Ceasing to Understand the World: Making Sense of the World as That Which is Defined By Potential

A few quotes snapshoted below from a book I just finished called When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut

I thought it offered some compelling thoughts regarding the sort of dualism that crept into the scientific revolution, the tension that exists in keeping the material and the immaterial together as we observe the realities of this world, and further thoughts about how reality always exists within relationship to that which can observe it.

There are implications here for how we think about faith. Think about the phrase there is no reality, only potential. In some sense this becomes a guiding principle in observing the world in tangible and concrete ways. In other ways it exposes the challenges of observing such potential apart from given truths about reality. In truth science as a function can operate without the sort of meta narratives that allow us to make sense of its meaning, but meaning making processes are bound to narratives that then give the function a purpose. Caught in between of course is the question of whether this meaning is created or revealed. Further, if we are to speak of morals or objectives the nature of observation as potentials rather than realities becomes positioned within a different kind of question altogether.

Futher yet, in making sense of a world defined by potentials there is a danger in wanting to divide it into material and immaterial forms of observable sciences. To some degree this allows one to move fluidly between asking questions of function and questions of meaning without abandoning the field of science itself. But as these quotes suggest, this does create certain tensions that challenge how it is then that we percieve reality in an operative fashion where meaning can inform matter and vice versa. Any dualism inevitably sets things opposed, and in terms of God/spirit leaves us thinking of God apart from the material world rather than within it. There is a real sense that the more we undertand the function of reality the more it should awaken us to a God who functions equally in the details.

Published by davetcourt

I am a 40 something Canadian with a passion for theology, film, reading writing and travel.

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