Saturday, March 30, 2013

Is Life a Peep? Easter and Meaning in Life

"While your friends are putting eggs in baskets, get some amazing deals at UberHappyPurchasePlace!"

I heard an ad like this on Pandora while working on a project.  I had been listening to Bach...

We're Buying Stuff and Eating Peeps on Easter Weekend.  We're watching b-ball and going to restaurants, and finding eggs in the grass and eating candy.  To what end?

Most people agree with Charlie Brown, who lamented to us many years ago before the days of my birth that Christmas had been commercialized into a frenzied, pogrom of busy-ness, with no rest for the weary who ponder the stuff of the earth, like good Hobbits do.  Hence, the pathetic Christmas Tree he purchased.  And he purchased it out of love and admiration for the small and insignificant things in life, and for the weak and helpless.  Nietzsche of course, would condemn this action of pity toward the weak: it ain't Darwinian to help those who are helpless.  As Eddie Vedder says, "It's Evolution, Baby!"  Only the strong survive.

And yet, despite Charlie's warnings to us, we seem caught in the cogs of the Commercial Machine: never rest, never sit in a quiet place, never unplug, never stop eating, always moving, always buying.  And because we're progressing to an ever greater goal of evolving into to a human-robot Uber Mensch, as Jesus-Myther and popular atheist (cough)-researcher-Richard Carrier says, we can forget that history has anything to tell us that is real, true, and concrete.

Instead, after we've gotten our annual supply of Peeps (they're that good), we should keeping looking forward to Progress.  Who doesn't want to progress, especially if it's wrapped in a basket with fake, green grass?  The past should be something of a vague memory as we sit at the bar on a Saturday night and get temporary meaning out of life from our favorite teams of young men who vie control of something by putting an orange sphere made of the skin of dead cows and rubber into a metal hoop from which hangs a pretty white net made of nylon.  Ah, the past.  Who wants to bother with that?  It's all a nebulous wonder, anyway.  Progress!  (It was men of that age who stormed Normandy, wasn't it?).  Or, whatever season of the year it is: most of us carry on through the Nothing on the treadmill of our seasonal traditions in terms of whatever sport is available at the time.  "When I'm older, I'll think about those things.  Maybe I'll have a deathbed conversion.  But I don't want to waste my life with 'religion.'"  A man once told me "This is my religion."  He was pointing to a picture of a fishing boat on Lake Michigan.  Now, on your dying day--and it will happen--what then?

And as we color the hard shells of the incredible, edible anomalies of nature with pastel colors, set amidst bunnies, and other happy shapes, we should further our acquiescence into the swampy morass of forgetfulness with our purchase of something from the UberHappyPurchasePlace.  Because this will make us feel better, especially if it's shiny and makes fun noises and entertains us on our couches where we don't have to bother with the big questions of life: Who am I?  Where do I come from?  What is the meaning of life?  Where are we, as a human race, going?  What does God want from me?  Who was Jesus, really?

What did Jesus say about the past--about history--about you?  Are we in an endless void, only moving forward, never looking back, with no concrete history to serve as a foundation for our identity?  Is life a Peep: a superfluous beauty, with elements of cute and the promise of joy, only to give us a crash?  Perhaps you could read the Gospels and find out for yourself.

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