The Age of Unreason
It is strange or perhaps inevitable that a world supposedly led by science and reason should have become so uncaring of science and so irrational. Trans people claim to really be the sex other than biology plainly says they are on the grounds that they feel that they aren’t. According to Trump we were betrayed we won and we won big. Putin is locked into the fantasy of the Russian world, Russkii mir. The appalling inhumanities being committed in Ukraine are designed to demonstrate to the not surprisingly reluctant Ukrainians that they are really part of Holy Russia. Boris claims that the parties in Downing Street were work events. At least they were not part of Holy Brexit. My experience of great liars, in my little way I now believe that I used to be one and now hope I am now not that entirely at least, is that it is far more complicated than that they simply tell lies. To them the falsehood is the greater truth, they only feel that they are themselves when they ride the purple sage and live the lie, and indeed they communicate the excitement of their greater life to us and make us feel released too. Think Falstaff, even Boris, all those Russians who unswervingy believe Putin.
Perhaps it is really the fault of science and its fatal division of thought from feeling in the seventeenth century. In the end my world Meskii mir, is a feeling world. Science is now telling us such amazing things we can’t feel its truths any more, although we have to accept them intellectually. What am I supposed to feel when Brian Cox shows me those photographs taken by the Hubble telescope of billions of galaxies? Well I’m gobsmacked Brian. God save us from James Watt. Science has escaped from our world, my Meskii mir. But it is our world, our universe. We belong to it. We cannot know who we are until we understand that we are not odd ball mavericks but nature’s children. The universe, incredible and unbelievable as it is turning out to be, is part of us and we are part of it. No wonder we can’t handle it, no wonder we tell ourselves lies. Who is the greater liar, the great fictionalizer, Cameron’s greasy piglet, of the Downing Street parties, or all those MP’s who are outraged that they were lied to in Parliament, but are not prepared to do anything serious about climate change (Cameron’s green crap although not sure he really said that) despite all that the scientists are telling us, or the neo-colonial scandal of the debt traps whereby we have poor countries by the throat and intend to go on heartlessly squeezing more money out of them. How generous we are. When they are absolutely desperate we lend them money, at interest of course. Good old us. I can live with appalllingly untruthful Boris, I can’t live with devastating climate change. And perhaps it is appropriate that it is Boris who is presiding over Westminster, that palace of unrecognized evasions.
But perhaps science itself is coming to our rescue. Thought is not divorced from feeling. Antonio Damasio in Descartes’ Error and Leponard Mlodinow in Emotional:the new thinking about feeling are showing us that thoughts and feelings are processed by the same neurons in the brain. The two are inseparable. Science has been on the wrong track all this time. As has all too often religion, for religion too has held that you should believe in God because you can prove He exists. But you can’t. Belief in God is a matter of faith. But we should have that faith, because faith is a matter of emotion. God is the only way we have of feeling, or trying to feel, the vastness, the incredible splendour, the incomprehensibility of Brian’s billions of galaxies. Professor Alice Roberts is a nice lady but I’m left dis-satisifed by her apparent lack of struggle with the unanswerable questions, her version of what it is to be rational. Does God exist? Who knows? What even more unbelievable wonders will science reveal to us? Who knows? But we have to find a way of feeling, not just recognizing, the pressure of these questions, a Meskiiir mir that is comparably vast and beyond our everyday comprehension. Anybody who thinks they are guided by reason alone isn’t. Who am I? Brian I’m gobsmacked.