Monday, December 07, 2020

The Structure of Reality

A friend asked me, "Do you wonder why we are here?"
I experience a sensation of awareness of structure in the universe. Part of the structure appears to be sentience at deeper levels of reality than the every day. The experience includes a sense that physical reality is part of a plan which we both helped design and which preordains our actions and experiences. The experience informs my sense that reality is a manifestion of a protrusion of energy from deeper levels of reality. It may be correct to call this energy light, or love. My sense is that when we have moments of awareness of these matters, we experience beauty. The experience includes a sense of absolute truth; it seems to explain everything and not subject to argument. I believe that similar experiences informed the foundations of most of the world's major religions and much of modern physics.
However, this experience, when it feels most profound, also includes a sensation that the plan and deeper levels of reality are so far removed from normal reality as to be almost irrelevant. There is no way you, I, or anyone else, can make use of knowledge of the experience in normal physical reality. Great prophets, like Jesus, may have been able to use the knowledge directly.
When I try to engage my rational faculties to try to determine whether this experience actually corresponds to reality, I am struck by a several thoughts:
The experience's sense of complete explanation tells me that our brains have evolved to be able to detect beauty and the structure of reality of which it is an echo.
The sense of the numinous is merely an effect of brain chemistry and is a construct of our minds, like green, or hot, or emotions. It does not necessarily correspond to any feature of physical reality.
The vast scale and age of the universe, from the Planck length, the smallest meaningful distance, to the tendrils we see in the arrangement of superclusters of galaxies, the behavior of which is described so accurately by the standard model of physics that it seems completely absurd to posit any divine being that cares about a species of primates that has existed for less than a tiny faction of the age of the planet, much less the universe.
So, to answer your question, I do happen to believe there is a plan behind reality. But, I refuse to use my belief as a basis as any argument about how we should organize our society and interact with each other.
I do believe in Love. And Beauty. And Truth. And Good.