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Void of the Mystical; Rich with the Mysterious

To rid the world of the mystical is not to throw out the mysteries. The mysterious provoke curiosity, which, in its turn, is the driving force of science. The mystical endorses ignorance, which, in its turn, leads to a deprived view of nature.

Is it not better to illuminate than to obscure? A worldview without the supernatural and the mystical is a worldview that revels in knowledge. The hunger to know has taken us places hard to believe. From a pale blue dot in a vast black sea we are beginning to understand the cosmos which we’re part of. In a quite literal sense, the universe is getting to know itself.

But why take the step from methodology to worldview? Aren’t you narrowing the world down to what science can tell us?

First of all, the world doesn’t change when you learn how it works. And secondly, science’s project is, in short, to know the knowable. There isn’t more to know. Of course, there’s more to feel, and things to have opinions about, but a naturalistic worldview doesn’t dictate your feelings or opinions. It’s about wanting to understand what is there to be understood.

The biggest mysteries (consciousness, the self, free will, the origin of the universe, the origin of life, et cetera) are as much mysteries for brights as for supers. Personally I see a naturalistic worldview as an optimistic anticipation that we are getting closer to understanding these, and many more, mysteries. Understanding is a widening perspective, not an antidote to poetry and mystery.

There’s no need to invoke the mystical – the universe is a mystery waiting to be solved!

Michael Amundsen
Trondheim, Norway

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