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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Theory of Not Quite Everything

The Theory of Everything seeks to reconcile and connect various constructs of theoretical physics.  I understand the impetus to create connection across borders and boundaries where connection seems inevitable, even if not obvious.

I've been reading Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition, in which Rabbi Arthur Green seeks to reconcile the Theory of Evolution with Jewish theology.  It's a massive undertaking, though I can imagine the urge to reconcile the various competing ideas that fight for the right to be called true.  But I'm not sure that's really possible.  And even more so, I'm not sure it's necessary.

As Robert Pirsig wrote in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," "Metaphysics is a restaurant where they give you a thirty thousand page menu, and no food."  In my experience, the answers are simple, not complex.  Human life, human thought, human endeavor is full of complexity, but most of our answers, most of our meaning, comes from great simplicity.

Real comfort doesn't typically come from the latest metaphysical manifestos, papers or treatises, but instead comes from the touch of a loved one, the embrace of those who know and love and accept us, the shared laughter of friends, the ancient connections of family.  When we suffer loss, we often need nothing more than companionable silence, and when we celebrate, we want to be with those who care the most.

A philosophy, an ideology, a theology won't begin to soothe the soul in either joy or sorrow, and it is in the places of joy and sorrow that we are all alike.  It is in joy and sorrow and ordinary experience that we are most alike, that our similarities transcend the complexities of over-thinking.  And I think it's in these places of ordinary human experience that we are designed to connect with G*d, where our humanity meets divinity and can be transformed.

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