8
   

The creation of everything... How?

 
 
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 07:51 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Traditionally, the big bang is thought of as a four dimensional explosion of physical matter and energy.
"Before" the big bang is a bit misleading since this event could be seen as the start of time. In fact, I think the whole linear progression model we use to understand this may be misleading in that it dictates a "before" and "after" simply because we have specified an event.



It's interesting that you mention this. I just watched a program a day or two ago, I had seen before, about modern telescopes and what they tell us about the age and possible origins of the universe. I thought, at the time, about the beginning of time at that point. I also thought about the way it appears there was also no particular place either. If in fact there was a big bang, it appears as though it happened everywhere at once.
We are, as you say, ill equipped to understand what might have occurred at that point.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 10:37 pm
@wayne,
I find all that to be unfathonable, and frankly I enjoy that aspect of cosmic astronomy and physics...that we cannot understand it except in a very restricted "human" way. I once heard that with the Big Bang everything began, including time and space. Imagine: there was no space for the contents of the bang to expand within; the contents of the expansion included space. The same with time. What could there have been before the Bang, before the beginning? Makes no sense at all for me, but that's fine. I do not know what is ultimately the case, only the notion that we ARE IT. We construct scenarios with our philosophy and sciences, and such attempts give us joy. But imagine how horrible it might be for some of us if suddenly we had an arbitrary blast of understanding-of-everything in the most ultimate sense. There would--as far as I can imagine--be little left to live for, no grand puzzles left to solve, no questions to ask. . But that would be so only regarding our intellectual side. From a humble zen-like perspective we might continue to find joy--even absolute or ultimate joy--in the everyday activities of our human nature.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 10:58 pm
@JLNobody,
I agree, I like the fact that we can still discover some of the workings of the universe while knowing that it is ultimately unknowable. I truly get a kick out of the fact that our modern telescopes actually see into the past. I feel fortunate to live in an age with the technology and access to information that we have. An average person with an interest in the unknown can access a huge amount of info.
My fall back position when things get overwhelming is simply the concept of infinity. I have no problem accepting that when things get into the realm of infinity they are beyond finite human ability. I've been fascinated by infinity since I was very young. Amazing the human capacity for understanding can be so great and yet so miniscule.
The joy of discovery will always be there for a finite being. It was only in recent years that it dawned on me there were 4 dimensions. I had grown up with the 3 dimensional model and never really thought much of it until they began talking about quarks and string theory. Who knows whats yet to dawn on me. Smile
0 Replies
 
justintruth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 12:38 pm
@TheThinker,
I think the idea you have is that once a thing is created then it stays around of its own accord unless something other, something other than itself that also exists, destroys it. Conversely I think you think that something cannot just "appear" or come into existence. They are two sides of the same coin and are thought because so much of what we experience is in fact just like that.

In a sense it is incorrect. In the sense that there can be nothing in the universe that explains its existence. This is not just about what happened in the early universe. The current universe is itself incapable of explaining why it continues.

Only given an idea that says that once a thing is then it has no need of anything other than itself to continue explains your focus on the early universe. And that idea cannot work because there is nothing about something that explains its presence. Certainly its history does not because of the possibility that its history might cease.

If nothing in the universe explains what keeps the universe being now what makes you think there is something else in the early universe that could explain what is happening now?

Surely something or someone must have started it? Certainly not the former. It is impossible for some thing in the universe to explain the existence of the universe for several reasons not the least of which is infinite regress.

Someone? This is a much harder question. Need someone be in the universe to be. Is, in fact, anyone really in the universe totally? I do not know if the "words" of that person could be explained as they could have been otherwise. What would it mean if existence itself were someone? Is that impossible since to be someone he/she would need to have determination that would make him/her his/her own creation? Still the universe may be a type of large body or brain of a person the whole universe may be a kind of word spoken to us.

How are we to explain the messages that have occurred when awareness of existence occurs? Coincidences? Perhaps. Hard to disprove that. Still, they don't seem that way. They seem to be like a voice. To explain that voice and its relationship to existence - that is difficult.

Ultimately scientific cosmology does not seek to know what caused it but what it is (was) it like. In a way that is the most interesting question too ...unless ...of course...you hear the voice. If you do you must understand what to do.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 04:18 pm
As far as I can surmise, we are the only facet of Nature that feels a need to explain its existence. And this does not apply to every member of our species. The rest of Nature--at least that of which I am aware--just does its existence non-problematically. By the way, as I understand it, that's also the way zen buddhists meditate.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 04:18 pm
As far as I can surmise, we are the only facet of Nature that feels a need to explain its existence. And this does not apply to every member of our species. The rest of Nature--at least that of which I am aware--just does its existence non-problematically. By the way, as I understand it, that's also the way zen buddhists meditate.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 06:25 pm
@JLNobody,
I tent to assume the same, but can we really know that?
Maybe every facet of nature is another of its attempts to explain itself?
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 07:01 pm
@Cyracuz,
Lord I love human nature having people trying to pound human desires and reasons into their gods and now "nature".

Why would "nature" have a human type desire to explain itself?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 07:56 pm
@BillRM,
I'm just saying that the human need to explain can be thought of as an expression of nature. We do it because we can, and even playing in the trees hundreds of thousands of years ago as squirrel like beings, the being that would evolve to be human was working towards these moments of self reflection.
We can hardly attribute the fact that we are writing here now to that squirrels resolve to stay alive and carry on the chain of life until the species evolved to where it could reflect on self.
But still, that seems to have happened. We have evolved to a point where we can try to explain, and only a fraction of the time and energy spent in getting to this moment can be attributed to our conscious effort.
So if I feel the need to explain the universe, it's perhaps not so unlikely that its an inevitable urge that came on us long before we learned to distinguish ourselves from nature, and hence, it is nature's intent, not ours.

But I don't really think nature "intends" anything. I think it's more just a matter of try everything and see what happens.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 08:17 pm
@Cyracuz,
I recall once trying to answer the question Is there consciousness in Nature (i.e., the Cosmos)? It occured to me that since my questioner and I are both conscious and both expressions of Nature that the answer must be yes. Our consciousness is Nature's as well as "ours."
The Hindus think of the cosmos as a kind of Mind (perhaps much like Hegel's cosmology), "Brahmin", that experiences ITSELF (I guess as both subject and object of the experience of Nature, and does that through the minds and eyes of creatures (an infinite variety of types, of course) like us, "Atmans", what we experience is the infinite in some of its finite expressions. Atman = Brahmin.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 08:24 pm
@JLNobody,
The idea of cosmos as a kind of mind seems to be forming out of quantum physics as well. The ideas are pretty controversial, and bear strong resemblance to the esoteric philosophies of the ancient east, such as Hinduism.
I find it all very interesting, because it seems to be the same old story in a modern language, and it's not translated from the old, but formed in the "mind of our time".
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 11:08 pm
@Cyracuz,
The problem for me of the cosmos as as a form of mind is the careless equation I can make of projecting MY kind of mind into everything. The "mental" quality of Reality must be something that encompasses EVERY kind of consciousness we see evidence for on this planet--the minds of humans, apes, whales, ant, fungi, everykind and everywhere throughout the Cosmos. But not just our kind of mind, that would be crude anthropomorphism. We must confess that what we sense to be the mental live-ness of the cosmos is pretty arbitrary, an expression of the nature of our mentality, not something based on unambiguous and irrefutably hard and measureable evidence. But the opposite notion that the cosmos is non-conscious sounds just as arbitrary. Ultimately, I sense that the dyad, conscious vs unconscious, says more about me than it does about the world I'm speculating about. But what can we do but embrace our most expansive speculations? They reflect our nature. And perhaps sometimes we intuit, or get in touch with, the true nature of the world and our selves. My most expansive intuition is that they are the same.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 11:12 pm
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

Never was the name "TheThinker" less apt. I think the universe just happened. I don't think there "had" to be anything before, and I don't think that "?!?!" makes a cogent philosophical argument.


We all played this game with our parents where we asked why something was the way it was and we just kept asking "why?" in response to every explanation. At some point, our parents being limited teachers usually, would say "that's just the way it is". These are what are known as brute facts. They are things that rest upon nothing else. They have no why. They just are. At some point, all questions have to dead-end at brute facts or risk going on ad infinitum.

Why does the universe exist? It just does. There is no reason. Get over it.
justintruth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 05:24 am
@Night Ripper,
As it turns out the asking of the "Why?" is not something that is accidental to our nature and can just be forgotten. The problem is that we have evolved to survive. Part of that system is an association of the good with being. It is why we want to stay alive. The connection is very deep and involves our reproductive biology also - it is why we want to have children. Pursuit of the question of "Why?", and the resultant realization of wonder at being, can lead to states of our biology which are ecstatic in the fully actualized form and also to the lesser states of beauty, wonder, or love in their less conscious forms. Presumably our goal is to experience the good. Ignoring the question "Why?" can lead to a failure of this experience of the good - of the fact of our existence. In its milder form this alienation can result in a kind of sneering attitude toward what is good that is self destructive. However, should this program of ignoring the "why" be taken to its extreme form it would reduce our minds, and in the future through engineering, our biology to something more closely resembling insects. It can also result in suicide as all of the biological responses we have to live fall prey to the understanding that they are just aspects of the question. Why ski? Why sail? Why enjoy a good glass of scotch? Why have children? All of these are experiences that will ultimately disappear if the pursuit of the question "Why?" is "forgotten" completely. In contrast if we understand the mystery of being and realize it in wonder instead of dismissing it in boredom then we can actualize the full realization of our mammalian potential. If you listen to the tone of your voice and contrast it with charity you will be able to see the beginning of the problem. Most of us are nihilists. If that tendency has full expression in the future it is unlikely that we will survive because the survival mechanism that has evolved in us will have been short circuited. It is the desire to be that preserves us and an experience of the meaning of that being in some form is necessary for it to function. Fortunately, up to now, the vision of being has restrained our destructive tendency but it is a game like Jeopardy where the stakes constantly double and we must not loose a round.
BillRM
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 06:18 am
@justintruth,
My survival chances are increase by making up stories of annoy lighting bolt throwing gods and by killing animals in their honor in the hope of not getting the gods to place a bolt up my rear end.

Hard science and engineering that result in lighting rods are helpful but not unprovable theories about the universe.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 06:51 am
@JLNobody,
I can relate to that.
The problem about our tendency to project human attributes to this kind of "cosmic mind" may be the root of the problem of finding out precicely where consciousness fits in the big picture.

Consciousness, we tend to think, requires a brain. I made another thread last night about the possibility of defining consciousness as "reaction to information". The idea, broadly speaking, is that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the universe, same as physical matter, and that the human condition is merely a certain configuration of these fundamental aspects.
The start of this idea is perhaps the notion in quantum physics that matter requires some observer in order to find a definite state we can know as physical reality, since this discovery seems to indicate that consciousness must be present for the forming of physical reality, while we traditionally think physical reality is the foundation from which consciousness came to be.

It's a matter of creatively and intuitively connecting the facts we have at hand in such a way that it gives the highest amount of clarity with the least amount paradoxes and contradictions.

Quote:
My most expansive intuition is that they are the same.


I agree. And what then does it matter if it is a case of physical reality having conscious experience, or a case of conscious reality having physical experience?
I can think of only one anwer right off, and that is, as you have also said, the human perspective. What we are inclined to believe based on the terms of our existence.
justintruth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 11:20 am
@BillRM,
Yes but your argument has the logical flaw of false dilemma. Do I walk to school or carry my lunch?

You assume that experiencing life as more than "it just is" means that we don't believe in science. But throughout history, humans, and I might add most mammals, have done just fine navigating the objective world while still maintaining a value system based on an experience that characterizes being as good. To put it in its most simple form imagine a cave man with a rock thrown at his head. What will he do? Answer: Duck. Why? Because he wants to live and because he knows that if that rock strikes his head he will not. You can see both forms of consciousness right there. Evolution has associated being with good in us as well as our ability to think objectively in terms of hypothetical possibilities. Note also that if the rock is aimed at his offspring or his spouse he will try to intervene hence the relation through our sexual cognition of the love of our families. And our communities have projected this upon themselves.

Your argument is against a strawman in which "questioning" about "just is" gets turned into a crude fundamentalist caricature of religion. The issue of wondering at the world vs. insisting that wonder is something we must "get over" has in fact nothing to do with believing in lightning bolts thrown by postulated entities. So called "gods" with a small "g". Those lightning bolt throwing entities, even if they were to exist, could not remotely be considered "God" but would rather be just other existent beings. Your fight is with fundamentalism and you do not see how your own position is advocating what you are trying to reject.

You might also consider that in addition to lightning rods science has also created nuclear weapons and will soon create the more powerful biological weapons. For clarity alone you should be more careful. Our survival is not genuinely threatened by lightning in any meaningful way. It is threatened by those infected by the will to power gaining control of mass extinction and being motivated by existential crisis to that form of despair which overcomes the will to live. The guy on the Texas Book Depository with nukes if you see what I mean. We must not just understand the science of nature. We must also understand the motivations of these men.

There is a relation between your attitude and the attitude of a perpetrator of murder/suicide. I am NOT saying they are the same. I am just saying that the despair that one of them feels has its origins in a kind of sneering rejection of the sacred and the love that is around them. Take a look at the suicide bombers. They are fundamentalist to a man. Find me a non-fundamentalist suicide bomber. They are not the mystics of their religions - or to be more careful - they are controlled by the fundamentalists. I think they themselves are often just confused pawns.

There is a relationship between secular fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism. They both start with this rejection of the sacred and a belief in objective reality in a way that nihilates their own experience of the wonder of their own existence and the existence of others. And so suicide and murder become a real possibility. Because life itself becomes sickening and unimportant. This is as true of the secular fundamentalist (materialist) murderers like Mao or Pol Pot or Stalin as it is of the religious fundamentalists like Osama Bin Laden or the fundamentalist christian soldier who wants to "nuke em till they glow". They cynically manipulate the symbols of care in a kind of mime that convinces others who are often good to kill. But that primate sneer, that threat display is always there.

If you just strip everything from the voice except the tone you can hear the sneer. It is the same in all cases. It is a form of mocking sneer. "Bring it on"

My point, which you missed, is that the experience of being as being good comes at least sometimes and I think at root always from a sense of wonder at its existence instead of a dismissive sneering sense that it "just is" so "get over it". We have to be very careful. We cannot actually afford to take that dismissive attitude to its logical conclusion either personally or as a community.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 12:23 pm
@Cyracuz,
Yes, for much of our thinking, especially what we call philosophical thinking (and this would include the projects of theoretical physics--but not practical engineering) projection is a fundamental aspect. We need to make the unfamilliar, the exotic and strange tolerably familiar. Thinking often is an attempt to domesticate the world. It is INTERPRETATION by which we place ourselves as the lens by which we come to a comfortable understanding of the world. "Ourselves", of course, includes personality and cultural configurations. There are various forms of projection, I understand you partly by means of egocentric projection, I interpret the behavior of other groups by means of ethnocentric projection (something ethnographers must resist by resocializing themselves through spending time with their "subjects"), and as we mentioned already, nature or Reality in general by means of antropocentric projection. This sometimes results in anthropomorphism, the way I have humanized my pets so that I can enjoy a more meaningful "social life" with them. To some extent I like the Hindu notion of Brahmin because it allows me to relate to my world in more meaningful terms. All this talk about the use of projection in the pursuit of understanding must be totally irrelevant to the engineer whose only task (qua engineer) is to control his environment--which, of course, is another goal of everyone's thinking life.

0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 01:37 pm
@justintruth,
God or Gods with or without a capital letter g is one and the same thing as once you go down the dead end road that a supernatural being or beings is behind either a lighting bolt or the universe you end any chance to reach any real understanding of either a lighting bolt or the universe.

Making up supernatural beings is the enemy of human understanding and always had been and always will be.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 02:02 pm
@justintruth,
Moral does not come from a belief in supernatural beings either nor does the sense of wonder have any connection to such.

Basic morals are build into all pack animals including human beings.

When I was a child looking up into the night sky full me with wonder thinking that some of those stars may had planets with beings looking at the light from my sun at the same time I was looking at their stars no magical being needed.
 

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