I am deeply terrified of my own insignificance.
As I meander my way through this maze of existence, I frequently find myself contemplating the reason for being. Maybe this existential crisis is caused by my inherent love for philosophy and anthropology; maybe it's thanks to all the substances I've smoked that's eaten at my brain chemistry; maybe it's simply human nature to question our own existence. Regardless, I can't seem to find an answer that satisfies me. Most cling to different faiths and spiritualities, using unseen deities as masterminds behind the human experience. I don't think I believe in a god, as much as I wish I did sometimes. While the comfort of having that mental cushion of salvation seems worthy of my consideration, I simply cannot follow a codified, supposedly divine-inspired religious practice.
I am a firm believer in the constraints of humanity. We are limited by our own incapabilities and brain-power. And these limitations greatly affect our everyday lives –– in communication, illness, love, our own identity. We're constantly striving to become the best version of ourselves, and in our search for perfection, we tend to overlook the beauties of life around us. We're held back by trauma and fear of being hurt; we build up our walls any time something bad happens and shy away from those who challenge us. Our own brain’s basic chemistry seeks survival, no matter the cost. With natural selection optimizing our opportunities for special continuance, we are lucky to have gotten to where we are. It's mere happenstance that the Homo sapiens (sapiens) species survived instead of the Homo erectus or the Homo neanderthalensis –– our existence is a miracle.
We can never really prove a religion; so why dislike or disrespect another's faith simply because you don't believe in it?
Yet we consistently fear the Beyond, and as our species has developed into what it is today, we've grown curiouser and curiouser. Just as we ponder the otherworldly realities beyond our own planet –– with Man stepping foot on the moon and rovers being placed on Mars –– we also consider that which we can never truly obtain an answer to. Even with outer space there are limitations of our reach, constraints at which we can never exceed. And this ideal relates even more so to religion and the overarching meaning of life. Whether it's the Ancient Greeks theorizing a collection of gods and goddesses who intermingle with humanity, or the Whirling Dervishes twirling to get to the liminal sphere between humanity and the divine, or Rastafarians waiting for their return to Zion, every religion seeks to satiate human-kind's thirst for understanding the unknown.
And who's to say that any of them are wrong? I mean, for all we know, Zeus could *actually* be the ruler of the gods, and Zion could be our destined afterlife. That's the problem with religion –– it's so caught up in arguing its own right-ness, that it forgets the inherent limitations and uncertainties of being human. We can never really prove a religion; so why dislike or disrespect another's faith simply because you don't believe in it? This, I believe, is the greatest fault of indoctrination.
I suppose my own philosophy synthesizes many of these different religious thoughts into one, creating a happy jumble of ideologies. Nature consistently amazes me, and I cannot help but feel drawn towards the more natural, Earth-centric religions or spiritualities. If there were ever a tangible goddess we could remotely understand, would She not be our Mother Earth? I believe in the power of crystals and herbal remedies, and I try my best to treat our Earth with respect. But my faith goes beyond that. I am so painfully aware of our incapabilities to understand the Beyond, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in some god-like Thing apart from our human limitations. I think most modern religious intention is to better the individual for the society's sake as a whole –– religions teach important morals and emphasize self-improvement; they're vital to maintaining a stable yet diverse social structure.
However, this most certainly does not mean church and state should be intertwined... but that's a topic for a different conversation.
I am so painfully aware of our incapabilities to understand the Beyond, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in some god-like Thing apart from our human limitations.
Okay, bear with me, but I'm going to delve into some philosophical ideas for a moment. Parmenides, a Greek philosopher from the 5th century B.C.E, argued against time, matter, and space. In his works, Parmenides describes this "one" as only existing in the present –– it does not start, it does not end, it has no constraint of time.
On the face of it, the argument is a blatant non-sequitur:
1. Take anything you like (call it x).
2. Either x is, or x is not.
3. If x is not, then x cannot be. The very idea of x is ‘unthinkable’.
4. By contraposition, if x can be then it is.
5. If ‘x is’ follows from ‘x is possible’ then x is necessary.
6. All that is, is necessary and cannot not-be.
As the very idea that ‘x is not’ is unthinkable, there is no place for negation in any account of ‘what is’. If there are two objects, x and y, then x is not y and y is not x, which is impossible. Hence x is necessarily One.
When I was first introduced to the Parmenidean One theory, my teacher described it with a metaphor: suppose existence is like a white board. As things are created –– in thought, in actuality –– they are written on this white board with an expo marker, some more permanent than others, and they are only erased once that thing no longer exists. However, the faint 'ghost markings' from the expo marker remain on the white board and slowly fade over time; the more frequent something or someone is thought about or done, the longer it lasts on the white board. Everything leaves a trace, but nothing is more meaningful than another.
Our thoughts have power, and our manifestations come from us alone.
My philosophy is something like that. As long as we're living and breathing and thinking of these religious thoughts, no matter their truth in a literal sense, as long as they're on our minds they are important and impactful. The validity of a religion should not be based on its capital T Truth factor, but rather the continuance of it amongst the world. Our thoughts have power, and our manifestations come from us alone.
I'm not sure what compelled me to write such a philosophical post on this random Wednesday in February, but it felt right. Could be divine intervention, who knows!
As we all continue to waltz through the realms of the living, we can only hope to live fulfilling lives and leave our own mark on that white board of the universe.
Existence is truly exquisite; embrace it.