More on Transcendence
This is quick follow-up to the post on transcendence from the other day. I simply wanted to share with you two passages I’ve read recently that I found inspiring. I hope you like them.
“… one of the best secrets of life: let your self go. If you can approach the world’s complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only just scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things. Keeping that awestruck vision of the world ready to hand while dealing with the demands of daily living is no easy exercise, but it is definitely worth the effort, for if you can stay centered and engaged, you will find the hard choices easier, the right words will come to you when you need them, and you will indeed be a better person. That, I propose, is the secret to spirituality, and it has nothing at all to do with believing in an immortal soul or anything supernatural.” (Daniel Dennet, “Breaking the Spell,” p. 303)
And the second passage:
“First, all living humans are evolutionary success stories whose 80,000 or so genes have already managed to prosper through thousands or millions of generations. Second, all normal humans are incredibly intelligent, creative, articulate, artistic, and kind, compared with other apes and our hominid ancestors. Third, through the contingencies of human romance and genetic inheritance, almost everyone you meet will produce at least one great-grandchild who will be brighter, kinder, and more beautiful than most of your great-grandchildren. Such lessons in humility, transience, and empathy come naturally from an evolutionary perspective on human nature.” (Geoffrey Miller, “The Mating Mind,’ p. 432)
Both the above passages eloquently describe how, every day, we can experience ample wonderment and amazement at the miracle of life completely without reference to a hypothetical deity.