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Last time, I mentioned magical thinking. Actually, I accused both religion and scientism of magical thinking. Here’s why:
- Religion: A magical supreme being created existence.
- Scientism: In large enough quantities, time itself is magical and created existence.
That’s right. In scientism’s eyes, time is god. But what really happens when you let nothingness sit for, well, eternity? As far as we can tell, nothing. In other words, time in the absence of a catalyst is inert. But scientism asserts that time is itself creative, suggesting it was responsible all by itself for the singularity of mass and matter that resulted in the Big Bang.
You see? Magical!
When it comes to cosmogony (the study of existence’s genesis), there are three primary questions:
- What created the universe?
- How was the universe created?
- When was the universe created?
Physics indeed provides answers for #2 and #3, but when it comes to #1 we’re at a loss. Magical thinking is what happens when humans are faced with a problem we can’t seem to solve, but #1 actually can be solved – so long as we’re willing to ignore scientism and religion. Whether the Big Bang was a one-time event or a recurring one makes no difference. If you insist that physicality is all there is, you’re forced into an argument of infinite regression (what came before the Big Bang? Another Big Bang; or a mirror universe; or two colliding membranes in the bulk; or…
No matter what explanation you give, when you insist that material nature is the only reality, you end up having no way to account for a thing’s beginning. This is because physical reality is an effect and can’t cause itself. The only possible way to account for it is to assume it emanates from something pre-physical. If you don’t allow for a pre-physical reality, there’s no hope of an explanation and all you’re left with is magic.
When you insist that material nature is the only reality, you end up having no way to account for a thing’s beginning.
So, is there an explanation for physical reality that doesn’t involve magical thinking? I believe there is. And no, it’s not god. After all, god would have to come from somewhere, even if merely him/her/itself. But to truly answer the question of what caused everything, we’re faced with a point when there may have been literally nothing.
Interestingly, the opposite of nothing is something, but have you ever noticed we have the word ‘nothingness’ but not its opposite? No one ever thinks of ‘somethingness’. Maybe it doesn’t occur to us to define the soup we live in. We speak of cosmos, universe, maya, matter, ecosystem, etc., but all of these simply label the physical aspect, but Existence happens inside a somethingness: the intrinsic state of being which is balanced by its opposite, nothingness.
Somethingness: the intrinsic state of being which is balanced by its opposite, nothingness.
Yes, I called ‘somethingness’ a state. We easily accept ‘nothingness’ as a state of being (un-being as a paradigm), but to my knowledge no one has bothered to establish its opposite state as intrinsic to reality. But it has to be. If there are things that exist (and we know there are), then existence must be a state just as much as nonexistence is. And this finally gives us some insight into question 1.
With somethingness established as a state of nature, it becomes clear that both nothingness and somethingness are independent of cause. They have no beginnings and are always present no matter whether this is the first universe or just one of many. Whatever exists does so within the boundaries of the state of somethingness, and when the somethingness needs to expand, it does so into the nothingness surrounding it.
But the most important thing about the somethingness is that it encompasses all possibilities, whereas the nothingness encompasses no possibilities. This means that the somethingness encompasses any immaterial things like mind, thought and whatever we might define as spirit (should such a thing prove detectable). If there is a transcendental aspect to reality, then it is part of the somethingness. This means ‘supernatural’ does not exist. Anything that’s part of the somethingness is perfectly ordinary and part of the established natural order even if it isn’t physical.
So let’s use a thought experiment. Given that the somethingness has always existed and has never not existed, then it stands to reason that at some point in its endless development some part of the somethingness, or perhaps the entirety of the somethingness itself, became self-aware. Since it’s clear that somethingness is real, and since we exist within it and are self-aware, then asserting that the somethingness or some of its parts eventually gained self-awareness is…wait for it…
It stands to reason that at some point in its endless development some part of the somethingness, or perhaps the entirety of the somethingness itself, became self-aware.
See what I did there? This settles the debate.
- The somethingness clearly exists (everything we are and know of falls within the somethingness).
- The somethingness must be a state existing in oppositional balance to nothingness.
- The somethingness clearly includes self-awareness as an element of being.
None of these things are magical. They’re all fully rational and supportable. And here we find the ultimate answer to question 1. Since the somethingness includes self-awareness, the unavoidable conclusion is that the somethingness or agents existing within it gained the ability to manipulate the substance of the somethingness in order to establish a physical component where there previously was none. This was the Big Bang (ours and any others – past, present or future).
The somethingness contains all possible states of being and is therefore transcendental without being supernatural. Everything in existence is natural because it’s all encompassed within the somethingness. There is no such thing as ‘unnatural’ or ‘non-natural’. All things within the somethingness are germane to the somethingness, including non-physical aspects of reality such as thought, will, spirit, etc. This, at last, reveals that our physical reality is a limited construct arising from intelligent design within the somethingness by either the somethingness itself or by agents within it, all of whom must exist in a pre-physical domain that predates our universe.
Our physical reality is a limited construct arising from intelligent design within the somethingness by either the somethingness itself or by agents within it, all of whom must exist in a pre-physical domain that predates our universe.
I’ll be adding to these existential ideas from time to time as this blog grows, but for now I’ve said the main things that needed saying, so my next post will be on a completely different tangent.
Michael is author of the Soulstice Saga, a transcendental ‘spacetime’ opera. He acts as an agent of thought in the Denver portion of the somethingness and frequently ponders things like “huh?” He has a weakness for answers and has occasionally been seen with them in public.