Over breakfast and interesting conversation evolved about the state of physics and what it tells us about the meaninglessness and purposelessness of our lives, both individually and collectively.
I’ve been thinking about physics lately, well, because I’m a mad scientist, but also because my brother visited. He’s an actual, bona fide, physicist. Plus, a friend of mine mentioned an article on the Higgs Boson to me on Facebook – the supposed God Particle.
Now here’s the thing: the state of physics right now reminds me of where biology was in the early 20th century. Back before Watson and Crick and Rosalind Franklin came along and showed us that DNA was at the heart of all cells, and was the carrier of information from one generation to the next, biology was a mess.
Really. A big mess. We had people going out, collecting species from all over the world, dissecting them with extreme care under microscopes, and trying to figure out “how it all fit together.” The result was a field called taxonomy, which was all about sorting and sifting through these species and seeing how the limb of a frog looks kind of like the limb of a human, so must somehow involve something similar going on. It led to overly complex book volumes that would discuss these similarities (and differences) at length. People spent lifetimes debating them. Oh, what a waste!
Once we finally figured out that DNA was at the core of it all – in every cell – it dramatically simplified things! It’s not that biology is now simple. Genomes are incredibly complex. However, they give us a simple unifying principle for how cells grow, mature, and pass on information from one generation to the next. As a result, the advances in biology have been dramatic.
If we turn our telescope to the field of physics, which is attempting to bore down into the deepest of recesses of our universe to figure out “how it works” – it is very much like those microscope-wielding biologists in the pre-DNA days.
The field of “quantum field theory” does the same kind of sifting and sorting through the “taxonomy” of the universe that biological taxonomists did in the early to mid 1900’s. We have particle after particle being named and endlessly debated. We have massive supercolliders that are much like the microscopes that biologists used… attempting to probe ever deeper into matter.
And yet… there’s something missing. Something very big. It’s that unifying principle thing.
See, the assumption of these physicists (like my brother, whom I love very much), is that the universe is like a big machine. It is no more and no less than a machine.
What got that machine going is “outside of their scope.” How it got there is “irrelevant.”
So, they peer and dissect and postulate and theorize, all based on this “universe is a big machine” theory.
Our best and brightest are all working to “prove” that our life, and our universe, is essentially meaningless. Because if it’s just a machine, then it IS meaningless.
If it is a machine, then everything we do is just a product of gears turning away in the deep recesses of matter, and we have no control whatsoever over what happens. We are just cogs in that machine, going through the motions.
Maybe the reason that physics has failed to figure it out is that it is intentionally ignoring the unifying principle.
What if that unifying principle involves consciousness and awareness, rather than gears turning away endlessly and meaninglessly?
Harumph. Well, physics won’t go there. It can’t go there. There is a great fear among the sciences to admit anything that sounds like God might be involved. The schism goes too deep, and science has thrown the baby out with the bath water.
What if we don’t have to refer to “God” in any traditional sense to find our unifying principle? What if, instead, we refer to a simple “field of awareness” that exists, and of which we are a part? There are many ways we could use the concept of awareness or consciousness without having to refer to God. But, no. Anything that remotely hints at anything even slightly God-like is BAD. It’s got to be rejected.
Because of that penchant to reject even the slightest whiff of consciousness, to admit that it’s not all just a machine turning away its gears, we have our best and brightest, across the world, working very hard to prove that life is meaningless, to prove that our universe is a machine, and to prove that our cells are just little machines inside the big machine that we call our lives.
These folks – intentionally or unintentionally – work to deny that there could be some reason that we exist within our magnificent universe, such as being here to enjoy life, create, and grow. Any reason is “outside the scope.”
Well, what if you were crossing the desert, and you found a big machine that looked kind of like a printing press, but it wasn’t. You started to take it apart to figure out how it worked. You carefully dissected it, classified each gear, and each circuit. You drew diagrams and equations of how they all fit together. You could even put it back together if you needed to.
But you never stopped to ask yourself: why is this machine here in the desert? Who made it? What is it’s purpose?
That’s how physics is today.
The sad part is that many of us look to our best and brightest for guidance about “what does it all mean?” But they can’t give us guidance. They’ve for the most part stopped asking that question. Instead, the only thing they can tell us is “this is how the parts fit together.” As if the meaning were in the gears, equations, and circuits.
No. The meaning of any machine is in its purpose. No human would build a machine, investing time and effort, if it didn’t have some purpose. So, why is it that we think that the most complex machines we know of (human brains) are entirely purposeless? It’s fucked up.
Don’t let them tell you that it’s meaningless. They have no clue. They are not looking for meaning. They are looking for the absence of meaning.
Because meaninglessness is what they’re looking for, meaninglessness is what they find.
So, don’t let them convince you that your life is meaningless and purposeless. It is not. It is just that you have to find it yourself, since you can’t look to anyone to find it for you. They aren’t looking in the right place.