How does one believe in God in a world of austerity gourmet donuts internet porn fascism wage stagnation genocide in Palestine microbreweries the border wall Coachella sales days at the mall 31 reality shows about real housewives mass slaughter in Congo and Sudan slam poetry brand equity dating apps the gig economy crossfit inflation the housing crisis the opioid crisis the climate crisis the economic crisis 45 seasons of survivor smart watches that count steps the COVID pandemic Wikipedia electronic dance music botox critical theory gluten-free bread rentier capitalism AI ultimate fighting social media podcasts derivatives pivoting algorithms and fucking Kyle who lives just down the street?
How does one find one’s way to believing when the great religions of the world, along with all the trending spiritualities, are deeply, continuously, and inextricably linked with all the worst kinds of violence in the world? We are flooded by materiality, virtuality, emotionality, intellectuality, and ever-shifting, co-occuring crisis modalities, at the same time as almost every pre-established avenue to spirituality has plainly demonstrated to the world that their institutions, leaders, and representatives lack all credibility. We are not searching for God. That’s beyond us. We are searching for a way to search for God. We don’t lack faith in God. On that point we are open, perhaps more open than we have been in a long time. We lack faith in the ways to God that are available to us.
Hence, the resurgence of mysticism. But not mysticism as some kind of ethereal piety. Mysticism that senses that even here, even now, in the midst of all this fucking, shitting, snotting, shopping, branding, raping, sharing, liking, medicating, bombing, starving, dispossessing, exploiting, studying, feeling, in the midst of all this everything and nothing, where we are simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed, overstimulated and numbed-out, traumatized and bored, there is something… more. Something we cannot explain, make sense of, or articulate. But it’s… something… and it’s more. It’s there when you’re jacking off to Anal Destruction Cumpilation videos online. It’s there with the Palestinian babies now rotting in bombed-out hospitals. It’s there at the gourmet donut shop. It’s on Instagram and it’s even with the White girls wearing Native headdresses at that music festival. It’s there when you’re wiping shit from your ass. It’s there when you’re reading work emails. It’s in the food-court next to the Walmart at the mall. It has to be.
The something more can only be everywhere. It smells like incense and three days of sex in a roadside motel with someone who isn’t your spouse. It smells like breast milk on the chin of your newborn baby and napalm. It smells like baking with your mom and like wiping dog shit from your shoe. It has to. Otherwise we know we’re not approaching the something more. Give us incense and no sex, breast milk and no napalm, baked goods and no dog shit, and we’re sure that you’re up to the same tricks as the old religions and the trending spiritualities. Our everything contains everything. And also something more.
Because the something more is in the everything it is in the nothing. Because it is in the everywhere it is in the nowhere. To say that the something more is here but not there is foundational to religions and pop spiritualities. We reject that premise. Such views, conducive as they are to the goals of businessmen, priests, social workers, warmongers, gurus, Trumps, and Clintons, are profoundly anti-mystical. Here is not opposed to there. Everywhere is not opposed to nowhere. Everything is not opposed to nothing. They all abide within, because of, in proximity to, the something more. And—to their horror as well as ours, perhaps!—the same is true of businessmen, priests, social workers, warmongers, gurus, Trumps, and Clintons. We all abide the something more. We all abide the everything and nothing. We all abide the everywhere and nowhere.
And the something more abides. The something more is its own abiding. But, and this is the source of the rapturous awe that every mystic experiences, the something more abides intimately. Oh so intimately, right here, right now, closer than with us, larger than within us, the something more is near. Always born just once and only once in each now, always pre-existent, always in the futures we can and cannot anticipate, the intimacy of the something more is the ecstasy of the mystic. In the abiding of the something more there is no distance (which means, also, there is no temporality, which is just another form of distance). Nebulae and and subatomic particles, friends and enemies, fire and water, now and forever, love and hate, help and harm, the sacred and the profane, meaning and meaninglessness, the everything and the everything else, are equidistant from each other, from us, from you, from me, in the abiding nearness of the something more.
This is baffling. Nonsensical. Amoral. Thrilling. Terrifying. Becalming. Infuriating. Chaotic. Religions and pop spiritualities want to solve it. Make sense of it. Make it moral. Reign it in. Enframe it. Systematize it. But us? We just want to experience it. Not be going to a midnight mass. Not by climbing to the mountain top. Not be fasting on a beach in Thailand. Not by flagellating ourselves. Not by wearing crystals. Not by stretching. Not by learning Latin, Sanskrit, Arabic, Tibetan, or English. We want to experience it in a world of austerity gourmet donuts internet porn fascism wage stagnation genocide in Palestine microbreweries the border wall Coachella sales days at the mall 31 reality shows about real housewives mass slaughter in Congo and Sudan slam poetry brand equity dating apps the gig economy crossfit inflation the housing crisis the opioid crisis the climate crisis the economic crisis 45 seasons of survivor smart watches that count steps the COVID pandemic Wikipedia electronic dance music botox critical theory gluten-free bread rentier capitalism AI ultimate fighting social media podcasts derivatives pivoting algorithms and fucking Kyle who lives just down the street.