Magical thinking–the belief that our universe was created by God–is a normal aspect of human nature. The mind tells us that something secret slumbers beneath the layer of reality which our senses experience. We can’t say exactly what this slumbering beast is, but our intuition tells us that we cannot discount the unknown. Schizophrenia is a condition in which a person has no rational connection between their beliefs and their perceived reality. Their minds make random connections between memories and they don’t compare their thoughts to reality, fully believing their completely irrational magical thinking.
Even though schizophrenia is a major mental illness, schizotypism is completely normal in a rational mind. All we are able to perceive is a microscopic segment of the universe, so we do not have any evidence to suggest that what people have thought for millennia is completely wrong. It is possible that sleep paralysis is caused by the presence of an incorporeal spirit energy, just like sleep paralysis can be caused by your televisions or by medication. The danger of rationalism is that it discounts millennia of human experiences that fill our collective unconscious. Preliterate cultures are seen as barbaric or primitive, but this is not the case.
If we were to accept the premise that everything people thought before the Enlightenment was scientifically inaccurate, we would have to refute the Enlightenment itself, because we build our knowledge on the shoulders of our ancestors. When people started writing, they tried to write as people speak, thus we have Plato’s dialogues. As writing progressed through revolution of print technologies, we began to lose sight of the oral origin to writing.
We became so focused on the realities we can construct through our language that we have forgotten all the cracks in our knowing that we can only feel in our bodies. Our bodies know that we can’t know what we can’t perceive, but our minds yearn to know everything we can perceive. People who do not know the limits of their perception think that the entire universe is built the same as their microscopic segment and that they can just expand their knowledge of the universal framework out to infinity and leave nothing unexplained.
Most scientists have a normal level of schizotypism, and we hear Neil DeGrasse Tyson saying that you’d have to be crazy to believe in infinite universes and not some force that created the infinite universes. It would be crazy to say that infinite universes exist just because of coincidence. But there are hordes of combative atheists who think that believing in a fully knowable universe is sane and that religion is crazy, and they do know a lot about science and all that humanity has learned from our time aboard our microscopic segment of the universe; they armor themselves in all their knowledge as if it could defeat the infinite mystery of the unknown.
The belief in a purely rational universe that can be reproduced completely in the human mind is just as extreme as schizophrenia. It’s not normal to discount all jumps of logic and leaps of faith because if we only take the safe scientific steps then we will never be able to move beyond our perceptions. It’s not sane to think that the human mind has the potential to fully integrate with the universe. We know that universe exists even when we close our eyes, and that when we try to define a part of the universe, our entire understanding must be changed to account for the new part.
Right now quantum mechanics is the center of research because computers and the internet operate on the quantum level. But we are not going to define quantum mechanics and then say that we understand how it works. We are going to see how we can interact with the quantum level to see what kinds of experiences we can have that no one has ever had before. Through quantum engineering, we have brought this invisible level of reality to the surface, and we now have a better foundation to understand infinite universes and infinite perspectives.
As we interact with the quantum level of reality, we will discover to avenues to explore, and we’ll go on to discover new concepts that we can’t even dream of now. If you interpret classical mythologies through a technological lens, you’ll see that we can already do some of the things that our gods used to do. Perhaps prophets can see through the veil of their individuality to the collective unconscious and they construct their religions out of their vision of how the pattern of the collective unconscious will actualize in the future.
It’s not an argument to say that God doesn’t exist, because 1) how can we know whether the universe was designed by a supernatural force and 2) what does God even mean? Do atheists go through all the religions and disprove every single god or are they just focused on the Abrahamic traditions? Because it is perfectly acceptable to be an atheistic Hindu, and the idea that religion is about the belief in a God seems to be a concept of the Abrahamic traditions.
The problem is that very few people have a literalist interpretation of the Bible. So I think the problem with these atheist extremists is that they themselves bring their rationalist approach to their understanding of the Bible. They say that the Earth is 4.3 billion years old, that the universe is 13.7 billion years old so there’s no way God created the universe in 7 days. Christians just shake their head and say, “what the hell are you talking about? It’s a metaphor and each day can refer to an eon as a stage in the universe’s development.”
Oral cultures teach through narratives, thus our mythologies are told through stories. The stories are understood to be fictional but followers of the religion think that these fictional stories, or parables, offer insight into the truth of the universe or human nature. Religions are designed to address all the gaps in logic that give rise to schizotypism.
People who deny the gaps in logic are just denying reality, much like the people who embrace the gaps in logic and disregard reality. Schizotypism is not just magical thinking but also creativity, and religions are designed to engage with our creative minds so we can build an understanding of the universe that can explain the gaps in logic, or at least protect us from them.
Belief in a God or gods is completely irrelevant. It’s a remnant of the oral culture of our ancestors, in which people used narratives to explain the things that couldn’t be determined through the senses. The myths don’t purport to be reality, but merely windows through which to discover the archetypes that our reality is built with.
Scientists focus completely on the phenomenological realm, in which everything can be perceived in the chain of cause and effect. Religion focuses on the noumenal realm, a realm of pure, abstract ideas that are attached to objects in the phenomenological realm. One side of reality cannot function without the other; what we know cannot function without all that we do not know.
It’s important that we honor our ancestors. The knowledge they have passed down to us is the knowledge of how they survived, and humanity did have a few close calls with extinction during our time. Mystical beliefs are important to our survival as a species and as a civilization, and we are at a fascinating time in history when we are starting to fill in some of these mystical beliefs with science.
We want to be able to explain the supernatural world through science, and to be able to do this we need to accept that both extremes on the schizotypal spectrum are harmful to ourselves and others. We can’t possible know some of the things that these combative atheists are claiming, and if we accept that the universe just exists then we will stop thinking about why the universe exists and why we exist. If we stop thinking about these very important issues then civilization will stagnate and we’ll fall apart from decadence and corruption.
We need to have strong creative minds so that we can wrestle with metaphysical concepts like they were clay we can shape into a statuette that we call reality. If we only use our rational mind to form the statuette, then it will be very plain and boring, much less vibrant than the statuette formed by the creative mind. However, the creative mind can get wild and all of the magical accouterments added to the statuette can get a person locked up in a mental hospital.
Reality is neither extreme. Only our understandings can be extreme. We have known since the beginning of civilization that moderation in all is the answer, so we need to be willing to play with our magical thinking while comparing these ideas to the reality that our senses construct. This is how civilization thrives, and people who attack religion for what people have done in the name of religion spend just as much time comparing the supernatural ideas to reality as full blown schizophrenics do. Extremism is bad, and a/theist is a useless label. It’s about humanity’s relationship with the universe, not the possible existence of a noumenological concept that could fit the definition of God. You have to learn to focus on what matters, and that is the people we live with.