Aug. 21st, 2011

So I'm reading Les Miserables, which is overwhelmingly overwhelming, and it's made me more optimistic, more open, more myself again. I once again hear the long-ago song in my heart as if I first heard it yesterday. I remember that I think of myself as a person full of faith in humanity. But. It seems I'm like Marius, and maybe like Hugo, or maybe like most secretly purist idealists, in that anything I believe, I believe whole-heartedly. It follows that belief for the sake of comfort (rather than faith that accepts and embraces pain to the point of being self-sacrificing)-- well, it pisses me off.

One of the main reasons I accept religious people is that there are some among them who are pure in that sense-- truly altruistic, self-sacrificing, not dramatically in love with self-immolation but quietly willing to face hardships every day. I think that it is a form of love, the purest form. This is to mean that the only religious impulse I admire is the one that gives love and comfort rather than seeks to receive it. Hugo was great for pinpointing the difference in that as in many other things.

So I was reading this comment saying that the person was agnostic except for an intermittent desire to comfort themselves by half-believing in Creationism... and I felt a bit ill. God as a fix for a 'cold and lonely' universe! What! How dreary! How small-minded! How bourgeois!

    And so, I'd like to quote a long passage from Les Miserables, a book written by an unapologetic Deist, in praise and horror at the beauty of our suffering, the endless joy of creation, the painful endlessly knotted with the sublime. The misery of our small, short, beautiful lives! To call the universe cold is to call the human heart small.
   So here, Les Miserables: )


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the one who stumbled

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