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"Reality and Delusion"

     Dr. Nancy Schneiderman came on, to comment on the gal who is
pregnant with a litter of seven.  There were seven fetuses in her
womb.  The doctor was precise in referring to them as fetuses. 
At the time they weighed two pounds apiece.  The chances of
survival are pretty good, she thought.  The mother seemed to be
in little real danger, what with all the medical monitoring that
was going on.
     But, the doctor said, the chances of subsequent medical
problems for the fetuses, if they were successfully delivered,
were very high -- heart or respiration difficulties, brain
damage, weak immune system.  She would have suggested "selective
abortion," bringing not so many to delivery.  The medical team
did recommend exactly that, she reported, but the parents
refused, deciding to "leave it to God."  
     Dr. Nancy noted that in vitro fertilization, which is where
the fetuses came from, is already in man's hands, not God's, so
backing away and "leaving it to God" did not seem right to her. 
Charlie Gibson reported that the parents had already named all
seven, and proceeded to read the names.  Dr. Nancy said, "Well,
with all the potential problems, and I hope I'm wrong about them,
I'm keeping my fingers crossed."
     What?  She rejects one branch of mythology -- all the God
stuff -- and brings in another.  The superstition about crossing
fingers, that is making the sign of the cross with one's fingers
in hopes of defying the rationally ascertained odds --
     "Oh, it's just a figure of speech," my companion says.  "A
way of talking."
     "It's mythology.  In fact it's a branch of the same
mythology she seemed to be rejecting earlier!"
     Charlie came on with an interview of the lady who shot dead
in the courtroom the alleged abuser of her son.  She is now out
on parole.  Among other things, she said she had been made crazy
by her pain and did not want others to do what she did, but that
she gave her pain to God, just let him have it, while she was in
prison.  More God stuff -- it felt like ABC had become an outlet
for God-propaganda.
     Then it became hot in our living room.  We went round and
round.  People need God, my companion said.  Their pain and
trouble drive them to God.  But there isn't any God, I insisted. 
The reality is that there is no God there.  The God-language
keeps popping up, clouding thinking, even though the reality of
it is that there's nothing there.  It is all delusion, all need,
all forced "meaning."
     As I began to rave about "reality," comparing it, as if it
were something solid, to God-belief, which refers to something
non-existent, she burst out, "Nothing is real."
     I had to reject flatly that proposition.  That makes all of
existence an illusion.  Nothing is real?  No atoms, no galaxies,
no consistent behavior of subatomic particles?  Oh, I know about
the uncertainty principle, but that's about our perception, our
knowing, not about REALITY.
     We were both raving.  Then we calmed down.  She is afraid of
arrogance, mine and/or hers.  She doesn't like feeling superior
to those who need God and still believe in him.  I maintain that
figuring out the God-thing, after having been born in it and
having worked hard at it, and finally out of loyalty to TRUTH
over doctrine and tradition and habit and old promises given
under duress, having perceived clearly that it is an illusion and
a fraud and worse -- I maintain that that perception has to do with 
something real and is a clarification of what I call Reality.  
     It could even be called progress.  I didn't know something
at that earlier time.  I was deluded, including self-deluded but
not exclusively that.  I was ignorant, unaware, asleep,
unconscious -- and then I awoke, I saw, scales fell from my eyes,
and I figured something out!  I found out!  And what I found out
is real.
     And the relativists will come along and add, "for you."  But
I don't think everything is relative in that sense.  Either there
is an entity, or there isn't.  And I have seen that there isn't. 
"Surely thou art a God who hidest thyself," one prophet
complained.  I'll say.  He hides in his pristine non-existence.  
     The devil's first trick was to convince his victims that he
didn't exist.  But he tricked himself, too.  He really doesn't
exist, and neither does the Creator/Entity that supposedly made
him and let him loose on unsuspecting, gullible, oppressed, down-
trodden, fearful humanity.  All of that is delusion.

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Copyright © 2002 Harry Willson

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