Posts Tagged ‘mind’

Finely Tuned

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

As we dig deeper and deeper using scientific methods, we continue to find rational and meaningful order Paul Davies

Still pondering the ‘mindful’ universe. It is ‘finely tuned’ to support life — indeed, it seems to be geared towards the creation of ‘mind’. Then there’s the question of meaning. Twelve leading scientists and thinkers were asked, Does the universe have a purpose? Five of them answered ‘Yes’, two said ‘No’, and the others were everywhere in-between (including one ‘I hope so’). Read their fascinating responses here. Jane Goodall’s personal response recalls a transcendent moment in a cathedral.

How could I believe that blind chance had led to that moment in time — the cathedral, the collective faith of those who had prayed and worshiped within, the genius of Bach, the emergence of a conscious mind that could, as mine did then, question the purpose of life on Earth Jane Goodall

I once heard the beautiful Monteverdi Choir in Pisa Cathedral (photo) – quite by chance, but hopefully not blind chance! It was a ‘moment in time’ for me, the voices lingering in the air long after the singing stopped…

The Case of the Mindful Universe

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Photo: Mysterious cosmic egg (supernova): NASA Images

I love a good mystery: in my 20s it was the search for God; then family mysteriously absorbed 30 years; and now questions rise again: What is the purpose of life? What is quantum physics? Consciousness? And why am I always the one on the spot when the loo paper runs out?

I’ve cobbled together the following Great Mysteries (with much help from pop-science books):

Around 14 billion years ago (for motives which are unclear) matter gained an advantage over anti-matter and the universe became slightly biased towards life. But only a ‘mere- smear’ of the universe is ordinary matter – galaxies, elephants, us – the bulk is ‘dark stuff’ which is mysteriously connected to the rest. Matter is made of atoms, which are energetic, enigmatic little tykes. An electron inside an atom behaves like a two-year old – it seems to be everywhere at all times – but when humans give it some attention, its behaviour changes. Intriguing. The little grey cells (our brains) enfold another mystery: consciousness. So we’re able to find meaning in life: we can make up our own minds.

And now the story takes a twist, from science towards soul. Mystical biologist Charles Birch reckoned that the whole universe is made of ‘mind stuff’. He suggested that even electrons have a whiff of consciousness:

We exist only because of subtle connections between the very small and the very large.

It seems to be all about connection and meaning, and I admit I’m biased towards finding both – hopefully without scrambling the cosmic egg. But I’ll leave you with a more appealing metaphor, by poet Muriel Rukeyser (I’m off to buy loo paper).

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.