Miru and I found ourselves on the church square in the village of Vimeiro in the Alentejo region of Portugal. A father and his daughter. In the portico in front of a church, where we sat down because of the shade we looked up and there were swallow nests between the naves of the dome. Miru pointed at the birds and was very happy. And so was I.
These birds were so diligent making their nests. And we were lying on our back, watching up and laughing with every time a swallow entered their nest. What’s the purpose of our existence? Watching the birds work, as they seem to be programmed for it. Apology of the unemployed.
My mind wanders off into a post-Marxist analysis and the aptitude of our bird metapher. I’m still lying on my back in front of the church, Miru next to me with her head on my chest. Birds kept visiting their nests, and every time Miru greeted them with a soft shrieking sound.
We are alone in saying our purpose is observing this kind of beauty, the stunning elegance of nature’s clockwork. And that is the point. Tribal religions, and their monotheistic apex? aren’t capable of it. There is not one chosen people, one baptizing, one simple oath about a prophet, that would set you apart as a cultural being. All there is is the awe-inspiring beauty of the universe, from the nebulae in far away galaxies to the smallest virus under a microscope.
This is of course not enough for the tribal mind, who needs to see the pay-off of being part of her tribe. The culture needs sense of superiority, which it produces only by reference to the supernatural. I wonder if “humanity” will take a next giant leap and overcome the need for monotheistic, a.k.a. polytribal religious stories. If it comes to understand the human story as the story of one tribe, one clan. The idea of salvation will be thrown on the trash pile of history.
But we will have a greater hunger for knowledge that we pursue as one solidary family. The fact that we are made of stardust by no means created by anything in his or her own image, will only whet our appitite. Salivation instead of salvation.
Miru points at the ceiling, where another swallow dives into its nest. She likes the birds. My sticky thoughts vanish.
“Are we going back to mama?”
“Shall papa carry you on his neck?”