Knowledge forces change, change forces knowledge
(I wrote this on April 16, 2003)
Others have presented these ideas before. They sound cool, and they make up great stories ... they make up all stories ...
They make up everything.
The tension between knowledge and reality has a feedback loop — that can be either positive or negative. The negative feedback loop is where each project contains the seeds of its own destruction. The positive feedback loop is where each project leads to a more powerful rebirth. Both of these feedback loops operate simultaneously, all the time.
Every conscious choice is a fork in the road, and we do not know where it will lead. We can do everything to make sure we lead a safe and secure life, and we still do not know where it will lead. We can construct a coherent belief system, and that belief system is still subject to change as new information is gathered. The visions we have of our selves change. The visions we have of reality change. These visions are part of the endless and comprehensive matrix of reality, and themselves create and are destroyed.
You can sit still, and then everything will work out for the best. Or maybe not. You can frantically rush about, trying to fix everything, and maybe that will work. Or maybe not. Ambiguity is always present. Most people do a mixture of both sitting around and working. Sleep and activity. Because people require a sense of equilibrium even inside the chaos. We hold on to familiar patterns so we don't feel so alone and afraid all the time. And we aren't alone. It feels like it sometimes, but we are not isolated, we are a part of the matrix, we are in fact related to everything.
In science, Einstein encountered this wild matrix when his work led to the creation of the atomic bomb, and possible world-ending scenarios. He probably spent a good deal of effort and worry afterward, trying to repair the "damage" he'd done ... mostly by spreading humanitarian memes.
The possession of the atomic bomb by only one country led to its use. This spooked other countries into developing the same technology. The advantage did not last for long, just a couple years, and during that time some people pressed for its use against Stalin's Russia, or Mao's China. That never happened. Why not? Possibly because the result was too terrible to contemplate. If people kept using these weapons against each other, then we'd all be losers. Some weapons should only be used when it appears the positive outcomes outweigh the negative outcomes. Nukes create their own destructive feedback loop if they are used. Every moment during which they are not used, the world is safe. At any moment they could be used, and the typical person has no decision about that ... but the typical person is part of the feedback loop. The typical person can imagine how awful it would be, and can communicate a message to others — do not use these weapons. A cultural taboo is formed, to save the culture from its own destruction.
You try your best with the information you have to do the right thing, according to your values, even though you aren't sure exactly where your values come from. You have to trust reality, that this is all part of a larger system, that everything happens for a reason, that your own imagination won't actually make good things happen or bad things happen ... but that your own imagination has its causes and its effects, somehow, and you won't know what those effects are until later, if ever.
Whatever happens, your choice is to welcome it, or fear it. Accept it, or fight it.
You can't track down all the effects. You'll probably never know if a particular action was the "right" action for you to take.
Should you have broken up with your husband? Well, staying with him was painful. Well, breaking up with him is painful. Both holding on and letting go are painful.
Should you have asked for that abortion procedure? Having a baby brings new life into the world. But circumstances aren't good for that right now. A baby requires a lot of work, and you might not be ready for that! It isn't as simple as — oops, pregnant, must have baby ... now that the technology is available to make a decision.
The "be fruitful and multiply" meme worked well for a long time, but now the population is hitting a level where it might have overshot the ability of the environment to support it. So, feminism, abortion, and homosexuality are more acceptable now, to slow the rate of world population growth.
And, to be extravagant about it ... your baby could grow up to be the next Hitler ... or your baby could grow up to be the next Einstein ... or your baby could grow up to be the next world-famous author ... or your baby could ... do anything. You don't know what your baby will do. You don't know the effects it might have, the stories it will tell, the knowledge it will create, or whether your child will have grandchildren — or perhaps be gay.
But the world is resilient. It fights back against total destruction. Only the necessary amount of destruction occurs, as one frame of the total universe replaces another. There has to be some change, or everything would be frozen and static. We'd be mummified and paralyzed and perhaps even totally unconscious. If everything is frozen and static, everything is dead.
Life is change — a movement from this moment into another moment that is both different, and somewhat predictable.
[Previous entry: "The Buddhist Debating Society"] [TOC] [Next entry: "Being Happy, Right Here, Right Now"]