Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Mystical Mind

We all have a certain lack of self-knowledge. We experience ephemeral emotions and events that we can not repeat, can not define, and can not fully grasp. There is a hole in our minds, and we all know it. We can’t put a label on it, but it’s there. Something is missing. Something is supposed to be there.

I recently listened to a podcast entitled “What Can Science Tell Us About God”. My flippant response is “nothing”, but I don’t hold that against theism, it’s more a condemnation of science.

Apologetics315 describes the podcast as:

Lewis Wolpert (Emeritus Professor of Biology, University College London) says there is no evidence for God whatsoever and religion finds its origin in tool-making. Russell Cowburn (professor of nano-technology, Imperial College London) is a scientist defending the Christian position.

Prof. Wolpert, the atheist, makes a comment at the 13:14 mark:

I want to tell you, you all, myself included, have a mystical aspect to our minds. We all have it. All people have it.

I’ve taken this a bit out of context so don’t think that he is admitted anything supernatural (he is actually arguing the opposite; that evolution created this aspect).

This got me thinking about the human experience. The lives we live inside of our minds and body are not well defined. Slowly, over the course of our lives we come to understand how the soup of chemicals effect us. What is joy? What is angst? We struggle at times to wrap our logic around the incoherence of our emotions.

My grandma died a few months ago and it was really the first time I had ever experienced loss. I was never terribly attached to our pets or to other family members who passed away. I empathized with others experiencing loss, but I had never felt it myself. I was surprised how vivid memories would sadden me abruptly weeks afterwards (even now as I write this I feel it again). Even with this recent experience I couldn’t think of anything to write in a condolence card today for someone I used to work with. It was his grandmother too, but I didn’t know what to say, and I hate being the 9th person to write, “Sorry for your loss.”

Science can tell me nothing about this. I can not sit and experiment with my emotions until I’ve codified every nuance. I can’t apply logic to feelings that have never occurred before. The gaps in my self-knowledge are immense. Why do I chew on pens? Why am I compulsive about some things and lax about others? What is the purpose of my life?

There is a great deal that I will never know, nor can ever know about myself. There is a great gulf in my mind. A great sea of the unknown.  Something is supposed to be there.

Where is this God, you ask? He's right there.


Neal Meyer said...

Mr. Shelley,

It seems you are starting to imbibe from the cups of wisdom...

BTW: Your posts over the past few months have been stellar.

Brian Shelley said...

Fewer posts = higher quality perhaps?

Thanks for the compliments.