Thursday, 12 December 2013
Monday, 4 November 2013
Our perception of reality, ancient and modern
Monday, 30 September 2013
|usually we are not this obvious|
I am not talking about joyful satisfaction in achieving a desired result (e.g. delight in having produced an aesthetically pleasing item of pottery) but the kind of pride which blots out truth, distorts reality. It is a failure to recognise that every attribute possessed by an individual comes ultimately from outside of space and time, as does the entire universe – which is a euphemism for saying we are created in a supernatural realm. As Mick Jagger said: ‘everything I have I owe to God.’
Self love is not the same as pride. Loving yourself is wishing yourself to be good in the eyes of God. This is how we love our enemies - wanting them to be good in the same sense. The proud think they are already OK. They are out of kilter with reality, with truth, and that usually causes something to go wrong.
Deregulation of the financial system has had and continues to have dangerous consequences and not only from human greed. Traders and investors lose their grip on reality because they are bloated with pride in their financial shrewdness or prowess. Computer systems are used to trade in fractions of a second to make money and the persons responsible for setting up and authorising such trading technology bask in pride because of short term, market distorting gains and fail to see the consequences of neglecting companies which could make money by doing something useful. In the long term this means financial chaos, massive unemployment and social collapse.
Finally, I read recently why pride is uniquely sinful. To quote C.S.Lewis, from his classic book Mere Christianity: 'Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison....Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind..... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.'
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Sunday, 23 June 2013
The incomprehensible reality which gave birth to our natural material world is a self existing uncaused first cause which created our existence, something totally beyond our power to detect or investigate- not only at present but at any time in the future.
Even in the universe which we inhabit there are hints of timelessness and spacelessness. At the sub-molecular level quantum physics shows that the states of quantum entangled particles (e.g. their spin states) are instantaneously connected totally independently of separation in space and time.
To be entangled the separated particles (e.g. electrons) must have originated in the same quantum system, typically an atom. The entire universe today originated in the same quantum system, one trillion trillionth the size of a hydrogen atom before expanding in just one second to the size of a galaxy and in 13.7 billion years to its present volume. If I understand the physics correctly this means that every single atomic particle in the universe in all states of matter is interacting with atomic particles in all locations simultaneously - past, present and future, near and far. From their perspective time and space do not exist.
Each cell of each virus, bacterium, plant or animal comprises intricate, purposeful machinery at the molecular level and is likely to be instantaneously interacting with all other cells in the biosphere, as well as the rest of the universe. This includes, for example, the neurones in our brain. So the multiplicity of living systems forms an interconnected organic whole, giving the universe a teleological nature. A cosmic mind that comes from....what? Do you dare say it?
There is another respect in which timelessness invades our universe of ten billion quadrillion stars. Normally we expect to take a certain time to solve complex problems. Yet in times of crisis, such as an impending multiple car crash one is sometimes able to work out the best way to avoid death or injury in just a fraction of the time which would normally be needed, a time which seems much longer to the motorist. It is as though one has been given extra 'time' in which to work out a survival strategy.
It is common knowledge that two lovers become oblivious to the passage of time being registered by the rest of the world. A taste, foreshadowing or dim reflection of eternal life, perhaps? It is also a fact that when bored time passes slowly while when fully occupied with a challenging task or when experiencing a lot of events on holiday or engaged in an adventure we believe that a longer time has elapsed than the clock or calendar indicates. And as St. Augustine of Hippo observed the past no longer exists, the present has no duration and the future has not yet occurred.
What is measured by clocks is a human construct useful in coordinating, planning, recording and understanding events. Similarly with space as measured with rulers or other devices. The mathematical relationships between mass, uniform velocity, space and time are given in the equations of Einstein's theory of Special Relativity, while in the General Theory acceleration and gravity are related, showing that space-time is a continuum affected by gravity.
The deep mystery of existence. 1. Where does reality come from?