by Bodwyn Wook
THE Great dread of orthodox scientists is essentially economic in character; they not-unreasonably perceive that the great mobs of the unwashed, who benefit from wall-switches without an idea in their heads of what a miracle this electricity is, will go ‘off’ science. And, there will go the funding, the ever-more-elaborate gizmoes, the prestige. What is more difficult for the scientist of to-day to grasp, so gratified is she, herself, in her pursuits, is the question of what I should say is a biologically-grounded neurological need for meaning, in the human animal. That is to say, when the material needs of human beings broadly are met, through technology, then those same individual animals have more time on their hands, to meditate upon the whichness of what.
THIS Introspective & prospective knack of our brains is the decisive factor.
FOR It means that, of course, the ‘present’ cultural and civilisational set-up just has to pass away, always; it is a consequence not least of the accumulated critical mass of contradictions in every quarter, to the ‘official’ narrative. As a young american mathematician of my acquaintance puts it: “When it all just becomes impossible of course you just have to dive into pure fantasy! This is what math-research is to me….” Physically, I would just add, on the electronic level mental phantasy is just as real as everything else — and no doubt it creates its own critical mass over time, also. One is no fan of persecutions by religionists any more than of the increasingly-invalid conceit of the ephemeral contemporary scientific ‘community’, but these words of my young friend are food for thought:
SURELY It cannot have eluded everyone’s attention that scientism in its present form is succumbing to anachronism as a result of the same historical process of inflation that governs all late-civilisational periods.
THERE Is a real danger now, indeed, that actual creative Science will be carried down, for a time at least, in the ruin caused in part by scientistic credentiallists & careerist orthodogues. For as historian-emeritus John Lukacs points out, inflation is not only an economic matter; there is as well the inflation of language: we see this for ourselves, in the opaque cant of the professionalisms; the horrid PC argle-bargle in America among objectively powerless academic leftists; and, in the necessary lies told by the leaders of all nations, when the state goes to war. All of this is part-and-parcel of the late-historical situation, and it is daily become but more of the debris which, finally, shall be swept aside by surging post-modernity. This, then, is the approximate objective state of the so-called ‘debate’, as between evolutionists and creationists. In the gloomy light of this actual dismal & wholly not-intelligent ‘argument’, therefore, I do not suppose in some as-arbitrary condition of similar hysteria that science ‘will’ necessarily be harmed fatally, certainly not in the long-term, by a period of some centuries, or even a millenium-and-a-half, of religious occultation. This matter of ‘being hidden’ is a very great content of the shia’a Islams; indeed, science islamically is spoken of sometimes as another imam, or teacher; and, Shi’ism (sic) intuits with perfect comprehension the positive need, at least for intervals, of this same kind of occultation in many fields. At bottom, it is because all work in the interests of real progress can not be done exclusively on a molecular scale; no more than perfect communication can be attained between two physically separated entities relying exclusively on the spoken & written word, or even on shared images. In short, if a fundamentalist interregnum be manifest in the time ahead & we perforce are put back into our clothing in the West for a period of generations, in camera then persons who are actually temperamentally & emotionally scientific — not these miserably extraverted & hysterical Ann Coulter-like Dawkins-drudges & wretched other media non-Einsteins! — shall of course continue making breakthroughs; these especially will be on the level of the greater refinement of instrumentation for experiment, as Science (under religious proscription) moves away from the crude (and expensive!) experimental modes of to-day:
NEW Forms of experimental method specifically shall result as a direct matter of taking up anew the unfinished (NB) business of the scholasticism of the age-before-last, the thirteenth century; and, carrying thus forward the whole business of thought–experiment in the ‘alam al-mithal, or realm of mental images. And, I can assure you all, we will come to the ‘end’ of religion (and science!)…just not for awhile yet.
THERE Is, some Sufis assert from personal (‘subjective’, ie) experience an ensemble of dimensions of perception, The Beyond, which is called, in Arabic, al-‘Abru.
NOW, It is of note that, at least from the point of view of a thorough-going high-modern materialism, all of this perception (objectively enough!) is going on in the brain-pans of these enthusiasts.
SO, A question arises:
IS This Beyond ‘here’? Or is it there?
AND (Mathematically perhaps), just ‘how big’ is ‘all’ this Space?
A Great difficulty which science perhaps recognises better in a projected form is, precisely, solipsism; and, in such a connexion, the religious problem is increasingly readily perceptible. Alas, this insight into the fatal limitation upon religion can only arise when one has first of all withdrawn their ‘belief; and, our capacity in large numbers to-day, to ‘see through’ theology is a gift of the modern age which is now ended. So it is, whenever I lecture on different aspects of the history of modernism, that people are often startled to learn that, in the realm of ideas, there may be an irreducible element always of the self-referential; it is, after all, in denial of this embarrassing circumstance that people so often claim ‘superiority’ for their particular perceptual gambit. However, so far are we from any actual objectivity, the individual narrative-system in the last analysis is only ‘theirs’ because it is most congenial to their specific natural capacities & emotional limitations, all as conditioned by the experience of life in their particular familial & social setting. To try to better understand this all, as has been often noted before, in science we toil with the demands of, precisely, material reality; my modest contribution only is to point out that ‘thoughts’ about ‘God’ hence are, equally precisely, materially real on the electronic scale — and, to suggest that, as phantasy accumulates as a kind of static charge in the physical system, this whole mass of photons in Dr Hawking’s light-cone may attain to a point of critical mass. Ie, for me. all of the archai & divinities dwell in at least in one dimension in the future; this includes the archetype of scientire. It may therefore follow that what both science & religion struggle to perceive is something more, over intervening time, of that future. Arguably, religion is played out for a certain creative minority; and, thus, to the extent that religion is a scientific fact about human being at least, copernican mediocrity does mean that science as a system will likewise play out over time. Belief systems remain contingent, and (exactly as a physical consequence!) entropy remains entropy. This is the dark side of veganism & epistemology:
THE Great terror of the scientific as well as the religious mind is therefore resolved and made clear; and, it is that, of necessity, all of the ‘final solutions’ along the way must inevitably become just so many rusty & cracked pots full of dead spiders….
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 29 October 2007]