Dan

Balance

History is full of smart people who believed that the universe, or at least its creator, started out as something fundamentally good. And plenty of smart people still think that, deep down.

Philosophers who discussed the so-called death of god were concerned with what to replace that goodness with, once our assumptions started to shift. That nice, warm certainty of fundamental goodness (even though based purely on instinct, it sure is pleasant to sit in) got replaced by an unknown void. Some thought that atheism meant nihilism; others argued that it meant we could define our own meaning. Like we had been doing all along, anyway.

But when that assumption of goodness falls away, when our gods die and leave us to watch over this world, there is a guilt that fills our hearts. Or at least it sneaks up in mine. A guilt that tells me I’m not good enough, that I’m not doing enough, that I can’t possibly solve all the problems.

We have been led astray by concepts of karma. Ideas of built-in balance. Thinking that we must rise to a certain standard to balance out the evils in the world, yet the only guaranteed balance in the universe is embedded in its laws. Conservation of mass and energy. The arrow of entropy. All else is flux.

We don’t have to let the guilt tell us how we fail to meet some impossible standard.

We don’t have to let assumptions about karma, fate, or faith dictate how we struggle.

I don’t care what you think about what lies outside our universe, an imagined next life. What we do within these ropes of reality, is on us. On me, and on you. But it’s not a pressure that should feed guilt. It should feed our cooperation.

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Jenifer

The End Of BSG very rough first draft

—This essay is about the season finale of Battlestar Galactic; if you haven’t seen it you probably shouldn’t read this.—

The End of BSG

Jenifer R Thompson

The distance between now and then: a millisecond, a heartbeat, a joining of lips, the ten year drive from your childhood home to your child’s home, the cummulation of a weekend TV festival.

On Friday it was decided, on Saturday we drove to the store and purchased it, by Saturday night the deed the done, the momentum moved us forward to the inevitable outcome…the viewing of the long awaited series finale of Battlestar Galatica.

The fact that I had not already seen it was a fluke, a mistake.  We had watched 4.5 each week, voyeuristically living the lives of the cylon war survivors.  I admired Admiral William Adama, how much could that man take; I wondered who was Kara “Starbuck” Thrace; I wavered between outrage and understanding with Gaius.  I was ready in May to find out how it ended but that did not happen.

Months passed and I thought about my fictional friends, people I cried for, laughed with.  I waited for the moment I would know their fates; I felt frustration having to continue on blindly not knowing while others around me did. And finally, this weekend it happened.

We decided, Robert–initiator and partner in the BSG drama–and I that this was it.  We started with the final episode from season 4.0; we ate cheese and drank wine late into Sunday morning revisiting the past of the 12 colonies, until we could watch no more, until our eyes hurt from the strain of hours in front of the TV.  And then with dedication we did it again Sunday night, braving isolation, junk food comas, and nerd-hood just to know; to seek the answers; to see the fates, and they came.

The anticipation high, adrenaline through the roof, tears had all ready flowed and were posed again.  Then an hour into last show, jaw agape during the great battle scene, lines crossed, the beginning of the end and…what?  All the pain and death for a two-minute conversation with Cavil?!? Herra means nothing?  They all walk away from technology?  They choose to mate with the ape people? What?

In that final half hour of the show where we learn about the choices everyone made to end up here on Earth, I was too horrified to reflect but after the popcorn grew stale; once the ice cubes had melted into mineral sludge, I too reflected.

I thought about each moment of the last hour of the final episode, of every pause where once a commercial aired and I said, “Is that it?” only to be more confused when it wasn’t and the episode continued to creep backward toward the primordial sludge, where the one true god planted the cylon/human mystery that really was a big expensive joke on us the viewers.

I thought about all the lives wasted for this end, all the hours in front of the TV and I realized that I too had closed my eyes and ears to the gods. That fateful evening when we were to watch the end of BSG and the cable went down I felt crushing disappointment, but instead of using intellect and my ability to wonder why I was denied, I followed blind emotion: anger, rage; I would see the end.  And when I had to work and forgot to program TIVO I once again did not think why, but let anger, biased bigotry lead me; they, they were determine to stop me.  Who they were was unknown and not important.  I soldiered on occasionally consumed with desire to know, yet content and happy in my own interpretation.  That is right content until this… now…hind site is 20/20 and I realized the gods were speaking to me too.

If I had just walked away; turned my back on technology, on everything that had brought me to that point, I would be moving forward blissfully ignorant and happy in a world of my own making where Kierra is more than a ghost, where Admiral Adama dies proud with his ship, his crew; his son lives on to create a world of learning, of progress; where the Cylons and humans struggle peacefully to create a galaxy together; where Saul Tigh and Ellen drink themselves into oblivion; where the meaning of all the eight-sided papers, books and photos is explained; where Herra is more than a cute, little imp designed only stare, cry or run away; and finally the elusive Daniel, shouldn’t he have been more than just a dialogue segue?  What the frak?

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