Magical Thinking

Saw Bill Maher’s documentary, Religulous this past weekend. It was very good and funny. I was out in the studio attempting to write today, but kept being distracted by my thoughts about it.

I’ll start with this: As Bill Maher’s movie wants us to recognize, the stories of all religions are pretty far-fetched.

But, somewhere, there is an explanation for how we got here and the way everything in nature is all connected; The way every creature is designed with so much specificity, including man, gifted with some awareness and understanding (but clearly, not enough).

Whatever that explanation is, the one we’ll never know because it’s unknowable. It must be an amazing, incredible, unbelievable story. If, somehow, we ever heard the details, could we comprehend them? The real story might seem as ridiculous, as hard to believe, as all the myths and fables of organized religion.

But maybe not. Maybe it would make sense, even seem obvious. The truth has a way of seeming apparent, once you hear it. As Steve Hagen points out in “Buddhism, Plain and Simple.” Believing the truth doesn’t require any faith, one only has to learn to “see.”

But that’s not as easy as it looks.

The most brilliant minds in the world, the ones born with a gift for problem solving and a desperate curiosity to match, don’t know much. There are theories, some, we’re told, have been proven. But for those of us, less gifted, barely able to figure out how to get through the dailiness of life, we require faith to do anything. We have faith in the things we are told, big and small. We believe in expiration dates on food products, for example, and that some things are poisonous. We believe we’ll get well when we’re sick. That someone will love us forever when we marry.

Ok, maybe we’ve grown cynical and don’t believe that love will last, or our leaders will be honorable, or our money, safe in the bank.

Still, we require faith to do almost anything.

So, it’s not so strange that people find comfort in, what seem to be, unbelievable stories. We like to pretend. We need to. It gives us the impression that we are safe, that life is predictable, that we are in control. Could we even function if we didn’t have these fictions woven into our every thought?

This entry was posted in 5. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Magical Thinking

  1. faren kaye says:

    yep mans attempt to explain the inexplicable with tht tools he has to work with at the time
    in an attempt to restore order to disorder

    i have broken this all down into phases. first, you have to survive the womb and all the external forces that assail it, then you have to be born, at the right time, in the right way, from the right womb…then you have to survive childhood diseases, microbial or those induced by man…then there is teenage and adolescent self dissolution and destruction…then there are the random acts i.e. the runaway mac truck, terrorized airline, inflamed ex lover, the mid 20′s thru late 30′s thing….

    then, middle age and all the neoplastic invasions it may imply..

    those who have successfully dodged all of these obstacles are relegated to the various insults hurled at them by old age and all its complications.

    not to be continued…unless you subscribe to quantom physics….

    if you dont get a slap

    you will make the last lap

  2. ailyn says:

    One thing I have strived to remember over many years and movements of philosopy and belief through my life, is that all the words, beliefs and apparent fiction are pointers toward something real that makes all of those things unnecesary for the ability to experience “it”. We tend to get lost in the words and forget that there’s something to experience that is uniquely ours.

Leave a Reply