I live in a very “Christian” part of America. I live dangerously close to the largest Fundamentalist Christian “University” in the world. The earth is only 6 to 10 thousand years old here and it is possible to turn gay people straight if everybody prays hard enough. Around here every time an automobile accident happens and nobody gets killed it is because Jesus was looking out for the people involved. When someone does get killed it’s because God had a good reason for it and it’s OK because they are in a better place now. Even when people around here get cancer it’s only because, for reasons that forever may remain obscure, God knew that they needed it. The phrase one hears over and over when something unfortunate happens is…. Everything happens for a reason.
Welcome to my world.
Living here has taught me some very valuable lessons. They say that everybody should travel and broaden their horizons and I think the reason “they” say that is because it does us all good to learn that different cultures have very different ways of making sense of the world and the lives we all live on it.
What they don’t tell you, what they don’t warn you about is the danger.
I called this little essay “That Makes Sense” because, it seems to me, that is the one phrase we want to tell ourselves over and over again. As long as we can say that to ourselves, inside our heads, all is well with the world. It means we know what is going on and it is going on according to plan. No rules are being broken. There is no reason to worry. Everything is cool.
It’s when we find ourselves saying, inside our own heads, “That doesn’t make ANY sense“, that the trouble begins. That’s when we get nervous. That’s when our blood pressure goes up and sleep eludes us. That’s when things can get dangerous. That’s when we say to ourselves… “I just can’t live with this not knowing and not understanding!”
Welcome to OUR world.
It is quite amusing when you really think about it, but, there is absolutely NOTHING we won’t believe, nothing we won’t convince ourselves of if it permits us to say, now…”that makes sense” instead of… “that doesn’t make ANY sense”. The sky is the limit when it comes to the crazy things we will believe if it permits us to exchange that second statement for the first. Our imagination knows no bounds when it comes to manufacturing reasons for things. One might even conclude that, if we have a purpose, it can only be to make sense out of something that doesn’t make any sense.
So there you have the answer to the BIG question…. What are people for?
People exist in this universe for one reason and one reason only. People exist to MAKE sense out of something that, in and of itself, makes no sense at all. Understanding that and understanding that no matter how screwy other people appear to be with their crazy headed explanations for this and that they are just doing their job to the best of their ability. You can scratch your head over it. You can think to yourself… “How the hell…” Or, you can just kick back and appreciate the magnificent, unending variation of all the stories, schemes and excuses people can come up with for anything… and be amazed at the skill they show in persuading others to agree with them.
In a way it’s almost like music, or, painting, or, dancing….
Undeniably it is an art form. In my opinion it is the highest of all the arts and, in the end, the only one we are incapable of ever living without.
I had a bowl of soup for lunch and assumed a supine position on the couch in preparation for my daily nap. As I made myself comfortable it occurred to me that, perhaps, people are like beavers in that show I viewed a while back, on NOVA, Public Broadcasting.
They said that beavers don’t “plan” to build a dam. They said that beavers just get really pissed off at the sound of running water and pile crap up in an attempt to stop the sound. When people filming the beavers put a hole in one of their dams the beavers got really pissed off and scurried right over to the hole and filled it in with sticks and mud until all the noise stopped.
Maybe we are like that…… except with question marks.