THIS WILL MAKE YOU SEE YOUR LIFE DIFFERENTLY


One of my favourite passages from a book is one that describes "the nature of nature".


It begins with a description of a "cruel" (from the human point of view) killing of an animal in nature and continues with: "It sounds savagely cruel but, as we shall see, Nature isn't cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things may be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose. We humans have purpose in the brain."


I loved this passage, and it reminded me of something out of an Alan Watts lecture. Its a detailed chapter, explaining many examples of how we try to find meaning in what we see, do, what is done to us, what happens around us, everything. Without realising that there actually is no purpose and no meaning to us being here at all. It reminds me of something I've read somewhere else (probably the God Delusion but I don't specifically remember): that we always try to find meaning; we try to find meaning in someone dying of a disease. But bacteria don't know what they're doing, they're just trying to survive. There is even less planning and malevolence in bacteria killing us as there is in us washing our hands with no regard for the millions of life forms we are killing doing it.


"DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music."


Still, on this topic, Dawkins answers what many religious people often say: "If the universe was just electrons, there would be no problem of evil or suffe

ring." (And therefore the universe isn't just electrons, I'm assuming they're also meaning other subatomic particles here.)


"On the contrary, if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies like the crashing of a bus are exactly what we should expect, along with equalling meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."


BOOK: RIVER OUT OF EDEN - RICHARD DAWKINS


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