I just read an article called “The Merging of Science and Spirituality” and the basic tenets are not new. It says that as science expands in its understanding of the universe it necessarily butts heads with the concept of God. The one thing that jumped out at me is a quote by Albert Einstein which says it all.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
This sounds about right. In Alcoholics Anonymous they often say “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I go to the movies because I like the simultaneous feelings of temporarily forgetting about the busy-ness of life and suspending my disbelief. I have to admit I start disliking a film as soon as something unbelievably ridiculous happens. Let’s take that movie, “Gravity.” I mean how many times is Sandra Bullock going to magically find a user manual laying around that saves her from imploding in zero gravity? I’m just saying it took me out of the experience and then I found myself in a snarky mood and laughed as she crawled from the space capsule onto the beach at the end. Bottom line—it ruined my two hours of irrational bliss.
I know many of you loved it, so don’t hate.
I read another article this week from The Atlantic. A respectable publication, literary, with long articles like The New Yorker that you know you’ve got to commit to reading. It’s entitled: “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous.” Here’s a line from it that will give you some idea where the article is headed:
The problem is that nothing about the 12-step approach draws on modern science: not the character building, not the tough love, not even the standard 28-day rehab stay.
I understand why doctors and psychiatrists and addictions counselors could be upset by the notion of people helping people and not paying them instead. And I also get that if you’re not one of the millions of people that got sober and stayed sober with AA, it might be easy to pick on the 12-step program. It’s a program based on spirituality, after all, so we begin with irrationality. For many who struggled with the disease it’s thinking that got them into trouble in the first place.
So, let’s recap and I’m paraphrasing:
Article 1: As we begin to expand our ideas within the realm of science we find that science and spirituality merge. Consciousness (in the spiritual sense) is the stuff of the universe.
Article 2: AA is irrational because it does not base its system of recovery on scientific principles but instead on something that is beyond logic, rational thought, and medical treatment.
Now I just hate it when something unbelievably ridiculous comes along and it ruins my very positive experience of suspending disbelief. Gravity…Sandra Bullock…remember?
The solution to the problem that AA offers is what Einstein was talking about. We can’t solve our problems with the same stinkin’ thinkin’ we used time and again. Most folks who walk into an AA meeting think too much, and the irrational concept of a higher power coupled with a clear system of recovery sheds some light on an otherwise hellish existence. And call me crazy but throwing drugs and rational/cognitive therapy at a person with substance abuse issues is not always the best answer,
I realize the mental health implications, and would never suggest it could't or shouldn't be used as a tool in recovery, but I also don't think the irrationality of God is a bad thing either. And the fellowship AA offers has a powerful impact on people with loneliness, depression, anxiety, self-worth issues, and more.
I love The Atlantic but the article is irresponsible. I would say its title is even sensationalist. As I often say with spirituality, if it’s working for you and putting you in a harmonious and peaceful place with yourself and those around you then keep on keepin’ on.
It’s just this kind of scientific bullying that somehow wants to remove the idea of God from science. They can’t "quantify" God so they throw the whole concept out the window.
Oh, I have one more quote from Einstein.
The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.
It must be Zombie Armageddon over at The Atlantic.
And for all of you scientists, you think too much. I wonder how you unwind…maybe a beer…a glass of wine…a joint? As long as that’s working for you, great.
Should it get in the way of your rationality, and should your life become unmanageable, then know this—the folks at AA will welcome you with open arms and an open heart and maybe share some sage advice about getting of your head. I doubt science will ever come close to isolating a unified theory of the universe--its elusive, ineffable and frankly irrational--exactly the way it's meant to be. When science can reach the conclusion that there is no conclusion, then they will at last be at peace with the phenomenon they deem irrationality. I think then they will understand serenity that AA has gifted to so many, and settle into the wonder and awe that propelled the greatest of scientists into monumental discoveries. Einstein stared out of his patent office window contemplating and daydreaming his way to changing history.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the last quote from Einstein came from his work, The Merging of Spirit and Science.
Crazy old bastard.