VI. Magic
(5/10/11)

 

(Note that I'll be treating many of my conclusions below as fact. Not to worry -- I accept that these are only my current "beliefs" (however much I currently believe them). Just that saying, "it appears" over and over again doesn't flow very well. I'll be trying to bring more support for my conclusions as we go. Hopefully, OTHERS will be trying to bring the opposite.)


We shouldn't reject Jesus on the basis of the "magicalness" of his concept/story (c/s) -- ANALYTICALLY SPEAKING, REALITY ITSELF IS PROBABLY "MAGICAL"...

  1. Reality is probably not the impersonal, deterministic machine that mainstream science would have us believe.  In that sense, reality is probably “magical.”  Many of the “things” that we think we know, or that we otherwise “believe in,” do not really “make sense,” do not readily fit into our “naturalistic” (physical/analytic) worldview – and are, in that sense, magical... For instance
    1. While consciousness may be the result of purely physical causes, consciousness itself, (or perhaps, a “facet” of consciousness) surely appears to be non-physical.  Note that consciousness is different than anything else that we are CONSCIOUS of.  (This may be a realization, or perspective, that is impossible to convey if the targeted “receiver” (you) has not recognized it already…) (Google)
    2. Most of us sense, or at least imagine, a non-physical dimension of reality that we call "transcendence" -- if we call it anything. If we think that life has "meaning," or if we believe in right and wrong, or "true love, "we are believing in something transcendent (perhaps, unwittingly) and implicitly believe in an ethical, non-physical, magical, aspect to reality.
    3. Then, if one believes in free will, one believes in magic -- analytically speaking, free will is impossible. (Click here.)
    4. It turns out that EXISTENCE itself doesn't make sense. If there was nothing, now THAT would make sense. But, once there is something, we seem to have an unsolvable analytic conundrum.
    5. And finally, our own personal awareness is a statistical miracle. Not only is it non-physical, it is also (for all intents and purposes) mathematically impossible. (Click here.)
  2. Then, note that every concept addressed above is either not physical or not rational – or, neither.  It is in those different senses that they are “magical.”
  3. We just don’t tend to notice this “magicalness.” We look right through it -- like a fish surely does with its water, we take this magicalness for granted.
  4. And then, as a chicken's understanding of reality is to human understanding of reality, human understanding of reality could be to perfect understanding...
    1. Is there some reason to think that our different cognitive abilities include all the cognitive abilities possible?
    2.  Is there some reason to think that we are not making some big, crucial, mistake, or that we're not missing a lot of critical facts?
    3. How much could we be missing, or getting wrong?
    4.  How far do our seemingly exceptional brains take us?
    5. Could we humans trying to understand reality be like worms trying to understand calculus?
  5. So, it could be that with greater cognitive abilities, we wouldn’t think that non-physical or “irrational” concepts were "magical." We would accept that such concepts could be both real and true. Quantum mechanics, in fact, may be pointing the way, and redefining “magic” and "reality" as we speak.


  6. Moving right along -- it turns out that the two hemispheres of the human brain process information differently. One hemisphere processes "holistically," whereas the other processes "analytically."
  7. In other words, one hemisphere sees the ‘forest’, while the other sees the ‘trees.’
  8. Typically, it is the right hemisphere that sees the forest, whereas it is the left hemisphere that sees the trees – but not always.
  9. Whatever, we humans have two qualitatively different ways of looking at, or thinking about, the world…
  10. And then, it turns out that our "sense" of magic originates in the holistic hemisphere. The holistic hemisphere is responsible for what we call "religious experience" and our sense of transcendence (the very germ of God).
  11. The analytic hemisphere has little or no “truck” with such things. Unfortunately, the analytic hemisphere is also the one that decides whether or not something "makes sense."
  12. In other words, our “magical” beliefs are sensed -- or imagined -- by one hemisphere, but they are judged by the other hemisphere. They are judged by the hemisphere that cannot sense -- or imagine -- them... What sense does that make?
  13. Whatever ... either our analytic hemisphere is transcendence-blind (as in “color-blind”), or our holistic hemisphere hallucinates…

  14. (In truth, this kind of hallucinating would make some sense in terms of evolutionary theory or natural selection.)
  15. And by the way, we now have a new science called “Neurotheology” – reasonably enough, it studies the neurology of "religious experience"… (Google)(Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotheology)

  16. So, the holistic hemisphere is the one that "believes in" things; the analytic hemisphere "makes sense" of things.
  17. And, this explains why we humans can honestly "believe in" something that doesn't "make sense" to us...

  18. Then, it turns out that each of us humans tends to be dominated by one hemisphere or the other (especially us men) -- and therefore, by one way of thinking.
  19.  And naturally, humans dominated by their analytic hemispheres tend to have little appreciation for magic and religion.
  20. And, this explains why religion can seem so foolish to some of us, and so obvious to others of us.

  21. Then, it turns out that public education in the “west” (or at least the U.S.) teaches almost exclusively to the analytic hemisphere. (Link)
  22. And naturally enough, kids who excel in U.S. schools tend to be dominated by their analytic hemispheres -- and become more dominated as they progress through school.
  23. And noting that the well-educated tend to dismiss the magical Jesus c/s takes on a whole new slant.
  24. In other words, this could explain why most atheists are well-educated.

  25.  But, we still don’t know whether the analytic hemisphere is transcendence-blind or the holistic hemisphere hallucinates.
  26. But then, if we think about it, what we call "reasoning" is analytic -- whereas, reality itself must be holistic...
  27.  And consequently, trying to understand reality using (ordinary) reasoning must be like trying to solve a calculus problem using algebra. Or like trying to understand black holes in terms of classical physics or Euclidian Geometry. Or like, trying to slice up a round pizza using a rectangular pastry cutter. The whole being greater than the sum of its parts (as per Aristotle), something is intrinsically lost in translation, something is missing. (Consider the square root of two, or Zeno's Paradox.)
  28. And, the hemisphere that judges whether or not something “makes sense”-- the analytic hemisphere -- is simply incapable of seeing the forest that the other hemisphere sees (or, “believes in”)…
  29. In other words, it must be that we cannot fully understand reality using reasoning -- and reality will be "magical" in that sense. Part of reality must not make analytic sense.
  30. In still other words, if we listen carefully, the analytic hemisphere is "telling on itself." It is telling us that it cannot fully account for, or describe, reality... (We are getting this from the proverbial horse's mouth...)
  31. And, we are justified in suspecting that this is from where the “magic” we're talking about comes, and why we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.
  32. So, analytically speaking, it appears that parts of reality are either "irrational" or non-physical, or both, and in that sense magical.
  33. And, the RH is let off the hook. We still can’t be sure that the RH is not hallucinating, but the main reason for thinking that it is has been eliminated (or at least, considerably weakened) -- and the magicalness of religion has a potential, if not likely, savior.

 

VII. God