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The imminent perils of self-love - R.H. Joseph

Recently I pointed out how spontaneity undermines self-absorption, how the leap of faith allowing individuals the illusion their perceptions define truth is undone when obsessive self-reflection is abandoned.

This is why fundamentalists detest spontaneity, declaring its manifestations "unnatural."

Only when the rule of law prevents them from imposing more draconian methods do the self-absorbed resort to legislation to deny the majority the freedom of an unfettered soul.

As this faith-empowered self-absorption defines religious fundamentalism it is interesting to contrast it with the artistic impulse, an inherently spontaneous act.

Mind you, spirituality is unrelated to the conscious act of faith. It is in the interest of fundamentalists to assert spirituality and faith are commensurate but they are not.

Spirituality defines one's receptivity to the absolute, the degree to which awareness of an unalterable, omnipresent truth informs us. Such an awareness precedes consciousness and any acts generated therefrom.

The act of faith is a deliberate, self-serving and self-referential commitment to what can only be paradigmatically true. Such a truth remains definitive only so long as the act of faith is maintained. Hence the obsessive compulsion of the faithful to proselytize and rid the world of dissenters.

Obviously a fool's errand, the absolute itself undermines the conscious imputation of truth to arbitrary objects of perception. Nevertheless, the self-absorbed must maintain their commitment of faith for self-absorption is an obsession without equal.

This is precisely why the sensible (and spiritual) become profoundly concerned when primitive politicians attempt to chip away at the separation of church and state. However, though our nation is threatened by such fundamentalism the topic is beyond the scope of this column.

Today we will address the spontaneity underlying the artistic impulse and the logical reason why fundamentalists are as threatened by art as they are by spontaneous sexuality.

The brittle, faith-based constructs of the self-absorbed cannot sustain the illusion of unalterable truth in the face of change and art is change. It is the nature of art to repudiate the sanctity of the status quo, to deny the truth of the canonical and the orthodox.

What makes this particularly intriguing is the pretense of the faithful that the canon to which they have sworn allegiance is said to represent the will of their alleged maker, that their artificial morality necessarily takes precedence over spontaneity. It is from this faith-based assertion that fundamentalists falsely proclaim they represent the moral high ground.

Is the essence of existence change or paralysis? One might ask the faithful if reality is designed (for the sake of argument) to flow like a river or remain immutable as a mountain, except mountains are ultimately no less fluid than rivers.

Those offering a rock upon which to find respite from uncertainty should be well aware the only immutable rocks are metaphorical. Only illusory truths demand a commitment of faith.

The truth of the design is manifest spontaneously. To detest spontaneity, to detest the fluidity of being is to repudiate the designer. How ironic!

This in turn brings up an interesting point: Why are artists so frequently troubled?

If art demands the fluidity of spirit enabled by spontaneity while ego demands the faith-based commitment to the immutable truth of one's perceptions it is inevitable that a soul so divided must be consumed by the demons of psychological conflict.

The purely spontaneous artist, being possessed of a infinitely mutable essence, suffers no such uncertainty. The creative impulse flows unabated, awaiting only the muse for inspiration.

To appreciate this is to appreciate why so many bohemians are deemed libertines by fundamentalists. Sexual self-expression unburdened by artificial moral constructs is perforce threatening for it finds its origins in spontaneity. I might add, abstinence is as likely a spontaneous manifestation of sexuality as wantonness, homosexuality or heterosexuality.

Is it any wonder the self-absorbed are threatened by any behavior other than that to which they have committed themselves?

Is it any wonder they would rid the world of religions other than their own, spontaneous sexuality, artistic daring, passion (at the heart of which lies spontaneity), intoxication and unfettered minds?

They would and will crush those who challenge their faith-based commitment to the truth of their perceptions. America, the land of the free, is in danger.

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.