Upir Lichy (opalblack) wrote,
Upir Lichy

30 Days of Paganism: 3. Beliefs – Deities

Deity is a funny concept. I don't believe in a tribe of superbeings who sit around playing arbitrary games with human lives, making arbitrary laws for humans (and humans only) to follow, and in general messing with human affairs. Perhaps I should, because sometimes it certainly seems like some spiteful jerk of a god is fucking with me. But that's the thing, it only seems that way, and it only does because I am the centre of my own godamned universe so everything that happens MUST be personal, right?

But of course that's not so. And I know that's not so. Stuff just happens, it doesn't have a meaning or a reason. Maybe you can appease Chaos, but I highly doubt it. Raw Chaos doesn't have a will or wishes as we understand them.

So the two greatest divinities I perceive are Chaos and All That Is. Nothing is bigger than All That Is and nothing is more powerful than Chaos. Chaos acts on and within All That Is, and stuff happens. I don't even really believe in time, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.

The thing with All That Is, is that is it really, REALLY big. Bigger than the biggest thing you can think of, multiplied by the biggest number you can think of. It's so big that we can't begin to comprehend the bigness of it. That won't ever stop anyone from trying, which is kind of neat. It includes all the stuff we can see and know about, like rocks and extra dimensions and stuff, and a bunch of stuff we can't see or don't know about. The thing with All That Is is that it is precisely that. If you think about it, and I do, it follows that because consciousness exists in All There Is, the All There Is is capable of consciousness. Whether it is entirely or partially conscious beyond the consciousnesses observable on Earth is one of those things that's fun but rather pointless to speculate on. Even if All There Is is conscious, how could we ever understand it? Does a single neuron understand the whole brain? And so on. But still, consciousness is part of All That Is, so that's something. Not sure what, but something.

Chaos is in some respects a little easier to understand. It's a causal-reactive force that runs between All The Things and makes them do stuff. It's like the Lorenz Oscillator of the universe. It doesn't care, doesn't feel or think, doesn't want, just ripples on through everything. If you're in one of the ripplier parts it can really suck. You can throw your own stones into the metaphorical pond and you'll never really know what they do, but inaction collapses the probability vector too so you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I'm not solid on the determinism thing. Yes, to a great extent it is so, but it is my own personal conceit to believe that under certain circumstances there are multiple possibilities. You never know when those are though, so it's best to act like you've got some kind of free will thing and exercise it as much as possible, just in case.

I live in a very uncertain universe full of quantum surprises and probabilities rather than certainties. It's difficult to make a deity out of that. The All That Is is big and beautiful and infinitely stranger and more wonderful than any deity a hairless ape could imagine, so I'm content not to try. Chaos, too, is infinitely more complex than any product of a human mind, so I'm happy not to try to diminish it with my expectations and projections.

All that said, I do have a host of gods and spirits, though they're more like personifications of natural phenomena and such. They don't tend to be the sort of beings one can interact with. The smaller ones, mainly archetypes and memetic clusters and such, those are more approachable and able to be persuaded. One can't easily persuade selection pressure or a mountain to do anything. Maybe not impossible, but extraordinarily difficult.

I guess it's a somewhat Vodou universe, where smaller spirits can and do take an interest but larger ones are just too damn big, they don't even see us for the most part. On the grand, universal scale, humans are pretty inconsequential. But then again, no more so than anything else. That might sound a little grim or nihilistic, but it's not. It's just acknowledging that humans are exactly as important to the All That Is as everything else; no more, no less.

I also don't much dig this idea that a deity is a deity of *something* to the exclusion of all else. Even fanatical Trekkies have other interests and skills, why shouldn't deities be at least as complex as humans? This idea of cookie-cutter, single-function deities is a bit narrow for my tastes. I can't wrap my brain around the notion that something as complex as the universe and all the things in it could be created and managed by beings simpler than anything in the universe.

30 Days of Paganism
Tags: 30 days of paganism

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