Essence and energies, fatherhood and baseball
by Andrea Elizabeth
I have explored the idea that the essence/energies distinction enables multiple objects to co-exist. One thing doesn’t get totally absorbed or annihilated in union with another. One popular way of self-preservation is to place oneself as preeminent. This has the effect of annihilating the other instead. Or one can disappear, so to speak, in order to let the other have a place. But is this spoiling the other? Or does it place too great a burden on the other to take turns so that they don’t feel selfish. Ideally both feel fulfilled in relationship. This is where needs are met without selfishness. Is a child selfish when it is receiving food and shelter from its parents? They shouldn’t feel that way. Parents seem to hold that over their head as a manipulative tool though when they imply that the children owe them for it. When someone is in need, we owe them to help fulfill it. To not do so is neglect. To do so doesn’t mean that more is owed back. “Each according to their need” is provided by the Father with human cooperation. To not cooperate is to be in a person’s debt. “Forgive us our debts,” in Orthodox teaching, is about when we don’t give to others according to their need when it was ours to fulfill it, not necessarily for a breach of voluntary contract. Selfishness is when needs are met in sinful ways. When we take things that aren’t ours.
I just saw a PBS documentary about a sperm donor and his “children”, who as older teenagers have sought him out after he revealed his donor number. He is basically a beach hippie who had been an “exotic dancer” and was also somewhat of a philosopher. He believed most things weren’t real and wouldn’t last (annihilation), but also in “I”ness (everything but me will be annihilated). He also had an icon of Mary who he considered the cosmic mother, and he regularly prayed for and blessed, after he smoked something out of a pop bottle contraption, the mothers and all the countless souls that had emanated from him. Four of the donor siblings (a fifth didn’t want to go) said they felt a positive energy after they arranged a reunion with him. And they also knew not to expect anything from him (except honesty), but felt good that he was there, nice spirited, if paranoid about conspiracy theories, and not some disembodied liquid in a frozen test tube. If he believed in the I-ness of himself and other souls and animals, it seems he did not believe in cosmic re-absorption. Maybe he believed in the beatific vision of essences that does not share energies. Regarding other things being of limited existence, he may have somewhat of a point. The children that he spawned are eternal beings whom he helped bring into the world. They have grown up with the physical gap of the lack of his presence, but did seem to have somewhat of his spirit about them, which they commented on. The California donor facility also played a part in their conception, including the rooms with the visual aids. I tried to observe any affect that had on the kids, and it’s hard to sort out if the way the girls dressed was a result of that or because almost all available clothing is of that type these days. Yet to have that be such an exaggerated aspect of their origination must do something. However, I got the sense that 20 years later, it had been diluted, if not annihilated altogether.
Regarding the mothers, they had entered into an agreed-upon contract with him to preserve his anonymity with no expectations, and desired no continued involvement. All but one, the one whose daughter had initiated the reunions, appeared at least hesitant about their children’s curiosity and subsequent actions. That same daughter was the most open to subsequent involvement while the others kept a safe, “oh, so that’s who he is” attitude.
I didn’t post this the other day when I wrote it, and now, after watching the exhausting game 6 of the World Series, I’ll tie this post into baseball. The pitcher is like the father. The best ones put a lot of action on the ball. It is not a piece of trash that they are getting rid of and don’t care about after it leaves their possession. Some pray over it, some talk to it, but all have a committed interest in how it leaves their hand and how what they do to it will affect its future. The batter is like the mother, very tuned into the pitcher and how they can best receive and also guide the ball. The outfielders are like the community who want the ball properly placed and guided back to the pitcher. Homeruns, well I guess they go to heaven. In the world, that would be that they are able to transcend all obstacles and reach new heights of achievement. It’s sad that the pitcher and batter are often on different teams. That could be like divorce or even the situation above. Teams oppose each other because of the fall and ultimately the battle with demons. Both those in your own team and those in the other’s. Either way, nothing is annihilated. Everything has eternal significance in that it influences the course of the game, even if some things are forgotten, or are very distant, for now.