Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The Containment Dilemma
I realized something about existence when I was eight years old. I wondered about God. My religion and my parents, grandparents, etc all said that God lived in Heaven and if I was good I might get to go there when I died. OK. Fine. So...where was this Heaven?
In the sky, I was told. God lives in Heaven and Heaven is in the sky. OK so far.
Who made Heaven?
God made Heaven.
Where did God get the stuff to make Heaven?
Well, God made the stuff to make Heaven.
Uhmmm...where did God get the stuff to make the stuff to make Heaven?
Now we run into a problem. Because the only answer that makes any sense is that God got the stuff from God; which would mean that we and everything else are little parts of God wandering around pretending we don't know each other and perhaps even worse, pretending that we do not know that we are God pretending not to know!
That answer, of course, is unacceptable in the Abrahamic school of thought community and quite beyond the conceptualization powers of a lot of good intentioned people - like parents and grandparents.
This is the Containment Dilemma. We expect reality (or existence if you prefer) to come in discretely contained packages. We objectify reality-existence through a cause-and-effect mentality. The expectation breaks down when the conversation turns to the Origins of Existence. Why? Because the only answer that makes any sense is that at some point there is no more containment of objects. In order to explain reality-existence, objects and their separate distinctions have to disappear. Everything does not become One as we are taught in the Enlightenment Advanced Studies class. Everything becomes Nothing.
As long as there is a something before to start from, there is a something that the something before came from, ad infinitum. We usually use God as a cap to end the regression of Containment after which we say mysterious and unclear things that mean, Stop asking those difficult questions!
If our cause-effect, hierarchical, containment-necessary explanation of Existence does not work unless it endlessly loops back upon itself, it means that this reality-existence we call "home" is not truly 'real'. It is an artificial environment, an anomaly whether accidental or deliberately created. At some point in the explanation, the next level of being for reality-existence is '...and then there were none'.
No Time, no space, no measurement of any kind. No beginning, no end. And not because it was always there, but because it was never there.