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Monday, April 21, 2003

I used to believe fiercely that the reason people resorted to religion was that they wanted comfort. That seems to be a popular enough position these days, the idea of religion as a crutch being one which has reached cliche status within the self proclaimed "intelligentsia" of high schools throughout the country. People face an uncertain world within which they can be lost without a trace, an anonymous collection of carbon rings which decided it might be a good idea to come together and share some catalysts for an average of 70.2 years. Within such a framework, it seems likely that some overarching purpose might be suited to provide such a metaphysical fix. Religion as a drug has had its share of propornants, too, you know.

Is that really the case, though? In a universe thought to be purely deterministic, as far back as people have been explicating their views on the subject, people have always built in a wildcard to any system which sought to determine the cosmology of our universe. Descartes was perfectly content to have animals as machines, but asserted the existence of the soul purely for aesthetic reasons. To what degree do people assume that their actions are their own, and not the coincidental result of a voltage gradient across a biological circuitboard? To a rather large one, in fact, and the answer always comes back to the "almighty."

The symbol for God ought not to be a cross, or a star, or a crescent moon. It ought to be a pair of dice. People want, at their very core, to believe honestly that everything happens for a reason, but nobody would accept a quantum deconstruction of their molecules to be that reason. People want the facts to support the idea that at least someone's will was behind it - if not human, than otherwise. God is the universal random number generator - physical laws are merely suggestions, and the past and future are as transparent as the air on a crisp New England morning, not some murkey depths through which we must wade in order to decide which car to buy, which job to take, or which calibur to use in ending our time on this earth. The only comfort people can find in the world is that they have some control over it - ironically, the only way to do this is to assume a power unimaginably great.

I imagine that at some point, someone might find out that either things are random or they're not. It would give me a great amount of artistic pleasure if they managed to do this scientifically, with a coin flip.

cranked out at 3:01 AM | |

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