I’m not sure why, but I have frequently encountered people – alright, men – who hold a baffling set of beliefs that goes something like this: there is no god, so there is no soul, there is only the body and the brain and the brain is like a computer and the body is just that of a hairless monkey AND there’s no such thing as free will, so even though there is no God to dictate your fate, you’re still fucked, because neuroscience says that before we make a decision, another impulse occurs, its origins unknown, but supposedly it means that we are what? Puppet slaves to some hidden force which isn’t God, but which controls our every decision? Hmm, why does this not sound like a viable theory? Perhaps because we have no idea where that impulse comes from and no evidence that it doesn’t originate in our own subconscious? Perhaps because there is no logic behind attributing a neural impulse that happens in our brains to something outside of ourselves? We are human beings. We change our minds constantly. Puppets have masters. So who is our master? It makes far more sense to me to say that there is just another step to our decision making process that we aren’t consciously aware of.
The other supposed nail in the coffin of free will for these believers of almighty Science is, as theoretical physics claims, that since the beginning and the ending of the universe were predetermined (according to our current perspective, since we exist), everything that happens in the universe is predetermined. And yet, these are likely the self-same people who would roll their eyes if I were to say “everything happens for a reason,” or if I tried to discuss the merits of astrology or tarot cards as predictive and interpretive reflections of the greater cosmic energy which flows through every molecule. That’s beyond belief, but fatalistic determinism, well that’s science!
To a materialistic person or one who doesn’t believe in the principles of cause and effect as they exist on the cosmic level, the world is nothing more or less than what can be reflected in the mirror of science. In effect, it is the equivalent of believing that what you see in a mirror is all there is, rather than realizing the limitations of a mirror, the boundaries of its capacity, the fact that a mirror does not accurately depict all aspects of reality in its dimensions and vitality. It is a tool: a way of examining and understanding. But it is yet a crude tool in our hands.
The mirror or lens of science is not attuned to the stuff of spirit. Indeed, it looks in the other direction: at the physical. The observable. The entire notion of the spiritual is that it’s something non-physical and therefore, non-observable through our very physical sensors. We define the parameters of our reality with our beliefs, whether we think there is something mystical involved in that process or not. What we consider to be possible determines what is possible for us in many ways. How could we look through the lens of spirit, when we don’t believe spirit exists? Why is it so hard to see that spirit and science need not negate one another?
Spring has sprung, signifying the end to the longest, hardest winter in my memory. It is like a door cracking open, letting the light seep in. It is the beginning of the new year in Persian culture, a time when the earth is opening her doors again to the cultivating of crops and the burgeoning of a new cycle of life. Round and round we go and hopefully, we continue to do so.
My dear cousin, Kate, has just had her first child: a baby girl. And I am fortunate to be near her and able to spend time with the growing young family and the newborn babe. Though I have been unlucky to lose my sister before she had the chance to have children of her own, it is quite the blessing to be so near to my beloved cousin, who has been so much like a sister to me. Her daughter is beautiful and I’m reminded of a lesson I’ve learned from Erika about prioritizing family. Though friends can become like family, too, and another close to me has also recently brought a new life into the world. It seems that this springtime is one of budding and producing for several of my friends in addition to my cousin. It makes the season seem brighter, somehow. Hopeful.
More brides to be with their entourages are coming to the Beauty Bar for celebratory manis and martinis, signalling another shift as winter winds down and women wear white. People seem somewhat giddy with just the thought of being free of these suffocating layers, these old skins are ready to shed.
It has been one year since I returned from my travels – one year since I came back to New York, and the anniversary can’t help but produce reflection on that choice. If I could have seen the future, I wonder if I’d have made the same decision to return. Perhaps I’d have stayed in India longer, or gone to the Czech Republic after Egypt. But then again, perhaps not.
It has been a tough transition in some ways, but then I suppose life is not purported to be easy. And that which can be lost was never really ours.
All for now – love and miss!