Monday, May 14, 2012

Enlightenment of Another Kind

Early one recent morning, just before 9:00 am, I attained a certain level of enlightenment. It may be transitory, like so many epiphanies before it, but it doesn't feel impermanent. But then, neither did the myriad others.

I'd been scratching my head about existence. You know, why we are here, where "here" is, where "there" is, and other questions with no unequivocal answers. The easy answers come from "faith," which I do not have. 

This morning, for no apparent reason, I was wondering why it matters to me. Why do I care about "why," anyway? It hit me in an instant. It's simply an emotional response to uncertainty.

We are all about our emotions. That's it. That's all it is. Emotions control us. They drive us. They are in control. Not us. When we ask ourselves, or others ask us, to control our emotions, we're being asked to do the undoable. We cannot control our emotions. It's impossible. If we could, we'd be empty vessels. There would be nothing to us but meat and bone. Walking corpses. Zombies. Humans are, well, human because we possess a unique combination of intellect and emotion.

All of this relates directly to another question that has been nagging at me for eternity as I know it. That question, of course, has to do with spirituality and a related state of confusion, belief in a supreme being. The question is: why do so many people believe in some god or other? I have long asked myself: why can't they see how utterly fantastical such a belief is?

And today's answer: it's all about emotion. Just as I have emotional responses of one kind or another to music, poetry, human suffering, uncertainty, and so on, some people also have emotional responses to unanswerable questions. Their emotions are so strong, their needs to understand are so great, that they accept divine explanations. They allow "faith" to fill the void created by an emotional need for answers. I am different only to the extent that I don't "need" to know, I just want to know. I accept that I cannot know, because it is my conviction that there is no explanation.

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