14 November 2008

Later at the Airport - Beauty and Logic in the Universe

I had the fortune to sit next to a kind and interesting gentleman. We began our conversation about cameras as he had a Canon I would maim for. Somehow this led to the topic of astronomy, which is something I'm very interested in and unfortunately know very little about. Eventually, after he explained some very excited long-exposure astro-photography techniques, we were on the subject of atheism. I won't try to directly quote him and if my paraphrase is slightly off, I do hope he'll correct me, but I found what he had to say to be beautiful and close to how I feel. He related that his notions about theology and where we come from are directly related to cosmology and the origins of the universe - pure logic and objectivity. It doesn't put god into the equation and it doesn't take him out. It doesn't involve philosophical ponderings on the existence of god or circular reasoning. I'm a big fan of what he had to say and I realize it's the same way I feel, only I choose to label it atheism. I lack a belief in god, not so much because I dwell on it but because there are so many more beautiful and helpful ideas to spend time thinking about. It's nice to meet someone who elegantly states a position you realize you already held. It's a conversation I imagine Carl Sagan would have enjoyed.

We are star people.


intelekshual said...

Your mother's a star person.

Isn't it nice every once in awhile to connect with a stranger that you'll likely never see again?

Kate said...

Even MY mother's a star person, yes. She'd even agree with that sentiment, I think. It's a beautiful one.

And for me it was the first time I had a conversation with a stranger about atheism that wasn't hostile (on their end). I think it's called not being in Mississippi.

~b2b said...

The man you met on the plane is my father. And while he remains a stranger to me in some ways, I do have the luxury of seeing him again... and again. He does have a good eye for the "big picture", and a passion for the technology to capture it... which is quickly catching up with the "resolution" of our own minds and imagination. I'm just glad the conversation didn't descend into politics... that might have gotten "hostile" (on his end ;).