Saturday, August 20, 2005

Arabia Will Have Had Its Day, Or, Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants (Sunday Night Edit)

Long ago coralled to the white bones of the whale, the captain's skeleton hardly does more than shiver in the cold darkness off Asia. There is no finding the light in these deep waters. Soft-shelled crayfishes, larger than men know, blindly trawl the mud with other sightless beasts, none as blind as the eyeless skeleton in the arches of darkness. Captain, for your voyage never closed, for no faces eagerly turning, for these and other unfinished braveries, I regret your end. But your damn pride would never let you rest, and it was always pace pace pace up and down the deck with you, waiting for the cry, and, "For hate," you replied, "I spit!"

Some years back, Galileo was imprisoned for denying the commonly accepted idea of the structure of the universe. Merely by saying that the earth revolved around the sun, the man not only realigned the planets, but erased the word distance (which defined, among other things, the physical path to the First Mover) and replaced it with eternity. Physical God was forever defined as outside the natural physical world. Galileo's new universe was cold, filled with eternal distances, and correct. Well, not quite. Sir Isaac Newton, filled with bold ideas, picked a few pebbles from the shore and studied them closely. Which resulted in the definition of gravity, the distance between planets, the movement of the stars, the different parts of light, and calculus. The universe became stable and Newtonian, though not as fast as Alexander Pope would have it. Which lasted until Charles Darwin synthesized what many had been thinking, and found proof in his pudding, too, and hard questions. So the universe became Darwinian, a product of unknown forces rather than an unknown Force.

Now, perhaps Galileo was not entirely correct, but he was certainly more correct than his peers. Perhaps Newton did not see far enough ahead, but he saw farther ahead than the rest of Europe. And who knows what drove Charles Darwin? But whatever drove him also drove him to at least formulate something that could explain the state of the universe. The common thread in all these stories is the same: each man arrived at a theory which, for better or worse, forever affected the current established dogma of science and religion; each man explained the basis for his thinking; and each man, if not widely proven correct, at least proved the established mindset of his era to be proud, stubborn, and lacking in the knowledg of the times and what men ought to do. In other words, wrong.

What is the established dogma of science and religion in this modern Darwinian world? Understand, I do not argue for a divine six-day creation of this universe. To argue is to express logic, proof, and demonstrable truth and untruth. I find no such ingredients in the story of creation. On the other hand, I find no such ingredients in evolutionary dogma. As an explanation of a process, there is nothing offensive to reason in evolution. But as the origin of that process? Evolution contends that it is, literally, the answer to the question. Life, evolution explains, is a series of reactions. Reaction to what? Rephrase, then: a series of adaptations. Adaptations to what? If evolution is the inward drive to prolong life outwardly expressed, does this mean that one day humans will achieve immortality? But every fuel source in the universe must one day darken. Even Arabia will have had its day. Even as Darwinism has had its day.

The Church could not let her universe go, and became ridiculous for not acknowledging truth when Galileo spoke. Those few who opposed Sir Isaac Newton (Liebniz, Hooke, James II) stand forever in his shadow. The many who raged against Darwin became ridiculed in the man who wrote that God planted dinosaur bones to test His people. Age changes to age, who can resist it? The old moon must fade before the new moon can be seen.

Ahab would not let his passion pass. Revenge on the animal which had marred his world was all the captain desired. His emotions became his reasons. He tied himself to a single object, that object unachievable. And he died. And the sea swallowed him up. And only one man of all the captain's crew survived.

Are there not other universes beside the Ptolemaic, the Newtonian, the Darwinian? Why should an age of new understanding not come to pass?

[Sunday night edit—

Reading: You've probably seen a few previews, and know the movie is coming out this December. Think of it as LOTR in watercolours (like how there's colour Tim Burton and dark Tim Burton—this is colour TB), a gothless Tolkien, except it totally isn't. Tolkien, or gothless. This is what I love about the Narnia series. Someone had the guts to make a fantasy series where the good guys are unequivocally good and use only goodness to make the world good. Is my vocabulary suffering? Well, these books are intended for children after all. Maybe that has something to do with it. The second in the series (but the first written) is famously titled The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe + Clive Staples Lewis

Listening: I wanted to link to that new Corb Lund song (you know what it's called) the song titled "Truck Got Stuck", but I can't find a legit link anywhere. Corby just keeps getting better, you know? Let's face it, the man is spearheading an entirely new country scene. I think of The Uncas here in Edmonton, or, say, Tim Aylesworth out east, neither of whom really resemble The Corb Lund Band, but, somehow, each seems to echo the CL sound (ound ound ound). Then I got to thinking of other alt country stylings (which aren't really alt so much as old time and retro, less hot and more country), like the incomparable Peter Bruntnell or, better than most, Robbie Fulks. RF got in on that one Johnny Cash tribute, dealing out "Cry Cry Cry" like it was personally his, but enough of that. "Sleepin" isn't all that typical of Robbie Fulks' sound, unlike his newest release, the quintessential and amazing Georgia Hard, but it's still solid, very piano. "Cocktail" is also available for download on this same page, and what strikes the ear about both of these songs is the old-fashioned sound of them, but a genuine old fashion. These could be uptempo George Jones songs. And when would that ever be a bad thing? "Sleepin" + Robbie Fulks]

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