Thursday, June 17, 2010

quote of the day

Every attempt to find plan and purpose and respectable rationality in this universe, whether on a supernatural or a merely  naturalistic basis, is bound to end in absurdity, and of the two the naturalistic explanations are the more absurd.  Perhaps the song of birds is "explainable" simply as a device for sexual attraction; perhaps the radiant wings of insects are no more than protective colouring; perhaps the beauty of the morning-glory is merely to entice the bee, appealing no doubt to his acute aesthetic appreciation of colour and form.  Perhaps.  But if the aim of so much splendour is merely to stimulate the sexual processes of purely instinctual organisms, the mountain has labored and brought forth a mouse.

--Alan Watts

1 comment:

ml said...

I had to reread this to see if my initial impression, that Watts is talking out of both sides of his mouth here, is accurate. Yes, it is. I accept the naturalistic explanations, fully knowing that the "splendour" Watts cites is in the eye of the beholder. The naturalists would be wrong to cite the glory of nature as an absolute, inhering in the thing we perceive and on the order of the supernatural or an all-encompassing plan or purpose to life.
So Watts thinks a supernatural master/mistress is absurd but at the same time calls the naturalists absurd for not positing a mystical or godlike glory to the universe.