Monday, December 02, 2002

"Cognitive psychology supposedly corroborates the Buddhist doctrine that the self is an illusion. Quantum mechanics, which implies that the outcomes of certain microevents depend on how we measure them, is said to confirm the mystical intuition that consciousness is an intrinsic part of reality. Similarly, quantum nonlocality, which Einstein disparaged as 'spooky action at a distance,' clinches mystics' perception of the interrelatedness, or unity, of all things. I see a different point of convergence between science and mysticism: Each in its own way reveals the miraculousness of our existence."

— John Horgan, writing on "rational mysticism" in the Chronicle of Higher Education. His musings centre on the sheer improbability of the existence of human intelligence, given what we know about the nature of the physical universe; "if a miracle is defined as an infinitely improbable phenomenon, then our existence is a miracle".

Frederick Copleston called the possibility of God the fundamental metaphysical question; rephrase this, & the great puzzle is, Why are we here? The fundamental physical question is How are we here? Both questions are of course unanswerable; yet we persist, on our different paths, in trying to answer them. Horgan argues that the real truth we thus come to is a vision of "the wondrousness of the world" — an aesthetic truth, a hint at the means by which we may try to live happily in this world we cannot understand.

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