Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teleological Suspension of the Universe

Teleological Suspension of the Universe

In our first class topics, we extensively discussed Kierkegaard’s concept of the idiosyncratic individual in relation to the universal ethical and the absolute. The idea that I am only separated from God by an unintentional and archaic sense of ethics and morality infinitely bothered me, so in class I suggested that perhaps it is our flawed systems in being human that should be attributed to the paradoxes in experience that create the particular rather than some profound interaction with the absolute. Professor Johnson then owned me in the face by saying, “Perhaps it is only our idea of truth that is flawed” (or something to that effect). At the time, my only response was “damn” because I had just been destroyed by our teacher. However, I began to think more about our system of truth being flawed and spoke more to Professor Johnson about my ideas and incorporated her statement into further ideas about our flawed human perception.

As an amateur and in writing a four hundred word blog post, clearly this will be a less than half-baked (almost raw) theory, but I hope to convey this concept at least partially. I am attempting to apply Kierkegaard’s Teleological Suspension of the Ethical in relation to our mediation with God to our mediation in understanding the universe and reality. So everyone has heard the argument that maybe green for me looks entirely different than what is green to everyone else, and so on (this can also be attributed to sensations—what pain feels like to me could be completely different for others). Thus, it is fair to say that this indicates such idiosyncrasies in our everyday perception of reality, indicating relativity in the way the individual experiences the universe. We only possess certain methods of relaying these experiences to others. The methods of explaining the phenomena are physics and math. Both of these systems would seem flawed because there are paradoxes in both math and physics. For example, quantum mechanics and special relativity both possess mathematical and experiential evidence in their favor, but it would seem that they contradict one another. So, what I am suggesting is that this does not indicate a flaw in our math or scientific systems, but rather, a flaw in our ability to perceive. A clear example of our flawed ability to perceive would be that of our perception of time. Time is inextricably linked with space in a fabric—time and space, spacetime, the spacetime continuum and other such jazzy terms. So this would make time equal as a spatial dimension (t) that we should theoretically be able to perceive in experiencing reality; however, we can only perceive the “present” (I pretentiously put present in quotes because, if you want to get technical, we can only perceive the past because of the slow speed at which our brains process what is happening to us, placing an absolute reality even more shamefully into the distance). So this system of math and perception would be the universal ethical which separates us from observing the absolute universe. As hard enough as it is to accept and grasp just that part of the argument, I have even more difficulty determining what would in fact be the absolute universe or the God aspect of the model.

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