The Abstract, the Ponderable, and the Real
Yesterday I was thinking about what a terrible trap the world of science has created for many of us. Because of the undeniable blessings of science and technology, it's easy to get lost in the alternate reality created by science, and to lose contact with human reality, which is to say, divine reality (i.e., the human world is where the horizontal and vertical worlds intersect).
There is a spiritually totalitarian aspect of science, which can lead man to be trapped in a cold and abstract prison of his own making, and therefore be exiled from the fulsomeness of the living Real. Humans are a "prolongation" of the Real, not reducible to the abstract.
It is terribly naive to say that science (especially modern science) deals with the "real world." It actually begins with the ponderable world -- the everyday world of the senses -- but eventually creates a wholly abstract world that is taken to be more "real" than the ponderable world. (Importantly, it also begins with certain implicit religious assumptions purloined from the Real, such as the idea of an intelligible cosmos that can be comprehended by rational observers, but we won't get into that for now.)
This process of abstraction leads to patent absurdities such as the belief that DNA explains life or that the brain creates consciousness, rather than vice versa. Both the brain and DNA are digital, while the human is analogue. Or, as I put it in the Coonifesto, semantics cannot be reduced to syntax; to put it another way, qualities cannot be reduced to quantities, especially when we are talking about the "divine qualities" of the upper vertical, or the Real -- e.g., Truth, Beauty, Being, Liberty, Consciousness, the Sacred, the Holy, etc. All of these things emanate from the top down, not the bottom up.
For example, we all know that there is a mysterious, subatomic "quantum world" underlying our ponderable world, a vast sea of unbroken energy that supposedly tosses up forms like transient waves from the ocean. It is a world of pure abstraction, and features principles that are literally impossible for us to imagine, since they so violate everything we know to be true about the ponderable world -- i.e., causation, simple location, separate identity, the forward flow of time, etc. None of these common sense categories apply to the abstract quantum world.
First of all, the quantum world is not something we can ever "observe." Indeed, to even use the word "observe" is to project qualities of the ponderable world into the abstract world. You cannot "observe" mathematics, and the quantum world is largely the extension of mathematical models into "further" or "deeper" levels of abstraction.
For example, as we mentioned yesterday, the "Big Bang" is an extrapolation of the meaning of certain mathematical models. It is analogous to "climate change" models, only accurate instead of fanciful.
Even so, despite its accuracy, it nevertheless leads to an absurd world that cannot be imagined by the human mind. No one has ever even seen "the cosmos" (at least in its scientific sense). Rather, it is simply a model, an abstraction. Revelation also provides a model of the cosmos, but in that case, the model is real, not abstract or ponderable (with important exceptions; for example the Real became ponderable so that the ponderable might become Real).
Human observers could only exist in the ponderable world, and could never exist in the quantum world. So we have to picture the Big Bang "as if" it were possible for a human observer to be there. But that is strictly inconceivable.
For one thing, we can only know what is knowable by a human observer, and the most astonishing thing of all is that the Big Bang was pregnant with the human observer who is "watching" his cosmic birth unfold through his own abstractions, and is therefore his own mother, so to speak.
To suggest that this Mystery of Mysteries can be reduced to a mathematical equation is pretty silly -- as if understanding the equation would be equivalent to understanding the mystery of the human state. But to comprehend the equation would only add to the mystery, not detract from it, being that the most incomprehensible thing about the cosmos is its comprehensibility. At least if you try to start at the bottom.
When you think about it, it is actually no different than Genesis. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. "How do you know? You weren't there. Since people weren't created until the sixth day, you can't say what happened before that."
Bill Maher is such an imbecile.
Suffice it so say that revelation deals with the Real world, not the abstract world of science or the ponderable world of everyday existence. (To be perfectly accurate, it also has has to do with the dependence of the ponderable upon the Real, or their intersection; we are not dependent upon physics, but upon the Creator who created physics.)
Or, let us say that there is an upper world of divine archetypes and eternally creative activity; a "middle earth" of ponderable existence; and a lower world of abstraction and impersonal forces. All must exist, although it is a moonumental lunacy to turn the cosmos upside down and take the abstract for the Real or the ponderable, or to regard the abstract as "fundamental" rather than derivative.
Furthermore, there are not actually three worlds. There is only one world, and it is not reducible to the world of quantum physics. Rather, the world of quantum physics is an abstraction or "descent" of the Real world to its furthest reaches. There are other lower worlds -- e.g., the "unconscious" -- which we will discuss in a later post.