5. THE GREAT SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS
WTM FAQ 5.3 What is the meaning of life? / What is the Integrative Meaning of existence? / What is God?
[Note: this answer is repeated in WTM FAQ 6.2]
There is actually a very obvious direction and purpose to existence, which is the ordering or integration of matter into ever larger and more stable wholes. Over the eons out in the universe, a chaotic cosmos continues to organise itself into stars, planets and galaxies. And here on Earth, as the chart below illustrates, atoms became ordered or integrated to form molecules → which in turn integrated to form compounds → virus-like organisms → single-celled organisms → multicellular organisms → and then societies of multicellular organisms.
So the theme or purpose or meaning of existence is the ordering or integration of matter, a process that is driven by the physical law of Negative Entropy.
These quotes from Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein (respectively) indicate how prevalent this underlying order is: ‘The overwhelming impression is of order…[in] the universe’ (‘The Time of His Life’, Gregory Benford, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Apr. 2002), and that ‘behind everything is an order’ (Einstein Revealed, PBS, 1997).
There is, however, an immense problem admitting this truth of integrative meaning, and that is it unbearably confronts us with our divisive, seemingly disintegrative selfish, competitive and aggressive human condition.
The fact is that for a larger whole to form and hold together (integrate) the parts of that whole must consider the welfare of the whole above their own welfare. Simply stated, selflessness is integrative while selfishness is divisive or disintegrative. But this implies that we selfish and competitive humans have been living in defiance of ‘Integrative Meaning’, living in a way that is out of step with creation!
In fact, Integrative Meaning has been such a terrifyingly condemning truth that we divisively behaved humans couldn’t face it. And so, to avoid facing it, we deified the process of Integrative Meaning as ‘God’, thus making it something separate and superior to us, not connected to us in an earthly, practical way.
So, ‘God’ is the personification of Integrative Meaning, a personification that was necessary while we selfish and competitive humans couldn’t explain why we were seemingly at odds with ‘God’!
IT IS ONLY NOW that we have the redeeming explanation of humans’ divisively behaved human condition (that biologist Jeremy Griffith has found and presented in Video/Freedom Essay 3 and chapter 1 of his book FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition), that we can at last afford to demystify ‘God’ as Integrative Meaning.
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You can read much more about Integrative Meaning and God in Freedom Essay 23 and chapter 4 of FREEDOM.