A New Commandment Give I Unto You, That Ye Love One Another
My perspective is between.
As I understand how brains, bodies and minds work (to the degree that I do), it seems very clear to me that there is a reality out there that is largely independent of our experience of it, and that is not what we get to experience.
It seems that our brains build a model of the world which our consciousness gets to perceive. One of the sets of inputs to that model comes from reality via our sense organs, and another set of inputs comes from our experience and understanding and interest and context.
It seems that reality is far more complex than we are capable of consciously comprehending, so one of the tasks of brain is to focus the model on things of interest to our awareness.
Thus there is a very real sense, in which the state of our mind very definitely determines what it is in reality that we get to see and experience.
And that is a sort of filtering system.
It seems clear that our brains don’t actually create reality, but by filtering and colouring, they do create our experience of reality.
There seems to be another aspect of brain, that of our intuitive subconscious, which seems to derive from the way in which our brains store and retrieve information as interference patterns, rather than as serial images, which is much more like holograms than it is like photographs. This gives us the ability to instantaneously make associations, without knowing how we do it.
Thus we have this inner ability to know stuff, without necessarily knowing how we know stuff, that most educational institutions do their best to train out of us, but many of us manage to maintain and even cultivate.
In my understanding, this intuitive ability accounts for what most people call their experience of God.
It can be an amazing and profound experience.
For me, calling this god is a mistake, and it is a very understandable mistake, given most people’s lack of understanding of cellular biochemistry, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, computational theory, games theory, and practical computing.
For me, things like the KT boundary event, which seems to have destroyed over 99.9999% of life then alive on the earth (some 65 million years ago), and now seems to have been caused by a large rock, about the size of Mt Everest, hitting the earth, and events like the Deccan Traps volcanism, that similarly destroyed most life on earth; are very clear evidence that there is no purpose to life, other than the purposes we choose for ourselves, or accept from our cultures. Life is full of patterns and things that just do what they do, and we simply don’t yet influence them in any way.
And to me, it is profoundly moving and amazing that every human being capable of understanding speech is this incredibly complex assemblage of chemical, cellular, neurological, and software systems, in such profound complexity of interrelationship with each other, and our environment, that I often feel a strong sense of spiritual wonder.
For me, the reality of the science of us is far more moving and profound than any of the cultural stories that preceded it. Which is not to say that science has defined exactly what we are, it hasn’t and it never will. It seems very clear to me that we are so complex, that should I live for the next billion years studying how we work, I will still be profoundly surprised from time to time by the beauty and subtlety of the relationships of systems that allow us to be who we are.
Science does not deal in hard answers, it deals only in balances of probabilities between competing explanations.
For me, that balance of probabilities is many thousands to one that the idea of gods was an early cultural approximation of the truly profound complexity that resides in every one of us.
It seems clear to me that each and every one of us is a potentially infinitely creative entity, capable of unbounded love and creativity (and the flip sides of both ideas as well).
It seems clear to me that it is time that we moved beyond the old cultural ways of gods, and the newer cultural ways of money, and created a new age of abundance that values and empowers every human being.
For me, the old notions of faith are a barrier to the creation of such a world.
For me, the old notions of faith are an explicit denial of a possibility of infinite potential within each of us.