Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Why Is There Anything

Originally posted on May 21, 2013

A recent book by John Holt is titled, Why Does the World Exist? (New York: Liveright / Norton.) It occurred to me that the basis for this book, reasoned argumentation that forms the foundation of modern philosophy, is based on the assumption that there must be a rational explanation. To the contrary: It’s an aesthetic explanation, and the explanation is that it’s glorious. I would even dare say that I can’t think of anything more glorious. I suspect that I have a rather dim notion of how glorious it all is, in fact, possessing a bright but still limited human mind. Still, it’s enough to intuit that there’s more, yet, in every way.

So, phrased as a weak, maybe even a bit funny argument—can you top this?—it’s really a sort of ecstatic poem. The cosmos, which in my neo-Spinozan view is God, or at least a part of God that we can vaguely apprehend. My dim notion is thus more glorious than that which can not form any notion more complex than the considerable cognition of animals, with their capacity for grief, social sensitivity, gradations of status, sexual desirability, nurturance of the young, and much more.

That all this is in some mysterious way united is glorious. That we’re beginning to apprehend this glory is glorious. It means that in a poetic way, the cosmos is waking up. Perhaps this is happening in a billion different planets in a billion different galaxies. That’s all right; it’s part of the glory.

So I imagine that the cosmos is the most glorious becoming process conceivable. It’s actually better as an ongoing creative process than as a perfect or finished product. The glory is that it’s all evolving organically, from the bottom up rather than the top down. This changes the nature of theology as a planned operation to one of a delicious, infinitely multi-faceted adventure. God in my myth is no less a molecule of DNA trying to figure out how to mutate next—and willing as any artist to be constrained by the limitations of the medium—than a human genius, or a human fool, or a toad. It’s glorious to contemplate God in the physical 3-D form of incarnation as truly everything trying to advance and indeed, making pitifully slow progress.

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