What is there in this world

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.166-7), Hamlet to Horatio

This is my favorite singe quote from one of my favorite pieces of literature.  There are two works who continue to speak to me and help me understand myself and the world around me that I read usually once a year or so, The Great Gatsby and Hamlet.

What was Hamlet getting at in this quote?  This is one of the most straight forward passages of Shakespeare.  He is saying that there is more to this world that what we can immediately see or grasp.  There are forces outside of scientific explanation that help control the universe.

That sentiment has always guided how I view the convergence of science and philosophy/religion.  Science and religion are not mutually exclusive in my mind.  They are complements.   They each try to explain the functioning of the world around us.  Science through theory, experimentation, and observation.  Religion through thought and faith.

To me a good scientist uses the rigorous skills of science to explore the “unknowable” tenants of faith.  Not to destroy or discredit those tenants, but to actually find the “god” behind them.  A good theologian on the other hand should use the curiosity and searching nature of the scientist to explore what he believes in order to strengthen his faith.  For to me blind faith is not true faith.  If you never question what you believe or know, how can you truly say you believe or know anything.

You should always question everything.  Everything you do or say and everything others do or say to you.  Most of he problems in the world cannot be fixed with one simple answer.  A crazy guy goes on shooting rampage.  We swing wildly for easy solutions to fix the problem.  Ban all guns.  Eliminate all violent entertainment.  Put armed guards on every street corner.  Those all feel good but they don’t solve the problem and they all come with their own problems.

We can only solve problems like that when we look honestly and deeply into the issues.  When we look past what we want to believe and what we want to be true.

That is what I get when I think of Hamlet’s admonition to Horatio.  Look past the immediate to try to find what it real and what is true.


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