Bad Science and The Flawed Myth of Materialism

Teilhard de Chardin

An examined faith leads to a deeper faith

As readers of this blog know, I believe that a synthesis of sound science and ancient spiritual traditions (combined with a healthy dose of humility) is necessary to avoid the dangers of fundamentalism, whether it be religious fundamentalism or scientific fundamentalism.  One of the reasons I am a Catholic is because the Church has long supported science and the integration of faith and reason.

Dave Pruett had an excellent article in the Huffington Post this week what happens when this relationship between science and religion is severed.   The result is contemporary Western civilization with its reduction of human beings to GDP units, consumerism and ecological damage.  I encourage you to read the entire article (which references Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry) but set forth below is an excerpt:

 [I]n The Power of Myth (1988), the late Joseph Campbell explored the vital ways in which mythology — the overarching story of…

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Sunday Reflection, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 23, 2014): Keep Calm and Love Your Enemies

Teilhard de Chardin

love_enemies2
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. — Matthew 5:44-45

This weekend is the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings can be found here. The theme is “love your enemy” which is one of the hardest aspects of being a Christian. I am not naturally a loving person. Yes, I love my family and friends. I am friendly and cordial to strangers I meet or people who are nice to me. However, if I feel someone has slighted me (no matter how minor), my strong reaction is to seek retribution. It is something I am working on but I still have a long ways to go.

This week’s reflection comes from the…

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The heavy burden of social justice and the weight of racism

I spent this evening with three vibrant and interesting people. Worth listening to. The debate moved between Scottish Nationalism, feminism and social justice. I lived through that shift in Britain from an integrated society toward a materialist “me” and money driven culture.

There is a frustration, almost a scream across many parts of the United Kingdom, raging against social inequality. The facts speak for themselves – since Thatcher and Regan – the  rich have become indescribably wealthy, whilst the poor have become excluded. The argument for Scottish Nationalism that is based around the desire to create a new socially cohesive society is seductive.. There is a heavy burden – the cause of social justice that weighs on their side.

However..

The argument is waged by politicians and the satanic ally they have called up, wittingly or not, racism pure and simple. Anti-English views are just that. Racist. All and any Scot who even jokingly or in aside to themselves justifies a nationalism on this basis is equivalent, in my view with the worst of the past century’s infamous racist leaders. All of them should consult their motivation in the privacy of their homes. Many will not be honest with themselves. To strive for independence on the basis of social justice as a cloak for racism is just despicable.

And further…

Is independence the ONLY route to social justice in the British Isles? Would independence  promote social justice? If so – then it needs to be seriously considered. But what about a vote for socialism. This is the traditional, integrated and well trodden path which successfully confronted unadulterated capitalism.  The conservatives won’t be in power in the UK after the next election if you believe the polls and  history. Indeed they are not in power in the UK now except in coalition. Without Scottish MPs then most of the British Isles would have conservative rule for the foreseeable future. How socially responsible is that?

There are serious and heavy issues in the balance. On the one hand certainly the UK has significant inequalities, injustice and poverty which in an enormously rich nation are scandalous – indeed evil. On the other, a bail out by Scotland (which I believe would immediately become poorer) would only add to the tensions, conflicts and difficulties. And certainly, absolutely with utter certainty – if won by an emotional appeal to anti-English racism – would be set on a dark path.

Which  is the path to a just and integrated society? It is more complex than the simply question that will be put on September 18th. For me however the name calling that the SNP indulge in is the wrong path entirely.

Kabbalah and String Theory

 

According to string theory, all of reality exists in multiple dimensions. The number varies, but many versions say there are ten dimensions. These consist of the 4 dimensions we experience – 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time – together with others which are “curled up” so invisible to us. Now I’m not necessarily an advocate of string or superstring theory, which don’t seem to me to be testable even in principle…

However, it’s interesting perhaps that in Kabbalah…

“God emanated from His infinite light (through the process of tzimtzum–the “contraction” of  infinity) ten Divine lights or powers (sefirot) through which He created the universe. Each of these ten powers can be understood to be a  “dimension” of reality. All ten dimensions are seen to be contained within the “point-string”  (in the idiom of Chassidut, “a formed point” [in contrast to “an unformed point”], whose form resembles a tiny “string”)  of the letter yud = 10. The letter yud is the first letter of God’s essential Name Havayah. The full spelling of the letter yud is: yud (10), vav (6), dalet (4). The two additional letters, the vav (6) and the dalet (4)  themselves equal the original yud (10). The full spelling of the yud is thus to be understood as an equation: 10 = 6 plus 4. The 10 dimensions of reality divide into two categories, one of 6 and the other of 4.”

There appears to me to be a clear relationship. Of course it may be that the mathematicians and scientists behind string theory are influenced by conscious or unconscious knowledge of Kabbalah, or alternatively that science is revealing ancient knowledge differently expressed.

 

The Point

The dot was alone. He could only look inward, there was nothing else. Doing so he contracted. In the end he was pointless.

He awoke in time, which made him a line. A path with a here-to-from and a hereafter. For ever after. But where was time before he woke. Because he knew only himself, he called that Big Bang. Important. And there was only the path and his memory and expectation.

But other lines crossed, intersected, joined and diverged. Other became. What was he? Was he a he, or a she, or an it? He was IT, the path. THE path. Those others. The intersections weren’t real like he was. They appeared only as dots, waypoints on HIS path.

But the others, those intrusive arrogant, wrong and other others. Kept coming, twisting around and enfolding him. Was he a string, a super string, a rope or a braid?

Then it was plain. They, she – was a plane. A surface with infinite lines. She was afraid to lose her dottiness. Would she dissolve in the plain plane and cease to exist? She was granular surely. She didn’t want to be a solution.

Her nature had curled with the help of the free “we” into consciousness. She had begun to see the plain as a green field, then saw the blue sky. We were afraid because..

There was depth in us. But we learned to swim in this sea of possibility, to revel in being. Not drowning, but waving.

And the freedom came when we realised that we were all dotty. Pointless alone.  All in all together. Speaking volumes.

(and we’re looking forward to the mysteries of the 6 curled dimensions)