Most atheists have little empathy for people who believe in deities. Not I. I empathize. I can relate. You see, I have a well loved myth of my own. I believe in love. Against repetitious evidence to the contrary in my own life, I believe that two adults can meet, truly see, love, accept, and choose to forever watch over each other in truth and with the best of intentions. I believe it can just be. I believe it should just be.
I can’t say I have actually ever known the kind of love I believe in. Don’t get me wrong, I have been loved. Severally. But in the less profound meaning of the word. You know; the I-love-you-to-the-extent-this-works, kind of way? I do not feel shortchanged about that. I appreciated and still appreciate that love for what it was. And to be fair, I probably didn’t love much better than I was loved. But I always believed that even if it didn't happen for me, to me, love, that isn’t based on convenience nor limited by compromise, exists. Even though I am very prone to extrapolating my own experiences to the universal, in this case, I resisted it.
Maybe I believe in love because we all need a story to keep us from despair, but I like to think it is because love is essential. To throw your lot in with another person may be your only chance. Because we are very small. Because we are inconsequential. Because the universe is random and doesn’t care. Because our size relative to the universe means that we will lose and be forgotten but our specie evolved a brain too large to sit easy with the real extent of our inconsequence. If we don’t believe in something that distracts us from our lack of consequence, we are done for, as soon as tomorrow. Some chose to believe in nation state. Some in gods. Others in their own power to self determine. I choose love. Love is my myth. Knowing that nothing I do with my life will ever amount to anything consequential in the grand scheme of things, I live for the chance to make another person’s inconsequence seem less so. And for my own sake, I hold out hope that someone will see it fit to throw their whole lot at my inconsequence. It seems possible to me that two rational human beings can agree that it is in their interest to throw everything they have at loving each other.
But then again, for love to be essential, you have to buy my thesis that we are inconsequential. And that, I guess, is the major flaw in my myth. We don’t believe we are inconsequential. Our ancestors subdued the earth. We inherited consequence. We each have our own story of overcoming. We deserve consequence. For good reason, the people who raised us, or the messiahs we met along the way, told us we are wonderfully made. We are entitled to consequence. Each day, through grit and hard work, we win ourselves tiny territory in the arena against fellow men. We earn consequence. In the immediate lived world, for better or worse, we are consequential.
Trouble is; we conflate the immediate lived world with the metaphysical. When love comes to us, we wonder: have we earned it? Do we deserve it? It is what we are entitled to? When the answer is no, and it will inevitably be no because none of it can be earned, we run from it. Worse still, we may take it, throw some time, some money, some sexing at it and correct our assessment to: yes, we have earned it. Then, like we do with the things we have earned, we start to deplete it. We toy with it. We tear it apart just to see if we can put it back. We ruin it and go from being little but happy to sad and little. If we are humble, we will know what we did. If we aren’t, we will tell ourselves some other story. One that allows us to still feel entitled to the next loving heart that comes through the trenches.
So where does that leave me & my myth? Sigh… I need time off to reweave the theology of my myth. I am losing my faith. But just a tiny bit. Because what else have I to do with my time, but tell myself stories while I await death?