Friday, July 11, 2008

Three Great Evils

"I have no more than twenty acres of ground," he replied, "the whole of which I cultivate myself with the help of my children; and our labor keeps off from us three great evils-idleness, vice, and want." - The Turk from Candide, Chapter 30

These are definitely three great evils of the Modern World. They are not sins, really, but evils: want can be inflicted by nature as surely as man, as can vice.

It's interesting that all of these evils are personal, and are all stopped with a simple prescription: Work. Work keeps away want, first of all. It also drives out idleness, if you are working at something you enjoy and not shirking your duty. Last, if you're working, you won't have time or energy for vice.

The work the Turk is talking about isn't a specific occupation, it's labor with a specific outcome: When you're done laboring, you've got something of value at the end. It keeps you from want, from poverty. It is something that benefits yourself and others, keeping you from vice. And, it is something to do, keeping you from idleness.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit, as I've gotten sucked back into playing Galactic Civilizations II. I can't think of a better example of idleness and vice than a turn based civilization game. I mean, what do I have at the end of spending 40 hours playing the game? A crick in my neck, a virtual civilization that I will never look at again once I've 'won', and 40 hours of time spent.

Hell, even writing on my blog, I'm at least using my brain and expanding my horizons, putting my thoughts down, if not for posterity, then at least for a little while.


Brother Red said...

Sometimes I worry about wasting a lot f time on being public about my magical activities. I'm most frequently aware of the grief it's caused me. One person did a rite using info from my site, and I ended up getting sick. People think I'm in it only for the money because I write like a side-show carney when I talk about my products. I can't help it, I feel silly anyway.

But then I get little messages once in a while, questions about techniques, emails thanking me for the info I provided. Little things remind me that there are people who don't say much very often, but are reading about my Great Work aspirations and trying out the things I do with success in their own Great Work. It makes it worth it.

I also spend a lot of time playing Guitar Hero, Boxhead: Zombie War, and writing silly zombie novels that are too bad to even consider getting published. There's nothing to show for it, but I've had intensely pleasurable time, all to myself. Even if I'm frustrated at getting a song right on a video game, I'm still enjoying it, and no one else is [the kids like the music, but my wife... not so much ;)].

And that's ok too. We get to enjoy our universe. It's God's gift to us, a little down time that's just all about us having fun, regardless of anyone else.

As long as we do it in moderation, keep things focused primarily on God and have no idols before Him, things tend to work themselves out. So don't worry too much about Galactic Civ II. I might have to get that, and maybe we can play against each other some time, and then it's all good, because you'll be making me happy. :D

Monsignor Scott Rassbach said...

I, for one, appreciate hearing about your magical efforts. It grounds me a bit, helps me realize that all this lofty meditation has an earthly effect.

As to Gal Civ II, it is unfortunately a single player game, I think.

I'm listening to a lecture series called "Great Ideas in Philosophy", and one of the lectures "Four Theories on the Good Life", has sparked some interest in me.

I have papers to write, languages to learn, paperwork to fill out and a girlfriend to interact with. Lately, I've been escaping into the Gal Civ Universe because I can control it, and so much is happening in this one that I feel I cannot control.

That's not healthy. I consider it progress that I recognize the behavior, even if I am not necessarily stopping it yet. I think I'll finish conquering this virtual universe, then move on to the real one.

Brother Red said...

At least you're getting the basics down for conquering universes! Resources, education, and military superiority!

I admire that you're willing to look at yourself with healthy criticism, but I can't condemn anything you're doing. They'd reject my membership at the Pandimensional Pep Squad, the interdimensional warriors that go around reminding people that God loves them, and it's because they're totally AWESOMENESS incarnate.

I just learned the other day that Man was made in God's image as a near equal, a companion and compatriot. That is, before Man wandered towards the physically manifest realms. At least in the Corpus Hermeticum. I thought that was pretty neat. Genesis doesn't get into much detail about stuff. I personally think the Garden of Eden was all of existence, including the planetary realms, and the Fall was the entrance of man into matter.

I'm still working out the details.

Point is, wow, man, you're doing awesome in life, and now that you want to control your universe, you can have it. Total control over everything, or the grace not to be saddled with that much responsibility. I'd go for the grace at this stage of my development. Trying to control EVERYTHING is a pain in the ass. There's a lot more than it looks like there is when you get up close to it, like an impressionist painting.