Saturday, May 25, 2013

de rerum natura

it's been a while since I've posted anything to this old blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been walking around. it was tempting to write a follow-up to my lenten post, hanging out as I do with so many churchy-types, about the general inanity of the church. but the general inanity of the church is widely recognized, so I'll leave that dead horse lie and abuse another cliche, the baby in the bathwater. there is wisdom often, I would suggest, in places we scorn, places of which we are afraid.

as silly as it is in the 21st. century, there is still perceived to be a conflict between religion and science. silly, I suggest, because the conflict is not between two modes of knowledge or relating to the world, but between two groups of people who often shut ourselves off from one another in fear. indeed it seems to me clear that science is indeedva religion. many of my friends who are scientists object strenuously to that suggestion,  but many of my friends who are christians insist that christianity is not a religion.

whatever we call our favoured way of organizing our knowledge, it needs to correspond to the nature of things if it is to be helpful to our life as individuals and a species.

this has been a long-winded way to introduce my pascal koan forvthis year: he is alive, and to set it in context. what does it mean to say someone, something, is alive?

this question has a long history, but it has taken on a new dare-I-say? life recently with our confrontation with artificial intellegence and genetically engineered foods, two loci of consideral conflict between folk coming from self-identified 'religious' or 'scientific' viewpoints.

so, for my purposes I want to suggest a definition, in the strict sense of de-fining, what is natural and avoid ptoscription for description: if it is possible, it is natural. things unnatural are also impossible.  it is also perhaps helpful to avoid the use of 'natural law', despite its long and sometimes honourable history. rather than law, i will use tao. there is the way things are.

so, it's off to see what life is. please wish me luck on the journey.