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The Second Kind of Super Nature, and How Humans Fit In

Submitted by God on Wed, 02/10/2010 - 14:29

LAST TIME I EXPLAINED THAT two quite different kinds of supernatural phenomena exist, depending on which definition humans use of the word "nature".

The first kind, based on the idea of nature as "the whole universe that humans experience", is the supernatural world underlying that universe—the supernatural which is just beyond the reach of human experience, mostly being investigated by the physicists among you.

The other way you humans use the word "natural" is to mean that same universe—the one with supernovas, praying mantises, and the pacific ocean—but minus your best friend, ice cream, couches, and even the basset hound and the itch on the end of your nose.

It's the part of that universe that exists without human beings and their influence.

So, you often think of a pristine rain forest, for example, as more natural than a modern skyscraper or parking lot.

You talk about getting back to nature, by which you mean away from environments created by humans.

In this sense of the word "natural", you humans, your culture and technologies, your arts and sciences, your literatures, and everything about your culture and influence on the world qualifies as supernatural—something that is both outside of, and greater than (in the sense that it builds on top of), the natural world.

You probably aren't used to thinking of human culture as supernatural in this sense, but if you do for a moment you'll see what I mean.

Certainly most of the things you classify as supernatural—vampires, or fairies, or Santa Claus—are more a part of this realm than they are of the other supernatural: the realm described by quantum physics.

They are products of human culture, like your couch, and would not exist if humans didn't.

And, since my little itching nose trick two posts ago was based on the use of human language, and computers, to transfer the suggestion into your head, it qualifies as supernatural by this definition.

One of the interesting differences between these two supernatural realms is that the first realm, the ground of this universe in the impenetrable mysteries of quantum physics, uses mechanical models almost entirely.

You don't find scientists basing a theory on what an electron "wants", or what its politics are.

In the other supernatural realm, however, the realm of humans and their culture, it's very common to find theories and ideas based on the psychology of humans themselves.

A vampire is much more like a human being than a quark.

I mean that both ways.

The ancient gods and goddesses are also supernatural in this sense.

Their battles, their claims to the throne of heaven (literally the sky-throne) their political fights with each other, all these are obviously the result of human culture, which has projected itself, so to speak, on nature.

None of those gods would exist in the form they do, if humans didn't exist.

They have human-like personalities, and human-like emotions, and human-like agendas, because they are made by humans, in the image and likeness of humans.

So it's a good idea to keep these two kinds of supernatural separate.

Much of the error in human thought about the supernatural has come from confusing the two types.

When, for example, people expect that the realm which exists outside of the reach of their senses is very like a human being, or contrives to talk directly to them in a human voice, or give them commands like a human king.

On the other hand, most of the progress humans have made has come from keeping the two types separate.

But there is one place where the two come together, and do so—forgive the phrase—quite naturally.

That place is the human mind, where a hotbed of quantum electrodynamics structures meaning and purpose and love and empathy and all those good things into the world of an individual human being, in the context of a human culture and world-view.

Of course, something similar happens in the mind of a cat, or a gecko, or a black widow spider.

But a black widow's idea of love or purpose is a different part of the great dance you call reality, and quite separate from a human's sense of love or purpose.

And you have no more reason to expect that the ground of all being is particularly human-like than a black widow has to expect that I am particularly spider-like.

If you want to understand how the ground of all being works through a spider, become a scientist, or ask one, and you'll still only get the opinions of an observer.

If you want to understand how I work through a human, on the other hand, you already know, and from the inside.

Supernatural enough for you?

Please leave your questions and comments below.

Yours truly,

The Ground of All Being