Coded green.

Sunday 6 May 2001

A bush

Pic of the day: This pretty little bush is the only one in this part of the forest that has put on its spring clothes yet. Ironically, it is a garden bush, which has somehow found its way to the wild woods.

I plead not guilty

I woke up feeling extremely sleepy. It is a very special sleepy feeling, but fortunately one that goes away if I yawn inside for several minutes. It is the kind of sleepy that I feel when I've done lots of magic in my dreams. And I had ... telekinesis, flying and teleportation. Teleport in particular still takes a bit of energy out of me, though I have improved.

However, it is in my waking life that I could have really needed that teleport ability. Dreams are cheap. Jumping from one spot to another immediately is pretty much the only way I could have attended my niece's confirmation ritual on Norway's west coast today. Either that or take a day off in the most hectic week at work, without the approval of my boss who has in the past gone to great lengths to accomodate my erratic timetables. The communications between the west coast and here are bad at the best of times, and pretty much non existent during the weekends.

I don't particularly enjoy ticking off my brother's family, all of whom have been nothing but nice to me for the last twenty years or so. But a job nearby is better than a brother far away, to twist an old proverb.


I explained the situation for my brother already when I met him this spring for our mother's burial. Even so, I got a formal invitation later. I can't say I felt insulted by this, but disappointed, yes. I am used to being believed, these days. I admit that back when he knew me, I would regularly lie to get out of a tight spot. But these days, I rarely deceive others without first deceiving myself. Besides, I lied mostly out of fear. These days I rarely fear anything more than my own heart.

In the same direction, a couple years ago I met my brother in town (he was visiting for some job related conference, I think). As we talked - it had been a long time - he insinuated that he did not believe all of what I wrote in my diary. That it was in part fiction. Well, I can't claim it is all God's own truth. But probably more so than what most people tell themselves in their own heads. We all deceive ourselves to some extent, and there's no helping it. (OK, certain forms of meditation helps, but not immediately.)

I don't write everything that happens, and I do edit out certain things so it is not quite balanced. In general, I edit out most of the details of gross bodily functions, and I don't think the world is a much poorer place for it. (And you can always read Piers Anthony, anyway.) I also tend to edit out anything like prayer, since my religion says prayer is worthless if exposed to the public. (Not that a quick glance at my knees will reveal patches of thickened skin anyway, but I'm not alone when I am alone either.)

What I don't do is fabricate events out of thin air, or add a twist so that I come out on top. If you want fabricated reality, go watch TV.


Confirmation, for those not familiar with the local religion, was originally a ritual where the young person confirmed his or her faith. Due to some theological mix-up, children are usually baptized shortly after birth. In ages gone by, this was supposed to protect them from evil spirits, elves and similar creatures that preyed on those who were outside the church. These days, it is a handy way to keep up the membership statistics of the churches. People stay in the church until they actively leave. But the ritual of confirmation was meant to confirm that they have an idea of what their religion is all about, and still stay in the church.

As the intelligence and education of the youngsters has increased, this obviously would not work anymore. Most young people today are less enamored of the church the more they know about it. So now it has devolved into a hollow ritual that confirms that they are still loved even though they have become teenagers. Older relatives and friends of the family give them expensive gifts, and that's basically it.

I don't think lies grow any prettier by becoming public rituals. A couple generations ago, the confirmants had to solemnly promise to forsake the Devil, the World and the Flesh. At least this has stopped. The next and obvious step would be to fix the wedding rituals, so people promise to love each other until they can't stand it anymore, or death do them part, whichever comes first.

Yes, it is true that I despise rituals, up to and including weddings. When Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a wedding, I sincerely hope that Jewish weddings are much superior to the ones I have attended here. Otherwise, I think I'd prefer to spend eternity playing computer games. (It would probably take a sizable chunk of eternity to explore all of Daggerfall, for instance.)

But I don't make up excuses for staying away. I just use the excuses that already are there, and they better be good ones. So, in conclusion, I plead not guilty. Or at least not very guilty.

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