Direct Tangent 4.4: science and faith.

The main problem in finding the truth is that no one cares about the truth. And, even if one may, the usual outcome is that truth is located in two arenas of knowledge, found through their respective methodologies, science and culture, that reflect only a temporary-momentary truth called theory , or as a theory is played out time and time again and so confirmed, law, or tradition-dependent truth, which likewise develops law. The two are situated into arenas that may function exclusively but also cooperate. In other words, there is no ‘absolute’ truth, but only ‘relative’ truth except that the absolute truth of the matter is that there is only negotiated, or relative truth.

But indeed, I had a periodic and lengthy discussion with someone over just this feature of truth. His position was that there is an absolute truth but we just don’t know what it is yet, that science is in the process of uncovering the absolute truth of the universe. Further, he says, that we cannot know if what we know now is even a portion of this absolute truth, but through science, in the future, we will sort this out; for example, the theory of plate tectonics. He would say that the theory of plate tectonics is absolutely true, that indeed there are continental plates that float on a layer of magma, etc…

I countered that with Stephen Hawking’s idea that what we know as truth is really a scheme of truth based upon models, and that these models seem to work for practical solutions of apparent problems. I am not sure if Hawking would say that there is as absolute truth out there that we seek in science, I think he would be content with merely saying that there is a truth out there that we uncover through our investigations, but it is a human truth, and such truth is limited in its nature but it is all we can know, that there may be more to the universe than our knowledge, but we can never know it.

I do not stop on one side of things and proclaim it for the other; I say that such ideas, both my counterpart and Hawking’s, are based in faith, that this faith lends itself to a particular kind or scheme of knowledge, and that this scheme is intimately linked with the ethical standpoint of action, as this ethics develops a humanity to a particular kind of reality; a reality which is inherently false. That is, reality is inherently mythological at its base, and in so reflects only itself upon the unfolding of existence: it is not true, but only true in negotiation.

*

I was watching a show the other night called something like “Steven Hawking’s: the purpose of existence”, or something like that. The grand culmination is, after going through all the theoretical physics and nifty science facts, after the tip of the ‘model’ limit of knowledge (above) and using the model idea to indicate, as counterpoint, the individual realities that go on inside of each of us, that, thus, we all make our own realities, and the purpose of existence is the individual’s.

Umm; what ? Such a platitudinous regurgitation of modern new age spiritual science seems hardly worthy of one of the supposed Big Minds of our day. I could only think that the poor guy must need money, or Cambridge does; I’m sure someone does, because if all the Big Minds can come up with after all this science, thinking and formulating and discussing, is that each individual creates his or her own reality and purpose for that reality – with such an act of statement they have moved from scientists into priesthood, so presumptuous they are to proclaim that their science has even taken one step into or toward investigating what they have proclaimed truth upon: it is an act of utter religious flagrancy and pomposity – indeed; the Big Minds have done nothing but propagate their faith, as evidenced by Hawking’s move here. Utter small mindedness hiding itself in grandiose bias.

What I am saying is that if i have come upon the truth of the matter, or at least the beginning of it, maybe there will be people who will investigate with open minds what the truth may actually be; but i doubt it, becuase the great thing is, no one or hardly anyone cares so faithful they are. It is the story of the ages.

* *

So back to what i see includes Laruelle in this whole thing.
Science does contribute; philosophy, now, is a wing of science, or at least tries to be; Laruelle sees this. I cannot comment right now as to what he sees as following from his project, but if he is to remain consistent, the project can only propose necessary outcomes.

Hence, I proceed.

The problem of science is that even if it is a model that grants humans a working truth, humanity and scientists such a Hawking, do not go about life as if it is a model; they go about life as if it is absolutely true. Hence a reiteration of what I propose above: the faithful humanity, guided by the priests of science (among other priests) views itself and determines its worth ‘individually’ with reference to this truth of science. It likewise cannot help but see itself in the reflection of scientific dictates, in particular, psychology. Psychology proposes to describe the true human psyche and everyone sees him or herself through a lens described by psychology. It is not difficult to see that if I am having a view of myself as a reflection of the science of psychology, as my mind may work in various ways, I immediately have self worth or not in view of the truth of psychology which is admittedly only a model of the truth – I am going to have problems that I cannot but describe either as stemming from a spiritual or psychological malady. It is no wonder that our most popular forms of spirituality and religion have to do with aligning oneself with some transcendent god or gods or what have you. Science, and by extension, psychology, creates the necessity for a transcendent entity by the contradiction involved in science being itself a model, the model being a basis for actual and absolute (relative) truth, and the assertion of individual realities – such a formula allows for the individual that hardly “knows thyself” because the self, in faith, is always relegated to the mysterious individual of free will.

Yet, this is not to say that such a faith based in a methodology of acting, of action, does not contribute, but it does so in the arena of social justice. (See my post on Feminism.)
* * *

So I must describe Laruelle as a passivist. Not a pacifist, but a passivist as opposed to an activist. What I mean by this is not that he is a pussy or that he has no principles that he will stand up for. I do not mean that he does not behave from a general standpoint of propriety or that he won’t punch someone who crosses that line. I do not mean that there aren’t things worth advocating actively. What I mean is, in so much as i understand what Laruelle is saying, I cannot escape from the position where every problem that involves the individual reduces to one answer, so I am unable to address myself ethically to solve one problem wholeheartedly without also addressing other problems that naturally and inevitably concern the initial problem. This does not mean that Laruelle or I do not live life and address problems; rather, such problems have already been solved by their reduction to one solution, which is my being consistent with myself in existence – and I am thereby activated.

On the other hand, we have the co-conspirator in the project: the activist.

The activist sees each problem as being solvable, at least potentially, and the hope that accompanies the activity of solving each problem is justified in the ethical default that at least one tried to solve that problem even though its solution may then present, lead to or have caused more problems. The activist is thereby passive, in that they pass by the aggregate of the world, the world which is inevitably the activist itself, for the sake of solving one problem, and in remaining active despite its own deficiency in solution, the activist finds itself in the solution of other.

Together, the activist and the passivist join in active praxis through their natures of having an ability to confront ignorance; ignorance is seen by both as the antithesis of an ethical human existence. The passivist confronts what ignorance there may be for the individual human itself by refusing to stop himself or herself at their own belief, and thereby the passivist might become an unbiased and un-violenced representative instrument of existence. The activist confronts ignorance by questioning others from the perspective of an ethical righteousness that takes its form from an initial individual reflection of service, which gains from an impetus toward a common human social justice.

Ok. Now before I get into the more juicy parts of the meal, Im taking a coffee break. We will return after these important messages…..

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