Month: March 2017

Remark about scoundrels

I remember reading, years ago, that Samuel Johnson’s famous comment about patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel is not a definition of patriotism, it is a remark about scoundrels. I’ve been trying to search for it to find an attribution but couldn’t find it.

Anyway, I think the two main points of my Poor in Spirit trilogy are in a similar kind of vein, in the sense that they are very easily misunderstood. To say that my autistic protagonist thinks he might be spiritually disabled is not a definition of autism. It’s not even a remark about autism. It’s a lifelong puzzlement about spirituality.

Similarly, the discovery that ‘consciousness is sin’ is not a value judgement about consciousness, it’s a definition of sin. That needs a lot of unpacking, and results in the suggestion that, at least in the Eden story, God didn’t give us morality but rather punished us for it!

The Daodejing (aka Tao Te Ching) has a similar theme – cleverness and intelligence are repeatedly denounced as the root of all evil.

In our pristine state, we were not yet conscious. To return to this state, by meditation, prayer or whatever, is to renounce our consciousness.

It is with this predicament that my hyperverbal protagonist is struggling.