June 22, 2008

The riddle of the human being is he is the only animal that is both what he is and what he is yet to be

And the Weird Light Shines in the Dorks, but the Dorks Don't Comprehend it
from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
What is reality, anyway?

Our paradigmatic science, physics, reduces the world to a few beautiful equations, but the equations don't tell us how to generate a world with them. In fact, they provide no factual content whatsoever for the world we actually encounter. So which world is the "real" world? The inconceivable quantum world undescribed by physics, the ponderable world we encounter with our senses, or the eternal world known only to the illuminated intellect?

Science is obviously a wonderful tool, but when it is elevated to a metaphysic it is remarkably empty of content and meaning, especially as it pertains to the meaning of our human journey, the Adventure of Consciousness. One of the implications of Gödel's theorems is that any logical or mathematical system will generate questions that are not answerable within the system. Ironically -- or perhaps "cluelessly" is a better word -- many postmodernists use Gödel to try to prove that all knowledge is therefore relative, but this was not Gödel's point at all.

Rather, Gödel -- and Petey has discussed this with him in great detail -- thought he had proved that Plato was essentially correct -- that there are things that are patently true but which cannot be proven with logic. There is a realm of ideas and archetypes that can only be known directly with the intellect properly so-called -- i.e., the nous, buddhi, or psychic being (Aurobindo's term).

This, of course, is the entire basis of religious knowledge. Our souls prove the existence of the Divine for the simple reason that they are so adequately proportioned to the Divine nature. We were built, so to speak, to know God. If we weren't so built, then we could not know or even conceive of him (except in an illusory sense), any more than a dog can conceive of music or Ray can escape his genetic programming. Nothing can account for the beauty and wonder of the soul except something even more beautiful and wondrous...

The riddle of the human being is he is the only animal that is both what he is and what he is yet to be, not accidentally, but essentially. Only a human being can fail to become what and who he is, something proven to me every day in my work as a psychologist (and my becoming a freelance theologian has only heightened this awareness). We do not exist in the way that a star, a rock or an animal exists.

An animal is what it is. Its nature and essence are fixed. But a human who is not perpetually becoming human is not a proper human at all. In other words, only human beings exist as both being and becoming. Unlike other animals, we have within us an essence that is both present and yet unrealized, and which it is the purpose of life to actualize and fulfill: to bring it from eternity into time and then back to eternity.

One Cosmos Under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind & Spirit by Robert W. Godwin (Author) "What was that all about, then?..." (more) Key Phrases: Sri Aurobindo, Book Four, Book One (more...) See all 11 customer reviews...

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