home   ·   back

The value of the non-scientific

Why do old religions and local customs continue to work in today’s world?

One explanation is that the beliefs, habits and people that together form a religion or a custom contribute enough to the individual, the community, and the world enough to be considered a good thing.

Another explanation is that they are simpy entrenched remnants of the past and continue to persist despite having no role in the scientific, rational, modern world.

The answer is likely a combination of both.

Very often, traditions live on because they bring something to the community in which they are practiced. They may eventually move away from that and devolve, but the core is likely beneficial.

The trouble is that modern western societies have decided to view many of the traditions, customs and religions as outdated, barbaric or primitive by default.

A tribal ritual of transitioning from a boy to a man through being covered in fire ants is a powerful symbolic end to juvenile thinking. (Oh, how needlessly barbaric and brutal?!)

A tradition of drinking ayahuasca can help someone see above themselves and transcend reality. (Drugs are bad and impair clear thinking!)

We should not be confined to one way of thinking. Not the purely rational, not the purely mystical. Why not understand both and more besides?

A belief or an experience founded in something non-sensical can bring us value that is real and human.

Do not reject a thing just because it isn’t strictly true or purely rational. Examine it and see if it works.