Black and White Sunrise
What are we to make of a real sunrise? We see pinks butting up against purples with aquas and even light greens in the crazy mix of colors. The shapes can range from sharp angular forms to cauliflower puffs with mere colors blending into dazzling light. Our emotions tell us that we are looking at something glorious, that God always pulls it off. If we think about it, though, the word garish comes to mind.
Our minds might prefer something more orderly, something that we could comprehend and categorize. Perhaps the sunrise of an old black and white movie is closer to our mind's liking. Various shades of gray blend seamlessly into each other. The lack of resolution in the film blurs the sharp edges and obscures the billowing forms of the cumulus clowds so that everything is orderly and understandable.
The black and white sunrise reminds me of a religious or political conversion. I mix up religion and politics here because I see no reason to treat them differently; for most of the Western world government is the modern God. It isn't hard to see the religion in any government theory. When an individual experiences a revelation, the complexity of the world disappears in a flash of understanding. The convert understands what is evil or black in reality. The Christian understands that the very nature of a human being is to be alienated from God. He identifies the solution to the problem; Jesus Christ's death has created a new relationship between man and God. The Nazi sees a different vision and he realizes that Jews have destroyed the natural relations among people and that Hitler and his Nazis will restore the world to its proper state. In other revelations crusaders and capitalists are the culprits and Jihad and socialism the answer.
The revelations always identify the black, the white, and the gray so that a world of bewildering complexity becomes accessible to the individual intellect. Consider the game of chess. All of reality is contracted to a timeless, two-dimensional board. Calling it two-dimensional implies that it is much more complex than it is. In truth, chess is not even one-dimensional. It is a game of 64 distinct squares and 32 pieces. As childish as this game is, no human can call himself the master of it. Somehow, though, a person who can barely learn the moves of this simple game believes that he knows enough about the nature of all reality to direct the spending of everyone's money and to prescribe what actions everyone should or shouldn't take.
As the black and white sunrise produces clarity, it also provides the individual another benefit: meaning. People keep looking for meaning in their lives and a political or religious revelation provides instant meaning. The impossible complexity of the world becomes clear, but more importantly life becomes meaningful. The human longing for more meaning in life is always counted as positive, but this desire is as self-centered as any other craving. If I want more and more money in my life, people call me greedy. If I want more pleasure, people call me a hedonist. If I want more food, they call me a glutton.
Can we not speak of those who are gluttons for meaning? Those who preach that we should seek meaning in our lives do not consider you selfish or gluttonous as long as you seek that meaning in their terms. However, those who hold strong religious or political views will inevitably tell us that those who do not believe precisely what they do are evil. They make a good case. If you seek meaning in communism, the jihadist will consider you evil. We all know about wars in the name of religion, the Inquisition, the witch burnings, and the modern terrorist jihad. Political evil is even more apparent. When you consider Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and the lesser mass murderers, it is no wonder that the leading cause of death in the 20th century was being killed by one's own government. The second leading cause of death was being killed by some other guy's government.
A man looks at the unequal distribution of wealth in his country. One day his eyes are opened and he sees that black and white sunrise: The state can take some money from the rich and give it to the poor. It's such a simple and beautiful idea; how could people have missed it? However, the rich don't want the state to take their money. The man asks why a person with $2 billion will resist surrendering $1 billion to the state. He concludes that the rich are greedy and evil. The man does not look inside himself. In his mind, he is running the state. He uses the mask of government to hide his own face because what he actually wants is to take half the billionaire's money and use it for his own purposes. He tells you how good and noble his purposes are. He tells you how greedy and evil the billionaire's purposes are. Remove the mask of government, dispense with theoretical entities like society and state, and you will see the man for what he is: a thief who wants to use the rich man's money for his own purposes.
This enlightened man does not stop with wanting the money of a single billionaire; he wants to direct the spending of trillions of dollars taken by force from every productive member of the country. He condemns the greed of those who want to keep their own property, but his desire to use other people's money has no limit. The pretense of altruism and that narcotic "meaning" blind him to his own monstrous greed and ego.
There are those who condemn slavery but these same people want to use the power of government to dictate the details of everyone's life. The slaveholder is content to extort from his own slaves their labor and let them get on as best as they can. Those who have seen that black and white sunrise have a much grander vision. They desire to take half or more of every dollar earned (and they don't even make the initial capital investment of the slaveholder). Then they want to tell everyone what to buy and what to sell. They tell everyone what to eat and what to drink. They tell everyone whom they must love and whom they should hate.
When such ideas are imposed on the population, little good occurs. The longest lasting government in the history of the world was pharaohism. The head of the state and the religious leader were combined into one person and that person was scientifically bred for the greatest likelihood of idiocy and disease. Somehow, people are able to function and even flourish under the most exasperatingly stupid systems that are constantly being devised by the mind of the ruler. The truth is that people want to be rich, healthy, and intelligent even though the ruler always assumes that he is saving them from their natural desire to be poor, sick, and ignorant.
Human history is overflowing with visionaries who have seen a great black and white sunrise and believe they are fit to spend everyone's money and tell everyone how to live. They claim the name of God or of the people or of benevolence. I consider their ways and quote, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." I say that everyone who proclaims, "Thus sayeth the Lord" takes Lord's name in vain because that person knows no more of God than I do and I know nothing. I say that everyone who says, "This is how I would run the state," is a thief and a slavemaster in his heart.
I speak about the black and white sunrise of an old movie because I want to put a thought into your head. If you ever have the idea that you understand the way that things should be and the way that people should act, if you ever have the idea that a new day is dawning, I want you to remember the difference between a black and white sunrise and a real sunrise. If color had only as much force as the air, a true sunrise would knock you over. In fact, our eyes can see only a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum that makes colors. Even the real sunrise that we see is nothing more than a pale reflection of a greater reality invisible to us.