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Either I would have faith or I would watch myself float in my own caustic doldrums. The self-strewn debris of my world’s dismantled concepts would steep and steam around me, bruise and cut me.
For sooth, I liked science. I liked astronomy. I liked having out there around us those worlds of rock, gooed fire, puddinged and metallized vapours jelled by the deepest fridge. I liked the assurance of a continuing expanding, network of questions, the answers that scientists pursued and sometimes captured.
For a year or two I carried around with me a library book called 1001 Questions Answered about Astronomy that IF there were other planets outside our solar system, a likely location might be around Bernard’s Star. That caught my imagination because I knew there must be a whole wing of a library’s worth of data somewhere that would support this theory. Of course, now, there is data supporting the very probable detection of thousands of planets.
I thought interesting how the theory of evolution could still unsettle some people. I could gauge their reaction to my questions on the matter and see how some were full of a certain denial in their natures, how they were held within a certain point of view by their own inner sense of equilibrium. But was this just retarded realization on their part? A part of me wasn’t ready to conclude this. And so, what was that about, then?
I liked how on one inquiry on the nature of things led to unexpected branches of knowledge.
Tear off the mask of the world; this was my compulsion. Were hero astronauts really so fucking on top of it all? Why was Neil Armstrong an atheist, and Buzz an Episcopalian? And Edgar Mitchell a Noetic Science guy?
Faith, though, and where faith so often leads, was always about more subtle realms than mere space. Science boy wasn’t destined to be Science Grown Up. I was dense-headed about math. But my intellect would always serve me well, a left-hand pry tool or scalpel.
Church, my childhood church, churches in general, throughout my life? These experiences were never a large impediment to my free inquiries. I was raised in a Lutheran offshoot, social justice-conscious congregation. UCC never taught me anything I had to intellectually or even doctrine-related, refute later in life,
There was the town Catholic church a block from my house. In my high school years, I got to meet the young Seminarians who ran my friend’s Instructional classes. I meditated in the church cemetery, up the hill across the street from my block.
Yes, meditated. My mystical application of… and you might be hoping I’ll get around to this eventually…of my personal Faith. I want to get this letter posted. I’m Not going to get to the bottom of this in a format that could hold anyone’s interest, so I’ll make this quick.
Scientific culture or even Sci fi wasn’t on the case, as far as I could see. Even in speculative fiction, at least in the books I came across in my library, the first hint at a plausible immortality of consciousness was a story about cryogenics. H G wells didn’t discuss the soul. Asimov, Clarke were atheists, maybe even Bradbury, despite his poetic thralls. What they revealed in their writing was more about The Human Spirit, as, with an inventor or an intrepid world or otherworld trotter, and not so much a human’s Spirit.
So, yes, I turned to the East, to those ancient observers and compilers of the scientific methods by which they observed the roots of consciousness, through self inquiry, thourh meditation. Scientific method, it is: those paths of meditational inquiry. In crucial aspects, this process is no less Scientific than following along with your High School Chemistry or Physics textbook. If you perform the Tests yourself, you should observe the same results. Faith comes in when you accept the validity of the results and understand that others have previously put in the efforts to go farther than you and their results further down the path have kept them committed to this line of inquiry.
I’ve not seen the end to this matter yet, so I persist.