The Luminous

Upon completion of my newest novel The Floating Luminosity I'd have to say my interest with the Luminous is at an all-time high. And by Luminous I'm referring to, in my own special definition, as any unexplainable phenomenon encountered by human beings-alien abduction, spiritual awakenings, ghosts, etc. The Matrix films explained these events as glitches in the Matrix, which is what they are, I guess, even if we're NOT trapped in a future world being pumped for heat by robotic overlords. I like the idea that reality opens up once in a while and reveals the cogs and sprockets of the universe. I like the idea that there are no easy answers a freshman frat boy could understand, no pat endings. How dull would the world be if life ended as it does in many, many books and films? If everything gets wrapped up neatly, then boredom ensues. That's why books end when they do-whatever comes next isn't as interesting. It's like the dull and comfortable retirement famous athletes are forced to endure when can no longer play the sport they love at a high level.

And what's inside the Luminous? What would I take away from it if I encountered it? What would you? Do we bring it about ourselves, as my friend Kelly would suggest? Or is there an outside force lurking out there? And if so, is that force god, a Prime Mover, or something else entirely?

4 comments:

McCutcheon said...

A very interesting question, good sir. I have been thrown into the deep end of full-time theology studies this academic year, and while my background and inclination have both lead and maintained me in the "God" camp, I am also firmly convinced that the very idea of "God" is not all neatly tied up in a Thomistic bow, nor can it ever be. With one professor in particular have spent a great deal of time reflecting on "the question to which the word 'God' is the answer." Like the feckless questers in the works of Douglas Adams, I have no idea what this question is yet, but it is sure interesting to ponder.

In a text I am reading right now by Charles Hefling, I am struck by the statement that "noticing what we have no words for is unlikely but not impossible." These luminous moments can happen anywhere, at anytime. They are not dependent on any particular circumstances, although some circumstances might be considered more propitious or conducive for such encounter. The key thing — from my reading and reflection, at least — is that such an encounter is one that changes you, and the way in which you see and understand and interact with the world. Another chunk from this book I have open in front of me:

"'You talk as if life were good.' So says a character in Descent into Hell, one of the best and eeriest of Charles Williams's novels. In the reply to this remark Williams states his own view: 'It's either good or evil, and you can't decide that by counting events on your fingers. The decision is of another sort.'

"It is a decision of another kind because it determines the ground on which all other, more particular assessments and evaluations are built. Whether the very word 'good' means something more than convenient, pleasant, satisfying, or expedient depends on this kind of decision; so does confidence in the worthwhileness of living, or of basic trust that the universe is friendly, or conviction as to the intrinsic goodness of things. No one can be argued into an assurance so fundamental as this, or argued out of it. Like the love in which it is rooted, a decision of the sort that Williams is referring to is a gift. To some it is given in installments, through many channels, beginning from childhood with affectionate trust in their parents and widening to encompass the whole of life. Others receive it later and all at once. But however it comes it is a permanent revolution that changes 'whatever is, is good' from a mere and facile slogan into the steadfast affirmation of a lover, one whose acceptance of the world and of self comes of having been accepted." (Charles Hefling, Why Doctrines? [Boston: Lonergan Institute, 2000], p. 18.)

David Oppegaard said...

Good to hear from you, McCutcheon! Your current blog template is looking good, very clean and professional.

I think it does indeed help to be more "open" to the Luminous if you're hoping to encounter it in your daily life. But, then again, Scroodge in "A Christmas Carol" makes for a fascinating character because of his disbelief in the Luminous and his sudden encounter with it...

I also wonder what the survivors of the Haitian earthquake think about life right now. Has it shaken their previous beliefs in life being good or evil? It would interesting to survey every single person affected by the destruction...

McCutcheon said...

It's good to be back in the game, so to speak. Glad to hear you are still a formidable fountain of fiction; keep it up! One of these days life will settle down sufficiently for me to read Suicide Collectors; I've been looking forward to it, along with Anna Karenina and Starship Troopers. (At least I have a short-list, right?)

Rami said...

that sounds interesting. looking forward to seeing what comes out of your musings!

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