|A 'murmuration' of starlings|
I'm discussing the irreverence at the heart of the supernatural: the move from this world to another, and what this says about the 'spiritual' psyche. A sample:
My point is not that the faithful are themselves irreverent. I have no interest in belittling their personal piety or worship. What concerns me is that their basic worldview is lacking. For me, a casual read of New Scientist is an exercise in awe or wonder: dormant suns that reignite with stolen gas; the delicate balance of quantum forces that keep water stable; the possibility that Earth's own water was delivered by a comet's chance impact. Watching a murmuration of starlings is spellbinding; the sweep and curl of a thousand birds, looping in fluttering clusters of silhouetted black.
We speak of the 'miracle' of birth, as if it were contrary to nature. But this is precisely what our bodies do, and it is all the more wonderful for this. New life is exhausting, harrying and sometimes dangerous. But, like stars, water, comets and birds, it is mundane, in the original sense of the word: of this world.
What surprises me about supernatural beliefs is that they need another. I am often astonished at the fact of existence; plain old 'becoming', as some philosophers call it. For me, this is a sublime world, all the more precious for its flux and fragilities. But for supernaturalists, the world is not enough.(Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)