Friday, January 8, 2016

To Be or Not to Be





"The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness."

~ Albert Einstein - The Merging of Spirit and Science



#This note touches on the controversial subject matter of Pop-Science and pop-science memes which became recently a bitter issue for some, and a matter of scientific integrity for others. There is no way to discuss this subject matter without introducing suspect, new-age terms, and therein I think lies a big part of the problem, as modern science these days begins in fields like Cosmology and Quantum Physics to discuss concepts which are literally outside of the purview of logic and rationality.

Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the sterile chambers of pure logic and accept the banal, simplistic unsatisfying answers that so readily come to hand as observable data in our scientific laboratories?

Or, by transcending this view and opening up the possibility of another realm, a spiritual realm for example, to finally cast-off our conceptual shackles and at least somewhat de-legitimise the neat little box our minds live in, a box constructed out of specialized, arbitrary categories in which we so often find ourselves these days.

Let us not compromise the potentialities of our consciousness.

Let us outgrow a minimalist, purely empirical reality, and thereby transcend what Kant described as :

an experienced, world of phenomenon, the limitations of which can be described as man’s speculative reason which can only know 'phenomena' and can never penetrate to the 'noumenon', or the 'thing-in-itself'.

As creatures of habit and therefore also a product of the habitual thought processes that we so obviously employ, I can see how the seductive and familiar old world-view of materialism has helped to fashion us as humans into dangerous, unempathetic, ant-like creatures with collective powers and assumptions about ourselves and our reality which conceivably could lead to our own demise.

Are we just limited, material beings, as the scientific rationalist would seem to suggest?





And does this also hold true for the rest of the universe?


i.e that our entire reality is a materialistic reality, with nothing existing beyond the physical, tangible, measurable evidence of a materialistic, objectified theory of Ontology.

In a fascinating way Kant returned to the Platonic Cave, and our experiences of reality in this cave are merely the shadows of Plato's concept of the Ideal Form, something which can never be apprehended by our normal, rational modes of thought.

Thus Kant also believed that the true reality of 'the-thing-in-itself' could never be rationally understood, that it is not possible to know this reality in the usual rational way using categories about “things-in-themselves”, or to know about the ultimate causes of our experiences of reality in any conventionally understood rational or scientific approach.

It is amusing to imagine that Dark Energy and Dark Matter may perhaps one day provide us knowledge of a deeper under-lying reality, but I think this will require us to leave behind the current 'standard model' of particle physics and the limitations of it’s language.

Until that time we are limited in these areas of speculation to our own philosophical tools of thought, as we must unfortunately, according to Kant, Plato and innumerable other luminaries forego the precision and certainty of the scalpel of the scientific method, in order to break new ground and gain new vistas on our inscrutable universe.

Today and with increasing regularity the nature of our quantum world literally defies the tools of our logic and our rational understanding, as when for eg a particle in Quantum Physics exists in more than one location in space/time, at the same time!

If our materialistically defined world were indeed the final manifestation of truth, then Man's creation of the spiritual world, and his inherent need to find a spiritual understanding for his relationship and position within the world he or she inhabits, and mankind’s ceaseless striving over Millennia of recorded history to attain for example a state of enlightenment or higher consciousness by following the Path of Tao, or by achieving a state of Zen Satori, or through the study of Buddhism etc., all of it, all of these teachings would be seen as inexplicable, meaningless pursuits which have no bearing on reality whatsoever.





Just echoes of a longing which we feel deep inside and which, according to rationalists are merely superfluous sensations with no connection to the real world of our experience.

Yet the question remains hovering in the air before us like a giant, golden dragon-fly; why would our minds evolve and develop such tendencies if they had no applicable relationship with the universe around us?

Wouldn’t that be like evolving for eg. the sense of hearing in a sterile, soundless vacuum-chamber?

As humanity's own journey of evolution and discovery continues to unravel knowledge about us and our place in the bigger scheme of things, it begins to reveal in outline a far more purposeful universe, one which hints at an evolutionary imperative for all life, and of our potential role within the grand scheme of things.

This is a symphony of Life and Death eternally striving for consciousness, a noble, grand design worthy of our contributions.

But as we gradually begin to bear witness to the majesty of our universe with our ever expanding technological nervous system, here in the Western world, with its external and materialistic bias we quite often fail to see the potential spiritual significance of our position and our role as aware progeny, as agents of the universe.

We are becoming the eyes and consciousness, the torch-bearers of awareness for an ever-expanding metamorphic process of self-discovery and ultimately one of self-actualization.

This appears to hint at a direction and a growing trend towards life’s increasing complexity and of unification in a grand design, as it alludes to a greater, deeper apprehension of our place in the Cosmos using an evolving spiritual sense of 'oneness' which suggests that there is an interconnectedness to all things.

These are notions which until recently had been dismissed as purely existing in the hermetic realms of the meditating monk, someone who was traditionally thought to be no longer in touch with our normal collective reality, that is at least until the first glimmerings of a type of theoretical confirmation began to be seen in for eg. the Max Planck scale, or in the theoretical field from which the strings of ‘String-theory’ are said to emerge, or as it is conceived of in the unified Higgs-Bosun Field which, thanks to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland is no longer purely theoretical.

But I humbly believe that these explorations and conceptualizations do not go far enough as they invariably treat our own human consciousness as an interference, as noise in the experiment which needs to be filtered out.

Our consciousness is a phenomena literally limited to each and every one of us exclusively, as a reflection of our unique life-forms.

This echoes our own observations of how the universe is constructed and it appears to be a fundamental law of the universe i.e that everything in the universe is unique, disparate and heterogeneous from everything else, that no two objects, or particles, or streams of energy, in fact nothing in the physical realm can ever be completely identical with anything else.

This appears to be just another fundamental mystery to unravel; why the entire universe consists of and is constructed from unique, completely separate and disparate particles?

This in itself is a strange realization...why didn’t the universe, if it is indeed another name for God simply clone or repeat specific objects or particles?

In a momentary notion we could play out one permutation of the Meta-verse in which this concept of cloned particles has been adopted and see where it leads us, but I will end this miserable attempt to entertain before we actually hit that particular brick-wall.

Just as we all possess a singular unique consciousness or apprehension of reality which is unique in Space and Time for example, the inherent duality of our universe simultaneously and paradoxically places us within a bigger picture which we all share from, contribute to, and are a part of...it is the same whole, the same 'oneness'.



That the universe has a basement level which gives rise to a sea of Quantum potentiality is an awareness which is so profound that it has encouraged the birth of pop-science and pseudo-science ‘quantum mystification’.

Alas, a spurious, cobbled together pseudo-reality is apparently the best we can do currently, with one foot caught in the empirical method and the other bogged down in new-age semantics as we arrive again at a rift, an impasse and an inherent incompatibility between Spirituality and Science due to the fact that a common language to describe our spiritual aspirations and apprehensions still does not exist.

These urges that manifest inside of us, are I think the echoes and whispering of the Universe's own inexorable striving for what de Chardin called 'greater complexification' and what Eastern Mystics and Eastern Religions have known for centuries i.e

that there exists in the universe seen as ‘Will’ or ‘Drive to be’, an unconscious, universal tendency which we all share, to 'become ONE with that sea of consciousness and potentiality’ which lies at the bedrock of our universe...

We are made out of the ‘stuff’ of the universe, and hence we appear to share at least the core, fractal components of the universe’s organic DNA, a DNA which is visible in a whirling galaxy, as it is in the swirling water which goes down my sink, or in the photograph of a tree, or an x-ray silhouette of a human brain, replicating patterns which appear through out our world and our universe.

These patterns which appear though out the universe, are the products of procedural generation, and they have been superbly delineated by today's Maths, as evidenced for example by the "Fibonacci sequence" or as in the splendor of the "Mandelbrot set" of Fractals.

But they are surely more than just the products of 'procedural generation', and speak to an over-all design, because although causality can explain a sequence, mathematics to date has still not been able to explain the initial 'seed' which began the whole cascade of patterns...


The organic DNA of the Universe.


Therefore is it any wonder that we are beginning to once again recognize our intrinsic, spiritual yearnings?

New-Age Spiritualism is rapidly becoming a necessary salve to our fractured, materialistic, schizoid reality.

Our objective reality is becoming increasingly unfathomable, de-humanizing and problematic with every scientific rabbit-hole and new scientific perspective that we tumble into, as humanity continues to fade and wither away under the blistering blowtorch of scientific specialization and relativism; as the sheer scale in terms of distance and the immensity of the measurements involved when looking out into deep space, reduces the Earth, and the all-too brief evolution of its inhabitants, in a kind of absurdist reduction.

It reduces us into a state of complete abject insignificance, consisting of mostly empty space, very little, if any sign of Free-Will, and invariably subject to the law of causality among others.

We are told that we are less than a single grain of sand on the vast sandy beaches of the universe, just a dot in the vast oceans of space, which is measured in that minuscule speck of time during which mankind emerged, in that brief flowering of our existence, just a breathless, fleeting moment relative to the life of the universe.

Humanity desperately requires a new spiritual matrix which places mankind in a meaningful relationship to the whole.

Logic and rationality are now being seen as inadequate to describe or deal with Man, his conscious awareness of his place in the universe, or his relationship to the ever increasing seemingly nonsensical events arising out of the Quantum world.

 



Modern science has today retreated so far into the abstract, rarefied realms of mathematics, pure unverifiable theory and specialization, that it can no longer provide the average human with any tangible, personal meaning at all, if it ever could.

Our traditional Gods have similarly 'left the building', retreating in utter revulsion at the contradictory and bizarre nature of the phenomena which Quantum Physics has so far produced.

Some scientists today are further estranging us by attempting to fashion our reality as a giant Hologram...a virtual, simulated reality.

A legitimate avenue of development for Cosmology and the cosmological sciences in the first decades of the new Millennium?

Or could this possibly be viewed as just a little too convenient, and merely the product of our era and of our culture?

Virtual Reality is a hot topic in the computer field momentarily and there are new developments in VR software or hardware occurring almost every month.

Why wouldn't someone come up with a Holographic universe theory in this environment?

After all, it's a popular idea!

So forgive me if I don't cheer too loudly when the Next Gen of computers and human interaction produces a new 'weltanschauung' (or the far less adequate English translation i.e Worldview), another brand-new cosmology, a new type of mathematical model for the entire universe which miraculously parallels or reflects our latest fads and computer memes.

Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but isn’t it true to say that Holograms cannot be found spontaneously, unconsciously being generated through natural forces anywhere within the naturalistic world of our universe?

And that the only instance known so far in our universe, in which the complexity and the precise dimensions of a Hologram were created from scratch is predictably at the hands of Man’s technological, materialistic machines.

The eyes of a fly may appear as a replicating pattern similar in appearance to a hologram, but I hardly think that a fly’s brain with its physical limitations and size, would be capable of doing the internal processing required for true 3-D, holographic video imaging.

And yet for some strange reason this intricate pattern, which can only be artificially fabricated with the intrusion of man’s technology, and which is probably evident nowhere else in nature, is supposed to represent the real design and actual structure of our universe today.

There is no longer any human-centric perspective of our place within the bigger picture provided by science.

In other words our scientific inquiries, have gradually eliminated 'us' from the bigger picture, rather than help to elucidate the age-old questions such as;

What are we doing?

Is this a totally random experience?

Or, are we just a momentary blip in the 13.8 Billion years of our Universe's existence?

Or, why do the stars call to us so hauntingly?

On these types of questions it has been deafeningly, maddeningly silent.

Today in modern physics, Astronomy and cosmology there is a growing disparity and feeling of uncertainty among students as new theoretical mathematical frameworks are being developed every other month.

The goal of modern science has always been to unite and develop a truly unified theory of Energy for example, or indeed for everything, but this seems increasingly far off in the distance when we consider modern physics for example, and the enormous gaps in our knowledge, for eg.

We have discovered that approximately 95% of our universe is a complete mystery to us, and to modern science as well, and that it consists entirely of unknown substances such as dark matter, and dark energy which means of course that in essence we only understand a miserable 5% of our universe, and hence our reality.

Again from the remarkable Albert Einstein :


'The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.'


The rest i.e the huge majority of our reality when we gaze up into the night sky remains an ominously large, unknown continent.

Dark Matter looms on the horizon for mankind like an enormous, uninvited spaceship casting a giant, dark shadow over the Earth, with a completely unique and unknown 'reality' on board...just waiting out there, among the stars and planetary bodies to be discovered by some intelligent life-form.


"It sucks the light from life like a gigantic shroud o'er all,
As it sucks the color from many distant Suns...

Leaving in it's wake, a deathly pallor on the cold, hard marbles of space,

On the surface of comets it coaxes hissing, and steaming fissures to be ripped open;

The screaming comet erupts like boiling poplar trees as it passes through vaporous drifts of dark, ammonia-laden flesh, leaching light from numerous cracks in its icy surface, warping visibly under the rhythmic, tidal assault from a large planet-sized body of Dark Energy, which quivers on the horizon line at night with negative energy, and pulses like dark matter roses only recently plucked."


The above reminds us all that we are still essentially groping in the dark...

We obviously have no idea as to what Dark Matter and Dark Energy are actually about which is why I can still speculate about them.

We are inquisitive creatures of context, who yearn for narrative, gifted with a consciousness which appears to be simultaneously a part of a greater whole i.e indivisible and yet singularly unique at the same time, one which purposefully seeks to identify, match and unravel the patterns hidden within the ineffable folds in the fabric of the universe, and yet one which is capable of phenomenal leaps of experience, of apprehension, and which can transcend the limitations of the syllogism or the duality of everyday life, much like ‘entangled’ quantum particles can transcend the limitations of distance.

We are creatures who remain in a sense like children, who still do not fully understand their capabilities let alone the world around them...obsessively seeking to find and suck out the marrow of meaning from the dark heart, the distant center of our ever-expanding reality and its enigmatic relationship within us...

And this should humbly remind us of how Shakespeare or Francis Bacon (take your pick) so aptly put it in Hamlet, that :

"There are more things in heaven and Earth, than are dreamt of in your Philosophy Horatio..."

Which today might have been written more like this :

"There are 95% more things in Heaven and Earth today, than are dreamt of in your philosophy Horatio..."
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