Why I am writing a book about thinking (Dare2Doubt Part 3)
Someone asked, “Why would a science-fiction author write a book about thinking?”
That is a very good question. I think there are tons of videos, podcasts, followings or books, lectures, classes, and especially religions that will freely tell you what you should or should not think. Numerous schools of thought will also tell you how you should experience life and what you should be experiencing or what you should not and why. Think about it. Social media itself is based upon someone liking or disliking ideas, or the lack of them, or even groups of people or individuals for subscribing to certain thoughts. And the common thing that I have seen is this idea of “thought shaming.” Many shame you, some professionally. The media and politicians or commercials shame you. Religious fundamentalists and even atheists will shame you.
Someone once accused me of not being happy unless I was with those “dreaded agnostics.” But I do think that agnostics do get at least one thing right in the fact that they generally accept the idea of not being able to be completely one hundred percent correct about anything beyond any refutability within a certain set of invented or perceived or agreed upon rules. The only reason we think anything is right or wrong in the first place is that we believe in the authority of a person or group of people or a set of rules that define what is “believed “ or “proven” to be refutable (such as general tenants of reason and logic or because my parent or priest or holy book told me so), or simply just because...no reason...just feels right. The idea of being simply emotionally correct is my main issue. I believe in the right to think outside of emotional constraints and that we should do so...more often.
No, none of this is to say I shun reason. Hardly. I love reason and logic, but I recognize the limits of our understanding. We all, I believe, should seek reason and fact-based realities and premises and conclusions. Absolutely! We all should question everything and get the best understanding we possible can have of everything. This is why I love science!
This is not to say that I don’t believe in emotional spirituality. I believe that spirituality is just as much a part of being human as rationality. There seems to be within all of us this appreciation or enjoyment of spirituality. Let me clarify this. We all have a song that when we listen to it thrills us to an indescribable level. Some of us have a movie or set of movies or books that we idealize. whether we listen to a song, or whether we look up to the sky, or into the universe with a telescope with amazement, this is spirituality to me. This is an escape to something beyond what we generally experience, or see in a reality often filled with what some might perceive as the harshness of suffering or the cold and lifeless facts of reason. Yes, my dear, math is sometimes boring.
Some people experiment with drugs as an escape from a current reality or the physical pain or mental pain of a season, day, or memory. Reality can truly suck, and there are many coping mechanisms for dealing with harsh realities. And there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact. I realize that acknowledgment can be heretical to the religious, but I believe in the right to think.
So, this book is not going to be a book about how to prove a god or any god exists or doesn’t exist. This book is not going to be a book that tells you what you should think and why you should think it. This book is going to advocate the right to think and the freedom to think. We must think, now more than ever.
But we also should be allowed to be personally spiritual, if we chose to be so, even if that only means smelling a rose, listening to our favorite tune, skipping in the rain...doing our favorite thing that makes us happy. You can call me agnostic or hedonistic. That's ok. Labels rarely fully describe people. This is something important to learn. Labels only serve as signs on the highway. Signs rarely are exactly correct about the number of miles to a city. And when we do “arrive,” everyone disagrees on what their city is or how to define it.
Bottom line? We all have a right to think, question everything, and enjoy life, while not hurting others, during this amazing experience we call life.