Reconciliation #1: Initial Discussion on the Inorganic Sciences and Christianity [2/3]   1 comment

I. Introduction

The Concepts of Eastern Christian teaching founded throughout the Theological Writings of Mystics and Clergymen from the Patristic Era to the Modern Day itself are not in conflict with the Modern Scientific understandings concerning Physics at the Quantum Level, Relativity, Chaos and Uncertainty as well as the the Emerging Science of Systems/Network Science. This blog post will be broken up into 3-Parts in order to accommodate for space in respect to the reader. This is the second part of the initial discussion done in order to begin the work of reconciling the Christian God to Inorganic Nature. Sources will be cited at the end of the First Post, the Second Post, and the Third Post, to point to further reading.

III. A Discussion on The Scientific Parallels with Certain Spiritual Philosophies

In this section of the post I now want to discuss some of the parallels between the Far Eastern Spiritual Philosophies as they pertain to the Scientific principles mentioned previously. In particular, this part of the post we will discuss the relativity of Space and Time, how Matter is only a form of energy which is created by Pure Energy, and also how matter only has a tendency to exist and atomic events only have a tendency to occur. I still wish to discuss the issue regarding a lack of a central controller or “invisible hand” that manages the whole system. Finally, upon looking at the excerpt of Jeffrey Goldstein’s article regarding the characteristics present within Emergent Phenomena I want to look at the Spiritual Parallel’s related to that as well.

A. Space-Time is not Absolute

Since Space-Time is a relative phenomena and not an absolute and final object, we know in the Far East that time is an illusion, that we think that time is moving, “that it passes but in reality it stays where it is,” according to Zen Master Dogen who goes on to say that, “One sees it only as passing but cannot understand that it stays just where it is.” In a word, the events in Space-Time are interconnected but the connections are not causal. No wonder then the Far Eastern Mystics believed that in transcending time, they transcend the realm of cause and event. Swami Vivekananda, practitioner of the way of Vedanta Hinduism once said that, “Time, Space, and Causation are like the looking glass  through which the Absolute can be seen … In the Absolute there is no Time, Space, nor Causation.” It is fair to point out that the history of Zen Buddhism arrives from a blending Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian thought.

B. The Emergent Phenomena Typically Arise in the Absence of Any Sort of “Invisible Hand” or Central Controller

As in the freed marketplace and natural sciences, we observe in that these things are Spontaneous. Emergent Phenomena at its core is all about Spontaneity. If we read the works of Economist Friedrich Hayek commenting on authoritarian socialism, aka State Socialism, we understand that by “spontaneous” Hayek meant unplanned, the market was not designed by anyone but evolved slowly as the result of human actions. Likewise, economists like Hayek and  Murray Rothbard cited the Taoist Zhuangzi for illuminating the notion that, “Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.” When we speak of the Taoist concept of change, according to Fritjof Capra author of the book, The Tao of Physics,

“It is important to realize that this change is not seen as occurring as a consequence of some force, but rather as a tendency which is innate in all things and situations. The movement of the Tao are not forced upon it, but occur naturally and spontaneously. Spontaneity is the Tao’s principle of action, and since human conduct should be modeled on the operation of the Tao, spontaneity should also be characteristic of all human actions.”

C. Matter is only a form of energy created by Pure Energy

This Pure Energy is Nothingness, and from this Nothingness stems all of the Material Universe. However, this Pure Energy, this Nothingness for which all things stem, is not empty in some Nihilistic sense, but rather is empty of all our concepts about reality. Therefore, reality itself is NOT a state of mere nothingness, but the source from which all other things exist. The Pure Energy at the heart of created matter is thus spontaneous and emergent in its own right, and this Pure Energy finds a suitable expression in the Far Eastern Philosophies of Zen Buddhism but also in Taoism as well.

D. Matter has a Tendency to Exist and Atomic Events have a Tendency to Occur

Due to the notion’s of Quantum Tendencies of matter to exist in no particular place at no particular time and events to occur in no particular place and no particular time forced us to conclude that all of creation is interconnected, and that the old Classical view of a separate, independently existing reality from us must be relinquished or at the very least not given monopoly over our outlook of reality. We see this in the Taoists notions on the nature of what the Tao is, we even see this interconnectedness of the Cosmic Web found in Mahayana Buddhism. Neils Bohr, one of the Scientists who opened the door to Quantum Physics tells us in his book, Atomic Physics and the Description of Nature that,

“The material object becomes… something different from what we now see, not a separate object in the background or in the environment of the rest of nature but an indivisible part and even in a subtle way an expression of the unity of all that we see.”

If we read The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, we see an interesting parallel that, “things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves.”

E. The Spiritual Parallels to Emergent Phenomena

Let us now discuss the Characteristics found in Emergent Phenomena written by Jeffrey Goldstein as it relates to its Spiritual Parallels:

“Radical Novelty (features not previously observed in systems)” can be found in the Principle of Spontaneity, which can be founded in Spiritual Philosophy of Taoism. “Coherence or Correlation (meaning integrated wholes that maintain themselves over some period of time)” and “A global or macro ‘level’ (i.e. there is some property of “wholeness”)” can be found also in the Principle of Spontaneity as well, which can be founded in the Spiritual Philosophy of Taoism. “It is the product of a dynamical process (it evolves)” can be found in the Principle of Transformation, which can be found in the Spiritual Philosophy of Taoism.

“It is ‘ostensive’ (it can be perceived).” The Taoist in their main philosophical writings always seem to illustrate what the Tao is and is not by examples. “For good measure, Goldstein throws in supervenience — downward causation.” When the direction of casual influence extends from “higher” levels of reality (say, above the level of physics) down to “lower” levels of reality, it is called downward causation. The ontological structure of the world may be seen as consisting of more than one domain, with each domain consisting of different entities, and with different properties defined over the respective domains. This notion is also shown in the Principle of the Tao as well.

Conclusion of Part 2 of 3

Based off our discussion in this article we can conclude that:

1. The events in Space-Time are interconnected but the connections are not causal. No wonder then the Far Eastern Mystics believed that in transcending time, they transcend the realm of cause and event.

2. “It is important to realize that this change is not seen as occuring as a consequence of some force, but rather as a tendency which is innate in all things and situations. The movement of the Tao are not forced upon it, but occur naturally and spontaneously.”

3. This Pure Energy, this Nothingness for which all things stem, is not empty or in some Nihilistic sense, but rather is empty of all our concepts about reality.

4. Due to the notion’s of Quantum Tendencies of matter to exist in no particular place at no particular time and events to occur in no particular place and no particular time forced us to conclude that all of creation is interconnected, and that the old Classical view of a separate, independently existing reality from us must be relinquished or at the very least not given monopoly over our outlook of reality.

Sources: (1)Tao of Physics (2) Library of Economics and Liberty: Friedrich Augustus Hayek (3) Encyclopedia of Science and Religion: Downward Causation

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Posted August 14, 2011 by jimbo9889 in The Objectives

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One response to “Reconciliation #1: Initial Discussion on the Inorganic Sciences and Christianity [2/3]

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  1. Pingback: The Holographic Universe: Its Implications For Christianity « Reality and Illusions

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