“I am not like the others” Ralph Steadman
As a small child, it was clear to me that I was fundamentally flawed to the core, and that this fundamental flaw was a forever thing that I needed to get used to. It was also clear that I was going to have some explaining to do down the road in order to survive. Eventually the time came when I began to think this basic flaw as my burden -- my original-sin starter pack conveniently stapled to my inner child at birth -- kind of tramp stamped on the way out. The very best I could do over time was to continually beg for forgiveness and then to accept it, with conditions, if offered. All else in my life was to be a waiting -- just fodder evidenced by a malevolent tilting at windmills and willful acts of self-abuse and abasement.
And that only through grace – that spontaneous gift from God -- that generous, free and both unexpected and undeserved gift, would there be any kind of relief from my crime of being made of meat like a common barnyard animal.
Like most of the things I was taught in life, I took the wrong message from this.
But enough of the past --at this point I have sinned too much to be forgiven by anything other than a major god with big time powers. I’ve done horrible things to many people, places and things – some well documented and others squashed down so deep as to be unrecognizable. I remember everything, but sometimes forget the context of it.
I’ve been a bad, bad boy and need to be punished. Accept this, in fact I've fetishized it.
That being said, you do what you can as a simple man struggling to figure things out in a non-intuitive world, which is, either accept the grace of god as offered, or not. I choose not. Without science things are much simpler and more flexible.
Without a god, I’ve done the best I can. AA did help, all they asked was that I believe that I’m not god – very doable. I remember making several lists of my misdeeds, and with guidance, making things as right as possible in both word and deed to those touched by my malevolence. That helped, well it helped me anyway, but like a reformed smoker, I now look at other people and think, ‘Geese, they’re worse than me,’ and then get angry at them for being such shits. This leads to many bad thoughts when driving, or at work, or just about anywhere with other people. People are really awful – and any good deed I see or read about seems to be less about the feeling of empathy and more about a self-reverential kind of sympathy that others put upon the less fortunate. It’s like dropping cartons of trash off at the Goodwill at night so you don’t have to pay the dump fees or look in the mirror during daylight.
For these reasons and an irritable nature, I now measure others against a written list the bad things that I’ve done and thought. And yes, much of my badness is in unexpressed thoughts, as many have expected. As bad as I am, most people are worse. I’m thinking of working this into an app for others to use – look for it on iTunes, of inquire from any group of Presbyterians – they are pretty organized about stuff like this. They can certainly help with your list.
So -- I’m a sinner, but they are much worse sinners all around me and I’m here to help them accept that fact. I am of the elect because I say so, and without science I can apparently do that.
But really, bottom line -- some bad things are just bad and you have to learn to live with them while trying to fight the constant urge do them again and again. It helps to pay attention to things around and outside of you, and to remember -- even if there were a god he wouldn’t give a shit about the you.