Random Theory — my two cents

I was thinking that maybe the reason more women (in the 15-45 year old age bracket) are religious than men (my twin disagrees with this sweeping generalization) is because religion involves (1) believing in an objective reality that takes precedence over (2) your own subjective experience. In other words– I don’t feel like there is a loving God in charge of the universe right now, but I’m going to believe it. Or, I don’t feel there is a point to my personal refraining from seemingly insignificant XYZ or doing ABC right now, but I believe it has a cosmic significance, that it all matters, and that something beautiful and eternal will be made out of my daily choices to act as if they did matter.

 

As women, we get monthly hormonal cycles that massively fluctuate and thus can really mess with our heads. There are a bunch of brain chemicals regulating our fertility cycle — and so for a few days during ovulation when the estrogen levels peak I feel (1) intensely emotionally needy (e.g. sentimental and sad, reflective, craving human closeness/touch/approval), and then a week or two later as the progesterone plummets I feel (2) like the world is ending (feelings of imminent apocalypse, the long decay of all that is good in the world) spiced with bouts of weeping, irrational anger, and giddy happiness.

 

To conclude, this monthly experience can potentially cause us to get used to not taking ourselves too seriously. From a constant experience that our in-the-moment view of things could be wrong, we accept that reality is bigger than our own in-the-moment feelings about it. In other words, we get used to believing in an objective reality over our own current subjective experience.

 

My twin thinks I’m making way too many generalizations.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Random Theory — my two cents

  1. I think there could be something to this. 🙂 I was just thinking today about how much I hate that my spiritual and emotional life seems to be at the mercy of hormonal fluctuations, and that I have a hard time untangling what’s true from all of that mess… But I can see how that can be spiritually useful. For that matter, of course, depression/mental illness can do something similar.

  2. This is so interesting to me! I agree with Sarah, mental illness has made me think about rather similar things. It’s had a bit of the opposite result, though – it’s made any sort of objective reality feel very far away and unobtainable, since it becomes so difficult to sift out what is ‘real’ from what is hormonal/chemical, or even if there is any difference between them at all. That’s the worst part, sometimes: it becomes almost impossible to distinguish what is yourself and what is a symptom. And when you can’t do that, anything metaphysical seems too much to even consider.

    I’m curious, though: if you don’t feel as if there is a loving God in charge of the universe, why do you believe it? I don’t mean that in a critical way at all, I’m just interested, because it’s a hard concept for me to grasp. (And, of course, feel free to ignore it if it’s too personal!)

    1. No not “too personal” at all. As is quite evident from this blog, I like sharing my personal stuff…

      As for feeling that there is a loving God in charge of the universe or not, it isn’t uniform–sometimes I feel there is, and more often I feel there isn’t. I have noticed that it depends on circumstantial stuff (if something good/meaningful happens, I am more likely to feel there is, and vice versa) and random stuff that isn’t logically connected (e.g. the stress before comps put me into a full-blown mindspace I hadn’t been in since freshmen year of college with the atheist biochemistry professor).

      So I guess for me it comes down to which moment of my feelings I choose to believe is real. I guess that sounds kind of arbitrary, since both are feelings produced from clear circumstantial stuff. More often I feel not than yes, but that too is just quantitative difference, which proves nothing either way.

      Qualitatively, there were a few moments in the past when I was absolutely sure of God’s existende/love/meaningful plan for all of us, a kind of intense beauty that seemed bigger than the universe. It was an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t happen any more. It happened when I was younger (alot when I was 11-13 years old, and after a car wreck at 20), and not anymore. I have manic highs now, but they aren’t the same as those. I don’t fully remember how I felt in those moments (it was brain overload, and I remember enough to remember I’ve forgotten), but I remember thinking “this is real, more than anything else.” It’s kinda like I promised myself to hold onto that, and believe it, when I know I’ll forget later.

      I guess the rational counter to that would be, how do I know it wasn’t just a mega-manic-high of my teen years, the counter-opposite of a panic attack? (I had plenty of those too during those years, would wake up in middle of the night feeling like something very power/evil was laughing at me and owned me, etc.) .

      Well, in the moment, I remember knowing it was more real than anything else. I don’t know anymore, but I knew then, so I hold on to that, if that makes sense. I don’t try to re-work up the feelings (didn’t work), but I do make a habit of acting like it — talking to God about all of it, demanding, rejoicing, complaining, all on the assumption he is hearing every word and cares twice as much as I do about all of it. I write letters to him too. I think there is a scene in Dr Who (though my memory could’ve mangled it) where Rory has a broken one-way communicator with Amy while she is trapped in a poison fog and losing it but she has to stay conscious or she’ll become a zombie, but she keeps talking to him through the intercom, and as he & the doctor are working out a rescue plan, he is curled up holding the intercom, listening to her every word, though she can’t hear him back. I think of it that way.

      Also (Dr Marler said this, I can’t remember which ancient philosopher it was), if the fundamental principle in the universe is Good, then why is there evil (classic problem of evil) — BUT if the fundamental principle in the universe is Evil, then why is there any good at all? In other words, if the universe is empty, or chaos, or evil, it could never make the goodness and beauty and love that do exist in people on earth now. Something that beautiful can’t come from nowhere. Of course, that does leave us with the problem of evil & suffering, but I think we are supposed to, like Job (not like his friends!) refuse to accept it, and keep demanding from God an explanation, as Job did, like a stubborn child or a furious lover. And fully expect that some day, like Job, we’ll see him in the whirlwind, and all will be made clear. The choice that Job’s friends made, to make excuses for God, or blame the victims (e.g. ‘they deserved it’), or to accept it as Elihu did as kow-towing to an arbitrary God (e.g. ‘he is all-powerful so can do whatever he wants’) is actually an insult to God. Like Job, it is better to operate on the assumption that he is Good and he does have power, and he does love us, and for God’s sake, God is going to have an explanation for this.

      He’ll have to have an explanation for all of this, including for why he doesn’t let us feel him most of the time, and why he so often doesn’t seem to answer. I just keep talking to Him anyways, because I’ve chosen to believe that the loving personality I knew in those brief moments of overwhelming beauty is the fundamental principle of the universe, God.

      Hmm. Sorry this is kind of long. I think about this stuff alot, journal about it all the time, and I love babbling about it to anyone who’ll listen. So if you have any more questions, I’d be happy to blab more. 🙂

  3. I didn’t think you’d mind, but whenever I ask about something like that I want to make sure people never feel pressured into talking about it if they don’t want to.

    And no, I don’t think that’s arbitrary. I think that it makes sense. Certainties of any kind are hard to grasp onto, so if you have some that you really believe in, I think it’s smart to hold them tightly.

    I think the question of evil or sadness is so interesting. I don’t really think of it in a metaphysical context (or only sort of skirting around the edge of one, I suppose). I’ve always just thought that most of the pain in the world comes from people making bad decisions (often with the best of intentions). I’ve always found it hard to believe in fundamental principles, or the idea that the world is inherently good or evil. I’m not sure why, really. Maybe because it feels like it takes away from people, though I guess it wouldn’t necessarily have to.

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