Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Timshel...

"'The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?' ... 'I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the Gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.' Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph." - Lee Chong, East of Eden by John Steinbeck.


"... And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life
And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars.

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And I will tell the night
Whisper, "Lose your sight"
But I can't move the mountains for you."


Such a long preface. Sorry for that. Hopefully you made it down here successfully. Both that book and that song are incredible achievements in both beauty and art. The idea of "Timshel" struck me hard when I first read East of Eden. I've always believed that if we've been given one gift it is the gift of free will. (And of course Love, but they go hand and hand in my book.)

I touched lightly on the idea of "everything happens for a reason" a few weeks back, and I think one of the biggest reasons we settle on this is because it helps make us feel good. I would be out of line to say this saying or belief is wrong, because honestly there's so much mystical stuff going on beyond the realms of reason and understanding that we cannot truly know, but we can believe. I believe the Love that governs this Universe may have plans, but then again, it's not pulling every tiny little string attached to every tiny little person, plant, and/or animal.

I think everything does happen for a reason, but more as a result of the choices we've made. The idea that God is making everything happen is a little cheap in my opinion, and even unfair. That removes the significance of our free will. The ultimate idea of fate honestly means you're a drone and, essentially, worthless. No matter how much you would hope to think you're making conscious decisions, you're not. You're following a path that's designed for you, and if you turn right thinking you're outwitting fate because fate seemed to point you left, you're wrong and you were supposed to turn right all along. You can never win. If you do bad, it doesn't matter. Even worse, if you do good, still, it does not matter.

Fate is unkind. It lacks emotion and understanding. There is no personality to fate, no compassion, sympathy, empathy, or Love. Fate is a program and you play your part and that is all. It uses you and disposes of you as if you were nothing more than a snack, a brief thing that satisfies a temporary appetite until it moves onto the next life, and the next, and the next.

Fate makes the human race a flocking, yapping, worthless group of Nihilists who feed off and breed negativity. If there is a sound argument for this Universe being entirely governed by fate it is also a mad argument. And how often does a mad theory convince us it's a sound theory and lead us toward destroying our brothers and sisters? Too often as we watch History repeat itself.

Fate means morality does not exist (which will be a broader topic for a soon later post). If you believe entirely in fate, you'd best be prepared to accept the fact that no matter what happens in the world and in your life, if you complain, you're compaining against your belief in fate. If "evil" upsets you, it shouldn't because it was destined for this thing or person to exist.

You can begin to see what a difficult world it would be to live in if we accept all things were governed by fate...

But the plain and simple truth is, you make choices in life. If I can promise you one thing, despite being a man and showing no external proof of being divine, it is that you have free will. But of course all of us have some form of divinity, the ability to learn and come into closer contact with what mysticism guides the expulsion of the Universe. It is not religiously labeled and cannot be, nor will Science ever be able to give enough answers to answer the last remaining "why". And so in this agree to disagree that "maybe" is where you find complexity and, only because it seems appropriate to say, mysticism.

Now embrace the power you hold inside you, the power to be in control of your own Universe, of being that big bang, that force, that expulsion that makes the decisions of your Universe. Fate allows you to encourage your faults. If you do wrong, truly you were fated to do wrong. If your life is a failure, then it was fated from the start that you would live and die a failure. Stop acknowledging and giving credit to a bleek, depressed existence. When you were born you did not glow with darkness. What influences you may have received are out of your control and the past is the past and it cannot be changed, but the future is always yet to be written, and today is the day you make a choice. Will your own history repeat itself? Or will you disallow this and make a change?

Timshel means choice. Timshel is free will. When Cain killed his brother Abel and God says "Timshel", God is not saying Cain MUST or SHALT do anything, he is saying he may do anything. Triumphing over sin is not a command or a fate or an already made decision but a choice. Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps in a life situation isn't ordered by fate, that's your choice. If the sign reads "Now is the time to better yourself", that means you've got to make the decision to do it. I can't do it for you, nor can your sister, mother, brother, or best friend. We "can't move mountains for you". You must move the mountain. And though it seems tall, massive, and daunting it is not impossible.

You can move mountains. If even stone by stone, shovel by shovel, you can move mountains. It will be hard and it will take time, but it can be done. The right thing is difficult, the wrong thing is easy. That's why we convince ourselves that our mistakes are okay, that we should continue making them, because it's hard to admit we're wrong and it's hard to change our ways. And so we fall into the cheap embrace of fate, because the burden that is the gift of free will is a heavy one, and makes you responsible for your own actions, and you know how well we deal with responsibility.

But we are here to help. The song says we can't move mountains for you, but it also says you are not alone in this. The Universe too echoes the same words. Once you decide to move the mountain, here we are; to help carry the stones and shovel the dirt and follow your lead. But the decision must first be yours. Enough of being out of sorts with your true self. Stop taking no for answer. Timshel is more than a word, it is a force. You are more than just a man or a woman, you are a miracle and one of a kind. You are beautiful, endless, unstoppable energy.

If you don't believe in Universal turths believe this: you've got one life to live. Period. Make it count. Afterlife aside, whether or not you believe in one, you've got one shot to make an impression on the world, to be somebody, to Love and to live, to laugh and to cry. Life will be over before you know it, don't accept a premature end. Life is not a war but you've got to fight as hard as you can to move those mountains, stone by stone, take down whatever wall is in your way brick by brick. You've got one chance to be you, to be the greatest you can be, working each day to make yourself even greater and greater still. But you're not going to be great if you keep telling yourself you are fated to be worhtless, that "thou shalt fail."

You are not worthless, I promise, and if I die saying it at least then you won't be able to argue with me. The only way you can fail is if you allow yourself to do so; you can't lose until you quit. There is nothing so great that you cannot overcome, but it takes today to make the choice to start figuring out how to do that. You've got the gift of free will, the power of Timshel, so don't accept what people say is fact, who people try to tell you to be.

Thou shalt do nothing. Thou mayest do anything. Go now and triumph in the face of adversity. Timshel...

1 comment:

  1. Will:

    Truly a most excellent example of "Deep calls to deep..." (Psalm 42:7)

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete