We are walking paradoxes. We are, as human beings, both conscious of our individuality and separateness and yet focused on our part in a collective. Science tells us that we get as much pleasure in giving others pleasures as we get in pleasuring ourselves. We know, even though we don’t like to admit it in this culture, that we are dependent on the web of society. Even our own personalities are paradoxical because we believe we are an undivided self we are also an amalgam of often contradictory forces that prompt us to do things other parts of us find appalling. We spend a lot of time suppressing parts of us and nurturing other parts of us we often don’t even see but only sense. To solve all this we adhere to various conceptual frameworks that help us maintain some sense of integrity and some sense of being connected to something greater than ourselves even if we feel neither.
In philosophy and religion we tend to seek certainty even if that certainty is illogical and goes against perceived reality. Despite centuries of science a full quarter of the American adults believe that the Bible is literally the Word of God–meaning that everything written within this book (God’s Word) is literally rather than metaphorically “true” and factual and trumps ALL scientific proofs. People who pride themselves as rationalists laugh at this notion yet, they themselves refuse to believe many obvious facts and cling to a very specific and narrow view of life. If I, for example, say that I encountered a clearly spiritual or alien intelligent form of life I would be told that my experience could not be true and that I was suffering from some kind of temporary insanity. I’ve encountered many highly “educated” people who, even when confronted with obvious and impossible to deny evidence, simply refuse to accept that evidence because it violates some framework they live by. For example, Sirhan Sirhan could not have killed Robert Kennedy in 1968 according to the official Coroner’s Report (from Thomas Noguchi) because the fatal bullets were fired at near point-blank range to the back of the head and not from where Sirhan was standing—yet, if I bring this up this piece of evidence is automatically dismissed and I am called a “conspiracy theorist” and therefore deluded. The evidence is never checked out or acknowledged just as fundamentalists dismiss any evidence that there are deep contradictions within the Bible though, in my experience, fundamentalists tend to respond with less hostility to these sorts of questions while those that claim to be “rational” often react with fury particularly when I question their rationality.
There are many pieces of evidence, almost without limit that by their very existence question the basis of the Narrative embraced by “educated” people who claim their view of the world is based on rationality rather than faith. Their assumption is that anomalous events are usually due to some explanation whether it is mass-hallucinations, swamp gas and other odd “natural” events. This Narrative posits that we live in a world and universe that can, at this point in history, be largely explained by science—this notion is not based on clear and unambiguous scientific proof but, again, on faith in science. Modern science and philosophy has even, at the edges where few educated people care to go, questioned the idea of “truth” and the nature of reality and consciousness. The problem with all this is that, unlike the golden age of scientific inquiry, “science” has become a political and economic institution with specific interests and roles within the power structure in society thus cannot get funding in areas that question the basis of the official Narrative. This becomes very clear when you come to understand how science is funded and how graduate schools actually function. Modern institutions whether educational or informational no longer vigorously adhere to any kind of objective or empirical view of reality but, increasingly, on the basis of power-relations and politics. This tendency is even more true today than fifty years ago because society itself has become less coherent and thus all major institutions are more insecure and tend to rely on political solutions to dissent rather than countering them through argument.