Because there is no design and Designer in the universe does not mean the universe is a machine. Because atoms exist does not mean the universe is composed of discrete particles.
Is awareness evolutionary? That is, does subjective awareness in creatures like us evolve out of random chaos, or is the cosmos an endlessly creative unfolding of underlying order permeated with awareness?
Under the right conditions, which surely don’t exist only on earth, creatures evolve with the capacity for conscious awareness. Without imagining and projecting a separate Supreme Being, did awareness exist before humans evolved?
Obviously yes, since the animals that evolved on earth before humans had to have awareness, just not the capacity for conscious awareness as we do.
The true capacity of the human being is not for science and technology, or even the amassing of knowledge, but for ever-deeper and wider awareness. Without developing our latent capacity for conscious awareness, the extension of knowledge and the expansion of technology have very little meaning.
I was reminded of this when I attempted to initiate dialogues with the John Muir Center (JMI) of the University of California, Davis. It seems they have forgotten the spirit of their namesake.
“We do not feel we have the bandwidth at this time,” I was told.
On the same day I came across this quote: “Efficiency is essential in technology. But in the world of man, in the world of the psyche, there is tyranny.”
“Bandwidth” is a faddish term borrowed from technology, where it refers to the speed and carrying capacity of data over the net. It has also come to mean, as it was used by JMI, “the energy or mental capacity required to deal with a situation.”
Lack of “bandwidth” in this sense is therefore a self-induced condition of insufficiency and inadequacy. It simply refers to capacity, which is largely a function of caring.
I believe everyone has the “bandwidth,” or capacity they require to come up to the mark for him or her. Who or what sets that mark? Life, circumstances, and intelligence beyond intellect.
John Muir not only loved wild nature; he was insatiably curious and insightful about the human condition.
Before he came to California and was one of the first white people to see Yosemite Valley, and before he re-named the Sierra Nevada Mountains by their true spiritual name—“The Range of Light”—John Muir said:
The March for Science in April was good thing, a rare political act by scientists. “We call for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest,” the mission statement read.
However while science is “a pillar of human freedom and prosperity,” it is not the foundation for freedom, much less its wellspring. Individual lives as well as political policies require philosophical insight more than scientific knowledge, and that is woefully lacking.
As a philosopher friend wrote me today, “people are blindly immersed and caught up in a whirlpool of knowledge backed up by science, which has become utterly unphilosophical and unreflective.”
This is the trap in which the John Muir Institute seems to be caught, not only to the detriment of their institute and UC Davis, but also to society as a whole.
When even outstanding scientists in the environmental field speak of not having enough “bandwidth” to address core issues of public policy (beginning with climate change, which stands in for man’s decimation of the earth in general) then we are in serious trouble indeed.
The way ahead, as my friend said, is “a state of suspension or radical questioning of what is supposedly ‘known,’ that is, the operative worldview, however rarely reflected upon.”