In most cases, watching a movie is a bit like investing money with negative interest.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was shapeless and empty, a bit of nothingness suspended in empty space. No horizons, no converging lines of reference existed. Nothing bordered on nothingness—until the Spirit of God stirred upon the waters and spoke.
Light pierced the darkness. Day broke from night. Air became atmosphere. Water gathered into lakes, pools, and oceans. Dry land appeared and sprouted forth grass and trees. Sun and moon took their places and shed their light upon the earth. Fish and whales and all kinds of water creatures swam the seas. Birds took the skies and filled the air with their songs. Beasts and cattle of all kinds, and every thing that crept upon the dry land, came forth and roamed the woods and plains. And God made man in his own image.
The man was the only one of his kind, so God struck him with lethargy and drew forth a rib, and from it made the woman. And everything was very good.
The man and woman loved each other. They roamed the garden that God had made for their pleasure. They lived in the deepest of serenity and the happiest of peace. They walked the garden paths with their Creator and spoke with him in joyous abandonment.
The Devil stole into the paradise and spoke to the woman. She looked upon the fruit and desired, knowing that it would give her knowledge—knowledge that God held back and would not give to her. She ate the fruit. And shared with her husband.
Darkness overtook the light. Fear broke the serenity. Sorrow spoiled the peace.
The Creator came at twilight and found the man and the woman guilty of sin and treachery. He drove them from the Garden and into the pit of darkness.
The atmosphere crumbled. The lakes, pools, and oceans overflowed and covered the earth, even the highest mountain. Creatures drowned. Whales languished. The fowls of the air wanted for a resting place and found none. And man perished from the earth.
In the Beginning, God.
Within the minds of many in our society, lies the pernicious philosophy of relativism and tolerance. They believe that most anything is acceptable and tolerable, except, of course, an intolerance of their philosophy.
Truth is relative, they say, and is determined by the individual. Each man determines his own truth and lives by his own code of ethics, that is, if he has any. Nothing is rooted in the absolute or anchored in the immovable. Truth floats about the boiling sea much like a ship with neither compass nor rudder.
Because truth is relative and individualistic, the bearers of this philosophy demand tolerance. We must not pass judgment, for our truth and our ethics have no bearing on other individuals. Each man is right in his own eyes. Therefore, nobody can be judged as behaving badly.
This philosophy has obvious dangers. Without stable and immovable truth, society becomes a mad chaos, much like a discordant symphony trying to play Beethoven’s 5th. Nobody can work together. Each man is on his own, and the conductor throws his hands up in frustration and walks away in despair.
Pudgy, the pugnacious pug, was not a friendly puppy. He was not yet quite full-grown, but he already had established a reputation of being in the middle of every fight and starting one whenever he deemed it appropriate to disturb the peace of the neighborhood.
On this particular day, a cold and overcast December day, he amused himself by crawling beneath his master’s bed and chewing his brand-new patent leather Sunday shoes. After reducing them to nothing but little bits of soggy leather, he bounded upstairs to the bedroom of the master’s daughter. The unlocked door allowed easy access to the little room.
With his unerring sense of destruction, he immediately found the daughter’s purse and commenced to destroy it. He first yanked off the little diamonds, accidentally swallowing a few in the process. Just as he began detaching the shoulder strap, he perceived the entrance of Slim, the master’s cat.
With a tremendous show of speed and agility, Pudgy spun around and sprang for the cat. Slim’s tail didn’t quite make it to safety before Pudgy locked his jaws on it. With a vicious growl, he swung the cat around and timed his release so perfectly that Slim sailed out the open window and into the swimming pool far below.
It would take few wits to conclude that Slim hated Pudgy. He wasn’t the only one. Wherever Pudgy went, he created enemies. His being so rambunctious and pugnacious might have had something to do with it.
The sink stood piled high with dirty dishes. Dust lay heavy on every available space. Dirt lay in visible streaks on the linoleum. Dark stains gave the carpet the look of leprosy. The trash can overflowed with stinky trash and littered the floor with its overflow. Cobwebs sagged in languid corners. Dead flies lay scattered on the window sills. The windows, so covered with dust and grime, permitted little sunlight to enter. The whole place lay covered in dirt and filthiness.
The mother who lived here floundered with health issues and had no strength to clean up her house. He husband had died in a logging accident, and now only she and her son were left to care for themselves and their home.
The boy, a young lad of thirteen, was too lazy to accomplish anything. Only when employed as a mercenary would he do anything. Since his mother was ill and could offer no payment, for she was unemployed, the boy did nothing but loaf around and play with a greasy Rubik’s cube, his only possession of any worth.
The room was dimly lit by a sputtering kerosene lamp. The flickering flame revealed a medium-sized room—its wall lined with heavy bookcases. Books line the shelves from floor to ceiling. In the center of the room, sat a large open-topped desk. Several stacks of books lay on end, and a stack of paper and writing utensils on the other. Behind the desk, stood a chair, an old and ancient thing, well-used and visibly worn. On it, sat the old sage.
He was a man in his late sixties or early seventies. He was nearly bald, but he had a long, flowing white beard. Actually, he appeared to have two beards, since it tended to split down the middle.
He was a man of tall stature and rotund middle. His eyes twinkled with laughter and thoughtfulness. Although he maintained an opinion to the contrary, his friends knew him to be a sagacious fellow, full of wisdom and charity. He loved history and knew it well. He studied often long into the night and wrote voluminously on a myriad of topics. He was a man loved by all.
I call him sage.
Has ever the question struck you of what it means to ask what something means? What does it mean to ask what something means? How do we determine if something means something? What is meaning? What do we mean by meaning?
I conjecture that meaning is something not intrinsically inherent but rather something that we assign to things we wish to have meaning. Lest my argument become too nebulous, let us consider a specific example, namely, the thing of eating.
Does eating have any value of itself? The initial response would, of course, be in the affirmative. Of course, eating has value. But what value does it hold? I suppose it gives us pleasure, for most food is meant to be tasteful. It often has a decorative purpose, for ladies often enjoy having pretty arrangements of their foods. I suppose, too, that food enables us to live. We could, therefore, easily conclude that, yes, food does have meaning and value, since it keeps us alive. However, this doesn’t really answer the question, since we must determine if life has meaning, and that is a much deeper question.
If life has no good meaning or purpose, then eating has no good meaning or purpose, since all it does is allow us to continue our vapid existence.