vendredi 5 juin 2009

Materialism versus spirits and gods

It's a beautiful morning outside the REL offices. Cool but sunny, clear skies, birds singing cup of perfect temperature tea. Not hungover, us that is, not the birds. The world seems a more hospitable place. We even feel the impetus to thank someone, somebody, something for this unexpected, doubtless fleeting and illusory sensation of meaning and hope. It surely points to a higher purpose for us all. The God impetus.
Nonsense of course.

It's all down to a rare good night's sleep, good food and a place to live. Mudane material things that don't seem to add up to enough mystery for some people. Some people let themselves be prone to seek an irrational explanation for things when the more prosaic explanation exhausts every other possible theory.
Take ouija boards. One stoned night many years ago, an REL memeber tells us, she joined in a session and decided, for a laugh, to push the wine glass they were using, to spell out all sorts of secret messages and histories and played along in schlock astonishment. The believers were delighted. When our REL volunteer finally told them it was she that had enineered it all, they just laughed and dismissed her account. The spirit exists, they told her and you sceptics should just get your head round it. Somehow, for them, the human element, the desire to take the micky, the 'social experiment' or the group dynamics just weren't seen as important or even relevant to the night's proceedings. The spiritual realm had been invoked and that held all truth. All other accounts were heretical and besides the point.

Why this need for other realms of immaterial forces? It's everywhere. We blame Plato for a lot of it - 'What is seen is not known, what is known is not seen' and all that voodoo poison. It's an attractive philosophical drug that bewitches you into believing in forms, souls and Gods. And aliens.
Take crop circles. Now, there's a very interesting (but mundane) explanation for this. Logistically, socially and economically one could construct an impressive story out of its ingredients. Who does what, when and how. But for some, this is too simple. It has to be aliens.

The Plato impetus compels them to dismiss the material, mundane grind of putting these circles together (and they are quite wonderful artistically) prefering to move straight onto their idea, their impetus and their magical nature. It's an elitist snobbish and ultimately boring account of how things get done.
Next time you feel like worshipping something because something is good, fascinating or even magical - look at the work and workers behind it because it is there that the explanation and interest lie. Not in some spaceship or form.