Friday, April 12, 2002

Peggy Noonan, who I...what's the word? ...despise? ...am existentially annoyed by? Anyways, she has a column today on praying for peace in the Middle East, because it is all that we can do.

I remember when George Bush the First launched the Persian Gulf War, and then said, "Now all we can do is pray". I happened to be a the height of my anti-Christian college days, and I was beyond myself with fury at the irresponsibility and Medieval outlook of his words.

Today, I am more accepting of religion, and Noonan's column, apart from my visceral distaste for her general political and moral outlook, makes me wonder about the transcendence of prayer. How can I recommend Eastern meditation or contemplation and not recognize that prayer is not really so different?

I suppose that a major difference is that petitionary prayer is often quite egotistical. Prayers for a better job, etc. are centered on what the individual wants or thinks they need rather than aimed at expanding consciousness beyond the ego. (Echo of Kubrick: "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite".) But that seems to be a difference of degree, not of kind.

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