Wednesday 25 November 2020

The many facets of this mortal life; Developing clarity about the distinction between emotions, existential status, worldly- evaluations and affiliations

Typically, many things may be going-on in a person - and they may be dissociated. It may be common for us to conflate how we feel - emotion-wise, with our evaluations of the world; and again maybe with our status with respect to good and evil; but this is an error. 

Here and now I feel pretty bad - because my health is poor and I am afflicted with various aches and pains and limitations. That is one fact. 

On the other hand, I am full of happiness and gratitude concerning my situation in life.  My 'existential status' is positive!


Then again; I regard the world, England, and all the main social and political institutions, to be on a decades-long trajectory towards less efficiency, declining effectiveness - and (which is different) towards great degrees and pervasiveness of evil. 

Socio-politically; I regard the here-and-now world of 2020 to be in the most pervasively and extremely evil situation ever in history (so far as I know; value-inversion has never been so evident, nor so widely supported and enforced - top to bottom); and I believe that things are rapidly getting-worse.


Then again; spiritually I am (now I notice it) full of joy at God's creation, and that the Creator loves me and provides. That is (here, now) I trust God to provide (in my actual life) the kind of experiences I most need for my spiritual development...

(I mean my actual life here-and-now provides what I need to learn-from - if only I can both discern and become aware-of these.)


I am also (now I think-about it - and it was there unconsciously) full of joy at the prospect of following Jesus to resurrected life in Heaven; and I know that nothing which happens on this earth can prevent that happening (nothing except me). 

...Then again those bad feelings (aches, pains, malaise) are still there; and have forced-themselves on my attention. I am still suffering their effects. 

And so we go back to where we started. 


None of these perspectives invalidates or disposes of the others. 

Clearly the trust in God's providence and my love of Jesus transcend the significance of my personal feelings and my socio-political evaluations (they provide a frame for the lower levels); but feelings and S-P evaluations are also real, indeed necessary - and part of my actual life; and they are facets of my life from which I need to learn. 

The fact that I am currently feeling rather miserable and 'sorry for myself', and that  further - I fully expect my material daily life to keep getting worse month by month (including that this incremental worsening may soon be overwhelmed by a catastrophic civilizational collapse) does not invalidate or overwhelm my existential happiness and/or my spiritual hope. 

Neither is negated by any other. 


Life is complex! (And if we don't notice the complexity, that is an error on our behalf.) 

This mortal life is indeed Much More Complex (of course!) than I have indicated by this brief summary. And we cannot raise one aspect to become our sole concern; our attention spontaneously and irresistibly moves from one aspect to another.  

This mortal life on earth is not the kind of thing that ever gets sorted-out. To expect that is a misunderstanding. To want to reach a 'state' when everything is sorted - to want to remain unvaryingly in that optimal state, with that focus of concern - is also a misunderstanding. 

To want this mortal life to be 'uni-faceted', is to misunderstand God's intention.


As long as we are alive, God wants us alive; and we are kept-alive only for as long as we have the possibility of learning from our experiences. 

(Of course, all mortal lives end in death - later, if not sooner - and that is A Good Thing; because otherwise we could not be resurrected, and would never attain to Heaven.)

A successful life is one in which there is a lot of learning (maybe learning a few big things, many small things - or some mixture) - therefore we should not worry about the multiplicity of our actual lives, nor wish they would be sorted into one facet, nor dismayed that we fail (again and again) to remain-at-the-highest-level-all-the-time. 


Yes, we must strive for the highest level and everyone needs to attain it sometimes - but we should not be dismayed when we are compelled to focus on other 'lower' things - because there are lessons to be learned everywhere. 

And it may be that for me, or for you, some of the main lessons we most need are - in fact - at lower levels.


Francis Berger said...


Anonymous said...

The lockdowns have actually been a great opportunity to focus on God and grow spiritually...if we don't waste this time, of course. Some people have gotten their priorities straight this year, realizing they must choose their side in the battle of good versus evil. Others still only care about their idols...celebrities, sports players, and in the US there's even a "Trump worship" subculture of people who believe his reelection would somehow save us from the Satanic NWO agenda.

But I can relate, because in one sense I've never been more at peace, and even "happy," partially because I've been able to take a step back from the rat race. Though in another sense I recognize that evil has become more blatant in the world, and will probably continue in that direction.

In any case, hope you feel better soon.

mareno said...

Thank you for articulating and validating my daily experience. I often cycle through different emotions and perspectives multiple times per day. I'll sometimes get stuck in one for several days, and wake up suddenly forgetting where I left off and why I was even feeling that way. I find it difficult to reconcile all of can I be so incredibly hopeful and spiritually filled in one moment, and then devastated the next by another draconian rule/policy forced on our family? I am grounded by prayer, the Sacraments, a few friends going through the exact same thing, and the promise of Jesus Christ, but this is by far the hardest time in my life thus far.

Bruce Charlton said...

@mareno - I don't think that life can be 'fixed' by the kind of thing I said in the blog; but it may at least help stop us making things worse, by berating ourselves for failing to do what God doesn't mean us to do.

It seems obvious to me (now) that God has not made us, or this world, for continuous spiritual perfection; and striving for it we may well be failing to learn what he has put right in front of us.