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Tammy: I guess I’m having a little trouble with the phrase theory of everything. If I think about what that would mean for science it’s a huge order to try to just come up with a theory that can take the various sources and explain them in one concept. So I find to come up with the theory of everything for science is going to mean a lot of detail of how one idea then leads, one concept leads to these various phenomena that are currently being discussed and trying to be joined in one theory of everything. So I’m a little concerned with calling this concept the theory of everything at this point. I find it an intriguing idea to think about what would a metaphysics look like with potential as the driving force or dynamic force through all things and it’s an interesting idea and I would like to see how that would play out. But at this point it can’t be called the theory of everything until it’s done that work. And so the closest thing I can think of for instance, it’s a very different principle but attempts to do something similar as we’ve discussed is known as [Inaudible 00:01:23] principle. It’s a very different principle but it tries to explain how all, a seventh century attempt tries to explain how all individuals, whether living or non living come to behave in the way that they do and then it not only explains this principle of [Inaudible 00:01:41] but goes on to explain how that is the driving principle behind the laws of physics which were understood in that point in time, how that principle is a driving force behind human emotion and it spends two books of the ethics trying to explain why that’s the case. So it tries to take that principle and then apply it and flush it out and show how it reaches out in these various areas so until that detail and I know you talk about metaphysics being the answer but in answer to that detail I don’t know if the theory of everything is a statement that makes sense to me. I find it a very interesting hypothesis of a dynamic process to consider but I’m not sure yet if I feel comfortable with the phrase theory of everything.
David: If I were a scientist I would not commit one minute of laboratory time to this theory. But if I were a scientist, a coffee afterwards with my colleagues, I might say by the way what do you think? A hundred, two hundred years from now might we get to the point where we can look at this or is there anything in my work so far that contradicts us and just keep it in mind on the side by the by this interesting. So this is not meant to direct the scientific community, god forbid, a science is generally an incremental advance and what’s been achieved in my lifetime, it’s truly unbelievable the brilliance and genius of the scientific community to have gotten us to this point so far so fast in my own lifetime. So they are going at warped speed as it is and I’m coming at it from a different direction and I’m not saying put down your pencils and [Inaudible 00:03:23] by the by keep it in mind at the coffee club later. It’s more meant for the world at large to examine as a potential all embracing theory in regards to some of those, I know you’re Spinoza and very few people can say with conviction that they understand Spinoza, exactly what he meant. And as far as his underlining interlocking network, I have a powerful interlocking network so there’s no dispute but that’s not what’s driving my theory, my hypothesis. It’s part of my hypothesis but it’s not driving it, it’s like a netting but it’s not the guts of it. So there’s no argument that if you want to interpret Spinoza’s interlocking network to be parallel to my interlocking network be my guest but I’m afraid to say anything about Spinoza because try as I might, I’m never sure I fully understand what he’s saying and I’m not sure he did by the way. And as a postscript Bruce Chilton, Gary Hagberg did not invite me here and to have a conference about my two books because I’m playing it safe or because I’m a famous academic because I’m not or because I’ve proven every last iota of the theory because it’s only a theory. I suspect they invited me here because they probably had similar questions when they were younger or over the years. And looking for an embracing theory which at least can be used as a working proposition, that’s what we’re talking about; working proposition to be looked at or tacked or placed or maybe one of a number of potential working propositions for contacts and they did not go on a limb here with the credibility and Bard’s credibility. Because I wrote a paper, they went on a limb here for only one reason I might be right and that’s why we’re here tonight.
Speaker 1: Let me follow that. At the close of an introduction to volume two, David has a quite charming letter to the reader; he closes it with a remark which I think is extremely telling about the entire project and I want to ask you about that. He says one last thing he says to understand the infinite cosmos one truly need not spend a lifetime peering through a large telescope fathoming hyper complex physics equations or wading through dozens of esoteric writings. Indeed respectfully they will not advance beyond say second base. One needs however and here’s what I want to ask you about, one needs however to listen very carefully to the very core of one’s soul and that project, heard by an philosopher would give rise instantly to the question does this run the risk of losing the distinction as philosophers are quick to say between the way something is and the way something seems? Because if we in fact listen to our souls and to take cases philosophers often discuss, the case of hallucination, if I quote losing to my own soul in context of hallucinating and Tammy says don’t worry there are no snakes there, you’re just, something’s wrong, there’s a big and a vital importance difference between in believing in my own soul and what is actually the case. Does the criteria that you establish there and beautifully put, does it run the risk of losing that distinction?
David: Well as you’re well aware it’s that one phrase that one needs to listen to very carefully to one’s own soul, that’s ninety percent poetic and ten percent is reality, meaning obviously you have to so to speak do you homework. In my case I did whatever, twenty years of trying to observe everything I saw but I tried different filters over it and at the same time in retrospect, I developed in the book the idea that what’s true on a personal level is true on a cosmic level and vice versa, that we mimic each other. And therefore the clue to the cosmos will tend to be embedded in one’s own soul. So it’s not that I’m saying look at your soul and write a book on metaphysics. When I wrote it I was aware it’s a dicey phrase, people are going to take this out of context, that’s all you need to do. It’s a poetic phrase and by the way the code is probably embedded inside your own soul which I believe it is. With equanimity were to appear in your own soul I think we would hear it saying to us quest for your own particular potential and maximize your particular mark on the earth. I think everyone in this room today, I think we ask ourselves maybe not in those words but are we doing what we can do to make a mark, are we doing what we can do to maximize our play to live somewhat meaningful lives? And it’s not just make the most money or write the most articles, it’s the whole cluster of things we do meaning it’s generally combination of things we do meaning advance academically, try to have some security, try to act decently with people, try to establish meaningful relationships, the whole cluster of trying to reach one’s potential. Now, as we all know on this particular score if you dilute yourself too much you achieve nothing and if you focus too much you’ll become a dry individual. Cross potential is not one thing. It’s your personal cluster package. So the idea that from lists at a table, these are good concepts to develop; sure but that’s not what we’re here for. There are plenty of Tony Robins things and things like that on how to maximize your potential; fine. But we’re here for, this is a bleach of conference, a bleach of college, bleach of chairman, bleach of prosperous speakers. We’re here to advance to [Inaudible 00:10:01] a little bit. We’ve had some very dynamic frankly lunches where we’ve had more kind of arm wrestling, gladiator contests and I’ve learned a few key things I’ll say very quickly. Number one I had to say very clearly this is not science and I respect science and I have no argument with science. In fact science is my ally. This is not science, it may be that five hundred years from now science will have the tools to deal with it or it may be this type of concept is not classic scientific turf to investigate. I also learnt that people are very nervous about anybody saying the theory of anything. We’re sort of heard that before. But we also know in life, you always say well should I pay attention to this one, this one might be right. So generally we say no, I’m not going to waste my time on the next guy who says I have the theory of everything. But to echo the Passover, why is this day different than other days? Because Chilton and Hadberg say let’s give it a look. And you have these well [Inaudible 00:11:21] people who signed on even though they may be highly wary of this thing but needless to say they signed on to this conference so they all see on some level, of course we’re wary but we’re willing to invest a little time on this.
Speaker 1: Les me toss the ball to our participants. Perhaps any of the four of you here presently.
Speaker 2: I’m very pleased to hear you except it is not science. In fact as I was listening, what it struck me as being is just a business school slogan and I can see that business school slogans are perhaps very helpful for personal development. Each of us here, maybe trying to fulfill our potential, striving to do well and all that. I can see the business school slogans are very good for corrections of individuals, teams, football teams and I can see it’s very good for corporations but frankly that’s where it stops and the fallacy in your approach is that you think that business school slogans apply to the cosmos and I think that’s frankly nonsense. We don’t need slogans to understand and I think it’s a misrepresentation of what metaphysics is to resort to slogans. Metaphysics should draw on the information that science provides about the mechanism of the world and the insights it provides, it doesn’t need to draw on the business world.
Speaker one: Let me ask Tammy to step in on that and then come back if I may.
Tammy: Oh why me?
Speaker one: I thought you had a lot to say on this particular point but you don’t have to.
Tammy: Yeah, I’ll let someone else take it. If it’s okay.
Speaker one: David, go ahead.
David: Maybe take another question from any of the three and then I’ll answer one or two of the others.
Speaker 3: Thanks for mentioning our interest in your work, I thought I would locate that interest in my own case. Next spring in exactly a year I’ll be co-teaching a course with John Ferguson who is our professor of biology on evolution. Our purpose is to relate theological conceptions at the time that theories of evolution emerged so that we can see how these correspondences play out. So as you might imagine I’ll be pressing Tammy later on for help on the bibliographical side. And conceptually it seems to me that within an environment that aims to be interdisciplinary, that is a perfectly straightforward kind of question along the lines that Vernot suggested earlier on. But I have to say that at the back of my mind and it will be at the back of my mind not the front while I’m teaching the course I’ll have two questions which I came into this conference with and I still have. I’ll just pose the first of them now and get to the other one later on. The first I refer to in our initial meeting, namely just where we see that consciousness emerges and then what relationship we believe that consciousness has to our physical reality. It seems to me that a consideration of metaphysics ought to elucidate that for me and I have had the impression that we have approached answering that from time to time during this conference and yet I don’t quite have a takeaway as yet.
David: So, the whole field of consciousness, the vast field for and the vast field contemporary writing, consciousness is a crucial component both in book one and in book two in different areas and I’ll get back to Doctor Atkins as well. So, consciousness is an area of science for sure and so I’m only, I’m speaking as a layman, now, my book deals with consciousness on two levels. In book one I posit that if there is a divine the divine has to withdraw divine consciousness to allow for man’s growth and freedom and you touched on that in your opening remarks and I told you I had to clarify that so here we are. In book two and partially in book one I say the development of consciousness is one of the primary quests for potential for cosmos order, that’s number one. Number two I’m saying that the whole cosmic order is one great consciousness, I’m positing it, I’m not the first one to posit something along those lines but it’s fully integral to this theory. So I’ve [Inaudible 00:17:09] levels here and so the emergence to me personally, growth and consciousness is one of the most extraordinary phenomena that I observe on a society level and I try to frankly do whatever I can to raise my own consciousness, just to be able to write a little better and be more creative. It’s related, you need a certain level of consciousness to absorb what I’m trying to say because it is a new paradigm as far as we know, it might be wrong but it’s new. And you have to think in totally different terms than you’ve ever thought before. God is not there, if there’s a god, we’re right in the middle of god, we’re like a blood cell that’s part of the greater divine, meaning one we may be infinitely minute, we’re still there, we’re part of it. And so consciousness is crucial, we’re all in awe of the growth and consciousness. At the same time I’m saying we’re part of an extraordinary unfolding consciousness.
Now, back to Doctor Atkins. First let me say that we can handle all discussions on a fine manner without calling names and it’s beyond me why you keep doing that to all the speakers. With all due respect, you’re a high level guy so we can keep discussions on a high level. Usually I would not answer a person addressing me the way you did but in the interest of the conference I will. Let me set the record very clear there. I don’t take nonsense from anybody; I don’t care who they are but I am going to address your issues. The fundamental issues, not the name calling.
Now, if one has a concept, one can right away tag it as some kind of slogan. You can tag whatever you want. I have a concept, you want to brand it negatively as a team slogan be my guest. I have a concept, it’s a concept of divinity, that is eternal divine with a quest for potential and it drives everything. It drives human kind, it drives your explorative work, it drives this conference, it drives our desire to find love, to find friendship, to find security, to make a mark, to advance humanity, to make friendships, to take care of children, to do our share in the world. So, I think it’s a powerful concept and I extrapolate a concept applied on a down to earth personal level like young men to reach their potential, I extend it to the entire cosmos as a potential overarching concept and I think it works. Now, if one doesn’t think it works we can discuss how it doesn’t work. So that’s where I stand on that score.
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