Friday, December 21, 2012

I forgive you, Supernova

If the Mayans are right, then this is the perfect thought-experiment.

Though if the Mayans are right, who will know?

Perhaps only my mind, standing here beforehand, standing alone here at the precipice of the present moment with the world counting down around me tick-tick-tick to a future I can't predict.  Does forgiveness have any meaning in this setting?

Which I would say is really the Real World that we live in daily.

Can you be forgiven, Supernova?  My respondent John Romeo Alpha says not:

If the sun were to go supernova and annihilate me, would I forgive it? In no way that would be meaningful, no, I am able to respond, because I can project that the supernova would destroy the I that would have become. Similarly, we don't forgive that which we project will go on destroying (altering, defacing) the I that we would have become. So long as we go on permitting that destruction of I-becoming, forgiveness is impossible, meaningless. If I am to nurture the I that would become, I must forbid that which would destroy it from doing so, and find the way to strengthen that forbidding through knowing and understanding.

First, let us quibble.  If we will not forgive anything that alters the Self, we may as well forget and forswear any forgiving whatsoever.  What does not alter the Self?  She is fluid and changeful and responsive.  It is that quality of being changed and choosing changes that makes her a Self.  Even to say we will not forgive anything that defaces the Self, we limit ourselves to . . . forgiving only those offenses that treat us with proper respect?  I suppose we could still mostly forgive ourselves, which is a project in itself, but somehow less than what forgiveness claims to be.  Most offenses, though, especially from others, deface the Self - i.e., treat the Self as if it were not a self but a faceless entity whose needs need not be considered.  That is what is so offensive about them.

But I am attracted to the sense that forgiving has some indissoluble bond to the I-becoming of the Self.  Though my own personal Self has never described herself before as an I-becoming, she assents to that title as fitting in some ways.  She shrugs her shoulders into the sleeves of that coat and says it fits her quite nicely.  She is the eye and the I, she says, and certainly she is becoming and comely in all manner of ways.

So let us ask the question, Can the Self forgive what destroys her? Which sounds kind of sick and masochistic, like kissing the hand that hits and not the kind of thing I'm after at all.  More to the point, it begs the question whether the Self can ever actually be destroyed.   Do you, Supernova, by your looming existence -- if you do indeed loom as we cannot know until tomorrow -- do you by your existence cancel out my existence as a Self who can forgive?

I don't know about you* (and here I mean you, the readers* whom I hope will still be around on Friday, not you, the Supernova,  whom I'm not so eager to meet up with ever) but I can't shake the conviction that my Self outlasts even Supernovas.

Even if you cannot accept the immortality of the soul (both you-the-reader and you-the-Supernova -- as who can imagine that you-the-Supernova would? You-the-Supernova being a kind of ultimate anathema to the idea of immortality) is there any other way to live while we are living?

I can imagine you and project you, the Supernova, and in the moment of extremity I would even for an instant perceive you, but you can neither imagine nor perceive me ever or at all. There is some quality of eternity in my awareness within even this one limited moment that outreaches the far flung incendiary gas of you, Supernova, at your most extreme.

Maybe we should quibble for a second time.  I think forgiveness only works one way through time and that would be backward.  Forgiveness is a response only.  In that sense, I suppose I cannot forgive you, Supernova, until you happen and once you happen I may well not be around to carry out any forgiving.  But in the meantime, as long as I am living, I may consider forgiveness as a legitimate response to any wrongs that burden me.

I've been resisting hunting out the etymology of forgive, wanting to discover its definition through active participatory exploration instead.  I can say I have discovered some things that forgiveness is not:

  • Forgiving is not excusing what was done.
  • Forgiving is not erasing the effects of the wrong.
  • Forgiving is not permission to continue.

Forgiveness can still forbid destruction.  I am finding, in fact, forgiveness does actively forbid destruction.  Forgiveness is a stance that frees the soul, the Self, from having to dance to the tunes of the destroyer.  Which in this case, would be you, Supernova.

Which is why I plan now to go to my kitchen-of-the-moment where rather than stew over you, I will forgive you,

 i.e. set you aside 

and set my Self to rolling out Limey Lambs and powdered-sugar-covered Almond Crescents,  while I listen to the music my Self is loving most right now:

And if you do show up tomorrow, Supernova, you will not have been able to take away this moment, will you?


John Romeo Alpha said...

To quibble thus, long in the sun, over ice teas on a languorous afternoon in a garden of flowers, would be perfection indeed, shadowplay of immortality itself. Leaning back in my chaise to catch a sliver of sunlight slipping between the tree branches, I would suggest that (for the potential forgiver for example) grasping for a full/deep understanding of immortality is a pursuit best left to immortals. In my current mortal phase, I dance around these infinite debates, deferring them for the post-mortal supra-time, when either I will have limitless time to debate allied with the ability and perspective to understand, or contrariwise it won't matter. Even more garden tea-worthy, mulling over how an immortal would understand forgiveness, imponderable piled on unknowable, a tasty bonbon for splitting in two and sharing. Self altering change I love, embrace, expect, wallow in. The supernova impact is not self alteration, but self annihilation though, which I opposite-of-love, a point on which the bonbon balances precariously. Your 123 above are like foot markings on the floor for me to follow in this dance, and I'll try, I'm trying, hoping not to step on feet, hoping not to trip, hoping. Peace, Emma, you make me confident that on this day anyway, we won't actually need to fully work out the destruction part, not you, not me. (tea sip) As always that confidence is completely, utterly misplaced, logically speaking. But now forget logic, and math, I want to dance.

Emma J said...

Yes, dancing seems a better logic often to me.

NWG said...

If it is alright, I think I will share part of this in group. The part at the end about what forgiveness is not and "dancing to the tune of the destroyer." Powerful words.

Emma J said...

I'm so glad you can use this in your class! You're more than welcome to it.

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