Sunday, April 08, 2007

Panglossian DKL ... seems like a Snarkernacle post ...

What does it mean to see God as a Weaver? Is it all Panglossian nonsense, as DKL might say, or is there a deeper version of that view that makes sense and is real? If life were a game, and you were a character with the *real* you the player of the character, how would your life differ?

Seriously. How many of you have ever played a game on your computer? How many would keep playing if all you did was push a single button and it came up "You win" every time? (There are variants of that game, btw, and they are not terribly successful). How many of you play games where you lose, and keep playing them? Solitaire, for example?

As I've taken another look at games, especially role playing games after a long hiatus (mostly because I had some papers that sold for several thousand dollars after I was contacted by someone looking for insight into them, it got me looking back at the industry for a while), things like Life With Master, or Dogs In The Vineyard (LDS themed role-playing that is considered a critical and commercial success), I've been impressed by how much hardship is important to the lives people choose to simulate.

For the most part, with most people, if they were an unseen force guiding their own lives, their own lives would have more hardship in them than their lives have now, or so it seems.

But if we provide the threads, God weaves the tapestry from them, making use of what we provide in order to make what we need from it. So yes, this is the best of all *possible* worlds (though perhaps not the best of the impossible ones). Perhaps. Perhaps if there is a deeper reality that we are a part of, deeper meaning we are seeking, a deeper need that life meets than just animal existence.

Odysseus had it right when he fled the land of the lotus eaters. That is not the life we choose, and once we reject that course, the lives we live are the only alternative, taken at a deeper level, with a deeper perspective.

That is reality.


Mary A said...

Stephen, what a thought-provoking post this is! Would I really choose the easy path? Probably not, now that you mention it. I learn too much from the difficulties. I'll be pondering on your ideas for awhile. Thanks for sharing them.

chronicler said...

This type of thinking is what led me to the gospel. The thought of Heaven being a place with god paved streets and large pools of water where we don nothing but enjoy frightened the death out of me as a child. When I heard the message of the plan of salvation, it made sense, was logical and I knew it was truth. I was only 12 but I knew.

I appreciate the message Stephen.

Bookslinger said...

Re: being players who are in charge of their characters in a role-playing game.

That reminds me of the story in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, that this galaxy (or universe?) is an experiment created by pan-dimensional beings.

Maybe, in some sense, we were "role players" in the pre-mortal existance, and at birth we "stepped into" the game we were playing.

I wonder how much choice or input we had in "determining the bounds of our habitation" (Acts 17:26). Or perhaps we merely had foreknowledge of it, and could only assent or dissent; come to earth at the time/place/parents Heavenly Father appointed, or get cast out with Satan.

DKL said...

I think that you're right that we need some amount of resistance to move forward -- you can't swim without friction.

chronicler said...

Stephen, I tagged you as a thinking blogger at There's a sidebar badge and everything!

Margaret Young said...

"But if we provide the threads, God weaves the tapestry from them, making use of what we provide in order to make what we need from it."

Don't you think we provide the threads from the moment the umbilical cord begins to form? Or rather that we are BORN threaded?

I don't know much about RPG. I never approved of my son playing them. And interestingly, I've never been interested in games like chess, solitaire, or even "Sorry." I weave stories, so I suppose I'm inventing a game every time I start a story or a novel. I don't always know what will happen, but as I tell my students: "Conflict is the gut of fiction." I know there will be something at stake for my characters, and some obstacle (internal or external) which they will need to confront.

Barb said...

I don't know if I am on the right path as I should be. I do feel that good has come from pain in my life. I know I hold myself back. Even still, God does allow me to make something of my life. It may be a very primative tapestry in the scheme of things. To exist at all is a miracle. And using our agency to allow God to make more of our lives than we can of ourselves is to fullfill our potential and our measure of creation.

Stephen said...


I don't know much about RPG. I never approved of my son playing them.

That's ok, I know a fair number of people who feel the same way about fiction. :)




I think we are born with threads we can fit into, and that are a part of, but we have choice.

Margaret Young said...

The truth is, Stephen, I have become less enamored of fiction than I once was. There's so much crap out there. Lately, I've been reading memoirs, biographies, and WELL-TOLD histories (there are also a lot of badly-told histories). And all of the writing I've done in the past eight years has been firmly grounded in history, with only a little fictional license taken. (By the time we did the third book in the trilogy--which I just assume everyone knows about--we were solidly OUT of fiction, which was noted (in a nice way) by some reviewers.
I would imagine that there are also some very stupid RPGs. You probably learn to be selective.

Stephen said...

Honestly, I'm not that fond of playing games, but I love to analyze them from time to time.

From my reading tastes, things like Gates of Fire, etc., I'm really enjoying historical works, always have.

Wish you all well, even in my teasing. ;)