Our First Hate Mail
Well, hate text messages anyway.
This should be fun.
We have detractors and rather than try to dodge or hide we want to address them head-on.
Well, more or less head-on. In public and openly, in any event. I'm not interested in a text message argument. Much better to do it here.
The following is a transcript of the conversation:
Them: Isn't it time to put away childish things? Will you never tire of playing make believe?
Me: To whom do I owe these words of encouragement?
Quit being a fucking wanker.
Me: I'll work on that.
Let's break this down, because as brief and barbed as these comments are they do raise some interesting points.
Isn't it time to put away childish things?
My involvement with Zii-catcherism started some thirty years ago, and it was already a thing when I found it (them). I was a child, so to call Zia a childish thing is not entirely inappropriate. It is also fair to mention that there are (as per the time and place) many childish parts to the mythology. I don't find either of these shameful. It is honest, authentic, and often humorous.
That didn't stop me from Strongly considering launching this effort under an entirely different moniker. I don't own Zii-catcherism. I didn't coin the name. Much of what I have thought, said, or created has little to do with the Temple as it appeared thirty years ago. In the end, however, I was forced to admit that my personal temple is inextricably tied to Zii-catcherism. Tuesday's Song makes no sense outside of the Lunatic Deck, which in turn is strongly Zii-catcherist. When I think of the Vedic gunas my mind immediately jumps to the sacred animals. I am a Zii-catcherist. That is my frame of reference.
Is it time for me to put these things aside? Maybe. Who can know? I frankly doubt that I could if I wanted to, which I don't. Should I put away philosophy and theology? Stop writing? Doubtful. What I do know is that I saw a thing of exceptional beauty and no one was in a better position to share it. History can decide if it was worthwhile. I am content in that.
My contract is nearly fulfilled.
Will you never tire of playing make believe?
Well, that one's easy. No.
Imagination is perhaps our greatest gift. The whole of human achievement owes itself to make-believe. We pretend we can walk on the moon. We pretend we are parents. We pretend we are who we will be. That is how we grow.
On the other hand, I am not pretending to publish a book. I am actually doing that. I am not pretending to create works of art. The shop is active. New work is being produced. We are making high-quality products. Perhaps this anonymous texter doesn't want them, but that's just a matter of taste. They are still very real.
Or perhaps the writer is a staunch atheist and finds all this talk of ritual and icon to be make-believe. He or she might take some refuge in knowing that we are not all theists here. Our company is run by both theists and non. You see, it doesn't matter what we believe. Icons are useful for anyone, as a reminder for this or that, as decoration, or as a toy. An interesting bowl or coffee table can be just that. A religious work of art can still be great art to the non-believer. Even concepts wrapped in theology can have real merit to the purely atheist. A favorite of mine; Who could argue that the I-Ching has no value, even assuming divination to be a false belief? What human does Not engage in rituals of various kinds? Believing in the truth of Zii-catcherism has never really been a thing. It's always been make-believe. Interesting or useful ideas. Sometimes those ideas relate to or express truth. Sometimes less so.
I wonder if <author of fiction> ever got this? Or <prominent screen actor>? Is playing make-believe so bad?
Dammit! I guess I should have been a lawyer...
Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.
Touche. Dropping the Old Boy's wisdom to make your point. Very nice.
Of course, whoever wrote the Tao, you know, Wrote A Book. He had quite a bit to say. I've always preferred the way the Upanishads handle this. Full disclosure: I'm not going to go look it up and find the actual passage. Paraphrasing: The teacher says, 'Those who think they know do not know. Those who know realize that they do not know.' The student responds, 'Neither do I know nor do I realize that I do not know.'
In no way do I believe that I speak with authority on the nature of God or the universe. I have some expertise in very particular schools of thought and practice, like anyone. I am acutely aware of how unknowable our universe is.
If anyone who knew anything kept silent on the subject we would all be feral. Possible for the better, admittedly.
Quit being a fucking wanker.
I am fairly concerned that he or she will consider this post to be wanker-ish. I could see that.
Since this isn't really actionable I will instead consider why the author is so hostile. My first guess is that this is someone I have known for a long time, since the early days of the Temple. Perhaps they, for whatever reason, would like to see it die. Or maybe they feel I have co-opted something that was theirs.
They weren't terribly specific in what was so wankery.
It's entirely possible that they have some claim to the intellectual property of Zii-catcherism. Many do. We would be happy to discuss any claim they might have. The fact is that so many people added so many details that a fair accounting is next to impossible. We have made every effort to keep our hands to ourselves, so to speak, in promoting only what we have directly created and/or licensed.
As a final note, I'd like to say thank you to whoever wrote this and all the other haters hiding in the corners. You keep me in check, forcing me to refocus on what I am doing and why. You are my crucible and I couldn't do it without you.
So, that's about all I have to say about that.
The author is welcome to respond. Comments are open.
If I receive a response through text I will post it here, assuming it is appropriate to share.