Where the Buck Stops

The problem with the relational matrix is its inherent circularity. This circularity implies a lack of substance or stability. There is no anchor for the system.

Another way to think of this is in analogy to the dictionary problem. A dictionary has cover to cover meanings, but nowhere will you find meaning. All the definitions are circular. Or, to shift the venue slightly, you can teach a computer to talk, but not to think.

There is a similar problem with the natural numbers, which can only be defined recursively. The numbers just keep flowing. The system threatens to collapse under its own promiscuous weight. So mathematicians postulate a divine intervention in the form of infinity. This concept is still viewed as suspect by many mathematicians who call themselves constructivists. Nonetheless, without that leap of faith, mathematics would be bereft. Obviously the concept of God plays a similar role with respect to the world. God backstops the relational matrix.

We can see this problem and its solution more explicitly in quantum physics, where it appears as the measurement or observer problem. Physically, the world exists as a wave function, which is a superposition of innumerable states of affairs, yet we ever only observe singular states. Schrodinger’s cat is never observed as both alive and dead. We observers in some mysterious, god-like fashion anchor the singular state of the world. The buck stops right here.

The concept of karma provides yet another illustration of circularity. Guilt and evil multiply. Bad money drives out the good. One bad deed generates ten others. The cosmic debt of karma runs into an inflationary spiral. There are only two escapes – to zero or to infinity, to the void or to God. These choices distinguish the eastern and western traditions respectively. The christ event is our handle on infinity, which allows us to break the cycle of karma within history. Otherwise it would still just be an eye for an eye. Can this be proven?

The structure of the world can only be viewed from the outside, from the vantage of the eschaton. The game is over when the fat lady sings. What will she sing? We are beginning to get the idea.


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rev. 12/10/97