If you look hard enough for a reason to support something you want to believe in, you’ll find it. We select a belief as we do a mate, seeking for that which best reflects ourselves and our needs. Both are fragile and tenuous affairs, but how much more fervently one will hold onto some beliefs, after many loves have come and gone.
I have not extinguished the need and the searching within myself, for we are egotistical beings and it would be great to one day discover Truth or, Wow, how sweet it would be if I could buy the Jesus-heaven package. Seriously, I’d love to believe for it would bring delicious relief and the possibility of eternal unification with the Perfect. Who wouldn’t want that? But I can’t, not won’t, for to me it all rests on faith, and faith brings us into intellectual dishonesty, what any hardfast ideology is at its roots. The faith angle allows you to avoid a lot of tough questions and adds the extra touch of piousness which nicely protects the cognitive process from further research. Believing in those things which best satisfy our needs is not necessarily real, and who of us is capable of getting a complete, truly accurate handle on the intangible?
My crisis came when I personally decided that there was no life after death, a pretty harsh blow to my existing mental set, and the idea that there would be an end to me, pure and simple, made me depressed, despondent, and nearly insane, not to mention pissed off by that dreary prospect. Now this state of mind does nothing for the present, and once I realized that I was blowing what I had in the now because I was sad about what I would lose in the future, I cleaned up my act. Giving up beliefs does not mean giving up happiness for what is wrong with plain old existence, the fact of life, not the purpose of it? The presence of my emotions, interests, sexuality, etc., are in themselves “blessed.” I do not demean them for seeing them for what they are, parts of me that are a reflection of a fascinating universe. For me, the presence of all the living forms and the laws of nature are infinitely complicated and are no less beautiful, important nor interesting without a creator or Big Plan backing them up. Nor did giving up beliefs turn me into a moral leper, for I still see ethics as an important and useful tool for controlling the interactions of all of us animals.
An interesting clue to the origin of this search for meaning comes to us from Jung who, through psychology and anthropology, explored its history through our myths and symbols. He was once asked if he believed in God, to which he answered that he must, meaning that he was locked into it, like all of us are, by the eons of human symbols of the unknown, once an important substitute for knowledge. This, he believed, has become imprinted upon the human brain or nervous system and is manifest in our behavior.
Do we still need these old tools? Do we have to carry around antique remnants no longer important to the adaption of the organism? In Cosmic Religion, Albert Einstein noted that transition of religion from the original, fear-based, or primitive need, to the more civilized, moral religions now present satisfy social needs. The next transition, for him, was to separate these needs from religion, for they can now be served by knowledge and the laws of society. Spirituality to him then became the awe of the universe its natural laws.
Step out of the circle of self with all of your tenets of faith left there, and examine your need to believe rather than what you have found.
Bob Dylan sang, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” It’s all here to be felt, experienced and lived with and it can be fine, really, without being explained to pieces, magiccalled up, symbolized upon and paraded like a fop on holidays. Do you need the weatherman, the priest, or the astrologer to define your reality? The truth of life is not so bad or so good, it just is, and the interpretation of what is real is separate for each individual and will even change for any one person from day to day. I take each revelation, insight or belief that I may feel as just one part, of one time, of one mind, my own, and do not feel a sense of eternal “Eureka!” My search is an intellectual-emotional game and a biological need, a product of being a person. At least I’ll admit it and no longer feel a sense of loss at not being an Aquarian Child of God.