She had a profoundly rousing spirit
Unfortunately, he did not believe in spirits
And lack of belief
Carry you so far
I like this short poem because it plays with the notions of spirit and disbelief. There are very few people who would welcome reducing their most intimate friends or significant others to a machine, even a fabulously complex, particularly useful, and/or entertaining machine. At the same time, postmodern society is crippled in its thinking about spirit. Even those who are religious or intentionally spiritual often have a low level of literacy when it comes to the metaphysical. When push comes to shove, there are many, if not most, who feel uncomfortable in an apologetics of spiritual matters. skepticism as a predominant mode of being makes trust more difficult than it has to be. Not surprisingly, materialists may experience a great deal of awkwardness in relating to ghosts in machines, formerly known as humans.
I view postmodern society as addicted to certainty or “security.” Most children of postmodern society experience tremors when they can't get their fix of certainty. The materialism of postmodern society, at first glance, seems to offer more reliable solutions to issues of uncertainty. Predictability is at a premium. Unfortunately, since humans aren't machines, human problems will remain stubbornly unsolved if limited to materialist solutions. Materialists cannot escape viewing messy freedom as a problem, not the solution. Most simply put, materialism is a negation of the better portion of being human. Stuff like faith, hope, courage, and love — let alone freedom — simply don't make much sense from a materialist perspective. Reductionist approaches rip the heart out of higher ordered realities.
This short poem succinctly portrays what is lost by disbelief. A full appreciation of a rousing spirit becomes impossible because a materialist perspective inevitably “understands” such unique manifestations as mere statistical anomalies, at best arising out of “randomness.” Lack of belief will only carry you so far. I have to shake my head in disbelief every time a scientist includes randomness in their equation, hypothesis/theory, or worldview. These seems like a modern equivalent of “insert miracle here.” Though such a miracle is of the lowest possible order! I find it much harder to believe in randomness than that the free choice of the metaphysical world responds within a framework of reality that often, even predictably, elicits higher ordered functioning, a tip of the hat if you will to an experienced higher order. Randomness and determinism are strange bedfellows. What type of worldview relies on randomness to explain order?! Wouldn't it be much more coherent to posit a form of order from which order arises? The logical conclusion of those addicted to this bizarre, false idol of certainty is actually that there is no order, that it only seems like there is order. When determinism is hybridized with randomness, should we be surprised that it produces an absurd bastard child? In any case, what follows from such a worldview is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Choice, human freedom, IS a self-fulfilling prophecy. And, if you don't believe in choice, then…well, that's your choice…