The Squirrel, the Badger and the Peacock
It was a perfectly pleasant afternoon - at least that is what badger thought.
It is necessary to introduce Badger, whose short name is Badge. Rather a diligent citizen of the wilds, by profession an engineer, he tends to be absorbed if not actually abstracted at times, contemplating the application of those inward yens and abilities so liberally endowed.
That happened, at this time, to be his occupation, indeed to a certain extent, his preoccupation, when the squirrel arrived en scềne. Chattering away, he tended to irritate Badge, one of whose less delightful features was his dislike of sharing focus with fashion. Squirrel, his short name Squire, did not, for his own part, like delay, tending to pause for one second on profound occasions for extra consideration, and was not attracted to Badge's slowness in coming to attention to his presence. Social as Badge was, his concern was mainly for his kind, and though liking to be amiable, he had to try hard.
I said, What program are you contemplating ? declared Squire, a trifle irritably, especially since in fact he had merely been thinking of saying that, and wished that Badge had noticed his arrival. Not that Squire was altogether super-sensitive, but he found himself readily dismissed by more portentous seeming creatures, and sought to compensate by a certain weightiness, which - since he was in fact rather light in appearance and his swiftness seemed to make him yet lighter - tended at times to appear ludicrous.
Yet he was likable enough, in his own way, and without malice.
Program ? replied Badge after a disengagement scenario had been fulfilled in the interstices of his pondering.
Squire could see without much more ado, that the name of the mood was irritable, so he eschewed further loftiness, the more apt since he was not only light but short, and sought to be friendly, even empathetic. That too, it took effort, since empathy was not his long suit, which was a matter of the constant drive to arrive where nuts were and with them, where they should be, and other profound occupations.
You know, he pursued, your internal, largely automatic, programmatic penchants which you follow with such admirable éclat and application.
Penchants ? programs ? responded Badge... Oh, you mean my engineering practice and my survey techniques!
Well, replied Squire, do you really work out the advanced mathematical equations and prepare pads on the hydraulics associated with your engineering projects, and have your underwater abodes been surveyed in imaginative physical conceptualisation before you perform them ? Come now, let us be frank here!
Frank ? rattled Badge,
for his teeth, so used to their adroit behaviour at the external surfaces of trees, had a tendency at times to automate as if a problem required their motion.
Do you have to tag onto the key or last word of everything I say ? asked Squire.
But of this, he immediately repented, for it was distinctly and decidedly not a social response.
I mean, he added quickly, DO you have tertiary mathematics at your disposal ?
Badge was about to make response with - Disposal ? when he suddenly realised that his joie de vivre was on the wane to a difficult degree, and that this would be inept.
Instead, he faced Squire precisely, after the manner of some new engineering project, eyes him with that savvy estimating look which he could so readily wear, and declared,
You know, Squire, you are awfully intrusive into
the inward depths of a creature's psychology,
aren't you ? Do you find it so interesting ?
Perhaps, yes possibly, said Squire,
who was beginning to enjoy the pseudo-sophistication of his new position as interlocutor, and almost thought it might be a good social pose. Yet his interest was roused, so he added,
Yes I am, because, you know Badge, it is awfully interesting.
He was distantly aware that he was using the some adjective as Badge had just used, but thought that he would leave it, without adjustment, since after all it was a sort of initial common bond between them.
Well, said Badge,
relenting from his preoccupations, since this seemed rather an interesting occupation, and you can have too much preoccupation, and a tea-break or two could have some place in a day,
It is true that I have not actually attended such
an institution of higher learning as that to which you
and this form of phrasing had real appeal at that moment, since its slightly stuffy and almost stultifying aspect seemed rather tertiary, even if he had not sat through tertiary mathematics, far less passed it.
Quite! said Squire,
feeling that the unravelling of this puzzle would be so interesting, that a neutral sounding response would be apt. Besides, old Badge was not easy to involve in rumination.
You know, continued Badge,
even though of course what he was about to say was precisely what Squire did not and would not know, being Squire and not Badge, but he continued valiantly,
it is arresting that. Why ? It is because when I was estimating, in my own way, you see, the size of timber needed for this dam I'm building, and considering the angles of the input, and the geometry of the whole contrivance, the thought did enter my mind that there was, well, a certain lift to be ideas, a sort of fluid and you could almost say, automated esprit, as if the wind were in my sails.
Naturally, rejoined Squire. Without mathematics, how COULD you do such things, unless somebody with it had implanted such ideas into your mind, so that this delicious combination of program and - you know the word we use, ectype, your own essential created SORT of capacity, individualised of course Badge in your case, could occur.
It is so, solemnly declared Badge,
for he was a reasonable animal, and in this was a step apart from large sections of the human race, whose dams though admittedly far more technical in human conception than his in his own animal mind, were scarcely as economical of resources, and after all, only did what their job was, as his did the work he craved for himself and his family.
That means, said Squire, that someone with mind enough for mathematics MUST have made the programs which you ... he harrumphed here as he sought to be courteous, suaviter in modo, fortiter in rem, as they say.
Of course, pursued Badge, which are activated in me, yes.
Anyone can know that! he cast a sharp eye upward, as he often did.
You only have to think of the collocation of capacities in the terms of their functional capacities, and realise that half-programs are not only dysfunctional but lacking in the conceptual milieu and perspective required, so that there is nowhere for them to come from or to which to go, like bug-ridden junk, and that much is clear. It is not just that concepts are not performances, and programs are not happenings, being orders in symbols, but that the whole realm of concept, as you learn in tertiary mathematics, has rules and modes and forms and functions of its own, to which you must most scrupulously adhere at all times.
It is a little world of its own, and the physical is another, and their interface is a most ingenious thing.
Tell me more, said Squire,
who had already built up such a pile of nuts that he felt expansive in the morning sunlight.
Well, I cannot really do so, said Badge, unless we clear something up.
What is that ? asked Squire.
Let’s address that tomorrow, said Badge.
They all agreed.
There was something to clear up, said Squire. Could you elucidate ?
Ah yes, said Badge.
A feeling of social quiescence suffused him, so he proceeded.
Well really, Squire, mused Badge, becoming more chummy, I do not quite see how I as a Badger, when you come up to it (down to it, did not, somehow seem quite the right word), can be talking in logical categories at all. I HAVE them, and that is how it works in practice of course, but I do not consciously contemplate in this genre, which is for humans.
Of course BADGERS, do not, was Squire's repartee, but YOU DO!
This, though flattering, was in some ways a sort of severance from his species, of which he was very, if not inordinately fond, so that Badge waited a while before responding to the complex verbal situation now developing.
Well, he said, I might as well be frank.
Why not ? asked Squire, you are not an enquiry member on some Board of Review of the commencement of war against Iraq, or anything like that, are you ! There is no need for excessive protocol, no one is going to be hurt.
Then, said Badge, roundly, we are both only characters in somebody else's script.
Oh no! surely, said Squire, for actually he is just watching us.
Watching! oh dear, said Badge,
and thwacked his tail in consternation, so that all the other badgers could hear it on the surface of the water, and be warned of danger at hand, or at tail.
No, I am speaking only metaphorically, pursued Squire.
Look, what does it matter ? It is better to be animated verbal cartoons ...
Cartoons! exploded Badge. I am no cartoon or part thereof, I can assure you.
He did tend to be weighty, like his tail.
Well, admitted Squire, let us simply say that we
have these abilities just now,
and are enjoying them, and let us make our own script.
Do you think we should ? asked Badge.
Yes, if we can, replied Squire.
We must be able to, or else we would not be doing it at all! reasonably responded Badge.
Quite so! said Squire. Now down to the ditty.
Just then Peacock arrived, and thereby hangs a tale.
I heard that! screeched Peacock,
who really would have outdone all the female
(males do NOT screech at tennis matches on TV, they moan, groan or grunt in the main, when so taken with the sound effect situation),
even the most recent.
You must not interact with the author! said Squire,
who had, along with all his semi-automatic programs, a keen sense of the social, another realm of its own, with its own parameters and proprieties, meanings and methods of conveying them incidentally.
Why not ? asked Peacock
who, you have guessed it,
had such a sense of ... impact, that his friends cam to expect a measure of
arrival, when he came, like a wind when it hits the coast from some distant
from which it has duly travelled.
It is too complicated! said Badge.
Complicated ? queried Squire.
Let us not go through that again! grunted Badge, this repetitious sounding of my last word.
Why not ? asked, or rather was about to ask Squire, but he forbore, so that the words came out in a garbled sort of way, and sounded like, Whine!
Wine ? have you been drinking ? scorchingly suggested Badge.
Drinking ? oh, well, ah, no, I have not, said Squire.
Look! said Peacock,
whose short name was Peak, sensing some sort of slight social trouble, let us be friendly now, chaps.
How do you like my tail ?
It was a marvellous opportunity to be socially
adroit and to create some sensation, all at once. He did
not fail to deploy it.
He paraded about in a way which, while not exactly that of a mannequin, had such a resemblance in a kind of studied demeanour, that they all laughed, and even peacock, who was very sensitive to the atmosphere of reception, when he paraded, sniggered a little too, but since he was a peacock, this sounded rather like someone with a particularly bad cold, clearing his throat.
It is undeniably a thing of beauty, filled with ornament, fabulous in design, intricate in workmanship, elegant in style, fascinating in coloration, brilliant in architecture, delicious in engineering ...
Here Badge, who had been rather patient,
How do you mean 'delicious' ? he asked. You do not eat engineering, for this is a dignified profession which enables me and my kind to live in situations which otherwise might be disadvantageous, and our whole role is most carefully thought out.
Did YOU think it out ? asked Peacock.
Of course not! said Badge,
who was really quite a religious kind of chap, and not all accustomed to suppressing evidence, and had HE been on a Parliamentary Committee, facts would have flown about like disturbed fowls when one enters their cage.
It was given, provided, imparted, presented, indicated, indexed, endemic, instituted for me, in full, and none of my ancestors ever had less, though some of them were FAR larger than I am .
Quiet! said Peacock,
who had just that little tendency to admire what he occasionally though of as in some ways, his OWN work, and hence sounded here just a trifle brittle, if not touchy, though the latter would be a slightly harsh rendering of his rendition.
He felt this was quite clever, since spelling does not appear in the conversation, and was just snuggling down into a sense of his social adroitness, that is, for example, his capacity to say one thing and mean another, or in this case, to say one thing and spell it differently in his own mind than the way he knew others would in theirs, when an abrupt query came from Badge.
To be frank, said he,
and Squire squirmed at the literary fashion which bit the dust in this earthy repetition of earlier adjectives,
DO YOU ... ah, sort of sit down and work out this most exquisite geometry in your ... ah ... (tail ? he thought ... tale ? for it is a sort of tale of wonder ? he pondered a verbal play here, but thought, on the whole, it could distract, and so abandoned it reluctantly, for he meant well, did our religious badger) fascinating posterior appendage, he continued.
Not at all! said Peak,
whose honesty tended to limit his slight vanity rather admirably. I never did a thing. I inherited it, and there was no income tax.
Of course not! said Badger,
who shrank in his beautiful fur coat, which being flexible, was not much distorted by the process. What a cost THAT would be! he thought, and was so pleased that badgers did not HAVE income tax, from coat to throat, it was all provided by the Creator, and that was that.
In fact, said Peak, I even arrived on this terrestrial format, with MY format intact. You do not find partial peacock extravaganzas do you ? How would you ? What sort of a program can stand endless bugs, and what sort arrives without them, and in any case, what commands does matter make, for it does not even chatter, far less talk intelligently, as YOU do! he addressed Squire.
In fact, he had realised that Squire might have taken amiss the term 'chatter' since he really did seem to do this in a rather preoccupied sort of way, not seldom, and could quite well have been sensitive to any sense of a sly dig.
The friends regrouped, socially and mentally. Badge recalled the turn of events. The others were considering the words of Peak. There had been a slight hiatus.
Badge was at this beginning to wonder whether such sort of talk was suitable for a Peacock, but decided on introspection, inspection and with all due correction, that Peak was not Peacock, and that really he was his own ... man ? he queried ... why imitate the solipsistic preoccupations of philosophising pedants amongst men, he thought. Your own man! how ridiculous. How COULD you be your own man when you came without an application form to fill out, without any boxes where you could indicate what qualities you wanted, and were brought into the world with parents you did not chose, in an environment not of your asking, and then were intruded upon by all sorts of social sequels and snares and so forth ...
for he was inclined to become abstracted and temporarily forgot the social scene, and in any case, thought, or something closely akin to it, can move very fast even in badgers...
Yet! he thought, they have wills and rational overview capacities, so that they can at least review the intrusions, the profusions and the possibilities, thinking about their case, with that marvellous thing called wonder, usually squandered in cultural clichés and empty theories, which amount to rather less than nothing, since they obstruct thought and replace it in no small degree.
He decided, after a pondering instant or two, that Peak could talk that way, if he were able, and since he could not if he were not, he might as well continue: it was just ... well, there were stylistic questions. However, being a pleasant chap, he did not pursue these. After all, what DID Peak want to say.
Peak had noticed this slight abstraction, and smiled inwardly, for if his tendency to vanity was well enough known, so was Badge's to abstraction. What could you expect of an engineer ?
You know, chaps, he declared,
for he really liked this social grouping, the chaps seeming so realistic on the one hand, ready to chat, and yet not emptily, and his heart warmed; for it is so difficult when one's particular features are held in contemptuous and often caricaturing review.
You know, he said,
repeating a little, but in good company this is no crime,
if there is one thing which we peacocks eschew (well Howard used that word recently in a political broadcast, so why not a peacock), it is that sort of vanity which imagines that we make ourselves, in bits, when we are not there to do it, which really is quite ridiculous, or are being bit by bit put together, as if that were the way of it, which is more so, since no bits have a bit of knowledge about programming anyway, nor does any bit of me even now, since to BE programmed is wholly different (ask any computer programmer) than to MAKE programs...
He felt suddenly rather lost. In his aside, which in a play could have been a dramatic aside, a realised wink at the audience or the like, he had become a little carried away. What was he saying ? He examined the script - in this sort of peacock, they have access to it, this being programmed in the imaginary peacock, as are other things in the actual one, just as a caution, to undisciplined thought, in order to make one think!
He comprehended where he was, and continued.
We eschew it, I say, he declared,
seeing the apt mode of continuation,
because WE are not in the least deceived by this noxious parasite to thought, organic evolution, which would make the VICTORY of being whatever you are, in some way the work of yourself, your ancestors or other non-programmatic producers.
Well said! said Badge,
whose understanding had already grasped this fact so well, but in approbation he realised, when about to thwack his tail merely in emphasis on the nearby water, that he would have to find another way.
It was not programmed, so he thought about programs, and about what you are supposed to be able to do without programs, and then considered what he was without a program, and felt that on the whole he was a badger WITH programs, and this led to the point that he would use his intelligence, and that to the point that to do this, you have to be programmed to be able to think, and that to the point that since he could, this too must have been programmed, and this was about to jolt him with the consideration that this did not mean he could not do it, since a program might provide not only the way to do a thing, but the environment in which a conferred intelligence could activate a program at will, in order to make an application, and if this were not so, where would individuality be, even among beavers.
When he had finished doing this, Peak was careful not to smile, for although he was of course unable to share Badge's thought, no crafted means of doing this having been provided with the equipment when he was born with it, he was able to see that thought of some kind was occurring inside the endemic whole of Badge, and that he MIGHT, just might be sensitive if one were to refer too openly to this.
Unsmiling, then, Peak concurred with Badge concurrence, in a sort of double stream of concurrence, which was very pleasant and enjoyed by all.
Isn't Psalm 100 wisely expressive! unexpectedly mused Badge,
slightly embarrassed, but feeling that on the whole this testimony was needed, and so saying it in any case.
Yes, said Peak,
whose upbringing had included a tithe of religion at Peak's Primary School, incorporated, earlier in his days.
Yes, it is.
Encouraged, Badge decided it would be good to indicate some of its contents, and being an animal of action and resolve, not some social whimp or wiley wistp whose religion was skin-deep, he proceeded.
Look at this! he said,
obviously being metaphorical about the looking, since it was really a matter of hearing, yet if one were to say, Hear this! it might have sounded unduly ... well, prophetic, so he stuck to 'look' anyway, feeling that the idiomatic contrivances which are selectable socially, would cover the case in terms of any necessary comprehension, while reflecting meanwhile, since he was rather given to reflection, that comprehension itself is an invented thing, requiring endless seeming parameters, activations of provided potentials, a realm of understanding with the vocabulary of the apposite, the perception of the case and the communication modes within and without, to make it functional in its own sphere, so that one could use it.
He was in fact, just about to reflect further, that the inventing thing was also a stage for invention by the one whose it was, within it, since one could utilise the structure of thought it presented, in diverting or converting it to something else with intentional relevance or lack of it, and, further, that this was a fabulous functionality in itself, and not without ground and reason for its existence, both the instrumentality and the agent, and that with all the other spheres of thought and action and their interaction and interfaces, there were whorls, or spiralling responders and response provisions, organised and arranged like the shape of nebulae, but with untold additives of intelligence activation, and spiritual access, and was proceeding to think about the nature of the Instituting Power, who would of course be most specialised in all of this, when he realised, since Badge for all his inward proclivities, WAS sensitive to society, when he was not too abstracted to be so ... he suddenly became aware, then, that there was silence without.
Peak was looking as if in a slight preoccupation at the ground, really a social device to prevent Badge from being too embarrassed, and Squire, with all the manners of his ancestors, was repressing an intense desire to chatter and chomp, lest it would attract attention to Badge's slight, well delay, when Badge in a sweep of comprehension saw all, or at least, was beginning to rove contentedly in the realities so often meretriciously dismissed, enchanted by their profundity and clarity.
Ah yes, he said,
a little ponderously, for this suited the delay, as well as being possibly proper for such a subject, in that weighing is apt when something is weighty, yes, yes, Psalm 100.
"Know that the LORD, He is God.
It is He who has made us, and not ourselves:
We are His people, and the sheep of His posture.
"Enter into His courts with praise,
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good,
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations."
That's it, he said.
Look at it. We praise God for His victory, first, in making us at all, you know: for it is no good being lazy. Secondly, in making us so that we can delight in the pure … or what ought to be pure … felicity of discovering the subtle interfaces and sometimes gross chasms between thought and action, will and thought, understanding and will, spirit and matter, mind and wisdom, grace and gumption, grit and obstinacy, love and lust, friendship and convenience, discursive thought and aggravation of rebelliousness, brilliance and madness, scope of spiritual adoration and mismatches leading to delusion, liberty and spiritual grossness …
Now if there is one thing that Squire could have learned more about, it was self-control. It was not that he was particularly insensitive, but that his programmatic perquisite of incessant seeming action and activity, on a more superficial scale than that of Badge's blessing, it was just ... well, that he tended to DO THINGS.
Thus in a rush of words, he cried,
That is NOT all!
I beg your pardon ? exclaimed Badge,
but without any ill-feeling, for he was underneath, a pleasant creature.
He did not really mean to beg pardon for anything, for what had he done wrong, but this convention was in vogue, so he said it, knowing that its virtual inanity would not prevent its being understood.
Here Peak was a little carried away, but in view of the good feeling believed he could risk a pleasantry, and rasped, It is not you but Squire who should be begging anyone's pardon, isn't it, eh? and he winked.
Peacocks have rather large and luminous eyes, so he could do this with some effect.
Squire giggled. It must be said that though such an action might seem demeaning to some, when adult, especially when male perhaps, lacking in some measure of dignity, with Squire one rather expected electric sorts of things, so no one took offence, and all laughed.
I just meant, said Squire,
who was perhaps just a tad proud of his biblical knowledge, having gone to Church as well as Sunday School, for one whole year, earlier in his life,
that you left out the first part, you know... of that Psalm.
Here he intentionally and perhaps even advisedly left a gap, so that Peak could show that he really knew that the first two verses had been left out, so making it clear that he had merely selected without saying so, something so many humans do when deciding whether or not to OBEY some part of what is in the Bible, quite apart from the VICTORY of DOING so, if they know Christ in His life, and so CAN, leaving nothing as unimportant, but seizing the spiritual thrust as well.
"Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!" he proceeded, quoting happily.
"Serve the LORD with gladness,
Come before His presence with singing."
just wanted to select the bit that was pertinent to the point I was wishing to
make, that's all,
he explained, as he set himself to the task. Badgers are VERY persistent!
You see, in that section I cited, there is such a delicacy of realism, for it brings out the idea of SERVING God, and even if worship is a sort of service, it is not the end of the matter, for as you know, the ‘service’ of the Messiah, God Himself the exemplar when as the Word – eternal and integral manifestation of the living God, He came to earth, HIS chief service, as you read in Matthew 28:20, was not to conduct a Divine Service as we sometimes call it.
It was to act as a sacrifice. Now you COULD call that a form of service, but it was scarcely a usual liturgical exercise, for it involved His purity in life, beforehand, His power in performance as attestation of being truly that Lamb without spot or blemish that was needed to cover, and not merely be involved in sin, His crucifixion within, before that without, so that He would be WILLING to suffer spiritually in this ennobling way, which however was as low as beneath the earth in some new Dead Sea of utter horror and misery, making the very interface with the sin of man, horrendous beyond comprehension.
This service, when you add it up, and add the little fillip that His eternal purity AS CREATOR was about to be attacked as by a swarm of poisonous wasps – you know, that dreadful European sort, fatal readily enough, and with Him, these things WERE fatal – and that He had to be willing to do that, or else sin would have ruined Him even there, from any relationship to His task.
You see, HE had that service, and we have ours, not so noble, but still, it can have the flair of His spiritual beauty favour it – look at Stephen, consider Paul, regard Peter, watch Daniel – and filled with the goodness of God from His own Spirit, in the name of Christ we can … well, smiled Badger, build our damns, select our trees, make our quiet waterways and simply discarding sin into His very capable but grossly marred hands, live industriously in the light and life of His victory… which is a living victory, since He is very much alive.
A pall of patient wonder began to fall over the little group. But Badger was not quite finished. Sin is squeezed out like His blood, surrounded as He was by the squadrons of malign priests, cleansed out by the restoration and relief inherent in forgiveness, ditched by the designs of wonder, that real space in which we can delight to rove, the relish of the Designer Himself within, our true approach to life that is significant …
Of course, of course, said Peak,
and at this, amazingly, he erected his imaginatively brilliant tail, as startling in its coloration conspectus as in its architectural majesty, and really, with his little crown of feathers on his head, he looked a king of colour, a prince of geometry, a father of fashion...
But I am not! he exclaimed.
Not what ? asked the others.
Not a father of fashion! of course, he screeched.
Father of ...
but then Squire realised that last
word tag syndrome, and its unpopularity on campus,
and discontinued his remarks.
Oh that! said Peak, true to my shortened name, I was just peaking at what the author was saying.
At this, there was an element of consternation in the ranks, since they felt that, really, where would they be without the author, but on the other hand, they realised there was no small measure of independence in their existence, and that in a sense, he was watching them and narrating their antics; so that this dimmed into the common light of day, the shades of the prison house receding, to use some of Wordsworth, and they continued unfazed, unabashed and unsubdued, which is really what a creator should desire, and our Creator does desire of us, in this, that we are not to imagine that because we have so much brilliantly, even extravagantly programmed testimony to His astounding inventiveness, that our own response, reasoning and concern is irrelevant.
Quite to the contrary, it is crucial that we BE the persons which
the physical architecture, the mental proclivities, the electric capacities, the neuronic (not neurotic, that is an additive from our capacities to use our stuff, which while most popular, is not proper, being merely intrusive) susceptibilities, the imaginative phases of our spirits and the willing enduements of our thoughts, and all the rest,
We will naturally be judged for such use of such equipment as this, when no one of us, seeing so much as a sandal, would for one moment think that its clean surfaces, its new soles, its charming buckle, its style and its design invented itself, since simple though this footwear is, it is capable of being compared with better and other sandals, each one a specimen and attestation of its designer, if not also the manufacturing processes which somehow or other must have been utilised, and is specific to need.
Winsome folly of mind is not wisdom.
Wisdom ? and here we leave our pleasant
assemblage of fellow creatures - for all are created:
Wisdom is not excluded from realising the components and the minimal causation required. Thus in our universe, there is not merely brilliance and beauty, form and order, organisation and wonder, there are not only realms of thought and symbol, matter and its silent chatter, servants but not servile, there is also hatred and antipathy, even of the Maker, to the point, that like some relative undesired, he is either never mentioned, or when spoken of, poked into some hole which is neither available or rational, so making a sort of crucifixion mode all over again. Crucifixion being neither merely with nails, but in the heart, like murder and lust, it does not always express itself in words, and in the mad rush of human passion, it is not even always recognised for what it is. Peak knew this and ...
Oh let me just add this! exclaimed Peak,
who has, you know, just this little tendency to peak into what one is writing ... oh well ?
Yes, I responded.
He is, Peak, you know, so utterly beautiful, that even the most refined philosophers would be needed to do justice to the grounds of his fame, and then fail, so that no other bird needed any small part of such finery for any assignable purpose, the real purpose being that of the Creator...
Something suddenly seemed to cast a slight shadow over the woods, and the friends dispersed quietly, tea break quite over. However one remained.
How quickly we were left in solitude! Recalling my thought, I was about to proceed.
I was just going to say, interrupted Peak.
Amiable, you know, he was not put out by this - for him - aside.
Yes, I flowed on in his obvious desire.
That ... he said, rasping slightly,
but then, one must make allowances for birds,
since after all, many humans do much worse than this.
He had noticed my musing, so opening the ear obviously, I listened.
To say that, he continued,
but since a rasped harrumph is not really readily possible, he declined to use one here..
That ? I queried, I thought pleasantly.
That it is all a parable.
Surely not all ? I asked.
Not in a literal sense, he responded,
just in that idiomatic sense of being large in the picture.
What picture was that ? I asked,
smiling slightly, and trying to prevent this amiable feeling from being misinterpreted as slightly patronising, a danger in the 'slightly' part of it.
This he said. You see all this creation has not only its marvels, but its judgments from God, His curse, and His teaching with it, so that what He has done, He uses to make His point, do you see ?
I agree! I replied,
glad to be able to use this phrasing of one of my better Headmaster of the past.
It is not only the curse on the follies of that human race -
he shrugged and pointed out in the direction of the Middle East, I thought, but he could have meant beyond, Europe and all that.
No ? I queried.
It is not only the judgments which, if not altogether what they are going to be, in all justice to all, are yet apparent on this natural habitat. It is the USE of these to alert people, you know, humans, he said ...
Yes ? I responded happily.
He, God, our Creator, uses them to teach, so that they become not only censures but lectures, and there are parables mixed so intimately that it makes me smile, because, you see, as a Peak rather than an actual peacock...
Oh come! I cried,
feeling he should not be untrue to his unnatural, invented kind.
Well, he twittered -
you might not think he COULD do that, but he did, showing how remarkable are the things we can do when we truly live, and do not merely conform to culture and custom -
well, I feel I can speak freely here, so I will. You see, these censures and judgments, and indeed this curse on the magnificent, the architecturally incandescently splendid creation, the inordinately and decisively overwhelming attestation of its Creator obvious, for you do not get figs from star thistles, as Christ pointed out, just a matter of fact about origins...
What about this curse ? I asked.
It is judicial, it is didactic, it speaks in terms of what is due, but also of what is true.
In what way is that ? I queried.
He USES the judgment to MAKE a point,
|whether of WHY Nineveh fell, as in Nahum,|
|or WHY Babylon did, as in Isaiah,|
|or WHY Judah had its 70 year exile, as in Jeremiah,|
|or of why pride comes before a fall,|
|or why godlessness if not only undutiful, but, well, as harsh as my screech, an invasion of the very air of reason.|
Peak smiled self-deprecatingly, at this, which I rather admired. It is good to know your own weaknesses, but better, I was about to think, to remedy them, when I decided not to pursue that thought, since Peak has, you see, this tendency, some might say, unfortunate tendency, to peak at what I am writing ... and saying it is even more direct than writing it.
The Creator similarly uses, he pursued the program in view,
curse or judgment, deviation from good, resultants of sin imprinted with judgment already, to make points. Go to the ant, you sluggard! You know that verse ?
Yes, I responded.
Well, the fox teaches us of cunning and wiles, the ant that uses aphids for its food, tying them up, of cruelty and exploitation, the peacock of the unfittingness of beauty and vulgarity, you know, my screech and my tail, so vastly different in finesse! He rebukes our sin in the very mode of judgment on sin, in subduing the beauty and wisdom of creation in itself, to a new task AS WELL. That is, to TEACH us by the defilement of nature, of our own fall, in our own natures, and to to show the lack of glow in ourselves by the fallen character of our environment outside ourselves, since we can be so hideously obtuse, on which He has placed His curse.
It is all mercy! I replied, that He should still TEACH us by His word and His ways, concerning the nature and errors of our own sins, in the very act of the judgment which is the curse on creation. Paul has it, in Romans 8:18ff.:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
"For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs
together until now.
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption,
the redemption of our body.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope;
for why does one still hope for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.
For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought,
but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is,
because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
Peak seemed to disappear, so I proceeded as if in his absence; but then, with him, he has this sometimes almost distressing habit of ... peaking.
There you see the obvious, as it is in one way. One God (SMR Ch. 1) has made one universe, including one race of men, to whom is given one image of God, so that they might rove, reason and enquire, love or hate Him - since you cannot love without being free to do something else instead - with one power of logic, since you cannot reason against it except with it, and one concatenation of interfaces, so that the actual and the inward agree to perfection, but ONLY if you use them in the presence and propositional presence indeed, of God (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 5, 10).
He has made one way in which you can use your will amiss, in one set of parameters, which do not unmake you, merely your competence and contentment, and in this, He has set a word for you, so that you can find the endemic disaster written in you and scripted since man first used his will amiss in rebellion against goodness, in the interests of thrill and elevation, as if being in the image of God in some way removed the very created status.
He has given the Christ for you, so that you have only one Messiah, one deliverer, one Saviour, and there has never been any other, who knowing your position, has the purity and love, the power and the mercy, the articulation and the logic, the desire and the history in which to remedy it.
He has with all this, gained one VICTORY for the creation, granting with it eternal life for man, but only by faith, which is the one way to find Him, since disbelief in practical terms, in utter inanity, was what started it all.
|In the meantime,
He has in a crucial sense, benevolently cursed creation.
That is, while any application of judgment might not SEEM benevolent,
yet when it deserves total ruin and is not given this, it is merciful.
there is remedy provided in the very midst and face of total desert of utter
this is more so.
|Thirdly, when this
involves the Creator Himself coming to do it,
this is amazingly merciful, not to say, humble.
|Fourthly, when He
suffers mockery from riotous hearts and mouths, for His pains,
this is love itself, complete and replete with mercy.
|When, further He
suffers agony in bearing pain for sin, vicariously,
this is more marvellous yet in mercy.
|When sixthly, He
bears separation, as the eternal and living expression of God, His word,
from His own Father, so that man, who deserves and HAS ALREADY OBTAINED THIS,
might be freed from it, so that his life should be returnable to Sender, and thus restored,
in death: this is magnificent mercy.
Yet there is more. Even in CONVEYING the curse, to which in all justice He conveyed Himself as victim, to clear the books and not allow creation anything approaching sleaziness, He made it speak. History is replete with His word TEACHING us not only what WAS WRONG, but what was right; not only that it was wrong, but what was needed to rectify it, in HIS presence. Then He provided the path, and was it (John 14:6).
What then ? Nature is replete with a didactic curse, a teaching curse, as in the episode of the plagues of Egypt, when quite and perfectly explicitly, He made the very creatures used in the Egyptian religion, for false worship, to BE A PLAGUE to them, selecting each with delicious irony. Accordingly, what is hideous in man, God can mimic in nature.
We see ourselves in a mirror, so often, and with such subtlety, that it is in itself all but enough to drive a man in desperation to the salvation in God, to escape this divine irony, this lampooning which is so just, that like a cartoon, it speaks volumes in a little!
Where then is the victory for man ? It is in not TRYING to make it himself. How COULD you gain the victory when it is your own nature which has suffered defeat. It is lost. It is without God, for all who enter this world as babes (Psalm 51). Man has passed on all too well his rough-cast sin from generation to generation (Romans 5:17). The God who made can remake, and there is the VICTORY, that His own actions have cleared the mess, on the Cross, as also the way back to Himself, by its adequacy and His own breach of death, that ultimate and most horrible penalty of sin. In this, in His words and then His consummate deeds, He has shown in advance that He means business not only in providing pardon, but just as much in restoring life eternal in this and the next world, in the presence of this platform of temporary history, and thereafter in His own immediate presence (of which we have had a foretaste in Christ Jesus and His ways on this earth!).
Victory for man is the reception of the conquering General's victory, and there is no other. Scurrying, hurrying, flurrying, worrying, burrowing, harrowing man continues his wars, their greed, pomp, pride, cruelty, lust, ambition, delusions; and millions screech, if not outwardly, then inwardly, in ways worse than Peak's.
There is NO VICTORY there.
Nor is there
victory, in what is predicted for the next phase,
the ultimate expression of evil, the devil's messiah, yet to come:
here there is to be a special delusion, so that while having at first,
a peaceable composition, like a sensitive social caste,
people find it becomes martial and mandatory, demanding:
you cannot do this or that, especially in the realm of religion,
so that no one will be offended by this and that,
until it then becomes apparent
that the power SAYING ALL THIS, BINDING YOUR LIBERTY IN ALL THIS,
is itself the actual power.
becomes the acme of compulsion,
to make mockery of man,
as man did of God!
It is only then that it manifests (as normal in all human delusion, deception and manipulation) its own authority, worse than war, devious, directive, taking freedom not only from Europe, but through this, from the world altogether, the ultimate Hitler for which no USA will help Britain bring deliverance. Then to look ? where is there to look ? There is only the Lord. There always has been, but the opportunity is already millenia old. The tale is nearly told (cf. Isaiah 45:22-23, 51:6, Matthew 24:8,14,22).
It is hard for man to realise that in himself, there is no victory, no can be, since measuring himself by himself, in the absence of his Creator, he is a mere wind of meaningless profusion, truth is absent, and no way to it is present, so that worshipping himself inanely, he commits the final Hitleresque conquest, in himself, his 'representative',
who with ludicrous lordliness will make appeal to himself,
who being but a creature, yet acts in appalling ignorance, as if he were god.
Man thus is so defeated in this political and academic war on truth for convenience and survival, not to say the same relish as at the first, 'to be like God', that he makes himself a slave, to himself. It is here that II Thessalonians 2 comes into force, as it has already been approximated often enough, and a human being, considering himself the very quintessence of all things, parades, proud as a peacock, "SHOWING HIMSELF THAT HE IS GOD." \
That sort of thing ... I was about to proceed, when suddenly I realised I was not entirely alone.
Hey, listen, said Peak.
Yes, I know, I said. That is a 'peacock', not Peak.
Point taken, he said.
I then continued, and what a brilliant display of ingenious design Peak provided as I did so, like a virtuous floor show, without folly.
The grandeur and the grating! How sad it is, what grief to see our race sink below the surface, when even the natural creation is iridescent with its own glories. But what of this devil's messiah, to which the world is moving so fast with its retreat from singular terrorism ? What of that abasement to come ?
Just so does mockery, feed and breed mockery, and having mocked God, those who remain recalcitrant to the last, fascinated by God's fabrications to the point of worshipping them, as they did also from the first (cf. Romans 1:21ff.), proceed on that ancient and yet most modern course, so that they proceed in parallel to the former things when "professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," and worse "they worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever."
But this stage, as for a beast at the abattoir, there is no more room to play.
The love of God has provided liberty, and salvation. They need to go in one pair!