One of the things that I do in my spare time is to come up with alternate descriptions of God, or alternate ways of looking at the universe that are at least somewhat religious in their nature. Most of these are still-born, of course, not worth the time that I gave them. I once read an interview in which Barry Manilow said that he sometimes wrote as many as two hundred new songs in a month. He went on to say that most of them were terrible. I don’t come up with anywhere near that number of musings, but still, most of them are terrible.
Out of the relatively small number of godly metaphors that I’ve developed, there have been two that have stuck with me. I’ve talked about them before. There’s the view of the universe as represented by computer memory where every bit is actually set to one but where our inaccuracy in reading them renders so many as zero that we read the universe as infinitely more interesting and varied than it actually is. That one’s a little hard to explain and even when I do, I’m not sure that I’ve ever really gotten across to someone else what it is that I see in my head The other one is Polytheistic Solipsism, the theory of Polytheistic Solipsism is that we are each of us Gods and that the universe we perceive is a shared creation, a consensus reality.
I’m sort of working on a new one at the moment, it probably won’t develop into anything, like I said most of these don’t, but I thought it might be fun to share it here.
One of the ideas that religious whack jobs here in the United States have been promoting in order to try and get their theology into public schools is the notion of irreducible complexity. This comes from their assumption that if they can’t figure something out then really it must be that nobody can figure it out. It’s one of their main attacks against the notion that we evolved through natural selection. Anyway, I could go off on tangents here for thousands of words in trying to understand why and how these people come up with things like Intelligent Design, but that’s not what I want to talk about right now.
The thing is these people seem to have no problem eschewing the complexity of the evolutionary process in favor of the idea that some higher being guided things, but then seem completely unable to grasp that this raises the notion that there must have been some way that the higher being, clearly more complex than anything else whose origin we have attempted to explain, had to have him or her self come to be, without having to then posit a higher-higher being and so on to infinity. Not that these people are capable of understanding infinity.
And somehow I crossed this in my mind with the rather common tale of a guitar teacher who is only a lesson or two ahead of their students. And also with the knowledge that we humans are on a path of creating ever more complexity both in our societies and in our possessions, in our apparent quest to be one of the premiere anti-entropic forces in the universe.
So what if God did design everything, but he’s doing it by only staying one step ahead of evolution? What if God is just one lesson ahead of us, is out there laying down the pavement on the next block just before we round the bend to see it? What if the idea is that there is a God but that he himself is a product of evolutionary processes? There’s something appealing about it, but there’s also a disturbing “pulling oneself up by one’s own bootstraps” sort of “that can’t really work” aspect to it. It’s like the universe is a trough of water in an M. C. Escher painting constantly flowing downhill but still coming back around to the top again. God is just like us, it’s just that he’s already gone around back to the top once.
Still, if anyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, it must be God, right. Or vice/versa-ly if one wanted to figure out whether or not they were God, the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps could be considered a strong hint.