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The "G" word

I'm back on my amateur astrophysics hyperfixation! This time, it's giving me a lot of spiritual clarity. Let me explain.

We're living in unprecedented times: the James Webb telescope is making new discoveries everyday about the early universe that challenge almost everything we've written in textbooks. I'm sure that within my lifetime, we'll have answers to some of the biggest questions (and maybe even a unified theory of everything). I'm learning more about conceptual physics every day. Like how looking up into space is looking into the past, or how a fourth-dimensional being might see our reality as the flat surface of a pond.

I stopped going to synagogue a while ago. I sort of liked going to services for the electric atmosphere that forms when the cantor wails ancient prose and the congregation listens intently. But I've always felt like a fraud in Jewish settings, because I've always known that I don't fully resonate with the Jewish idea of god. I'll always be Jewish, and there's so much I love about our culture. But religion is just a way of reckoning with the parts of the universe we don't fully understand.

There are forces that dictate the structure and our perception of the universe, like gravity. Forces that can be measured and used to explain how things are the way they are. Forces we can conceptualize. Forces that have purportedly always existed. For me, "god" is the catalyst behind these forces. Not an omniscient, invisible giant man in the sky, but our universe itself and the laws that govern it. Rather than a being, I like to think of "god" as reality, as it is.