Are random clouds, colors and shades
from the sunset you see
not more beautiful
then the reason you see
Does beauty need a reason
You jump up and swiftly swipe your hands where you felt it crawl; a tiny, harmless spider moves away, you wonder why this made you scared. This reaction to spiders and snakes is a classic example of a fear we inherited from our ancient forefathers. It can still be helpful if you find yourself wondering in a tropical jungle, but for most humans living today, in cities and urban areas, this fear of harmless spiders and other small insects is not rational.
Evolution and adjustments to new circumstances take time. On an evolutionary time scale, humans have just arrived and are still new. Our brain, how we think, and what we need have changed little in these roughly 3 million years that our closest ancestors started reflecting on their thoughts. We modern humans (homo sapiens) are descendants of these first humanlike apes, the Australopithecus Africanus, from these first transitionary species until today spans roughly 3 million years. For most of this time, our ancestors were not on top of the food chain like we are for the last few thousand years. For millions of years, life was dangerous and hard, and feeling fear played a significant role in our development from one human species to another1.
I concluded before that one of the side effects of this “old brain” is the belief in Gods and other supernatural forces; this belief seems to be a necessary tool to keep away the nagging feeling of a life with no structure, patterns, and purposes. My answer to the disappearance of a reason for life is that life is beautiful in itself and that the need for purpose no longer needs to be fulfilled.
Let’s say that life started when the big bang started. There are many discussions on how the big bang started or even if it is the cause of this all; that is beside the point. I try to do a philosophical experiment, and the details are not so important in such an experiment. For now, we assume that it started, and in all likelihood, it started not deliberately or, better said: necessary. Some say that the laws of nature as we know them now were not “born” yet, so maybe saying that it started in chaos is an understatement. This moment of chaos or unpredictability is hard to imagine, but I can give an example that might show how I see it. If I go outside in light rain and stretch my hand out with my palm showing up, I can expect some raindrops to hit my open hand, but if I concentrate where the first drop falls, I can wonder. This one droplet hits me out of a million others, and I stand on a random place outside, my hand at that particular spot, and the droplet that already falls for kilometers hits me. Think also of where that one droplet comes from. The journey these water molecules make over and over again. As far as I know, some of them fell on Gallileo when he was staring in the direction where these molecules once came from.
This is how I understand life started billions of years ago; all the ingredients were there until one atom hit another at the right angle at the right spot and started this chain reaction that we call the big bang.
- –Once an evolutionary benefit that helped keep our ancestors alive, cortisol, the hormone that triggers our fight-or-flight response, may now be doing more harm than good. From: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/fight-or-flight-why-our-caveman-brains-keep-getting-confused — –Why in a modern world do more people believe in ESP, ghosts and angels than in scientific theories such as evolution? A University of Guelph psychology professor tackles this question and others in a new book, Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking in a Modern World. “We’re trying to get by in our modern world using a Stone-Age mind,” said Hank Davis, a specialist in evolutionary psychology. From: https://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2009/06/human_brain_stu_1.html
–During the talk, Lieberman described some of the ways that instincts humans inherited from the Stone Age — also known as the Paleolithic Period, stretching from between 2.6 million to about 10,000 years ago — now conflict with modern life From: https://www.livescience.com/41146-cavemen-choices.html