Magical Thinking

Magical thinking is the belief that one’s thinking and/or beliefs, words, or use of symbols can influence external events without there being a direct, causal link. It’s also the title of my poem which I’ll be talking about and presenting.

To a degree, we all engage in this spurious style of thinking and believing; it’s human nature, but I don’t want to go on an extended screed about that. More to my point here, there was a period in my life – around 2002, or so – when, after an extended reflection on my accumulated beliefs, along with some rather colorful experiences, I realized I had sought what I shall call a type of “aesthetic salvation.” Essentially, that means that I read, studied, theorized, and extrapolated virtually every theory of life, art, and philosophy, under the sun, and made a metaphysical bed for myself in which I found comfort. I believed in God, of course; I held to Christian beliefs. I also wrote the present poem around the same time. But in the miasma of theories, historical figures, ideas, and artistic endeavors, I drown the bedrock part of what constitutes “me.” Further, I believed my cumulative, aesthetic “loot” gave me a superior insight into life, itself. This was wrong, because I was wrong.

I won’t tend toward triumphalism here. I won’t tell you that Jesus is the only way (He is), all the while driving that point home repeatedly ad nauseam. What I believe may or may not enthrall you. It might, at some point, convince you, it might make you angry, but it might also point you in another direction so you can find out for yourself what I now know to be true: Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth, and Life.

I still love to read, to think, to wonder. Hey! “Wonder” is what this blog is all about ! But I don’t, for a minute, believe that what I have tucked away in my noggin gets me one iota closer to God. St. Augustine said two things that are eminently pertinent here: “God is infinite so that we will continue to seek for Him after we have found Him.” Have you found something or someone who tickles your fancy, and makes you think you’ve discovered the secrets of the universe? Maybe; more likely that’s magical thinking. Back to Augustine: “What you fully understand cannot be God” Got it? My friends, the playing field is huge. God has left markers along the way so you and I can find Him, but after we find Him (actually it’s Him finding us finding Him), there’s so much more to “Him”; infinitely so!

Here’s the poem. One last word: I used love – what I believed to be love – as my salve, my rationale to excuse my wanderings. I fed my intellect and starved my spirit. Remember, love’s not a thing, it’s a Divine Person. Enjoy!

Love and death and the whole shebang.

They’re in and out of the door all day,

And make me wish for home again.

I’ve loved away my life.

No tragic narratives, or misspent madrigals

Can fill up all the awkward spaces,

Make home more real than mystic spaces.

I’ve loved away my life.

Ex cathedra pronunciamentos

Rang out with papal gravity.

The voice of moral probity: noli me tangere.

I’ve loved away my life.

No organized cult of love and beauty,

Parading against this Saurian Age,

Will suffice to sustain this Melvillian sage.

I’ve loved away my life.

Between Shauvian extremes of heaven and hell,

I’ve sung a Lorelei’s song of self-destruction,

Love fading now and then with erotic pendulation.

I’ve loved away my life.

After tilting at windmills for my dear Dulcinea,

And searching for honor as for some panacea,

My visions, they vanished like some forlorn idea.

I’ve loved away my life.

I stand undeterred in the perennial moment,

Filled with the thesis of absolute judgement.

My steps shadow Emerson, devoid of all strife.

I’ve loved away my life.

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