[Still not really here! We survived two nights in the wilderness and one day at the ocean. Aquarium today. The teenagers are revolting - even more than usual, I mean - so we may cut our stupid vacation short. In the mean time, here is a post from May of 2009. It originally ran at Inside Catholic, now Crisis.]
I had a fleeting desire to see the movie Watchmen, until I heard that it was yet another in the genre of “let’s peel off the facade of the world and get down to the truthiest truth underneath, which is, of course, stench and corruption.”
This must be an awfully old theme. Older even than The Matrix, I imagine. In that movie, the hero is invited to take a blue pill if he wants to persist in the pleasant and elaborate illusion that is human life — or a red pill if he wants to wipe it away forever. If he chooses the latter, he will be doomed to live henceforth in a brutal and dangerous reality — but it’s the right thing to do, because it’s the Truth, you see.
In any age that prides itself (justly or not) on intellectual rigor and sophistication, this must be one of the chief temptations: to imagine that freshness and innocence are always the illusion, and corruption is always the reality, the core. (This theme is brilliantly dissected in John C. Wright’s journal here.)
But it’s a temptation. Not one perspective on life, not a valid point of view, not an interesting theme to explore. A temptation, also known as a lie.
Picture the universe as an infinite globe with this very thin crust on the outside . . . . We are born on the surface of it and all our lives we are sinking through it. When we’ve got all the way through then we are what’s called Dead: we’ve got into the dark part inside, the real globe. If your God exists, He’s not in the globe –He’s outside, like a moon. As we pass into the interior we pass out of His ken. He doesn’t follow us in. . .