Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lux Fiat, Lux Electrat

A dear and cherished friend was explaining to you one fateful afternoon why the twelve-step recovery program at AA would not be effective for him because, as he put it, "I don't believe in such a thing as God and to work the twelve-step program, one needs a higher power. So AA is off for me, don't you see?"

I saw his argument as a way of digging in his heels, saying AA would not work, and, thus, he remained, as the good folk of AA would say, powerless to control his drinking problems. This had the unspoken argument that he may, then, as well continue drinking.

We were dealing with equations meant to work out at the sort of undeniable logic or, if you will, truth that 1 + 1 = 2 provides.  "Try this," you suggested.  "The higher power to which you can tether everything need not be spiritual or religious, correct?"

When he nodded, suspiciously (he was a skilled performer, thus able to convey suspicion is the mere-ness of a nod), you said, "Try the belief that whenever you walk into a darkened room and flip the wall switch, some light or other will go on."

"But suppose the electricity in the building is out."

"How many times in your life have you walked into a darkened room, flicked a switch, then had no response?"

"Few," he said. "Nevertheless."

"A higher power that worked for you most of the time would not be a bad place to start."

"But there is also the matter of burned-out light bulbs."

"Ah," you said, "you're really looking for something infallible. Even those with higher powers tethered to God admit that God may be omnipresent but also too busy to stop you the next time you think you can drink with impunity. And wasn't it you who said 'Nothing's perfect.'?"

"Well, yes, but that was for writing," he said, and for a moment, it seemed to you he'd had you in this logic-based equivalent of an arm wrestle. But then you said, "Except that in writing, you could write your way out of wanting another drink or so, then thinking you could stop right there."

This was not only based on a true story, as such fictional versions of true stories are so fond of saying, this was a true story, during the course of which your friend not only lived out the balance of his life sober, he sponsored with some vigor those who chose to build a sense to their lives in which there was no use of alcoholic beverages.

These paragraphs of description represent various aspects of sense in operation, all of them based on the metric of sense having a direct relation to logic. In other words, a thing or system that "makes sense" is also a thing or system that's logical. Algebra, for instance, is logical; only when illogical aspects are introduced does it not make sense.

With little effort, you could compile a laundry list of "things" or systems that are constituents of equations which lead to a product of sense or logic. You could also make a laundry list of irrational things, false equivalencies or components that do not produce a logic as logic is known in reality.

There are objects, symbols, and systems in story that make sense within the framework of a particular story, but may spring a few leaks of plausibility, sense, or logic when transported to reality. Thus we have an end result often referred to in reality as poetic justice, and within story, it becomes dramatic justice.

Poetic justice is based on the conventions, rather than logic, of a culture. Dramatic justice is an awareness of completion or closure within a story. Of course story is based on the conventions of a particular culture. This leaves you to the awareness of the need to find your way in both worlds in which you have a foot planted, the world of reality, and the world of story.

Much in the manner of your dear, departed chum, you find yourself during your ventures in both worlds, looking for for guiding principal, some higher power, some building somewhere, in which, lux fiat, there will be light most of the time you flick the wall switch.

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