Thursday, October 04, 2007

CalvinBall and the Meaning of Life


A number of people, in reading that word, just smiled. In the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, CalvinBall is a game that's about as predictable as a squirrel in the middle of a busy intersection. You make up the game as you go. For a complete list of the "rules".... click here!

I love CalvinBall. I've actually played it with my nieces and nephews a couple of years ago. It's hilarious, and a great way of getting kids, especially the too shy and serious, to just be goofy (This is key for adults as well). We're sorely in need of silliness these days. We need time "wasted", squandered, spilled out from the alabaster jars of our precious moments into the universe never to return (until Heaven, when all the Play really begins!). I could use a game like CalvinBall right now. How about you?

BUT IT'S A FINE LINE.... CalvinBall is a game. Life is more.

Nike's ads not long ago proclaimed to the world "If it feels good, just do it."
Burger King's slogan once said, "Sometimes ya gotta break the rules."

Commercials. Granted... But when our philosophers, who are called to chisel thoughts and sculpt ideas for us from the Eternal Verities, to inspire and uplift as they pass them out to us, have gone over to the Dark Side of radical humanism and a bleak atheistic reductionism, then what do we have left in a media driven, McNews atmosphere? Snappy commercials and snazzy slogans.

For a moment, imagine if we lifted up the structure of CalvinBall, or I should say un-structure, and tried it on our ethics, our social mores. What if we tried to constantly change the rules with regard to the way we relate to others, the way we look at right and wrong, the attitudes we share concerning the human person, womb to tomb. Imagine?

Well, that shouldn't be such a difficult leap. Welcome to our world, where the adults are running around playing CalvinBall with good and evil, right and wrong. When we turn the truth of the human person, the truth of our place in the universe, the reality of the supernatural and of higher laws into something mutable, like Playdoh in our hands for us to shape and squeeze and roll any way we want, then we've suddenly taken the game too far.

"You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." (Genesis 2:16-17)

I've always been blown away by the sheer generosity of God in this passage. "You are FREE to eat from ANY OF THE TREES of the garden...." That's a pretty good deal! I wonder how many trees were there? Dozens? Hundreds, thousands? And God says, the one that is mine is the knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, I am God. I have created a moral universe, peopled with free peoples who can become heroes or devils based on their choices. But the "Game" only works when you play by these rules. Adam and Eve, and all of us, fail when we stretch out our grimy mitts and decide WE will make up the rules from now on.

CalvinBall stinks when a player gets too carried away with themselves, forgetting it's a game and becoming a little dictator. Then the sense comes over everyone that it's time to stop. It's not fun anymore.

Dear Shapers of Human Thought and Action in Political Spheres and Juridical Courts, the rules you are making up as you go along are not fun anymore! You've torn up the tracks that are meant to lead us to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful!

Thank God, the Church still has the blueprints.
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