Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unlimited Broadcasting Stations

Since I was a youth I was inspired by the story of genius scientist and inventor George Washington Carver. He accomplished so much in his botanical studies, aided humanity so much through his efforts, although he sadly seems to be largely forgotten these days. And especially interesting to me was his method:
No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing that I am to do and the way of doing it come to me. The method is revealed at the moment I am inspired to create something new.
Carver expounded on that thought in one of his personal letters:
I love to think of nature as having unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour and every moment of our lives, if we will only tune in and remain so.
That type of talk will get people to thinking you're odd. It did for Carver. Still, I can't help thinking there is a sense in which nature can communicate with us, if we allow for that to happen. Minds stay cramped and crowded by so many of life's minutiae, distractions being almost constant during our waking ours. Who takes time to be alone with nature anymore? But when we do, what insight we can glean! Does nature have, as Carver put it, "unlimited broadcasting stations"? Perhaps so. I believe it does.
Carver explained further:
More and more as we come closer and closer in touch with nature and its teachings are we able to see the Divine and are therefore fitted to interpret correctly the various languages spoken by all forms of nature about us.
Of course those who believe the Cosmos is just a gigantic accident will not and cannot be impressed with this line of thinking. I may be wrong of course, but life seems to me miraculous. I feel a part of something really special and endeavor to live every day of my life accordingly.  



  1. I do to, just without the theistic or divine mindset. :-)

    1. I think it is largely a matter of taste. Speaking only for myself I will just say that sometimes people leaving a religious tradition will swing to the opposite extreme, especially if the departure was a painful one .

      Yet as I thought about it over the years I came to feel that my feelings about the Cosmos and my place in it are best described with religious language. You might have noticed that I've mentioned many times in my posts that I feel religious language is the language of metaphor. Why let the fundamentalists corner the market on spirituality?

      Have you ever read any of the writings of religious naturalists John Muir and John Burroughs? If you haven't, do yourself a favor by checking them out, and see how religious language can add depth to the study of nature. Their writings are easily available on line for free. For a good modern take on this you might see if your library has a copy of "The Sacred Depths of Nature" by Ursula Goodenough.

      I make these suggestions not by way of trying to convert you to my way of thinking. I have no problem at all with your lack of divine mindset and am glad to have you as a reader and more importantly as a cyber friend. I just know these things helped me along my journey. Maybe you would find them useful as well.


      I am familiar with Ursula's writings. :-) A link to one of her quotes is on my blog.

      I've spent the last nine years working on reclaiming from the fundamentalists my own spirituality, so I get it. It's just that my journey continues to be one of letting those religious definitions go while at the same time realizing that the language exists and generally refers to the supernatural or other-beingness if you will, the great mystery, the unknown . . . and for me I'm looking for ways to use religious terminology and have it mean something other than it has always meant. I'm looking for the evolution of religious terminology. Something I can accept without it being a trigger. I know you aren't an evangelist. :-)

    3. I thought that would hyper-link. Check out the headings on my blog under The Humanist for Ursula's quote.

    4. I hadn't noticed your Ursula quote. We all have to make our own journey in our own way. Living where I do (The US Bible Belt), working with the old, narrow definitions and trying to expand on them works well for me, plus it is keeping with the familiar turf I was reared on.

    5. Actually that isn't an Ursula quote it is a Hayden quote. My bad. I am familiar with Ursula though.

  2. I agree with Zoe, I have also had this inspiration even since leaving religion behind.

    1. Hi Alice! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      I have been greatly influenced in my thinking by the ancient Stoics, who saw a divine mind behind the Cosmos, what they called the Logos. Einstein's "Cosmic religious feeling" has also impressed me. As I told Zoe, the writings of religious naturalists Muir and Burroughs have been an inspiration. I guess if I were try to sum up my feelings succinctly it would be to quote the physicist Sir James Jeans: "The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine."

      In short, I'm still searching and allowing myself the freedom to find my own path.

    2. In short, I'm still searching and allowing myself the freedom to find my own path.

      I am trying to do that too. It's still so difficult not to get sucked into another group "mindset" as it were. I enjoy entertaining various perspectives.

    3. That's always a temptation. It's why I draw very big circles. You know, that annoys the hell out of some people, religious and otherwise.