Rejection of Christianity and early thoughts about Soupism
Sunday, April 24, 2011 1:36 PM
My earliest thoughts about Soupism, although I didn’t call it that, go back to the death in 1974 of someone important to me. In coming to terms with this death in a way that made sense to me, I was forced to admit my departure from former Christian beliefs. I simply could not make sense out of the christian image of this person continuing to exist as a soul floating around in heaven or hell. However, the thought of her living on through the people she influenced did make sense to me. The thought of the balance of good and bad in your life as a “heaven” and “hell” analogy also made sense. And the thought of her physical body becoming a part of new plants and animals not only made sense, but is a well-understood process. I began to imagine the possibility of an energy dimension, a Karma-like energy “level” or “field” that binds all things, living and not. So, therefore, the need for believing in anything outside these connections, whether clearly observable or unexplainable, diminished.
The idea of these interconnections between living and nonliving things in our world and the universe continues to be confirmed within the context of the interchangeability of energy and matter, something a scientist named Einstein had a pretty good handle of. This is the soup, which is greater than the sum of its parts.
As Bernard Mayes states on the home page (Welcome) of this website:
“There are no gods, no magic, no final judgement and no grand plan.
Everything from planets to humans is composed of tiny particles, energy, and nothing else.
All the particles are always moving and endlessly interacting with each other as in a soup”.
The idea of a soul strikes me as an egocentric invention to combat fears of death. It is completely illogical, and to me an aesthetically less satisfying or beautiful image than the more logical process of dissipating completely upon death to be taken up as either matter or energy by other components of the universe.
How egotistic is it to think that we float around eternally as our personal, individual identities rewarded in an idyllic heaven or suffering in a hell (or to wait our turn to return to another body, as some religions believe)?
However, there is the possibility that this intangible force, or energy, which dissipates upon death, could carry interpretable images, thoughts, or memories, thus providing a logical mechanism for paranormal phenomena such as telepathy and past life memories.
I say that there are energies that we don’t understand yet; those that explain such things as telepathy, clairvoyance, “past life” memories, genetic memories. As ideas and thoughts can now be explained as electrical interactions of neurons, these things all will someday be explained in material terms.
These phenomena are within the realm of physics, and do not invoke religion, or Faith. We do not have to invoke a god or magic to admit that there are physical phenomena that we do not yet understand.
Why can’t we simply acknowledge that there are things that we don’t know? It is simply that there are events that we cannot explain because the mechanisms are not yet known.
How do we know that ANYTHING exists? Perception, the physical act of sensory input through physiological organs of reception like eyes, ears, etc. and the transmission of that reception to the brain, is indistinguishable from Interpretation, the brains processing of perception in the context of our past experiences. We see an apple, and only because we’ve seen one before, our brain tells us it is an apple. What if our brain told us that a banana was an apple?
We would not have any way to know that it wasn’t. So, we are at the mercy of the interpretive network of neurons in the brain.
Our brains constantly tell us something exists when it does not. It fills in the “blind spot” like a photoshop computer program, by taking clues from it’s surroundings and guessing what the blank area is likely to be. Too bad if there is a tractor-trailer truck there instead of that background landscape.
Physics and Mysticism
Response to the criticisms of “The Tao of Physics” by Fritjof Capra
There is no distinction between Physics and Mysticism. Rather, the only distinction is simply a matter of what we understand. We currently have ways of measuring and studying the former. It is possible that mystical phenomena lie entirely within the realm of physics and, as people once thought the sun was drawn across the sky by a god driven chariot, we continue to invent mythologies and attribute “magic” to that which we cannot YET explain.
Thoughts about the manifesto section on origins (and also relevant a bit to the above):
As an analogy, consider the acorn. Without our understanding of how a tiny seed can grow into massive trees, it is nothing short of magic. This, to me, relates to the belief that there must be a beginning and that the cosmos* must have been created by some force outside of the creation itself.
We all know that tiny seeds grow into massive trees, but imagine not having the experience and knowledge of that process. It would be impossible to believe that an acorn becomes an oak tree. It is only because we have discovered and learned the processes (very soupist, by the way) involved that we accept it as rather ordinary and not magical. It is only the knowledge that makes the difference. Likewise the origin of the universe. The vast distance of time and space involved makes it difficult to determine the history and development of our universe, but that doesn’t mean it had to occur by a god saying “abra cadabra, let there be a universe”. It simply means the process is currently unknown, as once was the process by which a seed becomes a massive plant.
So, you ask, keeping the metaphor in tact, “Where does the Acorn come from?”
One of the main points of Bernard’s “Manifesto” is that there was no beginning and there will be no end. The point of dense matter, which we believe exploded into our universe, is a description of the earliest known (or theorized) form of the matter and energy which existed before, and will exist after our known universe is long gone. So the answer within this metaphor is that the acorn was always there in some form. Taking the question out of the metaphor, however, the answer is, of course, evolution.
Second analogy, “The Radio”, regarding the possibility for an ordinary and understandable explanation for paranormal or metaphysical phenomena.
We understand our ears as receptors for sound input, and our eyes as receptors for light (vision). Some of us (although not me, really) understand a radio also as a receptor for sound.
There are anecdotal stories about people who claim to pick up radio signals. Why is it unreasonable to think that we may have receptors for telepathy, or interpretive mechanisms for “genetic or instinctive” memory? I think, as with the acorn analogy, it is entirely possible that such things are not “extra sensory perception”, “metaphysical”, or “paranormal” at all. They may be entirely sensory, and as unmysterious as vision, hearing, and radio (which remains quite mysterious to me). Again, it is the knowledge of the process that makes the difference between the mundane and the magic.
*A useful definition from wikipedia:
“The philosopher Ken Wilber uses the term kosmos to refer to all of manifest existence, including various realms of consciousness. The term kosmos so used distinguishes a non dual universe (which, on his view, includes both noetic and physical aspects) from the strictly physical universe that is the concern of the traditional sciences. In physical cosmology, it is often used in a technical way, referring to a space-time continuum.”