I am struck by how obvious, yet secret, the relationship between science, religion and truth are. This could be another example of ‘words very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice‘. There is, I’ve found, profound spiritual meaning in core scientific laws (truths). Why then the battle between religion and science. The problem begin with definition. There is the blatantly partisan side of religion, and the common humble spiritual truth from which religion spring. The Latin root, religare (“to reconnect,”) says it all (the prefix re “again” + ligare “bind, connect”). The war we see, are battles between the religious partisans and science. These passionate adherents are religious in name mostly.
Reviewing Causes Of Disconnection
The spiritual aim of all religion is to give the individual a sense of reconnection. As we left our ancient hunter-gathering tribal life-style and became civilized, we lost that intimate sense of connection that so fosters a sense of well being. Religion merely rushed in to fill that void. That people are religious in name only says much about the tribal nature of our species. It is not surprising that we are often only able to feel a sense of reconnection through passionate partisan secular religion. It’s tribal; it’s biological. More curious is why that is not enough. Why do we seek deeper ways to reconnect? Probably because we began feeling our increasing sense of disconnection long before we became civilized. Language (words and names) began to dominate human awareness ten of thousands of years earlier. This is when we began disconnecting from the ‘original’ moment. Now, ironically, I am going to use language to religare science, religion and truth.
Entropy Is Spiritual Truth
I don’t suppose I gave entropy much thought other than as a cornerstone of classical physics, i.e., Second Law of Thermodynamics. While reading “A New View of Gravity” in a recent Science News, it dawned on me the natural link between the common humble spiritual side of religion and the essence of science. The link between entropy and gravity made the case for me, though explaining why would give you and me a headache. (Let’s keep it simple, please!)
An example of increasing entropy would be burning coal. In burning it you are returning carbon to its simpler (mysterious sameness) state. To return it again to a lump of coal would require energy to do something to decrease entropy. The input of energy is what made the coal originally, i.e., CO2 + sunlight + plant life + tectonic forces (+ time) = coal. When the Tao Te Ching talks of return to the use of the knotted rope, it is referring to increasing entropy in our approach to life. Simplify!
Language, and the information it contains, is a low entropy system. Increasing entropy would mean decreasing information. Chapter ten speaks to this: When your discernment penetrates the four quarters, are you capable of not knowing anything? Complete entropy results in complete loss of information. This amounts to what the Tao Te Ching refers to as, ‘mysterious sameness’, ‘nothing’, ‘stillness’, ’emptiness’, ‘the void’, ‘silence’. It is odd using entropy to illustrate Taoist ‘information’. I love the irony. Does it make any sense? I expect the increasing information overload in the years ahead will make the Taoist model for returning to sanity ever more appealing.
A striking irony to me is how language, as a low entropy system, has the opposite effect on large groups of people. Language increase entropy among strangers, albeit as long as they speak the same language. Indeed, language is essential to give common ground (high entropy) for organizing civilization. Language reduces spontaneity and individuality by pulling everyone into mutual high entropy ‘common sense’. At the same time, it has the opposite effect in the mind of the thinker!
Maximum entropy parallels the Nothing spoken of in the Tao Te Ching. The singularity of a black hole is loosely synonymous with this Nothing. The Tao Te Ching is a tool to escape the low entropy of language and its domination of the mind, allowing the mind to experience Nothing in its purest ‘dirty’ entropy state. Correlations, by the way, is way of increasing entropy of language to the point of ‘cognitive singularity’ (a mental black hole).
Newton’s Law of Motion Is Spiritual Truth.
My first experience with connecting spiritual truth with core science was years ago while living in Japan. I’ve forgotten now how I came to be thinking about classical science in the first place. I think I was considering the action reaction of a rocket. Like so many things in life, I only really found the interest and learned them after finishing school. No wonder I have such a low opinion of school. I slept through much of it.
Anyway I recall being blown away when I realized how Newton’s laws of motion applies to life in general, most notability the third law, Action-reaction (I now see much more relevance to spiritual truth in the other two laws). I don’t really recall exactly how I tied it in with life. However, my current view that all we see are symptoms of underlying forces parallels this. “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” aligns even closer to my sense that how we are on the ‘outside’ is a counterbalance reaction to our ‘inside’ reality. This ‘action reaction’ law is profoundly universal, yet it is only appreciated as a mechanical law. Clearly we have left most of science’s insights as an untapped source for spiritual understanding. That’s understandable for the spiritual side of science is far more subtle and non-provable in objectively testable ways. And it doesn’t lend itself to the partisan purposes either – just the opposite.