Cracking the Egg of the Cosmos

I want to revisit the post from last Thursday regarding "the scientific gaze," how when we view life in wholly materialistic terms it bleaches the world of value and meaning. 

In that post I shared how a human person looks in wholly materialistic terms, reducing a human body to its chemical elements. For example, here is a picture of you:

And here's a picture of your mother:

Here's a picture of your spouse:

And here's a picture of your child:

You get the idea. 

Viewing a human life in wholly materialistic terms, reducing someone you love, or anyone for that matter, to their chemical compounds strips their life of all those subjective aspects that makes life a human life. Our loves, hopes, and dreams. Our joys and sorrows. Our regrets. The transcendent values that guide our lives and ground them in something bigger than ourselves. None of this is captured by materialism. The scientific gaze just bleaches it all out. 

Which means that materialism is akin to madness. That is to say, materialism is blind to the most obvious fact about our lives, that they are chockfull of meaning and value, stuffed with meaning and value. Life is a cup full to overflowing with meaning and value. And to be unable to see this is a form of insanity. 

The trouble is that meaning and value are entirely in a subjective register. And the scientific gaze, which can only speak about the objective, factual, empirical aspects of reality, cannot penetrate into this mysterious realm. Which means that when we reduce "truth" and "reality" to the material we effectively ignore that which is most obvious about human life: That life is FULL of meaning and value. 

Here's how Teilhard de Chardin described the situation. The universe has both an outside and an inside. The outside of the universe is the objective and empirical shell of the cosmos, the thin shell, like that of an egg, that science can minutely investigate and describe. But there's also an inside aspect to the universe, the part of the universe that throbs with meaning and value, the yolk of the egg if you will. Science speaks about the shell of the cosmos, the empirical outside. But science cannot speak about the life of the cosmos, the subjective inside where we experience the fullness of meaning and value. 

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