1 min readThe mystery that we are

Old creation myths and narratives have a lot of things in common. Can they offer us a clue to understanding the purpose of our existence?

This interview of Krista Tippett for The On Being Project brings together a writer and a scientist to talk about the narratives we use to explain the existence of the universe. Both novelist Marilynne Robinson and physicist Marcelo Gleiser believe in the magnificence of science but says that it is not the only way of knowing. Gleiser talks about the creation myths of past cultures and the similarities in their characteristics. Robinson, on the other hand, asserts that science confirms the information that past civilizations have received through intuitions and other means of thinking. 

Implications for AI

In answer to the question “why are we so obsessed with beginnings and origins?” Gleiser answers: knowing where we came from gives us a feeling that we know who we are. 

Our modern civilization has lost its intuitions of the origin which gave people of past civilizations the security in existence. We have been brought up in a world where we constantly question our worth, our purpose in being alive. Our science is based on a false belief that we CAN know everything, including the purpose of our existence, is observable, and therefore knowable. But Gleiser’s discussion raises an even more important question: what if modern science is unable to create a final theory of everything? Will we ever be able to discover who we truly are? 

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