If my language is too “religious” for you, feel free to transpose it all into the key of psychology. Speak of archetypes and semi-independent complexes. Feel free to hypothesize that I’ve merely learned how to enter some non-ordinary mental states that change my body language, disable a few mental censors, and have me putting out signals that other people interpret in terms of certain material in their own unconscious minds.
Fine. You’ve explained it. Correctly, even. But you can’t do it!
And as long as you stick with the sterile denotative language of psychology, and the logical mode of the waking mind, you won’t be able to — because you can’t reach and program the unconscious mind that way. It takes music, symbolism, sex, hypnosis, wine and strange drugs, firelight and chanting, ritual and magic. Super-stimuli that reach past the conscious mind and neocortex, in and back to the primate and mammal and reptile brains curled up inside.
Rituals are programs written in the symbolic language of the unconscious mind. Religions are program libraries that share critical subroutines. And the Gods represent subystems in the wetware being programmed. All humans have potential access to pretty much the same major gods because our wetware design is 99% shared.
Only…that cold and mechanistic a way of thinking about the Gods simply will not work when you want to evoke one. For full understanding, the Apollonian/scientific mode is essential; for direct experience, the Dionysian/ecstatic mode is the only way to go.
– from “Dancing with the Gods“, by Eric Raymond
We have established that I am a spiritual being, as well as a rational one. We have determined that it is to the benefit of myself and those around me for me to embrace and cultivate spirituality. That indeed, my happiness and fulfillment may depend on it.
Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Supose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world that licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.
– Puddleglum in “The Silver Chair”, by C.S. Lewis
We have posited that even in the absence of objective truth, the simple fact of belief itself is powerful. That it enables myself and others to reach their full potential. That in changing our perceptions of the world and of ourselves, it enables us to effectively remake the world.
We have seen that I have an innate predilection for certain basic, core beliefs. Beliefs that are unsupportable from a purely rational perspective.
I can choose to cleave to reason and reject beliefs which defy it. I could admit that many people probably feel special, chosen, at some point in their lives. That the evidence is against my faith in humanity’s basic goodness and potential.
Or I can choose to believe, and to build on that belief.
Was there ever, really, any question?
We’ll crucify the insincere tonight
We’ll make things right, we’ll feel it all tonight
We’ll find a way to offer up the night tonight
The indescribable moments of your life tonight
The impossible is possible tonight
Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight
– from “Tonight, Tonight”, by The Smashing Pumpkins
I choose to believe that I am special, that I am set apart to do great works.
I choose to believe in the potential of the human race for goodness and love.
I choose to believe that you are beautiful.
I choose to believe that it is the spark of God that see I glimmering in your eyes.
I choose to be the hand of the divine on earth.
I choose to believe that we can move mountains.
I choose to believe that we can still save the world.
I choose to be absurd.
I choose the romantic over the realistic.
I choose to interpret the world through myth-colored glasses.
I choose to believe the tragedy is real, and to mourn it.
I choose to believe that redemption is at hand, and to take hold of it.
I choose to believe in the power of belief.
I choose to believe that we will win.
I choose to trust my vision when my heart unfolds and I am lifted up.
I choose to believe that we are full of light and power.
I choose to believe that evil shrinks at our approach.
I choose to believe that I am not alone.
I am electric
with my face to the sun
– Micheal Pritzl
I will not deny myself. I will be who I was meant to be.
Dance, as though no one is watching,
Love, as though you’ve never been hurt before,
Sing, as though no one can hear you,
Work, as though you don’t need the money,
Live, as though heaven is on earth.