I have sometimes felt a twinge of envy for those who manage to convince themselves of the existence of extraterrestrial beings who look out for us or manipulate our fate. It would make the world much more predictable knowing we had somebody to plead to, and would mitigate the despairing awareness of our essential solitude. So thought the original pragmatist, Charles Sanders Peirce, who supposed that his mind would be more tranquil if only he could accept what was to him obviously absurd, i.e., a Higher Intelligence or God. But no such luck, for him or me.
But as we've always known, since even before Voltaire lampooned it, the cost of such tranquility is the sacrifice of critical intelligence. And now we have a clue as to how that tranquility and that sacrifice may be related, and I cease feeling any twinge of envy. And I'm not even especially despairing about the solitude: as we say in Spanish, Mejor solo que mal acompañado.
Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain: Scientific American
Thanks to friend Dirk van Nouhuys for signaling this article. If you're curious about my other reflections on this most curious phenomenon, religious experience, just click on the keyword "religion" below.