Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Rare Sense

...too many people thought God would provide, in these paradisical worlds. God provided in abundance, it was true, vast amounts of food that you could see running around. But God also helped those who helped themselves, and presumably expected the chosen to bring... some common sense to the party. And if you didn't, and if you were lucky, it would only be the mosquitoes that got you.
-from The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

"I'm looking for somewhere to stand."
-Peter Reidinger I, paraphrasing Achimedes, in "Pegasus In Flight" by Anne McCaffrey

Now, I've long established that I don't believe in an interventional God, nor a male God. Nonetheless, I find myself agreeing that "God helps those who help themselves." Or rather, Goddess. Even (or perhaps especially) in my case, it proves to be true.

My supreme deity isn't some omniscient, omnipresent, formless deity floating in the sky or some stylized version of heaven. My supreme deity isn't even inhabiting the earth. My supreme deity is the earth, is Gaia, and she does indeed provide, not just food and water and shelter, but also somewhere to put our feet, somewhere to lay our heads, literally as well as figuratively.

But prayer does nothing. I don't ask her to spread the Red Sea, or even the closest river, so I can cross unaccosted. Even if she is listening (which is a moot point), she won't do anything about it (why the point is moot). She doesn't intervene. She gave us the brains to build tools, which allow us to build better tools, to build a bridge or a boat or a tunnel. (These days, I'm partial to tunnels, thanks to a combination of my novel-in-progress and Minecraft.)

She provided something for us to start with, and the rest is up to us. If we get ourselves stuck, injured or worse... well, if we're lucky, it will only be the mosquitos that get to us.

Practice common sense in all things, and help make it more common. It's terribly sad that in this day and age, something with "common" in the name should be so rare.