When I think of prayers I am reminded of a poem. During World War I, “Gott strafe England” was a slogan of the German Army. The phrase means, “God, punish England!” The frequency of this slogan and similar oaths by British soldiers gave Sir John Collings Squire cause to write the following poem.
“God heard the embattled nations sing and shout
'Gott strafe England!’ and ‘God save the King!’ God this, God that, and God the other thing – Good God!’ said God, ‘I’ve got my work cut out!’”
This does reflect what I observed of the use of prayer as I was growing up. I often wondered if God is omniscient, why do we have to speak in some language such as English to tell God what we want? If God is omniscient we might be wiser to want what God wants! I believe praying means listening to God.
The subject of prayer raises many questions needing better answers than we have known. If we believe the dominant world-view of scientific materialism there is no point to prayer. In materialism there is only determinism by blind forces. Prayer would be just a wishful delusion to make us feel better.
However, new discoveries are revealing the Logos of life-itself. As knowledge of this Logos grows we can see that scientific materialism is profoundly wrong when applied to life. It is a partial view of reality that has been spectacularly successful in producing technology; machines. With regard to understanding life it is a disaster.
There has been talk of a paradigm change for sometime. It is now occurring. Human consciousness has been changing worldwide. Also science is changing. I wish the changes in science were better known.
As the old paradigm perishes life may become frightening. As the new paradigm takes charge, life will be better than we have ever known. Based on the circumstances of my experience I wish to illustrate what I believe will characterize the old and dying paradigm and characterize the new paradigm now beginning.
In the old paradigm of scientific materialism the universe is non-living. It is nothing but dead matter except on earth some freakish conditions created life as an epiphenomenon. After years of inquiry there is no satisfactory explanation for the origin of life, we send space probes out looking for life, seeking to learn if it could have occurred on other planets?
I repeat, new results in laboratories around the world could not occur if materialism were a complete view of reality. I think these new results give us good insights into the new paradigm.
I believe it would be more correct to see matter as an epiphenomenon created by life. Life is energy flows, probably in the Dirac Sea. Life is manifest as creative organisms. A living organism is a society of living organisms. For example, a human being consists of 75 trillion cells living in a pure democracy. Each cell enjoys maximum freedom to act provided it conforms to the coherence conditions the body requires. (This led me to speculate that cancer cells were cells that had lost their ability to communicate, they no longer knew the coherence conditions. I am surprised to learn that several cancer research centers have confirmed this. They are working on ways to restore communication.)
The cells in our bodies are living organisms capable of acting, and choosing their acts based on values appropriate to them. Now research shows the same is true of the molecules in the cells, and so forth down to subatomic particles.
This all seemed so outlandish that I have resisted saying it even though I believed it; the universe is a living organism. We are living organisms subject to the coherence conditions of earth, which is subject to the coherence conditions of the next higher organism. In our lack of understanding values we have become cancer cells for the earth.
In the last three decades leading edge biophysics has changed everything we ever thought we knew about life. Today I know there is nothing machine like about any living entity. Virtually all the concepts by which we understand computers cannot and should not be applied to anything living. Living organisms do not learn the order of the world through inputs. Instead living organisms impose order on the world.
Physics as we have known it can no longer be considered the most basic science. Today there is developing transcendental physics. Transcendental means independent of human experience of phenomena but within the range of knowledge. There is more to physics than can be naively observed; even Newtonian physics as we have known it. Physics cannot make a major advance solely by observing phenomena. It needs a search-and-find activity. Philosophy explores experience and reports what it finds using natural language. Turning the observations into some form such as mathematics provides rules for reasonable search, and the ability to know what you are looking for. The difference between science and philosophy can be illustrated by Maxwell’s discovery of electromagnetic waves in 1860. He had before him many philosophical experiments showing the interaction of electric and magnetic fields. There wasn’t an experimental trace of waves, but when he reduced the experiments to differential equations he saw they were wave equations; thus electromagnetic waves were discovered. He wasn’t exploring; he knew what he was looking for, and found it.
In our search for the logos of life-itself, our search and find activities are based on assumptions as to what is reasonable to be looking for in finding the logos of life. These assumptions have to be coherent, universal and necessarily true. This is the job of metaphysics. Assuming substance metaphysics you get materialism. The results from that foundation are found now to be incapable of explaining new discoveries about living phenomena. This demands a new metaphysics. Changing to process metaphysics we get results that can explain the new discoveries, and yes prayer. Also, process metaphysics greatly expands reality to include the transcendental, a universe of living energy that creates matter and manifests our living world. Now it is possible to see that life produces evolution, not random processes of chemicals colliding, nor by survival of the fittest, nor by a designer.
In the new paradigm it will be possible to understand what we now call spiritual, the meaning and role of values, how to peacefully resolve differences, the importance of differences and variety, how to harmonize differences and not homogenize. I also believe we will find a living God. Surely not the God I heard about in Sunday school, but the God of all inclusion, of connectedness and transcendence. This is called Panentheism, a definition of the divine character.
I have a great deal of enthusiasm for the God of Panentheism. Panentheism is similar to Pantheism. In addition, as with Theism, God is transcendent. Being intimately involved in our lives, as in Pantheism, combined with transcendence as in Theism he/she is always communicating and co-creating with us. We know this communication as lures for our guidance through a kind of “felt sense knowing.”
For example, I remember the morning I was getting ready to go to class at the University of Texas. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by feelings that I must not go. That was the morning of the sniper in the tower. Had I gone I would have been walking across his target area just as he started shooting.
Communication with God occurs beyond words, although words may be found when searching our hearts to express what we are deeply feeling. We communicate with God by connecting with our inner "felt" sense awareness of the wholeness of what we are feeling, not by what we say. God communicates with us by providing lures of feeling.
I remember from the Bible, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Render unto God what is God’s. In scientific materialism there is only Caesar. It has taken the meaning out of life. The new paradigm is revealing new meaning.
With a new beginning on so many fronts, meaning is emerging as we come to our hearts to listen, to know what action to take for our living during these times. And from here, we move into new knowing, and a peace that passeth all understanding, until now. Life-itself is revealing her ways.
Please visit our new website at www.autognomics.org and read our new publication of Life as Creative Organism; Cosmos and History Social Philosophy Journal on www.cosmosandhistory.org. We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your participation in passing along news of the emerging logos of life-itself.