A New Paradigm Of Reality
In the preceding chapters, I have attempted to develop a new view of reality by sharing with you the many different dimensions of the universe, life and existence in which order and energy are essential. All these dimensions, and many others which might be added, comprise a new view of reality.
Having considered the importance of order and energy for several years now, my view of reality is permanently changed. I now experience the events of my life in terms of order, energy, patterns and the other concepts set forth in this book. I believe this helps me have an authentic experience of life, an authentic existence.
Things are never what they seem. Physical objects are illusions – they are mostly empty space, composed of energy "slowed down" by the inverse of the speed of light squared. What is real is the order and energy present in each situation we encounter. And what matters most to people – whatever they say – is their pattern perceptions within their minds, their brains, their selves.
I find it impossible to experience life with all its wondrous order without a sense of awe. Rather than feeling "alone in the universe," I feel at one with the universe. For everything is made and controlled by the same order and energy that makes me what I am.
The Many Dimensions Of Order
Order is manifest in many dimensions. The various natural "laws" make our physical world appear and function as it does. Order transforms some forms of energy into matter. A very special order of matter is able to process energy through a remarkable state of existence known as life. Order makes each thing what it is.
I am what I am and you are what you are because each of us possesses a unique order. Order eliminates the old reductionist fallacy of "nothing but" that we often encounter. Some people believe, for example, that you are "nothing but" atoms and molecules – that everything else is illusory. I once heard a great biologist startle his audience by claiming that the purpose of life is the procreation of the germ plasm – our bodies are "nothing but" vehicles that allow the germ plasm to procreate. The book "Dianetics" has sold millions of copies claiming that the purpose of life is "nothing but" survival.
All these forms of reductionism ignore the reality of order. We cannot reduce a higher form of order to a lower form of order and claim that the objects we have altered are still the same. The Empire State Building is more than a pile of bricks and steel – it represents a high degree of order which is the essence of what it is. You are unique not just because you have a recognizable face but more importantly because of the incredibly complex order of your brain and your central nervous system. Order gives you a unique history, personality and potential. It is impossible to account for your totality and your uniqueness as a human being without considering all the manifestations of order which are part of your being.
The same is true for all things in the universe. The stars in the night sky, the clouds and sun in the day. The plants ranging from tiny flowers to giant oaks. The astonishing variety of life forms, plant and animal. The endless diversity and complexity of human beings. Each is a unique manifestation of order, some of which is universal and some of which is very particular. Order links us to all other things in the universe.
The Reality Of Order
Some say that the ultimate question of philosophy is, Why is there something instead of nothing? I have always found another question more intriguing – Why are things the way they are and not some other way?
The ultimate answer to virtually all ultimate questions beginning with "why" is: Because order is real, as real as matter and energy, a part of reality. Keep asking, Why does this happen, why is this so, and the ultimate answer is, Because order is what makes everything the way it is.
There are only two alternatives:
(1) Order exists "out there" independently of our minds, or
(2) Order is a figment of our minds, a result of our perception or imagination.
You may not live as if you believe that love or beauty or justice or equality are ultimate realities, but you do live as if you believe implicitly that order is real. If you didn't, you'd worry that the chair you are sitting on or the bed you are lying on or the floor you are standing on is really mostly empty space, and you could fall right through it at any moment, right on through the floor, down and down to the center of the earth. Or you'd be concerned that the ceiling would cave in at any moment. Or that when you left home and came back, your "home" would be gone, vanished, nowhere. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. In our nightmares, we "experience" a world "out of order." But we always know we are awake by testing the order of our experience – pinching ourselves, sitting up and looking around the room, and taking in a full range of sensations that are missing when we dream. You know instinctively that "reality" is orderly and you believe it and you act on that belief every waking moment.
Furthermore, as this book has demonstrated, the more science learns about the universe and physical objects and life, the more science finds that order is everywhere and that everything depends on the relationship between order and energy.
Order has a reality beyond matter, energy, space and time. I hope with careful thought you will agree that the independent reality of order is far more "believable" than the truly bizarre idea that uniform "laws" have emerged from "nature" by "chance" evolution from "chaotic" matter and energy. Science claims that order is in the matter and energy. I believe that order is separate. I find it inconceivable that each atom possesses within itself characteristics which allow it to combine with millions of other atoms to form a human being, a flower, or a jet airplane. Atoms are mute and dumb. Order is imposed from without through forces and powers traditionally called "laws of nature." But again, "nature" does not possess or make these laws. They could only be created by a supreme intelligence.
The Necessity For God
All of the order of the universe points to a supreme intelligence. Although we cannot know the source of this supreme intelligence as a physical being, at least not in this earthly life, we can know this intelligence as we know all other things – as a Pattern. We can perceive the order of existence and the beauty of creation as dimensions of a Pattern we call God.
It is interesting that the Bible says when Moses asked God what His name was, God's answer was "Yahweh," which has been translated "I am what I am" and "I am becoming what I am becoming." It is unfortunate, in a way, that English-speaking people use the old Anglo-Saxon word "god" which the dictionary defines as "any person or thing made the chief object of one's love, interest or aspiration." The Bible speaks of rival gods when it says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Historically Yahweh was the Number One God among many, before the Hebrews came to perceive Him as the only real God.
It is difficult if not impossible to separate our perception of the mysterious pattern of supreme intelligence responsible for all the order in the universe, from the pattern in our minds associated with the word "God." Public opinion polls repeatedly show that the great majority of Americans say they "believe in God." This may only mean that people have a pattern in their minds associated with the word "God" which they assume represents a real being. However, it is safe to say that not all these Americans make this so-called God "the chief object of their love, interest or aspiration."
I believe that all the order in the universe points to a Supreme Being who transcends the pattern in my mind associated with the word "God." Neither that pattern nor my entire mind can possibly comprehend all the dimensions of this Supreme Being. But because the existence of order in the universe is not only undeniable but also all-pervasive, I perceive this order not only as having been caused by a Supreme Being but also as providing me with a world that is ultimately nurturing and caring. In other words, God loves us. As I said before, life is not entirely wonderful but it is mostly wonderful, and most of us prefer it to the alternative of death.
But my belief in this Supreme Being as the source and cause of all the order in the universe is nevertheless a leap of faith. I cannot see God as a physical being. Sometimes when I experience pain or suffering I even doubt God's existence and power. My belief in God as the cause of the order in the universe is ultimately a personal choice, as it is for you and for all others. I prefer the joy and peace and sense of well-being which this belief gives me to the alternative of an uncreated universe.
Creation, Order And Time
Time is the product of God's on-going creation. Creation is making things new or making new things, and if there were no time, there would be no change, hence nothing new. By "God's on-going creation," I mean that He is constantly unfolding new things synchronously with the unfolding of time. We presume that the total of all matter and energy in the universe is unchanging, although we may convert one into the other. But the total of order in the universe is constantly changing. Through God's on-going creation, new orders are being created and old orders are being torn down. Identifying with this on-going creation allows an exciting opportunity for us to identify with the work of God in the world.
However, not all new order is the result of God's work. Hitler's Third Reich manipulated the orderliness of the world, but I do not believe God was directly responsible for Hitler's power. We can know or believe that some particular new order in the world is God's work when it is consistent with what God has revealed to us through His Word and through Jesus Christ.
Uncertainty And Human Freedom
Hitler's actions were possible because of human freedom. And human freedom is possible because all order has an element of uncertainty and unpredictability, as we have said in previous chapters.
Christian doctrine states that God gave man freedom of choice because without it, loving and obeying God would be meaningless. We would be robots. God created us in His own image, not only free to choose, but also free to participate in His ongoing creation. For every choice we make creates something. We increase order in some ways, decrease order in others, ignore order in still others. Uncertainty not only means that we have freedom of choice – it also means we cannot know for certain the consequences of our choices.
In some ways we seek more freedom. Freedom for black people in the mid-20th Century meant freedom for equal opportunity under the law, an end to racial discrimination, freedom for human dignity, from riding the bus to voting and holding elective office. Oppressed people everywhere yearn for freedom. It is a deeply-rooted human impulse. Freedom in this sense is much more than uncertainty – it is the opportunity to satisfy our energies without having them thwarted. It is not only freedom from, but also freedom to.
The Law Of Parsimony Revisited
Scientists and philosophers throughout the ages have generally agreed on the principle variously called the Law of Parsimony or Occam's Razor. This principle states that, given alternative explanations, the simplest one which accounts for all pertinent phenomena is always to be preferred. I realize that I am making a bold claim to state that everything in the universe is composed of order and energy, under the ongoing creation of God. But in this book I have tried to demonstrate that everything, from subatomic particles to the human brain and multinational organizations, can indeed be understood in terms of order and energy. I cannot conceive of anything simpler, nor can I conceive of the necessity for more complexity. The Law of Parsimony is fulfilled.
Information, Meaning And Order
Earlier in this book, we pointed to the tremendous importance of information. Advocates of information theory believe that everything that exists is composed of matter, energy and information. I believe, with all due respect, that this represents a close effort to identify order as an essential element of existence. But it misses on one important point. That is, information is not "out there." Information is a characteristic of the human mind. The DNA double-helix does not contain information – it contains order. When we perceive that order and find meaning in it, we take it in as information. But the information is in our minds, as patterns. The only things "out there" independent of our minds are order, energy and God.
Likewise, meaning has been a profound value for many people. Victor Frankl wrote of Man's Search For Meaning. A type of therapy based on the concept of meaning as "logos" was called "logotherapy." But again, meaning is in the mind, it is the sense we make of things, it is pattern perception.
Order, Energy and Entropy
Another important concept closely related to information theory is the concept of entropy. This also has been overextended and misunderstood. When the second law of thermodynamics was formulated, it referred specifically to a closed system, with particular reference to machines such as steam engines. But actually, there is no such thing as a closed system except the universe as a whole. Nothing can be totally isolated from its environment.
And yet with the universe as a whole, we encounter this amazing paradox: If everything in the universe is running down to a state of maximum disorder and energy dissipation, then it must be running down from a previous state of maximum order and energy concentration. The creation of the universe with the "Big Bang" accounts for the dissipation of energy. But all the evidence points to the fact that, at least on earth, order is increasing in some ways and decreasing in others. All that we can say about the totality of order confidently is that it is in a state of flux.
Applying the concept of entropy to the increasing pollution of the earth, the ever-mounting piles of garbage, the burning up of natural resources and the probable depletion of fossil fuels, is not appropriate. The earth is not a closed system. Never has been, never will be. The earth receives enormous quantities of energy from the sun, and that is the ultimate source for much of the fossil fuel we consume each day, as well as virtually all forms of life.
What we have on earth is not entropy but the consumption of natural resources increasing at a rate much faster than those resources are being replenished. We are burning parts of the ship to keep the engines running. In our wisest moments we can say, "This is stupid and self-defeating. We will one day destroy life on earth with this rapid consumption of natural resources." Unfortunately, that appears to be mankind's fate. About the only thing that can save future generations is that technology will speed ahead fast enough to provide the means of saving life on the planet before teeming humanity destroys it. Another way of saying this is, the only way to control this high waste of energy is with a very high level of order. What we need is a new view of reality.
A Responsible View Of Reality For The Future
The new view of reality which we call Theordergy sees everything in the universe in terms of order and energy and God. We acknowledge that this beautiful world in which we live was created by a loving God to support all living things, and that we human beings are the highest achievement of order in all creation.
This amazing world of order and energy is not an impersonal machine. It is a nurturing environment created by a loving God. As God's gift to us, we have a great responsibility to care for it, to maintain it and not destroy it, to preserve its beauty and quality for future generations.
We can only achieve this preservation through lives focused on being instead of having. We must learn to break free from the addiction to having which our society fosters. We must learn that it is not possessions that make us free but achieving a state of being independent of possessions. We can find joy in knowing, loving, learning, caring, worshiping, praying, listening, enjoying the beauties of nature, exercising, conserving, and all the many other dimensions of human experience which do not require the acquisition of possessions or possessive relationships with other people.
Who was the epitome of being instead of having? A person called Jesus, who claimed that he was God incarnate. His life is the model, the pattern, we all can follow.
As we seek to order our energy responsibly and authentically, we must keep in mind that the highest achievement of order on earth is the human being, not only individually but collectively. The purpose of life is not the procreation of the germ plasm. The purpose of life is not survival. The purpose of life is to enhance order at its highest level: by making the world a better place, by helping human beings live better lives, by loving others as we are loved, by glorifying the source of all the order in the universe, the Lord God, our Creator, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.
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