08 November 2010

Painted Ponies Go Up and Down

I’m a serious person. But the gods of hubris should taze my sorry ass the instant I take myself seriously. And for the matter, the gods of the patronizingly dogmatic should electroshock my super-sized melon if ever I conclude that life has a purpose other than monkey-humping procreation.

I have a hunch about why so many societies have faith in unseen magical powers. I, for one, like to imagine unseen magical powers.

I think about concepts like god, or concepts like the fundamental constituents of matter, but that's as far as reason permits me to go.

It's not that the ancient texts extolling the virtues of one prophet over another -- obviously created second-hand by humans -- aren't convincing as convenient and comforting truth. But divine? Meh.

It's deeper -- DNA deeper.

My hunch is that humans are genetically predisposed to believe in the divine. At some point, humans started burying their dead. It became a comforting ritual -- an offering to the gods.

Burying a corpse effectively stunts any disease vectors emanating from rotting flesh and coagulating blood. The buriers of corpses - those who contemplated a higher power - were naturally selected to survive societies without burial rituals.

A Carousel of Time

We can't return. We can only look behind from where we came. Which brings me to painted ponies and a sweet but profound tune by Joni Mitchell:
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and 'round and 'round
In the circle game

   ~Joni Mitchell, The Circle Game

Twenty-Something Epiphany

At an age of twenty-something, I realized our lives are an absurd but infinitely interesting carousel ride. After that, I saw the painted ponies go up and down with renewed vigor.

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