instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The illusion of your illusion is my reality

Video etc. quotes a National Review article on Philip K. Dick:
His books offer hope, reminding us that, mistake-prone though we are, free will means we have at least the means of making the right decisions. As a character in Palmer Eldritch asks, "Isn't a miserable reality better than the most interesting illusion?"
That's a bit of a poser, isn't it?

On the one hand, we have St. Augustine's well-known observation, "I have had experience with many who wished to deceive, but not one who wished to be deceived."

On the other hand, we have plenty of empirical evidence that suggests many people are more than ready to choose illusion over reality.

Why might reality always be better than illusion? Perhaps because all reality comes from God, and all illusion comes from elsewhere. That makes it always better from God's perspective, but to make it always better from our perspective, we need to make our perspective always be God's perspective.

I can see two ways of attempting that: we can try to annihilate our own will, leaving only the Divine Will; or we can try to align our own will to the Divine Will.

The Christian spiritual tradition includes the language of both annihilation and alignment, though the Third Council of Constantinople makes clear that the theology is properly one of alignment:
And we proclaim equally two natural volitions or wills in [Christ] and two natural principles of action which undergo no division, no change, no partition, no confusion, in accordance with the teaching of the holy fathers. And the two natural wills not in opposition, as the impious heretics said, far from it, but his human will following, and not resisting or struggling, rather in fact subject to his divine and all powerful will.
The plot twist comes when we discover that God loves us. Let me rephrase that:

God loves us!

That means His will for us really is better in every real sense than anything anyone other than God could imagine. Not only are the sufferings of this present time as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us, but the fattest, dumbest, and happiest fantasies of this present time are also as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.

Now, I don't know how you convince someone who doesn't believe God loves him that all that's true, but I am pretty sure that he will at least think the illusion of the glory to be revealed for us is better than his miserable reality.