Atheism And The Meaning Of Life. Pt. 6: Dude, I Am You!

The previous parts of this series:
Pt. 1: A Distinction
Pt. 2: Motivators
Pt. 3: Christian Existential Nihilism
Pt. 5: Biting The Bullet

The image on the left is an image of the Cat's Eye Nebula. It is a composite image, but it displays the awe striking beauty of the universe we live in. Whenever we look up, above us lies what seems to be an endless expanse of mystery and wonder. When we look down to the tiny world below us, we see the great mysteries of life unfolding, and below that, the often puzzling world of the subatomic. If our lives were only occupied by wandering through these vast mysteries, I think that would be a life well lived. 

But there is something else, a sort of experience that is difficult to describe, a feeling of being small, the feeling of the earth spinning around its axis, the earth around the sun, the sun around the center of our galaxy. The feeling of being an energy fluctuation in a sea of other fluctuations, where there are no objects, no lines to distinguish one thing from another, where time is arbitrary, where you can feel your body exchanging oxygen, or imagine your neurons firing in an exquisite symphony of thought. 

All of this sounds pretty abstract, and it is. I admit that when I first felt that I was hurtling on a huge ball of rock around a small fiery star I was struck with fear and panic. Any sense of control was lost. After being gripped by fear, almost at once I let go and I realised what a wild ride life is. In its miniscule scale and transience, there was beauty and wonder. I felt freedom in a way that was indescribable and overwhelming. This is life, and it is awesome.

These kinds of feelings are not unique to me, and there is a specific lyric, which would do better to be called poetry, expressing this feeling.

Black then white are all i see in my infancy.
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
lets me see.
as below, so above and beyond, I imagine
drawn beyond the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.

Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must
Feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines.

Black then white are all i see in my infancy.
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
lets me see there is so much more and
beckons me to look thru to these infinite possibilities.
as below, so above and beyond, I imagine
drawn outside the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.

over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition leaving opportunities behind.
Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line.
Reaching out to embrace the random.
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.
I embrace my desire to
I embrace my desire to
feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside and weep like a widow
to feel inspired to fathom the power, to witness the beauty,
to bathe in the fountain,
to swing on the spiral
to swing on the spiral
to swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human.

With my feet upon the ground I move myeslf between the sounds and open wide to suck it in.
I feel it move across my skin.
I'm reaching up and reaching out. I'm reaching for the random or what ever will bewilder me.
what ever will bewilder me.
And following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been.
We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.[1]
I don't want to analyse the lyrics too much, but the feeling of embracing the random is something I can identify with. I thought, when I became an atheist, that I would never have a spiritual experience ever again. Instead I got something much better. These feelings are not hard to come by either. Just look up at the sky on a dark night, you will see it there. You will see the universe looking at itself.


There is another experience that I want to mention briefly. I was lucky enough to go to a Chimpanzee sanctuary for my birthday last year, and the chimpanzees were being fed macadamia nuts. A female was trying to open a nut with a stick, when I noticed an already open nut just behind the fence in front of me. I picked it up and tossed it to her. She picked it up and ate it, and then proceeded to stare into my eyes for what was about one minute. The experience was humbling. She is an animal, and so am I. We are family, and it felt as though during that minute, she and I understood this kinship.

The feeling of being free, and being one with nature and reality is humbling and it is this poetry of living that can sometimes drive tears of joy into my eyes. No religious experience could ever compare with that ever.

[1] Tool - Lateralus
Post a Comment

Popular Posts