In my old blog space, I use to write a lot about the dichotomy between reality and the world of pretense. It is still one of my top issues, through which I see and measure the world. Like Salinger’s Caulfield, the majority world looks phony to me. People project what they want you to think about them, rather than who they really are. I’ve said before that some of the areas that are most prone to pretentiousness are advertising, politics, religion and dating. In those worlds, faking who you are and what you are is the norm.
We are in the season of politics and the branding (borrowing from the last post), positioning, projections of a false reality (on both sides) is epidemic. Reality fades further into the distance. Each—political—side has one ambition and one ambition alone, to assume power, simply for the pleasure of power. Sometimes I think Friedrich Nietzsche and the linguistic deconstructionist were at least partially right.
However, if God is there, and I think he is, then he dwells within reality and is the author of it. The more skewed reality becomes to us, the further away from God we are. To quote from my own book I see discipleship this way:
True discipleship is not memorizing the established answers and then being smacked on the back of the head every time we deviate from the rote. It is a lifetime of journeying, circling closer and closer to reality, the place where God dwells. Jesus’ twelve friends all knew reality much better at the end of their little adventure than when he first commandeered them out of the Galilean normalcy.
For this reason, I think that most TV evangelists are more dangerous to true Christianity, than is Isis. The more we live in the world of pretending, the more removed we are from the Gospel.
As I watch the Republican Convention, and I’m sure I will feel the same when I watch the Democratic one, I feel sick. When I hear a few people within the Black Lives Matter movement proclaim that all policemen are bad and are racist, I feel sad. When I hear (mostly white Evangelicals) saying that the Black Lives Matter movement is all fake that there is NO racism, I feel even sadder. Each is taking a giant step away from reality.
I am a hopeful person, despite being a critic. I think I am hopeful because I see how shallow human mischief really is, and therefore how easy a remedy a true Gospel can bring. I do believe that God wins in the end and all will be fixed. I do draw some consolation when I read others who have seen the world this way and—at least some of us—desire to live closer to reality despite that resistance we feel in doing so.
I will close with one of many possible quotes that I could use from The Catcher in the Rye:
Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
3 responses to “God of Reality and the Artistry of Pretense”
“The only goal of Power is POWER. And POWER consists of inflicting maximum suffering upon the Powerless.”
— Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, 1984
“There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only POWER.”
— Lord Voldemort