I just finished watching the critically acclaimed movie Contact. I know, I’m late. Shut it.
For those that know me, know that I’m a sucker for cerebral movies that address existential questions. I am my father’s daughter. In fact, I related so much to Jodie Foster’s character and her relationship with her father. (I swear I should’ve been an astronomer or physicist. Oh well.) The movie reminded me of when me and my dad would talk for hours about “life out there,” parallel universes, multiple lifetimes. I remember one time my dad and I stood on our deck starring at this flickering light in the sky that moved in a circular fashion. I ran to retrieve my camcorder just so I could record what we both were witnessing. We stood on the patio for about 45 minutes guessing and hypothesizing about that light. What was it? Where did it come from? We didn’t know, but it was cool just to stand and wonder with my dad. He was the only person I could ever wonder with.
The movie Contact got me wondering about more than just existence and our purpose in it, it also got my brain juices stirring about the relationship between science and religion. The movie itself forced viewers to confront how, if at all, math/science and religion/philosophy relate to each other, and the purpose they serve for humanity.
Some of my random thoughts:
If math/science is the universal language, then religion/philosophy is the intonation, rhythm, and pulse of that language. Both seem necessary to stay connected as a humanity existing in a singular universe. However, neither is Truth but the pursuit of it; both are means of communicating existence, something of which we may never ever fully grasp in one lifetime, in one multi-dimensional existence.
If the foundation of proof isn’t necessarily physical evidence then it’s fair to say that faith and skepticism are both equally valid perspectives. For instance, I’m not one to mull over if God(dess) exist, but I am one to obsess about whether or not I will ever see my father again (or any other kindred souls I’ve become acquainted with throughout my lifetimes). Science and religion can only barely address this question, but not answer it. Yet on the same token, science and religion can help communicate the reasons and sentiments behind this question. Philosophy and religion inform my belief that it’s possible to find my father after this lifetime. Science informs my belief that connection is possible, but we’ve yet to develop the technology or formulate the exact equation to make it possible just yet. The theory of space-time certainly opens up many possibilities for humans to connect the universes and all that inhabits them. Yet still, we’ve got a ways to go.
In the end, I’m left both faithful and skeptical that I will see my father again. A scary thought, but perhaps the most plausible. Skepticism and faith together are as necessary as positive and negative electrons, as necessary as Judaism and Islam, as necessary as vibrations and rhythms. These are the things that make up energy of inquiry and the pursuit of Truth and understanding.
Humanity is given clues to existence and purpose that hopefully science and religion can together one day unravel.