Thursday, December 4, 2008

Einstein's Parable (or, "Life As Roulette")

Albert Einstein is said to have said:

“The only way to win at Roulette is to steal chips from the table while the dealer isn’t looking.”
“God does not play dice with the Universe.”

His 'roulette rule' is easily proven mathematically. But what about the other? It is a famous line, and one which has in some sense haunted me for all my years of philosophy. I’ve imagined that the younger generation of Quantum Physics Boys, to whom it was addressed, were wont to respond condescendingly to the old man, perhaps with a grimace and a later guffaw. Was that it? Just a foolish frustrated outburst from a determinate, uncomprehending ‘has-been’ ? Now and then I wonder – perhaps the Old Man was not that dumb? Perhaps he secretly bestowed a gracious parable upon his ungrateful disciples who “hearing did not hear, and seeing did not see”.

What has bugged me also, is the very notion of 'randomness'.
Specifically, is it at all compatible with the notion of GOD?
I suspect, No. This is at the heart of Einstein’s parable --
and we could only fathom it in faith, by grace.

In our new millenium, 'entertainment' in the form of films like "The Matrix", and computer-gaming within 'virtual realities' has captured the imagination of a generation. Anything imaginable can be 'simulated'; a popular example is:
The astute reader could imagine that we in this real world might ‘in fact’ be such a simulation (tho’ a far more elaborate, esthetic, and dramatic one), without knowing certainly it to be true or false. Our (and Einstein’s) Universe would be neither expanding nor contracting, but simply fraudulent.

Why are ‘We, Here’ in this physical cosmos, apparently governed only by a scientific randomness? If we postulate a common purpose, we could suppose an answer: “To Learn X.” (where X depends upon what you love the most). But: Can there be any true learning in the presence of unbounded uncertainty (and the consequent license for deception)? Can there even be any reliable estimate of certainty under the rule of primary random physical processes? No Learning – just Ignorance.

Moreover, if some significant life processes are indeed chaotic as they do appear to be, can such ‘estimated certainty’ be at all usefull predictively? Even the slightest variations from amongst the available life-choices of an individual would appear to result in an unpredictably large difference of outcome. Who then is culpable? While ignorance of reliable cosmic laws might not prove innocence, how about total ignorance (idiocy)? It would appear that we all are doomed to repeatedly suffer … an infinite series of trials and errors. Like the characters in my ‘roulette-life-simulation’, as we progress down the series of life-choice ‘spins’, our specific condition becomes ever more minutely probable, while our inevitable accumulated debt-from-error becomes immense and irrecoverable.

Not to mention the problem of the pervasive prohibitive forgetfulness of incarnation – how much can we forget, and yet still have learned? And isn’t ‘To Learn’ itself just not an ‘end’ but a ‘means’? that is, to enable a future more excellent performance, to provide the means for skilful prediction and a subsequent betterment of outcome based upon prior experience? Therefore a conscious way to an even further, fuller experience with Joy and (dare we say) a wise Love – loving, and beloved?

We could call that final purpose: Happiness; and Life would liberally be its improbable Pursuit.

In conclusion, I submit to you my working hypothesis, in faith:
No, ‘Certain Learning’ is not possible within the ‘randomized’ physical cosmos in which we appear. If God is presumed to be the Creator of this cosmos, then It cannot be God in the normal sense of ‘The One Real True Being Aware, Present, Benevolent and Competent’ . There is a contradiction. True God would not ‘play dice’ with the fate of his children; nor allow the innocent to suffer.
Therefore, either:
1) there is no real God.
or else:
2) the apparent cosmos is not real, nor is the ‘me’ who appears now in it.

Preferring the latter conclusion, my aim is to further investigate if ‘I’ might somehow become aware of a not-so-apparent Reality in which Certainty, Truth, God and Happiness surely prevail.

Buena Suerte a Todo el Mundo!