To answer in brief your question regarding God and the words we use for It, I believe that it has become a word that objectively means nothing and that functionally is fraught with complications. The word God says precious little about what God is or how God works. There is no shared meaning in the word God. People, when they hear it, understand it only in terms of their own imagined God.
I think I may have said “Prove it.” That was the feeling in my chest, a challenge. This was back in late May, 2010. Shortly thereafter the clouds starting showing up and everything started to make sense. My whole life was pulled into new focus and I saw myself a speck and I was alone. Through writing, I found my way out of that despairing smallness, that trapped adrift feeling that I couldn’t find bliss in and that I didn’t want to have to accept as my story. As all of the ideas about and life death and power and fear began to map themselves in my mind, I began to understand that everything I did or did not do, and everything that was done to me, became a part of my story and that the same could be said of the world, this planet, all people, all species. I began to imagine what it might feel like to be the Gulf of Mexico, choked in oil with the pumps grinding away underwater, the sounds splitting the dark. I felt sick and outraged.
I did not have to learn to think in micro/macro/meta. I’d always thought in those terms.
There are drawings from that time that, written around the edges, scrawled and hard-lined precise, feature the words METAANALYTICS and BIG TIME and SENSE.
I understood that it had something to do with the way I think in pictures and with the space between my verbal and spatial intelligence and my memory and the way I experience emotions, as a total affect. I understood it had something to do with my history, the history of my family.
“Is this for real?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think it’s for real.”
“Nah, this shit can’t be for real.”
“Dude, I think this shit is for real.”
See, the world is…blahblahblah…can we have a new word for world already?
…molten core, fragile shell, furry moss and ocean salt stings cuts draws sharks and the sky is yellow in Australia. The mall is hung with wreaths. There is a sign in the window that says CODE PURPLE and the people outside know that it means they’re gonna freeze and their toes might fall off. Get an extra bottle when you go down to the store and take the elevator all the way up to the SkyLight Lounge and rub your hands on all that velvet while a satellite falls out of the sky and the cities burn the cities burn the cities burn…while the grass grows slow and certain, squirrels running on the wires over the picket fences.
That is my new word for world.
My Psychiatric History
I remembered today
that I was not well
though I am well now
I was not well then
“well, well, well…now, then…”
This is the sort of thing
they used to say,
with their fingertips tapping or still like wax and their jaws scraped clean and their shoes always peaking out from their trousers, thin socks covering thin legs upon which thin smiles walked.
They were the doctors.
I was the patient.
They didn’t know me at all.
This is what I thought
as I stared at lamps
and twisted tissues
into small ropes and spirals, a colony of unwound nautilus in my lap, seaweed and docks:
“This fellow doesn’t know anything about me.”
I rowed a boat
from one state to another
and I cut my feet on barnacles.
My blood mixed with the brackish
that was that.
I knew all the names and I knew what they meant. I knew that spartina alterniflora meant something other than juncus roemaerianus.
I knew that the two were different things.
This is an important point.
I knew the way that juncus caught the lines in my fingertips.
I’d licked the salt off the surface more times
than I can remember,
tearing up my tongue.
I knew the way that spartina was sharp and grey in the winter.
It would break where juncus may bend.
It rattles when you walk through it.
And its stalks are furred with mud at the bottom.
When I was small, spartina was as tall as I was and the points poked my eyes.
Then I got bigger and I didn’t get close to the marsh anymore.
The doctors did not know this.
They did not know that I had come from land that was older than old.
They didn’t care.
Such things meant nothing to them.
“How have you been getting along with your family?”
He knew nothing of my family
and what had happened to us all.
We were names on a chart,
a signature on a check.