As I have stated I was an atheist for much of my life. Genuinely feeling sorry for people who needed to believe in a fantasy of some delusional being that was going to save them. I was dismayed by the atrocities carried out under the name of God, the ridiculousness of humans essentially fighting age old wars over differing definitions of a hocus pocus chimera. I was adamantly not one of them. I believed in evolution and empirical evidence. I needed proof.
It is obvious that without scientific method, we would still be witch hunting, but when I started to study string theory, watching the greatest minds ask questions like ‘what exactly is the smallest piece of matter?’ something hit me. The results observed have showed that asking such a question is not dissimilar it seems, to a question we might have asked 600 years ago. A question like “where exactly is the edge of the world?” As we now know, such a question is meaningless as it is asked from a place of limited perspective. If the universe is infinite and constantly expanding, as seems to be the modern common understanding, would it not also be a logical conclusion, that everything we think, question we ever ask, due to our perspective, in this time, in this galaxy, with this vocabulary, at this scale, on this ball of mud in space, in these dimensions; the possibility, indeed the inevitability of dogma is guaranteed. Our perspective is limited and always will be, however enormous our telescopes and despite the increasing power of our microscopes, our logical and linear inquiry will always be finite in an infinite universe.
As a songwriter, as someone who meditates, I cannot deny the experience of the esoteric, the serendipitous, and the mystical. Though I have tried to frame these realities within the bounds of logic I have finally had to admit to my failure. I refused to even use the word God for at least a decade, but realized it is the only common word in the English language we have to unite our discussion of it, however many sides the prism presents. The word means something different to everyone, sometimes radically, sometimes subtly.
I had reached the edges of logic and decided to ask the question ‘what is God to me?’ When I started to delve in, I quickly realized that it existed in my mind as a plethora of gleaned archaic predominantly religious concepts and conditions, which had allowed me to continue to reject it all these years. So then what is God outside of religion when we truly do choose to take dominion over the concept of God for ourselves? Of course this kind of questioning has been traditionally forbidden and would still be considered sacrilegious by many, but I am not interested in being oppressed by antiquity.
I love Bill Maher. He has a popular political cable show and is famous for his atheism. My 9 year old, ex husband and I have community via that program. But I think it’s important to speak truth to, and be aware of the dangers of dogmatic thinking amongst atheists too. Having been there, atheists too often, hear the word God and really without thinking, immediately assign a religious association to the word. This assures that they stay subservient and obsequious by continuing to allow religion to define the word for them. This is territory that is no longer necessary to yield to, we know better don’t we? So why are do they still give it up to them? As the song states at the very beginning, God means so many things to so many different people, what is God? It is far from blasphemous to ask, and the question is still outstanding, because aren’t we talking about something that is infinite?
This song is about the journey of deconstructing and reconstructing God for myself. To ground myself in something I can understand, enjoy, receive, express and believe. I am not proselytizing, and have zero attachment to whether anyone else wishes to come down this path with me. I would however encourage people to take a new approach and consider asking these questions for them selves.
Essentially at the smallest levels of matter everything is a vibration, there is a Oneness, a fabric, a symphony. A flow, an alchemy, something to which the logical mind cannot hold. An is-ness, as opposed to an is-not-ness. As Lao-Tzu mentioned over two thousand years ago, there is something that was never born and never dies. There is a Oneness, there is nothing that is not it, we are all filaments of it, tiny kernels of temporarily vibrating light. The body is a harmonious instrument temporarily here, and to create a new understanding we must stand in it and let it diffuse into all levels of society.
The standard scientific assumption of our time is that matter is primary, and we ask, how does consciousness arise out of it? In the cosmos of ‘primitive’ people a different worldview was held. Where there are no sharp boundaries between self and non-self, the whole world is conscious, no sharp division between the I and the non I. Then two or three thousand years ago, monotheistic religion brought us a new notion of a transcendent being beyond the world, and of human beings having a special relationship with this transcendent being; with consciousness being inside the human being, and inside God, but not in the world. The world became the field for human action, human subjectivity, but it lost its soul in the formation of this dualistic view. Two major steps in modern cosmology, namely when Copernicus moved us to realize we are not the center of the universe, and Descartes who brought us to consider two essentially different ‘substances’, mind, about which we have immediate and primary evidence; and matter, the external world about which we can only reason by interpretation based on the input of our sense organs. This separation had a huge historical influence on western thought. It freed scientists to focus on the tangible, the intrinsic laws of what appeared as out there, and the rest was essentially left to religion. We must recover ourselves from this split and wrangle a new modern understanding. Einstein died still seeking a ‘theory of everything’, looking for a common and unified thread in our theories of the infinitely small and the infinitely large, which as of today still have anomalies that have not been solved. I think it is delusional not to hold space for the set of infinite things that science and empirical evidence can never be prove in order to heal this rift, and to consider the premise of the this entire project, which is that consciousness is a bigger crucible than matter.