The Awe of Interconnection
Albert Einstein once wrote: “A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion.”
Solid wisdom coming from the only person whose name is synonymous with “genius!” If we accept this, and further agree that truth is good (true=good), then logically, only those frameworks that confront our ‘delusion of separation’ can meet this challenge’s criterion of being a “force for good.” Stated positively, “A beneficial belief system must awakens us to interconnectedness.” It is awareness of interconnection that “cuts across boundaries,” reduces greed, ends wars, and heals the environment. Awareness combined with awe? THAT would make our understanding sentimental—and sustainable.
Such a beneficial framework for interconnectedness and awe already exists: Pantheism (etymologically, ‘All-is-God-ism’). It’s an ancient belief that sees the Universe as connected and divine. Likely originating from our earliest intuitive harmony with our surroundings, it saw widespread interest until the late 1800’s, before waning under the rise of scientific atheism and materialism. Today, we see the costs of that change: narcissism, political finger-pointing, and degraded environments surround us. It’s time to cure our disconnection and lack of wonder. Ancient pantheism is the perfect modern remedy. At peace with natural science, it rejects dogma in favor of freethinking, and embraces democracy over authoritarianism. Its “rituals” are consequently open-sourced; homegrown. They may be nature, art, or science-focused, they may be primitive or technological, but they will always share one driving goal: awakening in us the awe of interconnection.
By Charles Beebe