I recently wrote a blog about the Fermi Paradox. It may or may not be a paradox but it asks the question, where is everybody out there? We haven’t found so much as a hiccup from SETI, or an organic molecule of life, much less sentient life. According to statistics, there should be life out there and probably is. Like dark matter, much of what we know about extra terrestrial life is hidden in darkness.
Here is a sobering thought: out of all species of animals or plants, why are humans the only ones in our brief history to develop reason? Even then, not everyone uses their reason to full advantage. There are so many competing ideologies seeking to influence the way we reason. So again, what is the reason we have reason?
Science, to its credit, wants to get away from the imprecise reasoning of an individual, subject belief. The problem comes into play when speaking of freedom to hold an opinion, even one contrary to the prevailing political correctness of this or that special interest group. In looking at the bigger picture, something that rises to the level of humanity and not this or that slice of the pie, we have the opportunity to reason even though what we reason may not be reasonable. When was the last time you asked a giraffe to lunch? Do gorillas go the Trader Joe’s to get pork chops? What we take for granted, that we humans are unique in the world, and maybe even in the universe, is astounding.
What is even more astounding to me is how we have come this far without wiping out the race due to hatred, intolerance, and nationalism. Even the Church is not immune to assuming the false trappings of monarchical elitism. One of the worst blunders we have made as a Church was to have it made the state church with Constantine, modeling a monarchical structure with all its pomp and circumstances. We are still trying to shuck off that debacle.
Well, here we stand, as Luther said, we can do no other. Human existence is most definitely in process of discovering meaning. Right now, it does not look so good.
Here are five reasons that I think our human race has developed reason, and only in the last two hundred years, grown to learn from what went before us.
All this leads me to these thoughts. The purpose of life, the reason for reason, the ability to love unconditionally, the foresight to see patterns of historical relevance as God tries to tell us how to get to Heaven, the strength to live beyond our five senses and choose our true self as opposed to what the world sees as meaningful, the ability to communicate with the One and fulfill God’s purpose for us, the choice of my own personal center of reality, how all of this fits together in one reality with three universes, the ability to love fiercely, and how to die well, all depend upon faith informed by reason.
It is no accident that we have the ability to know about the world around us. Part of evolving spiritual awareness, that includes why were are here, and what our role is in preparing for a life to come, is to recognize patterns of progression in thinking and believing. Evolution aside, humans made it through the gauntlet of gene ontology with something no other species has attained, the ability to know that we know and based on that unique quality, to know, love and serve God in this life and to be happy with God in the next.
Humans are spiritual apes, in terms of future natural progression, not just descendants from our animal past. I detail some of these ideas in my three volume reflections entitled Spiritual Apes, which you can access in the Book section of this blog.
That in all things, may God be glorified. –St. Benedict