An open space for global conversation
19 Arise, cry out at night,
At the beginning of the watches;
Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward Him
For the life of your young children
Who faint from hunger at the end of every street
- Lamentations, 2:19
Most of us have heard the tranformation metaphor. The caterpillar spins his delicate house of isolation, where he endures the pain of multiple heart attacks, and basically eats himself alive, his whole body screaming with pain, before he reformats his dna, sprouts wings, and emerges from his self made home, an entirely different creature. Unbelievable, yet it happens. It happens to SO MANY caterpillars. MASSIVE amounts of pain, TOTAL transformation. It's amazing. It happens all the time.
But there is a limit to the helpfulness of this metaphor, and a limit to the helpfulness of suffering. Evil is not like sorrow, and the awareness of evil is the cause of a lot of suffering. There must be respite from such intensity; the poignancy becomes too much Let us journey a little deeper.
Evil is the really misinterpreted biproduct of a kind of horrific depth of sorrow and rage, already embedded deeply into the human experience. It starts with the denial of sorrow, the use of rage to deny the sorrow of separation, inherent in our mental human condition, though what it is matters perhaps less than the fact that it does or doesn't exist, whether it is the cause of petty sufferings like stress and madness.
Rage is not unnatural, but in and of itself is far from evil. Rage is natural in the human condition, and bears reflection in nature. Stress is not so much like that. Let us pretend though, for a moment, for the sake of exploration, that it can occur on its own in nature, without humans having to be involved at all. We'll notice in our thought experiments that a stressed out lamb is far less dangerous than a psychotic lion. Lions EAT baby lambs, which is already very unhealthy for lambs, to be eaten by lions, crazy or not. Even if a crazy lamb gets more and more crazy, it will not go from lamb to lion. It will never eat another lamb or anything like that. Lambs simply do not go from lamb to lion. There is just simply no such transformation. But I digress. People are definitely not lions.
Anyhow, at a certain point in the butterfly phase, having experienced already perhaps an excess of suffering all at , once, one does not transform into MORE of a butterfly. The strength of butterflies can only increase so much. We can extend the metaphor to include maybe a butterfly on steroids, for the sake of the astounding photograph below. A butterfly of excessive depth and excessive um strength, excessive intensity, or in the case of this picture, a poodle moth.
Perhaps in our minds, we can go from butterfly, to rainbow butterfly stallion, the official pony of sorrow and lament. The persecuted animal of strife and suffering, a stallion of ponies. Let us use the term: Saccarine sorrow, only let us spell it more correctly. It just becomes too much, basically. It has already become too much. Again, I digress.
We see that there is a limit to how much suffering is helpful to our collective transformations. So let us limit the amount of suffering we believe um helps us. In fact, suffering is not helpful at all, but let us not go so far, yet. Let us simply limit the amount we will allow to infiltrate our collective human condition via our beliefs about its helpfulness- to the amount we ourselves are each willing to experience.
24 When they went I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army, and when they stood still, they let down their wings
25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.
27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.
28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
- Ezekiel; 1:24-1:28