Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Reality, Knowledge, Their Application, and Anger (Part I)

Image a large circle drawn on a piece of paper.  This circle and the space that it encloses is “Reality”.  Everything that we see or touch or hear is within this circle.  Everything that we have not experienced, but which actually exists, is also within the boundaries of this circle.  Outside the circle everything is imagination only, no true existence.  If God, angels, demons, unicorns, aliens, etc., actually exist, they are within the circle; if they do not exist, they lie beyond it. 

Now imagine tiny dots randomly spaced within that circle.  Those dots represent areas where we had gained some knowledge of our universe, our reality, the reality, when we first began to become aware of our surroundings.  A large portion of the circle is open and without dots, an indication of our level of ignorance at that time.  We knew nothing of what lurked in these areas, the places where people said “There be dragons there”. They were wrong, of course, and jumped to conclusions by making assumptions rather than being content to say “I don’t know what is there”.  Over time, these dots grew into circles of varying sizes as we gained more and more knowledge of the universe and how it works.  There are still large gaps, but much less than before; the size of the actual unknown grows smaller day by day as we discover its secrets.  There are fewer places for the “dragons” to hide.

People still try to speculate on what is in the “white space” of the circle, those areas of reality as yet unknown to us.  Perhaps we will eventually fill the circle as we discover all there is to know in the universe, but more likely, we will find that the rate of expansion of our knowledge will not keep pace with the simultaneous discovery of just how big the circle actually is.  The circle represents every planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, multi-verse, dimension, physical law, etc. that actually exists.  The circle isn’t actually getting any larger, and we are making progress to fill in the gaps, but our understanding of its true dimensions continually improves and artificially inflates our perception of the circle.  We have been working with false boundaries. 

Some like to speculate about a reality beyond reality as a method of embracing the supernatural, a place where God exists.  It is a fallacy.  There is only one reality – all that is, or was, or will be – and everything within in it is natural.  There is no evidence for anything else.  Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  If reality is simply what is real, what exists, how can there be more than one?  They would both just be parts of the whole true reality.  And where would “beyond reality” be?  It would lie outside the circle, a fantasy.  There is only one reality no matter how distorted and different it may appear to different observers based on their health, emotional state, or personal biases.  Claims of another reality where supernatural beings, gods, exist are hollow.

To be supernatural is to be beyond natural – not natural, but the only things that are not natural in the universe are those things that are man-made.  The supernatural is merely an invention of man.  Gods, if they exist, must be natural and must therefore be subject to natural laws and are capable of being detected, examined, and quantified like anything else.  If Gods are natural though, there does not appear to be a way that they could be omnipotent, or omniscient, or omnipresent.  So are they still gods or do “gods” only “exist” outside the circle? 

But maybe we are approaching this from the wrong angle, from a limited perspective.  Perhaps there is a way of knowing that is “different” from what we normally experience.  Where does this knowledge come from and how do we obtain it...

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