2 is 2. 2 + 2 = 4, doesn’t it? Everyone knows that! Sounds simple.
Wittgenstein talked of “2 + 2 = 4” being true in “English”; he said nothing about it being true in mathematics!
My public school, somewhere in high school, algebra or somewhere, introduced the concept of value changes, meaning changes, by context. 2 is 2, a positive integer; unless a more complete statement is available: -(2): now 2 is negative; not positive.
Contexts can nest — -8(-2) — infinitely.
Catch-22’s Yossarian wonders why his tent mate Orr, a guy forever surviving plane crashes, is taking a little machine apart and reassembling it, over and over. The guy is an idiot? a masochist? No: the guy is planning to parachute from his plane over a neutral country, and he wants to make sure he’ll have no trouble with his survival stove! (Yossarian talks about surviving the war, Orr is rehearsing for survival, more sensibly than any of them!)
So: imagine: Jesus is hanging on the cross, the cross is rigged to stick in his groin, a thorn from his crown is sticking him in the eye, his weight, hanging from his lungs, is killing him; but suffocating by not being able to breathe, is also killing him: as he fights to breathe, he also jabs the thorn further into his own eye! and the extra torture device nailed onto the cross gives him a real stab below the belt he, naked, isn’t wearing. What’s he doing? Is he a masochist?
Treating one agony deepens the pain of another!
Try to imagine what existential parenthesis he might be in, invisible to us, looking on through human-kept documents from millennia later:
What if Jesus knows that his torture, awful as it is, will be over in six or so hours? Then he’ll have hell pains for two or three days. Then he’ll be in heaven.
From heaven he can look down and see everyone of the people who stood around Golgatha during his torment. He can see the soldier who gave him vinegar for his desperate thirst, he can see the centurion who punctuated his misery with a spear thrust. He can see them simultaneously in hell!
He knows being on the cross. Before, he imagined it; now, he knows it. He knows hell fire, he’s been there, maybe not for an eternity, or twelve eternities, but for three days!
Imagine: Jesus might know what the centurion’s hell fire will be like without the centurion dispatching him, Jesus, with the spear; Jesus may also see the extra dozen eternities of hell fire God may give him, the centurion, because he “caused” Jesus to suffer that extra tear to his eye, that extra impact to the gonards: a thousand extra tears, a thousand extra ball-busters. Jesus may say, “Uh, God, uh, see that? He was already doomed to hell for eternity; how about dooming him to hell for a google of eternities?”
Or, “Hell, he did me a favor: cut his eternity in hell in half, let’s have him up for pinochle.”
I don’t know about Jesus; but I do know, to some extent, about any martyr! I know that I enjoy the hell out of my tortures because I can imagine the torturers’ tortures to come.
God might take dictation from Jesus … maybe God will ignore Jesus’ advice at Judgment … that’s up to God! no?
I don’t imagine that God will have to listen to me either; but he might: I’ll be ready to advise if he wants it! (I’ll offer, I’ll ask, I’ll beg!)
Maybe God will put my fourth grade teacher into hell forever for calling me a liar when I baked cookies for the class. Maybe God will put the principal into hell forever for allowing me to be subtracted from the school’s sham democracy rehearsal. But all that’s minor stuff compared to the FBI arresting me, the fed judge censoring me … or you, for not supporting my Christian democratic internet!
Maybe God doesn’t need any reminder from me, he saw it himself. But I’m ready to testify against them, the moment I’m invited.
I saw the bully take the kid’s lunch money. So did God. I read about the Japanese soldiers bayoneting the Pacific island kid upside down to the powerline pole. I read about Lt. Calley murdering all those people, I can imagine the others not reported: by Calley, by the French, by the Chinese emperor’s troops. I expect God to be able to run Judgment by himself: but I want to be on hand.
And I dream, dreaming that it’s God’s dream, that from heaven, after Judgment, I’ll be not just free but pivileged to wander hell at my leisure, the way I fish Lake Istokpoga, and that my fourth grade teacher will be there, not at all free to leave, and that she’ll have to hold still for me while I piss in her mouth.
Don’t worry: I’ll get out of Jesus’ way if he’s using the centurion similarly: or any of the popes … doctors, bureaucrats …
You’re minding your own business, but you see a hag sticking pins into a voodoo doll. Are you seeing the world’s stupidest witch, practicing a magic ritual there’s no possible reason to believe in: homeopathic magic? like begets like? the doll repreents the being to be conrolled, sticking the pin harms the witch’s enemy, the witch’s client’s enemy, her boss, her lover … the client’s political opponent, running for dog catcher?
Wouldn’t you have to know the pin sticker’s cosmology, her epistemology? Wouldn’t you have to know it all, know it perfectly before you could have much of an opinion of its effective?
There’s Jesus sticking the thorn in his won eye: but what if what Jesus is seeing is each of the guy’s who scorged him getting buggered by a brontosaurus? getting their flesh eaten by wombats, shat from the sky by bat bats? …
Does your map of your experience include all of the possible parenthesis of all of the possible gods? in all possible times? places?
I’ve been teaching for decades that the magic is bull shit; but I don’t know that I’m right.
Now: what if there’s no correspondence between my dreams and reality? What if there’s no god to hear Jesus or me? Well, what about possible placebo effects? The guy takes the sugar pill, thinks it’s aspirin, feels better? But it’s a sugar pill! Does he therefore not feel better?
My girl buys this or that stock: she hopes it will make her rich: what if it bombs? But before it bombed, didn’t she have hope?
Me, I hope the churches have God at least partly right, Jesus too. I also hope that the scientists have things 90% right.
I wish that at least 1% of my readers saw that I have things at least 1% right.