Sunday, October 25, 2009

Worlds within Worlds

Perhaps it is a little arrogant to think of the summation of my experiences, thoughts, relationships, and memories as a "world" or a "universe." But in terms of my subjective reality, it IS my world, my cosmos.  My mind, as I know it, is infinite.  And yours.  And there are billions and billions of worlds, galaxies, overlapping, weaving, colliding, tearing apart. 

An LDS hymn based off of a traditional folk melody touches upon these ideas.
If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward with that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity,
Find out the generation where Gods began to be?

Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation where Gods and matter end?
Methinks the Spirit whispers, "No man has found 'pure space,'"
Nor seen the outside curtains, where nothing has a place.
The works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound
Improvement and progression have one eternal round.

A few months ago, I peeled up a little corner of my world, and there lay the seeds of an entire universe, quivering with expectant life, just waiting, waiting for the air and light. Like Jack's magic beans, they sprouted and grew beyond anything I had expected. This simple gesture of curiosity has brought a brilliant friendship into my world and has enriched my life (and the lives of several others) in so many deep and meaningful ways. It has been a remarkable gift to be able to experience. And I can see the echoes continuing to ripple across our little cosmic spheres.

It has been tremendous.  Truly cosmic.  

There are some really fascinating ideas in Mormon teachings, ideas which are somewhat controversial to some mainstream Christians, ideas which are - at least publicly - skirted around because they are not conventional. But I find myself drawn to them like a dreamy moth to a kitchen screen.

Lorenzo Snow, who would later become president of the church, taught the famous couplet, "as man is, God once was; as God is, man may be," (you can see some interesting discussion here and here).  This idea appears, watered-down to various degrees, all through the LDS theology.  But the implication is that we have divine, infinite potential within each of us.  In LDS scriptures, it refers to God's creation of "the worlds,"
That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God (D&C 76:24)

This is our divinity.  We are constantly creating, discovering, shaping worlds and worlds every day.

And then a song came on my iTunes that reminded me of another universe which had the potential to have been beautiful. It might have been breathtakingly beautiful but perhaps will never exist to the full potential I once glimpsed there. And every time I hear that song, I do feel a little bit sad, mourning what very well may remain an eternally unborn world.

You just cannot force it. 

As I was thinking about it all on the train that morning, the words came to me, powerfully, chillingly, "your curiosity will move the world forward."  Maybe The World world, or maybe just the world I know - my life, the people I love or even just come in contact with. But then as I was reflecting upon it, my power does lie in my curiosity, in my intelligence, and in my love. I very rarely get these small glimpses into my infinite nature.  An intimate moment of self-knowing as I hurtled toward Copley with a couple hundred strangers. Worlds within worlds.  Love within love.


Newt said...

Oops. The "worlds within worlds" link at the end isn't correct, as you can probably tell.

Worlds within worlds.

Logan said...

Your mind is infinite? I don't think mine is. I'm pretty sure the universe is not only stranger than I imagine, it's stranger than I can imagine.

I recently read a book by Roger Penrose where he proved mathematically that consciousness cannot be algorithmic. This is a bigger problem for materialists than it might seem at first glance, for all known laws of physics are algorithmic. He actually mentioned closed timelike curves (i.e., the future influences the past) as a possible solution to the problem, which blew my mind. One eternal round.

Newt said...

UGH. Logan, you narrowed in on the very sentence with which I am not entirely satisfied. Now I will try to be a little more precise with my language:

By mind, I probably meant consciousness or awareness. Or perhaps by that statement I meant that that my being is an infinite, transcendent being because I posses consciousness, this sense of awareness.

Those ideas by Roger Penrose sound really interesting. For awhile I was reading a philosophical book on human consciousness that sort of took a similar perspective (minus mathematical proofs), that consciousness is separate from cause and effect and that we'll never be able to fully understand if we continue to limit ourselves to linear, cause-effect thinking. I never finished it, though, because then I got really into early goddess religions, but maybe I'll go back to it at some point.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely interpretation of that scripture. julia d hunter likes this.