I write when my heart hurts, which it does now. It helps me settle my brain. It makes my thoughts go in a straight line and helps me figure out what I'm thinking. A lot of times, my thoughts are like chaotic vortices, just whirling around some strange attractor and not even I understand what I'm thinking.
When I write it calms me down. Takes me out of the world for a while to a nice comfortable place I can talk to my muse, who is the most beautiful being I have ever met, and when I die I plan to completely merge whatever soul energy is left in me with her, so I won't have to exist anymore.
These thoughts are in my mind now. Maybe she puts them there. I dunno. I just have to clear this out of my head or I won't be able to think another cogent thought.
It's a curse. I feel like a cripple. I can't exist without writing.
When I write, nobody has to listen. So I'm going to talk to you, my angel, my guardian. You who have never failed me. You help me if I'm wrong. You who made me the way I am before I started changing things. Make me strong to say what I mean.
I was having a discussion with someone this morning about the whole marriage thing. The subject of same-sex marriage came up over coffee. We have the San Jose Mercury news delivered to the office at work, and there's a big story running now. A whole *history of same-sexness* in the "Living" section.
First of all, notice how we don't say homosexual anymore. We say same-sex. Of course, the Latin prefix "homo" would mean something like "same", if Sister Ignatius Loyola was around. As she's not, you can decide for yourself.
Anyway, there was this discussion around marriage and the words "sanctity of marriage" were spoken, which pretty much ended the conversation. At work, you don't want to get into a political or religious discussion. It can gum up everything for the rest of the day.
But it had me thinking about my own beliefs. Why I support same-sex marriage even though the people who invented marriage don't.
My thinking starts with this thought:
And by the way: This kind of argument really pisses off my devoutly Catholic friends (and my Christian friends who like Catholics are Christian but in a different way they like to point out. People like to identify themselves by separations). They call me a relativist something and wave their hands at me to get me to stop talking. Then we go back to drinking and pretending I never said what I said.
It is absolutely crystal clear to me that without human people, marriage as we know it would not exist. I know that sounds silly to a lot of you but bear with me for a second. I'll explain myself.
We're going to move into mathematics. Let's just dip our toes in the pool.
In mathematics, and consequently physics, there is the notion of "platonic" structures. A line and a point and a plane are mathematical objects. Euclidian constructs, if you will. Most people would agree that these "objects" are mental constructs. A line is a one-dimensional object defined by two points and extending infinitely in two directions. In life, you're not likely to meet up with anything that has infinite anything, and even more so, you're not likely to meet up with a one-dimensional object. If they did exist, it would be completely outside our ability to measure one.
A point is a zero-dimensional object, so we know for sure there are none of those floating around to bother us--if they were who would care?. And no planes either for all those reasons. Nothing is perfectly straight and infinite. Nothing is perfectly flat and infinite. Nothing occupies no space. (which is a double-entendre and true both ways). There is nothing in our universe that we can measure or experience that is a point a line or a plane. Everything has some physical reality to it that makes it less-than-that-mental-ideal.
Albert Einstein was one of the first guys to express the physics of things that exist and don't exist in relativistic terms. Things only really exist in relation to other things. There are no absolutes. Everything is curved in some way, and straight in others. Etc. Things are quite weird sub atomically, but it doesn't mean an electron is a point. In fact, Al said, it's probably like a ripple. Very unpointlike.
It bothered the crap out of Al, who believed in God. He knew in his heart that things "were". But his brain made him prove something different.
Most importantly, there is nothing in our universe we can find which is absolutely a Platonic object. Because--and here's the kicker as defined by Werner Heisenberg who was thinking like Einstein--what we experience as "reality" is our interaction with the universe, and not the universe as it is. And whenever we interact with the universe we distort it. So we can only ever witness the distortion. And in that distortion, there can never be a line or a point or a plane unless a human being is there to measure one. Even if the universe was made of totally Euclidean points and planes and lines and hypercubes, we'd have no way to know because when we interact with the universe, we get none of those.
So there are people who agree with Al and Werner, and there are them that don't. Some people think God made points and lines and planes and that even if there were no people around, they would exist because God made them. Other people, mostly physicists, believe Plato, a very smart guy, was working with what he had at the time and had no way of knowing about relativity of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. So in fact, Plato invented the so-called "Platonic" objects and they don't exist outside of people's heads the same way Jedi knights don't exist except in movies.
And that leads me to marriage. Because I believe Einstein and Heisenberg about physics, and so about the universe at large, I believe marriage is a man-made construct. Without people, there is no such thing as marriage. When God created the universe, he did not create something called "marriage", just like he didn't create any points and planes and lines. He created suns and planets and gravitational fields and souls and cows that give milk. But it took a human, imbued with free will, to invent the idea of "marriage". Now it could be that the human after inventing marriage went back to God and said, "How does it look?" And God said, "Seems OK to me." But I don't think marriage came out of the big bang.
And so, what means to me, the "Sanctity of Marriage"--is the sanctity of YOUR marriage.
We left out the word--"YOUR", see? Because it seems obvious to me that allowing same-sex couples to marry inside or outside a church does absolutely nothing to the sanctity of MY marriage. The bond between my wife and me is not cheapened or elevated in value by virtue of someone else's wedding vows. There is no way a husband who cheats on his wife next door to me or in Lower Slobovia, effects my relationship with the woman I made vows to twenty-one years ago. Nor do people who get married in free fall, or people who get married underwater in scuba gear, or people who get married hanging from ropes on mountains, or people who write their own wedding vows that sound like Allen Ginsberg poems.
In other words, if there were no televisions or radios or newspapers or cars or planes--if my wife and I were on an island in the middle of the Pacific with no communication to the rest of the world, and the Roman Catholic Church began practicing same-sex weddings, nothing at all would occur between my wife and me. God would still love us the same. I would still be beholding to her for being faithful and trustworthy, and to be a good partner and provider, etc. etc. etc.
Similarly, if the Roman Catholic Church, or the Baptist Church, or the Moonies, or the Baha'is, or the Zoroastrians or anyone else unifies the world under its umbrella tomorrow, those waves that ripple through society would not effect my wife and I living happily on our island.
Now, I know that's an unrealistic thought experiment. In fact, that experiment lives only in my mind and so is not real. What is real is that same-sex marriages upsets people in the church that married my wife and me. So there is this WAVE of upsetness rippling through the community about it. And I would say that YES, that ripple of upsetness might make me or my wife cranky. That is realistic.
But as far as I can tell, it does nothing between the two of us. It does nothing between the two of us and the God who oversaw our wedding vows.
So the only thing that can effect my marriage is the interaction I have with other people who feel the sanctity of THEIR marriages is upset by allowing same-sex couples to marry. If their upsetness makes them cranky with me, well then who knows what will happen.
But it's absolutely clear to me--the sanctity of MY marriage is never effected by anyone else's marriage. And the sanctity of marriage as a concept cannot effect anyone positively or negatively who does not allow it to do so, and then it is the human construct which is effected. Because God did not create marriage in the big bang.
Ok, so then you say, "marriage is like a club". You start thinking, "there goes the neighborhood." Or maybe, "I'm paying good money to be in this club and now they're letting in the riff raff."
But still, I'd have to say, what sort of club is marriage, anyway? Is it a club between all known married people from your particular religion or town?
And you've answered that question for yourself. Of course it's not. I realize churches sometimes have special services for married people. Blessings of the marriage. Etc. But actually, a marriage is a club of exactly two people. And the rules of the club are reasonably well established by the people involved. And you could say, "well, the church that marries you has rules, too," which is true. My Catholic church made me go to a week of "Pre-Cana" training to learn what they expected good Catholic couples, as representatives of the church to do.
First of all, my wife and I were required to raise children. (No specific number of children was given, just that we had to raise at least one.)
Second, the children had to be raised as Catholics. We had to agree to this in writing. We both signed.
Third, we couldn't be related any more closely than third cousins.
Those were the biggies. There were other smaller ones. For instance, the use of birth control is expressedly forbidden to Catholics.
At no point did they suggest it had to me my sperm fertilizing my wife's egg to make the deal legit. Clearly, we could adopt kids and raise them Catholic and things would be cool.
They did, indeed, suggest I had to be a man and my wife a woman. Though that was a "given" through most of the proceedings, there was at least once in the reading of the documents those terms were used--that Catholic marriage was a bond between a man and woman.
Same-sex marriage would go explicitly against that provision in the "rules". No doubt. And they're old old rules, going back to nearly forever, or at least to Constantine in Nicea in 313AD, or whenever it was.
So I can see how the church would not like the whole concept for that reason.
But if you were to say to me, "Joe, if the church relaxes the rule that people who get married in the Catholic church must have children, how does that effect the sanctity of your marriage?" I'd say, "not at all." The Church changes its rules all the time. For instance, it no longer fields armies and sponsors wars against the Muslims. We no longer burn saints for blasphemy. Women are allowed in church. They don't have to wear hats. The mass is said in English (in English speaking places) instead of being entirely in Latin. You receive communion by having bread put in your hand--and when I was young I was taught my fingers would fall off if I touched a consecrated host.
And so on. Things change when people realize how ridiculous they're being.
By the way, I know lots of Catholic couples who have no desire for kids and have never had them.
If you say, "Joe, but you've used birth control in your Catholic married life and you went to church anyway," I'd say that 99% of Catholic families do and admit to breaking that cardinal rule freely, and it doesn't destroy the sanctity of THEIR marriages. They still go to church and think themselves good Catholics. Nobody protests on street corners carrying signs declaring outrage about Catholics who use rubbers.
And so if you then say, "Joe, won't allowing same-sex marriages wreck the sanctity of marriage?" I'd say, WHOSE MARRIAGE? Not mine. Not any more than violating the birth control rule or the you can't bury suicides in a cemetery rule or you have to get your old marriage annulled by the Pope before you have another one rule or any other rule.
Now this whole argument starts sounding like the argument for the legalization of marijuana. I mean, lots of people can obtain and smoke marijuana, so much so that in some places cops don't even bother arresting them anymore because entire towns would have to be locked up. Just because lots of people do something doesn't make it "right".
Just because 99% of all Catholic couples have practiced some manner of birth control doesn't change the fact that for the past 1650 years, the Roman Church teachings could be interpreted to say that's a big damned sin. If 99% of all Catholic families started drowning the children they couldn't afford to raise, that would be an even bigger deal. We all have the notion of some sort of absolute "rightness" and "wrongness" to things. And it's very hard to draw the line about where one ends and one begins. The Judeo-Christian religions decry, yet espouse the notion of war to achieve a desirable outcome. It may be that it is necessary to descend briefly into evil to protect good, would be one interpretation. The "Commandments are situational" would be another.
Even though the teachings are absolute in that area--thou shalt not kill--we do anyway and feel as a people we get away with it even though Christ said we couldn't kill anyone under any circumstances, and allowed himself to be massacred to make the point clear (even though at least Peter was carrying a sword in the Garden that Thursday night). We feel we have a right to do that because we think there is, indeed, a Platonic version of human law called "Divine Law" which gives us rights and imposes rules upon us. And we think that humans can intuit these laws even though they're not written down. Or, we claim they are written down, and just start interpreting scriptures differently to meet our needs.
My own instinct, science, and my experience as a human tells me that it is strikingly obvious that some people are created non-heterosexual. We like to suppose people who are different from us in ways we can't understand are that way for reasons that are not divine. Or perhaps matters of "choice", the way we choose what we wear. History shows us, though, it has always been this way. This is the way God made the world, and no amount of denial on my part can change that. After all, God created Judas, knowing Judas would betray Christ who needed to die to save us. Free will is free will, but God knew what he was doing. Perhaps we think homosexuals are all versions of Judas, born to be damned either of their genetics or their own free will.
I don't think that. There is no part of the goodness in me that can think that. The part of me that is God, that is my Godlike soul rejects that.
So at some point you simply abandon all your logic and go with your faith. Mine says that love of another is never wrong. Alexander's army was composed of men who were often more than just pals. Same for the Egyptians and the hordes before them. This is not new.
How other people love each other does not effect the way my wife looks at me in the morning when she wants me to walk the dog.
Anyway, I have to get this out of my mind--let people live their lives. Let them be married and let's stop being angry at one another in the name of this or that. Anger does not come from God.
My angel tells me that anger is a completely wasted emotion. It solves nothing. Hurts everyone.
"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good..."
My parents taught me this. My Catholic nun teachers taught me this. The angels in my dreams teach me this.
It was all good. It still is all good.