The Ecology of Existence


From the evidence of physics, mathematics and psychology, among other disciplines, we have a strong case against the possibility of isolated or absolute existence.  Certainly, everywhere in the world of objects and abstractions, we witness the interdependence of systems within systems.  

There is no warrant to suppose that a space-time manifold could exist independent of the possibility of measurement.  Nor is there any warrant for the existence of a quantum system without similar possibilities.  This puts a substantial, but indefinable, lower limit on the minimum complexity of any self-existing system. 

It also remarkable that the lawfulness of all of physics is very close to being captured in a single coherent and overarching set of mathematical principles.  This is the much sought after Grand Unified Theory, or Theory of Everything.   Any arbitrary truncation of this set would appear radically incomplete or even incoherent.   

Finally with physics we also confront the Anthropic Principle, according to which life is by no means an arbitrary appendage to an otherwise lifeless world.  The necessary conditions for the existence of complex life forms put severe constraints on every aspect of the laws and boundary conditions of physics. 

In the case of mathematics, we cannot pick or choose what numbers or structures might exist.  It is an all or nothing proposition.  Mathematics has its own internal logic of consistency and all that we can do is continue to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of it.  The more we learn, the more remarkable are the subtle, surprising and convoluted interconnections of what we had once thought were quite separate and distinct branches of mathematics.  

In linguistics there is no hierarchy in the completeness of languages.  The base structure of any language is readily amenable to the expression of the most abstract ideas of any other language, as can be readily observed in the world.  Within each language there is a holistic system of meaning.  We cannot understand the meaning of one word without, potentially at least, understanding the meaning of every other word.  The fact that this principle of holism causes severe problems for any mechanistic account of language skill is well understood.  

The history of science is a steady progression in our appreciation of the complexity and interdependence of all existence.  No upper limits for interdependency are foreseeable.  

It has often been noted that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is its relative degree of comprehensibility, even at this stage of our ignorance.  There is obviously a kind of holographic principle underlying broad swaths of our reality.  To understand and appreciate the flower in the crannied wall, we have to comprehend even the starry heavens.  Every part of the holographic world serves as a microcosmic window on the whole.  

It is against this amazing background of even the most 'ordinary' aspects of our world that one can begin to appreciate the meaning and context of rational theism.  Creation is not a cacophony.  Its principle of organization is equally eluding and alluring.  We are given no choice but to persevere.

Given the apparent holographic, relational, bootstrapped nature of all existence, it would be incomprehensible that any part of creation or existence could be isolated from the creator, unless there were a rationale for maintaining a relatively superficial appearance of such, and this may be the case in our world as discussed above.   

Furthermore, under these same very general conditions for existence, any spontaneous creative process could be co-opted by God at an early stage of development.  In fact, it would probably be impossible for any such event to simply be ignored.  Existence and creation cannot be fragmented.   Any metaphysical system which neglects these most basic logical imperatives of existence is simply not conforming to the exigencies of reality.  

It is its departure from these norms that has led science into many very distorted frames of reference. 


<--  Prev.      Next  -->