What does "When" really mean?
and no-time (Saturday, 28 October, 1995 addendum - [WJL])
I find it remarkable that these men have not noted that "before" and "after" are artificial constructs used by limited physical beings to describe the sensation we have of "passing events." These scientists are already aware of the fact that "anti" particles (antiprotons, etc.) are identical to "normal" particles but on a reversed time-line … "…moving backward in time."(14) Why do they have such a problem with letting go of their rigid viewpoint that time is a necessary characteristic of reality? Just because we are stuck in the time-space matrix is no call for insisting that God is likewise limited in viewpoint.
It is not that God was "anywhere" "before" he created the universe; rather, these terms relating to time and location are meaningless in this respect. There are simply no referents. We are blinded by the environment in which we are embedded, we can not describe that which is outside the reach of our physical senses.
A weak analogy of this is asking a blind person to describe a rainbow without ever having heard a description of the phenomenon. There could be nothing in the experience of this person to provide the terms or concepts needed to describe a rainbow. Yes, a thorough knowledge of physics and metrology might lead the sightless scientist to surmise that . . .
Under some circumstances a large number of water droplets in the air between an observer and the sky opposite the position of the sun will refract the light of the sun in such a way as to allow the observer to see separated the several colors that make up white light.
In essence this is what we are doing in the present project--trying to describe the universe and gain some idea of how it looks to one who can see it as it really is … even though we are blind ourselves, and we can not possibly imagine what that sight is truly like.
mass / energy / time / space(15)
Molecules--the smallest discrete parcels of matter which react with one-another in accordance with the laws of chemistry.
Break molecules up into…
Atoms: no longer matter per se; can be treated as groupings of several kinds of energy, but are really clusters of interactions of energy(ies) of various intensities; for "level" you can substitute with equal accuracy terms like frequency, velocity, mass and/or other characteristics which have names such as Spin or Color and are unrelated to anything which our senses can detect. These characteristics are useful noises we make with our mouths; vocalizations to allow us to discuss matters that are properly described only in mathematical terms … as relationships.
STOP! At this point it is imperative that you clear your mind of all the preconceptions you've picked up by living in a world which appears to be real. You must understand that the words used to describe the components (we are already in trouble--there are no components) sound like English words, but have meanings which are ponderable only in terms of abstruse mathematics.
We are forced to use these words, and even to think in terms of the world our senses perceive, because otherwise we could not discuss these concepts at all.
Go forward from here with the mind of a child, sure of nothing, open to everything no matter how counter-intuitive it may seem, because intuition is an activity of your intellect emphasizing that which experience tells you is most likely to be true, but in regard to this realm, all of your life experience is false and misleading in the extreme. It is as if you have been blind, and you are about to try to comprehend a rainbow seen for the first time. There is nothing in your experience which relates to this new thing … nothing at all.
I know that words are unclear, but I am untrained and thus unable to converse freely in the mathematical equations which best describe these ideas; I must fall back on English words. However the reality behind these concepts is true. But beware, even words like "reality" and "true" are fraught with peril at this level, and must be spoken with great caution.
We can speak of truth because we can design experiments which work as predicted by the concepts under consideration; these experiments have been carried out by great scientific minds such as Einstein, Lorenz, Dirac, Schroedlinger and others. In every case, predictions formed using theories which define these concepts were found to be precisely correct. This proves that the theories describe the actions of the universe in a true manner.
Back to atoms and their parts.
Subatomic particles (the components which make up atoms) have no physical existence as we can understand that term in our gross physical universe. Rather, it is more proper to think of all of the (now thought to be) hundreds of such particles as the phenomena which are exhibited when two or more energies intersect or inter-react. "Energy" is another term we use freely but of which we have absolutely no real understanding. Suffice to say that (in gross physical terms) energy is not "something"
at all, it is better understood as a "condition" (try: circumstance, position, situation, state, qualification)
Subatomic particles (which are not "little bits" of anything) relate to one another, in some cases as forces; in some cases producing other particles: does this sound familiar? Under some circumstances particles are annihilated … whoops; another problem here…
"Annihilation" in the case of relationships simply means that the relationship has been terminated. Sort of like losing track of an old friend after you move to a distant city and stop writing and calling each other. Only in this case, both of you are still "somewhere"--or are you? Can you be sure that your friend still exists--without re-establishing the "relationship"? Do you see that if you investigate the whereabouts of that friend, you reestablish the relationship in some way? (Even if the friend does not know that you are checking up on him or her!)
While contemplating these curiosities, keep firmly in mind the fact (OK, we call it a fact) that energy = mass = time = space … you can trade one off for the other, or transform one into the other freely (but please be careful, this is the basis for nuclear energy) as described by the world's most famous equation:
Next curious item …
Get a copy of Zukav's book and look at pages 57 and 297; here are descriptions of two physical experiments which seem to prove that photons communicate with each other because (in the case last given) one of a pair of identical but opposite-spin photons will deflect either right or up (depending on the orientation of the deflecting apparatus) which tells us that its companion would have deflected the opposite way (left or down). A test by actually using paired deflectors proves that this is true. NOW--the curious point… if you rotate one of the deflectors 90 degrees, the photon going the other way will still deflect opposite the one you are measuring; how did it know what you did to its companion?
This caused Einstein and others a great deal of trouble and led to several theories, one of which is that there is no possible model of reality - - we simply can not describe what is happening around us. But a guy named Bell(16) worked out the logic, and concluded that either Quantum Mechanics must be wrong (but it does correctly predict the operation of the real world every time so it can't be wrong) or there is no such thing as "local causes" (that is; what happens somewhere is not effected by what happens elsewhere) … the results of which we see as space and time.
This is the sticking point for today's advanced physicists: some have elected to ignore the entire debate, saying that there is no answer, and that it is obvious that the universe exists. Period. Does this sound suspiciously like the Galileans and Newtonians arguing 100 years ago? It should, because that's nearly exactly what they said when quantum mechanics and particle physics began to develop.
I have to wonder where the problem is. There is no difficulty if we do what Zukav credits Einstein with doing -- give up our predisposition to experiential-limited observation and accept the fact that the paradox of "instantaneous action at a distance" is a fact, then note that for the photons (whatever they may be) the problem simply does not exist, because there is no time for them. The entire concept of linear progression is meaningless where massless particles are concerned! Time is an effect of observation, and then only of observation of statistically meaningful amounts of mass-energy. We distort the experiment by the very process of conducting and observing it. We can not perform the experiment properly because we have a moving viewpoint caught up in entropy / time, and limited to the instant "now" which we perceive as existence.
Our entire universe is founded upon "massless sub-atomic particles" (or whatever you may call them), and therefore it may appear that nothing is subject to time. And it isn't … until we establish enough relationships to get several nothings together to make up mass, which is subject to entropy, is forced to move at a "rate of speed" and has direction, dimension, etc., etc., just like all "real" things.
The question I'd like to pose
You can postulate that "energy" has always been, and will always be; no beginning and no end.
It seems to me that this flies in the face of the evidence of entropy, by which I mean the measure of the disorganization in the universe. There is no evidence, and no experiment has shown any indication, no matter how distant or faint, that there is any tendency in the universe at any level from quarks to galaxies, toward a decrease in entropy. That is; all observations show that everything in the universe is continually becoming less organized, with a concomitant tendency of all mass-energy to become more randomly distributed through space-time.
This might be a good time to undertake a study of Chaotic Mathematics, which proves that even this "randomness" is structured. Although the relationship between any point (energy level / frequency / velocity / locus) to any other (ditto) can not be predicted (thus; random) the totality of mass-energy distribution is structured by what I suppose would be a singular and universal "strange attractor"--a term used in Chaotic Math to describe a formatting function. Research and discussion on this topic is ardently sought.
What at first may appear to be local reorganization of matter does take place (the growth of any living being is an example) but only at the cost of a greater consumption of energy which is returned to the universe-at-large in a less-organized form. You eat and add to the organized mass of your body, but the energy required to produce the food you consume is greater than the energy contained in the body-mass, for a net increase of entropy.
I think that the basis of energy / mass and the organized structure of the universe is God. I warned you to rid yourself of English-language images imposed on your mind by cultural forces! I'm not talking about an old man with a beard who lives above the sky and sends angels down to us with messages. The Organizer and Creator of this mix of statistical convergences operating in an inconceivably complex manner is completely and totally beyond any possible intellectual frame of reference we can have.
But we gotta discuss it, so we use words.
And I think God understands us at every possible level from the subatomic on up to the gross physical form we take. (Think about the roots of that word: "under-stand.")
Relationships are reality. I mean those words quite literally. The entire physical and mystical universe is a manifestation(17) of the relationship between God the Father and God the Holy Spirit … how this may appear to God, the angels, the glorified, I have not the faintest idea, but what we perceive is "real" as far as we are concerned.
What about the relationship between each human being and God? Is this a "real thing"?
I believe that it is; I think that it is the thing we refer to as our soul.
As we persons grow we begin to change the soul by building a more complex relationship between us and God, and between us and the rest of creation. These relationships generate the characteristics of our soul. As an example…
Greed--we form a strong relationship with material things, or with material (mass/time-related) power. These relationships modify the initial simplicity of an infant's soul in undesirable ways: when the physical body ceases to function, the soul can not continue these relationships and therefore is crippled in some way.
Think about a simple sin which does not seem to have any effect on others--say, looking at pornography/ The relationship (soul) which the viewer should be forming with God is lessened by the amount of misdirected "spiritual energy" as the "sinner" invests in the relationship he forms with the subject pictured. This relationship has no beneficial effect on the persons involved, and therefore reduces the "value" of the soul of the "sinner" by the amount of "energy" in that sterile relationship.
This needs to be discussed further. I think it may offer insight into the reasons for the apparent restrictions placed on our free will by the Ten Commandments … which offer guidance on how we are to form proper relationships.
We exist in a purely deterministic universe; everything (all possible combinations of everything) is / are / were / was predetermined from the moment of the creation of the universe (at the instant of the beginning of the "big bang" the entire structure, energy-mass-time was totally coherent and completely interrelated; everything afterward is simply a development following from that initial coherence.
We see chaos -- but chaos is only an artifact of our limited observation. We see randomness--there is no randomness, only local reality within which our observations are isolated.
If I am right, how could God NOT be totally aware of our tiniest feeling and thought?
You have to forget--ignore--see through--tune out--the mists and moonlight we call "reality". Gross physical reality has no true existence because it is built up of massless, dimensionless, "particles" which are no more than relationships between "somethings" which are simply indescribable.
Yet the universe functions: stars are formed and go Nova; trees grow, rain falls, we eat, sleep, live and die.
We are in the world; but our intellect (soul) is not of the world. Intelligence, ego, love … these are (like subatomic particles) "unreal"; you can not weigh them or touch them. But are these "functions of the intellect" any less real than a toothpick or an atomic weapon?
If you agree that the operation of your intellect is as real as the un-real world around you, then how can you treat the results of that operation as less important than physical realities such as eating, gasoline for the car, sex, credit cards … whatever?
"Prayer" isn't words said with your hands folded in a church. Prayer is a component in the continuing development of that relationship between your intellect ("self") and the Basis of Energy, the Sustainer of the organizational structure behind the aspect of chaos which we view as "reality". Watch out for these words! Remember that everything physical is at its basis, nothing but relationships.
"Free will" is not restricted by the deterministic nature of God (remember, God=Universe=Reality) we choose our actions as surely as the photons relate to the deflection field or the polarizing screens, the fact that the results of our freely chosen decisions are "known" (read: "immutable") outside of time and are parts of the structure of the universe, does not make them any less "free".
Zukav claims that Buddhists have long understood the relational nature of the universe; I agree, but I haste to point out that this is also fundamental in the teachings of Christ, and even in the old Testament as well. The purpose and intent of the Bible appears to be more of a social plan than a philosophical guide to personal perfection; as are the writings of most Eastern mystics.
If my premise is correct, it is impossible for "man" as a social organism to ignore God; the relationship carries an implicit understanding of the need to act with God (universe). Questions of "good" or "evil" are answerable in terms of "how does this fit into the development of relationships which bring the (person, community, race) to a more intimate alignment with the universe (God)?" If the relationship aligns (person, community, race) with God, it is good. If not, it is bad. How do we know what God "wants"? (Another poor word since God "wants" nothing, and everything is (within?) God.)
We are here, we are aware, therefore we must be intended to seek truth; that is, God. To accept otherwise is to believe that the universe is purposeless and that we are accidents of random chance and nothing matters. The inescapable organization of the universe and the fact that nothing is truly random would seem to make that a specious argument at best, and sheer stupidity at worst.
Discovering the specific action one should take at a specific moment is a matter of making use of the functions with which we are endowed; just as all matter acts / reacts in the manner required by its nature, so must we, using the intellect our Creator provides us. Failure to use the intellect is a denial of our nature, and of the reality of the universe. If you subscribe to the denial of intellect, go back and read the preceding paragraph again.
Hey: most folks are not going to accept this kind of analysis of what's going on around them. Most folks don't care, and don't want to be bothered. That's why there are human organizations societies, philosophies and Churches. That's why humans have always sought to understand (and I believe that they hope to control) the Organizer. In fact, I think the "need to understand" and "attempts to control" are the basis for the Biblical account of Adam and Original Sin.
(March 25, 1995 addendum [WJL]): Further thoughts on Original Sin based upon "relationship as the basis of the soul"…
God gave man free will so that man could form relationships--which become real, the soul--a necessary result of this free will is that all men (exceptions noted) will at some time be persuaded by Satan to relate to someone or something in a manner not perfectly in line with the development of the greatest possible intimacy between that soul and God; this deviation "poisons" the reality of the soul in some way, no matter how slightly; the sum total of this nearly-universal poisoning of mankind's communal soul (remember -- relationships between humans are real things!) is Original Sin.
Imagine that there came a moment in the evolution of man when the "spark of intellect" glimmered. Some pre-human (Adam?) reacted to more than immediate need, fear, or pleasure. That ancestor of ours thought. From that time forward, the progression of intellect brought greater and greater tension between brute acceptance and the need to understand.
No longer did this animal simply accept the world but began to try to control it.
Failures and disasters surely taught early men that they didn't hold the reins of power--and they figured that somewhere out there was some(one)(thing) who(which) did.
Since they couldn't find the person in control, they attributed every natural event to some being or beings which were invisible or hiding inside beasts and plants (still invisible), rocks, oceans, volcanos, storms, sun and moon. All of these were things they had found unreachable and/or beyond their power to control.
Is it possible that God (creator, universe) could have failed to understand that this would happen? Remember, we are talking about the Architect of every the subatomic particle-atom-molecule-protein-man complex. And you think that He didn't get it?
So what options are open to God? How can God demonstrate to his intelligent creatures that they need to relate to Him?
Why, simply by becoming one of us. Taking on the limitations of time-dependency and mass. An organism we can see, hear, smell, touch, love, or hate … in short, someone we can relate to.
Why not just "create a figure" and inhabit it, or use it like you or I might use a marionette? Or broadcast His message from the clouds, print it out in the milky way … any of a million spectacular (for Him, easy) modes of communication?
It would not seem to make sense that God would disestablish what he has established. Miracles which violate the conservation of energy, mass, or momentum would appear to make light of the organization which (in my mind) God created so therefore must favor, and also because we relate so much better to people than to miraculous marionettes. (And, yes, I think He understands that too!)
After all, it does not appear that it was a message He was trying to convey; it is the Relationship established for our benefit, because we needed it (need it now, will need it forever).
What about all of the wise and dedicated men and women who spent/are spending their lives telling others (often through their examples rather than their words) to be good; to take God seriously and try to figure out what His plan for you calls for? Are they all wrong, or mistaken because they can't write equations with Heisenberg and Oppenheimer?
Do I think that I'm superior to them because I know the universe is a statistical coincidence, and that there is no such thing as physical reality?
No, and no.
But--I think that every possible way of looking at the structure and laws of the universe is a way of looking at the face of God. When you see the tracks of decaying particles in a cloud chamber, you are looking at the finger of God writing one of a hundred thousand trillion messages He writes every millisecond in every time-space reference frame.
But--I think that when you step back from what seems important in your daily life (new tires for the car, flu shots, insurance payments) and contemplate the wonderful lack of reality which makes up what we all comprehend as "the world"; you are a step closer to grasping the meaning of "Divine Love".
But--I think that each time you doubt your own perfection, each time you view the vast gap between yourself and the infinite, each time you open your mind to the possibility of communication with the Organizer of All--there is the faintest chance that you will be better and more closely aligned with the purposes of the Creator in the next moment.
Relationships, all is relationships.
And that's why I spend my time sitting in front of this un-real computer, commanding (Perhaps "negotiating-with" is better?) electrons and protons, quarks and atoms to cooperate in order that my totally unreal and physically non-existent intellect can communicate with your ditto.
(Are you ready for this?)
Zen? I don't know, but it works for me.