I think one of the basic problems with both science and religion, as well as how they relate, has to do with our basic concept of time. We think of time as the present moving from past to future, but the physical process is the reverse. The present is the constant and it is the changing configuration of what exists which turns future potential into past circumstance. The earth doesn't ravel the fourth dimension from yesterday to tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth rotates. Time is an emergent effect of motion, not the underlaying basis for it. Since linear cause and effect is the basis of our rational thought process, this simple explanation can be difficult to intellectually process. Especially in light of the fact that so much of the conceptual basis of modern life is built on the past to future vector. All our religious, national, familial and personal senses of identity are largely based on some form of individual and group narrative. Our very minds are the record of events receding into the past, as circumstances constantly produce new ones.
The reality though, is that any particular thread can be braided into some larger narrative, much as a rope is made of many strands, or it is woven into a non-linear tapestry. While it is practically necessary for societies to have commons purposes and means in order to function as a larger whole, the larger reality is that every action exists in some larger equilibrium, so there needs to be the recognition of that greater balance, for society to maintain a stable relationship with its situation and environment.
Much as we still see the sun moving across the sky, from east to west, but know it is actually the earth rotating west to east, we would still experience time as moving from past to future, but know it is those events coalescing out of possibilities and then replaced by the next. As we think of past as cause and future as effect, think is due to events being viewed in retrospect. Prior to the occurrence, the causes of any event are still in the future and once it has occurred, the result is past, so future potential is cause and past circumstance is effect.One of the problems raised by time as moving from past to future is the issue of free will. If we exist at this dimensionless point of the present and cannot change the past, or affect the future, what input do we have? On the other hand, if time emerges from motion, our actions are part of that activity, which then becomes those events we recall. Just as outside influences affect us, we affect the rest of our situation.
I've mostly discussed this idea on physics forums and while it is not a particularly popular idea, it does raise interesting debate. If time is an effect of motion, there can be no dimensionless point in time, as that would freeze the very motion which creates reality. It would be like trying to take a picture with the shutter speed set at zero. Reality would effectively vanish. Like a temperature of absolute zero, there would be no motion and no connectivity. For physics, this means a particle cannot be isolated from its motion, whether micro or macroscopic. While this is a generally accepted principle in physics, the logic to reach that conclusion is far more complicated. Also, since reality emerges from the collapsing probabilities, there is no multi-worlds emerging with every quantum superposition.
As for religion, this idea does have some rather profound consequences. As there is only the present, the process of creation requires the replacement of what came before. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. The spirit sheds old generations like dead skin, in order to move onto new generations. So the reality of time and life is that the thread is constantly being drawn from that which came before. The spirit doesn't have to go to a different reality, as it's constantly renewing this one.
The conventional monotheistic view is that the spiritual absolute is an ideal from which we fell, but the universal state of the absolute is basis, not apex, so the spiritual absolute would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell. Good and bad are not a metaphysical dual between the forces of light and dark, but the basic biological binary code. Left/right, good/bad, personal/public, birth/death, light/darkness. As biological organisms, we may be attracted to one and repelled by the other, but as thinking beings, we need to see beyond our own immediate circumstances. What is good for the fox is bad for the chicken, yet there is no clear line where the chicken ends and the fox begins. It's all one cycle of creation and consumption.
The fact is that polytheistic religions were elementary abstraction. Those ancient Gods were what we would call memes today. Basic concepts common to society and given anthropomorphic identities. Then the underlaying unity became one larger and final deity. This proved to be a very powerful social concept, as it broke down cultural barriers to create ever larger social organisms. The problem is that it provides no balance. There is no female goddess to mitigate the one explicitly male God. Which served to solidify patriarchal societies and monolithic political structures. It should be noted though, that it was the polytheists who first developed democracy.
We need to reincorporate more of that spiritual tapestry into our views on life and not try braiding all into the one thread. It will provide a far more sustainable culture.
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