Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Great De-Centering


Copernicus-- Earth is not the center of the Universe, not even our own galaxy or solar system. We orbit around the Sun, not it around us. Hence we are not the center of universal creation.

Darwin / Big Bang / science / Enlightenment-- Darwin showed that we, humanity, were not the first creation, not the crowning achievement, but rather an organism that evolves, changes, and is subject to the same natural laws as all other creatures. Hence we are not the center of Earthly creation either.

Freud-- Freud showed the human to be infinitely complicated. He showed that we, in fact, are not even fully in control of ourselves, but instead susceptible to psychological conditions in our subconscious. These various conditions, caused perhaps in our infancy, perhaps by societal mores, can well up in pathology. So we, our ego, our conscious being, is not fully in charge. Hence we are not even the center of ourselves—we are shared; we are in part unconscious beings as well as rational, logical conscious ones.

Einstein-- With his Theory of Relativity, Einstein de-centered everything. Nothing holds. All facts, knowledge, is relative to where you are standing. All laws break down. This returns us, in a sense, to primeval chaos: there is no center to speak of.

And perhaps…

Job-- This is an uncanny book in the Bible, somewhat discordant from the rest of the Old Testament. It shows man as ultimately incapable of understanding the morality of God. God’s reason is not the reason of man and it is incommunicable. Hence man is irreconcilably severed from his God. This is analogous to the eviction from Eden. We are taken from the center of God’s love and intimacy and thrown out into the harsh world where God no longer makes logical sense to our meager understanding. There is evil (so we think) and we can’t grasp it. Didn’t Elohim call his creation good? How can this be? Job says we cannot know.

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