Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflections On The Self

Who are you?

Who are you really?

What is it that exists that makes you who you are? Could you really just be a complex, agglomeration of atoms and molecules with the evolved ability to know you exist? Is the universe or multiverse all that exists, entirely encapsulated within what we could call the natural world?

Why do we sometimes feel that our emotional responses to our environment are indicative of some higher spiritual dimension that exists? If materialism is true and we are just a complex assortment of atoms – atoms that were made in the hearts of stars and we are “star stuff”, made from the very universe in which we live in, then mankind is what you could say, one with the universe.

There is a certain beauty about naturalism that many people, even many naturalists, fail to appreciate. While I can see why there’s the need in many people to infer the existence of the non-material dimension to somehow explain or add to the experiences we have, I personally see no reason why the natural world that exists can cannot fully inspire both in awe and in mystery the very heightened states of consciousness that many believe can only be produced by the spiritual world.

So then, who am I?

Why did the atoms that make up my body and mind that have existed for billions of years arrange themselves in such a way to produce me? Was it somehow determined by the laws of physics since the beginning of time? Was “I” inevitable from the onset of the big bang? And is being determined really any worse than being the product of random chance?

The evolution of consciousness itself is something to be inspired by. That nature can become conscious of itself, is one of the most spectacular things. Perhaps we all are just randomly ordered but highly complex arrangements of atoms following the laws of nature. The laws of nature are apparently complex enough that we can have the illusion of free will. I don't think having a soul would truly be any better, because where would the soul get its personality from? What forces govern its decision making processes? No one can answer this.

So, to be, is to be made of randomly arranged matter capable of this phenomena we call consciousness. To think, is to somehow become aware of the processes you are physically determined to do with the illusion that they're your free decisions. 

My how nature amazes.


  1. Great post. I definitely agree that there is amazing beauty in the natural processes of this universe. It's funny, I was telling my wife a few days ago after watching a nature program that I find it sad that creationists can't see the beauty that I see in evolution. It's a shame, because there is beauty in it everywhere.

  2. That's why the argument from beauty sounds so absurd.



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