25 thoughts from Benji
Well, as many of you know, I recently had a birthday. The universe has now endured my presence for a quarter century, and it seems none-the-worse for the wear. We’ll see what another quarter century does to it. 😉 (Lord willing.)
In celebration of the past 25 years, I thought I’d share 25 “thoughts” with you all. This is, of course, really just a thinly-veiled attempt to warn you all about what a truly strange creature I really am (as if you didn’t already know).
Some of these thoughts tumbled around in my mind for months or years before reaching their current “polished” form. Others are still just rough articulations of my opinions on particular matters.
This isn’t intended to be a “manifesto” per se – more of a “snapshot” of how I look at things at this particular moment in time. 25 years from now, I might disagree with many of these thoughts (maybe even most of them – who can say? – see thought #1). I’m sure many of them will go through several more drafts before reaching their final form. Nonetheless, I feel that these thoughts collectively convey at least some sense of what’s going on in my mind these days.
On consciousness and reality
1. My longest-held (and most firmly held) belief is my belief in human ignorance – principally my own.
2. To accept the reality of an incomprehensible God is to implicitly accept the incomprehensibility of reality.
3. Perception is the faint shadow, cast by reality, on the uneven surface of the mind.
4. Consciousness is the offspring of reason and imagination.
5. Even the simplest philosophical statement requires the absolutely unquestioning acceptance of the validity of memory and language. This requirement makes the the whole venture of philosophy seem, quite frankly, a little silly to me.
7. We are not surprised or especially impressed that a linguist would be able to speak multiple languages. Why should we be surprised or especially impressed that a musician would be able to play multiple instruments?
8. So-called “music theory” is little more than a structural and mathematical analysis of traditional western musical compositions. Its usefulness is limited to providing vocabulary for describing those particular forms. It has very little to do with the essence of music itself.
9. Rock is just noise. Metal is just noise. Rap is just noise. Pop is just noise. Bluegrass is just noise. Classical is just noise. Music is just noise. I like it.
10. True silence is better than music, but is much more difficult to find, even more difficult to keep, and far too intense to be taken lightly.
11. The inability of a listener to be positively affected by a particular noise or silence (at least in some subtle way), is a tragic loss.
12. “Music” could also be defined as simply being the name of that effect which musicians and composers hope to create in the mind of a listener.
13. “Human progress” is an oxymoron. Humanity, on its own and apart from God, can achieve nothing. It can change, and increase complexity, but it cannot improve.
14. The convoluted fantasy called “civilization” is little more than a painkiller, to reduce the misery of our separation from God to a dull ache.
15. The continued necessity of government is one of the greatest testimonies to the failure of civilization.
16. The purpose of a government is to delay the inevitable decay and collapse of a particular civilization for as long as possible. (How best to do that is anybody’s guess.)
17. Any government is, in practice, the enforcement of a set of moral ideas onto a group of people.
18. All forms of government (including anarchy) are equally broken, because they all rely on the blind leading the blind.
19. While there may, indeed, be many roads which lead to a particular destination, there are always many more which lead away. I would liken The Eastern Orthodox Church to a main freeway. It may seem dull at times, it may get a bit congested in places, and some parts might fall into slight disrepair, but it remains, nonetheless, the safest and surest route to travel.
On science and academia
20. Science is a trendy elitist realm, where unfashionable ideas (and those who make discoveries which support them) are ridiculed and treated with closed-minded contempt.
21. Science and academia are, by their very nature, natural breeding grounds for small-minded egotism.
22. Good and evil are not opposites. At least, not in the sense that is popularly portrayed. We tend to think of opposites as being defined by their mutual opposition to each other. Good is, in fact, what is truly natural, in a good world created by a good God. Evil is the error, imperfection, and distortion of this good world, which is possible because of free will.
23. Violence is, in fact, the answer. But it must not be turned outward, toward the physical world. Such outward violence ultimately achieves nothing. Instead, it must be directed inward, at our own self-will. This is what violence is for. [Matthew 11:12] Simply setting aside our work and entertainment for a few minutes of prayer each day is, in fact, an example of such violence.
24. 42, again.
25. The biggest problem with the world is that it is full of lazy, selfish people like me.
If you don’t understand thoughts #6 and #24, (or even if you think you do) I’d highly recommend that you locate a copy of the original BBC Radio production of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (Google is your friend – you might try “hitchhikers guide to the galaxy mp3”.) It has been a major philosophical influence for me, and I think it’s brilliantly funny, as well.
Thanks for reading! 🙂