Different ways to be Brights

When I was in my early 20s, I swam with a masters competitive swim club. One of my fellow swimmers was a prominent lawyer in the community where I lived. She also served as a volunteer board member on a local charitable organization with me. I admired her swimming ability, her professional success and her commitment to community.

One day she mentioned that she had been invited to join a local group that restricted its membership to women who had attended university. She declined.  She said, “Why would I want to become a member of an organization that excludes some of the brightest people I know?”

I think of this when I come across the organization called Brights.

Brights aims to promote acknowledgement of a view of the world that is naturalistic, and free of mystical elements.

I know that the members of this group would consider me to be naïve—maybe even a little dim—but when I read that I can’t help but think, “What fun is that?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a science girl. I’m all over science, and I reject worldviews that dismiss it or explain it away out of fear. But I am also a mysticism girl. I’m all over it, and I reject worldviews that dismiss it or explain it away out of fear.

Call me naïve—maybe even a little dim—but it seems to me that everything in this crazy world has two “views.” We need both the scientific and the divine, to get the full picture.

Science and Story.

And some of the brightest people I know feel that way, too.

So, why would I want to join Brights when it excludes some of the brightest people I know?

And I smiled when I read one of the headings under Vision on their website:

“Symbolism [sounds pretty mystical to me]

Light!—clear and vivid! The imagery of brightness speaks to humanity’s impetus toward learning, audacity for open inquiry, and spirit of skepticism that once characterized an optimistic time on earth when science and reason seemed to offer the key to the future.”

Symbolism and spirit. Maybe they are more mystical than they are willing to admit?


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on April 19, 2011, in good faith, religion, science, story and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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