A reader writes describing me as an adherent to the concept of intelligent design, which I suppose to be the belief that a deity has constructed the Universe according to a thought-out plan. Really I don't know what the accepted definition of "intelligent design" is, but I do know that I don't want to be associated with it.

For, surely "intelligent design" is one of the most arid, uninspired and error-prone of all creative processes.

I judge the Universe-creating process to be more emotional than intellectual. It's more spiritual than intellectual, even more esthetical than intellectual. From what I can see, the Universe is more music, poetry and abstract art than anything seeming thought- through. I believe in the Six Miracles of Nature, and how can a believer in a miraculous Universe believe in "intelligent design"?

Of course The Creation is not really music, not really poetry, and it's as ridiculous to regard the Creator as having emotion as it is gender. Even the word "Creator" misses the mark, for, is an inspiration created, or does it simply come? However, to frame the abstractions we talk about here we must use words. Words are only approximate to what we really mean, and mostly we don't know what "we really mean" in the first place. In our kind of communication, one must just trust in the reader's indulgence, flexibility and complicity as we grope for an adequate exchange, saying things in somewhat experimental ways.

Anyway, as part of an "emotional design," I discover myself living in a world where butterflies are puffs of glad tone-color, and silvery hairs on leaf undersurfaces are friendly fragrant-strokes. The Universe is a spiritual statement I have been invited to participate in (as has every other "creation"), and I am trying to do so robustly and fully consciously.

I don't mean to denigrate intelligence. Intelligence is the gift we humans are invited to use to solve our problems. But intelligence certainly isn't the inspiration behind the creation of the Universe.