Friday, July 13, 2012

Everything in this world

What we think of as magic and what we think of as science are close to the same thing. What once was magic is now science, and what now is magic may soon be science. Take time travel. It's one of the things in the Brian Greene documentary on PBS, which—I repeat—everyone must watch. Time travel, according to most scientists, including Brian Greene, so mainstream as to be disdained by the Big Bang Theory, is something that quiet possibly may come to be. Even Stephen Hawking, in his book, The Grand Design, says that time travel should be possible.

Or synchronicity. It was Carl Jung who named it that, this feeling we have of things ordaining themselves around us as we ordain our actions. That a goodness follows our intention. A divine purpose to our ends.  As Hamlet put it:  Divinity shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.

As Wikipedia explains so professionally, there is a tendency to interpret these data as necessary, once they've already come to be. “Confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.” In other words, it's all in our heads. It's a debate, whether the extraordinary chain of necessary coincidences that shapes our now is really something we only see after we've passed it. Whether all we are doing is falling back into the abyss of time, that each breath we take has already been written.

These are things that abstract mathematicians currently study. Does, time, in fact, exist like a bread loaf? With each moment merely a cross-section, a slice of toast? Math and physics answer these questions.

I'm reminded of Orson Scott Card, my favorite contemporary science-fiction novelist (dude, I come out of the closet as sci-fi dork and the floods break loose], who says, in his novel Xenocide, that god is not in the gaps. A girl, Han Qing-Jao, part of a fundamentalist sect, is tasked with discovering where a fleet of spaceships disappeared to. Despairing, she comes to her father and says: “I can think of no other explanation. God must have made them disappear.”

He says: “Of course God did it! Our job is to figure out how.”

Exactly what a scientist must do. There's a mistrust of science in American culture these days, or maybe just a misunderstanding of what science does. It deals in evidence—cold, hard facts. If we measure this statistic, for thirty years, what changes? What does that prove? Why? Matter in motion is all science cares about. Did you know that when Einstein came out with his Theory of Relativity (note: theory. What science does not do is prove things) people claimed that it was “Jewish” science, and that it would bring about mass moral failings? That support of relativity was divided along partisan lines?

The book the Tao of Physics explains much. That theoretical math has repeatedly echoed the beliefs of eastern mysticism—this should come as no surprise. And also as no threat to Christians, since Christ himself was an eastern mystic. There's a chi, a prana, a Spirit in us. Its name is electricity, and it vibrates in astonishing ways, deep below the surface of our atoms, even in the centers of electrons that make up our corpus and blood. We are, in a scientific sense, spiritual beings.

And with that thought I leave you.  If you don't care about science, here's an alternate blog post to read for today: You Are Here.

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