Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Soul, Man



There are things everyone says, so they're assumed to be true.

This is why I keep some things to myself.

Don't speak ill of the dead. Don't wish ill on the living.

That whole notion--that all human life is precious, that our souls make us something special--has never made sense. Perhaps all people are precious to God, but they're not to me. If Beethoven had a soul, it's worth more than Donald Trump's. There are people I will mourn and other people I won't miss at all.

I'm not sure what a soul is. It seems like something you invent to get out of dying. If I do have a soul, I'm quite certain my chickadee Studley does too. In any case, every one of us will die. Our souls will survive us, or they will fade back into fiction.

So I don't, mostly, wish ill on a living person. At least out loud. COVID-19 is purely awful. And I wouldn't, as the mandatory sentiment would have it, wish it on anyone.

But if I did, bingo, he would totally be the guy. I hope he recovers. And lives long enough to go to prison.

Why? Not because I enjoy imagining someone suffering. I don't. I'm at least that much of a liberal. But this man has been jaw-droppingly careless with other people's lives. People of color, immigrants, peaceful protestors, and, in the face of a pandemic, every still-breathing American. 

And now, for him, finally, the shit got real.

It got real for someone who doesn't believe anything is real and has duped half the population with his whims and fantasies and play-acting and ever-flowing fountain of bullshit. I can celebrate that. I do.

Because it's not just a pandemic. We're also well on the way to destroying our planet as a livable habitat for us and most of our fellow travelers. We know exactly how we got here, we know what to do about it--but criminally greedy souls are pretending we don't, and are blithely sacrificing their children. And yours. And Studley's children too. They are willing to risk it all, for a little bit of money. It makes no difference if half the people are willing to swallow their lies whole and ask for seconds. It doesn't make it less real. Shit needs to get real. If it takes a dead man to do it, I'm good with that.

I do not particularly believe that human life is sacred, or at least any more sacred than other life. But tonight, I was thinking about our souls and our pretense to immortality, and I put on a recording of Beethoven's Ninth, second movement. I cranked it way up. I lost my breath.

The top of my head tingled and dissolved and lifted off until it soared with the angels I don't believe in. It was as real as anything I know.


29 comments:

  1. I've always ascribed to the theory that either every being has a soul, or no one does. Humans are not special nor separate from what we call "animals." We are only chimpanzees with delusions of grandeur.

    Something is considered "special" or "sacred" if there is a limited quantity of it. The human race does NOT fit that description. There are too fucking many of us, and couples spitting out multiple children does not help. Neither does warehousing the very elderly and keeping them alive by artificial means just because it is a lucrative business model. People eventually die -- and they should. (Some people, the sooner, the better.) I'm certain that "the soul" is an invention by the upper echelons of the religious in order to control our behavior. If one believes that their "soul" is destined for "heaven" or "hell" depending on what one does in the present, one is apt to behave oneself. Or so the theory goes. Doesn't seem like the current Religious Right got that memo.

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    1. All sorts of religions have some sort of notion of a soul. And so do most of my friends who are not religious. I think I might be backwards in this society. I don't have a soul so much as I have a personality!

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  2. I'm not sure what a soul is.

    It's a metaphor invented to explain self-awareness before we knew enough to understand how things really worked, like we invented ghosts to explain weird noises in old houses, or storm gods to explain storms.

    I care about Trump and his toadies exactly as much as they would care about me. To Hell with them all.

    No, Beethoven did not have a soul, since there's no such thing. But he had a marvelous gift for expressing an emotional richness that a cramped and shallow man like Trump could never even experience. Your chickadee probably has more emotional depth than Trump does.

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    1. My left butt-cheek has more emotional depth than Trump does.

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  3. Beethoven mostly always does that to me.

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    1. I have gobs of CDs and I somehow don't play the famous pieces that often, but they're famous for a reason.

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  4. As a non-religious person I don't buy into much of the spiritual stuff, but a friend who has some of that said she was going to pray for justice when she heard Trump had gotten sick. She does actual work for justice, as well, so I didn't grill her about it.

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    1. The cynical part of me thinks that when people say "I'll pray for you" or "I'll send my thoughts out to you" that they intend it to mean to sound like they are actually doing something when they are not. They are actually scrolling through FaceBook or watching a reality show.

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    2. Of course, if your friend was going to "pray for justice" for Trump, she might have meant...

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    3. Her wish for his demise was thinly veiled.

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    4. And if he *should* snuff it (Bless his heart) that quote by Clarence Darrow would certainly apply; “I have never killed a man, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

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    5. When someone wants to pray for me I ask them not to waste their time and my patience.

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  5. Yes. And neither to I subscribe to the theory that our species is 'the best'. The evidence seems to me to be stacked against that one.

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    1. We are certainly making an elaborate hash of things.

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  6. I liked your description of praying in a post in the past: It's like shouting into a toy telephone.

    Perfect.

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  7. I’ve preferred the term “sentient being,” which means able to perceive or feel things, to the concept of soul. By all appearances, in the last two days, Trump has blown his last shot at being included in the tribe of sentient beings. We already knew he had no soul.

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    1. Let's see how he does once the steroids wear off.

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  8. Beethoven's Ninth- Second Movement: off to youtube, bye now.

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  9. Not sure where I got the link to your blog- but pleased to be here. Thank you for this post. It nearly exactly expresses a thought I have been chasing around in my head- you said it well- ending with "...if it takes a dead man to do it..." better the one awful guy than another 210,000 of my fellow citizens.

    I am not religious- I was, when I was much, much younger. I am now an atheist. Not that it matters- but I do try to be a good person- not because of what the invisible sky wizard might do to me after I die- but because good people make the world a better place to inhabit. If only more religious Americans were good people. If only more people wanted the world to be a better place more than they want to own all the things.

    I, too, find solace in music. Lately, it seems to be the only sure thing to soothe me. I do dig the classics- but lately- Billy Joel has been the one to make me smile. And ABBA- I sure wish I knew why- but, hey, why question the combo that works for you?

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    1. You never question the music that works for you. (However, the rest of us are free to question your music!) Kidding. Welcome aboard.

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  10. Classics (our local NPR stations has a WHOLE channel of 'em, bless them), Billy Joel and ABBA. Well said, Becks- I can hardly stand Any news now, getting enough at work at our Health Dept. and not enough of it good.

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    1. Well now I have WATERLOO going through my head.

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    2. Dancing Queen will be today's earworm.

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  11. Classics (our local NPR stations has a WHOLE channel of 'em, bless them), Billy Joel and ABBA. Well said, Becks- I can hardly stand Any news now, getting enough at work at our Health Dept. and not enough of it good.

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  12. Fabulous post! I’m going to add you to my sidebar. You and my cyber family certainly do think alike.

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