January 17, 2015

For further reflection

We live in a world of unprecedented change and complexity, and this makes us more desperate than ever to cling to what we think we know. We need to believe that our purposes, those goals in which we invest meaning, are valid. On this definition, business is a religion, career is a religion, family is a religion, nation is a religion, secularism is a religion, and religion is a religion. There is no getting away from it. However, our values cannot be independently verified – other than by the reassuring support of the like-minded.
But what is there to put in the place of our belief systems, violations of which cause such dangerous blowback? Nothing. Literally, nothing. All our belief systems are simply constructs. The world isn’t this way or that. It just is. We project our values on to it, conservative and socialist, secular and religious. But in reality, everything is in doubt – and this is something we find hard to tolerate.
Tim Lott, The Guardian, January 15