I find astronomy astonishing. I never had the aptitude or fortitude to learn the intricate physics which describe the universe, yet looking at the night sky I am always filled with amazement at the magnitude of what I am seeing and of what lies beyond. Thinking about the many mysteries and the vastness of the universe always has a therapeutic effect on me. It calms me down and gives me perspective on the “human-scale” problems I am facing. You see, every problem dwarfs in comparison to the bigger picture. This beautiful speech (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M) by Carl Sagan about the pale blue dot i.e. our Earth always challenges my notion of reality and has brought in more emotion from me than any other event.
So, when we fight in the name of ideologies, religion and politics, I don’t feel anger or sadness. I feel disappointment. Disappointment of the fact that we humans fail to see perspective at times of quarrels and fights (that includes me too sometimes). Have you seen the show “Cosmos” hosted by Niel DeGrasse Tyson? If not, now is the time. The show not only elaborates on the intricate mechanisms of how our world works, it also admits what it doesn’t know (and you also get to see Niel’s awesome oratory skills). As humans, we are afraid of things we don’t know, we are afraid of things we can’t explain. Our forefathers explained it with supernatural forces, now we explain it with science.
Until science came about explaining things about our universe, we always thought there was something or someone controlling everything around us. As our scientific thinking moved forward, things which were credited to a “God” were now explained by scientific laws. And the gap is closing in. More and more things which couldn’t be explained before now have simple scientific explanations. Slowly we are beginning to realize we are just part of nature and nothing else, our developed consciousness is just a byproduct of evolution and not a ‘gift’ from God. This particular reasoning, if it is true, has a lot of repercussions. Nothing that we do will have a moral basis. Ideas such as karma, sins, heaven and hell and everything else which is in the same ballpark has no basis. So, if you’ve started panicking about society and the chaos that might ensue if there’s no “system” controlling our behavior, you might want to read this book called the “Selfish Gene” by Richard dawkins. Here’s an excerpt from wikipedia on what it’s about -
“The Selfish Gene is a book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. It builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams's first book Adaptation and Natural Selection. Dawkins used the term "selfish gene" as a way of expressing the gene-centred view of evolution as opposed to the views focused on the organism and the group, popularising ideas developed during the 1960s by W. D. Hamilton and others. From the gene-centred view follows that the more two individuals are genetically related, the more sense (at the level of the genes) it makes for them to behave selflessly with each other. Therefore the concept is especially good at explaining many forms of altruism”
If you’ve not grasped it by now, my belief in a supreme being has withered away to a point that I don’t even think about a supreme being. I know I cannot disprove the presence of one, but the burden of proof does not lie with me. I would like to quote another argument from wikipedia. It’s called the celestial teapot argument -
“Russell's teapot, sometimes called the celestial teapot or cosmic teapot, is an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims rather than shifting the burden of proof to others, specifically in the case of religion. Russell wrote that if he claims that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, it is nonsensical for him to expect others to believe him on the grounds that they cannot prove him wrong. Russell's teapot is still referred to in discussions concerning the existence of God.”.
The problem with my current world view is that I cannot expect everyone to follow it nor understand it completely. I understand the problem too. If you believe praying works for you and gives you peace of mind, I cannot do anything to stop you. That does not mean I will believe you without evidence.
So, in this pale blue dot of ours we live in, so many differences and so much energy is wasted on issues which might as well be non-issues. We waste so much time just to maintain our identity that we forget the real problems. Forget about what religion or caste you are part of. Forget about your nationality. All that matters is what you can do and what you are willing to do.