Rely on Reason

It is important for us to rely upon facts as the realm of mystic and faith is vulnerable to abuse and manipulation. To support this, I draw upon Galileo’s experience and the myth of Apophis.

Galileo

In 1615, Galileo discovered that “the sun remains motionless at the center of the revolutions of the celestial globes, and that the earth both turns on its own axis and revolves around the sun.”

As the discovery contradicted commonly held views, detractors began to “spread abroad the idea that these propositions are contrary to Holy Scripture and therefore to be condemned as heretical” and they found “others who were prepared to declare from the pulpit, with uncharacteristic confidence, that they were indeed to be condemned as heretical.” […]

In addition, “They pretend not to know that its author – or rather the one who revived and confirmed it – was Nicolaus Copernicus, a man who was not just a Catholic but a priest and a canon.” […]

Hence Galileo had no choice but to make a case for himself. He remarked, “It seems to me that the starting point in disputes concerning problems in natural science should not be the authority of scriptural texts but the experience of the senses and necessary demonstrations. For while Holy Scripture and nature proceed alike from the divine word…it is agreed that Scripture, in order to be understood by the multitude, says many things which are apparently and in the literal sense of the words at variance with absolute truth. Nature, on the other hand, never transgresses the laws to which it is subject, but is inexorable and unchanging, quite indifferent to whether its hidden reasons and ways of working are accessible to human understanding or not.” […]

“So I do beg these most prudent Fathers to consider very carefully the difference between statements that are a matter of opinion and those which can be demonstrated. If they keep in mind the strength of logical deduction, they will better understand why it is not in the power of those who profess the demonstrative sciences to change their opinion at will.”

The unbending spirit of Galileo in his maintenance of scientific observation and truth, reminds us that we should too be fact finders and defend truth with reason.

Apophis

In Ancient Egypt, Apophis or Apep was the spirit of evil, darkness and destruction who threatened to destroy the sun god, Ra.  It was associated with several frightening natural events, such as the unexplained darkness of the solar eclipse, storms and earthquakes. It was depicted as a huge serpent, all-powerful and impossible to overcome.

To defeat Apep, priests of Ra would conduct an annual ritual: “Banishing Apep”. An effigy of Apep would be taken into the temple and imbued with all of the evil of the land. The effigy would then beaten, crushed smeared with mud and burned.

After learning of this myth, I felt great sympathy for Apep. It was the scapegoat for all that it could not control; its name cursed and its image crucified for natural events that were bound to happen. Hence, it is important to have knowledge. We have come a long way from the times of Gods and myths, but our human nature remains the same. We still retain some irrational fear, some imagination; yet all must be in moderation and reason shall inform most of our modern lives.

How to Survive 

As evolutionized animals, we ought to have innate abilities to navigate the world and survive in it. By nature, we should have astute senses of observation and a keen sense of suspicion. Hence, the birds fly home before a storm and the queen ant never allows another from its colony to procreate. 

Unfortunately, we’ve become so mobile-absorbed that we bump into others on the streets or stand in the way of racing cyclists. We’ve lost the habit and skill of observation, of our environment and others. Many social experiments prove our lack of ability by switching out elements without us realising. For example, a man conversing with us could change his bag covertly without us ever realising. This is also why most of us make great victims of theft.

We have too abandoned our suspicion, to trust in authority and society. Certainly, the men in blue must serve justice and the men in white must deliver us from our sins. How do we know the truth of their character or its consistency? 

Hence, this brings me to our current hussle with fake news. If we have keener senses of observation, we can sniff out biasness and fluff with little effort. If we are more skeptical, we will employ due dilligence to ascertain truth. If we return to polish our innate abilities, we can navigate and survive in a world that is becoming more primal, more dangerous. If we are just plain lazy, then we have no one else to blame for our belief in falsehoods.