Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.



Amidst all my hifalutin' ranting and frustrated abstract tirades, it's good to have a reminder every now and then of what we can actually affect. Once again, Terry Pratchet has brought the message home to me in A Hat Full of Sky:
That was true. People didn't respect Miss Level. They liked her, in an unthinking sort of way, and that was it. Mistress Weatherwax was right, and Tiffany wished she wasn't.

"Why did you and Miss Tick send me to her, then?" she said.

"Because she likes people," said the witch, striding ahead. "She cares about 'em. Even the stupid, mean, drooling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and the silly and the fools who treat her like some kind of a servant. Now that's what I call magic--seein' all that, dealin' with all that, and still goin' on. It's sittin' up all night with some poor old man who's leavin' the world, taking away such pain as you can, comfortin' their terror, seein' 'em safely on their way . . . and then cleanin' 'em up, layin' 'em out, making 'em neat for the funeral, and helpin' the weeping widow strip the bed and wash the sheets--which is, let me tell you, no errand for the fainthearted--and stayin' up the next night to watch over the coffin before the funeral, and then going home and sitting down for five minutes before some shouting angry man comes bangin' on your door 'cuz his wife's havin' difficulty givin' birth to their first child and the midwife's at her wits' end and then getting up and fetching your bag and going out again. . . . We all do that, in our own way, and she does it better'n me, if I was to put my hand on my heart. That is the root and heart and soul and center of witchcraft, that is. The soul and center!" Mistress Weatherwax smacked her fist into her hand, hammering out her words. "The . . . soul . . . and . . . center!"

Echoes came back from the trees in the sudden silence. Even the grasshoppers by the side of the track had stopped sizzling.

"And Mrs. Earwig," said Mistress Weatherwax, her voice sinking to a growl, "Mrs. Earwig tells her girls it's about cosmic balances and stars and circles and colors and wands and . . . and toys, nothing but toys!" She sniffed. "Oh, I daresay they're all very well as decoration, somethin' nice to look at while you're workin', somethin' for show, but the start and finish, the start and finish, is helpin' people when life is on the edge. Even people you don't like. Stars is easy, people is hard."
I've rarely run across such a clear explication of what I feel is one of the central passages of the gospel:
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)
As an analytical introvert, it's easy for me to get excited about academic social theory and social ethics, play around with the world of ideas and think I know which ones are best. The hard part is personalizing that on a daily basis. But it's what really matters.


At 11/28/2006 10:56 AM, Blogger Leelu said...

If people who called themselves Christians actually believed and acted by that, then I'd really like Christians. As it is, I like the idea of it, much like communism. Nice theory, but the practice falls quite short.

At 11/28/2006 9:38 PM, Blogger Degolar said...

They're not as noticeable as the ones who call attention to themselves and try to control how everyone else lives, but there are Christians who practice this as much as they are able. They're more numerous than you'd think, in fact. They just tend to get drowned out and have their efforts tainted by the rest.


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