As usual, I intended the post to go one way, but it had its own ideas and ended up choosing another. I suppose there's nothing new in it for old readers, but who knows, perhaps we actually get the occasional new reader for whom this won't consist of a lot of stale bobservations.
Strange things are afoot in this cosmos, and science is at once helpful and unhelpful in getting to the bottom of them: helpful in discovering new realms of weirdness, but then unhelpful in confining them to a banal scientistic explanation and thereby explaining them away. They put the pro in Procrustean and take the queer out of their theories.
But the weirdness obviously persists, and this weirdness is simultaneously troubling and liberating. I don't know if "troubling" is the right word, but what I mean is, for example, that 70% of the universe -- 68% to be exact -- is made of "dark energy."
Okay, what's dark energy?
Oh, it's about 25% dark matter.
That wasn't the question. What is dark energy?
Oh, that. We know all about it, except for what it is.
So, you're telling me that 70% of the universe is a total mystery?
Er, yeah, that's about the size of it.
If that's the case, how can you assign an exact percentage to your ignorance?
Homo sapiens, ever since becoming ensouled 60 or 70,000 years ago, have been carrying around various maps of the cosmos in their heads. It's easy to make fun of the premodern maps, but what if the difference between ours and theirs is trivial compared to the difference between ours and reality? Instead of monsters be here written at the edge of the map, ours says dark energy be here.
I suppose some folks will accuse me of anti-intellectualism, but it is quite the opposite, since mainstream science denigrates, and cannot help denigrating, the place of the intellect, whereas I begin with the principle that man is in the image of the Creator. This expresses the idea in a quasi-mythological way, but what I always mean by it is that an inexpungable nonlocal thread connects us to Celestial Central, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.
It's one of those things we can't not know, or which we know even in denying.
I remember back in graduate school, learning about the "unconscious." A professor might confidently assert something along the lines of 90% of the mind is unconscious. Same trick! For how can you measure your ignorance? How can you presume to quantify the unknowable unknown?
Something similar must exist in the biology compartment too, as in What is life? Oh, it evolves via natural selection. Yes, but what is it? That? We have an extremely accurate map of it, called the genome. Yes, but what does the map actually map?
As it pertains to psychology, my own liberation came when I realized that the unknown always swamps the known, both in principle and in fact: alone among the animals, man not only knows he doesn't know, but can know he never will. We -- some of us, anyway -- know our models are only models.
So, we can do better than that 68% dark matter or 90% unconscious or 98.5% of junk DNA: we know with 100% certitude that we don't know -- which is the point of Gödel's theorems.
This certitude sounds like a big nothing -- i.e., 100% x 0 -- but it is actually a Big +. We've discussed this before, but the same principle responsible for our ignorance is responsible for our knowledge. In short, it is precisely because we cannot know everything about anything that we can know anything at all.
Both of these irrefutable facts of our existence (partial knowledge + total ignorance) flow from the principle of Creation -- or, to be precise, from what was said above about the nonlocal thread connecting the intellect to its Source. Thanks to it, we never stop discovering truths of various kinds and on various levels.
And not just scientific truth, but psychological truth, aesthetic truth, moral truth, philosophical truth, etc.
Now, at the top of it all are metaphysical and theological truths, AKA the Truths that cannot not be. For it turns out that we can have a kind of "total knowledge" in this lifetime, or knowledge of the totality. Indeed, if we couldn't, then life would be fundamentally unfair and unjust, and I don't think that's how the Creator rolls. We'll leave off with some aphorisms arranged stepwise such that they recap the post:
The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.
Philosophy ultimately fails because one has to speak of the whole in the terms of its parts.
The honest philosophy does not pretend to explain but to circumscribe the mystery.
Happily, the world is inexplicable. (What kind of world would it be if it could be explained by man?)
Even in the immensity of space we feel caged. Mystery is the only infinity that does not seem like a prison.
God is the term with which we notify the universe that it is not everything.