Art is the only realm of real soul - the expression that we are simultaneously unique to and indivisible from ... everything.

Atheism can often be seen as the realm of the rational, just the facts ma'am skeptic. But I think that the atheist artist has a leg up on both the superstitious theist and the hard-boiled non-believer. Speculation and love of mystery are the key to new discovery and the death of useless superstition.

Where the religious look for a creator - even in their own work - the atheist artist is the creator. And yet, there is an intuitive understanding that, while many speak of art as an expression of their unique contribution and identity - under it all, art outlives us, it spans the gaps between us, it maps what it is to be human and alive, and it transcends the illusion of our isolation.

I pluck a guitar string and you dance. You write a book and fill my head with ideas. I tell a joke and we both have a good laugh. You point at the moon and I want to go there.

To me there is little wonder that so many artists use the word 'soul' to describe their experience while creating. I now call it 'quintessensualism' - the highest blend of essence, sensibility and sensuality we can achieve. Some call it 'the flow' - others 'peak experience' - but our best creative acts seem to come through us rather than out of us ... as if the key is to get out of the way. So, how do we not think that we are moved by forces greater than ourselves? Well, of course we are. They just aren't supernatural forces. They are as remarkable as the ongoing evolution of consciousness itself.

A footprint becomes a cave drawing becomes a hieroglyph becomes a dictionary. A howl at the point of orgasm becomes a mating call becomes a love song becomes an opera. A deer track becomes a footpath becomes a road becomes a highway. And on and on - traceable all the way back to the first spark of intelligence.

And, even while we attempt to capture the moon in a bowl of water, we discover the telescope and envision the starship. Today we map in great detail or broad brush strokes - with our imaginations, our talents and our crafts - the questions that tomorrow's scientists will answer - without god, without ghosts, and without mumbo jumbo.

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I couldn't agree more.

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