A Sense of Awe: science, faith and wonder
October 13, 2011 3

Feynman and beauty

By in brief notes

Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman is the voice beyond an evocative and thought provoking 5 min video titled Beauty which can be found via this page at The Immanent Frame. The blog post there says:

While Feynman himself was a self-acclaimed atheist, and the project itself aims to “promot[e] scientific education and scientific literacy in the general population,” watching these videos, one cannot help but become enveloped by some sort of spiritual sense of the world and its majesty.

COMMENT on this post

3 Responses to “Feynman and beauty”

  1. MAIKEL ANNAHLEE says:

    [Moderator’s note: this comment has copied most of the previous comment and then added comments in CAPITALS. So most but not all of the capitals are this person’s response. All the lower case is copied from David Miller’s comment above.]

    IN REPLY TO DAVID MILLER AND ALSO RICHARD FEYNMAN:

    SPIRITUALITY – In non-supernaturalist (non-theistic) terms, ‘Spirituality’ is merely another name for human nature. Or, as I prefer to call it, the human spirit. OR MORE ACCURATELY, SINCE NATURE AND SPIRIT ARE NOT HERE EXACT EQUIVALENTS: HUMANKIND-NESS.
    The higher or positive aspects of this human spirit are, for many people, symbolized by metaphorical personifications known as gods. (‘God’ in the monotheistic Abrahamic religions)….

    POSITIVE SPIRITUALITY – What is it? I will answer by listing, in non-supernaturalist terms, some of the wide-ranging variety of answers humankind-[NESS] has given to that question…

    1. Our highest values – e.g. Goodness, truth, beauty…
    2. Our loftiest ideals – e.g. Love, compassion, mercy, perfection, justice, freedom, creativity, security, power, etc…
    3. Our peak experiences – e.g. Wonder, awe, mystery, gratitude, uniqueness, oneness, interconnectedness, etc…
    4. Our areas of ultimate concern – e.g. Self, family, community, nation, humanity, nature, planet, universe, etc….

    RELIGION – What ought to constitute a non-supernaturalist religion? Here are some of the requirements…
    First, the veneration, reverence, honouring and upholding of the positive aspects of our spirituality…[HUMANKIND-NESS]

    Second is the apprehension and realization of these aspects; in simpler words, getting to know and understand them…
    Third is the manifestation and actualization of these aspects; in simpler words, bringing them into being in our world, both in ourselves as well as in others….

    NEGATIVE SPIRITUALITY IS A LOGICAL CONTRADICTION, SO TO THEN JUSTIFY IT BY CLAIMING – However we must take into account all our values, all our ideals, all our experiences and all our concerns IS IRRATIONAL.
    FOR Even low values, mundane ideals, devastating experiences and base concerns, as well as vile impulses and crass desires, etc. ARE ONLY LESSER MEASURES OF THE HIGHEST, LOFTIEST, PEAK, ULTIMATE MEASURES OF POSITIVE SPIRITUALITY ON THE CONTINUUM OF HUMANKIND-NESS.

    Within the Abrahamic religions, most of the latter are IRRATIONALLY labelled as ‘Demonic’. CONSEQUENTLY These religions IRRATIONALLY use the Demonic as a metaphorical personification of humanity’s lower or negative aspects….OF POSITIVE SPIRITUALITY

    CONCLUSION – In non-supernaturalist (non-theistic) terms, ‘Spirituality’ is merely another name for human nature

    OR SINCE NATURE AND SPIRIT ARE NOT HERE EXACT EQUIVALENTS: HUMANKIND-NESS. AND IF THE ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS ARE TO RECLAIM THE BEAUTY AND TRUTH WHICH THEY HAVE REJECTED BY WORSHIPPING THEIR GODS OF IRRATIONAL SUPERSTITION, UNDER THE DISGUISE OF UNVALIDATED FAITH AND BELIEF, THEY HAVE TO RECLAIM THE RATIONALITY OF RELIGION AS SUPERIOR TO SUPERSTITION.

    SO WHEN RICHARD FEYNMAN HAPPILY CLAIMS: “TO BE LOST IN A MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE WITHOUT HAVING ANY PURPOSE DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME”, MY QUESTION IN REPLY IS: “BUT WHAT ABOUT HUMANKIND-NESS?” AND ALSO, WHY USE IRRATIONAL FEAR AS HIS DEFAULT FOR BEING: “LOST IN A MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE WITHOUT HAVING ANY PURPOSE”? OTHERWISE WHAT IS THE POINT OF SCIENCE? TO ME, THIS SEEMS JUST AS FATALISTIC AND SUPERSTITIOUS, AS ACCEPTANCE OF THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE ABRAHAMIC SCRIPTURES, AS ULTIMATE TRUTH. HOWEVER, HE WOULD, AS I UNDERSTAND HIM, SUPPORT AN OPEN-ENDED, WITHOUT PRE-JUDGEMENT, INVESTIGATION, WHICH I TERM: THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION.

    ANY TAKERS?

  2. SPIRITUALITY – In non-supernaturalist (non-theistic) terms, ‘Spirituality’ is merely another name for human nature. Or, as I prefer to call it, the human spirit. The higher or positive aspects of this human spirit are, for many people, symbolized by metaphorical personifications known as gods. (‘God’ in the monotheistic Abrahamic religions)….

    POSITIVE SPIRITUALITY – What is it? I will answer by listing, in non-supernaturalist terms, some of the wide-ranging variety of answers humankind has given to that question…

    1. Our highest values – Goodness, truth, beauty…
    2. Our loftiest ideals – e.g. Love, compassion, mercy, perfection, justice, freedom, creativity, security, power, etc…
    3. Our peak experiences – e.g. Wonder, awe, mystery, gratitude, uniqueness, oneness, interconnectedness, etc…
    4. Our areas of ultimate concern – e.g. Self, family, community, nation, humanity, nature, planet, universe, etc….

    RELIGION – What ought to constitute a non-supernaturalist religion? Here are some of the requirements…
    First, the veneration, reverence, honouring and upholding of the positive aspects of our spirituality…
    Second is the apprehension and realization of these aspects; in simpler words, getting to know and understand them…
    Third is the manifestation and actualization of these aspects; in simpler words, bringing them into being in our world, both in ourselves as well as in others….

    NEGATIVE SPIRITUALITY – However, we must take into account all our values, all our ideals, all our experiences and all our concerns. Even low values, mundane ideals, devastating experiences and base concerns, as well as vile impulses and crass desires, etc. Within the Abrahamic religions, most of the latter are labelled as ‘Demonic’. These religions use the Demonic as a metaphorical personification of humanity’s lower or negative aspects….

    CONCLUSION – In non-supernaturalist (non-theistic) terms, ‘Spirituality’ is merely another name for human nature.

  3. Chris says:

    Robert Brown commented on this post:

    If you find that your analysis of awe leads you to a belief in a God, I suggest you should then consider the question(s): “Is God a Christian? A Muslim? A Jew? A Buddhist? An Atheist? or possibly all of these at once?

    Like Feynman I find the fantastic capability of the human brain to examine the fundamental questions of life and the nature of the universe, sufficient to overcome the fear of my own death without having to make up some mumbo jumbo about a divine being and some mysterious ways for living after my human cells degenerate.

    Cheers, Robert.

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