Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Begin the Begin

I was in a rather engaging conversation last week with a colleague about the creation of the Universe and many of the sub topics that such discussion will generate. We discussed creationalist theories along with evolutionary theories. We did not come to a conclusion, other than modern knowledge is a mere three or four hundred or so years old in regards to modern science, and academic theory is less than three thousand years old – a mere blink in the overall greater view of time and its infinity of years.

As I am apt to do, I began to reflect on our exchange, asking not whether we were capable of figuring out the answer to our question, but rather would we be truly be capable of understanding the answer should we stumble upon it?

Language is an amazing thing. It isn’t just a way of communicating, but rather a depiction of cultural perceptions. Certainly if you have ever attempted to learn another tongue, you will quickly find out, as I did years ago sat down with a Greek dictionary, that it’s not a matter of plugging in a word of whatever language you are trying to speak where the English word would be. I never did take Greek lessons, but did go on to learn significant amounts of French, Spanish, German and Slovak.

There are many linguistic studies out there worth your while to read if interested, as well as studies of symbols, such as those done by the psychologist Carl Jung.

Returning to my question of understanding, take something as simple as “nothing”. Nothing in itself implies “no thing”, so how can we “have” [possess] “no thing”? This is the linguistic nightmare to which I refer. Throw this in to the creation debate, whether it is scientific or theological in nature, and ask: what was there before it all began? If you say “nothing” then refer the above comment. If you say God, then where did He/She come from? To say that God is eternal…!!!

The Taoist writer, Chuangtzū said:

There is great beauty in the silent universe. There are manifest laws governing the four seasons without words. There is an intrinsic principle in the created things which is not expressed. The Sage looks back to the beauty of the universe and penetrates into the intrinsic principle of things. Therefore the perfect man does nothing, the great Sage takes no action. The spirit of the universe is subtle and informs all life. Things live and die and change their forms, without knowing the root from which they come. Abundantly it multiplies; eternally it stands by itself.”

This statement does not tell us which came first, the chicken or the egg, but rather that in every egg lies a chicken and in every chicken, an egg; the transformation occurs and the cycle continues. Buddhists and Taoists have a wonderful way of saying that things simply are as they are. I suppose the ultimate question (as they never give “answers”) to the creation question from a Buddhist or Taoist isn’t so much the answer to creation, but rather to ask “what does it matter?

Thoughts anyone?

This of course opens the door to the whole detachment theory espoused by the aforementioned Eastern schools of thought, so I’ll save them for another time.

Painting: "Peonies" by Oda Kazuma


  • At 8:15 a.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    To find the intrinsic principle, I tend to focus on where things are going, and the chaos that is getting them there. Where we have been, and where the universe came from is filtered through the current laws and our current dependence on electromagnetic charge and forces. Just as looking at the fossil record only shows the one successful path that led to the present state, looking at the only universe we have doesn't tell us about the possible forces that don't exist anymore. Nature explores all possibilities all the time. We only see the ones that continue to produce a net creative contribution. The Sage has the responsibility to be creative with more possibilities than everyone else, he is on 'point' in our battle against chaos and entropy.

  • At 8:21 a.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    Keep the 'nothing' separate from the universe. We have a symbol for the lack of 'thing', called zero. When you follow the number line, even at the most infinitely small increments, starting with numbers which represent positive quantities (apples?), and you travel down the line toward the diminishing into the promises (negative apples are a promise to produce, are they not?, there is a gap, a space, a broken thread at the point we call "zero". We had to create a symbol for it which was an impenetrable circle. "Thous shalt not go heare, for there be Monsters, Whirlpools, and other Demons....."

  • At 4:41 p.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    I agree with your first missive in that those things that once made other things possible may no longer exist.

    I disagree on your point of "nothing" and "zero". Using the apple example, if there is no apple then there is no apple - that is what we call "nothing". Using our present scientific knowledge, we may acknowledge the non-presence of the apple, however there are other gases and solids present. To remove all periodical elements would thus produce a true "nothing" only so far as we are unable to identify the nothing present - it's a bit of a St. Thomas Aquanis circular logic here.

    I've written this somewhere in my blog before, but shall repeat it for the benefit of this discussion:

    Reality is one's perception of existence. Existenece is the fabrication of nothingness into being. Nothing implies "No Thing" and therefore "Some Thing". Hence, everything is an echo....

  • At 7:32 p.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    The nothing argument goes nowhere, but I try once in a while. My gut feel for nothing and my intellectual idea are in sync now, but I can't explain it well. Just suffice to say that the zero is just a label for something we cannot experience. Mathematically, the number line isn't continuous. That's why you can't divide by zero, since it represents the lack of anything to divide with, so a division by zero is undefined. The concept in calculus works as you approach zero, and for most purposes, is enough to work with. However, the science used to support theories of the Big Bang, etc, often go beyond practicality to 'new math' areas of manifold physics, etc., and should be left "undefined" until we know more about the real world. When we question the paradigms of timespace and Michelson-Morley, we start to find the raw data doesn't actually show what has been reported in our textbooks, and reality starts to make more sense if we ignore our instructors just a little. You spoke of distilling wisdom. I find this one of the best contributions to my recent thoughts.

  • At 7:40 p.m. , Blogger auntiegrav said...

    Oh...Bucky Fuller addresses the concept of nothing and selfness and awareness very eloquently ("Synergetics" by R. Buckminster Fuller). It's been over 20 years, buy I will try and sum up: First there is nothing, then an 'event' happens. There is no definition of the event because there is no other, just a self. The occurence of another event defines "self", then "other", but not a sequence, or position. A third event allows the definition of first, then second, self, other, "same" and "different", as the third self may compare event one and two against each other. Only the occurance of the fourth event completes a full geometric-dimensional, space by enclosing volume. This defines "inside" and "outside", thereby allowing reality.
    (something like that)..

  • At 7:54 p.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    Definitely words to make the mind work, eh?!

    Could we not say as no number is divisible by zero that there is a fundamental flaw in mathematical and thus ALL logic? I know that opens the door to religious speculation. Anyway, if the basis to our logic is fundamentally flawed, then that may well explain our inability to, utilising your fossil metaphor, to go beyond a certain point of its evolution. It's like doing a Sudoku puzzles to get down to two or three squares remaining only to find there is a flaw in your logic. As modern mathmatical logic is still in its infancy over the larger spectrum of time, we may one day permeate dividing by zero...

    One last comment: if there is "nothing" than what is the cause leading to the effect - the "something happening"?

  • At 2:09 a.m. , Blogger firedawg said...

    Everything is, and opposites are equal. Is it better to be a good sage and just observe or to try and make things better or do each of us belong to different categories so that what is right for one may not be right for another, or do we go through different stages like a butterfly? I think therefore I am. I think I am.

  • At 2:13 a.m. , Blogger firedawg said...

    If you can get your hands on some of Ram Dass's early tapes I think you will find them very interesting.


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