[FutureBuddha (Hunches IV)] Still Yet Even Further Hunches

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39472

    [FutureBuddha (Hunches IV)] Still Yet Even Further Hunches

    Today’s 'still yet even further' hunches and speculations build on my previous essays, entitled "Further Hunches" (LINK) and "Even Further Hunches" (LINK) and "Yet Even Further Hunches" (LINK). If you don't buy the wild notions I toss out there, you surely won't catch what I'm pitching today. The premises of those essays can be summarized as follows (you can read the rest at the foregoing links):

    • There is something special, deserving special explanation, about the fact that, in a seemingly wild and largely random universe, you find yourself to be a self-aware being able now to imagine and contemplate any point in time in the history of this universe, beginning from a moment after the Big Bang, continuing on through 13.7 billion years to the moment of your conception when, according to our currently accepted notions of physics, chemistry, stellar and planetary development, biology and evolution, the intricate sequence of events headed in precisely a direction necessary for your eventual existence despite the seemingly far greater likelihood time-and-time again that any single event amid the ages-long unbroken chain could, it would be thought, have turned in another direction among the vast set of directions which would have foreclosed your eventual existence, all as proven by the simple fact that here you are, alive and pondering your existence and all it required.

    • Although the same unlikelihood could be claimed for any sentient being, creature or thing that has come into existence at this now current moment of universal history, the fact that the contemplator is not just someone or some creature or something, but rather, you yourself now subjectively contemplating your own personal fortune is a special phenomenon deserving special explanation.

    • You are not the winner of a single lottery (something not particularly amazing), but the always and each-and-every time winner after winner of a string of constant lotteries within lotteries, one after the other in sequence and often entwined in complex parallel, stretching through all time from cosmic expansion to sperm meets egg, which unbroken chain of a googol of wins resulted in you, no step skipped or tripped over, bar none, not a single miss as proven conclusively just by your present contemplation of the most personal outcome.

    • This outcome, if more than brute fact, may point to a mechanism, as yet unknown but open to conjecture, which has served to weight nature’s dice, tilt the roulette wheel, limit the possible results, fix the game. If such a mechanism exists, it need not always remain unknown, its nature can be the subject of theory and, hopefully, testing and demonstration.

    • Though beings identical to you, or extremely close, may have appeared time and again in an infinite universe or ensemble of universes where like circumstances endlessly happen, their existence would not explain your existence, here and now, in this place and timeline where you apparently need to find yourself to be this you right here and now. The others might be doppelgängers or twins, but that would be different from this very you which you need right now in order to be experiencing you.

    • While Buddhism is generally not concerned with "where we all came from," being content in guiding us to Liberation here and now however we got here, Buddhism also does not forbid our investigating such matters. In fact, Buddhism is based on certain suppositions about reality, our deep connection and inter-identity with the universe, and even a "built in" system of ethics/Karma, which overlaps with many of my speculations.
    I would like to offer a few added corollaries to my prior propositions. What are they?

    Corollary 5 - There is a natural intelligence or capability to the universe manifesting, not only in the structure of its basic physics and chemistry, but also in countless human abilities including, for example, literature, architecture, navigation and aviation, music composition and performance, the sciences and much more, which combined natural intelligence or capability far exceeds any one human individual. A most precise and timely combination of those human cultural developments was necessary for your birth.

    My thesis is based on the proposition that a most tangled web of happenings upon happenings in universal physics, chemistry, earthly biology including evolution, human history and culture had to occur in the precise (or nearly so) sequence with the precise (or nearly so) set of outcomes they did, with elegant timing and narrowly defined content (in comparison to all the other outcomes which would seem to present themselves as potential alternative outcomes arising at each twist and turn of events from a moment after the Big Bang to the time of your conception and birth) in order to have served as the foundation for you, dear reader, to be reading these words now. Not even one indispensable ancestor, adenine bond, asteroid or atom was slightly out of place or late for the game if that place and instant served as an a priori link to you ... all as proven by your being here now to look back and consider the incredibly long and tangled chain. Countless factors, physical forces and chemical reactions, encounters, matings, killings and historical events are in your very precise story even though, seemingly, any one or all of them could have gone any of almost uncountable other ways but for one small change of angle, impact direction, attitude, spacing or pacing or other key difference in the causal mix, whereby there would have been no "story of you" at all. This indicates perhaps that other forces are at work, an as yet poorly understood mechanism to load the dice, that the game is possibly less random and happenstance than it may seem on its surface.

    Among those factors are a wide range of physical and chemical forces and phenomena which had to fall within extremely narrow parameters if necessary to allow life in general in this universe, intelligent life in particular, the environment of our planet earth, human bodies in general, and the conception/birth of your body specifically, all of which seemingly were necessary in a most specific and timely combination and order of happening for the advent of your life now. There is relatively little leeway in any of that, lest there have been no "your body" to sustain "your brain," thus no "you."

    If there is some "loading" to the universe's dice to allow so, the capability to accomplish such loading is obviously beyond any one living human being, or group of living beings today (the closest we come is our current ability to create some superficially "world-like" environments in our games and computer simulations, with their included characters, but not yet anything comparable to creating an entire functioning universe and actual life.)

    Assuming that your being alive, conscious and considering that fact is a most unlikely and ill-explained outcome, a result demanding so many a priori steps including certain indispensable elements appearing from the earliest points (when many of the structures of this universe coming to be needed for our lives first manifested, such as in the most basic forces of the universe and in its periodic table) ... and further, now witnessing that the universe somehow stuck too or found its way to a trajectory heading right in your personal general direction at every twist and turn of events and heading through 13.7 billion years ... (all as proven by your being here as testament to its having done just that) ... then the general possibility for your birth (or its specific happening) must have been somehow permitted "in the cards" from the very start, and is found consistently in the directions things wound around to each moment thereafter until your first life moment. At the very least, even if you personally were not an assured outcome right from the start, the arrow of events kept honing in closer and closer to your personal bulls-eye, flying in ever more tightly toward your personal direction at each step of universal and earth's planetary development, then throughout human history, all as proven by the undeniable fact that you stand here with that arrow piercing your chest. Lest it were so, you would not be so.

    However, not only are physical, chemical and other material phenomena among the long, long stream of events which were indispensable if you were to be: As well, historical and intangible cultural developments, including artistic and intellectual developments, are to be found among the factors indispensable for your conception and birth. To explain my meaning, let me separate factors which appear to have been necessary for your birth from those which were not so, by use of two categories: (1) merely decorative, non-crucial, replaceable, weakly causal or non-causal phenomena, and (2) phenomena which were indispensable causal factors leading to your conception and birth. The phenomena of (1) would include factors whose being otherwise would seemingly had little or no influence on your eventual birth, or those which did but are clearly replaceable with other events. The phenomena of (2), however, include events and factors extremely sensitive to change, with a strong or irreplaceable causal relationship to your birth. In fact, perhaps most phenomena of the universe fall somewhere on the scale in-between. For purposes of our discussion here, I wish to focus on category (2). Among (2) would be found some cultural and intellectual developments in society, many beyond your personal abilities.

    For example, imagine for a moment that you are a child who was born of a classical music family, half-Chinese and half-Austrian, whose parents met as violinists in a Baroque music orchestra in New York City devoted almost exclusively to Bach, only because your Chinese mother came from a family of Confucian scholars forced to flee China for the United States in the 1950's due to the Communist takeover (led by Mao who, himself, was inspired by Marx who, in turn, was greatly inspired in his ideas by youthful readings of Plato's "Republic") and subsequent persecution of Confucianism, a family that barely escaped on a plane to America which then nearly crashed into a foggy mountain prior to landing but for the newly available invention of radar on commercial aircraft, and further, because your Austrian grandfather came to America only when offered a prestigious university position in 1930's California as a nuclear physicist, fleeing the Nazis. That grandfather's parents, in turn, had met in a hospital where your great-grandmother was a nurse and your great-grandfather a patient who had been saved (although touch and go for several days) from what would have been a deadly bacterial infection by the recently discovered wonder drug, Penicillin, following abdominal surgery. He fell in love with your great-grandmother due to a combination of her nightly readings of Goethe by his hospital bed, their shared love of Michelangelo's sculptures, and she with him stimulated by his charming smile and joke telling skills. (Dear reader, I am sure that your personal family history is nearly as complicated on close examination.)

    I propose that (as the Chinese-Austrian child and grandchild of musicians, nurses and physicists) your personal birth thus depended on, not only gravity, carbon, sunlight, water and dry land, but the teachings of Confucius, Mao, Hitler, Marx, Plato and Goethe, the existence of music and violins, the founding of New York City based upon mercantile practices of 17th century Holland, the creation of the United States and structuring of its Constitution which allowed for eventual Californian statehood and the unjust evacuation of native peoples driven away by ideas of "Manifest Destiny" (but clearing formerly native lands for the prestigious university's campus), aviation, radar, nuclear physics, modern surgical medicine and penicillin, and much more, each and all representing sophisticated (although sometimes less than pleasant) intellectual, philosophical, artistic and scientific developments in human civilization. While, arguably, some of those factors could have been otherwise (your parents could have met in Beijing or Vienna rather than New York, your grandfather emigrating as a shoe-maker rather than a physicist, your great-grandmother reading Chaucer at that hospital bed instead of Goethe), it appears that some such equally convoluted combination of art, music, political theories, literature, philosophical and religious structures would be present as (2) "irreplaceable causal" factors for any of our births in this current era, beginning from the discovery of fire and invention of the wheel. In the case of you, dear reader, that Austrian-Chinese child of violinists, the universe needed to engage in the creation of political philosophies (some, alas, quite ugly in implementation), Goethe's writings, the music of Bach, violins and violin teachers, aviation, university departments of nuclear physics and all the rest.

    Now you (I assume, and the same for me) would not be smart enough to, single handedly, develop several quite distinct schools of philosophy and political thought, write classical compositions, speak Chinese, German and English, build and play string instruments at concert level, teach nuclear physics in a college class, invent and employ various pharmaceuticals and medical procedures, write novels, fly planes, engineer radar and sculpt stones (even if, perhaps, you are extremely talented and can manage several of those things with some level of sophistication, let alone journeyman competence).

    However, this universe appears capable of doing each and all of those things, at quite high level (as shown by the fact that those things are done at quite high levels by humans who are products of this universe), and further, this universe seems to have developed the capability to do each and all of those things at just the levels, places and times irreplaceable for you ... all as shown by consideration of that fact by you as the outcome. The universe is smart enough to compose Bach and play Bach, sculpt both Michelangelo and his sculptures out of the earth, plan and perform surgery, fly planes, study its own atoms and quarks, and all the rest, although none of that seems really necessary and, in fact, this universe did without any and all of that for most of human, plus universal, history. Seemingly, we might still be without much of it, and the universe would get along just fine. But, as your great-grandfather demonstrates, the universe even developed a sense of humor and how to tell a good joke.

    The universe's possessing such levels of smartness equal, at least, to "our levels of smartness" is shown merely by our being smart enough to do so, as we are just the universe come to be "us." Further, the universe appears very much smarter than us, and extremely much more capable, because none of us alone can do each and all of those things so well, but the universe can do all of it plus so very, very much more.

    Corollary 6 - Our universe is finely balanced, like a precision instrument of incredible complexity with billions of currently inter-reliant parts and contributing factors, all as necessary to allow your life right this moment.

    We know that this planet demonstrates incredible balance, in gravity and other forces, atmosphere, moderate temperatures, available nutrients, availability of water, and billions of other factors necessary to sustain life in general, complex life in particular. However, for your particular conception, birth and life right now, the universe has continuously needed to present such a finely focused network of precisely balanced interconnected phenomena that, we might say, this entire universe finds itself manifesting the most narrow and very precise structure needed for you, dear reader, as you. Were this to have been even a slightly different universe in any way which would have foreclosed you (e.g., with one small stone out of place which, falling from a cliff, thus would have killed your great great grandpa while he was still a small child), this would be a universe without you. That you are here shows this to be a most delicately balanced universe without even one such stone out of place.

    Corollary 7 - Your being alive now has predictive power for scientific theory and testing.

    In 1953, physicist Fred Hoyle famously predicted the existence of an excited state in the carbon-12 atomic nucleus, a state seemingly most unlikely yet necessary for the production of carbon in the stars. It was later noted that the seeming odds of carbon-12 having that particular exited state, among all other possibilities, was miniscule, yet the prediction (later confirmed) of that particular state could be made with confidence simply because such state would be necessary for life like ours to exist in the universe ... and since that life like ours (i.e., us) does exist in the universe, ipso facto, the excited state must exist. "Hoyle realized that this remarkable chain of coincidences – the unusual stability of beryllium, the existence of an advantageous resonance level in C12 and the non-existence of a disadvantageous level in O16 – were necessary, and remarkably fine-tuned, conditions for our own existence and indeed the existence of any carbon-based life in the Universe." (Barrow, John D. and Frank J. Tipler (1986). The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., p. 253.)

    Your personal, most particular life can be used for like predictive purposes: Namely, if there is any physical phenomenon of this universe which must be X, and not Y, in order for you to exist, we can confidently predict that the phenomenon will be determined to be X, and not Y, upon examination, even if X is a most extreme and unlikely outcome. That is true even if the prediction is in regards to an event millions or billions of years ago, or an event billions of light years away, if that event would be causally necessary for your birth.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2023, 06:30 AM.