The First Kind of Super Nature
LAST TIME, I POINTED OUT that the idea of the supernatural is rooted in your human concept of the natural world, and that there are two distinct human concepts of what is natural.
"Many of the gods and goddesses of the ancient religions, for example, would not have qualified as supernatural under this definition."
The first of these is the entire universe-as-you-experience-it, the world of basset hounds and couches and supernovas and praying mantises and chocolate ice cream—everything that you can observe with your normal senses, or even with a scientific instrument.
Using that idea of natural, the supernatural becomes whatever lies beyond that universe, the reality you can't observe, even with scientific instruments, but which is the ultimate source of this world you can observe.
This is a rather modern idea (speaking from your point of view).
Many of the gods and goddesses of the ancient religions, for example, would not have qualified as supernatural under this definition.
They were viewed more as forces of this world, of nature—the Earth, or the Sky, for example—and many of the people who took them literally (not everyone did, by the way) generally thought that with the right equipment one could visit the realm of the gods.
On the other hand, you have very recently (within the last hundred or so of your years) found some real evidence that such a realm does exist.
Your scientists have been chipping away at the nature, so to speak, of nature, and you've learned that you can only peer so far into the quantum realm.
There are certain barriers that you have found to be impenetrable.
Not, perhaps, in the ways you might have imagined before, but seriously, none the less.
You've found, for example, that you can't actually know a particle's location and speed at the same moment.
More importantly, you've found that much of the time you can only discover a set of probabilities as to where a particle is, or as to a whole slew of other facts about it.
To put it bluntly, when you peer into the world which your world depends upon, you suddenly find that your five senses, and your scientific instruments, will not let you observe it directly.
So, in a very real sense, the world of quantum physics qualifies under this first definition as supernatural.
Now some of you may find that disappointing.
You want the supernatural to be full of magic and personality, not just mystery.
That brings me to the other definition of supernatural, which is rooted in your other concept of the natural world.
I'll take that up next time.
Until then, leave any comments or questions below.
The Ground of All Being