We know there is a lot that can’t be explained. We know that a lot has been explained. I needed to clarify the difference between believing in something that flies against the face of reality and science, and believing in something that, while not entirely supported by evidence, at least doesn’t conflict with available evidence and can merge with it seamlessly, without being too convenient.
For example, if we claimed that rainbows didn’t exist until god put them there after that big flood, we could counteract that with the knowledge that rainbows are not mystical in origin, but are a result of sunlight refracting through moisture. As long as there has been sunlight and moisture here, there have been rainbows. It would be irrational to assume otherwise.
However, if we stated that a person could direct their intent to affect matter somehow, well, we do have studies in quantum physics which have shown that human intent can make atomic particles move, be in two places at once, and even move through time.
I think it is this science that is behind many of the things we consider supernatural. I’d be willing to say they aren’t supernatural, but completely natural, yet really interesting.
Any belief system that seeks to explain everything is not being honest, in my opinion.
So, that said, here’s where I’ve been heading:
We understand some basics of the universe, such as the fact that energy can’t be created or destroyed, only changed. We also know from science that all things are simply energy that vibrates at infinitely varied frequencies. Nothing mystical at all there.
As stated above, we know that human intent does have an effect on the world, at least in some small way. Some, but certainly not all, things that are considered supernatural might be measurable and verifiable through continued study in quantum physics. We certainly feel a sense of awe when we see something extraordinary happen, but that doesn’t mean it is of supernatural origin.
I see some spirituality as simply adding myth to science. Where I’m leaning is to recognize many of the beliefs that are often called spiritual, but are actually just part of the way energy works in the universe.
I think love is a major factor and is the crux of the meeting point of science and what we’ve called spirituality. It’s the point at which people often separate the two. We know that we feel love. It is real to us, yet we have no measurable evidence of it. We only have experience.
Difficulty arises because experience can be false at times, such as a hallucination, or an acid trip, or even an assumption. How do we determine the difference between valid, actual experience, and that which is psychosomatic, invented or illusion?
I know, it’s all an illusion, right? Well, if it’s all an illusion, then there are many illusions that all of humanity shares, such as the illusion of gravity, right? I’d even offer a counter-argument: nothing is an illusion. Either way, I’d like to avoid getting that existential here.
So, we can say we know we love someone. We experience it fully. Almost all religions say that god is love. Lots of new agers say that love is energy of an extremely fast, fine or “high” vibration. I’d say that’s at least technically feasible, given that all energy is vibrating differently and emotion is certainly energetic. But is it somehow mystical, or is it just another vibration out of an infinite band of vibrations? We certainly feel very moved by it, and it is the core source of what many people consider to be spirituality.
Now, on to the big question: god, or spirit, or whatever you want to call it. Some kind of consciousness that supposedly created the universe. Here’s what we know scientifically: that all things move from simple beginnings and become more complex. Nothing pops into the universe suddenly being already complex. Everywhere we look, things gradually evolve and increase in complexity. Any being capable of intentionally creating a universe must itself be overwhelmingly complex and evolved.
This creator itself, should it exist, must have evolved from simpler origins. The only concept that could include a creator that is in keeping with what we know of science so far, is one that itself evolved, which leads to the idea that we ourselves might after a very, very long time, become that evolved ourselves. Then it becomes a matter of simple evolution, albeit on a vastly larger scale. Nothing spiritual about that at all, it just becomes a universal eventuality.
It would only make sense that there are many levels of progression between where we are now, and where such a being is, along the evolutionary path. So, perhaps what people call “spiritual guides” are just beings that are somewhere between where we are and where “god” is. They are far more evolved than us, yet not evolved enough to have the knowledge or technology for constructing universes.
Of course, all of this is mere speculation, and I’m not adhering to the belief of it, I’m simply exploring what makes sense according to what we currently know. I’ve chosen not to decide what I believe about all this, as I would like to base my beliefs on evidence from now on. However, I’m quite open to exploring where quantum physics can take us and how we can further explore what we are capable of discovering about the finer aspects of ourselves and the universe as a whole.
I think it would be wise to put aside assumptions of faith, such as what we think god wants or likes or condemns, etc. Until we at least figure out the nature of a creator, or if there even is one. It’s beyond arrogant to assume a position of certainty about god in any way. Same goes with what we call “spirituality”. I think it’s well worth exploring, but let’s not state any such beliefs as certain fact unless we can demonstrate them.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with holding beliefs and saying “this is what works for me.” As long as no one is attempting to make such beliefs become the basis for education, law and policy, then exploring such things is harmless and quite interesting.
I think it’s necessary to have a healthy objectivity and be neither too willing to believe nor willing to reject out of hand the things we can’t yet explain. Remember, we once thought that a sun god drove his fiery chariot across the sky. Now we understand how the stars themselves are formed. I think it’s only a matter of time….a very long time, until we figure out many of the other questions we now have at hand.
© 2015 William Suphan
- On Reason
- The Dirty Secret