Can God say Pshhh?
the feeling of yeah, whatever as a holy emotion
Varieties of Pshhh
God and Pshhh
As a process theologian I believe that the very Soul of the universe -- God -- experiences emotions. Whitehead calls them subjective forms.
They emerge in God's life in response to events in the world: the birth of babies, the suffering of innocents, the frolicking of ponies in meadows, the beauty of the heavens, a good pop song, and cable news stories.
Thus I find it reasonable to wonder, albeit in a speculative way, what kinds of emotions God might feel to the various kinds of events, including the ridiculous.
I'm pretty hopeful that emotions such as empathy and compassion, tenderness and affection, are part of God's emotional life. After all, says the New Testament, God is Love.
But I'm not sure God experiences wrath. Maybe so, maybe not. On the affirmative side, isn't wrath the flip side of pain? Amid the atrocities of life, I can imagine God experiencing such pain and feeling very angry in response. The late Jewish philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, says as much in his commentary on the Psalms.
Still, it seems to me that wrath is pretty close to hate, and I can't quite imagine God hating things, if God really is Love. I know that hatred is a form of relationship, too, but it seems not to be, in Buddhist terms, a "wholesome" emotion. I"m hoping God knows what it's like for us to feel hatred, but that God does not respond with hatred of God's own.
But surely, and perhaps even often, God says Pshhh. Pshhh is a word often seen on the internet, meaning "Yea, whatever," or "Oh please." It's not a response to atrocities but to the ridiculous.
The Practice of Pshhh
And if God partakes of Pshhh, then can't we as well. Might Pshhh be a little sabbath moment of sorts: a release from engagement, the achievement of a little distance, a break from the serious.
You might call it, in Whitehead's words, a negative prehension of harmless type. Or, if you prefer, a positive prehension with the subjective form of modest aversion.
I suggest that, for purposes of sanity and well-being, it can be important to take one or two Pshhh Breaks a day, often in the late afternoon or early evening, preparatory to a good night's sleep.
The practice of Pshhh consists noticing something so obviously ridiculous that it doesn't merit further consideration. Cable television shows provide substance for many Pshhh breaks, especially as they feature certain politicians holding high office.
Mechanistic philosophies that reduce the universe to a mere collection of objects to be manipulated at will, and where life is only about order but never about novelty, only about combat but never about love, can also elicit Pshhh breaks.
Think how stupid it is to assume that the world is merely a collection of objects when, in fact, it is a community of subjects, each worthy of respect and care.
What can we say except Pshhh? Get out of here.
-- Jay McDaniel