writing about my life

The Divine Observer

with one comment

A scientist had a dream. In it he found, phrased by the spirits of the sleep
world, The Ultimate Question:

“What is going on ?”
He agonised for many days about the answer to this succinct query and
finally the exalted truth came to him:

“More than one process.”

In multiplicity is the source of complexity. In unity is the source of all
simplicity. Both are germane.

The beauty of an ordered pattern behind things is so subtle. Its nature seems to be
something forever just beyond my grasp, yet it thrills me. Piece by piece humankind
builds its theoretical model into a giant explanatory structure, but I can only ever
catch brief glimpses of that whole. In some of these moments I sense holiness (a word
from the same etymological root) and my senses quicken. I sense the beauty of this
universe around me and containing me. I sometimes feel in my research like I have
peered into the exquisite workings of God’s mind. Heart stopping vistas of lovely
complexity, whole schemes of perfect evanescent knowledge lie buried within the
deep workings of nature. For this is my ecstasy, touching nature.

I live in wonder at the complexity of the real
Ever in wonder at the unfoldment I feel.
No matter what events befall me
I know they will expand richly
Into glimmering manifolds of coherent forces
Or a space manifesting multiple sources
Of order and of symmetry combining
Giving justice to this adventurer’s refining
Until fallen back from the space into which I stared
Replete with wonder, from ugliness spared,
I am able to affirm, able to say yes
my love of creation diminished no less.

Like the first telescope, first microscope or your first sight of a waterfall in a woodland
clearing, the computer too can expand and bring to life mathematical schemas,
margin notes in sciences portrayal of the universe. It is a portal through which we can
gaze upon bewitching landscapes. Such panoramas include the new worlds of
graphics, art, storytelling, gaming. Through greater connection with others in the
swarm our social being is deepened. Through increased power to calculate our
universe is made richer.

As I survey these beautiful avenues I am brought again and again to that short lived
feeling of ecstasy. Greater wholeness and that riddle of a designer only briefly sensed.
The idea of God is a very present one to many scientists, too, in their work. I may
watch a pendulum in motion, I see its parts, I understand some of what is going on in
the system. I can see for example how gravity provides the restoring force, I
understand how the thread sweeps out a rough cone, I know the whole is oscillating
according to a sinusoidal pattern. How far does my vision of what is happening extend
though ? It is not total, that is for sure, there are many aspects in this little world I
don’t see, am not fully aware of. I do not model all the atomic and molecular
interactions in the bob and thread, how well do I grasp that Gravity is pulling the
thread, but that gravity is part of a larger unified set of forces that have evolved
through time since the big bang ? How well do I envisage the electrons in their orbits
and the oscillations that are the system’s temperature ? No, I do not see all.
Or I would try to sense my connections with all other humans, those I know and those I
do not. The intensity of brief eye contact with a girl in the street, the comfort of being
at my mother’s house, Swimming in the sea with a friend. Feeling knowledge
spreading outwards into a world I never hold as my own, but still participate in as a
tiny member.

But God, as we imagine him or her, would see all. Every single piece of every single
whole in the whole universe, every relationship, every interaction , every real or
imaginary part. I let my mind play over the idea.

Or let us look elsewhere, at a human being, in wonder we may catch glimpses of the
intricacy of our own bodies. This great cathedral of cells, and its grand cyclic
chemistry, I cannot hold the totality of it in my mind, it is too much, thus again I
become convinced there must be there *should be*, some greater mind, some infinite
mind perhaps which can fully appreciate the wonder of all that is, which could even
linger in pleasure over every detail, and, incredibly, savour the whole, the entirety of
creation’s story. Such a mind would be the great justification for the cosmos, the first
reason, relating to it would be the one truest value, thus I say let us speculate about it,
let us at least enjoy the idea!

I see order, multifarious, glittering, dancing order, wondrous in its immense variations.
Intricate beyond majesty, as the camera zooms out from a single point to reveal
whirling depths of structure, infinite order. A part of this universe is life, beautiful
complexity. All laws of matter and energy conspire to reach fruition in life.
All becoming seems to predestine the arising of this singular miracle. I need more
words to describe it.

The disembodied mind of the deity
perceives all with infinite clarity
We humans see only one level at a time
Catching glimpses of wholes we slowly refine
Our science and insight in quest of completion
Of this great enterprise and its slow accretion.
We dream of our concepts of infinity
the nearest science can get to the divinity
Yet God seems to retreat from our frontier
leaving us just with creation, he or she still near,
God’s signature to some is the prevalence of order
though in my life there’s plenty of chaos on that border

Myriad tiny particles, atoms, form larger entities. These combine once more into still
larger objects. Complex molecules are formed, these interact with each other in
further ways, cycles of pattern come into being. Life itself is composed of these cycles.
Simplest unit of its being the cell, but the camera still zooms outward, out of these
building blocks further arrangements are still made. From beetles through butterflies,
bacteria, reptiles and finally, most complex of all man/woman. This is the glorious
temple of science’s vision.

This wonder is my worship of God the consummate mathematician and scientist, the
divine architect. I feel a need for God as a divine witness sometimes now, to pay full
and right homage to the wonder of all these processes. And in embracing the free gift
with gratitude my strength grows.

How sad a world where the only consciousness is so limited it sees only tiny fragments
of the whole tapestry, just skimming the surface of what is. This precious dance of
nature must have a spectator. I take a vow as I write this to expand my awareness.
Could this whole universe indeed be just a flicker of one greater thought, just the
exploration of one instant’s whim of the mind of God, in its infinite majesty, as it plays
with endless possibility? This idea, too, is grand enough to deserve hoping for, to
justify our consideration. We can only touch parts of the great Whole, can only glimpse
fragments, but I feel myself intoxicated by the richness of the world’s story, so vastly
meaningful it would split me into fragments were I to attempt to ingest its essence.
God is fully master of this object though. And so I struggle on up the mountain.



Written by Luke Dunn

August 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Prose

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. when we are truly amazed and lost in wonder…i think..thats when we worship…


    August 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm

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