A liitle preface. I woke to a windy, cool, snowy morning and a smiling little child. After spending some profound moments looking into they eyes of our baby boy, I began to think about BEING.
Not the why or how, but the ACT.
After a while the little guy dozed off, and I put him in his crib, and decided to watch my wife sleep for a while. What a beautiful site!
To see this other half of me, this friend, ally, and soul mate as she rested. It had been far too long. Again, after a while I left the room. I did not want to wake her or my boy.
So, I went downstairs to find my adult son playing with our dogs and laughing. Our dogs are Goldens, and it very easy to tell when they are happy. They literally smile. All three of them were in a state of absolute happiness.
I felt almost as if I were intruding, until my son set the wild beasties at me and I found myself in that happy fray (and immediately coated in shed fur). After a while my son met my eyes and said: I love you dad. The dogs also instantly calmed and began to snuggle.
The cumulative effects of these 'normal' events was that I have not felt SO alive since I watched the birth of my son. So at HOME.
Well, life always has a way of getting you 'back on track'. My son had to go to work and the dogs to go out and .... er do their business.
So, I found myself online wandering the blogosphere, coffee at my side.
Soon I was reading up, as I often do, on a blogger-buddy's page EGNORANCE (big recommend).
Dr Egnor, the author, had posted a very interesting piece on Aquinas (he is big proponent of Thomistic and Aristotlian thought) and his 'Second way'.
A fascinating piece, and nice explanation of a very complex metaphysical concept.
Then I found myself in the comments section.
Comments.... those dreaded and yet loved blurbs from readers that almost ALWAYS end in argument and acrimony.
Well in these comments there was a typical argument being formulated. It was, in short, an attempt by an intelligent, well educated, and affluent fellow to compare metaphysical reality with empiricism.
An attempt to compare BEING with accrued knowledge, in this case scientific knowledge.
This fellow had compared scientific theory with religious faith.
Talk about apples and oranges?
I am not sure what his motive is, except to perhaps prove some sort of supremacy of science or an incomparability between the two. But like all arguments based on category errors and fallacies, he had no ammunition for the intellectual gun. Despite his well versed points, the argument was hollow.
(If you wish to read the original comments, please feel free to at the above link.)
This is where my morning came back to me, as well as some insights from a recent conversation with a Buddhist colleague of mine.
I had to interject. Everyone is entitled to MY opinion, and so I gave it.
Below is the excerpt that is relevant here:
"[to bachfiend, a commenter and another blogger-buddy]
Pépé's [a friend and ally in this 'debate'] certainty is not based on empirical deduction of material properties, yours is.
Pépé's EXISTENCE is the basis of his certainty. He has come to metaphysical terms with BEING.
It is foundational. He believes in God, I suspect, (as do I) in just the same way we all believe in mental abstracts like mathematics or language ITSELF.
In the same way you have faith in the laws of physics and your own reality, the Theist or Deist believes in a God and/or the super (above outside of normal) nature.
You muddle with an individual equation, while we accept the WHOLE discipline, and subject it to various interpretations. Quantum theory and MV [multi-verse] etc do NOTHING to repel those ideas.
In fact, they would REINFORCE the metaphysics if proven via scientific methods. The beautifully simple fact is: They are not NEEDED, nothing is; Unless there is PURPOSE and FUNCTION.
Infinite or finite, no difference."
What on earth I am on about?
I am saying the mere act of being, recognized, gives us purpose.
That purpose leads us to realize there is more to this life than we can possibly imagine. It leads us to realize there is much more than physical function to us and all the life around us. More than that it gives meaning to the NON living aspects of our reality; even death becomes a functional process.
Where that path may take us is a myriad of destinations and even more conclusions.
There are many forms of 'reason' that may be applied, and they are known to us as 'metaphysics' and 'philosophy'. Some of these systems are organized into large groups of 'believers' or the 'faithful', and the rituals, ceremonies, and systems of thought and behaviour we know as 'religion'.
How does 'science' come in? It doesn't. That's the point.
Science is a means to understand HOW the tangible things we sense about us function. It PRESUPPOSES a function, it maps patterns, and seeks useful ways in which we can match purpose with nature; which, of course, brings us full circle.
They should be hand in glove - not at odds.
And that is a very good analogy, for what good is a glove if their is no hand for it to keep protected and/or warm? What good is science without a PURPOSE?
Does this mean I am saying you should all rush out and convert to my specific denomination lest ye burn in brimstone??
It means we all need to BE, before we can truly understand how being works.
It means that even if you're uninterested or lazy to learn about the roots of reason, you CANNOT deny it. To do so is not a proof for no function, lack of purpose, or nihilism. Rather, it is proof of a lack of self understanding and a failure of the (in this case rich) imagination.
It is easily corrected by looking to our collective history and by reflecting on the single most potent immaterial force in all of life: LOVE.
I know...I know.... my foes in this debate will say "sheer sophistry!"
What would I say to them?
Look into they eyes of your child and see if you can deny their function, purpose, and meaning. Even if you find it easy to 'write off' yourself, love may just open your eyes to a MUCH bigger, richer, and meaningful cosmos. Watch a bear hug its cubs, watch a bird in flight.....
There is too much love and beauty, evil and ugliness to deny the truth and purpose of our very BEING.
Some things just don't fit in a test tube, cannot be reduced to math, or explained away by answering the 'how'. Sometimes the question is simply 'why'.
Other times it is just about the most simple of things.