Thursday, November 11, 2010
6:40 AM. All right, guys, you say it’s nerves. I am halfway ready to believe that. Anything special to be done about it?
No, just live with it and discount it.
I can do that. Any particular reason for nerves?
Yes. You’re on uncharted ground, and it makes you nervous. Uncharted in that you are different and therefore your opportunities are different and it calls for new habits.
Well, at least it results in my starting to clean the garage.
Even that is of use, if it brings you into closer contact with certain materials stored there.
I’m certainly doing it in a leisurely fashion.
Doing it, however.
Shall we talk about something else? I hear it – a list of questions for you to answer. [In order to get the book done]
Yes. And since God is on your mind for chapter two, let’s talk about God –
You have never been much willing to talk about God.
It is a contentious subject not only among others but within yourself – a difference more of language then of reality, you know. The result is to make you really nervous when we come to speak of the subject, for part of you pulls this way, part tugs that way, part doesn’t want to move, and another part covers its ears and pretends to know nothing. Metaphorically speaking, of course, but truly.
Thus I have always had anxiety about whatever you might say about the subject.
More than that, in fact. You and others find yourself getting a little irritable, a little short, when someone voices an opinion about is there a God and if so what are God’s attributes. It is one subject that is always taboo, or at any rate always hedged-round with great obstacles. Why do you suppose this is?
When I was writing that, I got that nobody can look the sun in the eye.
True enough too, but not our point here. The fact that people of different opinions, or opinions unknown to one another, can discuss the subject only with the very greatest of care (or with brutal overriding of the other party’s opinions) should tell you something.
No doubt. But – what? That it’s important to them, I suppose. But people are edgy over gun control, too, or abortion or other social issues.
Social issues define your opinions in terms of your values, so of course there is going to be strong identification. But God is the ultimate identifier. To believe in God or believe in no-God or believe in non-believing-either-way, is to define yourself in all other terms, for how you form your values –
Well, let’s go at it another way. We were going to make a statement about how values are formed, but there’s a difference between conscious processes and unconscious ones. Instead, we will say what we know of God.
We have told you many times that the fish is unlikely to have created the fishbowl, or the water that fills it. Without expressing an opinion of the nature of whatever created the fishbowl, clearly it wasn’t the fish itself. So there is the first aspect: Something created physical life.
Clearly it can only have been created out of something other than physical life, or we are only playing with words (and we are not). So, something non-physical created the physical. How it was done, and according to what laws – and, still less for the moment, why it was done – is not unarguable. What is beyond argument is that the created did not create itself.
Think for a moment of the complexity of a baby, and its helplessness. That baby was created out of the physical being of its parents, and is nurtured by their providing its requirements which they extract from their environment and render suitable for it.
Could that baby create itself “spontaneously”? Could it manifest the complex arrangement of complex systems of subsidiary, equally complex, systems? Could a baby even design itself, let alone maintain itself? Obviously not. Well, the universe is more complex than a baby. The job is harder, not easier, to create space-time and all its laws and substances. If it ever looks easier, it is because most of the complexity and the concatenation of complexity is hidden from you. Anything looks easy, from sufficient distance.
So let us say, something created the physical universe. Even if after that moment of initial architecture (setting rules and interrelationships) no further intervention were required or possible, there had to be something outside of it to create it. If you were to find this emotionally unacceptable, there would be not much point in proceeding farther, for you would be reading it as though humoring us. (And this is the defensive posture people often enough find themselves drawn to, when the subject comes up. Even if they consciously, intellectually, wish to give the subject fair consideration, unconsciously, emotionally, they are being churned up to the point of being unable to quietly concentrate and consider. This is a case of robots in action – robots as in, unconscious mechanisms automatically and infallibly performing the same response to the same stimulus until/unless brought up short by consciousness and reprogrammed to allow just consideration.)
Once admit that something created the physical universe, and you are over the worst hurdle. You are no longer requiring yourself to try to believe in a self-creating something. That step may not seem to you to be so large, but consider. A universe that created itself could be considered to be a universe that came into being “spontaneously” or – in essence – accidentally. And how could an accidental universe have meaning? And within an accidental universe, how could your lives have meaning? The first hurdle is, Are you afraid to believe that life has meaning? If so, then you will find yourself forced to believe (or rather, unable to disbelieve) that creation had no creator, because a creator implies a reason for creation, if only curiosity, if only play.
We omit the G-word. We say, for the moment, that the physical universe was created out of the non-physical, and it was created exhibiting certain characteristics, chiefly a bias toward the creation and destruction of orderly systems. It – and therefore every part of it – demonstrates, by what it is, characteristics presumably reflecting the non-material universe where it was created, as they manifest under the peculiar restraints of physical laws.
None of this says anything about any religion. It attributes no particular characteristics to the creator. It does not venture an opinion as to whether the creator is singular or plural, or whether creation is repeatedly affected by the creator after initial creation or not. We know more than we are saying for the moment. For the moment, we want to get one point across, and only one.
The physical universe was created out of the non-physical.
If this is too much for you to swallow, then, as we say, there is no point in your pretending to consider what follows. Any redefinition of the sentence above either amounts to sleight-of-hand or is without meaning.
If you can accept the first statement, a second follows: The physical universe takes its essence from the non-physical, including the laws of its existence such as polarity, motion, etc. That is, in being created, the laws of its nature were built in. A thing’s boundaries and possibilities are defined right into it, via the laws of its existence.
Such creation implies intelligence – awareness – on the part of the creator. As functioning airplanes do not arise as a result of a tornado in a junkyard (as has been said of human evolution), so it is with the creation of the physical universe itself. Any order within it was inherent, obviously. Inherent order may arise from the nature of the thing being ordered, but it does not arise undirected from chaos.
Another word on that, since it may not be clear. Chaos theory, a relatively new development of science, shows something of the complex interactivity, inherent in systems, between order and chaos. In other words, there is order within chaos and chaos within order. Both are built-in; each depends upon the other. That should tell you that at a higher order of complexity that chaos-order dance is one of the laws of creation.
In other words if you look closely enough, even chaos is only apparently chaotic.
True enough, but if you look closely enough even order is only apparently orderly, or ordered. Order-chaos is one of those polarities within which physical life is lived, and cannot be escaped any more than hot-cold or any other polarity.
Can we sum up?
It is not important what you believe of God but it is very important that you believe that the physical universe was created from the non-physical, and that it may have a purpose. We say “may have” merely to bring along those who are wary of committing themselves farther then they are ready to do. But if you are able to believe only in non-purpose, almost anti-purpose, because you think that is the only realistic non-romantic view to take of the world, there is no hope within you. We are merely pointing out that such a dismal view is, fortunately for life, totally unjustified.
I am aware that this leaves hanging the question of whether the non-physical world was created, and if so out of what and if not, then what.
Let the question hang unanswered. For practical purposes it is enough to realize that you live in a created material universe. We will proceed from there.