5 July 2011

Living in the Here and Now

One defining element of most conventional religions seems to be a yearning for something more, as it were, whether it be a union with some deity, or an existence in another reality. Basically, anything that isn't here and now. Is this world we live in really that bad?

I am a child of the 20th century, of the age of science. Whether I want to or not, I can't help but view the world in empirical terms. If I don't see it or experience it, I have no way of knowing it really exists, and, frankly, I have no time to waste on uncertainties. I see no point in praying to get to Heaven (and even less in living my life according to some arbitrary rules for that same purpose), or trying to achieve Nirvana (whatever that even is, most Buddhist philosophy just goes way over my head).

(Note: I'm not saying that such practises may not be beneficial, or 'right', for other people. As I see it, there is no such thing as a 'correct' religion or spiritual path, and there never can be. Each of us react differently to various teachings and philosophies, and what appears ridiculous to some of us may well be powerful and genuinely helpful to others.)

But the great dilemma is, what value does spirituality hold if the physical world is all there is?

4 July 2011

What Is Chaos?

The universe is, to the best of my knowledge, a huge dynamic system. It is not random, as such; everything is shaped through action and reaction. But it is much too complex and large a system to accurately predict anything.

In mythology, Chaos is the void from which the world was born.

In common language, chaos refers to a great disorder.

In science, well, I don't pretend to understand anything about chaos theory, but, as Wikipedia puts it, it 'studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions'. Common applications are natural systems, like weather patterns.

When I imagine Chaos (capital 'C') as a supreme cosmic force or entity, it is most likely as a combination of all the various meanings of the word. It is the very nature of the universe. While seemingly random, it does follow strict patterns (call them the laws of physics, or whatever you will), but is, on the other hand, utterly unpredictable.

Chaos is impossible to personify, although aspects of it might be represented by avatars, like Eris (or, if you think about it, almost any deity, I guess). If I try to visualise it, I usually try to visualise a 'cosmos', with endless space, revolving planets, etc. Of course this doesn't really do it justice.