I would like to give a positive view of the transcendent nature of the universe and our position within it.
In the previous "Evolution IS Intelligent Design" and "Holy War against Science" postings I have defended evolution as the natural process by which sentient existence emerges and highlighted the tragic fallacies of the traditional view of God creating fixed life forms as a projection of human fantasies based on our own industrial technology, but this leaves us in a position of wondering what it is all about, what the universe is for, why we are conscious and what the meaning is in our mortal journey.
The answer to this is that the actual nature of existential cosmology is both profoundly more exciting and challenging than either a raw pessimistic materialistic account of blind forces and terrifying energies, or a God-created clockwork Eden doomed never to flower to new heights of its own would suggest, and it also places us in a much more personally responsible position, closer to the center of the cyclone as agents of this process. It is this emergent aspect of nature and consciousness which is the portal to the transcendent nature of the universe and its greatest challenge is that it is an ongoing process.
Perhaps we can make excuses for ourselves, in our phase of cultural emergence for bowing down before stones and worshiping jealous Gods of written commandments, as would small children in early childhood, depending on a father or mother figure to give us a sense of security and meaning, but now we are coming of age and beginning to witness the universe as it actually is, we need to come to terms of acceptance of what nature is and how it actually relates to our conscious existence.
Armenian Tree of Life Jerusalem
Here are a few pointers to this situation, which I will expand on in future blogs:
1. Life is Cosmological: The diversity of life, and with it sentient consciousness of 'brainy' organisms is an evolving consequence of cosmology. The complex chemical systems which spawned life and which gain increasing complexity and consciousness evolving over vast time scales, of the same order of magnitude as the universe itself, are not just blind accidents, but the interactive result of the symmetry-broken cosmic 'mandala' of the four forces of nature - gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces - in full and complete interaction as molecular matter in tissues irradiated photosynthetically on a planetary surface. The biota are the completest expression of the four forces interacting hierarchically and the brain is the most complex integrated condition of these processes.
2. Transcendence emerges from the Biota: The one place where we know sentient complexity and consciousness exists in the universe is in the biota, not in the skies, nor in the winds and storms nor in the heavens which are just the vacuum of outer space, nor the centers of stars, nor black holes or dark matter, all of which present only some of the fundamental forces of nature interacting in simpler forms. We thus cannot look for God in the heavens , which, along with angels and houris, are a projection of the mental realm of subjective consciousness, rather than actual physical reality. We thus need to learn to take full and complete personal responsibility for our existential condition and our actions, and their impacts on the planetary future, to ensure nature is sustained and the passage of the generations can fulfill their conscious destiny.
3. Transcendence and Sexuality: Sexuality is central to the way the cosmology of the universe works, as a symmetry-broken complementarity, from mind and body, through wave and particle, boson and fermion to female and male, both as sperm and ovum and as organismic woman and man. This extends to the strategic complementation of defection and cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma and is expressed in the Tantric origin in the complementation of subjective consciousness and the myriad phenomena of the physical universe. Sexuality is also central in our mortality, because it makes us all different and unique and is pivotal in enabling the capacity of complex life to exist and evolve, through the endless varieties of sexual recombination. Sex is the most altruistic invention of nature because it commits us to transmit only half our genetic heritage shared with the partner rather than reproducing ourselves parthenogenetically. Even animals which are capable of parthenogenesis still need sexuality to adapt to changing conditions. The result is organismic mortality, but evolving species immortality. Without sex, complex life could never have evolved, so we owe it our very existence.
4. Transcendence vs Moral Imperative: Because we know that the diversity of life and evolution depend on openly exploring available niches, from plant to animal, from herbivore to carnivore , parasite and disease, we cannot assume any cosmic conditions which violate this freedom of expression to the fullest. In particular, however much it is convenient for large societies to depend on moral forces for their internal cohesion and hence external dominance, the notion of a moral deity, or morality-based religion is a corruption of the natural order, except in so far as morality is itself an expression of social evolution to produce fair and compassionate, caring societies.
5. Transcendence is Open-Ended: The purpose of conscious life is itself an open-ended exploratory process, not limited by moral imperatives, the universe discovering itself, which our time in the mortal coil is here to play an integral part in, by ensuring we discover the nature of conscious existence as fully and deeply as possible, and strive to ensure the world is left a better more sustainable 'paradise' for future generations to continue to ponder and discover the nature of existence. We are already at a point that we can learn a great deal about the depths of conscious experience, cosmic consciousness if you like, but future generations will discover more and we owe it to them and to the entire web of life, to preserve the planet and life beyond if we move beyond the planet, so that the universe can fully discover what it is, and we who we are, during the paradisiacal phase of our becoming during the vast epochs of life on the cosmic 'equator' of the universe in space-time. There is no one-track apocalypse in the existential cosmos.
6. The Quantum Universe and 'Free Will': The quantum wave-particle complementarity of the universe also leaves it open to complex forms of entanglement, in which future and past states are coupled in a way which provides a loop hole for the conscious experience of 'free will' to become manifest in physical action. Our brains' dynamics are attuned to this entanglement in their sensitively chaotic parallel distributed processing representations of the world around us, giving rise also to an internal reality of dreams, memories, reflections, contemplations and psychtropic vigils. Consciousness and the physical universe are thus complements in the existential Tao.
7. Eternal and Immortal Relativity: Although our mortal existence is transient, in the envelope of relativistic space-time, all sentient beings form an integral part of the eternal matrix of conscious existence and even though we pass on, by giving to the diversity of conscious life during our incarnation we take our place among the immortal generations.