God Is Listening
I have come to realize for all the things I know, little was taught to me by others. The Socratic Method of teaching operates from within. The educational system is merely a series of places for young people to gather and grow through socialization. We learn by observing. We learn by doing. We learn by being. This is not to minimize the importance of schools. Modern parenting is dependent upon school systems for monitoring our children, a job for which most parents are ill-suited and untrained. For that, we are grateful. But as a product of such a system, I find that most of what I am most convinced is true comes by way of inner analysis and personal vetting, rather than as a direct result of my rather expensive schooling. In this respect, it is likely the bulk of the knowledge I possess was not due to some reductionist reaction between what I already knew and was subsequently told, but merely the revelation of previously unseen truths in my possession from conception, a complete inter-universal taxonomy encoded and distributed throughout my being. All we need is a reminder of its existence.
This is an extension of what seems to be an eternal argument; the difference between knowledge and awareness. The first is based on the confidence we place in external source material to develop and sustain a particular position. The second is purely sensory, lacking any method for us to confirm our impressions other than to speak them aloud and await the reaction of others. This is the underlying conflict between science and faith, which shouldn’t be the mutually exclusive concepts they have developed into. We know what we know. We believe what we believe. The first is subject to further examination. The second should be, but rarely is. Modern science is the direct descendent of philosophy, which probed our desire to be closer to the gods so we might understand their reasoning and, through such understanding, learn our purpose. Modern religion, in its theological sense, is also beholden to the Greeks, at least as it applies to the form of the argument.
Inspiration is a purely sensory experience. Those who can claim to have enjoyed that ride will confirm its out-of-body character. Some will say it is the voice of God speaking through them, an argument impossible to confirm and difficult to deny. The ability of the fortress of firm belief to repel the siege of pure reason – Our faith will carry us forth against all doubt – barely raises the human credo above its base brute savagery, yet we can still admire the steadfastness of its adherents. My personal belief, steadfast as any, is no puzzle so complex as our existence can be reduced to simplistic canon. It does not appear we are so in control individually we can summon inspiration on demand. It comes and goes … even Shakespeare experienced writer’s block. This intermittency encourages the idea we are merely transducing messages from another source. That is, God is speaking to us through Aeschylus and Proust and, yeah, Bill Shakespeare. If we can receive and then find a way to express these messages in a form understandable to our fellow inmates, what does it say about our ability to transmit such messages back with the same frequency? Is the concept of prayer an elementary form of the idea? Have we sensed from the first moment of consciousness something unseen was listening in? This element of pleading to a higher order is part of every religious dogma, which we all assume is learned behavior. But, can the impulse be intrinsic to our being? Not taught, but rather branded upon our collective consciousness and thereafter adopted by every belief system. Even the most faithless of astrophysicists is sending digital prayers into the ether and hoping for some form of response.
The Earth is a dangerous place, but compared to other places in the galaxy it’s very hospitable for beings such as us. The idea we owe our existence to the planet is impossible to argue against. But this point of view leads us to a couple of false premises, one borne of faith and the other fostered by science. Judeo-Christian legend would have us cast to this place, which awaited our arrival. The Theory of Evolution is not so complete it survives all scrutiny, but it is certainly solid enough to make Genesis and the Eden legend difficult to support beyond the vague sureness of personal belief. The facts show we have risen to our current place within a timeline which coincides with the planet developing an environment perfectly suited to our purposes. We are a product of that development, accident or not. As for the science of our existence, the continuing assumption of complex lifeforms such as ours existing beyond our planet remains unsupported by any empirical evidence beyond the statistical, making its pursuit one of the most troubling elements of modern scientific study. These two pillars of the human condition (“In God We Trust, all others need facts”) lurk across from each other. Standing astride opposite banks of a river, each pillar is built on a strong foundation, rising to allow vision to go beyond the horizon and expand the limits of our senses. We started, from both perspectives, at ground level. Then, before there was religion, before there was science, before we knew where we were, or that others like us were living nearby, we were listening and talking to the gods. This goes to the root of our nature, every member of every tribe and clan in every habitable place on the planet simultaneously looking to the sky seeking answers. And receiving them.
If we have Purpose, it was imposed from the start. We are limited by senses which operate within certain parameters. That’s the impression our senses relay to us, at any rate. There is much in the way of information we are not capable of recognizing, due to those processing limitations. It doesn’t mean the information isn’t there; we could be unconsciously absorbing and retransmitting it, even transforming the information prior to passing it on. This would make us, collectively, the sensory nexus of the planet, of the solar system, even of the galaxy and beyond. If something from without wanted to know what was going on here, they could get it from us, even if we didn’t understand the process. The grand scale of human, and possibly non-human, participation makes distinction between individual joy and sorrow improbable. Everything comes into balance, the white light flying out from our prism, its message having little to nothing to do with us. The universe is granular and we are grains, no more or less important than any other. When we die, someone or two take over. The communication never stops. If we have a purpose, why not that? It goes beyond the individual being. It is the chorus, the measure of its emotional state and the grand total of all that is out there. If we are here to serve God, I can’t think of a simpler, or more obvious, way. Even Marcel Proust would concede the point.