evidently human survival depends upon the interplay between belief and observation. neither alone seems able to sustain us. alas, the balance can (and often does) go awry.
i'm auditing wonderful medieval art history lectures given by a new teacher on campus, asa mittman. last time he drew a clear distinction between a world based on observation (science) and contemplation (belief). he stated categorically the two mutually exclusive.
i'm not so sure. for example, i've never understand the competition between science and religion. why couldn't a divine being simply instill consciousness in an animal (ape) that already existed? the lightning flash of the quantum leap. we experience that kind of revelation every day.
on the other hand, politics interferes with the equation. the desire for comfort, property, power. as a friend said when studying law, 'this is measurement, not art.' in a sense politics and science line up: whatever works works. unfortunately, what often works in politics is twisting people's need to believe, particularly their need to feel safe.
so the science of politics is often the big lie. i'm watching a class from http://www.thegreatcourses.com/ on the affect of biology on personality. very interesting to see how neurons learn. repetition plays a huge part and the constant repeat of a theory, belief, or lie can ultimately get many neurons (and thus individuals) to accept it as gospel.
perhaps i sound like i'm on the side of science. alas, science is in constant evolution as discoveries are made and discarded. this may not help a person under stress. yes, as my lawyer friend once stated, 'it is a matter of our technology staying ahead of our stupidity.' all kinds of inventions have allowed each of us in the developed world to live better than any king did before 1900. yet to get through the traumas of every day, a certain belief in ourselves must persist.
how do we separate out politics, art, science, and religion? i've found individuals tend to be dominated by one of these at the expense of the others. perhaps we have to depend (have faith in) a natural selection of loves. that enough people will flow into the different professions and points of view to keep humanity in balance. tough to do when times are tough.
luckily, ninety percent of americans believe in heaven and only ten percent in hell!
as the stock market rises and falls, as medieval beliefs combat scientific observation in the presidential election, the survival of the species depends upon a mystery. any paradigm can be proven true, thus we will never know the whole truth. treating each other decently is the best we can do.
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and more new lookout photos at: www.pbase.com/wwp/smoke