What are we going to do about ordinary life? It is always out there demanding our attention in tones sometimes muffled, sometimes shrill. Most artists wish it would just go away so they can get on with framing and hanging up little squares of painted canvas, or producing nice mysterious videos, or making pieces of abstract sculpture, or inventing strange mad installations.
Martin Creed is unusual in that ordinary life interests him. Now that his collected works have finally appeared in book form, it might be worth trying to define what he does.
An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion.
"... [Dr. Wathey's] book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond...[He] argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.
These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like: