Sunday, 13 April 2014

Micah 6:8

Ever since I learned how to read I've been fascinated by scientific knowledge. There is something of elegance and grace and simplicity in the expression of its principles (whether symbolic or linguistic). Other-worldly. In my adult life, the one thing that distracts me completely still is the contemplation of abstract structures and their first principles.

There is such a thing as "mathematical" linguistics, with its own symbolic logic language and rules of constraint that allow objective conclusions/results that rival the best of physics and maths. It was my path to appreciating physics and math.

I am no calculator so every insight I've gained has been laborious blessedness. Sometimes it takes me years for things to fall into place but, invariably, there is no satisfaction like reverse engineering an insight and realizing its impeccable pedigree is and has always been first principles.

It is near impossible to appreciate Schrodinger's probability wave equation (other than the beautiful string of mathematical symbols) until one sees the possible (allowable) shapes that it produces - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_orbital to get an idea. Often it's been my experience that when I have no clue what an equation means there is sure to be a geometric (ie, graphic) rendering that illustrates its outcomes and vice-versa.

For instance, I have little appreciation of graphs of Einstein's theory of general relativity but the Lorentz equations are more intuitive for me being that they are expressed as roots of relative velocities/energies in relation to the speed of light, c. The notion of singularities (and the attendant diminishing returns) really stand out here because in extremis one is forced to try and divide by zero (ie, subtracting 1 from the ratio between the speed of light and mass/energy in the bottom part of the equation(s), which also amount to 1 when speed of light is reached). Beautiful.

Seen globally, the laws of nature are such that nothing can be added to or taken out of the system (ie, the universe), only transformed from one state of energy/matter to another. Whether the information survives intact the transformation is really a matter of metaphysics and philosophy. Or is it?

Regarding the theological/doctrinal essence of the Judeo-Christian faith, it appears that even the moral laws of G*d may be patterned like the physical laws of conservation and entropy. Just indulge me for a moment: let us imagine that the fall from grace was a real event in time. At the very worst, it is a simple change in perspective that irrevocably perverts the intent, the meaning of human life, from ecological/social/philosophical/moral justice to purely egotistical, short-sighted, short-term gratification.

We cannot change the past, only choose between right and wrong here and now (with the realization that every act has inescapable consequences). Belief in the teachings of Christ is not just wishful/magical/talismanic thinking, not the attainment of social/historical standing, but an acceptance of responsibility and purchase onto and embracing of something deeper and bigger than ourselves. There is no intent outside of the human heart, good or bad (at least in this world). The Hopi say: all is beautiful, all is beautiful. Only the self and vanity stand in the way of appreciating the glory of G*d (literally, Isaiah 6:3).

At the bottom of it, "the meaning of life" may just be a subjective phenomena. But its emotional/psychological/spiritual impacts are very real nonetheless even unto the subconscious level. We forgive, turn the other cheek (rather than conspire to strike back), because there is Providential healing in the promise and perspective spoken of in Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

The Gospel says nothing of changing the world and others, only the self. In my mindful meditations and self-monitoring, I've come to realize how hard and arduous the apparently simple often is. Faith and trust in Divine admonishments/promises often seem to run contrary to common sense and self-interest, but nursing our notions of entitlement with selfish intents and ever-present threats of resentment only detract from the "meaning of life", which, in the end, is the only thing that matters.

Upon the death of someone we often feel an impulse to heap praise and honor upon the dead. I highly doubt the cessation of my life and consciousness will allow me to appreciate my new-found status and esteem from my fellows. My faith in Christ is here and now, the desire to pattern my life in the humble Spirit of Christ is here and now. I've yet to experience holiness and enlightenment, but I doubt it'll be an instantaneous, magical transformation but rather a slow evolution of spiritual learning from subjective experience.

Jay