Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Thou of Physics

What must physics be like in order for something as queer as an "I" to exist? And what must metaphysics be like in order for physics to go that way? (Not that there's anything wrong with it.)

Or, what must God be like? Mighty queer, I suppose. For He is indeed the Light in us loafers and shoegazers. Unless existence -- including its most striking feature -- tells us nothing about ultimate reality, however we conceptualize it.

Well, let's think about this. Is physics alone sufficient to account for the human subject? The official line from Big Academia is that nothing occurs in the cosmos -- or even can occur -- that violates the laws of physics. Oh sure, strange and unexpected things can and do happen. But there is always a purely naturalistic explanation.

This type of explanation always looks backward in a naive way that would embarrass a historian. A trained historian is supposed to have the Historian's Fallacy trained out of him, which is the tendency to view the past in light of how events turned out. At the time the events were occurring, no one, of course, had the historian's advantage of knowing exactly how they are going to play out. Hindsight can make you look much more clever than you actually are.

But not always. Leftists prove that it is just as possible to be afflicted with backward looking myopia despite the advantages of living in the present -- for example, in condemning Truman for nuking Japan, or ridiculing Ronald Reagan for his advocacy of the "Star Wars" missile defense, or vilifying people who correctly warned us about communist infiltration of the federal government.

We saw a typically childish version of this with the Iraq war, in which many of its most vocal supporters concluded that "Bush lied" only after things turned out badly. They pretended that perfect knowledge of the future had been available in the past. Which it never is, at least not for mortals, and perhaps not even for God.

But I think leftism in general is rooted in this fallacy. It is present in most everything they do. Even their current euphemism, "progressivism," presumes to know not just the content and direction of history, but the means to get there. Thus, Clinton sold us a "bridge to the 21st century," while Obama presumes to be "on the right side of history."

That last one is especially nefarious, because it is just a thinly veiled Marxist historicism, in which the future is known and it is the task of the Vanguard to get us there irrespective of fact, logic, or dissent.

Global warming is the same way: we know the future, so people who disagree with us need to be imprisoned. That means, what, more than half the population needs to be sent to the gulag? Whatever. Eggs & omelettes.

Now, only the simplest scientific system can predict the future. This can only occur when the variables are few and known, and operate in a linear manner, as in the solar system. The theoretical biologist Robert Rosen was the first of whom I am aware who argued that this type of system is the exception, not the rule, in the cosmos.

If Rosen is correct -- which I believe he is -- it would represent another one of those Copernican Revolutions. It would mean that our whole way of looking at the world is backward and upside down, because we are elevating a rare exception to our unifying principle. Metaphysically speaking, it doesn't get much worse than that.

I know what you're thinking: Bob, where are you going with this? Have you lost control of the bus? Or does it just appear so, based upon our imperfect knowledge of the future? And is the bus actually moving into the future, or is the future just flowing into the bus? Are you really driving, or is this thing like a monorail, with only one way to go?

The question is: do we determine reality -- even if just an itsy bitsy -- or does it determine us, right down to our last teensy weensy? And it doesn't matter whether we are determined by matter or God, because it amounts to the same thing: the primordial soup nazi barking no slack for you!

Now, according to Big Theology, God is Pure Being, with not so much as a jot or tittle of Becoming. For them, the gnosis is settled.

Well, we say: like anyone can know that, Napoleon.

Let's say it is true: God is pure Being. Let's lay out the implications. "If God is sheer being, devoid of becoming, then all becoming is external to Him, and yet He knows it" (Hartshorne).

But "Can the perfectly known be external to the knowing?" In other words, if total reality consists -- which it must -- of "the divine being and the worldly becoming," then it as if we are positing God as a part of the total reality -- the unchanging part. Does this make any sense?

A doctrine of Pure Being has implications for the Method of realizing its truth (again, all religiosity consists of Doctrine + Method). It would imply that nondual approaches such as Buddhism and Vedanta are correct, and that "the way to find God is to 'leave the world behind,' to turn from becoming altogether."

But the Judeo-Christian tradition assumes the opposite: that the world is the very field of our adventure in redemption. It is not some cosmic mistake or accident, any more than the baseball diamond is extrinsic to the game.

Would you believe me if I told you I am a better player than Babe Ruth because I have transcended hitting? Then why believe some light-hitting guru when he claims that never budging from home plate is the same as a homerun, because you end up in the same place?

I believe the human praying field is the dynamic space between I and Thou, or let's say O ↔ •, on the one hand, and • ↔ •, on the other (vertical and horizontal, respectively).

Considering the first, if we are rightly oriented, our becoming takes place in God, or, to be precise, in the living space between I and the metacosmic I AM. And predictions are all well and good, but you can't know the outcome until you play the game. "Upsets" happen all the time in sports and in life, and they violate neither physics nor God. And they certainly make life more interesting. Or as someone (Chesterton?) said: I don't believe in miracles. I only rely on them.

7 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

The Soviets nailed it when they self-mockingly joked: “The future is known. It's the past that keeps changing.”

3/18/2014 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

... for something as queer as an "I" to exist

I hear that "fundies" heads are exploding because the new "Cosmos" host explained the evolution of the human eye. He didn't try the "I".

3/18/2014 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That means, what, more than half the population needs to be sent to the gulag?

He probably considers himself quite generous, considering he's not advocating they be put to death.

3/18/2014 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

That's a good point. You have to play the game to know the score.

Talking theoretical match-ups is entertaining, but it's not knowledge. Knowing what happened and how it turned out can only be in the past.

This is starting to make sense even to me.

3/18/2014 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Olden Ears said...

our becoming takes place in God, or, to be precise, in the living space between I and the metacosmic I AM

From the Book of Common Prayer (quoting St. Paul, I believe): "Almighty God, in Whom we live and move and have our being..."

3/18/2014 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Would you believe me if I told you I am a better player than Babe Ruth because I have transcended hitting? Then why believe some light-hitting guru when he claims that never budging from home plate is the same as a homerun, because you end up in the same place?

Bingo.

3/18/2014 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

When it comes to history, lefties are hysterical. Literally.
Of course, they are hysterical about pretty much everything else too,

3/19/2014 08:39:00 AM  

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