through the use and usefulness of words hides the ugliness of not knowing. As with all aesthetics, it is tempting to believe the words have something to do with a reality beyond the will to power of Warren or of any writer or other master of aesthetics but nihilists must resist this temptation. There is no “Man”, “creation”, “life”, “beauty”, “good”, “evil”, or any other words that can be used to ask my question or to answer it in reality other than in the reality of words. We created words, not God. There are six billion or so individual conscious lives on earth but there is no thing that is “life” on earth. For each, actual reality comes into existence when each individual soul becomes conscious of their existence and ceases when their consciousness ceases. Objective reality and truth may in fact exist before or after their consciousness and before and after my consciousness but it does not matter to the individual who is not around to be conscious of it; they also do not matter in a world of new school Technological Society agnosia lacking any non-pragmatic meaning for truth and most definitely lacking any for objective truth. Of objective reality and truth, all I know is nothing — not “nothingness” but actually nothing. There are six billion answers to my question — more accurately, there are six billion questions with six billion different answers. The answer to my question and even the question does not matter because both are an act of will by each of those six billion and not an act of reason. Whether one makes a leap to faith in the “glory and power of God” or a leap to the rejection of that faith, it is all a will to power leap to meaning in life as random and arbitrary as is life. Reason is a tool for making that leap work but it can give no reason for justifying any such leaps nor even for questioning them or answering any questioning of them.