Gestalt: a unified whole; a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts.
Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language 1989
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men (and old women) shall dream dreams.” Joel 2: 28 NKJV
I have gestalt visions. I have had them for a long time; when I was teaching I used them to great advantage. I am no longer teaching but the visions still come.
At first, I thought it was my duty to explain my visions and so I faithfully sat with them until I sifted through enough coherent meaning to share them with others. But my internal teacher knew that this was not quite right. It is not for me to see the pattern, formulate a hypothesis, test its validity, and draw a conclusion for others; each individual must do that for himself or herself. I can only present the organized field.
The Quintessential Editor
Corey Truax recently introduced a new character in his “Wasteland Wednesday” blog. The character Daniel, also known as “The Preacher”, joins Drake and his group of survivalists. The Preacher is a member of a religious group called the Lost Word that goes about teaching and practicing its beliefs, which include occasionally “purging” villages. As these purges leave behind crucified men and women, one could assume that the Lost Word is a rather nasty bunch.
What I find most interesting about the introduction of The Preacher into the story is the meeting of two social compacts: that of Daniel and The Lost Word and that of Drake and his group. It is a set-up for the classic conflict between church and state.
What is a social compact? I think it is best defined in The Book of Rhino:
“People who wish to live in a civilized society need a social compact by which all its members agree to live for the good of the larger community. Such a compact derives its validity and merit from its birth from within the community, not from its imposition upon the community from an outside authority.”
In every novel I have read so far, there is always a social compact. Even in a post-apocalyptic world, the remnant of people always seem to band together and establish some sort of social compact in order to survive. I imagine even flesh-eating zombies have their own rules of order. (“Fifty Ways to Love Your Liver”) In survival stories, conflict often occurs when two or more social compacts from different groups of survivors are at odds with each other.
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
In a speech given in 1979 at an ACLU fundraiser, Kurt Vonnegut addressed the issue of book burning and book banning, Slaughterhouse-Five being one of the targeted works. He referred to Thomas Aquinas and his hierarchy of laws – divine or God’s law, natural law, such as gravity or weather, and human law, such as the Bill of Rights. According to Thomist theory, natural law trumps human law and divine law trumps both natural law and human law. Vonnegut went on to compare divine law to an Ace, natural law to a King, and human law to a Queen. To quote Vonnegut:
“The big trouble is that there is so little agreement as to how those grander laws are worded. Theologians can give us hints of the wording, but it takes a dictator to set them down just right.”
One of the most prevalent conflicts is between the religious world and the secular. The church thinks it holds all the aces while the state holds the queens. But if the church is defining what it thinks is divine law, then divine law has become human. Conflict between the two is really queen versus queen, the fact of which both sides are unaware.
“There are two ways: one of life and one of death; and the difference between the two ways is great.”
Didache, Chapter One, translated by J. B. Lightfoot
“And if you don’t believe this, I’ll bash your head in.”
Another Facebook friend shared an article by Beth Moore in which she argued that no matter who wins the 2016 presidential election, God is still in control. I have been seeing quite a few versions of this message from some of my friends on Facebook.
“Take comfort in the fact that divine law trumps human law.””
Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
Lassiter: “Where I come from woman’s word is law.”
Elder Tull: “ There is only Mormon law.”
This is the gestalt vision inspired by Corey Truax’s blog on “Wasteland Wednesday.” It means something. However, whatever it ends up meaning for me is not a lesson for me to teach. You make your own meaning, if it exists. I will not even suggest that it does.