Recently in Small Chunks VIII I quoted William Ellery Channing as saying,
Faith is Love in the form of Aspiration
First I want to know who is this Channing bloke is and who gave him permission to go rummaging around in my brain.
This quote slapped me in the gob. It begs many questions.
If we have no aspirations then do we have no faith? If we have no faith then do we have no love? If our aspiration is only for an end of pain, then do we have faith that only the cessation of life can be achieved? And if that is all to which we aspire then is that all we love?
It hurts my brain to think all this. Maybe it is just Channing kicking up chunks of gray matter and causing neurons to short circuit. But, I don’t think so.
There are many more questions that are jumping up and down and begging for attention but they are the result of trying to answer them all at once. My plate is full to the overflowing with just these few already posed, so let me start by working on what I already have.
What if our only aspiration is for an end of pain? Then that is something for which there must be faith. That is something that we feel must be achievable. It also means the end of life. Life, by definition, is painful. A life without pain is an oxymoron. Does that mean that we love the ideal of pain cessation by means of death?
Pain in life is a matter of degree. When pain in life gets to the point where it is unrelenting and offers only the promising of increasing to the point where the pleasure of life becomes nil or negligible, then love for the alternative grows. So, yes, there is love for the ideal alternative—the love of death as a means and consequently the end of the ability to love, ironically.
Let me turn to love. I do love. I do love much more than this silly and positive notion that I can end my pain. This love inside me is a great deal of the cause for the pain.
I am so full of love to the point that it burns holes through my chest. I know this to be true from the times when I have clawed at my chest during times of great and seemingly unbearable heartbreak. I know this to be true from the soul pain I feel at the horrors of humanity against humanity. I know this to be true by my killing need to love just one other person, one woman, without qualification and die for the love to be returned.
I know this to be true by my killing need to love just one other person, one woman, without qualification and die for the love to be returned. I know this to be true by the incredible loneliness that pervades every thought and action. Were I not lonely in the absence of an object of love, then I would not love. That I need to express and give love, screams my loneliness. It is a tautology.
So if I love so much, then Channing would seem to want me to believe that I have faith that something can be achieved, that there is something to which I may aspire. And by syllogism that something must be love. *sigh* Maybe. Maybe not. Channing may be just plain and flat-footed wrong. But I don’t think so. It has the ring of deep truth.
I think my problem with it may be that I am not giving it credit for measures of degree. I do love. And there seems to be some faith involved, but it is so little that there is no longer a compelling need to aspire to it. It may be said that I have given up on love, but that is not completely true. Let’s say that it very likely is, by this point, an unreasonable wish—kinda like praying to hit the lottery. Winning the Megamillions twice in a row. . . .
Well, now I’ve done it. Smoke is coming from my ears.