I’m taking a stab at high writing, though it’s hard to tell how high I am or how it will affect the quality of the prose (for better or worse). I hit the bowl before putting the kids to bed, and now I’m trying to make sense of all the thoughts I had throughout the day. I know there were a few good ones in there…
When I’m high, I often find myself taking the same walks in my brain, down the same, familiar paths. Like, Oh, I’ve been here before. I know this place. The insecurities, the desires, the feelings of Anxiety and Gratitude and Contemplation, emerging like old friends from the murky shadows of my mind. Is this my religion, I wonder? I think about religion a lot when I’m high.
I met an expert in religious studies today. I’ll call him the Fox. He is shortish, with a slight paunch and an inscrutable expression. As a philosophy professor at a nearby university, his Intro to World Religions course is one of the most popular courses there, but never once in his 27-year tenure has he divulged his personal beliefs on religion. Then again, he doesn’t really believe in beliefs. He’s an open-minded skeptic who thinks faith is a bit of a cop-out. He’s not all that interested in organized religions and much prefers the sacred texts of thousands of years before. The Secrets of the Universe. Man-made (“Because if God did it, you’d think it would be a little clearer.”). Ancient man, with ancient scrolls and ancient methods of communication, indecipherable to a Google search, so complex and esoteric that my head hurt hearing him explain how to read Buddhist poems (or something like that).
The Fox doesn’t share secrets with the lazy. He wants his kids to work for them, to unlock the mysteries for themselves. He wants his students to read. Original sources, preferably. To learn from them how to argue, to reason, to critique, to think. He’s paranoid of a larger conspiracy to dumb down our young. People are all too eager to be told what to think, and it terrifies him. After all, stupid people are easier to control.
The Fox loves the subversion of teaching college students critical thinking through religion. “Like taking a 2×4 to the head. Because it’s is the one thing you’re taught not to question.”
So what exactly is religion? He defined it as the connections we make to things larger than ourselves. He couldn’t define God. The problem, he said, is people think they can.
I told the Fox that I grew up without religion, but that I wish I better understood my Hindu roots–and that I think about religion more, now that I am a parent. He said that happens frequently.