I came across the following quote from Stanley Kubrick as the epigram to a recent article at Medium.com: “The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light”¹. (Richard Dawkins, however, does seem to think that the universe is somewhat hostile, because he likes to add ‘pitiless’ before ‘indifference’.)
You frequently find statements like this in modern scientific and humanist literature, and their truth is considered by those who make them to be almost self-evident, beyond challenge. This is because an indifferent universe is the logical deduction from the belief that it is nothing but the interactions of unintelligent subatomic particles driven by unfeeling laws of nature.
The most obvious evidence that the universe is not indifferent to us humans is the occurrence of synchronistic events. (If anyone needs an explanation of this term, please see this excellent article by Harry J. Stead.) There are many books on this subject, so many that I won’t bother to list them. However, they overflow with examples of how the universe somehow conspires to help and guide people, assist them when they are in need. There is therefore a strong suggestion of invisible intelligence at work behind the scenes, by which I mean something beyond space-time. (This is why Carl Jung, who coined the term synchronicity, described such events as acausal.) Our sceptical scientific friends will tell us, of course, that such a suggestion is nonsense, that all this is merely chance at work, that the coincidences are random and unplanned, not meaningful. They will say that such things are bound to happen occasionally, even in a pitilessly indifferent universe.
A detailed explanation of how synchronistic events are achieved is an unfathomable mystery, at least to me, so I won’t linger on it. Briefly, however, I tend towards the philosophies of animism and panpsychism, so I believe that even what seems to be an inanimate object is in some sense alive. That still does not lead me to believe that so-called ‘inanimate’ matter, nor the scarab beetle in Carl Jung’s famous example, are aware of their role in synchronistic events. This leaves the more likely explanation that some organising power, a supernatural intelligence is responsible.
So, if I may take the liberty of correcting Stanley Kubrick, we humans do not have to supply our own light; the animated, intelligent universe is shining very brightly without any help from us. We only need to take notice of it.
I don’t know the original source, but this can be found at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5737.Stanley_Kubrick