Dienstag, 26. Januar 2010

We humans become adult and have to live in the "vide au milieu"

Source: Photoblog.les2h.net

As a student in an astronomical club, I was asked to talk about Copernicus and the philosophical consequences that we humans are not in the center of the world: During all my life, I observed that the process of "Copernichization" went on in more dimensions. With this I mean that we humans are shifted from the solid and royal center of everything as we are used to feel in our classical Abrahamitian Weltbild from Christian, Jewish or Islamic tradition.
Mainly, we are
  • not only not in the center of the solar system (although it seems so regarding the modern universe where every galaxy seems to move from each other), as learned in astronomy, but also
  • not infinitely high above animals but in a continuous line with the other species, learned by biology and geology, e.g. through evolution,
  • we will become inferior to the machines we create, in some areas - as e.g. numerical calculations, we are already inferior by factor of billions and millions of billions -, but computers will do every intellectual thing better, as learned through the progress of computer technology,

  • we are not capable to understand in any direct sense how nature works, think about what "is" an atom, what "are" 100 000 light years, what "is" general relativity. We learned this the hard way by experiments (defying often intuition) and through mathematical models in science.

There is another human effect similar to "Copernichization": Modern science shows the childishness of many ideas in ancient religions and beliefs, e.g. the human images of God (e.g. God as old man with beard), of personal connections to God, of a quasihuman interpretation of the origin of the universe (God as the "Creator"), but also the easygoing existence of human-like (spiritual) worlds beside the real world per se. This is all much harder for us to grasp and to digest and to live with - i.e., even impossible!

Last week, we had a semi-public philosophical discussion of this together with philosophers and a well-known Swiss author around this Copernican idea:
Life under the umbrella of classical religions had been restricted but was clear and easy (or is it still for those closing their eyes), it was assisted by many rigid scaffolds delivered by the classical religions. This has changed for the people:
Source: Midwestscaffoldservice

Many parts of the scaffold (which made life so clear, both for the ecclesial professionals and the public believers) are not acceptable anymore and cannot help anymore. We have to live without scaffolds at the end!
This is similar to become adult and look back to the beliefs and perceptions as a child which are only acceptable as literature. This dissolution of the scaffolds and the becoming also spiritually mature is an issue for educated people - and in the discussion last week there has no easy solution been found, just the notion of living with the "empty center", "avec le vide au milieu": Who can fill it? What can fill it? Maybe only fine arts ...