Geeze, I never thought I’d write that title and not think of it as complete bullshit. But now that I’m starting to see the other side of the picture, in my class on the Scientific Revolution, I’m starting to understand that alienation. The pre-modern world is less mechanistic, less cold — more connected, more symbolic, more sacred.
At the end of my experiment with religious faith, I started piecing out a more Hegelian conception of God. He was the grand pattern, that emerged partly from the meaning we imbued in the universe. It was a god that slowly came to awareness, rather than some omniscient being above us all. However, in the end, I saw no pattern encompassing it all; I saw chaos. There was no greater meaning in the universe.
Humans are alone and disconnected. For some, consciousness is even a convenient illusion. Love is just chemical reactions. It is a cold, indifferent universe. What solace can humans find? This is one source of alienation, but it stretches further.
In the university, I’m disconnected from the community at large. I feel no sense of community with the surrounding city, or even with my fellow classmates. Atomization is a fundamental feature of human existence in the modern age.
Even in my studies, I feel alienated from history and the texts I study. I write my essays, but I don’t really engage with ideas. I am a commentator removed from the actual fray. My essays are meaningless, read once and tossed away.
The atheistic, secular, scientific worldview is a worldview alienated from the world around us, but it doesn’t have to be. We can add myth, I think. I mean, sure we can find meaning in our family life and in politics, but I still feel something missing. I need more of the sacred in my life. I need stories that help me understand that world. I don’t need god or the supernatural, but I want myth.
Truth beyond what’s written on paper. Useful ways of expressing things that can’t be expressed conventionally. Meaning requires something transcendent, something sacred. Truth is so much more complicated than what we give it credit for. Myth can lack any basis in literal reality, but still be true. It doesn’t even have to be a purely practical, or instrumental truth. No, I’m not sure what to call it, but you can invent myths and know that they’re invented, but still know that they have some truth. You can imbue the myths with meaning.
I don’t believe that religion will ever disappear. It will adapt. Even if you kill faith, you can’t kill the sacred. There’s something basic and human that science, literature, and politics can’t fully capture.
Sorry for being slightly esoteric, unclear, and rambling. I wrote this more for me, to get something down which I’m just beginning to grasp.