This little Island of Life in the Universe is a multitude of worlds. A spectrum of realities that do not fit into the limited human boxes of dogma. This life on Earth comes from the guts of Stars. What does that tell one of the Stars? It is beautiful, brutal, awesome and dreadful. There is cruelty and compassion within the various conscious creatures and realities on Earth.
There is warm kindness and there is cold indifference. The Beauty and the Cruelty on Earth are overwhelming to the human mind that suppresses these realities within ideologies that give shelter to the heat and cold in the Universe. Cosmic Complexity crushes human matchstick boxes of dogma. In a world like this "nothing is so strong as gentleness."
I think that too much cynicism can lead to paralysis. On the flip side too much altruism can lead to denial of some truth. So it seems we need a mixture that allows for awareness and positive action. It is a difficult dance since we humans do have our limitations. But a dance worth trying.
I think what can be problematic is partialization and our limitations to stay in one spectrum of reality when there are many.
"This place makes me wonder," he asks, "which would be worse – to live as a monster, or to die as a good man?"
-Leonardo DiCaprio's Character in Shutter Island
It reminds me of Primo Levi's experience during the Holocaust when he said many of the good died quickly in the camps but the ones who were harder and more beast like lived and survived. A hard truth it is to think that the more honorable human is not the consistent survivor in life but rather the trivial and tedious human. The one Kierkegaard calls "Philistine".
"He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man." Samuel Johnson
Only by forgetting… can one live –Nietzsche
Religion not only was necessary for the human animal for its explanatory power but also for its power to suppress existential anxiety. To be smug about reality. Because they demand illusions, answered Freud, they "constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real."
"It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair." -Kierkegaard
"Few people have the imagination for reality." -Goethe
"Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination." - Edward Abbey
"I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he's five years old. And I reply and say, "Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well," and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action." David Attenborough
The immense time of the evolution of life and the Cosmos is overwhelming to our evolved brains on Planet Earth. If we can combine imagination and science that is Einsteinian nobility. Religious stories are easier for the human mind to process because the stories revolve around the human and its limited history. The Scientific story is overwhelming because it challenges human solipsism and demands a more expansive perspective on the long and diverse history of natural and cosmic evolution.
Montaigne believed animals had something to teach humans and along that line I too think that animals past and present have something to teach in terms of theology. Sir Francis Bacon stated, "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth man's minds about to religion." But in the light of modern science( the size and age of the Universe, and the age and evolutionary drama of planet earth) I would like to counter that quote. Now it is a problem of coping with what we have found out in the scope of geological time. A little imagination leads one to religion but when one really thinks and imagines with depth the Universe and Earth's evolutionary drama surely any typical religious concept of god becomes exposed as petty, provincial and limited.
One of the most resourceful and lasting species has been crocodiles and sharks and one thinks of the millions of years of their survival and how much depends on a vicious cycle of consumption. I knew a boy years ago who was taken down by a crocodile in front of his father. In a world such as this that existed before the evolution of modern humans one wonders what pleasure the christian god got out of the elemental evolutionary drama. A God who watches the sparrow fall has no problem overseeing this blood sport. His eye is on T-Rex and I know he is watching me? Not so comforting a thought is it. In the light of geological time the christian god makes no sense. It did not make sense even in the blink of an eye of human written history much less in evolutionary time. The created gods of the human mind are too small and petty for the grandeur of the stars and universe. Human gods do not even cover the scale of the earth and its history much less the universe. It used to be said that a little philosophy would lead to atheism but much philosophy would lead to religion. Again in the the light of modern science and natural history I would counter by saying a little knowledge and imagination leads to religion but greater knowledge and greater imagination leads to wonder and skepticism.
"A general problem with much of Western theology in my view is that the god portrayed is too small. It is a god of a tiny world and not a god of a galaxy much less of a universe." - Carl Sagan
"That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection." Charles Darwin
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King
Author of Blog
Born in the United States of America. Spent my Childhood in Kenya, East Africa. Graduate of George Mason University in Global Affairs with a concentration in Africa and the Middle East. What I desire is not total agreement but thoughtful people. To share ideas and expand knowledge in the era of globalization.