Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Eat his cake, and have it, too"

VIRGIL SPENT SOME TIME with God that night, thinking about the way things were—about how somebody like Jud Windrow might now be lying dead somewhere, for no discernible reason—and why they were like that, and why a believer like himself would be going around cursing as he did: goddamnit.

Virgil held intricate unconventional beliefs, not necessarily Christian, but not necessarily un-Christian, either, derived from his years of studying nature, and his earlier years, his childhood years, with the Bible. God, he suspected, might not be a steady-state consciousness, omnipotent, omnipresent, timeless. God might be like a wave front, moving into an unknowable future; human souls might be like neurons, cells of God's own intelligence...

Far out, dude; pass the joint.

Whatever God was, Virgil seriously doubted that he worried too much about profanity, sex, or even death. He left the world alone, people alone, each to work out a separate destiny. And he stranded people like Virgil, who wonder about the unseen world, but were trapped in their own animal passions, and operated out of moralities that almost certainly weren't God's own, if, indeed, he had one.

Virgil further worried that he was a guy who simply wanted to eat his cake, and have it, too—his philosophy, as a born-again once pointed out to him, pretty much allowed him to carry on as he wished, like your average godless commie.

He got to "godless commie" and went to sleep.

And worried in his sleep. [John Sandford, Rough Country, pp. 301-3002]
When I read for pleasure, especially in the summer, I read mysteries. John Sandford is a favorite author. His detectives are Minnesota state cops, although their cases take them into Wisconsin every now and then, and part of the pleasure I find in them is that they sometimes take place in locations that are familiar. Virgil Flowers is one of his investigators and Virgil thinks about God just about every night before he goes to sleep. The passage above is from the book I am reading right now, Rough Country, and Virgil's reflections seemed to me to reflect a kind of "spirituality" not unlike that described in my last post. Virgil, though, does seem to believe in a God of sorts and to at least suspect that his beliefs are self-indulgent.