1 + 1 = 2……

13 Oct

Questions to Which we Will Never Know the Answers……

 

Throughout history some of the most intelligent thinkers have taken their own lives or ended their days with mental health problems in institutions.  I do not believe that this a coincidence, rather the result of the realisation that the problems they spent their lives working on did not have definitive, comprehensible answers.  The sort of questions they could not answer were usually big philosophical questions about the nature of existence and consciousness which, although interesting, would not be considered by most people to be a matter of life and death but are fundamental to an academic whose sole purpose is gain an insight into ‘reality’.  I too have reached the conclusion that we cannot answer some of the big philosophical questions about the universe, consciousness and the reason we exist at all.  I don’t think we ever will and I believe I may know why……

 

The Nature and Limits of the Human Mind……

 

As far as we are aware we are the only animal with the ability to communicate ideas and abstract concepts through language.  Similarly, we are able to describe the physical world through mathematics.  However, in both of these abilities we are fundamentally flawed.  The way in which we experience the world has limitations; for example, our experience of space is in three dimensions.  Our minds are only capable of constructing a picture of the world within those three dimensions.  Therefore, when confronted with a theory requiring more than three dimensions, as in the case of physics, we cannot draw a mental picture of the extra dimensions.  This is when we turn to mathematics but this too has limitations.  Bertrand Russell and Alfred North-Whitehead dedicated 360 pages of the ‘Principia Mathematica’ to present the logical proof that 1 plus 1 equals 2.  Prima facia, this seems sensible but as Heisenberg demonstrated with the Uncertainty Principal, there is a limit to the amount of information you can know.  The Uncertainty Principal deals primarily with things at the sub-atomic scale but demonstrates the limits of what is inherently knowable……

 

The properties of our universe are counterintuitive and paradoxical.  Therefore, no matter how well versed in philosophy or mathematics you are, your understanding will always be limited by the confinements placed upon it by your own consciousness.  Worse still, the deeper your ‘understanding’, the further away from comprehension you feel.  This, I believe, is the reason so many Mathematicians and Physicists meet with an unhappy ending……

 

Where does this Leave ‘God’…..?

 

Nowhere!  Even though our comprehension of reality may be bound by the limits of our ability to accept that many things may never be known, inventing a divine creator to explain these shortcomings offers nothing other than to stifle the debate.  I would rather gain some insight into why there is a limit to my understanding than to believe I am not worthy of it……

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