Monday, 28 February 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…



All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.

“We must assume behind this force the existence of conscious and intelligent
mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

Max Planck

Personal Wisdom:

Is the Universe “intelligent”?  What does that mean to you?

In your own cosmology, what is the nature of that Intelligence?

Societal Wisdom:

From the point of view of society, is it important for us to have any understanding or belief about the nature the Universe, intelligent or not?

a Moment with Sharif…


Nobel Prize winner Max Planck was one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and founder of quantum theory. And, I suppose, we could also credit him with the founding of “Intelligent Design”.

This week’s offerings will be focused on the nature of (and our relationship to) “Reality”.

Right now, as you are reading this, a myriad number of processes are going on, some mechanical, some quantum, some even mystical/spiritual. Light from the computer screen
strikes your optic nerve and converts to electrical impulses in your brain – scientists really understand that part.  We then convert those electrical impulses into meaning.  Scientists understand that part only in part. When you read THIS sentince, your mind continues to make meaning and connections (and notes the intentional typo… what did it do with that?).
Scientists understand that meaning-making very poorly.

And, when you look at the image of the spiral galaxy, your heart expands and you feel spiritually connected to the Whole in amazing ways… scientists understand that part
not at all.

When you pick up your teacup, there is a “force” that keeps your hand from passing through the teacup. Scientists tell you that the force is simple mechanics. Planck says something different.

Now, as we know, the term “Intelligent Design” has been used by some folks who want to completely dismiss science and the scientific method. They use the term in a silly attempt to make “literal” truth of the Bible — which it was never meant to be.  They want to restrict the workings of the Universe to a tiny and petty concept of “God”.

Our spirituality should not ignore scientific reality… in fact, as Planck indicates, both our science and our spirituality should enhance our understanding of Reality, not try to restrict it.



PS: The photo of the M31 galaxy has special meaning for me.  It is the first galaxy I ever saw in a photograph (not the crystal-clear Hubble image, but one that definitely detailed the countless stars within it).  It was then, at 6 or 7 years old, that I first tried to wrap my mind around the awe-some nature of the Universe.  I’ve been trying ever since…

[You may be asking what’s a six year old doing studying spiral galaxies.  If I find out the answer, I’ll let you know…]

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Sharif Abdullah photo: Lisa Norton

All other photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

M31 Galaxy courtesy NASA

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