Yesterday, in a ridiculous moment of fuzzy-headedness brought on by to much heat and exertion and not enough food and water I "miss-placed" my car keys (they were never really lost, grrrrrr.) I naturally began to panic when all my searching could not locate them, it did not help that I was at my field research site with no cell phone reception, and a 3.5 hour drive (plus a long embarrassing explanation to my colleagues) away from another set of keys.
In a fit of near-tears-panic I found myself saying a little prayer in my head to locate the keys. Even in my fuzzy headed state I thought what an odd thing to do. Who exactly was I asking for help? Did I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster had reached down from the sky and plucked the keys from my pocket? Holding them hostage until I showed his meatballs the appropriate reverence? Of course not, but in the absence of any corporeal help it was, apparently, my first instinct to ask for assistance from some non-corporeal being.
The logical part of my brain finally screamed at me loud enough to be heard over all the static, “retrace your steps, go through everything, they must be here! start with the most likely places…..” and quite quickly I literally ran right in to them (the keys having been laying right out in the open for nearly a hour while I frantically search all around them.) And after I located the not-really-lost keys what was my immediate instinct? To once again thank some non-corporal being.
What did the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Shiva the destroyer, or Ra the sun god have to do with my not-really-lost keys? Diddley. But in my fuzzy headed state the need to rely on someone or something else was so strong I couldn’t contain it. The impulse has to be more than simply the effect of our culture, for culture only names the non-corporeal being. The impulse to give up control, to put a situation in someone else’s hands when feeling helpless, must be much deeper than that.