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By Alex Aili
Perhaps one of the most profound reasons I believe in God is the general mystery of what it means to be human. Art, love, grief, longing for a better world, morality, heroism, hope and belief are but a few elements that refuse to “be modernized.” In other words, these elements fail to be quantified. Indeed, it’s peculiar that they lose value when quantification is attempted, for placing them under a microscope or scribbling them on a psychologist’s notepad only erodes their power; this is not because their value is in their mystery, but because human quantification methods fail to encompass their weight. Theists argue that their existence alludes to something greater than natural processes–transcendent, supernatural reality.
Let’s think about some of these elements…
Love and Grief
Some will say social evolution produces love and grief. What’s striking about this is the exaggerated need for relationships that go deeper than what’s necessary (look at all those love songs). Further, everyone knows embracing an intimate relationship is asking for pain; it would be easier to maintain superficial relationships and avoid getting to know each other at a significant depth (homeostasis, anyone?).
Yet humanity is driven to deep relationships because we believe working through the pain is worth it.
Grief only reminds us how much pain comes from love, so once again, why love to the extent that humans do? Why haven’t we learned to avoid grief?
I wonder if there is an evolutionary purpose behind grief. Maybe it’s a mechanism that motivates us towards progressing the species. Maybe it’s meant to push us towards the hope that one day our race will acheive immortality.
Wait a minute–we must backtrack.
The Core of the Matter: Purpose
In order to accept evolution, we must accept the reality of progress. The animal kingdom is working towards something. At its most basic level, its survival. The only way any of us exist at all is because we value survival. Values, though, imply purpose because something only has value when it serves a purpose. But if the material is all there is, then any “purpose” is only chemicals in the brain; it’s only subjective.
So survival is subjective, and the organisms alive today are alive because they happen to value it. Then what? The train of thought demands more. It expects an answer to “why survive?”
There can be no objective purpose if the material is all there is. An animal finds a “purpose” in killing and eating, but it only does this because it values life. It’s merely pragmatic–it behaves the way it does because “it works.”
So I ask again: why survive? Why is life so important?
Do we accept the notion that we’re surviving for nothing, or should we accept the reality that there’s a purpose that goes beyond survival?
Are humans striving towards immortality? If so, there’s still a purpose here. And is we attain it, we’re back to where we started, for we would then ask, “now that we’re immortal, what do we do?”
We can’t shake the need for purpose…
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