Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Real and imaginary

(can you guess what function this is?)

Looking at the graph above made me think about how in "historic" sciences, such as Evolutionary Biology or Geology, we extrapolate the existing state of the world backwards in time to try to paint a picture of the past. This is like standing on the right part of the "blue" graph above (the "real" graph) and looking backwards, to x < 0.

But what if the world did not exist in the same state of "reality"? For example, it existed not in a material form, like today, but in some sort of spiritual form. And today, when we look at the world, we find the remnants of those "spiritual" processes (as they "materialized" themselves once the world passed x = 0) and, trying to interpret them, create a distorted picture of the past (since we have access only to the "real" part of the "function").

For instance, Evolutionary Biology shows relationship between species. Extrapolating back billions of years, it interprets it as descent with modification due to natural selection. And, considering that today descent with modification due to both natural and human selection is observed, that there is no reason to believe that it did not happen in the past, and that there is evidence consistent with the descent with modifications due to natural selection, all this seems to present strong evidence in favor of Theory of Evolution. (Even though many mechanisms are not clear, and many aspects of the evidence remain unexplained. So, nu, in every set of ideas you have holes and gaps. From physics to, lehavdil, Gemara. Just because there is a discontinuity in the function doesn't mean that we can't work with the function.)

But what if descent with modification did happen (and there may even have been selection), but not in "nature", since the nature, with the rest of the physical world, did not exist? Perhaps what really happened was some sort of evolutionary "spiritual" process that happened before the creation of the world and, during the first week 6771 years ago, "created" the species (which would not contradict G-d creating the species, since "He and His life-giving emanations are one; He and His garments are one" — i.e., G-d envelops Himself and becomes one with the spiritual tools with which He creates the worlds and all that is in them).

And now we see merely the material "shadow" of those spiritual events.


(Yes, I know I am misusing the concept of imaginary and real numbers. This is just a graphic illustration. There need not be a strict coherence between the moshol and the nimshal. Also, you can interpret "imaginary" as a product of our extrapolation, or you can say that "imaginary" = spiritual, while "real" = material.)

No comments: