The Cosmic Flower of Faith

 

08182017redpsinversenarrowborder

 

Is there a transcendent reality to our existence? Is belief in such a reality an illusion?

We live in an age where people find it difficult to discuss the supernatural at all. One of the reasons for this is that our words are changing. Definitions are being shorn of their supernatural meanings.

Take, for example, the word “cosmic“. The Merriam-Webster dictionary (online) gives us the following:

Definition of cosmic
1 a :  of or relating to the cosmos, the extraterrestrial vastness, or the universe in contrast to the earth alone  – cosmic radiation
b :  of, relating to, or concerned with abstract spiritual or metaphysical ideas – cosmic wisdom
2 :  characterized by greatness especially in extent, intensity, or comprehensiveness – a cosmic thinker – a book of cosmic significance

However, the Bing (search engine) gives us this:

cos·mic
[ˈkäzmik]
ADJECTIVE
of or relating to the universe or cosmos, especially as distinct from the earth:
“cosmic matter”

synonyms: extraterrestrial · in space · from space

inconceivably vast:
“the song is a masterpiece of cosmic proportions”

Notice the supernatural meaning is stripped from the definition. And it’s happening in other words, too. Some people think “soul” is now a person’s personality or character. The word “mind” is preferred over “psyche” as people accept that there is nothing more inside us than a mechanical brain that responds to external stimuli due to evolutionary conditioning.

For many people there is no God, no heaven or hell, no angels, no spirits at all – just the mud of the earth we are made of. When we die we decay into lifeless molecules and are absorbed back into that same Earth. It’s no wonder that the atomizing of society follows this philosophy of the atomizing of the individual. What point is there to family, religion, community if it all ends in dust? Why should we adhere to bonds between souls when the soul is a figment of the human imagination?

There is no proof we can offer that we will exist beyond death or that there is more to us than our physical bodies. However, there are arguments that point to something beyond this material universe. And this is what we call “faith.”  But, it is difficult to hold onto that faith. We may study the best arguments of humanity’s finest philosophers, but the dominate culture of this age rejects these arguments summarily.  And yet, isn’t the possibility of life after death appealing? Should it be rejected simply because it can’t be put to scientific analysis?

Faith is fragile – even for those who feel certain that God exists. First, it is hard to maintain faith in a vacuum.  Secondly, it may be that whether one believes or not in the supernatural depends on one’s personality and circumstances.

But my point is that whether one is a believer or not, the transcendent is worth spending some time studying and discussing. All references to  this (potential) aspect of our existence should not be wiped out of our vocabulary.  The difficult truth is that we will not know the truth of our existence until the moment of death. Like Schrödinger’s Cat, we will not know whether the fragile flower of faith is based on reality or not until that moment. It will be the most critical moment of our existence.

So, isn’t it worth spending a little time, while we’re alive, contemplating what our flower looks like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21516flower.jpg

The Writing Life is a category on this website where I muse about life in general and writing in particular. You can find this group of posts here.

 

 

 

 

 

WORDS: Aisling (Ash-ling or Ash-leen): Vision or Dream

 

Aislingpencilbluetrue

 

Aisling is a word of Irish origin and is interesting for both its lyrical qualities and as an inspiration for writers.

The heavenly image of a woman appearing to warn people of impending disaster appears in many cultures. The Aisling is a form particular to Ireland.

According to Wikipedia it was a popular poetic device in centuries past.

Aisling (Wikipedia)

“In the aisling, Ireland appears to the poet in a vision in the form of a woman: sometimes young and beautiful, sometimes old and haggard. This female figure is generally referred to in the poems as a Spéirbhean (heavenly woman; pronounced [ˈspʲeːɾʲ.vʲanˠ]). She laments the current state of the Irish people and predicts an imminent revival of their fortunes, usually linked to the return of the Roman Catholic House of Stuart to the thrones of Britain and Ireland.”

Unfortunately, the word “Aisling” is behind the paid wall at the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, but Wikipedia provides some interesting insights making the word as a name.

Wikipedia: Aisling (name)

“Aisling is an Irish language feminine given name meaning “dream” or “vision” and referring to an aisling, a poetic genre that developed during the late 17th and 18th century in Irish language genre poetry. Aisling was not used as a given name before the 20th century.

“There are many variant forms of the name, including Ashling, Aislin, Aislinn and Aislene.[1] Pronunciation of the name also varies, with the most common pronunciation being /ˈæʃlɪŋ/ ASH-ling; other forms acceptable to Irish speakers are /ˈæʃlɪn/ ASH-lin and /ˈæʃliːn/ ASH-leen.”

The first Wikipedia entry above goes on to say that this type of poetry was so popular that it eventually became a subject of satire and parody. It seems to me that most supernatural or paranormal stories these days fall into that category. The TV series Supernatural and movies like Michael come to mind. In this age, we tend to camp up our supernatural stories because our cultural is uncomfortable with ideas of life beyond death. And yet, a good portion of humanity today believes strongly in supernatural visions of a woman (Marian Apparitions).

For a writer, there are worlds, both psychological and spiritual, to explore and expand on.  😉

 

For more WORDS for Writers, click HERE

WORDS: Chronophobia (or Memento Mori)

Chronophobiacolor

I was watching an episode of Jonathon Creek the other night called Time Waits for Norman. The mystery revolved around a character who was described as “temporophobic.” This was defined as a person who is “terrified of the relentless passage of time.”

An internet search turned up another term “Chronophobia,” but a dictionary search on either word proved fruitless. Apparently, it’s an old term for a specific type of phobia that now is classified along with other phobias into general classes of disorders.  See the Free Medical Dictionary entry for Chronophobia.

There is a Wikipedia entry for  Chronophobia  which has some interesting links that might be worth investigating for writers.  There are a number of citations about the condition affecting the elderly and prisoners.

I recently read Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark, in which a group of elderly friends receive mysterious phone calls with the message: “Remember you must die.” How each character reacts to these calls makes an interesting tale.

Aren’t we all just a little afraid of time passing and with it our mortality? Isn’t that what the middle-age crisis is about? And what about the elderly? How often do we think that time is running out? How do we deal with it?

So, while I think that a morbid fear of the passage of time may be unusual, we are all  affected by Chronophobia. Worth pondering and writing about, don’t you think?  😉

For more WORDS for Writers, click HERE

WORDS: Quotidian

“Quotidian” is on the list of words every (working writer) should know. I find this amusing as I can’t remember hearing it in years.

It’s one of those words that could get you into trouble if you use it in quotidian places of business. Are you praising or belittling something when you call it quotidian? How do you work that into a phone conversation without sounding pretentious?

I ask you, is the word “quotidian” quotidian?  😉

However, if you want to be an art critic, political commentator,  opinion maker, or just sound like you know what you’re talking about, I suggest you add this word to your writer’s box of tricks.

Bing’s definition:

quo·tid·i·an [kwōˈtidēən]

ADJECTIVE
of or occurring every day; daily:
“the car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic”

ordinary or everyday, especially when mundane:
“his story is an achingly human one, mired in quotidian details”

synonyms: daily · everyday · day-to-day · diurnal · ordinary · average · run-of-the-mill · everyday · standard · typical · middle-of-the-road · common · conventional · mainstream

medicine
denoting the malignant form of malaria.

 

If you want to learn more about this word check out the online dictionary link below:

Merriam Webster : quotidian

 

WORDS: FEY

I chose “fey” as my first word in this new Feature (Words) because I’ve always loved the lyrical and mysterious quality of it and because it’s a word on the brink of disappearing from our vocabulary.

Many people think fey means odd or eccentric in a mentally deranged way – and it can be – but it can also indicate a supernatural connection. The Scottish meaning is also mysterious and full of our darkest fears of death and dying.

I prefer the first meaning over the second, but however you use it in writing, it usually indicates your character is of Celtic ethnicity.

Bing definition:
Fey [fā]

ADJECTIVE
feyer (comparative adjective) · feyest (superlative adjective)
giving an impression of vague unworldliness:
“his mother was a strange, fey woman”

 having supernatural powers of clairvoyance.

 SCOTTISH
fated to die or at the point of death:
“now he is fey, he sees his own death, and I see it too”

For more on this word see also:

Merriam Webster : Fey