Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Jan 4, 2010 7:22 AM PST
As a psychiatrist, I always talked to my patients about their spiritual beliefs. Tapping into these core beliefs is a key way to examine the individual’s thinking and help them to overcome self-imposed obstacles. I had made a habit of exploring the implications of their belief systems as a means of helping them discover that when they adopt ideas that contradict those that form the core of their moral being, they inevitably suffer.
It took me years to recognize that holding on to contradictory ideas was the source of my own suffering. I have a core conviction that humans are essentially good. That is necessary for us to rule ourselves, as is our inalienable right. I assumed that this meant we would naturally make the choices necessary to save human civilization if it were threatened. I held on to this notion despite the evidence of the continued acceptance of war long after any rational argument could be made in its favor.
When the corporatocracy declared its intention of world domination during the Cheney regime, I was awakened from my pleasant dream that Mankind would be its own savior. Like millions of others, I watched in horror as the vast majority of Americans accepted the lie that we must be willing to wage war to defend our "freedom." Expecting to see mass protests, I instead saw those who understood what was happening either give up in despair or choose to fight on, but without hope.
Not only was the prospect of democracy in the world at stake, but time was running out to deal with the twin threats of global climate devastation and overpopulation. I understood how the initial shock of 9/11 had led to a paralysis of will and even thought, but as Americans remained largely blind to their peril, I began to question my most basic beliefs. In the end, the contrast between what I thought true the lies the mass of those around me seemed to believe led me to reconsider my fundamental beliefs about reality itself. I could not see how anything short of a "miracle" could save us from ourselves.
my implicit rejection of the possibility that there was an ordering force in the Universe more powerful than the destructive forces of selfishness that
It is small wonder that in my experience, women who are empowered tend to be much more thoughtful than men and therefore more intelligent in their behavior. Women also tend to have a stronger sense of the interdependence of all of humanity and its environment, making them more receptive to the strengths, weaknesses and needs of others. It is in our collective efforts that true strength resides. That is why ultimately, women will save the world if it is to be saved. In the final analysis, it is only the love of women and the children they bring us that makes life meaningful for the conscious male of the human species.
Thanatos is the product of pure Id, which is the sum of our animal desires. Eros is a more subtle product of Id and Ego. It is our instinctual drives moderated by rational thought that leads to the recognition that what is good and right for the Self is always what is best for all. Religions have arisen each time that this truth was re-discovered in various parts of the world that had become isolated from the others as humans migrated from what once was the Garden of Africa, where Mankind arose.
The answer seems to me to lie not in rejecting the possibility of revealed wisdom, but to look to all the great religions for the clues to the nature of a greater reality that all Deists believe is to be found somehow. If we are open to this spirit, we may find an approximation to the truth of a reality that cannot be revealed by science alone. If we are not open to seeking such knowledge, it is impossible to find the evidence that God in some form may actually exist. This is the reason that the belief that God’s existence cannot be proven becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If God on the other hand does exist, then perhaps It will help us find the clues to the nature of Its existence if we seek knowledge of that which is true from all perspectives, including those to be found in the great works of religious literature.
Thus, if the null hypothesis is that God does not exist is valid, then one should not be able to find evidence for phenomenon which would be inexplicable in any other way. If a series of events can be shown to be so vanishingly improbable as to approach impossibility in the absence of postulating what amounts to a series of miracles, then one has produced indirect evidence of the possibility that God exists. At the very least, such evidence strikes directly at the assumption that science is in the verge of explaining everything about the Universe that is worth knowing.
If one wants to have faith in the idea that we are alone in the Universe, one has to start with the knowledge that this belief is no more than an assumption and seek to disprove it. The only way to do so is to do what any good scientist does: Approach both possibilities with an open mind and conduct thought experiments in your own life. Decide for yourself whether your experience, thoughtfully considered with rigorous logic, can be explained better by postulating that God exists or that he does not. As for myself, my experience has forced me to reject the null hypothesis.
Of course, other worlds will then be possible, for what we consider the Universe appears to be just one among an infinite number of possible Universes existing side-by-side in parallel dimensions that science is only beginning to perceive. What purpose would there be in Creation if in the end there was stasis and boredom? All the world is a stage, and all men and women merely players. Each of us writes the script that determines what part we play. We can work together toward an outcome that is pleasing to us all, or we can ruin the production by indulging our egos at the expense of the whole. We can only hope that if we are in the final act of this play that we call human history, a better part awaits us on another stage.
In the words of George Harrison:
We were talking…about the space between us all
and the people…who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion.
Never glimpse the truth, then it's far too late….when they pass away.
We were talking…about the love we all could share, when we find it.
To try our best to hold it there..with our love.
With our love, we could save the world…if they only knew.
Try to realize it's all within yourself.
No one else can make you change.
And to see you're really only very small
and life flows on within you and without you.
We were talking…about the love that's gone so cold and the people, who gain the world and lose their soul.
They don't know, they can't see…are you one of them?
When you've seen beyond yourself then you may find… peace of mind is waiting there and the time will come when you see.
We're all one and life flows on within you and without you.
Rick Staggenborg, MD
Coos Bay, OR