I had this weird experience in Church last night.
You ever get that kind of odd feeling when you’re listening to someone talk and you suddenly notice their makeup? Or their hair? And you have this totally absurd feeling and think, “This person has paint on her face as she is talking to me. And she has combed petroleum products through her hair. And she is wearing spun plant fibers woven with strands of more petroleum products on her body. And she has breasts. And a sternum. And bones. Which are made up of bone cells which have all these different kinds of organelles those have complex molecules and all those molecules have atoms like calcium. And atoms have, you know, protons and stuff and protons are made up of God only knows how many different kinds of subatomic particles like muons and quarks and such. And all are separated by space. So this woman I am talking to is a well-organized pile of particles made mostly of empty space. And on a quantum level, each of her particles is a probability function. She’s a complex probability function. And I am a complex probability function. And were talking about what to eat for lunch”
That ever happen to you, in a split-second, as you are talking to someone? The person you are relating to suddenly deconstructs in your mind’s eye when you least expect it?
It’s like how I could be driving down the street and think suddenly, “I am operating a pile of heavy machine-tooled metal parts at a speed that would certainly kill me were they not moving with me at the same speed. My life depends not on those parts, but on the relationship they have to one another. My life is in the hands of an army of people who machine-tooled and arranged this pile of parts for me.”
I call it deconstraction. We create for ourselves a curtain of reality so we don’t have to deal with all of reality at one time and our brains do not explode. The curtain is necessary for us to function, but it is a curtain indeed. Yes, it may be an enormously complex pile of parts, but I call it a “Car” because most of the time I must deal with it as one unit. My friend is a “person” and not a pile of particles because that is how I must relate to her most of the time. Every once in a while my mind pulls back the curtain for a tiny glimpse at what lies behind my carefully constructed reality filter curtain. And I find it very distracting. Decon-straction.
And so as Fr. Albert was bowing to the paschal candle last night, I had a Spiritual Deconstraction. Symbolism, history, traditions, mystery, beliefs exploded from behind the Paschal Candle and then kept coming out as the Mass progressed. Everything I laid eyes on was deconstracted briefly. I had to work to turn it off in my head. I came out of Easter mass a bit disoriented, as if I’d just walked on to (supposedly) solid ground after stumbling my way over a number of sand dunes.
And this rambling post is not really just a post, but a vast number of signs and symbols arranged from bytes which are made of bits, which are just electrical charges held in certain arrangements, this way and that…
Quick, close the curtain!