Creative Commons License

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Secular Sunday: Father's Day 2018

longer now without a dad
than i ever spent with one

M. C. Escher, 'Eye', 1946

I forgive my father and possibly, more importantly, I forgive myself for my own emotions on the matter of his death and his own failings as a parent (& my failings as a son).

Even if/when we accept that the parent is a fallible human 'just like us', something that is part of becoming an adult, as we do with the surrounding grown-up environs that we now inhabit, even if, we still have a greater idea to conquer/over-write/subsume/erase and that is the parent as a divine creator. The parent as literal god figure.

This might seem foolish to you, you might think that this description of a belief towards one's parents hardly fits for you or your relationship, but I would beg you to reconsider, because it is already built into how most of the world sees itself and how it prioritises the family. Each and every human society believes that their distinct experience of family is unique and hold more universal truth than any other cultures, and at the crux of this belief is typically the idolisation of the parent.

That our existence might not have been part of god's plan, that we might not have really been expected or truly wanted or were anything other than social pressure upon the incurious minds that birthed us, is not something we likely consider, but we should.

In either becoming or considering being a parent ourselves we should remember that our step into the unknown is what all other parents, including our own, have done before us. In accepting our weakness as one whose decision is guided more by hope than by anything certain, we should also welcome this chaotic mystery that life brings.

The desire to make the god's plan personal is the desire to narrativise our own existence as something ordained and with significance, whether this is by the idolisation of the parent or through actual religious fervour, both are a creation, a sham. Are we ready for what the rejection of this perspective might bring?

It involves our compassionate acceptance not only of our parents as flawed, but of our self, of our own choices as not being either truly individual or truly given. We are the paradox of consciousness and the result is not to deny this, or to seek a transfer to some other authority, but it is our responsibility to care.

I miss you dad. I love you. Happy father's day.

FMM 1944-1996