An anthropocentric world

We may have not invented the universe, but the universe is our invention alright.

Anything we understand of this world, e.g. that water is H2O, that no speed is greater than the speed of light, that e=mc2 etc are not absolute and eternal truths valid everywhere, any time in the universe, trillions of years before and trillions of years after today. The known and measurable conditions we see in our universe are the result of how we think. This is why views change over time: because our perception changes.

When a simple man, who is not an expert, says today that the sun rises from the East and sets in the West, he is not lying. Nor does he call Copernicus, who believed that the Sun revolves around the Earth, a liar. Both simple and scientific views are the product of thoughts and thoughts depend on perception. We see the universe the way we do, because this is the only way we can.

We don’t have a choice really. It is impossible to get out of the limits of our selves, as it is impossible to get out of the universe and observe it. Our view is inevitably anthropocentric, but this is not arrogance per se. What is arrogance is the conviction that our idea of the world is the world; to believe that e.g. mathematics and geometry, which we have invented, were there prior to our existence. To trust that what we believe today (which is different from what we believed yesterday and in all likelihood from what we’ll believe tomorrow) has universal validity. How on Earth can we claim that our thoughts are the world or that they should be taken for the world? That’s audacity. At the same time, that’s why being aware of our finite abilities and abundant limitations is humility.


The God gene hypothesis

Some characteristics are common and shared between tribes, civilizations and eras. One of them is the conviction that God exists. Every single civilization has a word ascribed to God, special places for His worship and a literature about Him.

According to Jung, the study of archetypes in the collective unconscious leads us to the conclusion that there is a religion component built within the human, that affects him in much the same way as e.g. the sexual instinct. Primitives were as involved in the expression of this component, e.g. by creating special symbols that connote it or even religions, as they were with the cultivation of land, hunting, fishing or meeting of any other basic need.

The faith in God is so deeply rooted in humans that today many scientists believe it to be nothing short of a reflex: we believe in God same as we shed tears when in pain or laugh when we rejoice. We have the ability to believe in God, just like we have the ability to speak or to write or to understand and compose music. There is then a strong possibility that faith in God is actually a matter of genetics, i.e. integrated in our DNA, thus in our central nervous system.

The founders of a new scientific branch, neurotheology, believe that faith in God was incorporated in our genes, in much the same way as our ability to understand and produce language was. This happened, they say, in order to help as come to terms with the issue of death: if God exists or if a reality other than the physical one exists, then our essence is its extension and not subject to decay and death, as our physical body is. Such ideas are discussed in great depth in books such as Matthew Alper’s “The God Part of the Brain”.

But what if this is not so? What if nature’s laws are not blind and what if it was not coincidence nor natural choice that put the God gene inside us? What if it was God Himself who wanted us, in our oblivion, to be able to cling on to who we really are? Questions without a chance of receiving a definite answer ever…



“Pye, how many aspects of us are there, anyway?” I asked.

She laughed, looked out the window to the patterns below. “How many can you imagine? They are countless.”

“All these patterns are us?” Leslie asked stunned. “As far as we see, as far as we fly, these patterns are our choices?!”

Pye nodded with her head.

We haven’t started yet, I thought, and it is already beyond believing. “What about everybody else, Pye? How many lives can there be in one universe?”

She looked puzzlement at me, as if she didn’t understand my question. “How many lives are there in one universe, Richard?” she asked. “ONE”.

From Richard Bach’s book, “One".