NDG and Elizabeth Smart

Berlin (1532)

He led her in her red silk pajamas up a trail into the rugged back country and over a ridge, hiking what she estimated to be three to five hours to a crude campsite. There, she said, he “sealed” her to him as his wife and raped her.

She said she begged him to stop, pleading, “I’m just a little girl.” She struggled, but she said at age 14 she was no match for a grown man.

Afterward, she cried herself to sleep.

The next day, as she cried again, he told her she was “lucky,” Smart testified. He said he was a prophet and that God had chosen her to be by his side as he prepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ. She said she didn’t feel lucky at all.

This is the essential grandiosity of all religious thinking. The actions of this rape lunatic have crossed social and legal lines but his views of the world and the universe are well within the range of Normalized Delusional Grandiosity (NDG) which Jews, Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Witches and Scientologists offer their believers. We are nothing more than a part of the variegated blob of organic material on the planet earth. Compared to some bits of the blob, we are slightly fancy. We are even fancy enough, on the infinitesimal scale of local existence, to make the planet stink if we really, really work at it. But nothing we will do can make the universe “notice” us; human growth is not on the universe’s agenda; the universe is not a machine designed to respond to human thought. The earth is a speck. Even our solar system is a speck.

Won’t cheeseburgers taste as good or sex feel as great and love or art inspire us as much… if we face the facts? We’re of no particular importance. Except to each other. Why not focus on that and learn to be kind in the time accidentally allotted?

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR [letters are vetted for cogency and style]

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