The New York Times ran an article today, about certain mathematical laws which seem to govern everything from the rate at which a cell produces energy, to the distribution of populations in cities. On one level, I just found this article to be really, really cool. But, with my "Rabbi" glasses on, it seems a bit more than that.
First of all, it is, in the purest sense of the word, "Awesome." The intricacies, the interconnection, the subtlety of our world are truly astounding, and awe-inspiring. Anyone who knows my theology knows that I do not believe in a literal Creator God, and I have little time for Intelligent Design*. But, there are times when the world does reveal itself as so remarkable, so fundamentally, radically amazing, that it does give me the sense of something greater than myself. A sense of being in Awe of the One greater than anything else.
*which is different from intelligent design (not capitalized), but that's for another time
And, at the same time, this governing mathematical reality reveals the converse - not just the greatness of God, but the smallness of me, and of you. We all like to think that we're in control of our own destinies, and we certainly know that's true on some level. I was the one who decided to get Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast this morning**. But, we also have to be aware that we aren't really in control. And, I'm not just talking about the "I only went to DD for breakfast because Ben took so long getting ready that I had no time to eat at home" sense. I'm also talking about the fact that we often make decisions for reasons that we don't even know about.
** can anyone tell me why coffee and a corn muffin is such a good combination, especially on a rainy day?
I'd like to think that I moved to Tampa for my own reasons - to be part of a small, dynamic congregation, to be close to family, to get away from freezing cold. But, according to that article, on some level, I moved here as part of some larger plan. This city is going to be a certain size, and I'm a part of that flow of population. Like an ant in the anthill, I may think I'm doing my own thing, but I'm really just a cell in a larger organism.
I know I've said this before, and I'll say it many, many times in the future, but religion is about, in large part, understanding that we are each of infinite worth, but at the same time, we're really insignificant. We are partners with God here on earth, each created in God's image, but we're also insects, serving a larger vision of which we aren't usually even aware.
It's a good morning when some decent coffee, a muffin and the New York times come together to remind me of all of that.