Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So, yeah... what if.... (No Sarah In This Post!)

Last night, I was laying in bed - listening to Coast to Coast in the weesmas. During the broadcast, there was some discussion of the CERN collider and the possible implications. Much of it was over my head scientifically - but my broad (and limited) understanding is that it has something to do with splitting particles even further than before. Some time earlier today, that was to have taken place.

It got me to thinking about John Lennon's old song, "Imagine". Yes, my mind does travel along some weird paths, particularly when I'm half asleep.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people...

So let's imagine this experiment in particle splitting proves that this is all there is. Pure science. No God. No cosmic consciousness, nothing "out there". Our existence is purely random chance in a random universe. We exist simply because we exist. There is no higher purpose.

What do you think the world would look like?



heartinsanfrancisco said...

This conundrum has intrigued me for most of my life, but I choose to believe that the universe is orderly, that our souls are recycled many times as we perfect ourselves.

Yet sometimes I wonder if we are a colossal science experiment gone wrong.

Perhaps what I see as signs of purpose are simply signs of a massive collective ego that refuses to believe itself insignificant. But since we don't know for sure, it is better to behave ethically because it surely can't hurt, and if in fact this life is all there is, it can still count for something.

Anonymous said...

yikes. the rise of a human-centric religion (because we, as a species would need a replacement for "god.")

Stephanie said...

Savage. Hopeless.

flutter said...

devoid of color, of connection, of hope. What would be the point?

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm afraid my brain just won't go there. Sorry. Total randomness has always scared me.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This is kind of what I see on a daily basis. My DS and DH both see the world that way. It's very hard for me to grasp.

Anonymous said...

Have you read Punk Science?

The author is a doctor and a scientist and she argues for the idea that everything has consciousness -- you me, a rock, the desk -- that consciousness is in the smallest particles because how do these very small particles that make up our lives know what to do?

She doesn't come down in favor or against religion, but she has some interesting things to say about cosmic consciousness and the interconnectedness of everything.

Border Explorer said...

I wouldn't change a thing. I do entertain the thought regularly that perhaps "this is all there is." Maybe all that remains of my consciousness when I pass will be the positive or negative effects I leave behind. I'm trying my best to leave as much positive as I can.

This is a good question. Chani, what do you think the world would look like?

we_be_toys said...

I'm just wondering what the applications of this kind of machine are, and the implications of its use.

And it makes me uneasy...

Kathryn Knoll said...

Wait a minute, just because we split particles until there is nothing but "empty space" or at least to us it seems empty. Whose to say that God, the Divine Mystery, whatever you want to call what we try to understand, what if That One is all the space in between, holding all those particles we are trying to whittle down to nothing, until we find that this "no stuff" is really what gives all the stuff its Isness. To me, science is just our attempt from the human perspective to prove stuff is real and therefore believeable or worthy of our interest when in fact, all that we call real is only illusion we are whittling away. All the rest is Divine Mystery and will keep existing long after we are gone...If indeed, we ever really "go" anywhere. What about that....hummmm?Maybe our purpose is to search until we finaly "get it." Maybe that is what consciousness really is, finally getting it.Just some thoughts....

Ducky said...

I think it would look just like it does now.

Anonymous said...

I think you can no more disprove the existence of a god than you can prove it, and the world is as it is. I don't believe in a god (or rather, I don't find it a necessary belief) but I believe in Love. We are all connected and are called by that simple fact to love and honor others and our world. No experiment will change that for me.

Brandi said...

I don't know what the world would look like but frankly, I'd be devastated. And I can't wrap my brain around the idea that there isn't something out there-regardless of what it's called-some energy, some force, love, god, whatever. I just can't imagine that because I feel it.

Amy Y said...

I suspect that might be how it is now... and I think the world wouldn't look too different. I think some people might act differently but overall, it'd be much the same.

Village Farang said...

I already live in that world and my life is very, very good indeed. Smaller, more insecure types, might have difficulty dealing with not being "special". I can't imagine things would be any worse, however. People are what they are and they will find justifications other than God for the evil they do and the wars they start.

Journey Through Life said...

Fascinating post, Chani! I knew all the comments would be interesting!

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Im all for science, and using the fruits of knowlege to better the human race. But sometimes I think science for science's sake can go a little too far, and not for any spiritual or theological reason.

Do these folks know what they are screwing around with? I mean look what happened the last time they split atoms. Im betting if Oppenheimer were around today, he'd be freaking out.

womaninawindow said...

I don't think any amount of proof will convince people who want to believe in God or something spiritual. It's like this, we're a nonreligious family (albeit somewhat spiritual) and my kids attend Catholic school. It gets confusing for them sometimes. My son asked the other night about how the earth was created. My husband, who is more of a science head than me took it on. After a long winded explanation my son said in a startled voice, "Well, I thought God created the world." And then I interjected my eternal, "No one knows anything FOR SURE." There can be any level of science that is totally sound but there will always be the question of the beginning. Perhaps God is momentum only and gave that first particle a hip-check. There is always room for at least a little magic.

slouching mom said...

I agree with ducky, actually.

thailandchani said...

BE, I believe it wouldn't take long before we created something that would be larger than ourselves. Human beings seem to be wired that way with a need for some sort of deity. My fear would be that it would involve weapons, power and hierarchy. My hope would be that it would be something that reinforces our unity. Perhaps the understanding that there is nothing else, that all we really have is each other, would mean a world worth living in - with or without God.


Border Explorer said...

That was beautiful. Thank you.

Yet another wonderful post at Finding My Way Home.

Janet said...

I have no clue. Presumably it would be less messed up then it is today, but who knows?

PS: That Lennon song is my dad's favourite. We danced to it at my wedding.

thailandchani said...

Susan, that is one of the things I've always used as an argument against a chaotic universe. It is all so perfectly ordered - as is nature really.


De, that I do believe. If we didn't have a God, we'd make one up. A human centric cosmology would be an absolute disaster!


Stephanie, oof... ugh! A place deep within me agrees with you.


Flutter, I wouldn't be able to find a point at all. My whole existence is all about spirituality. Without that, there would be no purpose in being here at all.


Ruth, chaos is scary. I agree.


Jen, secular humanism (which I'm only assuming you're talking about) has always seemed so hollow to me. I know people who are atheists and secular humanists - and they're perfectly decent people - but it's just hard for me to grasp.


Savannah, thanks for the referral. I'll definitely look into it. One of the things I've learned that's most important to me in my culture of choice is animism, the idea that all things have a spirit. When I learned it, I really took to it. You know, on some visceral level. I'm a believer! :)


BE, that's a really interesting perspective - and as you say, regardless of the presence of a God, it's important to do that. Whenever and wherever we can alleviate or lessen suffering is a good basis for living.


Toys, a lot of what the machine does is a bit over my head.. but i know it has something to do with shattering particles.


Sister Kathryn, I've assumed for a long time that God was in the in-between. In the empty spaces...

That is why I took to animism the way I did. It only seems logical that divinity would be in everything. Nothing can exist without it.


Ducky, I would hope so. Cynicism gets the better of me sometimes. :)


Citizen, I agree with everything you've said. It is a cosmic consciousness. I do have a lot of trouble with the idea of a personal God. That really squicks me out.


Brandi, so do I. I feel it a lot.


Amy, it would surely be different for religiously based cultures. It wouldn't be any different for those who have built certain spiritual principles into their group dynamic. Interesting to speculate about.


thailandchani said...

VF, I can see that. You really do have a wonderful outlook on things. Even when I disagree with some of the finer points, it still just sounds so.. peaceful! You are a very grounded person!


Journey, yes.. they are interesting comments. :)


Chanda, no doubt! This really is messing around with things that shouldn't be messed with. Some knowledge is better to not have - because it serves no greater purpose. I agree with you. Science for its own sake is hollow.


Erin, exactly. There is always room for some magic. Living in a completely rational world sounds rather frightening! Your response would be a good one for the Big Bang folks. :)


Sarah, I hope you both are right.. if it ever occurs.


BE, thank you :)


Janet, less messed up? You think so? That's really interesting! I would think chaos would make for a certain type of anomie. It seems there's always some sort of religion involved in every society -even this one.. where money and the market are the highest deity.


hele said...

I think if we were to find our spirituality in every bit of living around us rather than look forward to a better future in heaven we would have lives filled the brim with wonder.

thailandchani said...

Hele, couldn't agree more! I've learned finally that everything has spirit. Everything. Just because it doesn't manifest the same as ours doesn't mean it's any less real.


Angela said...

That just doesn't make sense to me. I see too much symmetry, too many patterns, way too much beauty. I wouldn't want to imagine a world without spirit.