free will, fate and soul collection

morgan pym sold his soul to the devil to save the woman he loved from death by the bubonic plague. seized by despair that clouds one’s judgement, he gave in to tempatation in a moment of weakness, absence of faith. of course, in a moment of dark hunger, one fails to consider oneself and the consequences of ones actions with clarity. and so, a deal with the devil to change an unpleasant fate sounds like deliverance from one’s own gruelling reality. the devil presents morgan with a reality he wants, (not necessarily the one he needs) and so, he buys it without question.

of course, no one said anything about the devil’s honesty: the devil does not tell his clients that deals all have a 10-year limit. after which time, the universe demands repayment for the imbalance which the deal created. redemption of the damned soul involves correcting the balance with the individual who suffered the misfortune which the deal created (manufacturing good fortune where none exists necessarily means manufacturing misfortune to balance it out). damned souls get two days’ warning of their deal’s expiry ~ the devil savours in watching man squirm with anguish. when morgan pym’s deal expires, the devil grants him immortality and makes him a collector of damned souls ~ the damned souls of all those who made dealings with the devil. and so begins the tale of the collector, a tv series here in canada.

i find this show fascinating, on so many different levels. however, the extremely cliche notion that the devil derives pleasure from human suffering, i find tired and tiresome. on the whole, though, i appreciate the philosophy of the show. the notion of the interconnectedness of humans ~ and that we affect the fate of others … even those whom we do not know, have never seen, with whom we share no apparent connection. and so, to me, it underscores the importance of striving for self awareness, and seeing beyond the boundaries of oneself. it also underscores the whole mystery and mysticism surrounding free will, sin, temptation and the role of g-d and the devil in all of these matters. do we see g-d and the devil as sort of conspiring, playing some supernal game of chess, using humanity as their pawns? … or … do we see our existence as an extension of creation, and creation as a self-contained entity in constant motion? an ever-moving, ever expanding entity, whose course determines itself … and whose course defies concrete alteration? where does that leave us, then, with respect to our comprehension of g-d, the devil, free will, and fate? well, it leads me to the realization that humans possess only a crude and primitive understanding, at best, of the mystical knowledge embedded within the universe. morgan pym reminds me that humanity does not know what it does not know. that knowledge exists, always, awaiting discovery. that our comprehension and capacity to grasp the universe exists as a continuum. an infinitely proportioned continuum. on that continuum, our position barely represents getting past 0 on a positive number line of infinite length.

does free will necessarily mean power over one’s fate? does it necessarily mean the power to alter one’s future path? how could it possibly? if one considers a giant function, involving an infinite number of variables, could one ever guarantee the particular, specific outcome of said function’s action statement, based only upon changing one of those infinite variables? it sounds scientifically silly. and so, analogously does it seem silly to think that free will necessarily means the power to change fate’s course. as i exercise my judgement, so, too, do billions of other cognitively independent agents. so, morgan pym reminds me that free will exists at a more sophisticated, and insidious level of reasoning. free will exists synonymously with suffering. to have free will means to know both the ‘right way’ and ‘the wrong way’ … and to exercise one’s choice based on that knowledge. free will hurts ~ because it involves stripping away the false veil of the corporeal, to which we so violently cling, to see reality as it exists. free will hurts because accountability and consequentiality inevitably follow, as the price of said free will. accountability and consequentiality which have their roots and origin in the immutable, absolute laws of the corporeal ~ of nature.


~ by frizzyscissorhands on August 14, 2007.

28 Responses to “free will, fate and soul collection”

  1. Mantissa, the more images to choose from, the better. Post them when you have time.

  2. yes ~ i have some and just have not had time to post them … i will … promise.


  3. i found a couple more photos ~ check here.

  4. Mantissa, it is a beautiful dog!

    Do you have a 3/4 view?

    I can use the new images you posted but if you can post more with that sharp detail but in more of a profile to register the back of the head. If it is too much trouble I can use the new images you posted. Thanks.

  5. that’s what i could find ~ the rest of the pics are not digitalized and they are stashed away in some box somewhere here.

    anything you can do i appreciate so much.

  6. I did this as a preliminary study:

  7. I take it that you were brought up in a religious home? I know that you have said before that you were brought up Catholic but that doesn’t mean that your family practiced of course. I am very lucky, I was given a lot of freedom to believe whatever I want. I was never told the Devil was going to get me or anything, I just never grew up with that baggage.

    Basically, what I believe is that when you try to talk about something, you automatically make it smaller. Words do this, there is no getting around it. So any time that you try to talk about God, you have made God much smaller. Of course, it is unavoidable, this is how we communicate, it can’t be helped, it still contains truth, just not all of it. But when someone actually starts personifying concepts and turning them into Halloween-like, one-dimensional beings…it has lost a great deal of it’s truth.

    That being said, and I know that this sounds elitist or snobbish, but this is what some people need. They need in in the form of parables, like Jesus taught in order to utilize it. If you explained it to them as an abstract concept, they probably wouldn’t be able to apply it and actually, I think this is really cool sometimes. I have been very impressed by the meaning some people can get out of a Bible story, like David and Goliath or something. Because they don’t really resonate with me.

    But this is what is wrong with church is that there really aren’t too many churches for people who need their sermons to be a little more plausible, intellectual, whatever you may want to call it.

    I think that Susan should become a minister. She makes it resonate with me. No-one has ever made it resonate with me before….ever.

    By the way, sorry if I was writing on your blog about things that you didn’t post about. I did it because I thought that if I didn’t put it on your blog that you probably wouldn’t see it, but your right, that’s what E-mail is for.:)

  8. Oh, I am signed in under my g-mail account but not my blogger account so my blogger name is not showing up. This is Behind Blue Eyes.

  9. piktor ~ i see what you mean. still, i’m inclined to thing NOT talking about something that SCREAMS for us to talk about it … well, that’s as small as one can make something. i think that the problem with catholicism is that all the bible and much of the knowledge base which exists to bolster the faith has largely been kept out of the vernacular … on purpose. its like big brother Roman never wanted us to know the way things really are … only want us to see everything through their/his very distorted lenses.

    much of catholicm resonates with me. intuitively, on an abstract, mystical level. unfortunately, not many have succeeded in opening up the mysteries and wisdom of the bible for me until very recently … the old testament i found more useful in that sense, since the jews are masters at interpretation and they have protected and nurtured their holy body of knowledge from becoming just another party platform.

    indeed, until i started reading susan’s blog and getting to know her, i had pretty much tossed away the notion of g-d. another person that inspired me to go back to all this spiritual/religious stuff is a lady by the name of irshad manji ~ google her name … you will find out who she is and the book she wrote. i think shows such as this one, which makes the subject of this post exist because humans strive to understand … what’s just beyond them, in an effort to give themselves and this existence some context.

    i also think just about every story has the same old good vs evil paradigm going thru it ~ it seems we repeat the stories depicted in the holy books … over and over. the same archetypes and themes re-emerge. because we are trying to get it.

    regarding the devil and all that. i was not told he would come and get me. but … i do believe that the universe essentially wants balance. and so … there’s g-d ~ goodness, light … and then there’s the absence of g-d. i don’t know about heaven and hell and, frankly they don’t interest me much. but …

    this show … does because it forces viewers to see the interconnectedness of humanity and life in the universe. we have a connection to each other living entity on this planet, regardless of our level of awareness regarding same. that’s the point i really wanted to raise here. oh … and also that knowledge exists even if we do not yet know it, and even if we never fail to grasp said knowledge. and that humanity does not possess the absolute truth or knowledge of anything, anymore than it did hundreds of years ago, when man believed, beyond a scintilla of doubt, in the flatness of the earth.


  10. re: upbringing. yes ~ my family definitely practices/still does. not me, though. all my childhood, i had exposure to the devout-est catholicism. nuns, priests in our home on a regular basis … have been inside convents, sacristies of churches … etc. i received all the sacraments little do ~ including my first communion at the young age of 4 or 5. i so wanted it … so craved it. still, much of me always felt that the community and world at large thought about g-d and jesus in a far too concrete manner. and everyone, i think, has missed the point. i think that trying to get a sense of g-d from the NT is akin to trying to get a sense of the middle east by reading a policy document that the current white administration authored … skewed, at best is a view one will receive. we, in the here and now know this … that’s the difference.

    once again ~ what real? what’s just made up?

  11. clarify: “received all the sacraments little catholics do …”

  12. Hmmm. Maybe I can download an episode. I’m having a tough time visualizing how what you see applies to the premise. I’m sure it does. I’m just not swift enough to catch it.

    Probably it’s because free will is a difficult concept for me, and I’m not quite sure that I believe that it exists, at least to the degree to which most people insist that it does. In some respects, I see us as organisms responding to stimuli. Very sophisticated stimuli, yes. Yet, stimuli nevertheless.

    Then too anyone who has studied psychology, especially social psychology, begins to suspect the ideological rammifications of free will, even if they accept it as a reality.

  13. x-dell ~ there’s where the waters seem muddied … and, with my use of the descriptor insidious, i tried to capture the idea that free will, in the typical vernacular “concrete” sense, does not really exist. indeed, our actions in many respects merely represent a convergence of conditioned and instinctual responses. still, what differentiates us from other animals lies in our ability to contemplate … consider … cognate, right?

    do we possess even the seed of an ability to achieve sufficient awareness of self to exercise a choice which overrides the conditioning and instinct? if one has awareness that one’s actions mainly represent the the convergence of such forces, then presumably one has some sort of ability to ration said conditioned responses? that’s free will. IMHO. and so … i suppose its not concrete like most think it is … i do believe we agree, you and i, while we are approaching it from different sides.

    here’s a link i found on youtube that has clips of the show(s) … if you google the show’s name … you’ll likely come across the official website, but they have no streaming clips or anything …

  14. ahaha ~ forgive my boo boo, Diana/BBE ~ i misread the emails of comments and so, my lengthy response to piktor really was meant for you. forgive me …

  15. Mantissa, it’s only a drawing. No need to get so worked up. (I did read later down that it was a response to Diana/BBE), it was nice to believe that my humble work could evoke such impressive eloquence, though.

  16. hehe piktor …

    to all ~ regarding the show described in this post ~ the part i failed to mentioned, but perhaps will discuss more in a future post is that the show also includes a character named gabriel … a little autistic boy aged 9 or 10, who somehow has some psychic connection to morgan. at the beginning of each show, they first show you gabriel, drawing something … a picture … and then as the show progresses the drawing and the plot scenes of the show converge.

    i’m sure i don’t have to point out the name gabriel as being significant … in terms of the biblical theme here, but also in terms of the whole notion of redemption.

    wrt autism, i’ve wondered if autistic people have a channel to the supernatural that we do not … we always think of them as defective, because we cannot measure their intellect or expressiveness with our own methods … but i think that demonstrates our weakness, not theirs.

    just a passing thought i had.

    i know others out there think this about autism, too. just wanted to throw it out there.

  17. We have one of those in our Oval Office, no need for a TV series…

    Unless there are no devils, just more than enough ignorance to go around.

  18. I figured out that you were talking to me, even though you called me Piktor. I have hungered for a church, a group of like-minded people who share beliefs similar to mine and who are interested in growing spiritually, but I have never found one. I guess if I wanted it bad enough I could look harder, but I doubt that there is anything out there. I was born a Catholic but not raised a Catholic. The town I grew up in was predominantly catholic however, and I saw how all of the rituals and trappings affected them. There are churches, such as the Unitarian church, that my mother attends that I might possibly be able to accept but without some ceremony, it wouldn’t be the same for me.

    Starhawk talks about ceremony as far as Wiccan goes and says that ceremony speaks to the part of your mind that is beyond the intellect and in touch with the divine and that is why one needs it. I agree with that.

    I feel bad sometimes because I am raising my girls with no background in any type of religion whatsoever. I can’t. It feels wrong toome, but I would like to discover what I believe so that I can give them something. I think that faith is important. I should know since I don’t have any any more. Behind Blue Eyes

  19. i feel that spirituality and mysticism ~ both of which i acknowledge, crave and find myself somewhat immersed in at the moment ~ differ so vastly from the entity known as church. i feel alienated from the catholic church as it is now. and … well, its doesn’t have a stellar history, either. still, some great minds have contributed to its body of work ~ and so, i order to really distill myself and thoughts down to what’s at the core of it all, i read st. augustine, st. john of the cross, aquinas, cs lewis, blah blah blah …

    i will never succeed in getting the catholic root out of me … not sure i need to … but i’m wondering if i need to believe in that particular ‘political party’ (that’s what it is, really, politcal rhetoric) in order to reach the divine?

  20. Though I was born a Catholic, I was raised Protestant and was taught that reading the Bible and understanding it for yourself was important. I’ve read the Bible but it doesn’t move me much like it seems to some people. But I do believe that the ‘still, small voice’ inside is what we should listen to and it will tell us the answer.

    I’ve really got a lot out of reading Mathew Fox. Look him up when you get time, I think you’ll see what I mean. I looked yours up last night, she does look great. That really takes a lot of guts to speak out against the Islamic extremists doesn’t it? Along with articles about her were plenty of articles denouncing her as some sort of anti-Christ. Or whatever you call it….an anti-Mohammed? Behind Blue Eyes

  21. Red wrote: “do we possess even the seed of an ability to achieve sufficient awareness of self to exercise a choice which overrides the conditioning and instinct?”

    Hey darlin’!! Wow–lovin’ this thread.

    Seems ter me we DO possess the seed to achieve awareness. Why, gracious–humans is the only creatures what akshully considers hisself in relation to all the “otherness” in the universe. ANd to contemplate hisslef in terms of the “ulitmate questions” like, WHY AM I HERE, WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE, and the creature what wonders IS THIS ALL THERE IS?

    So, shure, we got the seed to be aware.

    Aunty thinks that lots of us’uns akshully reject authentic awareness–cause wif’ that knowledge comes responsibility fer what ya now know!

    We worry that to acknowledge the deeper truths would be ter forfeit
    our freedom to be wrong–an it does–as ya’ say, there is a certain order in the universe that can be known, and that order seeks to keep in balance–so fer us’uns to seek and then ter know also means once we knoow we ain’t free to violate what we know wif’out consequences.

    An of course this is why some would posit that thar’ ain’t no free will. Course there is. It’s jes’ that free will is a real scary responsibility.

    Mostly. I thinks youse right–the yakkin in most churches ain’t much fer the intellect—but that is lack of humility on our parts.

    Even the airheads say somethin’
    that points to the profound iffin’ God is usin’ them that day.

    But keep on wif’ yore Augustine and Aquinas–ya’ cain’t go wrong.

    Sugar Pie, I’se missin’ somthin’—who is Susan?

    On a slightly other topic– seen over at Contessa’s that youse interested in autism–please talk ter me about it. Is ya studying it? Know of a person wif it? Why does it capture ya’? An whar’ does one read up on the latest sudies on it? (ya can email this iffin’ ya doan wanna clog yore blog).

  22. Never, until this moment, have I ever considered the devil deriving pleasure out of anything. My thinking is that he is tormented and that misery loves company.
    Like death- he consumes but is never satisfied, and the more he gets, the hungrier he is. (Milton reference- for sure).

    As a character I guess satan is good example of one who has exerted his free will to it’s limits. Freedom and free will are not the same thing, are they?
    Oh- you’ll have me chewing on this all day Roxanne! 🙂

    Hope you have a great weekend- and that the trash thing gets sorted out soon!

  23. AB ~i thought you’d like this post/thread. we agree on this … the real notion of free will is somewhat complex ~ and yes, consequences play such a role. not just consequences which we, ourselves suffer, but others … somehow accountability plays into this ~ in terms of restoring balance and/or redemption.

    and yes, many people cannot unplug themselves from the illusory ~ to see what lies before them. you’ve heard of the matrix movies? they make a perfect metaphor for exactly that whole notion. many like the matrix … they resist any and all attempts to disintegrate the matrix … to reveal real truth.

    about the airheads ~ indeed, i see your point. however, the thing that gets me is when those types spew off things that give belief a ‘bad wrap’ … and people who are contemplating their faith and belief and theism issues get so turned off by this national enquirer type preaching. y’know what i mean? how sad … because those who turn away are also in search.

    for example ~ my husband who calls himself an atheist, but whom i believe is really an agnostic ~ crude interpretations of the bible, the same old tired and manipulative evangelical words/phrases … they all ring hollow with him, and actually conjure up some resentment for him. as i’ve begun to revisit my relationship with spirituality and g-d and all that, he’s starting to see that one can have belief and a spiritual relationship with self and creator without subscribing to the religious alternatives currently out there. he sees much wisdom in jesus and i believe he’s inclined to think that jesus was and in some ways still is largely understood – in a mystical sense.

    so … you see, what i’m sayin’ i think? i’m not talking about proselytizing but just about distilling the rhetoric.

    but this ain’t where the story ends …y’know something, AB? martin’s heart softened when i began to tell him about st. john of the cross, the dark night of the soul … and, when i read that poem to him, why, my stars, aunty, i felt something … ooooh just a tiny little something give way in him. it touched him on some level and he thought the words so beautiful. so … ain’t that somethin? i almost feel as though people might feel more grounded in what they believe … if they could only see a glimpse of the wisdom of this sort of … intellect of the belief. i think that’s what we all seek or strive toward ~ that sort of mystical experience.

    regarding autism ~ i’ve worked with autistic children … and yes, known one personally. i have thought what i’ve put in one of my comments further up this thread ~ that the austistic and possibly some afflicted with some mental illnesses (also with whom i’ve worked closely … and yes known personally too) have an extra sense that we do not … they do not filter out stuff in the same way that the majority of us do. like … perhaps their inner struggle of the divine/spirit vs the corporeal is what manifests itself as autism?
    i’m not sure if i explained it well enough … i can put it to you in an email, if you like ~ lemme know.

    mayden~ interesting to chew on, ain’t it? i am inclined to think you’re right with respect to the devil ~ a tormented creature who hungers an insatiable hunger. cs lewis and also mark twain portray their ‘satan’ characters as tormented. indeed, misery does love company. and yes, the devil indeed does exercise his free will, doesn’t he?

    i love this show ~ i think it sort of gets us away from the thinking that tells us that bad stuff happens only to those who ‘deserve’ it. it ain’t that simple. its like playing jenga ~ when you try to remove one block you affect the structure of the entire tower of blocks.

    i just saw a news feature about a teenage boy who suffered a savage, unprovoked attack at the hands of 4 other teengers walking home from a school dance a year or two ago. they smashed a beer bottle over his head (from behind) and then they struck him with an axe to the neck … the boy is now a quadraplegic. one asks, why does this happen? free will. and … therein lies the pain of free will. for humanity.

    each action each of us takes has a ripple effect. whether we see it or not … we affect and effect each other. its mind boggling.

  24. Red Lady,

    youse interestin’, ya know that? On the matrix stuff–oh yeah! That’s it.

    I does think yore view is correct–free will is real. Some think not–but if they ain’t no free will then nuthin’ is wrong, everything is permitted. If ya ain’t freely choosin what acts ya do, then ya ain’t responsible fer them acts–so then we gotta turn loose all the thieves and rapists and defrauders, and we cannot put demands on citizens to follow the speed limits or on kids to take out the trash…ya see how it would be?

    There was a post on the BACK Porch that was on this topic wif ‘ a lot of high octane spilled —funny, it were last summer so iffin’ youse real bored an wanna see who was thinkin’ what take a look at

    BAck Porch archives of
    “Ben and That Damned Tree”

    As fer yore sweetie and John of the Cross–I have been in Spain to places John visited. He is a heartthrob in the spiritual sense–a man of intense emotional insight.

    Did’ja know that that famous Salvador Dali paintin’ of the crucifixion –the one from God’s (heaven’s ) eye view lookin’ down on the head of Jesus–that perspective was originally John of the Cross’ work.

    But ya gotta know by now that one thang yore hubby could read that would help loads is St. Augustine’s Confessions whar’ he describes his ..ah. “excesses” , shall we say? And how a quest for THE TRUTH led him to be restless until he found The Faith (not “a” faith, for he had been a Manichean)

    As for a more interllectual look at Catholicism–whoa! I need ter be careful here–I could list so much it would be like drinkin’ from a fire hose! Have ya’ ever heard of James V.Schall, S.J.? For a contemporary theologian he is one of my most very favorites….deep deep, but with such wit and love you cannot imagine.

    On seeking/knowing Schall wrote:

    “Once we acquire a first-hand “taste” for this joy[seeking] we cannot let it go. It drives us not because it “forces” us but because it fascinates us. We seek because we are drawn. We seek, as Augustine says in his Confessions, because we are first sought. But we must seek, choose. We must be piqued, provoked, as it were, called to the attention of something that is not ourselves. Ubi amor, ibi oculus. Where there is love, that the eye beholds…Nothing glad can be ours unless we both have the power to choose it for its own sake and, in fact, do choose it.”

    Then there is a convert, Thomas Howard –his book “Christ the Tiger” is short and fabulous meat for a good intellectual stir that is not addressed to scholars. Another contemporary with a fine mind is Peter Kreeft.

    I’se wild about an Anglican lady, Dorothy Sayers (yep–she wrote mysteries, but her theology is amazin’) Git aholt of her CREED or CHAOS (short!) and it will change yore view of thangs forever.

    Lastly–sorry to clog the blog–for a wondrous early Church Father St. John Chrysostom (the Golden mouth)

    Mercy, darlin’ I’se runnin’ on heah. Gettin’ off the soap box.
    Nighty night, Puddin’.

  25. oh no prob with clogging the blog ~ this is the stuff i love to discuss and learn about. oooooh, and i do love you’re description of free will. how clever!

    i have not heard of the author/theologian you mention … but if he’s got SJ after his name, then i suspect he’s worth the read ~ the jesuits (and the marianists, too) i have deep respect for. (my grade 12 teacher was a marianist ~ he taught me how to write so well).

    the confession ~ its on my list to read.

    the dali painting … its breathtaking.

    love ya, AB … nitey nite

    oh, ps. susan is

  26. susan ~ cruel virgin

  27. Wow, can you write or what?

  28. enemy ~ i am thinking grad school. seriously. weird, huh?

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