The phrase “deus ex machina” means “god from the machine” in latin. It’s often a short cut, or cheap plot device used in stories when a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly resolved, by the intervention of a character, circumstance, ability, or object. In the same way, we desire for problems in our lives to be solved instantaneously. As a Christian, sometimes I see God as a genie in the bottle, someone to grant my wishes and desires. Something I’ve been actively learning, not only through knowledge, but with experience is that God often doesn’t work in the ways we want him to work.
Whether we are religious or not, we are all in the process of disillusionment, which will eventually allow us to see the truth in the world. Disillusionment is often used as a negative connotation, but it is the process and activity of dispelling all illusions. Only when we deconstruct our view of the world, how it should work, ideally in our eyes, can we truly view the world from a perspective closer to the truth. None of us will see this objective truth, of why things happen in this world because we all view the world through subjective experience, but we all grasp some truths, you know you parents, your friends, your significant other loves you in some way.
I learned from a young age that the world isn’t fair, or at least the concept of “karma” doesn’t exist in this world, at least not for the present as well as we want it to. We desire instant solutions, in a society which regards technology, and science as a panacea. Therefore, we all believe in deus ex machina, occasionally, we want our problems, addictions, terrible habits to disappear for we can’t bear the searing guilt and pain from our present lives. We wish for our love ones to not be enduring disease, suffering, loss, despair, meaningless pain and suffering.
And so we turn to our religions, our technology, modern medicine, modern “feel-good” philosophies. When we realize that perhaps the solutions that we have been retreading, can’t solve the issue, but can only fix a problem temporarily. Sometimes these are fixed permanently, but we use these devices for every circumstance, and in all situations.
I am not advocating for despair or nihilism, but for simply disillusionment. How often do you read articles online about simple solutions to problems like global warming, cancer, poverty, hunger, genocide, or the economy. I read these articles every day, on reddit, digg, bbc, cnn, yahoo news, etc. These are all forms of Deus Ex Machina, the modern mentality that things are fixable, through some human ingenuity, and humanistic agenda.
I am only advocating for humbleness, and the idea that we need multiple perspectives, and people from all branches and specialties working together. We need time, we need to spend energy, effort into a repetitious process of trial and error. We have fail terribly, fall flat on our faces to final make us realize what we’ve been doing wrong. And it wouldn’t be so bad to realize that we need help from God, a humbleness to admit we really F*ed up this world. We’ve created habits, behaviors, systems, attitudes, societal conditions that are abhorrent and despicable. We have to want to change, because as much as we hate how we got to where we are, we don’t hate it enough. We have to be visionaries, being able to see the future, and keeping our eyes on that no matter how much shit you face.
This is hard work, for most of us here in life, it doesn’t get handed to us on a platter. We have to be active characters in this play in life, and not be passive, nor completely idealistic thinking we are in control of our surroundings.
We are going to screw up. But there’s grace in that, and like in evolution, we are all in life trying to figure out through a trial and error process. Even if you google all day long, you will screw up, so stop trying to be a perfectionist. I’ve made a lot of promises that I said I would keep. But, there’s grace in that, we are forgiven by God, we can be brought to life again, we can wake up again to a beautiful reality that this world is a world of second chances, of re-admittances, of restorations, and reconciliation–but only if you want it. And if you don’t have that desire, pray that you will want it, that you can envision it, taste, smell, feel, your goal, that you would desire it with your heart, mind, and soul. Not only do you have to have faith it is possible, but that you will work towards that goal, often cooperation with others.