I read a fascinating book recently, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. It’s about, among other things, Dr. Paul Farmer and his amazing work in Haiti to help stem the tide of Tuberculosis. As you can imagine, as a man of science it could sometimes be hard for him to be able to allow for local customs and superstitions.
At one point, while he was wrestling with the concept that people can maintain two disparate philosophies simultaneously, a very wise woman said to him, “Are you incapable of complexity?” That’s really profound. I totally get it.
There are people in this world who struggle with the thought that there could be shades of gray. Everything has to be wrong or right. Black or white. True or False. These are the type of people who think that if you believe in the theory of evolution, then you cannot be the least bit spiritual. You HAVE to be a full-blown, unwavering atheist.
These people never understand me at all. I am completely capable of accommodating science and spirituality. Granted, I don’t rigidly adhere to all things that were written thousands of years ago before science really took a foothold. But I’ve seen too many unexplainable and awe-inspiring things to believe that science can answer every single question. I believe that the universe is too beautiful to simply be defined by mathematical equations. And I believe that the fact that we are such complex creatures that we are able to come up with and adhere to the scientific method is pretty darned amazing in and of itself.
I think the wisest, most admirable people are the ones who are open minded. They are the ones who can believe in proof and yet still have faith. They are willing to concede that not everything is known, but they’re capable of questioning and exploring and learning. They can be flexible. They do not hide in a comfort zone. They embrace a diversity of thought. Yup. That’s my tribe.