First off, showers are seemingly the greatest place to conduct thoughts. It’s as though your thoughts, apparently electric, conduct the water in a brainstorm above your head.

Anyway, the point of this post is to address what I think is at the heart of contention in the religious sphere of our society: authenticity. What I mean by this, is that currently in the United States (and really, the world over), there is deeply rooted sentiment that there is “one true religion.” Essentially, that, every religion thinks that all other religions got it wrong; the God, the principles, how to pray, what is right about marriage, and how to treat someone that is different than you. Then, there is the atheist’s stance, which I think was nicely displayed in a meme on Facebook the other day, so rather than typing one thousand words, here you are:

UniverseMeme.

Which, at the time of sharing it, I liked it. I liked it, but I didn’t love it – because, as you can see, subtlety, the atheist is taking his piece of the pie. There is condescension in the post. The words, “insignificant, little, fighting, scribbled, coolest,” and the phrases, “Middle Eastern desert sect,” and “fairy tales,” are all designated words to captivate the selective crowd (atheists) in an echo chamber of superiority. Recognize that the atheist’s failure here is the same as the devout religious person’s failure, which is attempting to claim a truth higher than their truth. These are attempts at desperate self-righteousness, in all their humor.

Ultimately, however, we might find that, for the religious person, rather than the Judeo-Christian God being the only one in Heaven (because this is the current mode of thought in the United States), maybe Heaven is a big enough place to accompany all of the Gods of all of the religions, the world over. And the takeaway point for the atheist here, is that at the very least, what we can recognize from religion and ourselves is that scrambling to be correct about something, especially one of such an abstract degree (and in all fairness, even multiple universes can’t outright deny the potential existence of a place such as Heaven, and actually probably promotes it) is worthless except for attempting to pursue a greater condition or moral value in the world. Therefore, maybe we should all recognize that every religion or religion-less person has a way of identifying their spirituality or relation to the world and be okay with the fact that we all do so differently.

 nailbitingOften, in our lives, we are presented with challenging circumstances that we feel compelled to overcome. Usually, there is some direct, linear way to overcome these obstacles. However, one circumstance that generates myself (and I’m assuming many others) a fair deal of anxiety is overgrown nails or hangnails. This, obviously, with modern technology, can be solved simply with a pair of nail clippers. The dilemma is presented when one is without nail clippers attempting to hurdle the obstacle of an overgrown or hangnail. The problem with an overgrown nail or hangnail is the discomfort it brings to your life. The initial intent of anyone biting their nails is to reduce them to make them less sharp or jagged, and less painful to the touch.

So, the scenario presents itself: you’re driving your car and suddenly your overgrown, scraggly nail with dirt encrusting the bottom half hits the steering wheel. You take a quick glance at it and think, “I wish I cut my nails…” and pay no more mind to it. Until, your thumb begins rubbing your index finger nail and you realize how sharp the bastard is. Again, you think, “I really wish I cut my nails…” but you put it out of your mind because that index finger nail has the last two weeks of germs accumulated underneath it and biting it down to a reasonable size is going to be a task in itself. You find yourself looking outside, trying to keep your mind off the disgusting, sharp, scraggly, filthy, index finger nail but to no avail, you find your thumb creepily rubbing your index finger again. You begin trying to telepathically dislocate your thumb from your hand to quit the constant reminder. Yet, as though you have no control of your hand, your thumb rubs your index finger more quickly and with seemingly more fascination. It seems as if the entire universe is conspiring against you to just bite your damn nail off and get it over with. And so, you give in, start biting your nail, and the dilemma begins –

Initially, it seems purely logical; your nail is long and sharp, so biting it will reduce and smooth it, therefore, no more discomfort. Suddenly, though, a huge hangnail is created through your nibbling. This sucker is buried under your lateral nail fold meaning if you’re going to get it off, it’ll hurt and probably bleed. Yet, you’ve already begun biting, so what the heck? You sink your central incisor and lateral incisor onto the hangnail and tug. It hurts, you can feel it pulling up the skin and you can see blood forming. You’re so close though, so you pull a bit more – and, dammit, you ripped the hangnail in half. Half of the hangnail is still underneath your lateral nail fold. So, you dig in deeper, you grip your lateral incisor firmly and pull steadily with great force, and you can taste blood. Finally, you’ve got it, the hangnail releases, your lateral nail fold is in shambles, but you’ve won the battle. You’re bleeding, so you mend it with your tongue and try to clean up the side of your nail by biting off some of the skin on the lateral nail fold, which in turn only causes more blood. You turn back to the free edge of your nail and begin working on that because that was the original intent. You bite and rip some of the free edge. You bite and rip some more while tending to the bleeding hangnail and lateral nail fold. You repeat this process of biting and ripping occasionally checking to see the progress. Finally, you believe your work is done and so you rub it again with your thumb to see how it feels: sharper than ever before. Small, sharp, jagged edges scratch your thumb’s smooth skin.

Ultimately, the nail-biter’s dilemma is a larger analogy for challenging circumstances in our lives. An unprepared attempt at fixing an impromptu problem will usually create a larger problem or make the problem worse. The more the nail biter bites, the worse the problem becomes. Not only does the nail become worse, but your overall hygiene becomes worse, i.e., your teeth corrode from biting, you’re literally ingesting germs residing underneath your fingernail, and your nail’s health is becoming worse (not just physically). However, with some simple preparation or presence of mind to have the tools on-hand, the problem is solved in a matter of seconds. And this goes for anything, for example, while the fastest human ever is roughly 28 mph and the fastest land animal, a cheetah, can reach speeds of 64 mph, we can just get into a car and blow the doors off of a cheetah. Our species has traditionally relied on tools as a way of enhancing ourselves.

oh, how we splendour in such short sight
so all of creation becomes a blight
when the King of Kings is the only light
and the thinker remains a parasite
please, allow that crafter of thought allude
to the grandeur of humankind, not some great Dude
because to craft a thought is a fine deed
and should not be discarded as a dead seed
thought is from the finite but creates the infinity
to show us ‘parasites’ we are the Divinity
its operation is humble but only to subdue
yet in grand ignorance seen as something to eschew
allow the power in Imagination to be found
therefore be renowned; Humankind be crowned

- n.v.