Does human culture tend toward complexity, yet innately crave simplicity? Why is this? Historically speaking there is no doubt that we’ve gotten more complex in our activities yet remained roughly equivalent in understanding. We know more about how the world works, but still remain largely ignorant of any process that doesn’t concern us directly. Humanity is certainly more active now than ever before, yet what good does it do us in matters of the soul?
Education is fortunately at an all-time high, and only growing more prevalent by the moment. If the 1500’s gave us the printing press and Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation, what will the new millennium and the internet bring along with it? Perhaps Zack Rutherford’s Christian Humanist revolution? Hah. That’s a joke if ever I've made one.
And there I've proved my point, I write in an elevated vernacular engaging in deep spiritual speculations and what does my primate brain come up with in response? Self-aggrandizement and prideful ambition. Though nothing is wrong with my ambitious statement, in and of itself. I am, after all, not wishing to abolish any current system of thought. I only wish to bring about a change in the way I think, and would like a great deal of people to follow me in doing so. And my ambitions are for the greater good, or at least they are intended to be.
However, what I’m missing is divine intervention. It’s the same thing that everyone is missing. I can have all the good intent in the world, but if God doesn't sit prominently in the center of all of them, then all is lost. That’s the pattern: wish for and imagine infinity. Visualize the fractal components of ever increasing complexity as we shift our focus outward or inward. In either direction we look, we see greater complexity than we ever would have dreamed without direct observation. Yet in our observations we look to draw conclusions of an easily digestible nature.
For example, I was recently made aware of an interesting phenomena in which we find two stars that are revolving around a black hole in deep space. These massive explosions of fire and gas made up of all the essential elements appearing on our periodic tables are drawn inward and around an absence of light and matter. The void itself born from the collapse and explosion of a brightly burning star. These slowly swirling celestial bodies twirl around a cosmic toilet bowl, flushing their enormous amounts of light and energy into another realm of infinite density and smallness.
Not in your average elliptical pattern either, mind you. The intersecting gravitational fields of each star act upon one another in a catapulting boomerang sort of inertia that puts their orbits off into awe inspiring geometric patterns, not unlike those of electrons and neutrons circling a nucleus.
There are numerous ways to express such phenomenon that are beyond me. Mathematical equations and scientific hypotheses with complexity abounding. However, I like to see it as a last waltz: the final dance of stellar behemoths unfolding across millions of years, while their light slowly fades from existence and transmutes into an unknown quantity beyond the reach of our observations.
If you were granted one last action before death, a dance with a partner is as solid a choice, I think, as any other. More solid than some certainly. And if you had to spend a million plus years in a single activity, dancing would again be a good decision. Celebratory, beautiful, elegant, and showy. Bringing about the beauty in your own annihilation.
Do you see what’s been done there? I took a gigantic happening, immense in importance and boundless in scope, and I reduced it to the level of a high school prom. I admire the grandiose nature of the thing, but feel the need to simplify it to something I can grasp. That’s what people always do. Whether it’s economics, espionage, education, politics, prehistory, preservation of natural resources, religion, or real-estate, humanity deals with complexity by finding common denominators and reducing things down to their basest elements.
What does this reveal about the nature of God? God is infinite, yet he is three. God is omnipotent, yet he is personal. He is spiritual, ethereal, and ungraspable, yet he is flesh. God is all that we can never hope to understand, yet he stands before us revealed in his benevolent actions and the concrete commandments of scripture.
All of creation reflects the duality of God’s character. He is complete in his individuality, in his oneness, because any single element of reality is composed of an infinity of smaller parts. A molecule is made up of atoms; atoms are made of electrons, electrons of quarks, and so on.
Perhaps I’m taking some inaccurate scientific liberties with that example, but the idea is reasonable enough. To put it another way: a man is not a man, but a gathering of chemicals interacting with one another at such complex levels, that several lifetimes of study would only serve to give you a basic understanding of all that was involved.
There are two ways to approach the infinite complexities of life on the physical plane:
1. Dwell in confusion, being hopelessly tossed and turned by the bombardment of “facts” distributed to you daily
2. Read between the lines and simplify to the best of your ability.
This is what Alexander Pope hinted at when he said that human wisdom can only reach so far into the sublime. Each of us is part of a greater whole, the body of Christ. And what can a fingernail know of the body’s intentions? All it knows is how to grow, and when to scratch. Yet human beings often don’t even get to that point. A human being is akin to a fingernail that sometimes scratches, but doesn't understand why, and tears the skin by accidental result. Yet we still find time to accuse the other digits of neglecting their scratching duties.
Becoming an enlightened or self-actualized fingernail takes some doing.
So what can I do with these observations? Try to find my individual place in God’s plan, knowing that mine is an important, if not always glamorous function of Christ’s body. Sometimes, depending on who you are and what your role may be, this is obvious from the beginning. Other times, it takes decades before you can start living a fulfilled life. Some never get to that point at all, and are clipped away like a useless hangnail that only serves to harangue and antagonize the whole.
Pray for purpose, study for knowledge, and always perform to the best of your ability, in whatever you decide to do. Because ultimately, God puts your purpose in your heart. You want to be, what he wants you to be, but oftentimes that involves doing things you don’t want to do. Another strange complexity that will continue to baffle us for many generations to come.
Today my prayer is that we would all find purpose, fulfillment, and the proper balance of labor and leisure. So that we may know why we scratch, and that we would scratch well. So go get to your itches folks, and explore the minute details that are given you on your journey.
Many blessings on your way.