For about five or six years now I’ve been posting my opinions to the Internet in various forms on various forums, and it has recently occurred to me how much they have changed. But this makes sense, because I have changed in that time, probably more so in the last three years than in the previous fifteen. That’s why I opened this blog. It’s not for you, the fictional reader who probably will never see these words anyway, but for me.
Who am I now? So much has changed. The “miracle” of life has ironically caused me to stop believing in miracles. I’m a redheaded preacher’s daughter, raised a good orange Anglican. My parents are from Belfast, even if I’ve never visited the Eire. Yet Jesus never resonated with me, I quickly abandoned the faith of my parents. Searching for meaning, I sought for magic and the divine within nature herself, within the earth. My beliefs held much in common with some modern Wicca, to the point where I even identified myself as Wiccan for a time. I don’t regret this, so many of those principles still resonate strongly with me; respect for Earth, the universe, nature, my fellow human beings and life itself, the idea of liberty to do what one wishes so long as you try to avoid harming others, it’s very alluring. Indeed, I met my girlfriend of almost five years now in a coven I agreed to visit. My husband greatly respects my former beliefs, even if he doesn’t follow them. I meant to bring my children up with a strong spiritual background, and the ability to search for and find whatever form of god they choose. But something has happened in between.
Now, understand, I’ve always wanted to believe in something beyond, something higher, to be a part of something eternal. But the more I learn, the more I read, the less I have believed. Science has gotten rid of the need for something more, and we can suddenly exist without belief. But I held on for a while, struggling to believe, until three years ago something momentous happened. My son was born. My beautiful little boy, he’s perfect. I love him dearly with every maternal ounce of my soul. And the scales fell from my eyes like with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, and understanding dawned.
I am a machine.
I’m a biological, Darwinian machine. Every response, every emotion, every thought is what I was wired to feel. Free choice is an illusion; the universe was predestined to be as it is now from the instant of the “big bang.” If you could know all universal laws, and the state of the universe as it started, you could predict exactly how it would finish, down to the last detail. Quantum mechanics notwithstanding, (we know that we cannot really know the state of the universe without altering it,) the fact is that the universe exists inside Schrödinger’s box and it is how it is. If we knew, then we would know everything for all time. My love for my son, as powerful and inescapable as it is, it is a biochemical conditioned response. There is no meaning. We simply are.
I do not like this conclusion. In fact, I’m begging someone to prove it wrong. Not with platitudes or anecdotes, not with mysticism or introspection. I want it proven physically. I don’t want to believe, I want to know. I want God to be out there, be it YHWH, Jesus or Allah or the Lady I have referred to as “Mother Nature.” I do not like the implications of absolute relative morality that must be true if I am just a cosmic accident. But just because I do not like the way things are, does not change that they are.
And that is my greatest fear.
So what's left? I sometimes feel like Cypher from the Matrix. Ignorance is bliss. Does the happy fundamentalist Baptist end up more satisfied with her life believing in arbitrary mythology? Is she better off than I who may have uncovered the truth? I almost wish I could make myself believe, to pull the blindfold over my own eyes. But it can't be done. You can never go back. Not unless one of you fictional readers can show me where the logic here is wrong. Searching for meaning in a meaningless universe is what is left. Depressing? Perhaps. But all I need to do is look at the faces of my children and the biochemical reaction that takes place makes me forget, far better than shooting up with any substance one might choose to abuse, and then I'm happy.