Dave Sim's blogandmail #136 (January 25th, 2007)
Dave Sim’s Collected Letters Volume 2 will be released in late spring/early summer 2007. Until Dave (who currently has the flu) is feeling better – and to whet your appetite for the book! -- The Blog & Mail will run two-page excerpts from the manuscript each day.
Today: Pages 25 & 26:
Yes, I could buy one of those old comic books for $20 or so (they weren’t in very good condition), but isn’t it more sensible to give the $20 to a panhandler on King Street? Understand that I mean that completely as a rhetorical question and understand that I am aware that I am dealing with a sensibility that would find it to be a question of intricate nuance. Your belief in the totemic would doubtless lead you to believe that if one of those comic books was of interest to my Papawolf, a vital missing component in some magic ritual with which I needed to connect in order to…well, you know, whatever (the perils of attempting to find words in dealing with your team) then it would be of far greater importance that I buy that comic book than that I give the $20 to someone who is going to need it to buy food. This is what I mean by our differing perceptions of scale and Scale. Connecting with something in my childhood, to me, can never be higher than a mere "scale" item. Feeding the poor is a Scale item.
When we are children, childish things interest us. When we grow into men, we put childish things away. Your team’s view is that that is where the fundamental mistake is made. If we were all permanently four years old, mentally and spiritually, everything would be vastly improved. My team’s view is that it is possible for society to support a minority of people like that in the interests of variety, diversity and a certain charitable-ness. But the greater good for the greater number requires that the vast majority of us have to be 4 when we are 4 and 48 when we are 48. The problem that results from staying permanently four years old, in my view, is a skewed perception of reality.
"I can’t tell you how many times I said to God, "This or Nothing." It did not feel like "tempting" Him [and feeling…makes all the difference]; this was my proof to Him that He was.
Everything in those two sentences is inverted. What you are doing is admitting to me that you put yourself in a preeminent position over God. One doesn’t say, "This or Nothing" to one’s superior, nor even to an equal. You are dictating terms to God. By His grace and His mercy you’ve gotten away with it to this point. But that doesn’t mean that you bluffed Him or boxed Him in or forced His hand and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to get away with it from now on. His patience and tolerance are vast but a little catastrophe goes a long way toward awakening individuals to differences of "scale" and Scale. That you have chosen to behave this way, to me, it just means you’re being a willful and stubborn child. The fact that it doesn’t feel to you as if you were tempting Him is, to me, a perfect example of the inherent problems which result where emotion is given preeminence over thought. As you say, "feeling makes all the difference." Because if you thought about it, there is no way that you could see it as anything besides "tempting Him." "This was my proof to Him that He was."
Again, this is complete inversion, which is always the centerpiece of your team. It’s not your job to prove to God that He exists. It is your job to prove yourself worthy of God’s grace, to submit yourself to His will. As it says in the Koran, it is not you who will aid God. God doesn’t need your help, or your submission to His will, or your prayers or your alms-giving. It is your completely protected free-will choice not to pray or to give alms to the poor or to submit to His will. As it will be only you who will suffer the consequences of your choices. You have been apprised of the requirements and you have been apprised of the consequences. The rest is up to you.
When you say "Dave, your words about God…growl…but you don’t glow," I consider that to be high praise indeed. Read the Koran — the voice of God growls throughout it. And given that it is, to date, His last word on a variety of subjects, I think it behooves us to pay attention. I understand that you don’t wish to pay attention. There are many different ways to glow. For my team, the radiance of common sense in this world is the most attractive light of all, far outweighing that which is enlightening emotionally, that which provides a temporary inner emotional radiance whether warranted or not by external events.
Yes, I fear God — in the sense that I think everyone is supposed to fear God. But I do think that fear of God is actually fear of the possibility of our own flawed decision-making and choices. I have chosen not to join one of His churches. My reasoning may be entirely faulty in that area and so, yes, I fear for the judgment of the Great Day and the eternal consequences which will result. I choose to believe that Jesus was not the son of God, but only one of God’s messengers. I choose to believe that God and YHWH are separate beings. I have no idea if either of those is a right choice and, if either or both are wrong choices, what degree of wrong choice they represent. Are they minor misinterpretations or major cardinal sins? I do believe that we are each of us living in an on-going test of our decision-making abilities and choices. I understand that you don’t believe that to be the case. I understand that your choice has been to listen to an inner voice and to try to remain as close to how you were as a child as you can. I think it’s safe to say that we fundamentally disagree with each other on the actual nature of reality at just about every level that we, respectively, perceive it.
"Do you fear…love?"
I assume the ellipsis is in there to create a tonal drama to the question, which I’m afraid I don’t see the question itself possessing. Do I fear agape? The Greek term denoting full openness to the glory of God, with the concerted exertion of all human faculties along lines of excellence that is implied? The notion of being Toward God, living one’s life, as St. Paul introduced the concept to Christianity, Godward? No, of course I don’t fear that. I aspire to that. The notion of spending my life running flat-out towards God in all areas of my life where I see Him most present and self-evident to me. I fear falling short of my potential abilities in that area. I fear the Day of Judgment when I might find out that relaxing my efforts for a single day had cost me the chance to make a greater contribution. This only reiterates my previous point that fear of God is actually the fear...
[Reminder—September 25, October 25, November 25, December 25 and now January 25th that Claude & Craig haven't gotten a non-evasive answer from the Friends of Lulu or Jackie Estrada, and no one has yet heard from Heidi Macdonald on why they rejected my idea of an all-female comics professional petition against censorship to assist the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund back in 1996, thus proving that feminists get a free ride in our society because they never have to explain or justify their choices. See you February 25th for the next reminder!]
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If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:
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P.O. Box 1674
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2
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