After Atheism

Me vs. my dog
October 25, 2008, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Atheism, Religion, Spirituality | Tags: , ,

I woke up last night about 3 AM thinking about the difference between me and my dog.

My dog (Charlee, a Jindo with a broken tail that makes her look like a coyote) lives in the moment. She responds to the world around her either from instinct or from lessons learned by direct experience.

I, on other hand, live in a world thoroughly saturated by language. From the moment I was born, the world of direct experience was being filtered through categories (toy), rules (No!), roles (mom), stories, ideas, explanations, histories, recipes, this vast collection of inherited human stuff. The word “culture” doesn’t seem to do it justice. Is there a better word? “Humancosm” maybe.

My point is that we humans live in a world that is largely a human fabrication, a world created by language. A world that in many ways steers us in directions different from where our animal instincts would lead us. A world that doesn’t easily lend itself to scientific examination. And living in the humancosm requires a leap of faith in something that is not easily proven. In a fabrication, a story. Be it a story of God, or of country, or of career, or family, or whatever.

Dogs don’t cry, they don’t laugh, they don’t ask for a reason, they don’t even seem to like listening to music. Right now, I’m listening to Shakira.