A couple days ago we reached 50,000 hits. My typical take on this would be to disregard the mark as an arbitrary number. That is to say, it possesses a weight that 23,766 does not, and we can explain this by our preference for symmetry and our system of 10s.
Explaining away the value behind a benchmark such as 50,000 makes sense, but we still find ourselves transfixed by the number. It seems that the explanation of “how things are” hardly moves us. After all, I still made this post.
Perhaps we could explain this by saying, well, if you were to move past the value that you traditionally place on a thing (a convenient word for this situation) the world would continue to view things the same.
It seems to syllogize, if you could somehow see past the value of money, you would still have to follow its logic, because the rest of the world uses money.
This makes me think of Jesus.
It’s hard not to make fun of the guy. This is because some people take him far too seriously, probably in ways that he would have never approved.
Jesus, if nothing else, is one brave motherfucker. This is a man who feared in no way the typical convention of society.
After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the forest, Jesus is confronted by the devil. After reading Milton’s Paradise Lost I realized that the devil’s folly mimics that of man. Satan has rationalized away the power of God with no understanding that God is a real thing! – And not only that God is real, but that God has true consequences in this world.
Satan’s problem is this – he really wants to be God. Badly. He can’t stand it that God is all-mighty. Like all other things, he is a mere a finite number, on an infinite scale reducible to zero. So instead of being content with his existence as a high-ranking angel he rebels against God. He is enthralled by all-too-human ambition.
God catches a lot of flack. He seems like a total power hungry dick. In ways it is easier to relate to Satan, someone with flaws. However, it’s not God’s fault God cannot be defeated. It is simply impossible, ipso facto. He is the undefeatable itself.
Now, in our own lives, the undefeatable is a very real thing. None of us will beat time. It will catch us. In a sense, we are time, experiencing itself.
We are in perpetual contact with forces greater than ourselves – our selves being the ego. Not only greater because these forces reduce the significance of self, but also because they will kick our ass. Gravity, or tornados. God symbolizes our relationship to mortality.
In light of these ideas Jesus’ confrontation with the devil after his meditation takes on a whole new twist:
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Michael Pacher – Temptation of Christ
The Devil offers Jesus all the petty material crap that a man can conceive. The catch is that Jesus must get totally “caught up”, forget that he is a speck in an all-encompasing paradigm, and become beholden to all the petty values that society promotes. This reminds of the axiom that the defining quality of someone who makes lots of money is their desire to make lots of money.
Jesus responds to Satan by saying, no dude, fuck that, I see through you. God, the undefeatable, my status as a mortal participating in a much larger sequence of events, is real. This life is temporary and to get caught up in it will lead me to Hell, which is eternal and roving and exists in this world – within the scarred mind of a man that forgets his place in the universe.
Jesus isn’t satisfied with ultra-discipline, however. It is as though he is following Fichte’s assertion that ‘Not merely TO KNOW, but according to your knowledge TO DO, is your vocation.’
Jesus proceeds to lead the life of Active Philosophy. He preaches the same discipline he has realized, similarly to Buddha. During the sermon on the mount he says: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is a greedy diety of sorts that worships earthly treasures over all else.
So Jesus sees past the cowardice of man, he understands that apathy is rooted in fear, fear of being left behind, or being judged, of being murdered for our values. And this is a real fear, a fear of the undefeatable, death itself.
It’s hard to picture someone walking into a bank, throwing money around and screaming – all this is illusion and you people are completely deaf to the vibrations if you still allow it to dominate our lives. Would we quit our jobs and preach that people need to be tolerant and forgive all debts? In a country where the richest 1% control more wealth than the other 90% – and this is a true, widely accepted statistic by both sides of the political spectrum, couldn’t we use another Jesus or two?
But maybe we would find his dark complexion suspicious, when we’d pass him in the grocery store we’d crack jokes about hippies and the Greatful Dead, our police would be annoyed that he was loitering on the sidewalk and if he were in Arizona try to deport him back to Galilee, the national media would be appalled by his socialist sympathies, and some citizen would probably shoot him with a concealed handgun the second he started throwing money around like it was worthless.