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Szukalski’s Last Supper – Rhyolite, Nevada

Somewhere in my mid teenage years my mind suddenly, so it seemed, developed the ability to articulate unschooled thoughts about topics such as the relationship between faith and science, or whether or not an objective reality exists.

Having the time afforded to youth, I also had the luxury to squander hours considering why music and images had the ability to reach the deepest parts of my soul; after all, I grew up on the fringes of a generation that embraced sex, drugs, and rock and roll with enthusiasm.

These revelations were not that different from the moment, when, about a decade earlier, while I was looking at a globe of the earth, my mind noticed that west coast of Africa roughly matched the east coast of South America. The idea that continents were nothing more than titanic ships that floated on top of the oceans seemed dead right at that moment. Some years later I read in a book that Science sorted out that the continents do drift on oceans of magma deep in the earth.

Now that the majority of my allotted decades have drifted by, no more than a speck of dust in the ocean of time, I find that I am still perplexed by the nature of faith, science, sex, drugs, and yes, rock and roll.

I cannot imagine that the universe did not exist before I was born nor can I imagine that it will cease with when I die. My proof is by inference and blood; my parents once, while holding my hand, help me to find the Milky Way and the North Star in the black sky of the American West. These types of experiences, direct observations, and the complete lack of Sunday mornings spent in a church, were the tides that pulled me towards the empirical shore and away from the spiritual one.

As I drifted along that shore, I never fully avoided the turbulence that was slowly dragging me back towards the middle of the sea. Over the years, the arrogance of youth grew weaker and weaker and one night I found myself holding a child’s hand and pointing to the sky. We discussed the Milky Way, the North Star, and eventually how the Universe began.

As I explained Science’s creation story about the Big Bang and the resulting epic flash of light I accepted that the idea that this interpretation at its most fundamental level was nearly identical to the passage in Genesis where “God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” I quickly discovered myself in ambiguous waters.

I reconciled this paradox by not only becoming content to be becalmed in ambiguous places, but through concluding that Science and Spiritualism are nothing more than the left and right arms of humanity that when dipped into the universal sea and brought together hold belief and faith in their cupped hands.

Artists have the odd role of being the politicians in the debate between Science and Spiritualism since they, like politicians, tend to have big mouths and love to hear themselves squawk and moan about life. Through the process of creation, artists comment about what a society values, record the history, and illuminate what portion of the endless tension between Science and Spiritualism is currently dominant.

A thousand years ago the great European painters gave us endless faces of Jesus and Saints while in Central America the Mayans gave us great pyramids that rose above the jungle and revealed the night sky to Priests where they become astronomers. A thousand years later, a people only a generation or two freed from slavery, gave America its musical soul and forever changed the course of musical history while the writers wrote stories of a continent in financial collapse, the threat of atomic war, and jazz.

Today, at the beginning of the new millennium, astronomers, through technology appear to have observed gas clouds and gravitational waves that have survived untouched since the Big Bang. If these observations hold up through the rigors of scientific examination humanity will have empirically proved that in the beginning that there was light.

After that, we can should have the time to embrace with both our arms the truly important things such as dancing in the dark to the sounds of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

*****

This is my 100th post to Una Voce Sola. An arbitrary milestone for sure, but one that I find useful and will embrace with both my arms.

Copyright 2014 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved

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