The absolute additive

Peter Lee sent in a comment and question regarding the last few blog entries, which I found so well expressed I asked for his permission to post it here. I will follow with my response to his closing questions tomorrow. Here is what he wrote me:

“I’ve also just begun my adventures on NWN [Neverwinter Nights] a couple of days ago, it is a remarkable game. :)

“However, I must admit that I am quite baffled in how you drew the parallel of such fantastic journey with our own.

“I find these games to be of such delight precisely because it is so different than how life really is. Such games always imply a positive experience, i.e. your progress is an absolute function of the additive. I currently don’t find life to adhere to the same formulae… although it is quite likely that you may disagree.

“For one, I have no idea what I’m living for. Well, that is not entirely correct. I do have ideas about what I’m living for, I just do not truly understand those very ideas. Not only that, I am not certain if I will ever fully understand those ideas, so my life’s quest always converges to a single idea: a quest for Truth.

“Living for Happiness, Love, Joy, Acceptance, Understanding, Freedom, Success, Wealth, Comfort, etc. ultimately falls back on what you consider those ideas to mean. But what is Happiness? What is Love? How do you know if you are on the right track to attaining these ideals? How do you even know if your understanding of these ideals is satisfactory enough to lead you to better understanding, ultimately taking you on the right path for finding them? Even if you are not certain what it is that you seek, is it possible for you to have found it?

“Here you may entertain a concept of God. In His grace, you are exactly where you should be. In His wisdom, you substitute your ignorance with His guiding hand. In Him, you graft perfection into life. In Him, you find raazi.

“But doesn’t that mean there is no more quest for Truth? We have found it. Truth is divine, given by grace and guidance, in His mystery it is endowed, and in His humor it is made known. In prayers you express your intent, and in His intervention, you are given what you seek… even if you may or may not understand what you thought you were seeking has been made known to you because who truly understands the mind of God?

“This is the fork in the road that I have been staring at for some time now. In one, I seek God and re-engineer life to operate in the fantasy adventure world formulae, the absolute additive, always progressing forward, looking for my next sword, since in Faith I can rest in comfort that I will find it. I will seek Khidr, ultimately to wield my blade in absolute authority of the divine. In another, I seek what is Undefined, following a path with infinite sign-posts, accepting the unfortunate possibility that I will never find what I am looking for, and that I may never find my next sword. I will seek Moses, except bear my questions with unflinching conviction in the properness of its utterance.

“I must admit, this is not the first time I’ve been at this fork. I have once embraced Faith without question. But it is a hazardous and difficult path to follow. I have tasted of peace, but never free from the question of its origin. That I may have Faith in any of my own choosing to serve any of my own ideals has shattered my fantasy time and time again, throwing me back to my quest for Truth.

“I sometimes miss the innocence of my Faith, the comfort of completeness that it offers. Deep down, I feel a stirring whenever I entertain thoughts of His voice, bringing endowment of divine purpose and knowledge, to have Truth be made known and to call me forth from the multitude with a command marking me His… such fanciful dreams of empowerment and freedom! What wonder if my Faith was Truth! Yet I am continually repulsed by its premise, the self-evident nature of its dogma, that it grows with power in acceptance, not in questioning.

“John, how do you resolve your inner conflict of the meaning and the Truth of Faith? I’m simply referring to your act of Faith, not what that Faith is actually composed of. I understand the power and value that Faith itself can bring to a man, but what does it really mean beyond self-induced freedom from uncertainty?

“A world without God is a frightening and an unsettling place. Some may even call it”meaningless“. But as far as I can tell, it still is the same world. Only the lens of reflection has changed; of what I may see and find that Faith may have blinded is the current quest of my choosing.

“I wonder what will be my next sword?”