Six Feet Under, Andrew Sullivan, Metaphysical Tits

Have you re-watched Six Feet Under recently? Its just as good as the first go-round, maybe better because you know how Nate & Brenda work out (“you fuck my boyfriend to death and I get a quiche?”), you know Ruth faces her own demons and turns out okay, you remember Claire driving off into the sunset. Knowing how the plotlines work out, you get to relish even more in the melodrama and you get to dive a little deeper into the crevices of the plot. In diving, something of an Alan Ball philosophy emerges (traces of which can be seen in True Love and American Beauty): any philosophy or religion articulated by a group is suspect while any discovery reached via personal journey is rewarded. Claire’s guidance counselor tells Ruth that “Clair is on a personal search for wisdom.” Ruth: “Who isn’t” Guidance counselor:  “You’d be surprised.”

 

Its tempting to form a church of Alan Ball. But that rather defeats the purpose.

 

Andrew Sullivan today has a beautiful post on how to live amongst the ruins of all the failed institutions, how to survive when every group membership to which you’ve subscribed fails. Sullivan muses:

 

I realize that many of my most cherished institutions have failed – and failed in ways that are not trivial. Perhaps the institution dearest to me, the Catholic church, greeted the emergence of gay people in a way that never truly reflected the compassion of Jesus or the good faith arguments many of us offered as a way forward. This was sad to me, but not life-changing. I know the Holy Spirit takes time, as James Allison reminds us. But then came the sex abuse crisis. Like many others, the truth about the evil in the heart of the church, and the cooptation and enabling of that evil, and the refusal to take real responsibility for the evil, simply left me gasping for air. I realize now that my Catholic identity never recovered, even if my faith endures in a far more modest and difficult way.

 

Its an ongoing conversation but it seems to me that life either has meaning, or it doesn’t, and what you decide ultimately does not matter. But for those of us inclined to seek meaning in things, two things should be remembered: what you don’t know is far more that what can ever be known, and that the experience of others has value and lessons can be learned but really the only things that can truly sustain must be discovered at a very personal level.

 

A very personal mystery: how do you find spiritual solace when all spiritual solace is suspect? How do you nurse a spiritual hunger without the metaphysical tit?

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