QuantumPhysica once was a young and reckless physics student… driven by her unsatisfiable curiosity she explored the borders of everything, including the human sanity… and that is where it happened. Was it an accident, or was it evil intent? We’ll probably never know, but sure is… QP wandered off too far in the land of Insanity… And never found her way back home…
After three months in a lunatic asylum, my parents took me back home, against the psychiatrists’ wishes… Now I have to face the greatest challenge: surviving my completely disturbed family and coping with my mental illness on my own… My delightful symptoms include dissociation, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, severe moodswings and general identity confusion. My symptoms are so confusing -apparently- even the psychiatrist didn’t quite know what to call it…
Will I make it back to “life”, or will I eventually end up back where all this began? On this blog I hope to find out…
I have John Lennox on my blog – might be interesting to listen to – who knows.
I do find it interesting… There is very little that doesn’t interest me, but the relation between science and faith is something I find seriously fascinating… 😀
Also check out: http://www.signatureinthecell.com
I know the “creationists” get a bad rap these days, but truth be told there is more to the position than the paper-thin perspective popular media affords it.
I see… The little movie was indeed very instructive and made me curious after what would be in the book…
There sure is more to the position; the fact not only morons but also many intelligent people are attracted to it gives me an idea of that…
Thanks for checking out the site. This is a really interesting concept you have here- talking firsthand about your experience on a psych ward, a topic something most people don’t have a clue about.
Wish you well, all the best.
You’re welcome, and thanks xD
Did you know that physics also has an ‘eschatological’ branch of study?
Hmn, I do know certain rationalist eschatologists reason about stuff like the end of the universe and the death of the sun…
But I didn’t really know there was a real branch of physics involved here… enlighten me, you’re making me curious!
Probably not the best article – heard Cosmology scholars discuss it before.
H.Pierre Noyes , James Lindesay
(Submitted on 23 Mar 2005)
The future evolution of the universe
suggested by the cosmological model
proposed earlier at this meeting by the
authors is explored. The fundamental role
played by the positive “cosmological
constant” is emphasized. Dyson’s 1979
paper entitled “Time Without End” is briefly
reviewed. His most optimistic scenario
requires that the universe be geometrically
open and that biology is structural in the
sense that the current complexity of human
society can be reproduced by scaling up its
(quantum mechanical) structure to arbitrary
size. If the recently measured “cosmological
constant” is indeed a fundamental constant
of nature, then Dyson’s scenario is, for
various reasons, ruled out by the finite (De
Sitter) horizon due to exponential expansion
of the resulting space. However, the finite
temperature of that horizon does open other
interesting options. If, as is suggested by the
cosmology under consideration, the current
exponential expansion of the universe is due
to a phase transition which fixes a physical
boundary condition during the early radiation
dominated era, the behavior of the universe
after the relevant scale factor crosses the De
Sitter radius opens up still other possibilities.
The relevance of Martin Rees’ apocalyptic
eschatology recently presented in his book
“Our Final Hour” is mentioned. It is
concluded that even for the far future,
whether or not cultural and scientific
descendants of the current epoch will play a
role in it, an understanding (sadly, currently
lacking) of community and political evolution
and control is essential for a preliminary
treatment of what could be even vaguely
called scientific eschatology.
It sounds interesting…
I have heard about these things before; scientists trying to link religion and science in a not undeserving manner. There sure is scientific significance in the research discussed here…
But call me one of those who “lack understanding”, but I believe science is done in observation. When we start not only observing, but also using our observations to serve a certain ideology, no matter how ethical, we are leaving the science department. I don’t mean I find such ideas unnecessary or uninformative, but I wouldn’t call it a real branch of physics…
Let me ask you this … when scientists reluctantly (check it out for yourself if you want) admitted that the universe had a beginning, did they do that to match up with Gen 1:1?
No, they did so because it showed front heir observations.
That’s why I think there is certainly an importance involved in looking for correlation between the bible and the observations. Not as in “matching up”, but as in seeing what is actually “the same”.
My only point is that I think this looking for correlations isn’t really part of physics; for me it is rather part of the domain of (science-)philosophy;
Servant: Did god have a beginning?
No. Is that a real question, or are you trying to suggest something?
…here’s probably a good reply.
…also, how is the multiverse theory based on observational science? Isn’t it just to avoid the fine-tuning argument in terms of the values of the constants necessary for life to be possible? Cosmological-evolution-theory? Note – *theory*.
In a certain way, it is. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call it avoiding. Just as we were obliged to admit our solar system is far from the only one in the galaxy, and our galaxy is far from the only one in the universe, we might one day have to admit that our universe isn’t the only universe in the *who knows what to call it* multiverse…
When new theories are being made, all possibilities are considered. Including Godly Creation.
But I pointed it out before, you can’t force yourself to believe in something. As long as there is an option that doesn’t include a divine being and still explains the events, you won’t convince these non-believers.
Is there any way to detect other universe(s)? If not, why is it given any scientific credibility? Fact is that science is done with a worldview – and the flavor of the day is the atheistic worldview. Don’t think or pretend it is less faith-based than other non-empirically-detectable theories.
I don’t do so, at all. That is exactly what I said.
These people are atheist; logically following from that they prefer theories that lack divine interference over theories that include it. I can completely understand it.
On top of that, using Ockham’s Razor, the multiverse-theory is more credible than the divine-creation-theory. We know universes, those are known entities. We don’t “know” gods. “Creating” a new entity -God- to explain our problem is less favorable than using known entities -universes- to explain it.
So that’s why it’s given scientific credibility, among other things, like mathematical beauty.
You may want to read the thoughts of a professor or two on this…
Dawkins is acutely sensitive to the charge that postulating a World Ensemble of randomly ordered universes seems to be, as he so nicely puts it, an “unparsimonious extravagance.” But he retorts, “The multiverse may seem extravagant in sheer number of universes. But if each one of those universes is simple in its fundamental laws, we are still not postulating anything highly improbable.”
This response is multiply confused. First, each universe in the ensemble is not simple but is characterized by a multiplicity of independent constants and quantities. If each universe were simple, then why did Dawkins feel the need to recur to the hypothesis of a World Ensemble in the first place? Besides, the issue is not the simplicity of the fundamental laws, for all the universes in the ensemble are characterized by the same laws—where they differ is in the values of the constants and quantities.
Second, Dawkins assumes that the simplicity of the whole is a function of the simplicity of the parts. This is an obvious mistake. A complex mosaic of a Roman face, for example, is made up of a great number of individually simple, monochromatic parts. In the same way, an ensemble of simple universes will still be complex if those universes vary in the values of their fundamental constants and quantities, rather than all sharing the same values.
Third, Ockham’s Razor tells us not to multiply entities beyond necessity, so that the number of universes being postulated just to explain the fine-tuning of our universe is at face value extraordinarily extravagant. Appealing to a World Ensemble to explain the appearance of design is like using a sledge hammer to crack a peanut!
Fourth, Dawkins tries to minimize the extravagance of the postulate of a World Ensemble by claiming that despite its extravagant number of entities, still such a postulate is not highly improbable. It’s not clear why this response is relevant or what this even means. For the objection under consideration is not that the postulate of a World Ensemble is improbable but that it is extravagant and unparsimonious. To say that the postulate isn’t also highly improbable is to fail to address the objection. Indeed, it’s hard to know what probability Dawkins is talking about here. He seems to mean the intrinsic probability of the postulate of a World Ensemble, considered apart from the evidence of fine-tuning. But how is such a probability to be determined? By simplicity? But then the problem is that Dawkins hasn’t shown the World Ensemble hypothesis to be simple.
You speak of simplicity… simplicity of the parts and simplicity of the whole. Then we’re talking statistics.
The more you zoom out, the simpler things get. Not meaning they don’t have details, you’re just not interested in them.
We can zoom out of our universe, see hypothetical other universes, zoom out further until the “complex structure” formed by them you speak of becomes a simple one as well… and what’s next? An ensemble of world ensembles?
I agree that there are a lot of unanswered questions, hooks and eyes, and that it is at best a bit of wet-finger-work and best guessing…
But as I pointed out in another reply, you can’t force someone to believe. No matter how hard you try, you can’t prove God. I mean, if he exists and is the almighty power you believe in, he won’t let himself be discovered in any way. SO yes, you can point out the flaws in atheist worldview, because admittedly, there are many. But you can’t ever fix the one huge flaw in your own worldview, that makes sure you won’t convince any atheist to follow it: there is a God in it.
Religion is a strange thing. Atheism is a religion as well, it’s a philosophy. The way you won’t go with the No-God-Theory, Atheists won’t go with the God-Theory. Which makes the whole discussion a circular and unsolvable event.
So far my opinion…
“But you can’t ever fix the one huge flaw in your own worldview, that makes sure you won’t convince any atheist to follow it: there is a God in it.”
…a flaw you say. I don’t expect theism to be provable. I know it isn’t. It shouldn’t be, otherwise it would be [provable]. It should just be reasonable. There is a choice to be made. Proof robs you of choice. No choice anymore. Black on white. Forced.
I agree… I completely agree, and that is exactly my point. I don’t say theism should be provable to be legit, that would be nonsensical. I just used the word “flaw” for the one characteristic that makes the theory unacceptable for atheists. There may be real, logical errors in different atheist world views, but to people who don’t believe in god, having one in a theory is a “logical error” too. They don’t find it reasonable, because they don’t believe.
What I find ‘uncourageous’ in the typical (99.9% probably) atheistic worldview is to try to rescue objective morality & purpose from cold, hard & unemotional Nihilism. Does it make the atheist feel bad? Is it too hard to own up to, to stare in the face? Yes. It is. Plainly. (…and you may not feel the force of that argument yet … but coloured in, you probably would).
Well then, if it really is that bad, then why are ‘religious-nuts’ the ones that bear the brunt of believing ‘what makes them feel good’. Atheists do it too – and they claim religion has no monopoly on objective morality, meaning & purpose. What nonsense. Why bother defending morality even? It’s just evolutionary by-product – does it need defending? Absurd. Why not just face it – the universe is heading for ultimate heat-death – a spaced out virtual-nothingness in which not even memory of what was remains.
Life is meaningless
People are meaningless
The universe is meaningless
Everything you can think of is of fundamentally no importance.
So why bother?
We are condemned by our genes, our nature, to behave in certain ways, to look for meaning, to defend morality, to attribute and to judge.
I have physiologically no sense of ethics or morality, a position that is both creeping me out and favoring me. And it’s making me so depressed I tried to kill myself twice already. Human physiology -in my opinion- needs a sense of ethics, a sense of religiosity; I take myself as supporting evidence for that. It’s an evolutionary-success-thing. Not because it is true, or good, or whatever. It’s because we can’t bear the uncertainty and meaninglessness of seeing things on the bigger scale.
“…because we can’t bear the uncertainty and meaninglessness of seeing things on the bigger scale.”
Exactly – and I argue we’re not meant to. Think of the joy of finding meaning without at all feeling like you’re lying to yourself. I say it’s possible. I hope you are lead to something similar!
That is exactly why I envy people who are truly religious 😉
Somewhere I hope I’ll find something like that as well…
that is a nice and short answer indeed…
I must agree I like it.
But even though the discussion is very interesting, I don’t find it very useful.
If two hypotheses are equally (un)falsifiable, and one includes a divine creature, and one doesn’t, people who don’t believe in a divine creature will pick the second one. It’s as simple as that. I don’t say the second one is fundamentally BETTER in any way, it’s just an opinion like every other one, that happens to be preferred by some people for clearly subjective reasons…
It is just my humble opinion, but I think you can get terribly stuck in circular reasoning when you start discussing who designed the designer…
Sortof true. Reminds me of this…
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
That is one very beautiful text. Really. Where does it come from?
And a nice illustration of the point indeed 😉
Starting at 1 Corinthians 1:18
There’s a lot of wisdom in that book…
Nice graphic for the header, by the way. How did you build it? …assuming you did.
I took a picture of the corridor where my room is, put the text and some effects on it, decorated it with molecular structures of the medication I take, and voila! 😀
The Practical Impossibility of Atheism (…quoted from “Reasonable Faith”)
About the only solution the atheist can offer is that we face the absurdity of life and live bravely. Bertrand Russell, for example, wrote that we must build our lives upon “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.” Only by recognizing that the world really is a terrible place can we successfully come to terms with life. Camus said that we should honestly recognize life’s absurdity and then live in love for one another.
The fundamental problem with this solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view. If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent. Francis Schaeffer has explained this point well. Modern man, says Schaeffer, resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world; therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God. Modern man is totally inconsistent when he makes this leap, because these values cannot exist without God, and man in his lower story does not have God. Let’s look again, then, at each of the three areas in which we saw life was absurd without God, to show how man cannot live consistently and happily with his atheism.
Meaning of Life:
First, the area of meaning. We saw that without God, life has no meaning. Yet philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action. Sartre himself chose Marxism. Now this is utterly inconsistent. It is inconsistent to say life is objectively absurd and then to say one may create meaning for his life. If life is really absurd, then man is trapped in the lower story. To try to create meaning in life represents a leap to the upper story. But Sartre has no basis for this leap. Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. For the universe does not really acquire meaning just because I give it one. This is easy to see: for suppose I give the universe one meaning, and you give it another. Who is right? The answer, of course, is neither one. For the universe without God remains objectively meaningless, no matter how we regard it. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.
The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent – for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.
Value of Life:
Turn now to the problem of value. Here is where the most blatant inconsistencies occur. First of all, atheistic humanists are totally inconsistent in affirming the traditional values of love and brotherhood. Camus has been rightly criticized for inconsistently holding both to the absurdity of life and the ethics of human love and brotherhood. The two are logically incompatible. Bertrand Russell, too, was inconsistent. For though he was an atheist, he was an outspoken social critic, denouncing war and restrictions on sexual freedom. Russell admitted that he could not live as though ethical values were simply a matter of personal taste, and that he therefore found his own views “incredible.” “I do not know the solution,” he confessed. The point is that if there is no God, then objective right and wrong cannot exist. As Dostoyevsky said, “All things are permitted.”
But Dostoyevsky also showed that man cannot live this way. He cannot live as though it is perfectly all right for soldiers to slaughter innocent children. He cannot live as though it is all right for dictatorial regimes to follow a systematic program of physical torture of political prisoners. He cannot live as though it is all right for dictators like Pol Pot to exterminate millions of their own countrymen. Everything in him cries out to say these acts are wrong – really wrong. But if there is no God, he cannot. So he makes a leap of faith and affirms values anyway. And when he does so, he reveals the inadequacy of a world without God.
The horror of a world devoid of value was brought home to me with new intensity a few years ago as I viewed a BBC television documentary called “The Gathering.” It concerned the reunion of survivors of the Holocaust in Jerusalem, where they rediscovered lost friendships and shared their experiences. Now, I had heard stories of the Holocaust before and had even visited Dachau and Buchenwald, and I thought I was beyond shocking by further tales of horror. But I found that I was not. Perhaps I had been made more sensitive by the recent birth of our beautiful baby girl, so that I applied the situations to her as they were related on the television. In any case, one woman prisoner, a nurse, told of how she was made the gynecologist at Auschwitz. She observed that pregnant women were grouped together by the soldiers under the direction of Dr. Mengele and housed in the same barracks. Some time passed, and she noted that she no longer saw any of these women. She made inquiries. “Where are the pregnant women who were housed in that barracks?” “Haven’t you heard?” came the reply. “Dr. Mengele used them for vivisection.”
Another woman told of how Mengele had bound up her breasts so that she could not suckle her infant. The doctor wanted to learn how long an infant could survive without nourishment. Desperately this poor woman tried to keep her baby alive by giving it pieces of bread soaked in coffee, but to no avail. Each day the baby lost weight, a fact that was eagerly monitored by Dr. Mengele. A nurse then came secretly to this woman and told her, “I have arranged a way for you to get out of here, but you cannot take your baby with you. I have brought a morphine injection that you can give to your child to end its life.” When the woman protested, the nurse was insistent: “Look, your baby is going to die anyway. At least save yourself.” And so this mother took the life of her own baby. Dr. Mengele was furious when he learned of it because he had lost his experimental specimen, and he searched among the dead to find the baby’s discarded corpse so that he could have one last weighing.
My heart was torn by these stories. One rabbi who survived the camp summed it up well when he said that at Auschwitz it was as though there existed a world in which all the Ten Commandments were reversed. Mankind had never seen such a hell.
And yet, if God does not exist, then in a sense, our world is Auschwitz: there is no absolute right and wrong; all things are permitted. But no atheist, no agnostic, can live consistently with such a view. Nietzsche himself, who proclaimed the necessity of living “beyond good and evil,” broke with his mentor Richard Wagner precisely over the issue of the composer’s anti-Semitism and strident German nationalism. Similarly Sartre, writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, condemned anti-Semitism, declaring that a doctrine that leads to extermination is not merely an opinion or matter of personal taste, of equal value with its opposite. In his important essay “Existentialism Is a Humanism,” Sartre struggles vainly to elude the contradiction between his denial of divinely pre-established values and his urgent desire to affirm the value of human persons. Like Russell, he could not live with the implications of his own denial of ethical absolutes.
A second problem is that if God does not exist and there is no immortality, then all the evil acts of men go unpunished and all the sacrifices of good men go unrewarded. But who can live with such a view? Richard Wurmbrand, who has been tortured for his faith in communist prisons, says,
The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe when man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil. There is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. The communist torturers often said, ‘There is no God, no Hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.’ I have heard one torturer even say, ‘I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.’ He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.
The English theologian Cardinal Newman once said that if he believed that all evils and injustices of life throughout history were not to be made right by God in the afterlife, “Why I think I should go mad.” Rightly so.
And the same applies to acts of self-sacrifice. A number of years ago, a terrible mid-winter air disaster occurred in which a plane leaving the Washington, D.C. airport smashed into a bridge spanning the Potomac River, plunging its passengers into the icy waters. As the rescue helicopters came, attention was focused on one man who again and again pushed the dangling rope ladder to other passengers rather than be pulled to safety himself. Six times he passed the ladder by. When they came again, he was gone. He had freely given his life that others might live. The whole nation turned its eyes to this man in respect and admiration for the selfless and good act he had performed. And yet, if the atheist is right, that man was not noble – he did the stupidest thing possible. He should have gone for the ladder first, pushed others away if necessary in order to survive. But to die for others he did not even know, to give up all the brief existence he would ever have – what for? For the atheist there can be no reason. And yet the atheist, like the rest of us, instinctively reacts with praise for this man’s selfless action. Indeed, one will probably never find an atheist who lives consistently with his system. For a universe without moral accountability and devoid of value is unimaginably terrible.
Purpose of Life:
Finally, let’s look at the problem of purpose in life. The only way most people who deny purpose in life live happily is either by making up some purpose, which amounts to self-delusion as we saw with Sartre, or by not carrying their view to its logical conclusions. Take the problem of death, for example. According to Ernst Bloch, the only way modern man lives in the face of death is by subconsciously borrowing the belief in immortality that his forefathers held to, even though he himself has no basis for this belief, since he does not believe in God. Bloch states that the belief that life ends in nothing is hardly, in his words, “sufficient to keep the head high and to work as if there were no end.” By borrowing the remnants of a belief in immortality, writes Bloch, “modern man does not feel the chasm that unceasingly surrounds him and that will certainly engulf him at last. Through these remnants, he saves his sense of self-identity. Through them the impression arises that man is not perishing, but only that one day the world has the whim no longer to appear to him.” Bloch concludes, “This quite shallow courage feasts on a borrowed credit card. It lives from earlier hopes and the support that they once had provided.” Modern man no longer has any right to that support, since he rejects God. But in order to live purposefully, he makes a leap of faith to affirm a reason for living.
We often find the same inconsistency among those who say that man and the universe came to exist for no reason or purpose, but just by chance. Unable to live in an impersonal universe in which everything is the product of blind chance, these persons begin to ascribe personality and motives to the physical processes themselves. It is a bizarre way of speaking and represents a leap from the lower to the upper story. For example, the brilliant Russian physicists Zeldovich and Novikov, in contemplating the properties of the universe, ask, Why did “Nature” choose to create this sort of universe instead of another? “Nature” has obviously become a sort of God-substitute, filling the role and function of God. Francis Crick halfway through his book The Origin of the Genetic Code begins to spell nature with a capital “N” and elsewhere speaks of natural selection as being “clever” and as “thinking” of what it will do. Fred Hoyle, the English astronomer, attributes to the universe itself the qualities of God. For Carl Sagan the “Cosmos,” which he always spells with a capital letter, obviously fills the role of a God-substitute. Though all these men profess not to believe in God, they smuggle in a God-substitute through the back door because they cannot bear to live in a universe in which everything is the chance result of impersonal forces.
And it’s interesting to see many thinkers betray their views when they’re pushed to their logical conclusions. For example, certain feminists have raised a storm of protest over Freudian sexual psychology because it is chauvinistic and degrading to women. And some psychologists have knuckled under and revised their theories. Now this is totally inconsistent. If Freudian psychology is really true, then it doesn’t matter if it’s degrading to women. You can’t change the truth because you don’t like what it leads to. But people cannot live consistently and happily in a world where other persons are devalued. Yet if God does not exist, then nobody has any value. Only if God exists can a person consistently support women’s rights. For if God does not exist, then natural selection dictates that the male of the species is the dominant and aggressive one. Women would no more have rights than a female goat or chicken have rights. In nature whatever is, is right. But who can live with such a view? Apparently not even Freudian psychologists, who betray their theories when pushed to their logical conclusions.
Or take the sociological behaviorism of a man like B. F. Skinner. This view leads to the sort of society envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984, where the government controls and programs the thoughts of everybody. If Pavlov’s dog can be made to salivate when a bell rings, so can a human being. If Skinner’s theories are right, then there can be no objection to treating people like the rats in Skinner’s rat-box as they run through their mazes, coaxed on by food and electric shocks. According to Skinner, all our actions are determined anyway. And if God does not exist, then no moral objection can be raised against this kind of programming, for man is not qualitatively different from a rat, since both are just matter plus time plus chance. But again, who can live with such a dehumanizing view?
Or finally, take the biological determinism of a man like Francis Crick. The logical conclusion is that man is like any other laboratory specimen. The world was horrified when it learned that at camps like Dachau the Nazis had used prisoners for medical experiments on living humans. But why not? If God does not exist, there can be no objection to using people as human guinea pigs. A memorial at Dachau says Nie Wieder – “Never Again” – but this sort of thing is still going on. It was revealed a few years ago that in the United States several people had been injected, unknown to them, with a sterilization drug by medical researchers. Must we not protest that this is wrong – that man is more than an electro-chemical machine? The end of this view is population control in which the weak and unwanted are killed off to make room for the strong. But the only way we can consistently protest this view is if God exists. Only if God exists can there be purpose in life.
The dilemma of modern man is thus truly terrible. And insofar as he denies the existence of God and the objectivity of value and purpose, this dilemma remains unrelieved for “post-modern” man as well. Indeed, it is precisely the awareness that modernism issues inevitably in absurdity and despair that constitutes the anguish of post-modernism. In some respects, post-modernism just is the awareness of the bankruptcy of modernity. The atheistic world view is insufficient to maintain a happy and consistent life. Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic world view, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. If instead we manage to live happily, it is only by giving the lie to our world view.
Confronted with this dilemma, man flounders pathetically for some means of escape. In a remarkable address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991, Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some “Noble Lie” into thinking that we and the universe still have value. Claiming that “The lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case,” Dr. Rue muses that the consequence of such a realization is that one’s quest for personal wholeness (or self-fulfillment) and the quest for social coherence become independent from one another. This is because on the view of relativism the search for self-fulfillment becomes radically privatized: each person chooses his own set of values and meaning. “There is no final, objective reading on the world or the self. There is no universal vocabulary for integrating cosmology and morality.” If we are to avoid “the madhouse option,” where self-fulfillment is pursued regardless of social coherence, and “the totalitarian option,” where social coherence is imposed at the expense of personal wholeness, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so achieve social coherence. A Noble Lie “is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race.” It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false). “But without such lies, we cannot live.”
This is the dreadful verdict pronounced over modern man. In order to survive, he must live in self-deception. But even the Noble Lie option is in the end unworkable. For if what I have said thus far is correct, belief in a Noble Lie would not only be necessary to achieve social coherence and personal wholeness for the masses, but it would also be necessary to achieve one’s own personal wholeness. For one cannot live happily and consistently on an atheistic world view. In order to be happy, one must believe in objective meaning, value, and purpose. But how can one believe in those Noble Lies while at the same time believing in atheism and relativism? The more convinced you are of the necessity of a Noble Lie, the less you are able to believe in it. Like a placebo, a Noble Lie works only on those who believe it is the truth. Once we have seen through the fiction, then the Lie has lost its power over us. Thus, ironically, the Noble Lie cannot solve the human predicament for anyone who has come to see that predicament.
The Noble Lie option therefore leads at best to a society in which an elitist group of illuminati deceive the masses for their own good by perpetuating the Noble Lie. But then why should those of us who are enlightened follow the masses in their deception? Why should we sacrifice self-interest for a fiction? If the great lesson of the past two centuries is moral and intellectual relativism, then why (if we could) pretend that we do not know this truth and live a lie instead? If one answers, “for the sake of social coherence,” one may legitimately ask why I should sacrifice my self-interest for the sake of social coherence? The only answer the relativist can give is that social coherence is in my self-interest – but the problem with this answer is that self-interest and the interest of the herd do not always coincide. Besides, if (out of self-interest) I do care about social coherence, the totalitarian option is always open to me: forget the Noble Lie and maintain social coherence (as well as my self-fulfillment) at the expense of the personal wholeness of the masses. Generations of Soviet leaders who extolled proletarian virtues while they rode in limousines and dined on caviar in their country dachas found this alternative quite workable. Rue would undoubtedly regard such an option as repugnant. But therein lies the rub. Rue’s dilemma is that he obviously values deeply both social coherence and personal wholeness for their own sakes; in other words, they are objective values, which according to his philosophy do not exist. He has already leapt to the upper story. The Noble Lie option thus affirms what it denies and so refutes itself.
I am SO going to buy that book. Definitely.
Thank you so much for this comment, I really enjoyed reading it.
I thouroughly enjoy this. I applaud you for sharing your experiences in “there”. Most people think padded rooms and jackets. I’ve been several times and I’ve never seen these used. Good luck to you!!
It’s such a cliché idea people have… Even my parents think the doctors are sadists that only want to feed me as much experimental medication as they can find… (*sigh*)
And thanks! 😉 Good luck to you too!
I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! If you want to know more about it check out my new post 🙂
YOU RUULE! 😀
I feel ya, I grew up in those places…
Sounds like an interesting place to spend your youth…
I have an interesting theory, think about this one. “The true unwritten definition of insanity is non-conformity” 🙂
Oh, I like it!
It’s kind of my own idea as well… normal is just a vague concept based on statistical mediocrity… 😉
I like the way you think. (Warm smiles) 🙂
same to you 😉
I am curious do you have more pictures of you?
…dude, that doesn’t sound like a kosher question. 😉
I guess she has, but – we don’t need more.
For your information i was just wondering if she had one where she was smiling or something in it, instead of like her main picture where she doesn’t look so happy. But thanks for butting in “dude” 😉
At least that clarifies – in case someone else was wondering. 😉
…the comment below is potentially respectable… but I have realised that pretty women is a weakness for me (as for many) I have to guard against – constantly… Pity it’s such a mission. It’s necessary though.
From your blog:
“I posted this last picture because the beauty of women calms me more than any other visual thing in the world. And i don’t mean sexuality though they can mix at a certain point. Women were created beautiful from the beginning and i view them as such, i can feel it in my soul when i look at them…. i dunno how to explain this.”
Just FYI i did not say pretty. I said beautiful, they mean diffferent things.
Interesting conversation has been going on here… *giggle*
To answer the question of pictures: I have none I would like to post here. Occasionally I post a picture of myself (like I did a few posts ago) when I feel it fits the occasion, but usually I don’t.
Is there a PM (private message) function in WordPress? Seems like it would have been a nice feature? …otherwise “About” pages get kinda cluttered. Feel free to delete this one.
Hope it’s going better there.
I don’t know about the PM function, but it would definitely have been a good one…
thanks for the support 😉
I have been a bit low in activity, because lots of things have happened…
I don’t know if there’s a PM function, but when people have commented on my blog, the message that’s sent to my email (other than the first comment they make) contains the poster’s email address.
I see… I have noticed this too… In the comment-overview-function I can see the email addresses…
Really interesting blog.
It’s really a tragedy that you’ve had something you’re passionate about taken away, but if it’s any consolation you’re also a talented writer from what I’ve seen looking round.
It feels simplistic to hope that you can be ‘cured’ but I wish you well in dealing with your condition.
thank you very much…
Tag! 🙂 http://mathematicallyconfused.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/tag/
I don’t believe I’ve ever said so before, but you intrigue me. I adore your blog, and what you are. In another life, I believe we would of been quite good friends.
Thank you 🙂
We love your blog and just wanted to let you know that we nominated you for the Sunshine Award on Bare Bones! Thanks for being an inspiration! Check it out!
m & c.
thank you so much! *huggle*
my kind of blog i love to come back again 🙂
thanks a lot!
I was looking for tea party jewelry (alice in Wonderland stuff) and saw your blog. Interesting. I think there are often both physical and mental components to mental illness. I am surrounded by control freaks myself and have learned to not be one myself so much. My dad is suffering from Alzheimers. Everyone needs some control but some people think they have to control everything. I have been reading about that lately. There are 2 types, people who want control and people who want to control us. My mom is the second type. I have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue so I spend a lot of time on the internet. I deal with my condition and depression, and whatever by first my relationship with God and second by pure will power. I want to accomplish things in my life and take care of my family, make a difference in the world. So I will not let it beat me. I stay busy when I can and when I can’t I enjoy the moment, push bad thoughts aside and enjoy the little things, the comfort of the bed, the beauty outside my window. I also do what you do, write. I keep a pad a paper by my bed so if I wake up and cannot sleep I can empty my thoughts by writing them down. I will read more of your blog now. Take care. God bless.
thank you for your lovely comment. I wish you all the best. Controlling people can be a real pain… I know that, for I have to live with myself; being a schizoid control freak is like cleaning with one hand and throwing dirt with the other xD
Take care, and good luck with everything, both your family and your illness. *hugs*
I nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award! ❤ http://prideinmadness.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/reader-appreciation-award/
thank you so much! 😀
Hey, thanks for following.
Making an exception to my new “no comments, no commenting” rule. (No response is necessary if I piss you off).
I just read this book and found it informative and validating (and wrote about it on my Recommended Books page).
Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife by Raymond Moody.
This one is about Moody’s life, family, and medical problems rather than his work. What a brave, brave man.
I loved it, but I’ve loved Moody and read everything he’s written since 1975.
Thanks again, darling.
you’re welcome 🙂
I’ve been digging around in here a bit. . .very interesting and well written, I look forward to reading more 🙂
thank you very much… 🙂
I just dropped in because you visited me (and I thank you)…and it will take me hours to read some of what I can already see are wonderful intellectual debates. My brother struggles with mental illness and depression, and truth be told we’re all a little madder than a hatter. There is such a fine line between “genius” and insanity and your statements about the meaninglessness of life and your admiration for those who have religion to “hold onto” are something I can relate to. It is a depressing thought indeed to consider that when we are gone it won’t really have mattered that we were ever really here…we all want to matter in some way. I hold onto the idea that there is a presence that connects us all (call it God or Bubba or whatever you like)…that wonderful energy/life force that feeds upon itself and us and spits out what we need when we need it or sucks it back from us when we don’t. Certainly the energy we share is a connection but I am not wise or educated enough to get much deeper than that. I remain a child of the universe seeking only to make myself better and stronger for the children I must guide through it.
Deep thinkers are often terribly lonely people. Most people just want to have fluff and fun. I am often told I “think too much”. What does that even mean?
Yes dear, we are all a little mad in here and only the truly brilliant ones recognize and embrace their inner crazy and use it to fuel the fires of intellectual curiosity. But oh my it does feel wonderful sometimes to turn off the brain and sit on the beach at sunset (smiles)
ignorance is bliss… It’s simply true. Thinking things through makes you lonely and cynical. It causes you to feel alone even in a group of people. certain knowledge, certain thoughts places you outside of the masses. and there were not many people go, one is lonely by definition.
Turning off the internal debate is great indeed…
And thank you very much for your nice compliments on my blog 🙂 *huggles*
P.S….My parents think it unwise that I have not baptised my children or given them a “religion” to adhere to. Having gone through 11 years of Catholic school and being highly suspicious of organized religion and all it’s hypocrisies….I’ve chosen instead to speak of God to them as the divine in all of us that guides and strengthens us and that is all they need for now. I answer their questions as honestly as I can and hope for the best. Maybe they will resent not having a “base” to work from to answer their questions when they get older, but my son is already showing he is a mad scientist and probably would reject most of the flawed reasoning anyway 🙂
My parents gave me catholic schooling and upbringing too, and I ended up being a schizoid atheist 😀
I don’t think education/upbringing can really keep someone from making certain choices, unless you’re really brainwashing your offspring…
Honesty is most of the time the best policy anyway. I’ve heard that children need certainty to grow up, but I personally believe that we bring our kids up in a protected world, too protected when it turns out real life is unsure and hard…
“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
My answer would be: Because they consist of the same types of elementary particles.
I don’t think we could explore beyond life’s ‘limits’ if we didn’t deviate from what people call the ‘norm’. If you refuse to accept life as it it and want to know more, then it takes a whole new mindset to do it. Your symptoms, i.e. dissociation, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, severe moodswings and general identity confusion speak to me of someone struggling to let go of limited thinking, while at the same time holding on for dear life. This can create real turmoil. Perhaps choose to be you – an original thinker, and commit to that. Stop trying to be ordinary for other people. When you do become who you truly are, the symptoms will disappear. Forget the rest. Thank you for sharing. You are very interesting.
Thank you for liking my blog post – Im glad that you enjoyed it! 🙂
– Just Smile
Thank you for commenting on my blog… well…my cockatoo’s blog. He is very ego-centric and really needed some recognition. I don’t think it will help make him less crazy, but that is the reason I love him so much.
Sorry to hear that you have to go through so much with your psychiatric issues — I only had to deal with depression in my life but at times, it was very severe and I felt so alone. Perhaps I’ll post some of my deep poetry on my struggles on a different blog at some point in the future.
Thanks again and remember…. creativity sparks from the abnormal.
I try to be creative, thank you…
Your cockatoo is very, very entertaining… He may be completely crazy but I loved him on the spot xD If I were a bird I would propose to marry him 😀
Thanks for liking my stuff, check out some of my older material from when I felt more inspired.
Nominated you for the Daisy Award!
Just read this ( Thank’s for your visit by the way )
After reading the above i have come to the conclusion that you are Sane.
You appear to realise and accept everything that you understand to be wrong in your life which is the action of a sane person-How many people do you know that cannot understand,accept or will not accept your problem’s?
We are only insane according to the mind’s of other’s-We are just different in reality
Perhaps that is indeed a more valuable definition of sanity than the one psychiatrists tend to use.
My problems… well, let’s say that the amount of people that both understand and accept them can be counted on one hand only. And I won’t need a lot of fingers.
People like to think of themselves as normal, while the whole concept is actually just a statistical invention.
Your blog is very informative and I love it. Thanks for returning the visit! 🙂
Sometimes when we have found we have “wandered off too far in the land of Insanity,” that is precisely the moment when we realize we are home. It is a bitter-sweet, paralyzing moment of heart-stopping clarity. And then you have to decide what to do with the razor pressed up against your neck… Scarred, but not yet dead.
Perhaps you are right…
The land of Insanity has indeed started to feel like home to me… A place where I don’t have to fear being myself anymore.
Is there a less impersonal way to contact you than via public comments? I can’t find an e-mail or contact link for you. If not, please contact me at spankedangel (at) aol (dot) com.
Nope, don’t do that. I’m an ass. It’s angelspanked (at) aol (dot) com. But please do contact me THERE if you are able 🙂
You can always find me as Quantumphysica on Skype…
You can always find me as Quantumphysica on Skype… and I have a twitter account too 🙂
What a unique personality here! Totally loving your blog, celebration for the sanity we all share!
You said, “On this blog I hope to find out…”. Is it working? or at least do you think this blog is taking you on the right path?
I do think so. It helps to have a place to vent and let my thoughts go, a place that is in a way anonymous and thus safe.
I follow handful of other people that are also seeing therapists and such, but I’m still trying to figure out why you are seeing a therapist. You sound like most other people blogging for sake of venting…lol
All I learn from blogging is that I’m really very normal, which is quite a pleasant thing as I rarely ever have that feeling in real life.
lol, sounds like you need to move out and live among people that you can get along with 🙂
For all you know I am a horrible person to live with xD
LOL, you think you are horrible to live with? I can relate to that, I was f’in NASTY back in the day when I first moved in with my wife! Somehow my brain seemed to make proper adjustment to make things work though….pretty amazing if you ask me.
I’ve seen enough strange/odd/freaky couples to know, there is a right match for anybody 🙂
I have my dear Experiment Nr. 7 but I can’t live with him unfortunately… We would make a very freaky couple indeed… He is the only person I know who would answer to a question like “Will you help me kill some rodents?” with “Sure, I’ll borrow you my scalpels”. 😀
I hope that if we ever get to live together, I’ll manage to adjust as well. I’m a freaking nuisance to my folks these days xD
You know what a father say when his daughter gets married, “It not my problem anymore…”.lol. I do hear that from many loving fathers 🙂
You should get your folks some donuts to show some appreciation for putting up with you 🙂
Experiment nr7…..ooooh, as in he is your sample #7? I’m guessing he is an improvement from your previous 6 samples?
He’s definitely an improvement… Although all my experiments are equally interesting to me, Nr. 7 is definitely my favorite, for… well, rather graphical reasons on which I will not elaborate xD
Any conclusion worthy of being published? It would absolutely kill me if you are keeping spreadsheet and some sort of data with your experiement…lol
Now yes actually I do keep a spreadsheet with my data, multiple ones even… I have graphs, articles, everything. If anyone’s interested I might just publish it…
Do eet! Lets see your research work.
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Schizophrenia perhaps? I myself have push the levels of insanity, with a good amount of LSD DMT, Mushrooms and pretty much every other sort of psychotropic drug. You see i’m interested in altered states of consciousness- however my story is different to yours, I came back from insanity my bestfriend however spends life jumping from mental asylum to mental asylum. This sort of inspired me to go into psychology but it seems like even in Psychology you get shunned for having interest in consciousness, which is in my opinion the bridge to the divine, sciences way to God or the anima. If your interested you can watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBO-H7vlRXA&feature=related. Look into Jung, he’s a psychologist that went mad and apparently followed his own soul to god and came back to write about it in psychological terms. Beautiful stuff. You know what helps my friend? Seeing himself in everyone, everyone is an aspect of your thought, which is scary and freeing.
I’m so curious about your mental illness. When you look inside yourself, do you find that you can function through your mind or is it getting the better of you most days? I mean, I can see that it torments you. That is a shame since it is a powerful mind and getting tormented is much more fun when the tormentor is weak.
So, do you understand yourself? Can you follow your thoughts or do that spoke and branch and layer and echo until you are a spectator?
Did you ever make the choice to let go? Can you envision keeping it together? What will you do if this is as easy as it ever gets?
I don’t really know.
The past few days have been bad, and I’m not sure they can serve as a reference…
Many times my mind gets the better of me. It makes me feel weak and disgusting and there is nothing I can do about it. There are also times that my mind makes me strong, that my illness is my asset. Sometimes it is very empowering to be as I am.
My mind is a bit like an undirected projectile. It can be on my side, or against it.
Sometimes I surprise myself with my own clarity. Then everything is clear and I feel that I see into the pattern, that I have power over my life and the people in it.
Many times though the way you describe it is more accurate… It makes my own self a spectator of my own mind.
I have made the choice to let go once, and it ended me up on the closed ward of a mental institution. Now I’m really straining to keep it together. It gets harder as life progresses, because there is so much stress and so much expectation, and break-downs aren’t too rare these days.
If this is as easy as it ever gets? Well, I just hope it won’t get worse again. Schizophrenia is regressive, so that’s probably an idle hope, but… a girl can dream, no?
I wonder if you chose to be “sane” and chose to restrict your thoughts, if you could follow through? I guess this isn’t an origianl concept. Isn’t that what “A Beautiful Mind” is all about?
There are traps that are hard to escape, though, and your suicide attempts tell me that you’ve been in hell more than once. Ecstacy doesn’t seem to provide the balance one would hope if you know that pain is always on the flip side, does it?
You’re very coherent, of course. I haven’t heard the rambling and disjointed musings of a person who has lost the outside view of themselves. Or perhaps you’re inhibited.
I can tell you that I struggled for a time. In retrospect, I think that I was always closer to sane than to crazy and I was hoping to push myself more toward the insanity. I don’t know why, for sure, except that it seemed a path less traveled and perhaps more compelling. The exceptional folks there seemed to have access to a deeper well and one that needs more representation in this world. And I’m not terribly fond of this world. Perhpas insanity is an avenue toward changing the universe, even if it is just for one person.
Anyway, as I near age 40, it is both easier and harder. There is more peace here. I hope you find that.
Hi, I see you liked this. Did you listen to the audio? I know you had some strong feelings on this topic when we talked about it earlier.
Your comments referred to above: http://societystacktrace.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/silence-yes-miss-universe-can-be-a-man-and-its-supposed-to-be-normal-18min
How do you figure that this is possible from the congregation of the author of “A Queer Thing Happened To America”? …i.e. how can a gay protest march end up on the doorstep of this guy’s congregation & actually be disillusioned – learning that they got him & the positions they hold to there all wrong? …just wondering what you think.
Apologies for my very late reaction – but when college starts, not much else gets done. A crap excuse, but my reasoning all the same. Thank you for stopping by my blog and the like 🙂 Much appreciated. I look forward to getting lost in yours! 🙂
You got understand what medicalized social control is?
More helps you may find minddefensecoach.wordpress.com
Creative, constructive and crazy!
Hey. I just got here because of your stunning photos for The Broken Light Collective. Something so hard to explain put into such simple photographs and it has such an impact! I’m impressed and I like to come back here. Take good care of yourself.
Thank you very much. I’m glad my photos stirred something in someone… I couldn’t find a way to put in words how it felt, so I made those photos instead.
You will find your way back! I create art based completely on mazes. The reason to find my way. Life is full of dead ends, lows, and despair. But it is up to us to overcome this to shine as bright as the stars we are. When times get tough use your blog as an anchor in the storm. Mine saved me the past year and a half from deaths grip!
please avail yourself to some of the other folks here who blog about mental health and being on the edges – specifically please look at a blog called Divided Mind here on wordpress……..
i’m mad too, you know. completely bananas. but i think i like being mad.