Random Thought on Looking at the News of the World This Morning

We all seem to be born with an instinctive hunger for an understandable view of the world.

The reality is that the universe is complicated beyond our fathoming and we don’t know very much about anything, and that’s scary. So out of the infinitely complicated raw data of our existence, we distill stories about the world that seem to make things understandable and make us feel less small and helpless and stupid.

Some of us have very simple stories that are a very poor fit for the universe, and some of us have very complicated stories that are a better fit, but I feel pretty sure that if we could perceive the grand scheme of things in its entirely, all these stories we have would be clearly seen as massively pathetic approximations of reality, and the difference between my worldview and the worldview of the most narrow-minded fundamentalist would from that cosmic viewpoint be seen as one of degree only, and an incredibly trivial one at that.

As we get older, though, some of us do get better at facing up to the fact that we really are small and helpless and stupid, and accepting that and learning to make the most of our lives anyway, and at realizing that the stories we make up in our heads are nothing more than that. And others of us seem to get more and more frightened and cling more and more to their stories.

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