There is something in the back of the philosopher’s mind that can not be explained by anyone or anything. It can not be tested. Something that no matter how advanced we become, science will not provide an answer for. This void is constantly there and when thought about, it can make a mind go insane. Questions like – What is this that we’re experiencing? Why are we here? Where did this come from? These problems are deeply confusing and impossible to understand. We can’t even really prove that we exist at all. Our consciousness is truly amazing yet incredibly queer when attempted to be explained.
Our consciousness creates a struggle. Our brains have evolved to know, understand and explain. But we don’t have a way to explain these questions. And it seems so perplexing that we can probably assert that we never will. It’s the humility of accepting that and not just filling the void with anything that I find beautiful. Embrace doubt and search for answers.
We can all agree on essentially anything to fill the void if we want. But it’s using a combination of science and reason that can align the truth with the mystery. Instead of saying that we all agree that the earth is carried on the shell of a giant turtle, and if you believe it you will be granted an eternity of happiness, we can refuse to accept that and keep the search going. You can’t disprove this turtle, it may be the truth.
The problem with religion is that it stops the search. It stops the seeking of truth. When you know the answers to everything in life, what’s the point in looking? If you really know that when you die you will live on forever and ever in the most blissful joy you can imagine, it lessens the stress and desire to achieve something in this life. Afterall, if you know you have the afterlife set, you’re just kind of sitting through the previews right now. The feature presentation will begin eventually.
But this is flawed, because it is misaligned with truth. This claim that an afterlife exists at all has not be demonstrated. Therefore, it’s difficult to accept the claim. It doesn’t mean that we won’t live on, that can not be dis-proven, but we also can not make any claims about it. We can’t say anything about the afterlife, what it’s like or how to get there if we do not even know if it’s real. If you then default that it’s something we can’t comprehend, sense, or explain, then it is hypocritical and illogical to turn around and continue talking about it.
In religion, if you challenge something about God, it usually defaults to the mystery and incomprehensibleness of her nature. For example, if you want to question anything bad like rape, murder, why he “took” your son, or even some of the wars and slaughters from the old testament, the response most likely will be something to the degree of, “God works in ways we can not understand.” But then if in the next sentence, you talk about God’s love, what God is, or make any claims about God you have just committed a fallacy. How can you ever explain something that is inexplainable? There is no way of knowing or understanding that which can not be known. There is no spoon.
When this idea is shown, the concept of faith in their claim is generally brought up. “I know, it may sound weird, but I just want to sit here and have faith in my idea.” And that’s fine, you can have faith in anything. You could do this about anything, as Sam Harris has said, you can have faith that there is a diamond the size of a car buried in your backyard. The faith that there is could make you feel good. Digging for it hoping to find the diamond might bring you joy. But there is a truth here, either there is or isn’t a diamond buried in your backyard. And continuing to just have faith that there is is foolish.
It’s also difficult to accept the claims made about the incomprehensible when you’re looking at it from an outside perspective. You see millions of people laughing at the claims of Scientology, but to me it is equally as delusional to believe that there was a birth without conception. Ignore the fact that the baby who was born is our God, just the fact that a woman became pregnant and had a child without engaging in sexual reproduction with a man is amazingly difficult to accept. We’re not an asexual species by any means, it’s impossible. There is no reason to accept this claim. But many people do accept it, and believe it to be true because their void has been filled by an idea. And the idea makes this claim. And having the void filled is so important to them that they’re willing to accept any claims made by the idea, regardless if they’re compatible with truth.
When broken down it looks like – I believe A, A says B, therefore, B is true. However, this is a fallacy because A could be wrong. You just have faith that A is not wrong. Every other B, C and D claims that A makes still need to be verified independently. Even if A did happen to be true, you still can not accept another idea just because A suggests it. However, if you argument goes – A is true and is right about absolutely everything, A says B, therefore B is true, then there is no reason to continue any kind of conversation. You’re willing to accept anything and nothing can change your mind. This is a problem with faith.
However, although I hold such a high regard for truth, I do understand and accept that there still will always be a void. Not everything will be explained to me. This is why some people say “science solves the how and religion solves the why.” There is something instinctively beautiful and attractive to observing life in addition to knowing how it works. The beauty of the mystery is alluring, and it seems science doesn’t care about the why.
But science can help you determine the why by explaining the how. For example, the question of why do we get sick is explained by bacteria. But then if you ask why are there bacteria to make us sick, it gets tricky. You can talk about evolution and abiogenesis, but you can still keep going back further. Why are there stars? If you believe because of a big bang, why was there a big bang? Or if God created everything, why is there a God to begin with? Where did God come from?
I find it best to shrug my shoulders and say “I dunno.” I’m fine with embracing doubt. It wasn’t always like this, by I had a major shift in my perspective in 2008 when I read A New Earth and learned about the present moment. Truth, knowledge and understanding are very important to me, but there is also a place for the importance of just living in the present without thought. Just allowing everything to be as it is. After some practice I’ve learned how to instantly shift my focus to the present any time I desire to. Of course, there is the balance. You can’t just live in the present forever, you have to use your thought and action to accomplish anything physical.
What’s wrong with filling your void with something that isn’t true? Well, it depends on who you ask, but I find it to be sad if it leads you to also reject anything that is true, or accept anything that is not true. But that’s just my perspective, there’s nothing wrong with believing something that isn’t true. But false information can lead you to make incorrect assessments which can lead you to bad judgements and missing opportunities. Obviously incorrect assessments for most humans do not compare to a zebra incorrectly assessing a lion as a buddy, but it’s a path of falsehood. Like I said earlier, if you treat life like the previews rather than the feature presentation, you’re going to miss out on so much. If this is the only life you have and you’re wrong about your belief, that is irreversible. Being wrong isn’t the issue, it’s choosing to live your life based on this falsehood that is saddening.
If you’re part of any particular religion and you’re happy, that is great. I don’t want to take away anyone’s happiness. Happiness is different for everyone. Your religion may give your life meaning and I’m glad you found it. However, I just want it to be known that you can find meaning without knowing and you can find meaning without religion. I find it important to constantly reassess my beliefs to make sure they still align with what is true. I can find what is true due to experience and collective knowledge. I suggest trying this, it can be a life changing experience.
Essentially, I’m accepting my void. I don’t like the idea of filling my void without good reason. I’m perfectly happy having the void. I’m not ignoring it, I’m embracing it. I’m constantly on a search for knowledge, even with the big questions such as, What is this I’m experiencing? or What is Death? Have you attempted to accept your void rather than filling it?