As a species, we have never been able to get beyond the notion of God. From pre-historic days we have hoped, suspected, or believed that there is a greater being, a super natural presence, something beyond measure. This belief lies at the intersection of humility, wonder, pain, and hope; it is the logical conclusion of anyone who observes the weakness, frailty, and accomplishments of human beings. Before religion there was this instinct, it will be there after.
I visited a Native American burial ground yesterday, a 2,500 year old sacred ground that is testament to this spirit. More than a simple cemetery, the Crystal River Archeological Site was a place of worship and wonder, people came from great distances to bury their dead, to mourn them, and to hear the priests speak from the temple mounds that eventually led archeologists to find the grounds among the jungle. We know little of these people, we think they traded with other indigenous people from the north, they had copper tools which may have come from Ohio. We think there may have been a connection to the pyramid type archeological sites of Mexico, it is possible they even lined the pyramids up to align with celestial bodies. They had no written language and they were nomadic, but for thousands of years we know that they came back to this holy spot, perhaps thousands of people at a time, to honor that notion that they were not the center of the universe, that they were one with everything, not above it.
Today, it is possible to live without humility,wonder, pain, and hope; at least for a while. We are the masters of our own universe, isolated from community by our computer, phone, and TV screens. We worship the screen today and we worship ourselves. We belief in self help, self reliance, and selfishness. Greed is good. The problem with Self is when you only belief in yourself, you are limited by your self. Many of us are figuring out that we become better selves when we lie in service to others.
Then there is this creation thing. We draw on something when we create, when we are inspired. We draw from that same notion that tells us there is a higher power, we draw on our own memories and from all of those who came before us. We are creations and we are destined to create. Before religion and all of its arguments come into the equation, in our hearts we instinctually know to draw from humility, from wonder, from pain and from hope when we create, we are drawing from the supernatural.
No scientific data can prove the source of this power, few who have decided to believe will be convinced otherwise by earthly proofs, but they are going against one of man’s most basic instincts, this notion of God is something we just can’t get past.
After I visited the archeological site I drove along the Crystal River and I found this roadside memorial. Someone’s child died in a wreck and the survivors marked the spot where that life ended. They honored the dead, just as our ancestors did, along the Crystal River. In placing the green cross and teddy bear, they said, we remember you, we miss you, we hurt for you and we hope to see you again. We know that there is a place where this can happen, we’ll see you there. Along a river, near a beach, we will all meet again.