'Who made the world I cannot tell;
’Tis made, and here am I in hell.
My hand, though now my knuckles bleed,
I never soiled with such a deed.' A E Housman, XIX The Mill Stream, Now That Noises Cease
God inflicts the sensitive to carry a curse of suffering so sore they fail to shake their modern Mark of Cain.
Richard Dawkins, the meek purveyor of prophetic augury against asinine religious gullibility by the sheeple, unfolds the horror in this view of Life: 'The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.' The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution p391
Evolutionary biologists and manically depressive revolutionary nihilist poets clearly know how to show the reader a good time. The prospect of a good evening’s gasbagging about Death is usually sufficient to prevent the acceptance of any careless dropping of dinner party invitations. ‘There are worst things in Life than Death,’ Woody Allen reminds us. ‘Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?’
Why should Life have a Meaning other than by a miracle of Evolution we are here to ask, Why should Life have a Meaning? Perhaps the hardest acceptance of all is that Life has no hidden Meaning, no happy ending, no invisible Sky-Daddy of a God sitting on a fluffy cloud ready to welcome us with open arms and seventy-two virgins. Perhaps this morbid instinctive hunt for a Meaning of Life is nothing more than the mad symptom of a species with the specious space-dust of God on the brain.
Rather than resting the case for Life in a grave of Suffering and Death, Richard Dawkins oversteps the bounds of a decent bout of depression by praising Evolution as the deus ex machina of an uplifting Life: 'In Unweaving the Rainbow I tried to convey how lucky we are to be alive, given that the vast majority of people who could potentially be thrown up by the combinatorial lottery of DNA will in fact never be born ... However brief our time in the sun, if we waste a second of it, or complain that it is dull and barren or (like a child) boring, couldn’t this be seen as a callous insults to those unborn trillions who will never be offered life in the first place?' Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion p361
The fun of mixing metaphors or diverging from the stable advice of Uncle Dawkins rolls around about as often as all the king’s horses and all the king’s men putting together a black hole made of chocolate and popcorn. Callous insults? The sensitive, shapeless shadows of God’s spirit-caves will survive so sad a lantern-show for their milky souls: for Life is vastly overrated, a stinking pile of donkey doo-doos, a tub of tosh, a race for rats:
'I rose at night, and visited
The Cave of the Unborn:
And crowding shapes surrounded me
For tidings of the life to be,
Who long had prayed the silent Head
To haste its advent morn.' Thomas Hardy, The Unborn
For the sad, sunken under-race of spiritless wretches the grey, grainy texture of Life is an open grave and signifies nothing, no hope of a deliverance, no sense of God looming like Polonius behind the hanging veil, no purpose, no warm satisfaction of a Life fulfilled but a faint, fallow feeling of a threadbare tragedy that Life shouldn’t have to fall this way.
So time to top ourselves. But before we box this weeded Life, before the bell tolls, we plant best foot forward and throw God a sharp right cross, then volte-face in defence of God. Although you might think God is big enough, bizarrerie enough, and bad enough to stick up for Herself.
'We for a certainty are not the first
Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.
It is in truth iniquity on high
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
Fare on our long fool’s-errand to the grave.' A E Housman, Poem IX stanzas III & IV
Chapter 2 ⇒