Study, along the lines which the theologies have mapped, will never lead us to discovery of the fundamental facts of our existence. That goal must be attained by means of exact science and can only be achieved by such means. The fact that man, for ages, has superstitiously believed in what he calls a God does not prove at all that his theory has been right. There have been many gods – all makeshifts, born of inability to fathom the deep fundamental truth. There must be something at the bottom of existence and man, in ignorance, being unable to discover what it is through reason, because his reason has been so imperfect, undeveloped, has used, instead, imagination and created figments, of one kind or another, which, according to the country he was born in, the suggestions of his environment, satisfied him for the time being. Not one of all the gods of all the various theologies has ever really been proved. We accept no ordinary scientific fact without the final proof; why should we, then, be satisfied in this most mighty of all matters, with a mere theory?Destruction of false theories will not decrease the sum of human happiness in future, any more than it has in the past... The days of miracles have passed. I do not believe, of course, that there was ever any day of actual miracles. I cannot understand that there were ever any miracles at all. My guide must be my reason and at thought of miracles my reason is rebellious. Personally, I do not believe that Christ laid claim to doing miracles, or asserted that he had miraculous power...Our intelligence is the aggregate intelligence of the cells which make us up. There is no soul, distinct from mind and what we speak of as the mind is just the aggregate intelligence of cells. It is fallacious to declare that we have souls apart from animal intelligence, apart from brains. It is the brain that keeps us going. There is nothing beyond that.Life goes on endlessly, but no more in human beings than in other animals, or, for that matter, than in vegetables. Life, collectively, must be immortal, human beings, individually, cannot be, as I see it, for they are not the individuals – they are mere aggregates of cells.There is no supernatural. We are continually learning new things. There are powers within us which have not yet been developed and they will develop. We shall learn things of ourselves, which will be full of wonders, but none of them will be beyond the natural.[Columbian Magazine interview]
Thomas A. Edison
Minus: Papa, I am scared. When I was hugging Karin in the boat, reality burst open. Do you understand?David: I do.Minus: Reality burst open and I tumbled out. It's like a dream. Anything can happen. Anything.David: I know.Minus: I can't live in this new world.David: Yes, you can. But you must have something to hold on to.Minus: What would that be? A god? Give me proof of God. You can't.David: Yes, I can. But you have to listen carefully.Minus: Yes, I need to listen.David: I can only give you a hint of my own hope. It is to know that love exists as something real in the human world.Minus: A special kind of love, I suppose?David: All kinds, Minus. The highest and the lowest, the most absurd and the most sublime. All kinds of love.Minus: And the longing for love?David: Longing and denial. Trust and distrust.Minus: Then love is the proof?David: I don't know if love is proof of God's existence, or if love is God himself.Minus: To you, love and God are the same thing.David: That thought helps me in my emptiness and despair.Minus: Tell me more, Papa.David: Suddenly the emptiness turns into abundance and despair into life. It's like a reprieve, Minus, from a death sentence.Minus: Papa... If it is as you say, then Karin is surrounded by God, since we love her.David: Yes.Minus: Can that help her?David: I believe so.Minus: ... Papa, would you mind if I go for a run?David: Off you go. I'll make dinner. See you in an hour.Minus: ... Papa spoke to me.
Ingmar Bergman
Globalization has shipped products at a faster rate than anything else; it’s moved English into schools all over the world so that now there is Dutch English and Filipino English and Japanese English. But the ideologies stay in their places. They do not spread like the swine flu, or through sexual contact. They spread through books and films and things of that nature. The dictatorships of Latin America used to ban books, they used to burn them, just like Franco did, like Pope Gregory IX and Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Now they don’t have to because the best place to hide ideologies is in books. The dictatorships are mostly gone—Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. The military juntas. Our ideologies are not secrets. Even the Ku Klux Klan holds open meetings in Alabama like a church. None of the Communists are still in jail. You can buy Mao’s red book at the gift shop at the Museum of Communism. I will die soon, in the next five to ten years. I have not seen progress during my lifetime. Our lives are too short and disposable. If we had longer life expectancies, if we lived to 200, would we work harder to preserve life or, do you think that when Borges said, ‘Jews, Christians and Muslims all profess belief in immortality, but the veneration paid to the first century of life is proof that they truly believe in only those hundred years, for they destine all the rest, throughout eternity, to rewarding or punishing what one did when alive,’ we would simply alter it to say ‘first two centuries’? I have heard people say we are living in a golden age, but the golden age has passed—I’ve seen it in the churches all over Latin America where the gold is like glue. The Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages but only because they are forgotten, because the past is shrouded in darkness, because as we lay one century of life on top of the next, everything that has come before seems old and dark—technological advances provide the illusion of progress. The most horrendous tortures carried out in the past are still carried out today, only today the soldiers don’t meet face to face, no one is drawn and quartered, they take a pill and silently hope a heart attack doesn’t strike them first. We are living in the age of dissociation, speaking a government-patented language of innocence—technology is neither good nor evil, neither progress nor regress, but the more advanced it becomes, the more we will define this era as the one of transparent secrets, of people living in a world of open, agile knowledge, oceans unpoliced—all blank faces, blank minds, blank computers, filled with our native programming, using electronic appliances with enough memory to store everything ever written invented at precisely the same moment we no longer have the desire to read a word of it.
John M. Keller