Monday, December 22, 2014

The Uniqueness of Life

I have been reflecting strongly recently on the utter improbability of the existence of each life here on Earth or indeed anywhere else in the Universe!

Even when we concede in the present context of our evolution the inevitably of new human life being born - seemingly at an ever increasing rate - this in no way lessens the enormous improbability of any one of us having come into existence.

For example without my parents having met I would not be in existence. And then when one looks at the chance sequence of events leading to their eventual meeting I am keenly aware that if any preceding event had unfolded in a different manner (where they did not meet) that I could not exist. Of course in different circumstances both could well have met other partners and had families. However these would represent other human beings (and not me).

And then in terms of conception if any other sperm had been involved fertilising the egg in my mother's womb, again a new baby infant would have resulted (but then again it would have represented a different person).

Looked at in this way the very fact that any one of us has come into the world is akin to having won a lottery (against impossible odds).

And then when goes further back in time, my own parents' existence and all the countless preceding generations (both human and pre-human) extending way back to the beginning of creation in turn represent repeated outcomes (against impossible odds).

Indeed ultimately, if any event had taken an alternative course since the universe came into existence (which may well entail countless cycles of universal existence preceding it) then none of us actually alive today would have come into existence (even if evolutionary conditions had evolved to permit the emergence of human life).

So when one reflects on the matter in this way, one can come to the realisation of how utterly unique, is the life of each one of us, which strictly makes no sense from a mathematical probability point of view.

Of course there are different ways of interpreting this! One can seek to maintain the cold scientific position that we are indeed the product of random improbability born into a world with no ultimate meaning.

Alternatively we can adopt a very distinctive spiritual perspective ultimately, entailing complete mystery, that each of us was destined by God from all eternity to come into existence; and that our ultimate purpose is to discover our very essence as that same God thus culminating in a loving union (of shared identity) .

 So life is from this perspective a precious free gift where we are all in a unique manner the special "chosen ones" of God ultimately sharing the same collective identity.

The same reasoning applies to each event in our lives.
Again the chance that what I am doing precisely now results from the accumulation of events over a lifetime (once again rendering it in statistical terms of extreme improbability).
And this applies also to  the activity of every one else in existence!

However, properly understood it is this improbability that renders each event its own characteristic uniqueness. So in the end one comes to the ever clearer realisation that it is only the present moment that truly exists with all phenomena in space and time of a merely relative - though unique - nature through this relationship to the present moment.

So in probing the ultimate nature of the physical universe, or - as I have been doing recently on my mathematical blogs - the ultimate nature of the number system, we are led to the same conclusion that they originate - not at some moment in the distant past (measured according to linear notions of time) but rather directly in the continual present moment, of which all phenomenal expressions in space and time represent but relative - and ultimately paradoxical - manifestations.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Exploring Immanence

With respect to spiritual experience, I continually have emphasised the complementary nature as between transcendence and immanence.

Transcendence implies spiritual understanding as beyond all (phenomenal) form. Thus the truly infinite field which properly represents spiritual reality is necessarily limited in a finite manner through identification with phenomenal notions.

Immanence by contrast implies spiritual understanding as a priori to our understanding of phenomenal form.
So from this perspective spiritual notions of immanence are already inherent in finite understanding.

So strictly all such understanding implies the relationship of finite and infinite notions.

Thus conventional science unfortunately, for example, in its approach to evolution gravely reduces the true experiential nature of understanding in merely finite phenomenal terms.

Worse still it then so often attempts to ridicule the inclusion of authentic spiritual notions through using such reduced understanding as the only valid reference base for scientific meaning.

However there is a problem with conventional language in properly emphasising the complementary nature of transcendence and immanence.

Though we frequently use the phrase "beyond all form" to refer to transcendence, we lack the appropriate English term to refer to its opposite. What is the opposite of beyond? Well, I think you will struggle to give a satisfactory one word answer.

This problem is replicated in the lack of a corresponding verb that complements "transcends".

We do indeed have satisfactory complementary opposites for the noun "transcendence" and the adjective "transcendent" in "immanence" and "immanent" respectively. But then we have no accepted complement for "transcends".

So we can indeed say that spirit transcends all phenomenal form; however we then lack an exact  convenient opposite manner of expressing that spirit is a priori to all form.

We can indeed state that spirit is immanent in all form. However this comes across as somewhat reductionist (as if spirit was somehow a component of such form).

Indeed this very problem of expression in a sense helps to sustain the reduced scientific attempt to exclude spiritual (holistic) notions from inquiry.

If we were to use an exactly complementary verb to transcends it would be immans. So rather than saying that spirit is immanent in all form (with its reduced implications) we would say that spirit immans all form (i.e. is a priori to all form in physical terms and of course equally a priori to all mental consideration of the nature of such form in a psychological manner).

There is also a direct link here to the nature of what is referred to as the "the present" or "the present moment".

It is important to recognise that space and time relate to phenomenal notions of a finite nature.

However in direct terms the notion of "the present" relates to corresponding spiritual notions of an infinite nature.

Again in actual experience both finite and infinite interact, so that we properly experience space and time in relation to an underlying present moment that is spiritual.

Again there are two aspects to this experience of the present. The "eternal present" directly corresponds to the transcendent aspect of spiritual awareness; however the "immediate present" corresponds by contrast to its immanent aspect. 

So in appropriate dynamic interactive terms, the universe is present as existing in an eternal "now" while also present each moment in an "immediate" now. And mediating between these two extremes of the present are our customary finite notions of a universe existing in phenomenal space and time.

Though we misleadingly - as in our interpretation of the Big Bang - attempt to deal with space and time in an absolute linear manner, it truth all notions of space and time are inherently paradoxical and ultimately of a purely relative nature.

However before we can appreciate this fact we need to view understanding of the world, not in abstract terms as something physically independent of what is known, but rather as always necessarily in dynamic relationship to the (psychological) knower in a true experiential fashion.