Tuesday, January 1, 2013
A minor epiphany from the one true God
3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
I had one of those Sunday night. It was so overwhelming, so moving, that I was stunned by an involuntary emotional response. I imagine this is what New Agers and religionists call having a “spiritual moment.” Let me explain.
60 Minutes aired a story about a team of scientists who, with support from the US military, were working to make fully articulated robotic limbs that could be controlled by the brain of paraplegics and amputees. By implanting tiny circuitry into the surface of the brain, and running leads from the skull to the artificial limb, a person was able to control the arm movement and hand manipulations simply through thought. Over the past five years they have progressed to the point where nerves in a severed stump can activate the full range of motion even allowing the fingers of the mechanical hand to sense the density of the object being grasped and send the signal back to the amputee’s brain. They expect to go wireless over the next few years.
The implications of this breakthrough technology are vast for paraplegics, amputees, stroke victims, people suffering from muscular and neurological diseases. It extends beyond limb replacement to the potential of restoring sight and hearing in the blind and deaf.
While the current configuration is in what is akin to the “Model T” stage, there is no doubt… read it again: NO DOUBT, that this will revolutionize the medical field, changing the very definition of quality of life for millions of people. It is the fantasy of the bionic man coming to reality. It heralds an age where people once condemned to a life of dependency will be restored to virtual wholeness… perhaps even better than the original human body parts.
I watched the prototype being used by a woman whose genetic disease left her a quadriplegic, and a man who had lost his arm below the elbow in an accident. I witnessed something special, and experienced an enthusiasm, an excitement, awe. Whatever it’s called, I was moved.
And then it hit me. There IS a God. A God that doesn’t promise fulfillment of desperate prayers, or hopeful response to sung praises and then fails to deliver. A God that isn’t hidden behind some veil of supernatural mystery, or housed in some mystical place of post death wonderment. A God that doesn’t demand blind belief; threaten punishment; kill its self/offspring as retribution for an imagined insult.
This God delivers what the gods born of man’s religious meme have never fulfilled and will never deliver. This God works not in a“strange and mysterious way” but with reason and purpose that can be observed and marveled at with each successive generation. A God who is dedicated to exploring, uncovering, lifting that veil of mystery bringing advancement into the light of day and open for everyone to see admire and praise. A God who delivers results that are the fruits of his reality, ingenuity, and pursuit of knowledge; not some hit or miss throw of the dice outcome by a make believe monster being whose infamous disdain for knowledge inspired a mythical eternal curse on mankind for daring to attain it.
My epiphany? Simply put: There is a God. It is here and now, and it is Us.
While Man as God can and does show his most heinous side - it is never worse than the imagined fiendish and inexplicable acts of the invented destroyer God that billions mindlessly worship, and whose non-existence cannot restore a single human limb.
You may say that wasn’t much of an epiphany - that anyone with a modicum of cognition unencumbered by religious mumbo-jumbo understands this. Maybe you’re right.
But when this old camel’s eyes spontaneously turned watery from the spectacle of this one human achievement – at witnessing the joy of those who experienced it and in anticipation of the multitude that will some day share that joy; at man accomplishing with mind and dedication what a billion trillion prayers to a pantheon of gods have never, could never and will never accomplish – it was as grand a “eureka” moment as a realist could hope to have.
Damn, reason feels good.