The human brain is wired to make meaning. To make patterns.
As young as 13 months of age, children make use of adult-supplied labels to modify category boundaries and draw novel inferences. We want these labels. We crave them. We need them for survival. Categories help us make meaning of the world. They help us organize ourselves among the infinite.
It makes the world feel smaller and neater. Can you imagine life without it? If we didn’t have this disposition, each time we saw a different chair, we would not know to sit on it. We could not infer from our earlier experiences of a “chair “ (an object of furniture with legs that you can sit on) that this red one is the same thing as the black one we saw days earlier. Life would be difficult. Beyond sucking at musical chairs, you would be a hot mess. The world would be full of scary new objects.
We are wired to make meaning. We create meaning by inferences and categories.
And it turns out you can’t stop that even if you tried.
I know this for a fact. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to be a passive observer. I’m trying to not make meaning. To not make inferences. To not think even.
But it turns out we are not wired to blindly accept the world.
We need beliefs to function to make the world less scary and more predictable. Science and religion are prime examples of that. They provide structures. They bring clarity to a world that without them would seem like chaos.
But yet all I want is to lose meaning. To just mute it all. To not think as it currently doesn’t serve me. There is no meaning and no possible inference for this situation, but it’s impossible.
I’m a mere human.
So I’ve been thinking non-stop, especially going into tomorrow, about what I can believe in. What can ground me as it is an impossible situation? What can I believe in now?
I believe in power.
I believe in current.
AND I believe in it, even though I can’t see it with my naked eye. I know it exists. I know that the light doesn’t turn on by magic. I know there are electrons moving things along. I believe that energy rules our world. Plants cannot grow without energy from the sun. We do not move without energy from food and water. And that this energy is released and captured, a long dance of transfer from particles within atoms, cells to other cells (neurons firing), to my fingers pressing these keys, everything is just energy. It is never lost, it only changes states. But it’s still energy. Everything is energy.
And we seek it. Boy do we seek it!
I believe we all seek it in all of its forms.
Whether it is energy from the sun, energy from music, energy from your coffee, we all are energy seekers as energy feels good. You can even overdose from it. Energy can make you high as a freaking kite. Like everything in life, you need that right amount. Need to get your dosage right.
And while we know a lot about energy as every fifth grader can make a closed circuit, there is a lot we still don’t know. We can’t even fathom how much there is. In the observable universe, there is 10^80 particles. But we still don’t know.
Maybe it is infinite? Wouldn’t that be something?
We are only limited by what we can see and measure using tools that see what we can’t. We have learned that molecules, when rearranged, can change forms. Look at water (vapor, liquid and solid). Energy morphs. Maybe there are states we have no idea about?
It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it. All the vastness. All of the power sprinkled throughout this planet and how we share it. And what I like most about my one belief is that it cannot be destroyed.
It cannot be destroyed.
Energy is always there for you.
And as odd as it feels…I’m feeling pretty high. Maybe overdosing a bit as there is a lot of energy transfers in our direction.
I can feel the transfers to our family. Today I went to a challah bake at Chabad of Tribeca in honor of Jacob. Here was a room of women I’ve known for years and many I had never met before, but here they were for Jacob. Here they were to give their time and their ENERGY. And I could FEEL it.
And then Chana, an incredible early childhood educator that I so respect, spoke about faith. And it dawned on me. We are talking about the same thing. How is faith different from energy? Isn’t faith belief in a higher source of power?
Aren’t prayers asking for power? Strength to heal? Courage to accomplish a task? Aren’t we asking for innate power?
So tomorrow we walk in with all the energy that you have shared with my family and possibly infinite energy.
And that cannot be destroyed.