Finding Meaning. Finding Answers.
We humans look for patterns in our environment, and search for meaning in our life. Our brains are hardwired to quickly make sense of our surroundings. A good thing in a dangerous world. That ability also allows a child to lie in the grass, gazing at the sky, and see clouds turn into things like faces, horses, and boats. Whatever their imagination can create. As adults, we have the answer for why clouds form. As children, we look for meaning in their shapes.
Religion looks for meaning, science looks for answers. Unfortunately, many of us try to use scripture for answers. And many skeptics use logic to create a meaningless world.
I ran across this article today (see link below), which got me thinking about the cross-currents we find ourselves in when looking for answers and meaning. In this article, Michael Shermer (who is a well-respected skeptic) describes a supernatural or paranormal event. The experience gave meaning to his wife and him. At the end of the article, there are readers’ comments that explain away their miracle with the answer: oxidized contacts. And perhaps that is so. But it doesn’t take away the meaning they derived from the event. Plus, the timing and place can’t be explained away by an on-off switch.
As he says at the end of the article, “The emotional interpretations of such anomalous events grant them significance regardless of their causal account. And if we are to take seriously the scientific credo to keep an open mind and remain agnostic when the evidence is indecisive or the riddle unsolved, we should not shut the doors of perception when they may be opened to us to marvel in the mysterious.”