Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Why the Sunglasses?

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a mystical land of his own perception. He knew that the world was personally interested in his every move and even his thoughts. This meant that every problem or setback was just a test of his faith and every success or coincidence was nothing less than a miracle.

Because of this, he felt that both he and the world were special. It gave him purpose and meaning.

While the boy did not realize this, his mystical perception was due to his magical sunglasses that he always wore and never took off. In fact, he lived in a land where almost everybody wore these sunglasses. Of course, these people weren't blind. They knew that not everyone else had these sunglasses. They were special, and they felt it made them "better".

The people in this land would gather together once a week, to tell each other about the miracles they witnessed and how lucky they were to have such wonderful sunglasses. Some people would tell others about how they were tempted to take off the sunglasses, but the world was too bright and it hurt their eyes, and now they were grateful to have such sunglasses.

So the boy was faithful and always wore his sunglasses.

However, he didn't realize how much those sunglasses colored the world until he took them off. At first, he was scared to take them off, for the brightness from the clarity was painful, but when his eyes became accustomed, he was amazed at how much more beautiful and colorful the world actually was.

And the specialness? Well, it changed…

The "old" specialness was gone-- completely and utterly destroyed. The mystical land that had once loved him had vanished, and in return was a strange land that didn't love him, or hate him. This world just didn't care one way or the other.

And while this saddened him, a "new" specialness appeared. For you see, while he wasn't purposely created, he did exist, and this made him unique in a different way.

And the purpose and meaning? That changed as well…

The absolute meaning given to him and everyone else was gone-- completely and utterly destroyed. But a new meaning replaced it. This meaning was different in that it was personal. It was unique.

Interesting, huh? Before meaning was global and individuality was unique, now meaning is personal and individuality is global. Didn't understand that, eh? Let me explain it this way … before humans were specially created above the rest of life. But now, I realize that humans aren't any more special than the rest of the animals (being one of them), however, now all animals and humans are connected and now special and unique in the cosmos((+Yes, there is a chance that there is life out in the cosmos, but it is also clear that we will never know it… so while we are alone, we got our specialness back. ;-) )).

Alright, no more analogy and no more poetry… I'm just trying to explain the two sides have different perspectives, and this colors everything. You can show these people on one side all the transition fossils and rational arguments you want, but it doesn't do any good.

The other day, my wife was complaining about my lack of faith, and said, "I just can't understand. I hope there's a God, and that's why I believe." That couldn't be said any better. This hope is the basis for the belief. Not reason or evidence. This belief then gives the adherent a "world view" that becomes comforting. Sure, there may be a hell, but that is avoidable with a loving father that watches over the little sparrows.

They can't imagine a life without their god of choice. In fact, I read a comment on a web site that said:

I wouldn't call myself an atheist. To be an atheist is not to be stunned by the mystery of things or to walk around in wonder about the universe.

To those of us who subscribe that the world originated and is maintained by natural causes, we are stunned that people would feel that way about us. We do sit in awe and wonder at the universe. Carl Sagan once said:

Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of the astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.

And Richard Dawkins in Unweaving the Rainbow wrote:

I believe that an orderly universe, one indifferent to human preoccupations, in which everything has an explanation even if we still have a long way to go before we find it, is a more beautiful, more wonderful place than a universe tricked out with capricious ad hoc magic.

And yet, both sides insist that their perspective is more correct and more awe inspiring.

Let me end with another quote by Carl Sagan from his Pale Blue Dot essay:

In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed"? Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.

So when you take off your sunglasses, the brightness may sting a little bit, but you'll be amazed at what you see.

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