Hi, I'm Elohim: The Trouble With God
Chapter 1: This Thing Called Life
Why are women still having babies?
Behold Evolution’s mad selfish trick: this burning rushing tick of the blood to inflict Life on our hapless victims and perpetuate the suffering.
Life delights to lap the dross and filth of your day. Life deleterious lumbers your day with an overload of poverty and pain. Life deflates the spirit with the crushed black bile of broken ambition, the cheek-blast of rude indifference, the bowels bellow bad luck, senses flushed with sadness.
Bedraggled blue at heart, I resurrect a Hamlet’s ghost of protest against Life, and lurk suspiciously like a modern-day Lazarus of the loony left, or Kenneth Clark exposing true colours at the death [viz. Civilisation].
Crushing crushing sadness crucifies the prospect of my minority day; lowering Life through hangdog-sullen spectacles clouds a bleak, black and white world, barely a blue sky breaks, but Life lies bleeding below a knotted shroud of grey.
We consult the highest oracle of wisdom to illuminate our twelve-chapter labour, and Hamlet cruelly affronted by the Spectre of Life:
'To be, or not to be — that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? — To die — to sleep —
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die — to sleep —
To sleep! perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office ...
But that the dread of something after death —
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns.' (Hamlet III i @ 56)
But was Shakespeare coldly counting the days to a real-death undiscovered country? Recall mother Gertrude a-spread the royal counterpane and beneath blustering Hamlet blind to the looming ghost: ‘Nothing at all; yet all that is I see’ (Hamlet III iv 133). Hamlet grasping the last thread of meaning and confesses to friend Horatio of a Life’s lesson learnt: ‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends’ (Hamlet V ii 10). Yet mischievous Shakespeare loving to weave levels of meaning has Hamlet hie with the dying words, ‘The rest is silence’ (Hamlet V ii 340), and floating from the tongue of Horatio the trippy and quasi-religious, ‘And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest’ (Hamlet V ii 342). Desiccated Ophelia, pondering a baptism of Death, confesses to Hamlet, ‘I think nothing, my lord’ (III ii 109). Horatio decides of Ophelia’s declining sanity, ‘This nothing’s more than matter’ (IV v 170). King Claudius declares to dedicated courtiers, ‘We doubt it nothing’ (I ii 41). And the gravedigger down among the dead men digs a grave, ‘For no man, sir’ (V i 118).
Waxing desperate with imagination, we’ll tender the time with a joint, of a truant disposition, and count ourselves the kings of infinite space passing through Nature to eternity: ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’ (Hamlet I v 166-167).
We’ll wheel the broken handcart of wheedled evidence for God down the slippery slope, we’ll roll for God, weal against God, and weigh headlong, tumbling to the timbrel happy clap of a Christian tambourine, down into a fantasy land of faith, fired with the infectious zeal of religion, down, down into a foggy, fazy hinterland that somehow Life’ll turn out full-fated and chipper in the end.
Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle,
God’s up there,
The Devil’s down there
And here am I.
In the middle. esias, Life’s a Steaming Pile of Donkey Doo-Doos c. 1996
The end. Black. Death is definitely black. Death’s black black stew of bilge and bone. And worms and maggots crawl from our eye sockets so take comfort that in Death we provide a useful meal and serve a purpose we never could in Life.
Christians crowned with crazy swabs of grey curls, sandals, tambourines, flared-hem skirts — the merest touch curing your favourite ill — heavy slabs of devil-black scripture huddled under their hairy armpits, creep about the land two by two, with strange minstrel tales of a fascist universe, and a final wish to be flogged bang to rights before God on Judgment Day.
God strokes Her strangulated white beard and straightens Her white locks and dainty black triangle of cloth, leans heavily over the dock and snarls with the hammer-drill menace of a Mafia Godfather the happy prospect of a permanent move downtown to Hell: ‘Have you lived Life to the full?’
How fast and furious across the cold windswept fens of your flash-memory float the flaky ghosts of bog-eyed infants, as ragged as Lazarus, putrefying from starvation and suffering? What the well-fed western corpulent majority mean is, Hell yes, I’ve lived Life to the full and stuff the rest. Life was all a jolly holiday with Mary:
'Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.' George Orwell
The cold stank porridge of a gruel Life for lashings of poor billions remains a sentence served of poverty and pain chained with odd moments of content.
'Live and take comfort. Thou has left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth and skies;
There’s not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.' William Wordsworth, sonnet dedicated to Toussaint L’Ouverture
Here lies a verdant cuckoo-land bestrode with the sinewy heroes and demi-gods beloved by Kenneth Clark, a veritable Atlantis of Nietzschean supermen. Rather, Life is the waking one morning to the wild truth you are born one of fifty billion rats.