The key to the scientist's purpose is the idea that every phenomenon is the product of a certain given set of condition. In his laboratory he hopes to reconstitute the set of conditions, however complex they may be, which, once they are fully reconstituted, cannot fail to give rise to the phenomenon he is after, life. In other words he seeks to start off a mechanically fated chain-reaction; and of course, in enumerating the conditions that have made it possible for him to manufacture his phenomenon he systematically discounts the huge mental toils, the plodding, methodical research, of himself and others.Thus, by a singular contradiction, he succeeds in convincing himself and, of course, attempts to persuade others, that he has arrived at the origin of his phenomenon; he sets out to demonstrate that everything in the universe runs perfectly smoothly by itself, without any creative power at anytime intruding.
But the point is, now, at this moment, or any moment, we're only cross-sections of our real selves. What we really are is the whole stretch of ourselves, all our time, and when we come to the end of this life, all those selves, all our time, will be us - the real you, the real me. And then perhaps we'll find ourselves in another time, which is only another kind of dream.
It is not then the existence or the non-existence, of the persons that I trouble myself about; it is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene. It gives an account of a young woman engaged to be married, and while under this engagement, she is, to speak plain language, debauched by a ghost.
If a supernatural being is to be exempt from natural law, it cannot possess specific, determinatecharacteristics. These attributes would impose limits and these limits would restrict the capacitiesof this supernatural being. In this case, a supernatural being would be subject to the causalrelationships that mark natural existence, which would disqualify it as a god. Therefore, we mustsomehow conceive of a being without a specific nature, a being that is indeterminate—a being, inother words, that is nothing in particular. But these characteristics (or, more precisely, lack ofcharacteristics) are incompatible with the notion of existence itself.
All the Navel therefore and conjunctive part we can suppose in Adam, was his dependency on his Maker, and the connexion he must needs have unto heaven, who was the Sonne of God. For holding no dependence on any preceding efficient but God; in the act of his production there may be conceived some connexion, and Adam to have been in a moment all Navel with his Maker. And although from his carnality and corporal existence, the conjunction seemeth no nearer than of causality and effect; yet in his immortall and diviner part he seemed to hold a nearer coherence, and an umbilicality even with God himself. And so indeed although the propriety of this part be found but in some animals, and many species there are which have no Navell at all; yet is there one link and common connexion, one general ligament, and necessary obligation of all whatever unto God. Whereby although they act themselves at distance, and seem to be at loose; yet doe they hold a continuity with their Maker. Which catenation or conserving union when ever his pleasure shall divide, let goe, or separate, they shall fall from their existence, essence, and operations; in brief, they must retire unto their primitive nothing, and shrink into that Chaos again.
Endless moons, an opaque universe, thunder, tornadoes, the quaking earth. Rare moments of peace; forehead up against my knees, arms around my head, I though, I listened, I longed not to exist. but life was there, a transparent pearl, a star revolving slowly on its own axis.
What am I to God? Nothing, a murky shadow. My passage on this earth is too rapid to leave any traces; it counts for nothing in space or in time. God really doesn't pay any attention to us, so even if he exists, it's as if he didn't. My form of atheism, however, leads inevitably to an acceptance of the inexplicable. Mystery is inseparable from chance, and our whole universe is a mystery. Since I reject the idea of a divine watchmaker (a notion even more mysterious than the mystery it supposedly explains), then I must consent to live in a kind of shadowy confusion. And insofar as no explication, even the simplest, works for everyone, I've chosen my mystery. At least it keeps my moral freedom intact.
Here, her hand in mine was the one reality that severed us from the cold click-clack of Hell. I rubbed her hand and she sighed; wasn’t that meaning? Wasn’t that something we could cling to? I could be with this other. I could form no other relation, but maybe her hand in mine was enough, both sufficient and necessary. In Hell there was no sense of place, because all places were the same. Uniform monotony. A place without place. A place without context. But, here, now, I could rub her hand and she would sigh. She was a difference. Perhaps each person was the only difference in all these halls of unchanging ranks of books, kiosks, clocks, and carpet, and that, and that, at least, we had to hold to.