After a week full of creationist crap, it’s time to relax with some lovely shrooms. These delights were happily growing in the new landscaping at work last fall. Here’s a lovely young button pushing up through the red leaf litter:
I don’t know whose genius idea it was to plant deciduous bushes in place of the grass – it looks rather stark in winter – but at least it’s given these shrooms a place to thrive.
Focusing so much on creationist crap lately has left me puzzled, frankly. Their god seems so… limited. I mean, you’ve got this all-powerful being, and it can’t set up a few fundamental rules and let the universe unfold, revealing undreamt-of complexity? Seriously? You’ve got to believe he poofed it all into existence in the blink of an eye? What a boring barstard you worship, there.
And what a dull view of the world. I mean, really. Look at these mushrooms.
I could get lost for hours, figuring out what we’ve discovered about them, puzzling out how and why they evolved their form and size and color. If I were more of a shroom woman than a geology buff, I could trace their lineage back through the billions of years, until I encountered a single little cell. The stories this one little fungus can tell about life on our world are staggering.
I could stare into that brilliantly-colored disc for the rest of my life, and never learn all there is to know about it.
A creationist? “God made it. Praise the Lord!”
Sad, sad, sad.
I’ve not found any gods outside of the human imagination. We of course can’t rule out the deist sort of deity, the one that came up with a few rules and set the universe in motion to continue creating itself – there’s a vague possibility such an entity exists, although it’s so vanishingly small and so surplus to requirements that I doubt even that. Still. That god is far more interesting.
The universe, unfolding incredible complexity from ultimately simple rules, is astounding. I’m frequently boggled by it. I look at these mushrooms in their stages from button to burst, and I’m delighted. I’m even more delighted that I live in an era when we’re figuring out so much. Being able to admire is awesome: being able to comprehend is sublime.
There was a time when I felt the numinous, when it seemed like there was a divine something-or-other around, and it was nice and rather exciting. It made me feel special, and the world was full of mysteries. But it blinded me to so much. I couldn’t see just how fascinating this really-real world is, because it was dismissed as “mundane.” Science seemed so restrictive with its rules and its insistence on proof, so sterile, without imagination. But that was only because my imagination had been confined by this fiction that the supernatural exists. Once I got past that, I discovered a world far more endlessly beautiful and extraordinary than I’d suspected existed. I found out that science isn’t where imagination goes to die: it sets it soaring. And I wouldn’t trade this. You could promise me ecstatic bliss, a sense of the divine that would make me deliriously happy for the rest of my existence, and I would decline it.
For all the pain, the struggle, and sometimes frustration, it’s far more rewarding to me to have those moments of breakthrough, those moments when I understand, and see, and know, real things.
I’ll never put myself back in a tiny god-box again.
I hope some of those folks who have been so stunted and confined by their indoctrination will eventually join me out here, and see a red-capped mushroom with brand-new eyes.