Tuesday 30 May 2017

    Whenever I am walking from my house to Southampton center - usually heading to a church - I pass an old yew tree whose wide trunk is embossed with a mass of wooden hemispheres, recalling the the mother-goddess, the emblem of fertility, the fountain of nourishment, an Anatolian divinity, who was "Grecized" under the name of Artemis. She appears in the bible (Acts 19:34) when Paul and his colleagues were trying convert the "pagans" living there. It is recorded that "When (the crowd) recognised that (Paul) was a Jew, one shout arose from them all: 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesions' and they kept in up for about two hours." If you read out loud 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesions' it really doesn't sound like a decent chant at all; but if you walk along shouting (very quietly - I am English) "Megale-e  Artemis  Efesion" it really has a good swing to it for walking.
I stop singing when I get to the church.

Monday 29 May 2017

Yesterday I was with some members of our singing group on a country walk near Tisbury, blessed by a clear sky and perfect temperature. I confess that, although it was only a dozen kilometers, I was quite weary at the end. More exercise called for!

Saturday 27 May 2017

More on Universe(s)

I noted earlier that we did not know the shape of the universe (infinite? twisted?) nor whether there are many of them. But if can never know about them, it's irrelevant. Or is it?

It would seem that another  universe which, by definition, is completely invisible and intangible to us is totally irrelevant: we can forget about it. But if we bring God into our mental picture and in addition consider that we are in some part of God along with the denizens of other universes, then the universe is realised as a much greater concept.

(An addition at 30/05/2017:

“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space” (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Friday 26 May 2017

 A clear blue sky with a cheerful wind and odd trips to buy things ... making mayonnaise ...
All my ponderous musings on religion and God fade away before this reality of abundant richness.

Monday 22 May 2017

The shape of the universe

The question of the shape of the universe has always fascinated me. I don't mean "shape" as how something looks like from the outside, because the universe is everything and there isn't an outside (unless you count God and the Angels). You discover the shape of the universe in the same way as you might discover the shape of a network of corridors in a large hotel: by walking all over the place until you get the hang of it. It could go on for ever (the universe, not the hotel - though some hotels do seem to be infinite) but I like to leave this to the aforesaid God. It could, for instance, be a sort of higher dimensional version of the Klein bottle (wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_bottle).

Hmm...  actually, deeper down, I know that ultimate existence is not the play-infinities of mathematics, but truly transcendent infinity.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Back to nature

My previous blog jumped our scientific view of the universe to the picture of Christianity. But science and religion aren't the only way to see things: our life is a constant flow, passing through different moments of awareness, repeatedly grasping at each moment the surrounding "isness".
Yet at many times we feel much more: from their own isness we feel the being of the trees, the brooks and the hills.

Monday 15 May 2017

Back to "God"

Back to "God" again, and what to say when I'm in church.

The Nicene Creed states

"We believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth ... we believe in ... Jesus Christ the only son of God". 
And this is where I close my lips!

For me, the crux lies in the difference between these words and the gospels. The early gospels show that Jesus consistently prayed to God as "Father", and the (later) Gospel of John says that Jesus referred to God as "The Father" and to himself as "The son".
Genesis, the first book of the Torah/Bible, starts with "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth".
The Creed plugs these two together.

   The best I can make of this is to recognise the limitation of being human.
We (i.e the physicists which once included myself) can rationally work out how the universe has developed, from the "flaring forth" (the expansion from the "planck era" of the first 1second-divided by 10x10x...43 times) up to the universe that we now see in all it's grandeur. We know the mechanics by using the "propositional" part of our mind. 
   We have a deep connection with the intrinsic being of each thing through our "implicational mind" [Thanks to my wife for these concepts], as we rejoice in the world and embrace all people, human and other that human, around us.
   Religion, if sensitively conducted, can help to hold these together.


Friday 12 May 2017

A glance to my past

I've just stumbled over a paper of mine, about physics and consciousness, written shortly before I started to leave physics: "A new quantum theoretical framework for parapsychology". How turgid can you get?! Yes, it's clever - but in no way does it hint of the true vastness that lies beyond rational calculation. And of course, not a hint g*d!

Thursday 4 May 2017

Secret water-ways

I have been following the stream that flows under a bridge on the path leading to the Southwest (?) entry of Southampton Common. It starts as an outflow from the fishing pond. Then I wanders, turning to the left into the wood ahead, until it emerges through the bridge. Again plunging into the woods, it skirts the bird sanctuary pond and enters a pipe carrying under another path, emerging into a gully running along the wall of the cemetery. By this time there was no sign of water, having seeped into the ground some time ago. But I would guess that it continued back under the same path, where there was another bridge, and entered the rich reed beds that formed the core of the woods abutting Cemetery Road.   

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Recently I've (again!) had on my brain (and in my singing if no one is around)  St. Francis' poem "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace" (Signore fa di me uno strumento). There are several versions of this in song, but (to my ears) they are all gentle and sloppy. Francis was not sloppy: he proclaimed reality! In this age we need his determination.

Monday 1 May 2017

Shades of Green

Yesterday Isabel and I went to a meeting of a nearby Green Spirit group, having been out of contact with it for some time. Later I found myself pondering the varieties of "Green-ness". They are all about having an awareness of the other-than-human world, but this has many aspects. My daily intent is that of opening to the creatures that I encounter: trees, plants, birds, squirrels, rats (once I was delighted by a female rat squatting beside two of her babies who were chasing and rolling on each other) and so on. And then there are the expanses of being: the rocky outcrops from the two sides of a valley that seems to be calling to each other; the beauty of the clouds, mystery of the stars and planets, the milky way, and once a glimpse of the Andromeda nebula (although one would not not know, without telling, that this barely visible small fuzz in the night sky was indeed this).
The  group reminded me of these, and of the practicalities that we could could keep in mind in order to support our connection with them.
All this impinges on how we live. But it is entwined with a complementary desire, or rejection, within me and within the many groups and the unending intricacy of all human connections. Here politics, religion, meditation, art .... proliferates into an endless sea.