-What do you think about those, then?
-It’s not what I think about them, it’s what I feel about them.
I stand still, eyes closed, seeking access to my feelings. What could distance me from them? It is like being in the dentist: there, I relax and calm myself to be less flustered by the unpleasant sensations. Here, I seek feelings about the sandals I am wearing, rather than the interaction with the shop assistant or feelings about the crowded, cluttered shop or the need to choose-
I thought of writing, our society values thinking far more, and it is feeling which matters. I said something like that to her. No, it is me- not even “I was brought up to” value thinking more, but “I do, now”.
The other pair was prettier and cheaper but my heel can slip off the side of them, so I chose these. They are quite pretty, and also practical for walking in. I want to walk a mile in my own shoes.
And I was distracted and stressed by the situation from the choice itself. I am happy enough with my choice. And happy with the new sandals, or I would not return to them here.
Liz found early on that she could have shoes which were comfortable on her broad, GG fitting, feet, or which did not look dreadful, but not both. There are conflicting feelings.
Here is Ben Wood, claiming for Quakers the God of Pascal, whom one can know and trust, rather than the God of Descartes, a hypothesis to reason about. The hypothesis seems increasingly silly, and never reassuring- like the baby monkey alone in a cage, preferring a mannequin mother covered in fur to a mannequin mother of wire mesh with a teat for milk-
Oh! Who thought of such torture!
Onywye. Feeling, there, distracting from exploring this for myself or explaining it to you. Here am I blogging. I will stick to this powerful simile for want of a better. Use, perhaps, rather than torture: crippling baby monkeys, as a way of finding how best to care for human children. The experiments have lasting value.
Thinking rationally, I can create ordered paragraphs, moving from point to point and taking you with me. I can write, and be understood on the other side of the world. Feeling, I produce single words rather than sentences- beautiful, seemly, pure, lovely- perhaps distilled to “yuck” and “yum”, or communicating wordlessly with body language and facial expression.
Poets can communicate emotion.
I might do it now: I seek to persuade, rather than convince. And I am not sure the word “convince” means entirely to persuade rationally and not emotionally.
Thinking rationally seems easier to me because I have practised it consciously. Sensing feelings, they bubble up from unconsciousness. And every time I “think rationally” feeling is part of it.
I am by nature analytical. While I find being analytical satisfying intellectually, I don’t find it satisfying emotionally. I need something else. I tend to experience emotions vicariously, instead of directly from personal experience, apart from one or two experiences that I would identify as religious experiences. I think that’s why I feel a bond with your blog, Clare. I feel your posts emotionally as much as, or possibly more than, I comprehend the logic of them. I hope that makes sense.
When I compare the language on the websites of the British Quakers and the Aotearoa New Zealand Quakers, I agree with the logic on the British site, but feel more attached to the spiritual message of the NZ site. “God” is missing almost entirely from the British Website, and perhaps this is understandable because of the debate between theism and non-theism, but this doesn’t appear to be such an important issue here.
From my own observation of many Kiwi Christians, Pascal’s God as described by Ben Wood seems to be quite a popular “model”. The idea that God is not a “notion”, but something that is experienced.
Thank you. You warm me.
I must have a look at the NZ site.
And yes. God as hypothesis seems so useless, yet (some of us) feel the need of it before we can believe God as relationship. The hypothesis gets in the way.
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