Control & The Only Reason I Feel Secure

Two titles of cds by the band Pedro the Lion. I had them, once upon a time, on a single disc that mostly spent its time in my cd case, never listened to or even thought about. But those titles side-by-side have stuck with me, occasionally running through my head long after I threw the cd in the trash.

Why do we need to control? While Sam and I were en route to Philly on Tuesday, we started talking about vegetarianism. Her ex-boyfriend was a rigid vegetarian for ten years, and in a passing comment, she said that it seemed to be a need for control rather than something arising from animal love or health concerns.

I was chasing a mental bunny trail about the opposite of control and a line from "Fight Club" came to mind. As Tyler Durden rather crudely puts it, "Self-improvement is masturbation. Now self-destruction..." What is masturbation but a form of control? What is self-improvement but some level of self-control? And yet his response is to engineer chaos, not unlike Nolan's Joker, whose claim is to randomness. But in the creation of chaos, control is exerted. It is those who are at the receiving end, the victims, who feel powerless.

Is control the only reason I feel secure? Do I, like the mayor in Fight Club who promises to bring down Project Mayhem, seek to wrestle it back even when everything says no? And if my answer to those questions is, "No, I feel secure for other reasons," then why am I thrown off balance by circumstances that make me feel powerless?

While I've always liked the one and only translation that trades the word "secure" for "hope," recently I've begun to embrace the more common form of Psalm 16:8-9.

I have set the LORD continually before me;
   Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
   My flesh also will dwell securely.

No comments:

Post a Comment