Heaven is a place
where nothing ever happens
There’s an Opus comic strip with Opus the penguin sitting in a grassy field while Lola Granola does yoga poses nearby, and the two talk about heaven. According to Lola, everyone goes there. Opus, having clearly seen far too much of what passes for religion in our great American public sphere, incredulously asks about liberals, evolutionists, feminists, ACLU lawyers, Kennedy Democrats, French people, and manly women who don’t shave, receiving a yep for each. At last he asks with Jerry Falwell? and receives another yep. Goodness must he be annoyed, he says, to which Lola replies eternally.
A year or so ago, I was working through a lot of stuff, through, among other means, a lot of really intense personal writing. At one point, digging into the past, I started writing out the names of some people I knew a long time ago...and cursing them...damning them...it was a rush...it was cathartic...it felt good...left me kinda wired, though, incredibly edgy...so I started doing some yoga to try and mellow out...and then, not being the kind of advanced yogi who comes even close to stopping those endless waves the Yoga Sutras talk about from flowing in the brain (full disclosure: I thought up this post while lying in savasana in yoga class earlier today), I started thinking about other stuff...also from the past...times when I was mean...cruel...nasty...one or two incidents when I really should’ve had my ass good and kicked...and, not surprisingly, I started feeling really, really bummed out...seeing myself as every bit as damnable as anybody I’d been writing about...and realized that if you don’t want to hate yourself, you can’t hate anybody else either...it’s as simple as that. Jean Paul Sartre famously wrote Hell is other people, and I won’t try to argue with him (it wouldn’t be fair, anyway, with his advantage in being considerably smarter than I far outmatched by his disadvantage in being a whole hell of a lot more dead). However, thinking of Lola Granola and Jerry Falwell, I might wonder if Hell is, in fact, nothing other than hating other people....