“And the spirit of God was brooding over the face of the waters.”(a)
Genesis contains one early telling of our age-old metaphor; and of course there are many others.(b) Each time we re-tell any of them from our current knowledge-base, our understanding of the metaphor falls more closely into line with the reality of the actual process of the Creation of the universe, because the new metaphor incorporates our greater knowledge about the reality of the universe. And with every new telling, the universe seems to grow, because it really is humongous. And the natural laws that generate, sustain and maintain the universe seem more awe-inspiring. Though the natural laws don’t change, we do. We never will know everything there is to know about the creation because we are the created, and not the creator.
So we have metaphors of several kinds; the good thing about scientific and mathematical metaphors is that there are ways to test them before we decide what to believe. And the good reason to do this is because we humans today have more power than we have knowledge or wisdom.
A new(h) version of our creation myth incorporates our new knowledge of the quantum level, and is explained for us by Dr. Seth Lloyd(c)(g)and previously by Nobel Prizewinner Dr. Murray Gell-Mann(f). It is in line with current cutting edge physics and biology, and is not out of line from previous metaphorical explanations of The Creation.
Each creation story, old and new, can be thought of as a “Song Flung up to Heaven,”(d) that we can use to help us know how to survive with poise, rather than bash our heads against a humanly indestructible universe.
The function and purpose of a human creation story is to generate human behaviors that are aligned with human survival within the reality that is what it is — because that simply is what it is (was). And that “was” makes it a historical fact that we cannot change and can only dimly perceive. Yet, through the ages and the people and their stories, we try always to better understand. Not to make ourselves rich and powerful – not if we are wise — but for our very survival as part of the whole of Life, for indeed we are dealing with an enemy to our survival.
The enemy is us. The Creation (including the Biosystem) is not our enemy – it is our current dominant ego-permeated world view that drives us to destroy, rather than nourish, our relationships with our biological environment.
We can’t win a war against the Biosystem because it is a war against ourselves; the Biosystem feeds us; it is the whole living earth, and it will do what it will do according to how it was created to function. So the more accurate our information about how it functions, the better our chances of survival, so long as we stop trying to fight against nature and natural law and use the power of our knowledge to align ourselves with it.
And life is ever-so-much easier in our chaotic culture, if we take the trouble to learn the rules, the laws of nature, as we are deciding what human metaphor to believe. Our proper place in the whole of Life is not bigger, more powerful, “richest” or “fittest” as that word us usually envisioned. Our best place would be wisely integrated.
We need an origin story that puts us in our proper human place relative to the Life of Earth.
We already learned these lessons. For just one beautiful example from Thich Nhat Hanh,(c) the so-called “emptiness” inherent in the “dependent arising of all sentient beings” represents reality in our world that is made of interconnected, interdependent, complex adaptive systems that evolved together – co-evolved — as a result of natural law.(b)(f)(g)
Drs. Murray Gell-Mann and Seth Lloyd (among other scientists whom they reference) have given us a creation hypothesis that does align with current scientific understanding of how the universe functions. I will try to paraphrase it for you next week. The required elements are natural law (I include natural selection) operating at the quantum level and above, on free energy, entropy and information.
(a) The Christian and Jewish Bible, Genesis 1:2
(b) Campbell, Joseph. 1976. The Masks of God. Viking Penguin
(c) Lloyd, Seth. 2006. Programming the Universe. Vintage Books.
(d) Angelou, Maya. 2002. A Song Flung up to Heaven.
(e) The concept of emptiness, wholely in line with modern thinking, but stated differently, can be found in: Thich Nhat Hahn IN: The Buddha and his Teachings, Chapter 25. 1993. Ed: Samuel Berchold and Sherab Chodzin Kohn. Barnes & Noble Books.
(f) Gell-Mann, Murray. 1994. The Quark and the Jaguar. W. H. Freeman & Co.
(g) Lloyd, Seth. 2016. Two recent video lectures at Santa Fe Institute.
This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com
A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_337_-_The_Song.mp3
Filed under: bare bones biology, BBB Audio Transcripts | Tagged: life | Leave a comment »