Chaos and Control, Destiny and Fate: You Can't Plan for the Surprise of Your Life
So, we willfully "use" a thing in the hope that it will actually satisfy us. Obviously, satisfaction is not something we can will -- even for people who have the means to will just about anything they want. Indeed, everybody tells me so: can't buy me love.
This, I think, goes to why happiness is wrapped up in surprise as opposed to planning. To plan for happiness is to attempt to appropriate satisfaction into the will, but that's just a hope, not an actuality.
And many people would rather hope for happiness than actually live it. Or, more to the point, they are presently unhappy, but live in the hope that, with the right plan, it will occur in the future. Which it never does. Unless it is in some surprising and unplanned way.
Real enjoyment seems to be a matter of love as opposed to will; love is a kind of self-offering or self-opening, while will is more of a crystalized intent. I'm not expressing that very clearly, but think of the difference between, say, the perpetually self-offering God of Christianity vs. the permanent willfulness of Allah. One is always giving, while the other is always doing. The former is a lover, the latter a q'ntrol fariq.
Which reminds me. It seems that Boko Haram has pledged its allegiance to ISIS:
I pledge allegiance to the mahdi of the Islamic State of Iraq; and to the caliphate for which it stands, one world, under sharia, with tyranny and sadism for all.
What is our fundamental problem with the Islamic state, and with Islam more generally? That they are indeed control freaks. Not only are no surprises permitted, but technically they are impossible, being that everything issues directly from the will of Allah.
This is at antipodes to Christian liberalism, which is rooted in liberty. The Christian God creates; the Muslim god compels. Is it possible to compel creativity? Not really. One can compel the circumstances for bringing it about -- i.e., self-discipline -- but it is an oxymoron to force a surprise. Sergeant Pepper was a surprise. All the groups thereafter who tried to squeeze out their own Sergeant Pepper just produced kitsch or krap.
Why did Christendom vault ahead of the rest of the world, while Islam in particular is mired in backwardness? Backwardness is actually hard, while progress is easy. How is that?
Well, think, for example, of how hard it was for the Soviet Union to control its citizens. Impossible, really. And yet, I remember reading of how Kruschev asked Nixon how the US produced enough bread to feed its people without someone at the top commanding it. In the US it is easy to feed -- and overfeed -- our people. How? By doing nothing. It happens by itself, so long as the state doesn't interfere. State interference causes bubbles, shortages, and distortions, as in housing, medicine, and college.
All of this goes directly to what we have been saying about idiom and the destiny drive, for the soul requires freedom in order to discover and actualize itself. It needs a range of potential objects, ideas, and relationships to select from, because everyone is different. We are even big enough to tolerate the presence of people to whom the Koran speaks. Which is just another way of saying that Christianity is expansive enough to contain Islam, whereas the converse is impossible. There is a reason why there can be no churches in Saudi Arabia (and no God in public schools).
"The soul recognize[s] in material objects a harmony identical with that of its own structure, and this recognition [is] the genesis of aesthetic pleasure" (Eco, in Taylor). Exactly. Bollas calls it the "erotics of being," so we're back to loving-as-knowing:
"Certain objects, like psychic 'keys,' open doors to unconsciously intense -- and rich -- experience in which we articulate the self that we are.... This selection constitutes the jouissance of the true self, a bliss released through the finding of specific objects that free idiom to its articulation.... such releasings are the erotics of being..."
Well, this morning got away from me. To be continued....