I have a few different posts I've got to get posted before November starts: an election day research project, and a Pinterest challenge update ( yeah you thought I'd given up, never fear guys I am slowly inching closer to that 30 pin goal.)
Despite the urgent need to post my first political post and to post pictures of my latest projects, I won't be writing either of those posts today. Today I want to write about something a little more spiritual ( original right?). Maybe it's because of the particularly thought provoking, old episode of House I watched on ion yesterday? In any case, here we go again.
In my studies there was a certain line of logic that came up frequently . It went something like this; human beings feel the need to explain mystery (using language ) and thus make up stories and belief systems to compensate for their fear(?) of the unknown ( W. Barnett Pearce, check him out, courtesy of the first seemingly scholarly work that popped up on google) . Many people use this line of logic to argue that religion and faith are really just compensation for the unknown. Some might even argue that this is evidence that science is the best way to come to know ( obviously false as science is itself a belief system which seeks to explain the unknown for the same reason). There was always something that bothered me in the class discussions that centered around this idea.
Why do we stop asking why when we get to mystery? I struggled in class to put words to the feeling I had whenever we got down to this question. It felt like putting the brakes on to quickly. By asking why, logic had somehow gotten us to the conclusion that human beings feel the need to explain mystery/the unknown but we stopped there. I think a better question to ask is why do human beings feel the need to explain the unknown? You don't see cats walking around contemplating the meaning of life. They eat they sleep they get on with things , and that seems to be enough for them. At least, they've yet to start up institutions where they sit around all day mewling at each other about it ...at least not that I know of...although now that I come to think of it cats do seem to slip off discreetly on a fairly regular basis. Elephants don't seem to have been seized by a an urge to stare up at the stars and chart their movement across the night sky. I've yet to see an ape look ponderously at a flock of birds flying and jot measurements down.
What cues us in to the fact that there are things we don't know? I've seen Beta shocked by one thing or another, but I haven't ever found her later curled up in a corner with the spark of a burning question in her eyes. You get what I'm saying , yeah there's evidence of some animals mourning
their dead but this isn't exactly compelling evidence that they are trying to explain
Personally, I feel less fearful of the unknown and more drawn to it. Sometimes I find myself obsessing about life after death, other times I am pinning images of what I hope is in my future like somehow that makes the future a little more knowable.
Why are we drawn to these questions? Do we see spaces, absences where there are none? I don't think we do. Deep down, we know that there is more , something beyond. Our stories express this , touch on these deeply felt gaps in mortal knowledge. For "time ", something we've created to measure our seemingly limited lives, there's "eternity" something that defies our own institution and points to something bigger, something more ( is it "more"?). We feel it and so we ask, once we've asked we must explain...at least, that's my explanation ;)
*P.S. Maybe some of you don't think you do ask these questions , but unless you made a conscious decision to leave society in favor of a culturally isolated life and also chose to give up language then you are partaking in a belief system that answers these questions for you and thus you have been relieved of that fundamental need for now.*