Good and Evil

The Lord has used both the good and the evil for His plan equally. He’s used both Babylon and Israel. Both warlords and peacekeepers. Both…. Well it’s hard to think of two politicians that morally contrast each other these days but if there are two He’s used them! Not that it is in His plan for those to do evil… nor His desire… He gave us the free will to do as we choose and the responsibility for our actions that come with it. But so wise a God is He that even those who choose to destroy His creation, he can plan around and make something stronger and more beautiful out of. Much like Eru, the supreme being of the Silmarillion, though Melkor attempted many times to throw the song out of tune to make something ugly out of it, with a few changed notes, Eru made it a beautiful melody again.
 
But how can God, a being who is supreme good, possibly work using those who are evil?? How could he let those who go against Him rise up in power?? These are questions that throw many into bitterness and confusion. For those who already have the question of “How can a good God let bad things happen?” isn’t this a question which could set them over the edge??
 
Well what is evil?
 
We tend to view good and evil as two opposing forces born into existence for no reason other than to fight each other till their deaths… but is this really the case? Is evil really a “thing” that exists on it’s own separate from good? You cannot have light without darkness, sound without silence, fullness without emptiness, brilliance without idiocy… why can this reliance be? It is not because these are two distinct items cursed to be at war with each other. It is because they are comparative terms, where one is the absence or warping of another. In the same way, evil is not a thing on its own. It is but the absence or warping of good.
 
Has there ever been a unique sin? Is not all sin the warping of what is good to get what we consider good in ways we consider easier or to get it in greater amounts? I believe John Piper said it best when he explained that no one sins out of obligation. There is no “I lie, not because I want to, but because it is my duty to do so!” NO! We may choose to do what is good because it is our purpose. We may choose to do what is right because we know we should. But we do evil for one purpose.
 
Because we have convinced ourselves that it will give us what we believe the Lord cannot!
 
So, if we know that evil is the absence or warping of good… choices often taken from the desire to experience good things easier than experiencing good things by doing good… then what is good? What decides what is good and what is evil? We may tell ourselves “It’s what the majority agree upon.” or “What does the least amount of damage.” But if it was built on something as frivolous and unreliable as the majority, could it really have lasted as long as it has? Could it really have done the exact same reset after being corrupted slowly the exact same ways so many times throughout history?? There have been so many complaints and heartbreaks these past few years tied to the choices of “the majority”. If what was good was truly decided by the choices of the majority then why would rebellions exist?
 
There have been people who say that God is the “greatest good.” that “He does the most things good of all of us.” but… if God were only a being that did what was good, how could He have the right to tell us what was good? If all the things in the world that were good, were good just because of a frivolous decision… would it really be “good”? Or would it just be actions we take in an attempt to earn the favour of the deity that placed these obligations on us.
 
No, God cannot tell us what is good simply because He does what is good. In order for God to tell us what is good and what is bad, He, himself, must be above good and evil. In fact, all things that chose to be “good” and all things that chose to be “evil” are things He created. Did He not create Satan as well as the angels? Did He not create Hitler as well as Mother Teresa? Did He not create Stalin as well as Martin Luther King Jr?
 
God did not create the good to fight against the evil. He created both, and gave them the CHOICE to do either good or evil. He gave us the choice because He loves us. He gave us the choice, because free will is potentially one of the greatest freedoms and responsibilities we have. He gave us the choice, because love and praise without free will is naught but lip service. He gave us the choice, because sentience without free will is torture.
 
And we have used that choice. Some have used it to do great good. Others have used it to do great evil… But this brings us back to the question. What does God creating both those who chose to do good and those who chose to do evil have to do with what is “good”?
 
Well you see… that it is only because God made everything, that He can say what is good and what is evil. And I don’t mean this in the sense of “God deserves the right because He made you and He has the right to do what He wants with you.” Though that may be true, the argument for good or evil is far more practical than that.
 
The inventor of the microwave can tell me that placing a meal inside the microwave to cook it is the right way to use a microwave, while placing a wet infant inside the microwave to dry it off is the wrong way. Why do they have the right to say this? Are they infringing upon my rights and free will? NO! I have the free will to fry as many infants as I can before either the moral trauma or the police catch up with me!
 
(note, this is only for a hyperbolic argument. I have not, nor will not be stupid enough to throw a living thing inside the microwave)
 
So why can the inventor of the microwave say what is good and what is wrong? Because they made it!!! They know how it works! Apparently better than me!
 
In the same way, God made EVERYTHING! Only it is even more intense than that, because He didn’t make us on some scientific theory, or some experiment He came up with to see what would happen. He made us knowing exactly how all things would work. But He made us all the same because we were precious to Him.
 
A very limited example might be a couple who decide to have a child. Unless this couple is either very proud or very naive, they are probably aware that a child will be very costly… very loud and obstinate in their toddler years… very rebellious and groan worthy in their teenage years. They must realize that this child will be influenced by the world around them as much as themselves… that there are very high chances this child will do things they would not approve of, hurt themselves by not taking their advice… they may even leave them in bitterness and never come back….. but still they have a child… and still they go out of their way to raise and protect it. Why?? Because they love that child.. and they want to see it succeed, even if it chooses not to.
 
If finite humans limited to their own small perspectives and minuscule wisdom can experience these thoughts, then how much more the God who created all things? How much more does He want to see us return even though we reject Him? How much more does He know what we will choose to do even if we choose to rebel against Him? How much more will He rejoice when we choose to come back to Him?
 
When God uses even those who do evil to accomplish His plans…. remember He is not using the enemy… He is not manipulating the other side, or working as a double agent. We were never made good or evil, but were given the choice to do either, and corrupted with the desire to do one to combat the responsibility to do the other. When God sees those who rebel against them, he doesn’t see an army rising up against Him…. He sees His children… running away from Him…. bitter and spiteful towards Him…. and He greatly desires for them to return to Him, and will give them every opportunity He can to allow them to do so. At the same time, He looks out for those who haven’t run away yet. Even if it means letting them experience their more rebellious siblings to realize where the path their headed down leads. Because He cares about us enough even to scare us back to Him by showing us the reality of where we’re headed in one giant leap instead of in adaptable baby steps.
 
But you still have free will, you still have the choice. So the question is… What will you do with it?
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The Wolf of Class 1D — Dimensional Theory

It has been about 1/4 a year since I published my second novel The Wolf of Class 1D and I have reached the nerve-wracking, yet exciting time of hearing feedback from those who have read it. The most common feedback I hear is questions about my use of the fourth dimension. Where did I come up with the idea? How does it work? How extensive is it?

Seeing as I was fairly limited in how detailed my explanation could be within the book (because even with me cutting out most of it, my base explanation still ended up being the longest chapter!) I decided to write a post to better explain the full extent of my dimensional theory for those fellow lore lovers out there who want to get a thorough explanation of how the world of The Wolf of Class 1D works!

Some Base Disclaimers:

  1. I am a Christian. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog should be very aware of that. Because of this, Dimensional Theory is very much inspired by my faith and beliefs. Asking me to come up with a scientific/logical theory without God would be like asking me to write a fictional novel without my imagination. I just can’t do it!
  2. Dimensional Theory; while interesting and arguably very applicable, is still just a theory. It was a concept I came up with trying to explain the things I saw in this world which I couldn’t explain, and then I expanded upon and made more fantastical to become the plot point of The Wolf of Class 1D. While I believe the theory holds a lot of merit, and can help people understand this world better; it is ONLY a theory. There is no research or scientific evidence to back it up. I would argue that due to the very nature of the theory it may be impossible to prove or disprove, but it was just a potential conclusion formed from several decades worth of observations and should be taken as such.

With those two disclaimers out of the way; Let’s begin!

What Are Dimensions?

Dimensional Theory can be a daunting theory at first because it talks about things “Beyond our existence”. If it were a concept easy to wrap your head around, quantum physics would most likely be considered a primary course as opposed to PHD worthy.

That being said; I strongly believe that theories like these are more like a magic trick than a laborious task. While first attempting to wrap your head around the concept seems impossible, once you learn the trick behind the concept, it becomes fairly simple. Even moreso the more you use it!

A Basic Breakdown:

In The Wolf of Class 1D I described the concept of dimensions something like this:

Let’s say you had two worlds. One world is two-dimensional, the other is three-dimensional. If you were to take a cube (or any object) from the three-dimensional world, and place it on top of the two-dimensional world, the two dimensional world would clearly see and interact with the cube, however they could not see ALL of the cube. They would just see a square. A shadow of what the whole item may be.

In the same way with all dimensions; each dimension is connected to and influenced by the dimension above it, yet cannot fully see all there is to that dimension as it is beyond it. There are times it may see more or less of that dimension, or even a warped version of it based on how the two interact (imagine a cube on it’s edge or corner vs a cube on it’s face) but at the same time, the two are interconnected and not separate.

Now if you’re still following with me; That’s great! The rest of this shouldn’t be too much of a jump! If you’re a bit confused… Keep hanging on; it might make sense as you see it in play.

The First Dimension — Information:

In math; the first dimension would be a dot or a line (depending on who your math teacher was… personally I agree more with the line) There is only one way it goes. Often described as left or right, there is no up and down.

In the same way, in Dimensional Theory, the first dimension is information. Just pure data. While this may be counter cultural to our fact-based culture; if you study statistics it makes a lot more sense.

Data on its own is pretty useless. It can be misinterpreted. It overlooks a lot of inexplicable things. In writing and drama you learn that text makes up about 10% of communication. Context (what led up to this) makes up about 27% and the rest… is subtext (What isn’t said but is felt). It is the same reason why one can so easily find loopholes for laws, but morals are a touch more durable.

For these reasons, information achieves the position as the lowest of all dimensions. But that doesn’t make it useless! No! Information is all around us. It’s a part of everything. Information is essential! But on it’s own it is not enough.

The Second Dimension — Imagination:

If the first dimension is information, the second dimension would have to be imagination. And no… I am not saying this as the bias of a speculative fiction writer, though indeed, imagination is a huge part of my life. I say this because imagination is not limited to what information is found. In fact, often times, imagination can lead to the discovery of new information. Just as a lot of information can inspire a new bent on imagination. *cough cough* says the guy who wrote a book inspired by counselling and quantum physics

That being said, imagination is limited to the second dimension as… in all honesty, reality has stuff that imagination can’t come close to. While your imagination can often seem more extreme than reality or even with less conflicts and issues… this imperfect reality still seems to blow you away in ways you never though possible!

You can imagine all you want about standing at the edge of a giant cliff; hundreds of thousands of feet in the air…. but it won’t come close to the awe of standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or the precipice of Mount Everest. You can imagine the perfect match for you and fantasize the wildest things that aren’t even humanly possible with them… but it won’t impact your heart to the extent of that imperfect real world love of yours trying to impress you.

In fact; the most impactful works of fiction are often the ones that draw from things we have really experienced. To remind us of them instead of forcing us to imagine something we cannot comprehend.

The Third Dimension — Physical Space:

Next we come to the third dimension; the physical world. These are the things we can see, touch, hear, taste, smell. The things our five senses pick up on. Our physical bodies are tied to this world. Matter is tied to this world. This world is impacted by energy. Physics exist as we know it. Majority of science is made from observations which have been turned into information from this third dimension. Majority of theories and fiction are inspired by the information gathered from this world.

If my third dimension body were to punch your third dimension body would you not feel pain? If my third dimension body were to massage or heal your third dimension body, would you not feel comfort? Our third dimensional bodies secrete chemicals which affect how we feel. How distracted we will be. All the information gathered from our five senses take place here. All our physical limitations also take place here. This is the third dimension. The place all should be most familiar with. There is really not much more to say than that.

The Difficulty Spike:

Finally we reach the point where it starts to get complicated. When I was younger I came up with a theory I called “Laws of Reality” inspired by the “Deeper Magic” talked about in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This theory were simply a list of rules that had nothing to do with what SHOULD be or what COULD be…. they were simply laws that HAD to be for anything to make sense. These rules included things such as;

  • You cannot have light without darkness, for darkness is simply the absence of light.
  • You cannot have good without evil as evil is simply the absence or warping of good
  • A choice without consequences is meaningless
  • Sentience without free will is a torturous existence
  • There must be absolute truth because even saying “There is NO absolute truth” would be an absolute truth

And of course, most relevant to this theory:

  • Something cannot fully understand or create something equal to or greater than itself.

This is why we struggle to understand the human brain. This is why who we are is such a philosophical question. This is why purpose and theology seem so abstract. This is why AI, though faster, is still so incredibly far from human reasoning. And most importantly, this is why you shouldn’t feel bad if the dimensions to come don’t make perfect sense… they aren’t supposed to. They are supposed to be beyond us.

The Fourth Dimension — Us:

In The Wolf of Class 1D, the fourth dimension was described as the place where our personalities and emotions truly were. Separate from, yet tied to our physical bodies. This was why you can have such an impact on someone’s thoughts and emotions without even physically making contact with them, such as in a text, a memory, or even this blog post.

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but Words Will Never Hurt Me!”

We all know this isn’t true… the fourth dimension is why. Call it your spirit, your soul, your identity, whatever you want… but there is something in humans that goes beyond body and mind…. as most people seem to (even if begrudgingly) agree to.

While maybe not as fantastical as The Wolf of Class 1D where the fourth dimensional selves of people gave them animal ears, amazing powers, or even turned them into giant monsters… there was a point I wanted to get across with the exaggerations in the story.

First: Though who we are at our core remains; our fourth dimensional selves do change!

As we grow in confidence. As we understand who we are and what we can do. As the events which take place in our lives impact us deeply. As we choose to hold onto or let go of events which happen to us… our fourth dimensional self changes. We either grow or shrink. We either become empowering or destructive. But we WILL change.

Second: How you react to events in your life IS important!

Life is tough… Life is cruel… Life can often teach us the furthest extents of despair… but even still, we need to keep moving. I say this not just so you will be less of a burden, but also for your own sake!

When events negatively impact us… we are given three choices.

First we can hold onto it. Let it fester and boil within us. Refuse to let go. We’ll never forgive and we’ll never forget! This then turns that event into a trigger… a stumbling block. It grows within us, filling us with fear, pride, rage, or more…. We begin to lose sight of the things around us, and it slowly begins to warp us as we do things we never intended to do. We become someone we never intended to be.

Second option is to bury it. Ignore it. Attempt to pretend it never happened. Again… this is a dangerous choice. Because it did happen. You can’t change the past by ignoring it. It did happen, and no matter how much you ignore it that pain will still be there. And as more pains come and you bury them, it will get tighter and tighter in there. You’ll become ashamed of your life… of who you are… you’ll expend so much energy attempting to keep all the hurts in your life hidden and you’ll learn nothing from them… until one day… finally… something small will come… something you never even thought to guard against…. it will come in under your radar, and it will hit you hard. It will hit you so that all the hurts you kept buried will come flying out at whoever hurt you… and then you will be the one who caused pain. And believe me, you don’t want that.

Third option finally is to accept it. Accept that the pain hurt. Accept that it was wrong. Cry your eyes out. Admit you can barely handle it. There is no shame in feeling weak. Anyone who tells you that is most likely trying too hard to hide their own weakness. Accept, mourn, and then move forward. Don’t try to pretend that what happened never happened… it did. Use it. Learn from it. Let it turn you into someone more sympathetic. Someone who can better help those around you. Someone who can create a place of comfort and healing in this world.

You will never save this world by destroying the things in it. You will only save it by building in it!

Third: There are no monsters and saints. We are all human.

I watch the news after a tragedy, and I hear words people use. “They were a monster.” “They weren’t even human.” “Such a demon.”

We post the most hideous photos we can find about them and treat them as something other than human…. but all we are really doing is covering up what we don’t want to accept.

Anyone could do that…

As mentioned in The Wolf of Class 1D, If you don’t deal with the issues in your life. If you hold onto hurts, lusts, negative things in general… even if you do so for the best of reasons such as justice… you will find yourself beginning to change.

Chances are you won’t notice the change as it is slow and as was stated in the book, “There is no one harder to clearly see than yourself.” But you will change… and slowly turn into what you never wanted to be.

The first victim of a monster is always the monster…. I truly believe this. People don’t go out into this world in an attempt to be evil. That level of ludicrousy is limited to the black mustached villains of children’s shows. Everyone lives their lives doing what is justifiable in their own eyes. Doing something horrendous to someone is as easy as telling yourself “They aren’t like me… They aren’t even human! They gave up/never had that right!”

Which leads us back to how we view those who do wrong… or those we disagree with in general… and why our hatred of them can often turn us into what we hate the most.

We are ALL just human. ANYONE can become a monster.

While this thought is terrifying in itself… realize the reverse is also true.

We are ALL just human. NO ONE is beyond redemption.

The consequences of your actions will remain. As mentioned earlier. You will have to live with those consequences for the rest of your life. But YOU are still redeemable. As I said at the first point. Though our fourth dimensional selves change, the core of who we are still remains the same. It may get buried. It may get tortured. It may get bound, beaten, or bruised. But the core of who you are… your identity… it’s still there. It’s why you can see someone years later to have discovered they became someone completely different from who you ever thought they would be…. but they are still them… you still recognize them.

Shed off the parts of yourself you shouldn’t be. Build up the parts that you should!

 

I went long on the fourth dimension; partially because it is what The Wolf of Class 1D is based on, but also because I believe it is an important concept to consider.

“Who Are We?” This question may sound silly and childish to ask up front… but how many of our world issues spring from this?

  • What is my identity?
  • Are our personalities decided by our chemical breakdown? Our choices? Something else?
  • When is a human a human?
  • Does race matter?
  • Does beliefs raise or lower your value?
  • What about the mentally disabled?
  • What makes someone “human”?

We ask these questions daily… our news stations are saturated with them. Thousands of causes are started about them. The question people want to know is…. “What am I?”

The Fifth Dimension — Angels and Demons:

The fifth and sixth dimensions are two I often speculate on the order of. That being said, I place them in the fifth dimension due to a few things I noticed in the bible.

A lot of people describe “a god” as simply a being of immense power… This is a definition I choose to disagree with. If a god was simply a being of more power than humans could have or comprehend; there would be many gods… in fact, some humans would probably be considered gods in their own right.

That being said, while I disagree that beings of more power are all it takes to be gods…. I do believe there are beings of more power than humans out there. The bible speaks a lot about them.

  • That God created angels
  • That some angels rebelled and became demons
  • That angels were often used as messengers of God
  • That there is a spiritual war of angels and demons happening at all times around us even though we (usually) cannot see it
  • That when humans met angels, they fell down in awe and worship because they were greater than they could comprehend (though the angels in turn desperately begged them not to worship them when they were so low and unworthy of prayer)
  • That demons would offer power, miraculous signs and wonders, things that no human could do, but in turn the human would begin to lose themselves to the demons
  • That there is a deep attraction in humans to both angels and demons which make them dangerous to think too much about or pay too much attention to lest we end up worshiping them and not the God who made them.

I believe the best way I heard to describe it was that “God wants a relationship with you because God loves you. The Devil wants a relationship with you… because God loves you…” in other words. The Devil and demons don’t care one way or the other about you… He just wants to destroy what is precious to God.

So that is why I place Angels and Demons above humans… but why do I place them below the next dimension? *Spoilers* the next dimension is time!

The Sixth Dimension — Time:

Current quantum physics places the physical realm and time within the same plane. (AKA the fabric of spacetime) I stretch them apart in order to fit our personalities and Angels and Demons between the two for two reasons.

  1. Neither who we are, nor angels and demons seem to be tied nor fully perceivable by our third dimension senses. While there are senses which do seem capable of noticing these dimensions. Empathy and intuition for the 4th dimension. Faith and spiritual awareness for the 5th) There is still so much which seems completely undetectable in the third dimension save for the impact they have on it.
  2. While both who we are and angels and demons seem to be in a realm above the third dimension; they both seem to be (temporarily) bound to the realm of time. The Bible does talk about after the end of the physical world, the demons will be cast into the pit for all eternity, and the souls of those who ask to be saved will spend eternity in glory… While this suggests that both are capable of being outside of time… it also suggests that we WILL get there (hinting we are currently bound to time)….

This being said…. Time is two dimensions above us! It is hard to fully understand!

A lot of people spend most of their lives arguing about predestination, fate, free will, and more… but the best way I can describe how I view time is like this:

The Bible states that God is “OUTSIDE” of time, and quantum physics as well suggest that time has form, which would mean there would need to be an outside to it. But what would “Outside” of time look like?

Imagine if you were looking at a comic strip, or an old fashioned film reel. You are OUTSIDE the realm of time for that comic. You can see what is coming. In the case of reality (or the artist) you can add things to the story to make things easier when the time comes that the event will happen. You see the ending, but the characters are still the ones who decide what will be done.

This is abstract… very abstract I know, yet it’s a kind of joke most of us have grown up on. Such as the Looney Toons episodes where the artist would interact with the characters. Take some time to think about it. I’m not saying this IS the way, for how could I possibly even fully understand it??? But it’s a method I’ve yet to prove wrong… and I think it would explain a lot. When you’re ready it’s time to move onto the next dimension.

The Seventh Dimension — Good and Evil:

“Angels are good and Demons are bad!” ….Okay… but why?

“Charity is good, and murder is bad!” …..Ya… but again why?

“I feel like this is good, and I feel like this is bad!” ….Still… why?

Why are some things good and some things bad? Because we feel like they’re good or bad? But what intuitively is in there to tell us that this is good and this is bad? Because society tells us this is good and this is bad? Society has corrupted itself, fallen down, then returned to old values countless times in the last 7000 years. Why does the cycle repeat? Why do we keep returning to the same values? Why do we keep falling for the same pitfalls?

It’s not about what we feel, because let’s admit it. Being bad can feel really good! It’s not about society, because society changes based on the values we strive for (for better or for worse). It’s not about religion, because someone still had to write that religion, and if everyone disagreed with it it wouldn’t have stood the test of time. It’s not about what’s efficient, because let’s admit it. There are many inhumane things which are VERY efficient!

Good and evil just… are. They’re concepts we seem to constantly return to. They’re concepts we don’t even need to fully be taught about. A child will instinctively know to hide what they did, before even being told it was wrong. They may not understand why, but they know they can’t tell anyone about it.

Now of course there are things that we have put into place. Things in the first dimension of information. Rules, laws, taboos… I’m not talking about those however. I’m talking about the things that remain. The things that still keep coming back. Because as you read history you realize, we really haven’t done anything new. The values we held were held long before. The radical causes we fight for have been fought for before. Technology may change, languages may change, cultures may change… yet the core argument of good and evil remains the same. Why?

The ???Eighth??? Dimension — God:

I put “Eighth” surrounded in question marks as the number here does not matter. If I were to add more dimensions later on, this number would change it. What it really is, is the top dimension.

I mentioned earlier that I did not believe a god was simply a being of great power. To me a god is simply this.

God is what determines what is right and what is wrong.

Now you may notice from this example that I underlined “is”. I am not talking about “God is what you use to determine what YOU believe to be right or what is wrong.” Though that WOULD be what YOU consider to be your God.

There are many things we place as the god of our lives. Science, celebrities, our own intuition, the government, luck, civil rights, tumblr…. It does not matter what you say your religion is or is not…. whatever you feel is your purpose in life is your belief. Whatever decides what is good and what is evil in your life is your god.

But that being said; I had just mentioned in the seventh dimension that what IS good and evil is completely separate from our beliefs. We may cannot change reality by wishing it to be so. We can not keep things from happening by ignoring them. What is, is. If God is the one who determines what is right and what wrong; who could create such rules?

A power-hungry mad deity who demands people worship Him or else He will smite them? No wait… that can’t be it. Because those would be rules and laws… not what is right and wrong in itself.

What is right and what is wrong go beyond rules and punishments. Rules and punishments are made to keep us doing right and prevent us from doing wrong. A rule is a warning sign, a punishment is a fine. But should you do what is wrong you will face more than a fine. You will face the consequences of your actions in how they affect everything around you!

So who can determine such things? Who can determine how something is supposed to run in order to avoid it from breaking or causing damage? Who can intuitively know what the optimal conditions are? And how to get you back to them when you’ve run so far away?

The only one who could know a creation that well through and through, is the creator. God. The one above all things.

 

Thank You For Listening!

I know this spiel was long, abstract, and possibly confusing at times; but I hope I explained it in a way that made you consider what I was saying. It is not my place in life to tell you to think one way or the other; and as I said at the beginning, this is only a theory. I have no proof or research to show that it is true. But if I caused you to think… to consider things you never would have otherwise and honestly ponder the world as you viewed it… I would consider this post a success.

 

If you found this concept interesting, and would like to read a fantastical adventure with such concepts visualized; I would like to invite you to read my latest book, The Wolf of Class 1D. It is available in E-Book and Paperback as well as available on Amazon, Nook, Ibooks, and several other places around the world!

It was a very deep book for me to write, and I would like for it to one day help encourage others just like it did for me.

Again, thank you for listening to my ramble and rant. I hope it was good for you. I hope you have an amazing day and know you are important. Your choices matter, and you have impact. Keep being the amazing person you are!

M.D. Tolman ~Mac~

I Blinked…

I was driving along the 400 a few days ago, when all of a sudden a car appeared right in front of me, clearly not aware (or caring) that I existed.
 
Now thankfully, I grew up in the city, and therefore was pretty used to such homicidal driving styles, and as such, was able to slow down, even on icy snow, enough to not get a newly reshaped front bumper… but I had to ask myself, “How did he appear out of nowhere?” and then it dawned on me…
 
I blinked…
 
Now, a normal person would have just left it there, but anyone who knows me should realize, that I am most definitely not normal… so it really got me thinking….
 
I blinked…
 
See, people know about blind spots…. They know we have areas we are naive and unwise in… we invest millions in technology and training to minimize the effects of those blind spots (much like how we install mirrors on the sides of our car and train ourselves to look way back before turning so we can keep an eye on our blindspots) but that doesn’t change the fact that….
 
We blink….
 
This usually doesn’t affect us much. It’s usually something we don’t have to pay much attention to. After all, we usually only blink for a second, and we can usually catch ourselves afterwards pretty quickly… but as any gamer can tell you…. a lot can happen in the fraction of a second…
 
and so we blink….
 
we miss stuff… we get blindsided by things… We make incorrect assumptions due to corrupted observations. It’s not always bias. It’s not always pride. It’s not always incompetence, laziness, stupidity… sometimes…
 
We just blink…
 
I think this is important to realize. ESPECIALLY in today’s modern age. I see so many people running themselves into the ground with anxiety. They have to micromanage every aspect of their children’s lives or their children will rebel! They have to micromanage every part of their finances or they will be blindsided by debt. They have to micromanage every calorie of their health, or else they’ll end up overweight, sick, and dying of cancer…. but here’s the thing…
 
You can learn every technique, manage every detail, download every app, buy every fitbit, protein shake, gross kale combination, and non-everything recipe book you can find… but at the end of the day….
 
You blink….
 
You can manage your health as well as you can, but then one accident will send you down a rabbit hole of slow recoveries and missed medical issues because….
 
you blinked…
 
You can save every penny. Squeeze 50 cents out of every nickel, live as frugally as you can… but then one lost job and bad economy later, you find yourself having anxiety attacks every bill you get, because…
 
You blinked…
 
You can focus on “Fixing every mistake your parents made with you.” Read every pinterest article. Be the most empowering parent you can possibly be giving your children every frivolity and experience you feel you lacked in life, yet still have them rebel against you and say they hate you when they hit teenagehood because while you were focused on what to do you missed that….
 
You blinked…
 
You can do every thing you can imagine. And study further to learn things you couldn’t imagine… but no matter how responsible, strong, or mature you may become…. you will never be able to fix the fact that you are human…
 
You will blink…
 
And that’s why we can’t take the stress and strain of the results of our lives on our own shoulders. We were never designed to be able to handle such a vast and broad thing. Our perspective is tiny and limited. No matter how much experience we gain, we will never be able to grasp every detail we need to to know what the result will be.
 
But that’s okay. Because God knows that we are weak. He made us this way. God never asks us to “Make this happen.” God tells us what He’ll do through us and asks us to trust Him enough to follow Him as He does it…. And it’s hard… and it’s scary…. I write this honestly not knowing if I even have a future worth seeing…. In all honesty, if I was to carry it all on my shoulders there would be no point… I am way too small and far too many of my plans have fallen short by this point… but I’m going to keep following, and I’m going to keep trusting…
 
Even though I can’t say I feel it every day… God is with me… I may not see any freedom… but I would not have lasted this long without Him… It is honestly one of the hardest lessons to learn…. but at the end of the day I give me best… that is all I am ABLE to give… Sure, I’ll look back, and there will be things I SHOULD have done differently. I’ll see things I was dumb on. See things I could have avoided… I already do… but as I’ve kept saying…
 
I blink….
 
So I’m not going to rely on my eyes which blink. I’m not going to rely on my ears that misshear. I’m not going to trust my sense of touch that can go numb…. I’m going to trust God, who says to keep moving forward and trust in Him… because if I do that, the results are His, and it doesn’t matter if…
 
I blink

Relativity

Relativity:
 
In physics relativity is a word you hear a lot… what it essentially means is that the measurements you make are relative to your own movements and therefore not exactly “Accurate” from a theoretical “Stand Still”
 
For instance… we see a shooting star go whizzing by us and we think “Man it is moving so fast!” But here is the thing…. we are currently on an earth, which is both spinning and moving fast, in a solar system which is rotating fast, in a galaxy which is moving fast… This raises a number of possibilities.
 
1) The shooting star really is moving ridiculously fast, even faster than we are.
2) The shooting star is actually moving slower than we are, and we’ve overtaken it
3) The shooting star is moving at an average speed, but in the opposite direction as us, which makes it seem to be moving uber fast
 
As you delve into how relativity affects things, you realize that the speed at which an object is moving is not NEAR so important as the acceleration it took to get to that speed.
 
For instance, if you were in a movie car chase (DISCLAIMER: Don’t do that, it’s really dangerous) and your car was speeding at 100km/h and you jumped onto the car moving 101km/h, it would be a lot less lethal than if you jumped onto a car moving 101km/h when you were standing still. (unless you slipped then you’d just be dead either way)
 
Or consequently, you would be much more likely to survive a car coming at you at 15 km/h standing still, than if you were being thrown straight at it 15km/h the opposite direction of where it was going.
 
Are you still with me? Need a moment to de-science your brain? Need a lemonade? A backrub? I can wait…
 
So where am I going with this?
 
Pain is relative.
 
I do not mean this in the way many buzzfeed articles like to use relativity as in “Reality is different for each and every person. You really just have to find your own truth and live by it.” NO! Truth is truth. The car going 100km/h is STILL going 100km/h even if you are going 100km/h with it.
 
Truth is truth whether you see it or not, or whether you notice the effects as much as someone else or not. It’s still truth. But realize it is not the speed of which we are going, but how it compares to the speed we started that affects things.
 
I see a lot of people who say to others, “YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO FEEL BAD BECAUSE ____ IS GOING THROUGH MUCH WORSE!” or people who will say about themselves “Well I feel horrible, but I must be weak to feel this way, after all, there are people who go through _____” Or even still, people who say to me “Wow… after hearing what you just went through, I feel bad about complaining about _____!”
 
No! There is no scale of pain, where you have the right, or no right to feel weak. The question is not, “What are you going through.” but “How does this compare to what you are normally weak in?”
 
Let’s say for me…. I live in chronic pain. I have for as long as I can remember. Every time I move my joints there is bone grating against bone and it hurts like crazy. When someone like me rolls my ankle (save for when I then drop an autoscrubber on it) it really doesn’t affect me much. I feel stiff for the rest of the day and then keep going on. In fact I fall to the ground rolling my ankle at least once every other week. It’s kind of normal for me.
 
Am I then going to snort and laugh at pro athletes or friends who roll their ankles and have to get carried off by two people, have it held up with ice against it, and possibly can’t walk again for weeks???
 
No of course not!
 
My body is not their body. My normal is not their normal. I can empathize with the frustration and pain, but just because it is my state of normal, doesn’t mean I can then go and roll my eyes at how week and wimpy everyone else is.
 
Our bodies, hearts, and minds need time to adapt to the changes. They need time to slowly rev up to the next stage. Over the years I have talked with broken hearts, frustrated children/parents, rape victims, addiction strugglers, people worried about their grades, people worried about when their next meal will come, people worried about themselves, people worried about those around them….. in all these cases they are still in pain… That is a constant.
 
Pain is not a state of being, as much as a stage of transition. The further the transition for us, the more pain we notice and feel.
 
I say this not to justify people to give up and just seek others to take pain from them… no, pain is very much a part of life. It’s our greatest teacher though also threatens to destroy us if we reject it.
 
I say this to let you know, you aren’t weak. You aren’t worthless. If your life problems seem so absolutely petty compared to someone else’s it is not a sign that you’re too weak to get through life. It’s not a sign that you should just give up now.
 
Don’t obsess over the things you cannot do! Focus on what you can do, leave the rest to God. As you face what you can though, you’ll find yourself adapting, and growing, becoming stronger and stronger. You may rarely feel it as life tends to hold struggles no matter who you are, but others will.
 
Life is tough, but you aren’t alone! You can do this! Hang in there!

The Prodigal Son(s)

I was doing some thinking on “The Prodigal Son” today and it made me realize a few things that I often have just accepted and overlooked.
 
1. There are two sons… I know this is obvious, but when you think about it a bit more you start to realize the implications of this.
 
This was just a story Jesus made up. There was no facts to keep up with. Everything in the story was in it for a reason. So why include a second son? Was it just to show that we shouldn’t be envious when those who seem to do less than us seem to get more? Was it to show the outrage that it was the YOUNGEST son who demanded inheritance? Or was there something more to this? Was it just to show how the father loved both sons equally?
 
From a writing point of view, the two sons are very much foils to one another. While we don’t know for certain, it seems to be insinuated that while one felt entitled to ask for everything in spite of doing nothing, the other seemed to give his best without asking for anything (which is why he seems to be so upset when the younger brother comes back and gets so much more than he has)
 
To put it another way… I see many times in the church today, two types of Christians. The first treat God as their personal genie.
 
“ASK GOD AND CALL THIS HOTLINE AND YOU CAN HAVE A RICH HOME, BEAUTIFUL WIFE, AND ALL THE MATERIAL THINGS YOU WANT!”
 
The other side I see however, are people who see that first side and are so (rightfully) appalled at what they see that they go to the other extreme and feel they carry the weight of this world on their backs.
 
“God helps those who help themselves. God will support you but YOU have to do the grunt work. For miracles to happen you have to MAKE them happen! If you feel God calling you one way then make a business plan of how you’ll make it work and if you can’t well… maybe you aren’t hearing God right or maybe He means in like… 60 years or something.”
 
And that also doesn’t work… On the lighter end of things, God DOES want us to ask Him and for us to rely on Him. He says it time and time again in the Bible. On the darker side of things however… people who try to force God’s hand often regret it.
 
What happened when Saul tried to force God to protect them in battle because HE thought it was the right choice? What happened to Abraham when he tried to have a kid another way because HE thought he was running out of time and HE had to make God’s will happen? What happened to Peter when he fought against the Roman guards because HE thought that HE needed to protect God to keep God’s will happening? What happened to random person who tried to catch the arc of the covenant from falling because HE thought that it would break if HE didn’t intercede??”
 
We are so used to the bible telling us that these people did wrong that we tend to villainize them and make them appear so much weaker than we are in our eyes… when the truth is, it’s SO easy to do!
 
“God said for me to do ____ but I see no path forward. I should try to get my life together and THEN follow Him.”
 
“God put this cause on my heart, but I need to make ends meet this month, so maybe I’ll write a note to send them money or time when I can afford it.”
 
“God really put that person on my heart right now…. but they’re so radical liberal, and I’m with my incredibly extremely conservative friend right now… so I should try to find them later on.”
 
I’m not the one who can say what is the right answer or wrong answer in situations such as these…. but what I can say is how easy it is to out-logic God’s will and justify turning back… because sometimes…. often…. most times God asks us to do crazy things!
 
Which leads to point 2
 
2. It was never about what the brothers had or didn’t have.
 
The younger brother asked for the inheritance…. and here’s the crazy part… he got it! The younger brother complained about the younger brother getting a crazy party when he came home when he still had so little.
 
The thing that I realized from this, was that it was never about what they had or didn’t have.
 
The younger brother had stuff in abundance…. yet he failed. Why? Because he was living life as HE saw fit, (which brings us back to what I was talking about before)
 
It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have. What matters is what God can do with it and if you are going to trust God with it!
 
He defeated an army with clay pots and torches. He toppled a giant with a kid and a smooth stone. He protected a nation with a talking donkey… owned by the person who was going to curse said nation in the first place. He fed 5000 with a few loaves of bread and some fish. He created mankind out of dust and some breath. He created the whole of reality out of nothing! Whatever you have or don’t have, GOD CAN USE IT!
 
It’s not about what you’ve been provided with. It’s about what you trust God to do with it, because even if you have nothing, God can do everything! And even if you have everything, you can still waste it all and accomplish nothing.

Existence in Absence?

Is absence an existence?
 
We talk about things in our world, like evil, darkness, peace, health, hate… But when we think about it… these things are not things at all… they are simply a state with the absence of other things.
 
An action lacking good (even though it may contain SOME good) is evil.
 
A room lacking light (Even though there might be a little) is dark
 
A time without chaos (even though there might be a bit) is peace
 
A body without disease (though there is always some) is healthy
 
A life without love has hate
 
And yet we treat these as existing things on their own… Good vs Evil. Light vs Darkness. Wishing for peace. Trying to attain good health. What we view as two opposing forces butting heads, when really it is more like a glass of water which has both full and empty.
 
You cannot beat evil by fighting it, any more than swinging a sword at nothing will accomplish anything. You fight evil by filling the world with good. For if the glass is full with good there will be no evil.
 
You do not achieve peace by fighting. You can protect others by fighting yes, and there are times when I believe it is necessary to fight. But realize you do so at the cost of chaos. To attempt to achieve peace by fighting is like attempting to empty a cup by adding to it!
 
You cannot cure hate by hating it. For your cup is already dry, and doing so will only make you bitter. You fight hate by filling it with love… love even for those you hate…. and then even though people still hurt you… you do not hurt yourself because of them.
 
We like to stand up against the things we don’t like in this world. It makes us feel heroic and like we are accomplishing something. Our enemy seems massive and seems to destroy all we care about… but by focusing on it… and our attempts to “Conquer it”, we neglect to build and maintain… which only makes our enemy stronger.
 
Think of what you can give… not what you wish you could take away. It is a losing battle if you don’t!

Truth and Lies

A proper lie does not simply contradict the truth, it redirects it.
 
If I were to stand in front of you flapping my arms and say “HEY LOOK! I’M FLYING!” That would not be a very effective lie as it very clearly contradicts several truths you believe and see. However if I were to tell you I HAD flown, without explaining the method or time. This would be far more believable as your brain allows you to rationalize this.
 
Every effective lie has some nugget of truth to it. Imagine if you will that truth was in fact a straight road that led a certain direction. Lies would be side paths which slowly curve off from it.
 
Much like the poor and lowly frog who is boiled to death in a pot of water that is slowly heated up. We often do not realize what a lie is, until it is far too late to turn back.
 
Why is this important to know? Well for one thing… to realize that lies don’t always seem nonsensical. In a lot of ways, lies can often seem far more rational than the truth. Think of the problems Sherlock Holmes had to face arguing for the true culprit whilst the police were satisfied with their easily explainable catch. Just because something makes sense to you, does not mean that it is true. For we are humans of limited perspective. We are not omnipotent… even the things we “know” we only assume we know. How long did we believe the sky was blue until we realized that was only an optical illusion? How long did people argue that space and time were eternal until we realized there were edges and even holes to both? How long did we feel this planet was all there was until we saw there were planets further still? Do you honestly think that out of the 7000+ years of recorded history, that NOW we understand everything there is to know? That’s a frighteningly foolish thing to believe. Especially when we don’t even understand everything they knew 7000 years ago!
 
The second reason why this is important to know is that there are always areas of our world that we don’t understand due to our limited perspective and often our reaction to these issues are to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. Be they spiritual issues, morality issues, purpose issues… Everyone has something that they would rather just deny the existence of than face and discuss… however the issue with this is that just because you don’t deal with an issue enough to face it, doesn’t mean no one else does.
 
I cannot begin to count the amount of people I know of who have walked down very VERY dark paths simply because the people on said paths were far more willing to discuss topics that had made them curious than the people around them. The promise of knowledge has always been one of the most effective temptations out there… possibly even more than the promise of power!
 
So how do we face truth and lies then? Do we take the currently trending method of believing that EVERYONE is wrong in some way or point and therefore EVERYONE is equally right in our wrongness?
 
This is within itself a fairly dangerous belief…
 
In a way, this belief makes the most sense… If every lie holds some resemblance of the truth, then shouldn’t we simply have to search for the semblance of truth in every lie to understand the world?
 
While the theory is sound. It lacks in one very vital area. That area being that it places YOURSELF in the judging seat as to what is truth and what is lie. And as we have covered several times already; We are VERY limited in our perspective to be able to make such a decision.
 
When people are their own judge of what’s right and wrong, we begin to slowly veer off course into highly dangerous territory. There is no one easier to lie to than yourself, for with each successful lie, your blind spot grows larger with your pride.
 
Why has a vengeful nature become so justified? Why has greed and pride become so celebrated? Why has most anything that feels good become such a constitutional right in spite of any future effects? Because as humans… our only judge of what’s right and what’s wrong is ultimately what feels right and what feels wrong… and bad things feel AMAZING!
 
There is a reason why the most reoccuring description of an irredeemable, sinful country in the Bible always ended with “They did what was right in their own eyes.” What has been more dangerous to mankind in the past 7000+ years than self justification??
 
So what do we need then to balance out our search for truth? Well it will seem redundant…. but to FIND truth, we must first HAVE a truth to compare it to. (Kind of like looking for a colour while having paint swatches and samples) And to know what IS truth… in that area we must have faith….
 
Now “Faith” is treated as a scary word in our culture today… but the truth is that EVERYONE has faith to some extent. You have faith this is Malcolm writing this. You have faith your food isn’t overdo or poisoned in spite of all the people it passed who could do that. I have (sometimes unfounded) faith that my computer won’t crash before I finish writing this status! Faith is not something you can live without. It’s something we all have and use daily.
 
So what is your foundation of what is true and what is not? Do you have faith in a God who came to created us and wants to save us? A god we have to earn favour with? Many gods we have to entertain so we might benefit from them? Do you have faith in a person writing posts online? (wait a minute…) A theory someone came up with to support a theory they had about an observation they made? Your own gut sense?
 
We all have faith in SOMETHING from which we decipher what is true and what is not. An evolutionist would look at the Grand Canyon and say “Man. This proves the earth is billions of years old as it would take that long for that tiny trickle to make this huge canyon. A Christian (As well as several other religions) would look at the Grand Canyon and say “Man. This proves there was a global flood. What else could cause such world shaping?” (Fun Fact: A Creation Story, a Flood, and An end are three of the most common reoccurences in religions) But see how a different foundational truth affects how you justify and rationalize the observations you make??
 
Even with a foundational truth however; there are many who fall back into the first example.
 
To accept a foundational truth is to accept the consequences that come with it.
 
I cannot say that I will be there for you every Tuesday night and then proceed to make plans with someone else. I cannot say I serve a God who loves His creation but then say He’s okay with us destroying ourselves or each other as long as we enjoy it. I cannot say that man was a mistake and then say but you have a purpose for being here. Once I start picking and choosing, I no longer have faith in that foundational truth and am once again having faith in my own judgement which we have already deduced is a very dangerous thing to do.
 
But who is right in the end? Does it really matter?
 
Yes… Yes it does. Even if you don’t feel the affects of it right away… truth is truth no matter how much you believe otherwise. Should I eat a poisoned meal I would still die no matter how much I believed it wasn’t poisoned. Should I believe that I could insult others without anyone caring, they would still be hurt. As much as I can believe I can write these posts without many shaking their heads and some their fists, there are going to be people out there like that. Our faith has no effect on reality…. but it has an effect on us DUE to reality! So choose carefully and keep thinking and observing. This world is tricky but amazing at the same time