Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Naturalistic Beauty

One argument against a naturalistic world view is that it supposedly holds no room for beauty and the euphoric awe that is familiar to many theists. This concept truly saddens me, to think that these people have to believe in the supernatural to be happy with their life and the universe they live within. I believe that humans can find as much, if not more beauty and spiritual fulfillment though naturalism as compared to the supernatural (theism included).

Yes, I said spiritual. When most people hear this word, them begin to think of religiosity or some new age belief. But the supernatural does not hold a monopoly on spiritualism. Freethinkers can have incredibly strong spiritual experiences through an understanding of their universe and their place in it. In fact spirituality is any view though which an understanding leads to betterment and a feeling of oneness.

Any person who truly knows me can tell you that I can be seen as a deeply spiritual person in this sense. When I begin to talk about our understanding of the universe and our place in it, I develop a fervor that would put the most evangelical preacher to shame. The feeling I get from this knowledge is pure ecstasy.

Our universe is more beautiful then we could ever hope to conceive of. Think for the moment that you, and everything you see around you is composed of the remnants of long dead stars. Look at a simple stream of water and conceive of the countless molecules of water in an endless dance with one another through hydrogen bonding. Imagine a simple microbe and know that there are thousands of chemical and atomic reactions going on within that very cell, allowing it to exist. Know that we are not separate from the universe, but an infinitesimal part of it.

Our very existence is amazing, consider that a single change in a single specie in the past could have prevented you (or even the whole human race) from being here. Intelligence is not a necessity for the universe to exist, yet we posses this trait. It is almost as if we, with our complex minds able to think in the abstract, are the universe's attempt to understand itself.

So next time you see an insect, a star, a stone or even your fellow humans, don't pass it off as a trivial thing. Stop and think of everything that had to take place for you to see it, all the complex processes going on within that item and the fact that you are even able to understand this concept to begin with. Think of these things, truly think and you will feel a sense of wonder that can move the most pessimistic of us to tears. This world is beauty, relish your chance to experience it, trivialize no experience and never forget to live your life, you will not get a second chance.

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