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The Lament of a Romantic Realist

  1. Dec 21, 2005 #1
    There is a forest that I know and love. It is immense in scale and grandeur and beautiful beyond words. Whether I view it from afar or experience it deep within its depths I am always awed by its majesty, inspired by its magnificence and moved by its splendor. Walking or sitting, I contemplate and commune with it and nature. I am thankful that I am here to enjoy this wonderful forest and grateful for its existence and creation. I think of it as one of the greater works of God and when I walk through it I imagine that this must be what it is like to be in the presence of God.
    As I was strolling along a favorite path, unbidden and unwelcome a demon appeared in the guise of a science scholar. “You are a naïve ignorant fool.” The demon said loudly demanding my attention and a response.
    “How so?” I thought but would not say trying to ignore it in hopes that it would go away and leave me alone to enjoy my solitude within this wonder of God’s creations.
    “I said that you are naïve, ignorant and a fool.” The demon of science said even more loudly; but, this time not waiting for my response went on; “You are so enthralled by this nonexistent forest that you shout to all the world your ignorance.”
    The demon had gone too far this time, as I’m sure he knew and did on purpose to elicit a response from me. “Look about you.” I said; “You are the ignorant fool to say that this does not exist. How can you say such nonsense when your eyes make a liar of you?”
    “What, this forest exist? Why it is nothing but a collection of trees. A perfect example of the over population of a dominate species taking over its environment at the expense of other less dominate species.” The demon scholar proclaimed. “The forest that you love so is nothing but an illusion. It exists only in your mind, your naive ignorant foolish mind.
    Once uttered there was no taking back the words nor their effect on me. The magnificent forest disappeared and nothing was left but a bunch of trees. I was saddened by the loss, but not overwhelmed with grief as before me proudly stood unnumbered magnificent trees, each one magnificent and awe inspiring in their majesty, size and beauty.
    The demon unfortunately was not done with his insidious work. “These trees too don’t exist as individual specimens, but are nothing more than the sum of their various parts. What you accept as reality is but illusion. You delude yourself in thinking that any of this real.”
    The trees now too were gone. In their place I saw root systems, trunks limbs and leaves. While I mourned this loss, I was never the less fascinated by the intricate structure and efficient functions of these parts, a science in themselves. But, this too was not allowed to long exist.
    The demon scientist spoke again. “All these parts are made up of even smaller parts called cells. What you call your mind is but a function or your brain which is also made up of these cells and neurons.”
    “So now you are saying that I have no mind but a brain. What of my heart and soul, my being, my humanity?”
    “You heart is a muscle that pumps blood, nothing else. There is no empirical evidence that the soul exists. It is not scientific and therefore does not exist. Only that which can be observed, tested and verified is known to exist.”
    Here at least, I came to the end, for here was the living cell itself. A marvel of complexity with its own microstructures that performed the necessities of life itself and through their respiration supported all of life on this wonderful beautiful world.
    ”Are you determined to remain ignorant, you fool? This is not the end of the journey.
    These cells you study so diligently are nothing more than a collection of molecules and life is nothing but the chemical reactions of these molecules. There is nothing special nor mysterious about life. It is just the inevitable result of chemical reactions that are controlled by the laws and theories of chemistry and physics.” The demon was relentless in his determined pursuit of total destruction of all that I held near and dear.
    “These molecules are made of atoms of various elements with various properties and characteristics all known and ruled by physics. And, these various atoms are made up of particles, electrons, protons and neutrons and other lesser particles. These particles, in turn, are made up of quarks which also have properties and characteristics.”
    “Is there more still smaller and smaller parts of parts?” I asked totally defeated at this point.
    “No. This is a far as we can go. There are no smaller particles as far as we know that make up quarks.”
    “Well then, what are quarks?”
    “We don’t know.”
    “What are they made of?”
    “We don’t know. Its possible that they are made of strings which are energy vibrating in different dimensions; but, as I said, it is also possible that they are made of pure energy”
    “What is energy?”
    “We don’t know.”
    “What? You wise educated scientist don’t know something?”
    “No, of course, we don’t know everything yet. There is still a ways to go. In fact we are working on a Theory Of Everything that we call T.O.E. and a Grand Unified Theory called G.U.T. Once we have discovered and verified those then we will know everything.”
    “Well, that’s good to hear. How long will this take?”
    “We don’t know.”
    “Well, where do go scientist go from here?”
    “We don’t know.
    “Okay, which direction do you go from here?”
    “We don’t know.”
    “You don’t know. You don’t know. You don’t know much from here do you? You tell me that all that I see and love is illusion and doesn’t exist but can be reduced down to simpler and simpler systems until you come to the point where you don’t know anything anymore. You assume that you are on the verge of knowing everything and unifying everything into one theory but you don’t know how to do it, nor even where to start from where you are. You called me an ignorant fool yet all of you scientific knowledge is based on unproven assumptions and “We don’t know.”
    “You laugh off and dismiss all of the beauty and wonder of the world; deny that it even really exists and deny that we have hearts, souls and minds; deny that there is a God, a Creator and that anyone who believes in such thing is a naïve, ignorant fool; yet, all of your knowledge and science of which you are so proud and sure is based on “We Don’t Know.” I snorted a rueful laugh and turned away from the demon dismissing him for the hopeless fool that I thought he was and looked again at my beautiful magnificent forest, but somehow, now that I had been educated by the demon, it wasn’t the same.
    Thus I lament. I lament my loss of beauty and wonder and majesty of nature and humanity. I lost all of this for what, for “I don’t know.”, with nothing left and no direction to, no direction home.
  2. jcsd
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