Returning to the Question of Value and Math
While I was alluding to the complex mathematical equations earlier, now I want to down shift to the very basic mathematical equation, like you would encounter in elementary school, and that is finding the balance, from left to right, over an equals (=) sign.
In the third or fourth grade, a child is taught, 2+2=4. There is balance of value. You can also reverse this by saying 4=2+2. But now to jump way ahead, the most important formula of theoretical physics off all times is in the same form, E=MC². This simple equation opened the door to nuclear physics. Einstein was not an experimental physicist, where he was fiddling around with uranium in his basement. He was a mathematician. He simply came to an impasse, where on one side of the = sign, there was energy and the other side, there was mass. Therefore, for the first time ever, the math demanded that the two things were convertible, keeping the balance across the =. This was a profound truth about the universe, and Einstein didn’t even have to walk outside to observe it, because the math never lies.
When speaking of human value, we must deduct all the conversations down to one mathematical point. At the moment of the Big Bang, or creation (pay your money and take your choice of words at this juncture) there is one equation that says, immediately before the Big Bang, there was absolutely nothing. Then, for no— absolutely no—reason, there is a ripple that tears apart (one theory) matter and anti-matter. Matter becomes the universe that we observe. In that first equation, there is a grand = sign. Prior to the bang, there was no value, no meaning because there was nothing. You cannot insert value at the Big Bang, because it would create imbalance across the = sign (one side has no value and the other has value would not balance).
The second view is that the Big Bang was deliberate (therefore an act of creation). It had a purpose. With this equation, there is value and meaning on the left side of the equation, therefore you must inject meaning and value on the right to keep it balanced. The only question becomes where to inject the value and meaning. Some would say that value can only be injected at the human level. Others say, between life and non-life. But I think the most consistent is to inject value and meaning from the beginning. If you call this creation, which I feel comfortable doing, then if there is meaning, as God doing this act of creation with a purpose, then, at the point of creation, everything contains meaning and infinite value and that value must be intrinsic. But, on the other hand, if you start with nothing, you MUST end with nothing. If there was no order, no meaning, then we are not real. Nothing is real and nothing matters. There is no value.
To move this philosophical concept back down to the fundamentals, you need to see creation with inherent and infinite value. Inherent, as I use the term here, means here that you cannot add or subtract from the value by anything. Infinity + 1 or -1 makes no real sense. Therefore, performance within one’s life cannot make a difference. You either have infinite value, along with creation, or none. There is no place for performance value enhancement because it is an all or none equation. Meaning was there and continues across the = or, there is no meaning, no purpose and certainly no value. Therefore, and I am preaching to myself, If today, I laid down in a field of clover and did nothing else, no accomplishments, no contributions . . . absolutely nothing until the worms come to devour me, my value could not have changed because it is intrinsic, not based on performance-enhancing value. This is the answer that we must all seek to arrive at, a complete peace.
Because our performance-added value system of thinking, some of us seem confused when it encounters challenges as I have. We hear of the ideal person, the young, extremely handsome and healthy man, who is wealthy and successful beyond imagination, yet, one night he puts a bullet through his own head. That person was working on the false pretense that performance could change the value across the equation. They would have had started with infinite value on the left side of the = to have it on the right. They cannot start with 0 value on the left, meaningless Big Bang, and then try and produce value on the right by any means. Again, it is an all or none equation. We seem shocked at these stories, but it only makes sense. Value must come from the over-arching principle of our existence. It is defined at the moment of creation. We were created; therefore, we have a meaning and value. That value can’t be changed but our personal, emotional interpretation of our value can. If we work, like most of the world does, thinking that our value is performance dependent, then is flows with the ups and downs of how your day is going… such as getting cancer.
The Biblical book of Ecclesiastes catalogs all the behaviors that we attempt to add value to an infinite value life, but it points out that it is all in vain. It is correct by saying the best thing to do is to party and live in the moment of life, rather that attempting to add value (or take it away) when you cannot.
So, we live in a universe, sewed together on the golden threads of mathematical principles by God in ways my limited brain cannot even imagine. In the seams, where the math seeps into the audible world, we perceived the math with our ears… as music. The precisely drilled holes in a reed, the breadth of strings across a precise distance, and the skin of a drum vibrating in a mathematical pattern. A French horn and a slide rule may have more in common that you have thought, both are scientific instruments for measuring the math that penetrates our audible universe from the beginning. So math is the source of all beauty. In the impersonal universe, the one that happened for no reason, beauty cannot exist.
When the math seeps though the other seams into our visual world, the patterns are interpreted to our retinas and brains as the incredible beauty of the colors and patterns. It comes to my eye as those Dutch realistic, whom I can appreciate but not fully understand. It is still math, the native language of God.
4 responses to “RAMBLINGS: Value and Meaning Part III (and conclusion)”
Mike, I am so glad you are back to confuse my brain. Welcome home.
Mike, I’m glad you’re on the mend. A post from HUG over at iMonk reminded me to click onto your blog. Good posts here.
Inspired by this post about equations and Einstein (and by a facebook meme) let me say that:
Unless you be multiplied by the speed of light squared…in which case,
Keep getting better. I’m praying.
If meaning is like energy in that it can neither be created nor destroyed, does it follow that no actions are any more meaningful than any others? It feels like there ought to be some distinction between “No action you can take can affect your meaning as a person” and “No action you can take can have any more or less meaning than any other action”. I want to say that the actions some people choose have a lot more meaning than the actions others choose, even if those actions don’t add to their meaning as a person. If Mother Teresa had chosen to spend her life playing checkers and reading romance novels instead of serving the poor in Calcutta would her actions have been just as meaningful? Is meaning like a unit vector where its magnitude cannot be increased or decreased, but only its direction changed?
I think I was referring to the fundamental option of meaning. If the cosmos came into existence for no reason, then Mother Teresa could have helped the poor of Calcutta or have become a cruel butcher (night killer) of Calcutta and it would have made no difference because the cosmos has no meaning, period. But, if this is a created cosmos, then everything changes and has intrinsic value. Sure, in that case, in the area of morals, there are differences between Saint Teresa and the, fictitious night killer of Calcutta, but creation carries so much meaning and value from the creative act, that the morals are just the window dressing in the end. That’s one way to look at it.