We’ll figure it out

Jane Fritz recent post At this inflection point in history, compassion has to stand its ground set me thinking. The post highlights all the thing that are going wrong in todays world and goes on to highlight the need for connectedness, compassion, courage, authenticity, generosity – none of which I would disagree with.

The thing is, we are all exposed by constant media exposure to all the things that are going wrong in the world, and the trends that appear to be going the wrong way – many of which have featured in moments of exasperation on this blog. So much so, that many people I have spoken to in recent months have actually reduced their exposure to the news and media because it is just so dispiriting. And what is it doing to the minds and dispositions of today’s youngsters?

Two insights occur to me.

First, Einstein is frequently quoted as having said that you cannot solve today’s problems with the mindset of yesterday, or words to that effect. Equally, you cannot anticipate the solutions to today’s problems from yesterday’s mindset, which is what we all have, and are reflected in the media. Tomorrow’s world will emerge from the collective mindset of billions of people confronted with today’s world. Who knows what answers might emerge, and how those problems might be resolved, or evolve into different and maybe even more intractable problems, if that’s possible. So we shouldn’t dispair if we cannot see the answers; it’s a work in progress. As daughter says in her increasing wisdom ” We’ll figure it out…”!

Second, we ourselves are a work in progress. We have choices day in and day out in how we live our lives and the quality of those lives. I believe that we are each on a path of growth and learning – about ourselves and our place in the world, even the purpose of our existence – the soul or daimon. So the job is to fulfil our purpose here, to make the best contribution we can at this moment, from where we stand now. This has been highlighted innumerable times over the centuries by advanced human beings. The job is to move towards our soul purpose, our spirituality, or whatever terminology you wish to use.

Of course, the inevitable result is connectedness, compassion, courage, authenticity, generosity…

Featured image is evening sky over Knutsford 14.8.22

Gravity and the Universe

Gravitational_WavesThere has been a bit of a fuss about the recent ‘observation’ of gravitational waves that confirm the predictions of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. As the Guardian reported: “We have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” said David Reitze, executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Ligo), at a press conference in Washington.The discovery is well explained by Martin Rees in The Telegraph.

This is an undoubted major achievement that scientists have dreamed of for 100 years, and will open up new areas of exploration. And it’s great to know that there is still essentially ‘pure science’ being pursued without the underlying carrot of commercial success. However, we must beware of some of the hype that inevitably comes with it.

For example, does it really get us anywhere nearer to understanding ‘how the universe was created’?

Well yes a tiny bit, but hold your horses. Let’s go back centuries to metaphysics, Descartes and the subsequent development of science. There is a duality of subject/object, the objective domain is amenable to measurement, whereas the subjective is not. Science developed as the way of understanding the measurable objective domain.

The subjective domain is not amenable to experimentation by the Scientific Method. Although modern neuroscience is able to establish correlates of brain activity with subjective experience, this does not mean that some day, mysteriously, subjective consciousness will somehow be explained by the objective understanding of the objective brain – contrary to the irrational belief of some scientists.

Surely the question of ‘how the universe was created’ is a question of the whole, with subjective interior and objective exterior. So any improvement in science’s models of the exterior is merely one part of the overall picture, which must necessarily involve also the interior question of consciousness.

Footnote: Einstein himself was a mystic as well as a scientist. Consider for example this quote:

“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

Image coutesy of MoocSummers and Wikimedia Commons