“Sometimes metaphors bump around in my head” – David Batstone.
This week has been a mixed bag of hard work, fun, stress, sore feet, no sleep, a bit of sleep, laughter, learning how to work a camera whilst filming, meetings, briefings, debriefings, post-debriefings, taking directions, delegating, feeling sorry for ones self, getting over it, smiling, existential conversations about faith, absolutes and dinosaurs, amazing brisket, amazing people and feeling really lucky to be where I am when I am – in a (Brazilian) nut shell.
Although much happened on Monday and Tuesday, they were a bit of a prequel to the rest of the week, in particular – Wednesday and Thursday during which the latest Batstone brain baby, the Montara Circle was born. The Montara Circle was a gathering of 50 amazingly talented and successful leaders in the worlds of business, arts, film and sport – who were brought together to combine their collective brilliance and differing perspectives to think up new and innovative ways to bring justice to both people and planet in the Amazon region. I felt very privileged to be witness to the event, to be amidst such remarkable people and to play a small role in its success.
There were most definitely a few key people who worked their butts off to make the event happen, like Allie, Keturah, Gabe and Laura (not to mention Dave for conceiving the idea) – however as amazing as all of those people were, I think almost equally amazing was the effort that every single NFS staff member put in before and especially during the event to unsure the Circle rolled smoothly. Special mention must go to Shane for pulling an all nighter to get the first night wrap-up-montage-review video edited and ready for it’s 8:30am showing. In some sort of silly desire to be in solidarity with his arduous task I ended up staying up with him, which was a good and perhaps noble idea at the time but at 6:15am on Thursday morning when my alarm went off after 45mins sleep – I didn’t feel so good or noble. But I’m not complaining.
Although the Montara Circle was a long labour, the baby was born and there were a lot of proud and happy parents who forget how tired they were, brimming with smiles when it was all over. GO TEAM!!
Someone once said, something to the effect that every act creates a ripple, the end of which we can’t see. It is hard sometimes (probably most of the time) to see the big picture when working for justice – in the moment we can’t easily see the ripple effect of what we are doing and how we are changing the world and creating positive peace. I think through working with Not For Sale this is a little more easily achieved – that is, seeing the ripples of justice spread out into the world. This couldn’t be more true thinking back over this last week – being a part of the extraordinary event that was the Montara Circle. There is a saying (and if there’s not there should be) that says, “the bigger the fish, the bigger the splash”. There were certainly some big fish in Montara this week, and I really do hope and pray that the splash (or ripples) of what went on will wash over the exploited lands of the Amazon, sowing seeds of justice throughout, recreating sustainable futures for it’s stewards.
I seem to keep getting into pseudo theological slash philosophical debates – I had a couple good ones this week. I’m not sure if it’s because I like the sound of my own voice, or if it’s because I’m overly opinionated (which are probably both true). At any rate, during one of these discussions we were talking about science and religion and whether or not they can truly coexist. I asked the question – if you could empirically prove the existence of God, would you believe in both science and religion equally. The response I got was very thought provoking, to say the least.
Basically the response was as follows: If science somehow proved the existence of God then faith would be null and void as there would be no need for it, because faith is by definition, having faith in something you can’t explain.
Now I understand what the word faith means, and I understand where this point of view was coming from – but I don’t know if I agree with it. Maybe this is naive or un-thought out, but for me having faith, being a Christian, isn’t defined by the fact that I can’t prove what I believe. When I think of faith I think of it more as trust, and this trust wouldn’t stop or loose meaning if God was proved to exist. On the flip side, what would happen if through seemingly infallible empirical research science proved that God doesn’t exist – what would happen to faith then? Would it be strengthened? It would certainly be required.
There is a profound Socratic analogy that I’ve heard my Dad use over the years. In the story Socrates tries to explain the relationship between “physics” and “metaphysics” (meta is Greek for alongside of or with)– the explainable and the unexplainable. I think in a conversation about science and religion it works well to describe why both are necessary and why both can complement each other.
Socrates has two baskets. In the first basket he puts all the empirical issues of the world – in the first basket he puts science. In the second basket Socrates puts everything that is non-empirical or unexplainable – like love, the joy of a deep and true friendship or the beauty of a sunset (or even faith). He puts in the things that science can’t really explain, things that cannot be written out in a mathematical formula, or if they were, you would not really touch, or feel what, joy or love is. These things said the sage, are the fundamental substance that makes life life, and without it we cannot really be human and enjoy the abundance of living.
This is not to say that science is unnecessary, on the contrary it highlights that it is. However what this parable does say is that science is not the whole truth. We need both baskets, I guess it is just up to the individual to decide which basket is more important to them – which basket they believe in more.
During this conversation, a voice from the back of the car said, “scientist’s have faith too”. It is true, they have faith (though they probably wouldn’t call it faith). They have faith that the entire idea of science is true – that the language they have created to explain the world is correct. So we all have faith in what we believe, and I don’t think this stops when we can “prove” it.
Granted the foundation of this whole conversation and subsequent mind blob that is my blog is rather frivolous as the entire concept of proving or disproving God’s existence isn’t conceivable possible – however trying to explain ones faith to a hardline scientist is probably as frivolous, just like trying to un-evangelise a devout Christian through scientific discourse would be. And yet I thoroughly enjoy having such conversations and transacting them into this weekly cerebral spill.
Although I probably have, I wasn’t trying to open a can of existential worms at the end of my blog, however this conversation really struck me and has left me challenged, so I felt compelled to write about it. As always I’m looking forward to this coming week – I predict the ripples of the Montara Circle will begin to gain momentum and take shape and I hope to have frivolously wonderful conversations that leave me feeling equally moved and challenged. Much love to people and planet – PEACE!!