March 8, 2010

Spirit in a Box

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , at 12:33 PM by E. M.

The First Cause of the physical universe is causeless, supernatural, transcendent, and eternal.  The First Cause of the physical universe can only be described in non-physical terms…because the First Cause is non-physical.

This shouldn’t actually be all that surprising, because when contemplating the answer to “What’s the point?” (the question that started this whole thing), we intuitively know that whatever the “point” is, its outside of our physical selves.

The tough part is that we naturally tend to define how “real” and substantive something is by its physical proof.  We rely on proof that we can see smell, touch, taste, and/or hear.  But if the First Cause of the universe is non-physical (immaterial) AND greater than the material universe (the effect), then we’re going to have to become comfortable with the idea that some of the things we consider immaterial may actually be more “real” than what we can experience with our physical senses. (Don’t worry; when we get to my April 19th blog post, that sentence will make complete sense.  Probably).

What kinds of things are immaterial, transcendent, and time-less, yet are substantive enough to have a dramatic effect on the physical/material world?

In a broad sense, I’d have to say that the answer is “information”.  Let’s use something in close proximity to demonstrate what I mean – your computer system.  The system in front of you works because of functioning hardware and software.  Hardware is, of course, the physical/material parts of the system – the monitor, the CPU, mouse, keyboard, etc.  But all that hardware is nothing more than expensive paperweights without software.  Software is the information and rules that tell the hardware what to do and how to do it.  Software has a dramatic affect on the physical.  This information makes the physical “work”.

Software is information.  But even the most powerful software is immaterial.  If you take a blank disk or other storage device, weigh it, then load it up with all the software that it can hold, and weigh it again, you will find that it weighs exactly the same as before.

Information is weightless.  It has no mass.  If information has no mass, then it transcends the physical world.  Information is also time-less because according to Einstein, time can only affect objects with mass. (Remember, whenever someone wants to show how smart they are, they always reference Einstein).

“Information” is as broad a concept as “the universe”.  In fact, like the universe, information is an “effect”.  So to get a better understanding of it, we should use the ladder of causality that we used on the physical universe.  We need to find the “causeless” cause of information.

Information is an effect of knowledge.  Knowledge is an effect of intelligence.  Intelligence is an effect of the ability to understand.  Understanding is an effect of thinking.  Thinking is an effect of interpreting stimuli.  The ability to interpret stimuli is governed by qualitative (subjective) and quantitative (objective) principles (values) that we apply to the stimuli.

The interesting thing is that since humans are thinking beings (for the most part), we conform to the computer systems example above.  The most valuable part of the computer – the most “real” part if you will, is the software, not the hardware. The “real” part of the computer system (software) is immaterial and transcendent.

And so is the real “you”.

What makes you, you is not “hardware”; not the physical body you occupy that is slowly wearing down, losing elasticity, gaining liver spots and losing hair.  The real you; the things that make you special and unique  – your personality, your intellect, your understanding, your memories, your experiences, your knowledge, your talent, your will…all your information – the real you is “software”.  Your software makes your physical body function and tells it what to do.  Your physical actions are just an effect of your will.

If the real you is software, then the real you has no mass.  The real you is immaterial and transcendent.   The real you is eternal.  There is a term for this.  Its called “spirit”.  The real you is spirit.  The first cause or your spirit are principles (we’ll address this more at the end of April).

The First Cause of existence is also spirit.  The First Cause of existence is “principles”.  But unlike the first cause of your spirit, the First Cause of existence must consist of causeless principles; principles that require no precedent cause.  Are there causeless principles?  And if so, what are they?

More answers in one week

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March 1, 2010

Where and When

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , at 1:18 PM by E. M.

So here’s where we are – we know that existence exists, and we know that one of the cardinal rules of existence is causality.  We also know through the rules of causality that the finite universe in which we live had to have a First Cause (a cause without a preceding event).  And we know that the First Cause has to be supernatural since there is no natural way to have energy and matter come into existence out of nothing.  What else can causality tell us about the First Cause?

Under the rules of causality, not only must the cause be greater than the effect, but it must also be independent to, or “outside of” the effect.  So the First Cause of the physical universe has to be outside of the universe (the technical term for this is to say that the First Cause is “transcendent”; it transcends the physical universe).

The universe consists of time, space, matter, and energy.  We dealt with matter and energy in the last post, now we need to address time and space. Space is locality.  Space defines “where”.

Ok, so where exactly is “outside the universe”?  Well that’s actually not a valid question because “where” implies that the First Cause occupies some specific location or space…and “space” is a part of the physical universe that the First Cause must be outside of  (if you just said “huh?” you’re probably not alone).

Our perceptions and senses are rooted in the physical universe so it’s tough to wrap our minds around the idea of something that exists without being in a “where”.  We can only conceive of transcendence conceptually.

But wait, it gets worse.

“Time” is also a part of the physical universe, so the First Cause has to also be outside of time.  Time is how we perceive and measure events sequentially (first one thing happens, then another, then another, etc.). We perceive time in a linear way – everything has a beginning, middle, and end.  Think of the time-lines your school teachers would draw on the chalk board during your history lessons (I apologize for any trauma these memories may cause you).  Time defines “when”.

But since the First Cause is outside of time, it does not have a “when”.  From our perspective, it has always been.  It never “wasn’t” and it will never “not be”. It has no beginning, middle, or end.  It simply…is.

The First Cause is eternal.  The “where and when” that the First Cause occupies is referred to as “Eternity”.  Again, this is something that we can only conceptualize. We have no ability to perceive it with our senses.  We can only conceive of eternity in the abstract (or as a cologne I wore in high school that did not make me nearly as popular as I had hoped.  Although it was a significant step up from Old Spice)

So far I have been examining the First Cause as it relates to the physical universe, but all the terms I’ve used to describe it (causeless, eternal, transcendent, supernatural, etc.) are all non-physical.  What if its because the First Cause is non-physical (immaterial)?  If the First Cause of existence is immaterial, what are the implications?  More next week.

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