What if the Universe Was Godless

This is going to be short.

One of my favourite Discworld quotes, out of many many favourite Discworld quotes, is this one:

"HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE." (Hogfather by Terry Pratchett)


It isn't something new, but recently there has been an escalation in religion-fueled hatred and aggression, and I have been thinking if the world would be a better place  if there was no concept of religion, no concept of divinity, what would the world be like?

As a Bengalee girl growing up in Kolkata, no saree for Saraswati Puja, no meeting friends  and no special album releases and magazine releases for Durga Puja, no cakes for Christmas...

What if humanity had never thought of God? Or gods? Man saw the Unknown and called It God, and because of his nature, sought to know it. And therefore came religion, and afterwards, science. If we had never longed to find God, would we ever find science? Where would we be today? Would a Petrarch have Laura, or a Dante, Beatrice? Would the witches meet Macbeth? If there was no religion and no Tereus and Philomel, would there be an Ode to the Nightingale? What might have changed for the absence of that one thought, that one impulse? Would there be a Stephen Dedalus with all his inner conflicts?

No mythology, no literature, where would that take me- as a reader and lover of books?
What about the bhajans of Meera or Kabir or Surdas?

If the rising ape had not reached out for the falling angel, would we evolve to where we are today, without our sense of wonder and mystery for the unknown?

Where would humanity be today, without a longing for the divine?


And if that was what it meant to be the rising ape, why have we forgotten? Why do people fight over blissfulness? Why do we hate over how to love? To borrow an analogy from Tagore, why do we drink poison at the shore of eternal nectar?

Just a few disjointed thoughts I needed to let off my chest.

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