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I am starting to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and came across this quote at the beginning.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without
having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too!"

So, the question I have is two fold.

Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?

discussion, thoughts, views, perspectives - all of these are most welcome as is references to your own personal experiences which have led you to whatever stance you take.
 

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I am starting to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and came across this quote at the beginning.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without
having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too!"

So, the question I have is two fold.

Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?

discussion, thoughts, views, perspectives - all of these are most welcome as is references to your own personal experiences which have led you to whatever stance you take.

Dawkins was probably thinking of the Cottingsley Fairies. Two sisters faked (badly) some photos of fairies that fooled a gullible world that wanted to believe, including Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. I like this quote from one of the sisters, much later: "Two village kids and a brilliant man like Conan Doyle – well, we could only keep quiet." In the same interview Frances said: "I never even thought of it as being a fraud – it was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun and I can't understand to this day why they were taken in – they wanted to be taken in."

Why do we create stories about things? For entertainment, partly. And partly because nature is amazing and beautiful, dangerous and ugly, and we create fairies and monsters as symbols of that.
We want symbols of our fears and loves.

Why did someone make one of my all-time favorite movies, Sharknado? For money, obviously, and it's super funny. But it also plays with our little monkey brain fears of scary critters with big teeth that try to eat us. It is an expression of a connection with the natural world - there are monsters and tornadoes out there! Watch out, it's a scary place!

But you don't need to make up stories to appreciate nature, which is fascinating and beautiful all on its own. And the more you learn about it, the more fascinating and amazing it is. The true stories are the best ones.
 

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Nature is both beautiful and terrible, depending on who you ask. This reminds me of a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, whereby a Jesuit priest in the future finds out that the star that led people to Jesus' birth in Bethlehem was actually a supernova that destroyed millions of aliens in a far away civilization. Is the star a good symbol or is it now tainted?

My point being that it's not that a meaningless universe can't be beautiful, but a garden is not just beautiful because of its aesthetic appeal. Things are beautiful largely because of the symbolic meaning we attach to them, and it's disappointing to human beings to learn that this meaning is either an illusion or merely the product of the individuals imagination (in a sense). We want objective meaning. We crave it. I don't think this is a concern that can be easily brushed aside, and it readily explains why the religious drive in humans is so strong and universal. Overcoming the nihilism that goes hand in hand with the recognition that the universe is irrational and meaningless is not an easy feat, by any means.
 

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I am starting to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and came across this quote at the beginning.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without
having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too!"

So, the question I have is two fold.

Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?

discussion, thoughts, views, perspectives - all of these are most welcome as is references to your own personal experiences which have led you to whatever stance you take.
While I not going to humour the notion that god is or isnt real. I will awnser your question by saying "No" things are better when you add mysticism to it. I would be happier in a world with magic, spells, dragons, vampires and mythical creatures. Yet that only exsists in fairy tales that sadly we can never be a part of. Also life is not like a garden. Gardens are buetiful if they are lively becuase they are gardens. Life can be rather boring, and very ugly. If I could leave this world for a fairytale with monsters and witches I would happily. It would have much more meaning and joy then this one.
 

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Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?
Everyone can see that nature is beautiful, but not everyone can appreciate its beauty - they need a little push to the right direction to really see and feel what some notice with a first glance. I think especially children don't really pay attention to how the little details that are actually quite marvelous such as the smell of forest, but if you tell them it's the smell of fairies' sweat or something they are sure to actually pay attention. I know, bad example but you get the point.

Anything can be so beautiful that you simply cannot understand where the beauty comes from or how something so unreal can actually exist, while someone else thinks it's just boring. Everything is up to the way one sees it. I would say that an artist is more likely to "connect" with the beauty of nature and see something special in it than just some random person, even if they were looking at the exact same view. At least for me, the purpose of art is helping people see something new in the surrounding world they haven't been able to reach on their own - adding mysticism to the beauty of nature helps some people understand it in a way they weren't able to before, and I would say it's also some form of art.

I believe everything and anything is beautiful to the point of seeming unreal - the simple fact that we exist is so utterly beautiful we cannot even begin to understand it -, the real question is to what extent we can connect with that beauty. Some people need fairies and stories to really give it a chance, some people need a god and an explanation for where the beauty comes from and what it actually means. In the end, it's all up to your level of perception and what you need to get to that point.
 

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Richard Dawkins is brilliant, I have read most of his books.

In my opinion the world and nature is truly wonderful without the supernatural. The supernatural is what we have stories, songs books and games for.

For me the truly awesome thing about evolution is that a few driving forces and sets of circumstances can create the diveristy and variety we can see. I can't remember if it is in this particular book that Dawkins describes the the train of thought that goes something like this. I paraphrase.

Imagine arriving on another planet, stepping out of the spaceship and discover the air is breathable. That there are mountains, lakes and forests. Discover the variety of plants, tiny bugs, flying creatures in the air and walking creatures on land. Find the lakes are full of animals and underwater plants. Look further to see larger animals. Bigger than humans. Fast, graceful, shy and sometimes dangerous.

Now imagine you no longer have the space ship. Just open the door and walk out and see this on a sunny day.

In my opinion, the supernatural does not add much on top of this experience.
 

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Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?
i don't think it's necessary to make global rules about how other people 'should' look at it. it seems like a totally personal perspective to me.

discussion, thoughts, views, perspectives - all of these are most welcome as is references to your own personal experiences which have led you to whatever stance you take.
i was brought up taking it for granted that god exists. idk where i stand on it now. but for what it's worth, when people say things like 'how can you look at x and not believe?' i can't remember ever understanding where the relationship was. i'll throw in the counter-balancing fact that there seem to be plenty of ideological atheists who claim [bad stuff] as their own 'proof' that 'there can't be a god'. 'm not sure i ever got down with that either.

both arguments seem kind of sentimental and/or anthropomorphic to me, so i have a distaste for them both. to me, they both seem to amount to a very egocentric demand that god 'is' (i.e. should be) nice to them. it's just that the one side believes that he is being nice, as proven by sunsets and such. and the other side is having a hissy fit because he isn't . . . but if he did exist then he would be, therefore he doesn't because why? because he isn't being. i think i think everyone tries too hard to bend the entire phenomenal spectrum to their own personal cause, whichever side of the god thing they're on.

whereas to me, i don't think i really see niceness-according-to-my-terms as a goes-without-saying attribute of god, if he exists. so to me it's all kind of embarrassingly childish, and very moot.

eta: i also find it flat-out weird when people talk about 'nature' in that churchy tone as if nature itself were a sentient thing or an entity in its own right. of all of them, that one gives me the worst creeping icks.
 

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There is a mindset some people have, where you can kinda tell they're using some kind of "mysticism" to compensate for their dissatisfaction with/nihilistic attitude towards "nature" (i.e. the world as it is). Doesn't have to be old-school religious either: a lot of new agey and hipster types have the same mindset, perhaps because they think they're more immune to it than anyone due to rejection of the old-school mentality (though they've only done so superficially). I think, TL;DR I am referring to "magical thinking", as well as appeal to nature. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature

You find this in a lot of conspiracy theories as well. For example, humans were dropped on earth from another planet as an experiment for some alien species. IOW, we're an alien species being experimented on, by another alien species, and brainwashed to believe we're from earth, but you ever notice how we feel uncomfortable about our place in the world sometimes? It's because we don't really belong here :shocked: Also, pharmaceuticals are bad because they're "unnatural", all the studies have been fabricated. At the same time, if you explain how the human body works to an individual who believes the latter, in too much of a "mechanical" way then you get accused of taking the life or meaning out of humanity. Because the meaning comes from something more mysterious that's being ignored there, right? :p

Anyway, my point was that if you were to say something to take the mysticism out of their notions, they project their own nihilistic attitude onto you. For example, "that garden doesn't have any fairies!" "well, it's just a shame you can't see beauty in the world around you. You must have a really sad life". lol. A more concrete example, I've noticed in the above types of people, their distaste of anything that is, by their standards, overly scientific. Like if you were to say that love could be quantified (or not even that - could potentially be quantified in the future, with improved technology and measuring capabilities), this is the type of person who would accuse you of "ruining" love for them somehow. Like you're taking the "magic" out of it... see, right there. In their minds, there needs to be something mystical/magical about it in order for it to be beautiful.

This reminds me of short bit where Richard Feynman talks about the beauty of a flower.

I don't think this is necessarily an art/science divide. There's a more "mystical" mindset going on in the artist in his example: he's like, "don't ruin the beauty of it for me with its material reality". Implying there is something beyond that (i.e. supernatural) that's responsible for its beauty.
 

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I am starting to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and came across this quote at the beginning.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without
having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too!"

So, the question I have is two fold.

Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?

discussion, thoughts, views, perspectives - all of these are most welcome as is references to your own personal experiences which have led you to whatever stance you take.
I recently started that book too (ahem, some months ago and then stopped).

Without going into faith/god/believe discussions, i think that everything is beautiful already as it is, just because it is. You can totally be extatic just sitting in a b̶o̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ garden and take it all in with your senses. There's no need to have colorful flowers or animals flying around you. I'm not saying that these additions make it less beautiful and enjoyable, or they shouldn't be there. Just that, in my opinion, seeing things as they are and appreciating them for existing as they are should be the start. Waiting/hoping/needing something more to be happy makes you delusional and unappreciative. And i'm not saying to just settle and avoid all ambitions. If you're happy from the start, you'll just keep being happy (maybe happier), but if you wait for something else/more to make you happy, then chances are that you'll never be satisfied.
Imagination feeds our brain, our creativity and can make things more interesting, unusual and challenging, but failing to see reality and living only in imagination makes you less receptive to notice the awesomeness of little things that pass you by.

Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Yes
Is it necessary to believe or have faith?
No (highlight on necessary).
 

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Mystical explanations are funnily a lot more simplistic than the actual reasons why for example plants grow the way they do. You might even say they don't do justice to the beautiful complexity of nature by far. I like the video of Feynman posted earlier. Understanding and thinking about something makes you appreciate something more, instead of just saying it's mystical and undefinable and then just leaving it at that.
 

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Understanding and thinking about something makes you appreciate something more, instead of just saying it's mystical and undefinable and then just leaving it at that.
eh, i don't know. i have this thing about languages, for instance. when i don't understand a word, it's really fun to listen to a foreign language and hear nothing but sound. once you learn it, you start turning those sounds into words and the words into meanings . . . and that initial ability to 'just hear' tends to go. for me anyway. i've never been able to get that original wavelength back after that.

not saying i'd give up the language and trade back. just saying that i do see how knowledge can gain you stuff on one level but can 'spoil' the experience on a different level. i had one of those people with the trained-prodigy understanding of music tell me the same thing. he kind of envied people who could just hear the stuff without all the knowledge making it ordinary. said he couldn't NOT hear all the extra stuff and sometimes wished he could at least turn it off or choose between both modes of experiencing.

can't say it bothers me in visual form. it's not like knowing about photosynthesis and osmosis really ruins the fun of a good tree for me . . . but still.
 

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Nature is beautiful because we can experience being alive through it. We focus on finding an explanation for it, but the magic comes when you take a moment to just observe or be one with it. To not look for answers. To know that this existence is actually a beautiful thing, even with the misery that we humans create for ourselves. Nature is equilibrium and maybe we are fascinated with it, because it is better than us.

The people who seek fairies seek them for themselves. They want to find an explanation that suits their desires. The truth requires more work and is not interested in anyone's preferred truth. Penicillin wasn't the result of fairies, it was the result of science. It is no less impressive because we know how it works.
 

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eh, i don't know. i have this thing about languages, for instance. when i don't understand a word, it's really fun to listen to a foreign language and hear nothing but sound. once you learn it, you start turning those sounds into words and the words into meanings . . . and that initial ability to 'just hear' tends to go. for me anyway. i've never been able to get that original wavelength back after that.

not saying i'd give up the language and trade back. just saying that i do see how knowledge can gain you stuff on one level but can 'spoil' the experience on a different level. i had one of those people with the trained-prodigy understanding of music tell me the same thing. he kind of envied people who could just hear the stuff without all the knowledge making it ordinary. said he couldn't NOT hear all the extra stuff and sometimes wished he could at least turn it off or choose between both modes of experiencing.

can't say it bothers me in visual form. it's not like knowing about photosynthesis and osmosis really ruins the fun of a good tree for me . . . but still.
I mean more in the sense of understanding why certain words are there, where did they come from, why is that it that things that are more solid and edgy are described by words that sound harsher, why do we still speak different languages anyway as it seems to make no sense on a practical level (but does of course on a human/emotional level), why does everyone think YE is pronounced like "yee" instead of just "the", why do certain languages sound more sensual than others, how do we even form words, etc. etc.

Or what I do, when I look at a landscape I think of where it came from, I imagine how different it was 100 years ago, or how it would look without roads. I think of how the river moved 20 km to the east and how that would look with high speed.

When it comes to a song, yeah, I think music can become boring if you focus just on what you can hear with your senses and try to get every detail and give it a place; it kind of is more about emotion, usually. Trying to break down emotions logically, doesn't work very well usually. But the reason for it tho... why the artist made that song, what he/she was going through, where it was first sung, the story behind it. Was it a special guitar they used? What's the story behind that? Etc.

I think that's maybe the essence for me. If I see a thing I want to know the stories about it, and how it features in those stories.
 

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I think that's maybe the essence for me. If I see a thing I want to know the stories about it, and how it features in those stories.
that's interesting. i kind of resent narrative/interpretive frames being placed around Ahhht (dahling). 'art/music appreciation' when my kid was little enough to get schlepped around to those preschooler things . . . it drove me nuts. factual history, maybe . . . but again, it depends. i'm more of an atmosphere-soaker-upper, i guess. whatever it is that goes through my mind in a place that is 'old', it's definitely not empathy. it's more like just attention or interest, not individualized.

maybe that's why i dislike 'god must have made' argumentation so much. huh.
 

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maybe that's why i dislike 'god must have made' argumentation so much. huh.
For the Christian faith it's pretty boring. Mostly it's like, jup god made that, poof it was there, end of story. I like e.g. Greek/Roman mythology stories of why things are here tho. Like the story of why spiders are there and why they're called Arachnids.
But even Inca mythology is interesting. How gods were trying with different materials until they got it right.
 

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I am starting to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and came across this quote at the beginning.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without
having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too!"

So, the question I have is two fold.

Is nature as is sufficiently beautiful without having to add mysticism to it? Is it necessary to believe or have faith?

discussion, thoughts, views, perspectives - all of these are most welcome as is references to your own personal experiences which have led you to whatever stance you take.
All that is beautiful for me; [exists] - all that is grotesque - is impossible; because it does not exist. The garden is simply ''beautiful,'' because I prescribe it meaningfulness - to it's meaningless existence. Like art; like a masterpiece.

Although, a fairy or two wouldn't hurt it I have always had an attraction to the 'mythical' world(s) / forests creatures, et al I think Hummingbirds supply a real touch in this regard - and, indeed - there are number of thing(s) that can ''take away,'' / reduce a gardens beauty - such as dying, unnourished leaves / bloom(s) - and even then; the dying sight is nothing but a reminder of what exists, what it once was, and what it will become next year - simple [beauty] in the ugliest form. :bwink:
 

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I don't really see fairies as adding 'beauty' to a garden. I thought that anthropomorphizing things helps someone to relate to an unknown. It's a creative way of feeling connected to or attempting to understand, I suppose.

Maybe any attempt at 'knowing' something--whether it's through personally 'knowing' it like a fairy that can talk, or by knowing a fact about a flower-- requires some faith in the unknown.

At least imagining that there is a fairy in the garden leaves some hope or faith of deeper knowledge. A fairy can talk...it's like a humanoid tree or something. It offers the possibility of understanding our environment as we may understand ourselves...as hopefully complex and worthy of some respect, with valuable needs and wants or whatever.

With understanding how a plant photosynthesizes--hopefully we are also accepting and having some faith that there is more to know about a flower. That there is the capacity to go deeper. So neither of these ways of thinking seem to disrespect that unknown. It seems to me a way to bridge that gap, possibly. I suppose both can be used as dogma.

I would take seeing a tree as a dryad over seeing tree as a 'hard thing we can make stuff out of.' I would prefer to see a bug as something that I will never fully understand (how it feels...how the bug works...what the bug's life is like) rather than 'a yucky thing that should be squished.'

I think we can teach our children worse things than fairies. But I've never taught children that fairies exist. I think children usually have a strong capacity for interest in nature. It's squashed more when we tell them not to care or pay attention, or to wonder about things, or to try to discover something new. When we tell them that it's not important to wonder about the unknown, but rather to reduce everything to some kind of object that is only here for our manipulation.

I suppose making up stories is one way of manipulating the form of the object--giving it human characteristics that it may not actually display. But I would take a garden that's somewhat respected for the unknown qualities it may have--the wild, uncharted mystery over a garden that's just beautiful because it's commonly supposed to be beautiful...or that's what lots of other people think is beautiful (like those hedges with sharp edges or shaped into some form--I don't really like those). I suppose imagining fairies is like mentally shaping the form, but it also seems less invasive to me. IDK

I didn't grow up being forced to believe in fairies but I do think those stories can be interesting.
 

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I have a theory, that I just thought of, at 3 in the morning. It's not meant to describe everybody, but only some of the people who are in varying states of belief and non-belief. It goes like this.

It's a sort of feedback loop:

God is good > Because God is good, I feel happy > Because I feel happy, the world is beautiful > The world is beautiful. Therefore, God is good.

And so on.

Then you have some variations on it:

God is confusing > Because God is confusing, I feel confused > Because I feel confused, the world is frustrating > The world is frustrating. Therefore, God is frustrating.

Which CAN lead to:

God is frustrating > Because God is frustrating, I feel frustrated > Because I feel frustrated, the world is inherently unpleasant > The world is inherently unpleasant. Therefore, God is inherently unpleasant.

God is inherently unpleasant > If God is inherently unpleasant, then I need to stop believing if I want to feel happy again > God does not exist > Because God does not exist, I feel happier in the absence of him.


But can also lead to:

God tests people. God is confusing, so he must be testing me > Because God is testing me, I feel happy > Because I feel happy, the world is beautiful > The world is beautiful. Therefore, God is good.

God is good

Etc.


The point of all of this, and how it relates to the topic, has to do beauty, happiness, and belief. I have an idea, based in part on my own experiences, that when we are in a good mood, we tend to see the world as a beautiful place. When we are in a bad mood, upset, etc., we tend to see it as an ugly or terrifying place.

If you plug this idea into belief framework, you get the feedback loops I outlined above.

In my case, in my own life, I more or less went down the "God is confusing" to "God is inherently unpleasant" path, with a lot of intermingled steps in-between. I don't believe in a god myself, but whether there is one or not is less important, in this scenario, than the idea that we can have feedback loops of belief that color how we regularly view the world.

So to answer your question, I don't think we need fairies to believe that the garden is beautiful. But it helps to believe in something that draws us back toward a feedback loop of happiness when we are upset, and that feedback loop may be the deciding factor in whether we think the garden is beautiful.
 

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The point of all of this, and how it relates to the topic, has to do beauty, happiness, and belief. I have an idea, based in part on my own experiences, that when we are in a good mood, we tend to see the world as a beautiful place. When we are in a bad mood, upset, etc., we tend to see it as an ugly or terrifying place.
i see the world as beautiful. And my life as beautiful (not perfect but still beautiful). And even when I'm in a bad mood or I'm sad, my life and the world is still beautiful. The situation may be unpleasant, but there's no need to spoil everything for it :)
 
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