Saturday, August 29, 2020

A Dog's Eye: Seekers V Truth Seekers

There are some people who seek truth and some people who just  seek. I want to examine this profound quote of mine by writing about two men from completely different worlds. One is living while the other is long dead. One is a very famous philosopher; the other a moderately famous philosopher. The former was a writer of books, the latter is a writer of songs. Both men thought very deeply and reflectively on life-origins, purpose and endings-before they put pen to paper. 

Here is just one sample of the lyrics from a song written and performed by American metal core band, As I Lay Dying of which one of our two men, Tim Lambesis, is the front man.


What is certain I have ignored
I have spent most of my life
Trying to complicate everything that I believe
So that while paralyzed
In thought I will always have an alibi
Just another excuse (just another excuse)
To hesitate (to hesitate)
Delaying true progress with passivity

The answers that I've found
Are all the same
They uncover questions
That still remain.

The other man, who lived in the 4th century, is Saint Augustine. His mother was a Christian but he dismissed her faith as a crutch for simpletons. He then began a search for higher happiness via the medium of education, investigating the philosophical teachings of Aristotle and Plato and those who followed, to re interpret or re imagine what had already become the chief pursuit of man: happiness. One of the key questions was whether happiness should even be a goal of life, and if so, was it possible to achieve?

Most people nowadays will honestly and easily tell you that one of the main purposes of this thing we call life is happiness. You will no doubt have heard someone, perhaps many people, say as an addendum to a conversation about choices and consequences 'as long as you are happy.'

Augustine searched everywhere for the elusive key to happiness-the meaning of life, if you prefer. In the end, like Solomon he found nothing truly worthy of his attention. Every thing was vanity and chasing after the wind. Naturally this discovery made both men miserable. Augustine ultimately returned to his faith and wrote his most famous book, The City of Godin which he very clear outlines the case for why the earthly quest for happiness is an exercise in futility. The lasting influence of Augustine on the universal Christian church cannot be overstated. At age 76, he died a champion of the Christian faith and remains so to this day.

As I lay Dying frontman, Tim Lambesis seems to have been on a journey himself, and this is most clearly seen in his very honest and introspective lyrics. His struggles with faith resulted in him abandoning his belief in God, and hiring someone to kill his wife after their marriage broke down. The hit did not occur, but Lambesis,was arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder. He was later convicted and spent six years in prison, before rejoining his band and producing another high quality metal core album: Shaped by Fire. His current standing on matters of faith is unknown and entirely his own business.

For most people the search for happiness as the ultimate goal and purpose of life results in disappointment, at best, or devastation at worst. Although, the search for happiness is doomed to failure, still we pursue it. Everyone searches for meaning in life, for happiness to help ease the inevitable pain, but not all of these seekers find what they are looking for.

When Jesus said that those who seek would find what they were looking for, he wasn't talking about happiness. What are you looking for? And what kind of seeker are you? 

No comments:

Post a Comment