Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jack London on God and gods

This passage leapt off the page at me as I was reading today. Seemed to speak to some of the things I like to write about.
To man has been given the grief, often, of seeing his gods overthrown and his altars crumbling; but to the wolf and the wild dog that have come in to crouch at man's feet, this grief has never come. Unlike man, whose gods are of the unseen and the overguessed, vapors and mists of fancy eluding the garmenture of reality, wandering wraiths of desired goodness and power, intangible outcroppings of self into the realm of spirit—unlike man, the wolf and the wild dog that have to come in to the fire find their gods in the living flesh, solid to the touch, occupying earth-space and requiring time for the accomplishment of their ends and existence. No effort of faith is necessary to believe in such a god; no effort of will can possibly induce disbelief in such a god. There is no getting away from it. There it stands, on its two hind-legs, club in hand, immensely potential passionate and wrathful and loving, god and mystery and power all wrapped up and around by flseh that bleeds when it is torn and that is good to eat like any flesh....

[about that relationship to these human-gods] It was a placing of his destiny in another's hands, a shifting of the responsibilities of existence. This in itself was compensation, for it is always easier to lean upon another than to stand alone.
These passages come from White Fang. I found them really insightful.

3 comments:

Chuck said...

"Unlike man, whose gods are of the unseen and the overguessed...". What a great way of phrasing our posture - overguessed. I really find in my core that I believe in something supreme within the universe. But I'm constantly amazed and frustrated at our need to quantify and capture that presence within creeds and doctrines that at their core begin with much wishful thinking and need for control. I'm reminded of lyrics from my patron theologian, Todd Rundgren, when commenting on our tendency to get ahead of our own understanding and evolution. (Stood up in this case is referring to the shift from four legs to two...):

"I can imagine things that can't possibly exist
And then I add them to an ever-expanding list
And when I've solved every significant test there is
Then I'll move on no matter how many clues I've missed...
Cause I stood up too fast"

Dave said...

And all along I just thought that Jack London wrote fluffy dog stories. :o)

From the ex-teenager who used to traipse around Jack London Square in Oakland CA, wondering if he looked old enough to get into the peep shows that used to be part of the neighborhood back in the 70's...

Ampersand said...

"...the wolf and the wild dog that have to come in to the fire find their gods in the living flesh, solid to the touch, occupying earth-space and requiring time for the accomplishment of their ends and existence."

This is the most spiritual way to live, to me.