When I started writing in college, my thoughts were mostly about my engineering homework, and my ideas arose from an interest in the physics of life. I wanted to understand how nature, seemingly chaotic, could produce such seeming harmony. Having just left my childhood faith, I often wondered about the absurdity of my existence, but I had little expectation of figuring anything out, and certainly no intention of finding profound truths or compelling worldviews. Nonetheless, I felt that life was something to be cherished—that humanity’s existence was not as meaningless as my atheist friends had claimed. So I began to observe the world more broadly, looking for patterns in everything from physics to economics, from religion to politics. And as I connected the dots, I glimpsed a picture that has fully captivated my imagination. What began as a scientific curiosity has expanded into a perspective that I find wholly satisfying.
The following excerpt is from an article titled “Secrets of the Creative Brain” by Nancy Andreasen, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who studies creativity:
“Creative people are better at recognizing relationships, making associations and connections, and seeing things in an original way—seeing things that others cannot see…Of course, having too many ideas can be dangerous. One subject, a scientist, described to me ‘a willingness to take an enormous risk with your whole heart and soul and mind on something where you know the impact—if it worked—would be utterly transformative.’ The if here is significant. Part of what comes with seeing connections no one else sees is that not all of these connections actually exist. ‘Everybody has crazy things they want to try,’ that same subject told me. ‘Part of creativity is picking the little bubbles that come up to your conscious mind, and picking which one to let grow and which one to give access to more of your mind, and then have that translate into action.’”
I’ve always had a lot of ideas, and most of them are pretty bad. But I find this one to be rather compelling. This philosophy presents a powerful reason for humanity’s existence—a purpose that might satisfy the mind’s search for meaning. This is a logic that might inspire, from our seeming brokenness, a compassion that is global and a vision that brings us to the stars. Indeed, for myself and many of my readers, the connections I’ve found are very difficult to disregard. As ridiculous as this sounds, I may have found an idea that most rational people can agree with—a hope that they can believe in.
My philosophy might sound like some utopian fantasy based on some pseudoscientific theory. Or some sort of religion informed by reason, a vision of the future given our embrace of a truth. These are fair descriptions, but I see this most as a psychosocial experiment based on my observations and assumptions about the human mind and its deepest intuitions. I may be wrong, and this experiment may fail, but it’s certainly one worth trying. If you care about the moral and intellectual progress of humanity, then this is an idea that you should consider, because its utility cannot be overstated. I have no doubt that its impact—if it’s true—will be “utterly transformative.” And the if here is significant.
Please feel free to share this blog with anyone who might be interested. Should my ideas fail to make this world a better place, then they will, at the very least, make for some fantastic science fiction. And thank you to everyone who has offered encouragement or constructive critique. Feedback and change are necessary for survival, including the survival of ideas. And what is the truth, if not an idea that survives?