Bourgeois Deviant

Monday, February 11, 2008

Over the weekend

The weekend wasn't too eventful, although I had some illuminating conversations. The first was with a friend in Manhattan. We meet up every few weeks for drinks and discussion of what's happening with us and the world. The chat was of its usual excellent, disparate caliber, but one thing came up that stuck with me for the rest of the weekend into today. Oddly enough, it was a minuscule footnote of the discussion and not very substantive to the topic at hand. It was more a matter of semantics briefly noted.

Really nothing profound, it boils down to making a word plural. The word in question is "god." And this originates from a fairly benign and almost silly source. Battlestar Galactica is the Deviant's favorite show at present. We only just started watching it last year and we've been catching up on Netflix. We are about to begin season 2.5 having originally started with, we think, season 4. So, we've some serious gaps. They will be filled all in good time. And time well spent, I might add.

So, what my good friend and I were discussing is one of the central conflicts of the series; (no spoiler worries here) the division between monotheism and polytheism. A simple and prime example is humanity blasphemes by saying "Gods damn it!" The cylons (the bad guys) don't really blaspheme, but they constantly harp on there being only one god. The series is rife with this type of linguistic subtlety and it is poignant and consistent throughout. If the story were to ever drag, which it doesn't, these quirks would smooth over any attention deficit. Well, it would smooth over my attention deficit if it were ever an issue. But its not.

I mentioned to my friend that I was adopting the plural form because it struck me as making a great deal of sense. We live in a pluralistic society that claims tolerance for all faiths. That level of tolerance is, obviously, relative and conditional on your geography within the U.S. of A. Still, that is what the nation idealistically projects regardless of the conditional micro-realities. I am a tolerant deviant. Although I was brought up with Judeo-Christian values, in my adult life I don't consider myself much of anything denominationally speaking. Having reached maturity (again, a highly subjective state) in the height of political correctness, I will often err on the side of pc.

The humanity depicted on Galactica believes, essentially, in the old Greek pantheon of deities. Few people take it seriously, but it is deeply entrenched in their culture almost to the degree of folk mythology. When desperate measures arise, they look to their faith for some salvation of deliverance. The deliverance they seek is from the monotheistic cylons who man created to serve them and fight for them. The children of mankind rebel and embrace one "true" god. This god, they believe, empowers them to unleash genocidal devastation upon humanity. Not exactly a new story and certainly familiar to the human experience.

So as a small gesture, while I am not particularly inclined towards deism, I am making the small choice to pluralize my blasphemies and blessings. Call it a half-hearted hedge against the unknown or a shallow token gesture, but I prefer to think of it as a linguistic embrace of the pluralism our nation espouses. As the adage goes; Religion is like sex. The more you talk about it in public, the more embarrassing it gets for everyone. By doing this, I keep my beliefs private while simply including all denominations and faith traditions on the same plane of consideration. Hooked on phonics has clearly worked for me.

In closing, it is amazing what you can glean from a good conversation with someone. And I can only speak for myself in this case, but the issue of embracing my inner-nerd has already been dealt with. I hug it daily as you may be able to tell. The second conversation alluded to is to follow shortly.

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  • Dude,

    Wow, I'm honored to be so featured in the blog! Always love the drinks and conversation. Although, I'm still a "goddammit" sorta guy: it just rolls off my tongue more easily. =)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:52:00 AM  

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