Saturday, 22 June 2013

not 42 concluded - God/not and the First Ashes Test

In the last three posts I've been trying, with limited success, to use two scientific concepts (as far as I can understand them) to try to avoid an either/or approach to the mind/body problem, and the god/no god argument (or conundrum, if you are less prone to argue!) 

I'm getting a headache with all this, and I bet you are too, if you have been brave/foolish enough to read all this, but I'll summarise what I'm trying to say:

The two concepts are: the unpredictabilityof large dynamic systems (chaos theory and all that) and the idea of emergent properties - that in some cases you can't predict or define the nature of what will emerge when two or more discrete things are brought together to creat a different  thing. 2H, 1O = something quite different from  either: water)

If you think God is not a possibility, because you've looked at the physical laws of the universe as known to us, then for you there is no God. If you think that the entire universe, including us, might result in an emergent property which is, let's say for now, Everything and Always, and if you can accept that from our perspective on our good old Earth we can't know such an emergent property, then for you there might well be a God.

Not perhaps the God that people pray to if they say "Dear God, let us hammer the Aussies in the First Test," but nevertheless, something which you can call God if you wish.

(Though maybe if you are in tune with the universe, such a prayer might make a victory by an innings and 45 runs more likely, so if you are an Enlightened One, please give it a shot!)

This thing, which is generated by/same as Everything and Always, is not encompassable by verbal concepts, and certainly not, I feel, by dualistic thinking. Because the universe runs through us as we run through it, E&A might be sensed or intuited, no more than than that. It might be what is sensed when we enter a state of mindful being in the present; or when we read bits of the Tao Te Ching, or some other useful "mystical" text. We can hop over the question "is there a God or isn't there a God?" by saying "there is and there isn't." No need for cognitive dissonance, no point in reaching for certainty.

Similarly with the brain/mind/body. In one sense, the mind, according to everything we know, is limited to the physical brain, which is part of the body. In another sense, the mind, as an emergent property of the brain's chemistry and electrics, is more than and other than just the brain. Which may be why we have such wonderful and puzzling phenomena as entrainment.

Why am I bothering with all these words?  I could just meditate, and let the wordless present inhabit me every now and then, thus perhaps demonstrating both the above phenomena.

Due to my upbringing in an increasingly rationalistic age, and because I have reaped the benefits of that age (if in doubt about these benefits, just say to yourself "dental anaesthetics; radio") I find it comforting to find support for my feeling for the ineffable, in the state of being and thinking we call "science."

Phew. I'm done.

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