Friday, April 20, 2012

Hierarchical

There is a very fundamental world, of things that are and things that aren't. These things interact, and from them come energy, and matter, and the properties thereof. And they interact through a stately dance of elegant rules, and these we call forces.

We have codified this world, and the codex is what we call physics. And because physics overwhelms us in its desire to make the one-to-one map of reality a logic that allows us to interpolate and extrapolate what we cannot clearly see, we approximate for practicality.

And so are born chemistry, and biology, and geology, and astronomy: these are the fruits of our empirical powers, of natural history and natural philosophy — they are what we call the natural sciences.

But we, the messy masses of cohering chemistry, and biology, incidental and accidental to our geology and astronomy, and containing so much physics that our minds cannot pause to compute it all — we humans must see ourselves as selves, and ask questions about self and other, and selfhood and otherhood, and the narratives thereof.

And so begins the decline, the declivity, from the airless heights of cold physics to the fecund morasses and fertile plains of the aesthetic and the literary and the religious. The water that flows down from those heights becomes a torrent in the foothills of the social sciences and the technological arts, the creative and narrative disciplines.

It is a serendipitous liquid flux in which the elements of humanity erode the banks of math and logic, and by the time we reach the broad and open spaces, it is a delta that carries the silt of science and feeds the starving of the nations.

And on those spaces we build cities, even if they might be prone to flood. We build monuments, even if the volcanic urges of war should destroy them. We build libraries, we build fortresses, we build places of holiness and worship.

From those manmade towers, we look back to the mountains of pure physics, the thin and chilling air of logic, of mathematics, of joining-the-dots and predicting-the-dots. And then clarity comes.

There is a very fundamental world, of things that are and things that aren't. These things interact, and they are called principalities and powers — the convolution of energy and dark matter, the gnarling of strings. And they interact through a stately dance of elegant rules, in the infinite mansions of God.

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