Praying for a Purposeful Cacophony
She has a way of deconstructing a concept to an amazing degree. I make sure to read her blog most of the time, if for no other reason than to bathe myself in the electricity of our polar opposition on karma, coincidence, synchronicity, and the physics of it all. (I would comment as such on her blog if there was a way. She doesn't even list an email address. HEY, I know, I'll write a post on my blog linking back to hers and she'll comment here! I'm a genius!)
My point about our divergent views is that, despite such, I find that Omni very thoughtfully dissects her subjects. This particular post of hers pretty boldly maps out the reasoning for the admonishment: "Be careful what you wish for...."
Just yesterday (coincidence, Omni?!) I landed on this story by Mark Twain, which on the surface is a pretty solid indictment of the "God-is-on-our-side" crowd:
A town about to go to war prays for the safe return of it's soldier sons. A wise looking man interrupts the proceedings:
"Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not.... If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time."
Careful what you wish for. If you look at how Omni laid out the details, really the only thing you can do to achieve the desired outcome is to work for it every day. I don't mean this in a self-help-book manner, I'm not about that kind of nonsense. But solving one problem via a wish, merely allows you to attend to myriad other problems, at best.
So: If you could wish for any one thing, let's say, untold riches, then what's the next goal? The untold riches would certainly get you past the bills every month, certainly let you jettison that job you hate, but then what to do?
Well, then you end up pursuing whatever you have always wanted to do if, for instance, money were no object. Meaning, you are still going to get up every day and by your own actions, keep yourself healthy, or happy, or in-shape, or over-sexed, or well-educated, or drug-addicted, or blind from watching movies, or pure-of-heart-and-soul on a mountaintop. Or whatever.
Point is, you still have to DO, even after the wish.
Here is the difference between your secular humanist and your faithful believer.
The secular humanist works to create meaning with deeds, with legacy, with tangible effect, offspring, whatever. This is with a knowledge or an acceptance or understanding of the random chaos and directionlessness of the universe, a lack of a deeper purpose or overseer or even a prime mover. Or Karma. This is with a framework of belief that says our relationships with our surroundings and our universe and each other are the whole process and the goal.
So back to One-Wish. What if really the only wish you can actually wish might be that you're right about your faith? All of religion is the belief that what is thought of the reality of the unseen and unknown, is.
It's the un-uttered wish. That there is a purpose. That there is a reason, that there is a plan, that there is a method behind all the madness.
I read once, then immediately re-read John Irving's novel A Prayer For Owen Meany. The central character, Owen Meany, while being a quirky directionless comic tornado, is ultimately something of a galvanizing force for the narrator's search for meaning. Most authors will imbue their title characters with a name that captures some symbolic or thematic element in their piece, like our recently departed Arthur Miller's "Willy Lo-man" in Death of a Salesman. In Irving's novel I don't think I'm stretching to see a great deal of similarity in "Owen Meany" and "Own Meaning". Maybe it's just me.
As Omni says, you can't really wish away the bad thing, or the enemy, without probably bringing unintended consequences that are of equal or even worse evil. You get the Yin with the Yang.
The One-Wish proposition is entirely hypothetical. But I think every day people are wishing the one wish, that in the end it all makes sense.