Friday, February 18, 2011

The Violence of Theory and Practice

There are natural forces in the construction of an ideal that influence every belief system, whether that system is religion, political ideology or simply guideline and policy. There must be some form held pure and guided so that there may be a practice, which will invariably mutate into species that will be denounced and rejected by the body of proponency for the original ideal.

The reason for this duality is that some rationale must exist for the formulation of individual components, all of which must unite to form a virtually seamless whole. Both the wholeness and the seamlessness are illusory, a necessary feature that makes the finished product appear as though conceived in completeness as a "brainchild" like a Mozart Symphony. But to the human mind, credibility is a function of this pristine and inviolable condition, the immaculate conception of every great notion.

There will be a form of "practice" in the field, though, that will be gritty and rude, with all the features of a creature that evolves with a need to survive. The ideal will be adapted to match the character of the terrain in which this belief system must live. In arrid climes, it will retain a freshness that soothes the organs and organisms which it supports, where it is cold, it will provide warmth; where there is little stimulation the belief system will produce characteristics that nourish its subscribers.

The guardians of purity will assume one stance, defending the delicate crystalline suspension of frozen time wherein the kernel was originally conceived, and the staunch practitioners will fight for the species whose familiarity and comfort has sustained them through its adaptation to their applications. There will be the variety for the hunter-gatherers and nomads, there will be a form for the agrarian populations and the rooted settlers, there will be a rendition for the maritime cultures and any sufficiently advanced idea will shape itself around all other forms of practice where it can be applied.

In the way of example, if gardening were a religion, in some location where it is respected, there will be a central shrine: The location of this shrine itself may be a contested element because each population will want to own the source of its power, appoint its leaders and create its priesthooods. There will be an inevitable schism between the disparate bodies and the ways in which they communicate, which is also subject to weather and the demands of every cover type.

But let us say that one meditative capital where a gardening shrine is built might be London, where there would likely be an enormous Cathedral where claws, seeders and fertilizers surround a great golden trowel, a symbol in which so much value is invested that armed guards will be assigned to protect it and the social taboos against besmirching it will make hainous crimes of any offense that is an indication of disrespect for the great golden trowel.

The guardians of the ideal will surround the shrine and try to associate themselves with it both physically and intellectually: This is not to say that they are insincere; one must remember that the great golden trowel is not only the bread and butter of the gardening religion. The Great Golden Trowel will be a symbol of purity and goodness, poem and song will laud its virtues in a culture where great works of art are dedicated to it.

But the staunch practitioners will be the gardeners, whose tools are worn and bent, covered in the soil where they labor; this species of thought made pure through labor, this form embued with sanctity through habit and practice; the gardeners will adapt themselves to every conceivable environment where they may cultivate great stems and stalks or protect moss and lichens on some craggy cliff. The rituals will be specific to their needs and considered indispensible and necessary to all practitioners, whether it applies to their form of gardening or not. While the hallowed halls in London are polished to translucence, the implements in Mississippi will endearingly worn by the habits of the hands that manipulate them, filthy with the mud of whatever swamp or bog nourishes the flower of their art.

So when any religion, political ideology or policy grows to its production capacity, there will be a battle between those who tried to preserve its holy original form and those who manage its blessed gritty application. War is often inevitable: Humanity is characteristically poor at seeing its particular individual and social adaptations to the elements which limit them, and far more suited to a glorification of the attributes of its own practice that acknowledge the superiority of its sector of influence over the common "metademands" under which they must grunt and sweat. Their practice may be guided by weather, but it will not be the same weather; their habits may be formed by their terrain, the same Earth, but a different face thereof.

Somewhere in the midst of all this is the problem of communication: Occasionally understanding is achieved, however rare. While a certain basic symbology is agreed upon, there will be many varying interpretations that will confuse both priest and layperson alike: "Why must we examine every detai?" they will ask, "Is the trowel not universal?" The symbols of the discipline, the icon or the word is invested with meaning: With every practitioner, different semantics will be applied to the canon of the gardening religion.

In this struggle between purity and application, between theory and practice, whether acknowledged or denied by the body politic, there will be a point where principle is held above human life, and human life will fare very poorly. First it will be the individual, the sinner, the one who insults the trowel by the manner of his/her grasp, the force applied to the point or even whether there is a point to the trowel. Where there is one violator, there are associates, sympathizers, cohorts, organizers, dissenters and they will all eventually be prosecuted.

Everything is a matter of faith: We are born, we live, die and murder in accordance with our beliefs. For each of us there is a separate metric for purity and corruption but there will be some measures held pure and guided so that there may be a practice, which will invariably mutate into forms that will be denounced and rejected by the body of proponency for the original ideal.
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