Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why the Invisible?

 A few people have asked me why I would use the term “the invisible” in a blog dedicated to naturalistic spirituality.   That everything is overt, thus open to empirical method, is something of a dogma of naturalism. And that is the main reason I chose a title emphasizing the invisible, because I believe it is false dogma and needs to be challenged.

There are two major aspects of our world that are not open to empiricism.  One is the information that tells us of our ultimate origination.  The other is the being that each of us lives as a subjective person.  These two mysteries, both separated and connected by the whole of Nature, are also the subject matter of spirituality.

The ultimate origin is the answer to the question Why is there something rather than nothing?  It is now pretty clear that the answer to that question cannot be found within this universe.  The laws of nature tell us a great deal about what we do find here, but they do not tell us why the laws of nature are as they are.  There are numerous cosmological theories about this, but each in the end is a metaphysical theory based on scientific information, rather than a scientific theory. 

We can presume that each of us experiences the world much like others.  Our joy is like the joy of others; our pain like the pain of others.  We see the color green as others do (if they are not color blind) and hear music as they do.  But we can’t know this for sure, and our attempts to articulate what we experience can only go so far.  We experience our life directly, not through our senses.  We cannot experience others lives directly, but only through our senses.  We cannot escape that loop.

As a Pantheist, I believe that Nature and God are one and the same.  But just as water and steam are two different aspects of H2O, Nature and God are two aspects of the Great Mystery.  To play around with words: Nature is the sensible aspect of God; God is the un-sensible (invisible) aspect of Nature. 

Naturalism is a set of assumptions about the way the world works.  It is a set of assumptions that has given us remarkable power over the natural world (for better or worse). 

Spirituality is an engagement with Being.  The depth of spirituality is the depth of that engagement.  The two poles of Being are the ultimate source – God, Goddess, Tao, Brahma, Nature, Absolute – and the depth of experience.

The honey of the invisible, harvested from the pollen of the visible, richly nourishes the life of contemplation. The joy of contemplation is the reward of a spiritual life; the spiritual life is the golden hive of the invisible. 

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