When it comes to viewing our world, universe and likely unseen cosmos around us, most of us have loud opinions as to their substance, mechanics and Creative intentions (or lack of them). Such opinions may be said to be one of the following:
1. Strictly factual; 2. tenable; 3. dreamed-up; 4. hoped-for-but-inane; 5. cynically-drugged-away-into-nowhereland; 6. darkly inane; or, 7. non-committal.
Or, rather, as is likely the global norm: All seven of those determinations may be bound together into one preposterous, improbable and ill-considered mish-mash.
Every existing religion, philosophy and “non-belief” system has its extremes, and those extremes nowadays all dance up to the edge of nutty. They really really do.
When it comes to believing in silly things, no one has the market cornered as yet.
Regardless, we all hold a wide variety of beliefs – and apart from the state of our emotional and psychological health at any given moment (a discussion entirely unto itself, particularly when it comes to rampant cultural denial in these scary times), we live our lives by those beliefs – be they valid, invalid or, as is again the global norm, somewhere in-between.
Part of the problem here is so few of us desire to even discuss such subjects, in the first place. (Frankly, if you’ve taken the trouble to read this treatise this far – and I truly thank you for having done so – you’re a member of a teensy minority.)
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My personal world view – how I perceive the nature and mechanics of our world and universe(s), philosophically speaking – gravitates strongly toward embracing number 2, above, tenability, as its primary criterion.
Tenability has several synonyms, but the most appropriate of these, for the sake of this discussion, are: believability, credibility, defendability, viability, plausibility, and maintainability – themselves oftentimes synonyms for each other.
I think most folks should support tenability as a way of forming their personal world views – to go along with active investigation, seeking consistency, and keeping tabs with one’s own psychological/emotional health, which is hugely influential.
Our emotions usually call the shots in our lives, not our intellects. That’s maybe the single greatest misstep in classical philosophy, by the way – an underlying conviction that we can transform ourselves, by formula, into reasonable or logical beings. We cannot, although the effort is worthy and useful. We are all biased creatures. Do you think I dislike country music because it’s dislikable? No. It’s closer to the truth to say I wasn’t raised listening to it. It rarely played on WQAM in Miami, just about every kid’s then-favorite radio station when I was growing up.
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Tenability requires that it not be blind to any criteria. A tenable world view may not sidestep strongly compelling scientific beliefs, yet similarly, it may not dismiss that which is possible simply because there exists (as yet) no empirical evidence to support it. (This latter point of view is positivistic – which means its only concrete source for forming world view opinions is that of a restrictive-by-design scientific methodology.)
Some scientists sidestep physical world anomalies, which are deviations (or even aberrancies) from comforting positivistic mindsets. Psychic ability is an excellent example of such a deviation, for the “proof” to support it to date has often been elusive. Pinning down “psi” can be as difficult to make sense out of as the seeming incoherency of the sub-atomics. This is not to bash scientists, however.
Pick a field where convictions are held: because of our human need to dot I’s and cross T’s, certain beliefs are simply not allowed within arguably every philosophy and religion on this planet – even though we all know specific anomalies exist.
How about that individual who strongly focused his or her attention on you from behind your back from, say, way across the room, prompting you to turn around to find out who was gazing at you? (Oh, what – you’ve never experienced that?)
Or, how about that UFO you saw-way-back when that you Know was neither an airplane, nor swamp gas … nor some ball of light emitted just prior to a volcano erupting or an earthquake quaking?
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The beauty about tenability is that it’s the only world-view building block that not only does incorporate physical world anomalies into its mindset – it’s obliged to.
Tenability must be able to “explain,” within its context, how anomalies can fit in – or it’s no longer tenable.
When constructing your personal world view utilizing tenability, your beliefs need only be consistent and believable. Irrefutable scientific proof isn’t necessary – but it can’t be blown off, either. In any case, your world view must “work” from A to Z.
Psychic abilities and UFOs are not the only fun, exciting prospective inhabitants of this universe you’re building, one might add. You can even place the (tenable) God of Your Understanding in there, as well.
The only catch is – your universe must not only be consistent and believable, it must make sense motivationally. If it is random (good luck in building that one), then you must be able to explain anomalies like the human ability to stand up as a toddler (something no robot has yet ever accomplished), the ability to sing or whistle on key with no biological training, the hand mechanics behind sinking full-court shots in basketball and/or holes-in-one in golf … and other dumbfounding, real world (and surprisingly commonplace) events like them.
If your existing beliefs gravitate toward the religious, the same principles apply. And they’re no less problematic – particularly when those beliefs seek to explain both your deities and your afterlifes (or the absence of either).
I’ve opted to construct a tenable, consistent and deeply-investigated (by me) world view that features a loving and supportive universe, replete with a God. I have many evidences that it exists. But, then I had to ask myself, how could that be so, when there’s all this vicious and destructive behavior in a world where no loving God appears to ever intervene?
My answer: our universe isn’t “real:” it’s a construct of loving intelligent design. Our physical universe is (at best) a secondary reality (physicality itself may be the actual construct), designed as a field for experimentation, where we can beat ourselves up silly and still continue to live (after death). Can we hurt in such a place? Oh, brother, can we ever.
But we can also feel great here. Therein lies the focus behind The Experiment.
And here’s what’s cool about that conclusion: ongoing discoveries in quantum physics continue to support such a diagnosis, at least conceptually. So far.
My challenge: if you can construct a different world view (universe) that better suits our backgrounds, studies, perspectives and makeup, then go for it. Just don’t ignore the anomalies – for they are critical to substantiating your beliefs.
And I’ve barely tapped into the plethora of unknowns to be seen about us. All we need do is look for them – and then not ignore them once they’re encountered.
I believe anomalies are “winks” thrown our way (in these life-affirming cosmos), softly warning us to not be so quick to come to glib conclusions about the nature of both our immediate and greater realities.
We ignore them at our peril – for anomalies just may be our universe’s fail safe points, acting like caution flags whenever the truth stops being spoken among us.
Donald Croft Brickner lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Questions and comments may be emailed to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.