Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Clawman, the Cosmos, the Concepts...

Our dear Elliot, normally great fun to read and gifted with a knack for putting words together, and who I'd love to be his generation's John Clute, frankly, had an especially fine post this past week that I insist you read.

Here's is a taste:

The other day my history of science prof was talking about ultraviolet and X-rays and gamma rays, and said that this discovery, that something could be very real and very present, and yet invisible and unfelt, provoked an unsettled mood among scientists. It didn't fit with their usual ways of thinking about things. Earlier, even the attractive force of gravity had seemed unscientific, because it was too much like an occult force. But these days cosmologists and theoretical physicists sound like mystics when they discuss their theories. This is not to say that they are mystics, or should be. But the the natural world has proven to be weirder and more wonderful than we could have imagined - less intuitive, and yet more ordered and elegant.

Perhaps, then, we as modern people can approach seemingly bizarre and illogical theological concepts with a humble attitude. Maybe they're primitive rubbish constructed in outmoded philosophical languages, as Raymo would have it. But maybe, just maybe, they're humanity's stumbling (and sometimes wrong-headed) attempts to express Something very real, a revelation of the Infinite trying to make itself known in the finite. The mind-stretching, self-expanding effort needed to learn about about brain-states and galactic calcium and quantum indeterminacy could perhaps open us up to a stumbling appreciation of what the doctrine of the Trinity might signify, or what Dante means when he writes:

I saw within Its depth how It conceives all things in a single volume bound by Love, of which the universe is the scattered leaves.

No comments: