I think the most challenging thing about being a human being is having to deal with the very real paradoxes of life. A prime example is that, In order to experience the pleasures of life, like enjoying the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, soaring with the melody of a beautiful symphony, or loving someone who loves you in return, it appears that we must experience the pain of birth, the agony of various illnesses, and a sad decline into the oblivion of death. To be human is to be open to a paradoxical experiences. But, as one of my favorite scientists of the last century, Danish quantum physicist Niels Bohr, said:
"How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress!"
To put a finer point on the paradox of being human, think of the pleasure of enjoying the best meal you’ve ever eaten in juxtaposition with the most horribly miserable physical circumstances you’ve ever endured. Imagine the experience of the ultimate physical, mental, and spiritual satisfaction of complete union with that Special Someone you love, and the possibility of being slowly tortured and killed by a psychopathic murderer. Such are the extremes that you might experience as a human being. Obviously, we seek to experience the joys of life and avoid the potential horrors as much as we can, but it seems the ultimate paradox, that to experience the joys of life, we must also experience some of their opposites. So the question is: How can we use these paradoxes of being human to make some progress?
Niels Bohr also said: “There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.”
What? Some examples might help. Here’s a trivial truth: An electron has an electric charge. The opposite is plainly false. If something has no charge, it cannot be an electron. Why? Because of the way we have defined that thing we call an electron. We don’t actually know what an electron is, but we know a few things about what it does: It apparently exists as some THING moving around both inside and outside of atomic structures, and it has an electric charge. We have called that thing with an electric charge acting in that peculiar way “an electron”. So the statement “An electron has no electric charge” is plainly false – simply because we said so! Therefore it is a trivial truth. On the other hand, If “God exists” is a great truth, then the opposite statement “God does not exist” may also be true. Now here’s a real paradox! How can both be true?!! But if they are, then perhaps we have hope of making some progress in our quest to understand what life is about.
The theologian says “Yes, God created man.” And the atheist says “No, man created god.” (The word “man”, used in this sense obviously means all of humanity, not just those of the male gender.) Can both be making a true statement? Yes, they can, and here’s why: Both statements are dependent upon our experience of what we call space-time, and thanks to the findings of relativity, quantum physics and TDVP, we know that space and time are not what we think they are.
Albert Einstein showed us that space and time have no existence of their own, they are simply the geometric extensions of the fields of the universal distributions of mass and energy.
Einstein once wrote:
“People like us who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion!”
I agree, and TDVP shows us that the arrow of time exists only as a convenience of human thought. In my opinion, based on my research, whether it is true that God created man, or that man created God, depends entirely upon where you happen to be in the illusion of the experience of your self-created time-line in three-dimensional time.
As human beings, it is only possible for us to say that something is true or false, if it is related to something that we have actually experienced. Niels Bohr again:
"Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience."
And one of my favorite modern philosophers, Austrian-born Ludwig Wittgenstein, said:
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."
If you have not experienced something, you cannot attest to the truth of its existence, and if you have experienced something, then you can only speak of it in terms of analogies and allegories when trying to describe it to someone who has not experienced it. Have you experienced God? I think it is pretty obvious from the flaws we have, that “man” is a work in progress, and whether you think God is creating us in his image, or we are creating God in the image of what we imagine God might be, may depend entirely upon where you are in your spiritual journey.
From the atemporal point of view of the holistic spiritual understanding of Reality suggested by TDVP, to be human is to be a spiritual being whose consciousness is infinitely continuous, but who sadly, is temporarily confined to a semi-autonomous body whose world is finite and extremely limited compared to the entirety of Reality. In other words, to be human is to be a living paradox. But that paradox provides us with the opportunity to progress. The Spiritual Masters of all time have told us that the only way to resolve this paradox is to transcend the confinement of our physical bodies, and awaken from the illusions of space, time, and matter that come along with being confined to an imperfect body, and experience pure consciousness. Slowly and reluctantly, science is beginning to agree!
ERC – July 10, 2021