Monday, November 20, 2006

Binary code...

If you're like me you spend time and energy trying to make your life better. It seems counter-intuitive to spend time and energy making your life worse. Or does it? Just as there are people who short the stock market, betting that a stock will fall, maybe there is a similar strategy to living? Perhaps going to hell is a way to get to heaven?

When you are a kid you are afraid of the deep end of the pool. It's just so damn deep. You swim hesitantly to the bottom, but you chicken out before you get there, you lose your air, and the experience is no good. Of course if you make a b-line straight for the bottom of the pool, then you can plant your feet firmly on the sub-aquatic floor and use that bottom as a spring point that will catapult you to the surface in a wonderfully bubbly upward trajectory.

What is it in us that is able to distinguish good and bad? Pros and cons? Right and wrong? Heaven and Hell? While logic and experience certainly help bolster our opinion, there is something involuntary in us that automatically makes these sorts of "feeling" judgments. So if the human animal is hardwired to feel what's good and what's bad, then you have to ask yourself do these qualities exist objectively in the universe, or are we just deeply programmed to slice everything up into a vague collection of opposing forces?

I was moved by the words of Katherine Jefferts Schori, the new head of the Episcopalian Church, in yesterday's NYTimes magazine. "I understand the creation story in the scientific sense - big bang and evolutionary theory - as the best understanding of how we have come to be what we are: not the meaning behind it, but the process behind it." Now there's a distinction you don't hear many religious leaders making. The difference between "how" and "why."


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