Is there anything that really is “supernatural” or “magical”?. Let’s look a little a why we put things in these buckets.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C Clarke – author of 2001, A Space Odyssey
Before the 20th century, if something couldn’t be explained by the science of the day, it was supernatural – the realm of things spiritual, mystical or magical. As science progresses, as we peel away the layers of ignorance, two things are occuring:
There’s a whole lot less we regard as “supernatural”. Clearly, as we can explain more of our world, there’s less need for a “magic” bucket. We’ve moved from the Age of the Hobbit to the Age of Man – the rational human who’s confident that explaining today’s unknowns is just a matter of waiting for science to catch up.
Even as we wait for science to progress, science itself is becoming a little magical. It’s starting to describe things in terms that would formerly have been classed “unscientific” – matter moves “in and out of existence”, there are “extra dimensions” and “alternate realities”.
I used to be firmly in the camp that says if you can’t see it or touch it, it isn’t real. But I’ve come to understand that “reality” encompasses many more things than our five senses would indicate, and it’s fascinating to me the degree to which science is now starting to merge with what would formerly have been classed as supernatural. Let’s look at a couple of examples – (1) Quantum Physics and (2) What Makes Us Human.
The “Supernatural” – Quantum Physics
In 1893, Harvard University’s chairman of physics told his students that there was no need for additional PhD’s in the field of physics. It had been established that the universe was made up of matter – physical, indivisible atoms – that fully obeyed Newton’s Laws. Therefore future advancements could only involve more accurate measurement of what was already known.
In less than two years, subatomic particles, X-rays and radioactivity were discovered. Within ten years, we began to understand that energy and matter were interchangeable. Today the much-sought holy grail is a “Theory Of Everything” that explains how both Newtonian Physics and Quantum Physics can coexist. Our “matter universe” is actually made up of sub-atomic particles, some of which keep popping in and out of existence as we try to observe them.
“However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”
Stephen Hawking – A brief History Of Time
“I believe in .. God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists.”
The “Supernatural” – What Makes Us Human?
As the human genome project was getting underway, it was anticipated that there would be over 100,000 genes in the human genome – the minimum number needed to describe human complexity. At that time it was thought that genes were the key to everything. Once we had the blueprint, we could cure all our disorders, we could “create a Mozart or another Einstein”. The actual number found – about 34,000 – was one third of expectations!
“Unless the human genome contains a lot of genes that are opaque to our computers, it is clear that we do not gain our undoubted complexity over worms and plants by using more genes. Understanding what does give us our complexity … remains a challenge for the future.”
David Baltimore, Genetecist, Nobel prize Winner – Nature 409:816, 2001
So what does control our biology? Emerging from some of the leading edge cell science is the understanding that our “environment, and more specifically, our perception of the environment, directly controls our behavior and gene activity”. So it looks as though our thoughts and beliefs create our reality – whether or not those beliefs are based on fact.
So what is “Supernatural”?
What do we consider to be real or natural or normal? And what do we consider to be unreal, supernatural or paranormal? If we had our “Theory Of Everything” as Stephen Hawking suggests, in truth, nothing would be supernatural. It’s just that there’s some things we don’t yet understand well enough.
In the meantime, we’re left describing things in our limited space/time terms. We have things like the Law Of Attraction which we can’t explain, but it works.
Some “Supernatural” experiences
I’ve added a page with some examples of “Supernatural” events. It’s the variety and frequency of these that started me down the road of considering that extra-sensory experiences were not only vaiid, but that they might point to the true nature of who we are.
In truth, they are glimpses behind the curtain of our space/time “reality”.
My thanks to Bruce Lipton who contributed to this page.
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