Reality, Imaginary and Complexity.

“Anything (God e.g.) that is imaginary is just that and therefore not real and can be of no practical benefit.” – Discuss.**

** see further down below – line in wide spacing!

Reality, Imaginary and Complexity.

Most people will have their own understandings they attach to each of those 3 words.

For many of us they will usually approximate something like:

Reality is what we live most of our waking life inside of.

Imaginary is something we don’t really believe is real in the current time reference ( the ‘now’). It may never be (like total world peace) or may be if we work hard at it ( like becoming a millionaire, or win first prize in a mega-lotto) or it may be something we prefer never happened (like imagining living in a post nuclear war scenario)

Complexity is something that has more attributes than we can comfortably fit in our brain/conceptualisation of ‘what is’. We might be able to figure it all out given time but we probably won’t ever choose to spend that time if it seems too ‘complex’

Depending upon your own personal experience you probably can attach each one of those words to the concept of God and Religion. To some God is most definitely real and they live accordingly, to some God is purely a figment of human imagination and to some God is too complex an idea to easily fit into either of the previous categories.

I suspect that for a very great many of you that you can prove to your own satisfaction that your personal view is the ‘correct’ one – you can cite all sorts of ‘evidence’ you or others have acquired that fits your own views on the matter while attaching little to no importance to the ‘evidence’ of those who differ to your views.

Many atheists for example will quite confidently state that belief in God is purely imaginary and not ‘real’  (meaning backed by any physical or detectable evidence  – that they have ever found at any rate) and so they are of superior intellect than those who believe in imagined human creations of a ‘super-natural’ being that rules the Universe.

I wonder how many of said atheists remember though, while saying that, that the pride of their reality, of evidential scientific ‘belief’, the great God mathematics which can prove or disprove many earthly things ( and cosmically scaled things also) has both Real, Imaginary and Complex (real plus imaginary) numbers?

What’s that?? an IMAGINARY NUMBER?? In Mathematics, that most logical thought system? The one we use to understand every kind of process from genetic growth to nuclear fusion powering the sun and gravitational forces governing the Universe? They believe in IMAGINARY numbers???? huh?

‘Tis true. A cold hard fact.

Mathematics has ‘real’ numbers – a small subset of which are the ones we most often use in life – the counting numbers we use to define ‘how many/how much’. We use them in commerce:” i want to buy 6 oranges at $2.99 a kilo” In gardening: “500grams of this fertiliser will cover an area of 10 sq metres”. Fibonacci’s sequence in plant petals, pistils etc.. In music: 6 and 12 string guitars, 88 keys on a piano. We use them in practically all aspects of life ( if we look carefully real numbers are obvious everywhere).

Less familiar to those of us who did not particularly like maths in school are negative numbers. You can’t actually ‘see’ a negative number of things and about the only way most of us become aware of them is when we overspend on our credit card balance and have a ‘negative’ number balance. You cannot ever ‘see’ minus $200 – it is not a ‘real’ thing you can hold or feel, but you can certainly ‘feel’ the loss of having one. Again the commercial world finds negative numbers ‘useful’ as a means of dealing with that most in demand commodity, money.

Our scientific world finds these slightly, to us, ‘unreal’ numbers of considerable practical ‘value’.

But where does the imaginary part come into mathematics? So far i have been referring only to what mathematicians and science refers to as REAL numbers.

An imaginary number is one that does not exist in the range of ‘real’ numbers.

That is quite important.. let me say it again slowly..

A n  I m a g i n a r y  N u m b e r   i s  o n e  t h a t  d o e s  N O T  E X I S T  i n  t h e  r a n g e  o f  r e a l  n u m b e r s !

Any actual number  (including +/- decimal points and fractions) that you could possibly write down using our 10 digits does and can only exist in the range of real numbers.

Yet mathematicians/scientists BELIEVE in and can use imaginary numbers  (see above!) to better describe certain aspects of our physical world than they could if they stuck to only what was ‘real’.

How does that sound to you God believers out there??? How often has an atheist/agnostic… hell, even christian minister!, expressed doubt about you believing in an imaginary being and made you feel ever so slightly foolish for doing so?

Yet the God of science and maths has decreed that imaginary things actually exist and have practical applications in our real world. Makes their self-righteous stance on ‘foolish’ beliefs sound a little less ‘certain’ or factually-based to me!

Don’t get me wrong – i fully accept that these Imaginary Numbers  ( and their dependent cousins, ‘Complex Numbers’) have strictly defined laws regarding their manipulation so as to serve humanity in a positive, and not a foolish, fashion.

I just find it somewhat hypocritical of many people who argue that religion is ‘made up’ and so a reason to disregard it as having practical purpose in our every day life, when they are quite happy to accept exactly the same concepts themselves. (At least those are who have the intelligence to have even heard of imaginary and complex number systems).

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19 Comments

  1. Very interesting post Bob! Bob’s your uncle indeed….:-D

    Reply
  2. 🙂

    Reply
  3. A.the.ist

     /  3 April, 2013

    “the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it”

    – George H. Smith

    Not everyone “believes they are are ABSOLUTELY right. Attach their beliefs to Absolute values, some admit and understand that something’s are simply unknowable. And leave it at that. Don’t claim to be right or wrong, just don’t know.

    There MUST be one single thing on the great big wide world you just don’t know. You? Impossible.

    Reply
    • Welcome A. If everyone i met thought as you seem to i would have far less reason to write what i write.

      Unfortunately, they don’t.

      Your last comment was a little cryptic – potentially caustic – and for your information: i BELIEVE that only fools are ever Absolutely certain about anything.

      One thing i do know… for all the many things i know little to nothing about i can always search out and seek the truth of and form an opinion (of varyingly held strengths) on – as is my right.

      This includes things science can at best provide limited understandings of… Love, happiness, fear, our spirituality and something commonly referred to as ‘God’.

      Reply
  4. Funny. For .. since the beginning of time tribes, civilizations, sects, PEOPLE have been at war over “rights”. Their right.

    You know for sure your rights, ok I accept that, but are you allowed to pursue those rights? live them, breathe them. was a women who knew she had the right to vote in 1916 given the opportunity to express that “god given right”?

    So, yes, you may know your rights, sadly, you may never actually get to live them.

    So many of my jewish brethren did not when they went up in smoke along with the gypsys the commies, anyone at all who did not follow order, sign on the dotted line, who had a right that someone else did not believe in..

    gets a bit tricky there eh

    Reply
    • Hi Audacious.
      Point 1. This was most definitely NOT a post on my or anyone else’s ‘rights’
      Point 2. i am continually amazed that i can write a thousand words on a particular point i find of ‘interest’ (in this case the hypocrisy of those who rubbish God and religion, things others hold to be true and of incomprehensible value while, most likely, having no understanding of the mathematical equivalent of an ‘imaginary friend’, and still comments will be made on a single and relatively inconsequential word (That i do not recall was ever a part of the actual post?).
      Point 3. Tricky? i would have said ‘All TOO human!’
      Point 4. To me the biggest sin a human can commit is putting their own thoughts before/ahead of/as more important than what God has told us we should do – Love the Lord with all your heart, love others as yourself. (and of course i struggle with this – it is abhorrent to our own ego’s.)
      i do not believe many so called ‘religious’ people or believers in God are all that good at doing that (but, as for mathematics, just because loads of us are crap at it don’t mean we should call it stupid, useless and irrelevant to our life) and i certainly believe that when Hitler spouted his ‘Christian’ ideologies as justifying his actions he either was intentionally misrepresenting his belief as a way to get more Germans supporting and following his party or, that he had committed the sin of making God fit his will and not the other way around.

      Here’s a quote that sort of explains:
      “Christians today find it implausible that their religion could have anything in common with Nazism, but they need to recognize that Christianity – including their own – is always conditioned by the culture around it. For Germans at the beginning of the 20th century, Christianity was often profoundly anti-Semitic and nationalistic. This was the same ground which the Nazis found so fertile for their own ideology. It would have been amazing had the two systems not found much in common and been unable to work together.

      Nazi Christians didn’t follow an idiosyncratic version of Christianity nor was it “infected” with hate and nationalism. Everything about Nazi Christianity already existed in German Christianity before the Nazis came on the scene.”

      Point 5. i believe that so long as we all hold most tightly to our own personal ego-based interpretations of what is the ‘right’ thing to do (as did Hitler) and not instead do all in our power to love an omniscient, all powerful supra-human God and try to only live according to what He has willed, the human race will remain forever at war, with others and within themselves.

      Reply
      • I am Jewish.

        You never mention Jesus.

        I am familiar with the old testament not the new.

        To be perfectly honest, I just realized, I have never thought of the hate that brought the Jews (and gypsies, and Commies, and the “others”) a Christian assault. Like at all.

        The crusade for sure, the Jesuits … Kinda maybe, but the Germans… They were not a religious people, nor the Jews that lived there! I fact the irony may be that both lutherism and other forms of “reformed Christianity” as well as “reformed Judaism” both sprang out of Germany.

        Something about the culture is inherently… Secular. I always saw hitlers persecution of the Jews a more of a “racial” defamation rather than religious. Jews were “less”, “evil”, cause of all our ills, scapegoats. But it wasnt bc they didn’t believe Jesus wasnt the messiah…. Was it?

        Hitlers speeches were full of power and vigor about deceit and “rights” – the rights he chose he was entitled to (including the presidency which he wasn’t actually elected to). The Jews took those rights away try were “other”.

        Crusades wtc were waaaay more religion infused. Go to south America. Sooo many Aussies there. Go to a city, a village a settlement off a dirt road in Cayambe, and you will find a shrine, a large cross a top a hill ( and boy does south America gots its hills!). Yea, the Jesuits def got to south America alright

        The famous Christo a top rio… It’s in every city. It’s… The norm. As are shrines etc.

        Kind of off topic. Had a moment of realization about Germany, etc.

        I personally, um, and this most likely (ironically) stems from something I learned in Hebrew school, have ego-not. I an aware at all times (except when there is in place a construct we are all taught is a fact – the world is round par example a – that I have no idea if what I think is right or wrong. My ego in terms of that… Is non existantsnt (I am of course the shiznet … So yea represent 🙂 ) it was A small lesson that had a great impact.

        We learned tbat we are all born knowing everything there is to know about the Torah, god, morality, EVERYTHING. Then almost immediately an angel comes down and presses his thumb against our upper lip, creating what we colloquially know as the “cupids cup”. This angelic gesture erases all that knowledge and it our duty to spend the rest of our lives devoted to reclaiming this knowledge – however, the moment we believe we have reached it, this means we have learned nothing. Because in no way can a man learn all there is to know about the scripture and God in a lifetime nor SHOULD he be. We should be always learnjng and expanding our minds. Always searching and exploring until the day we meet god at the gates.

        Anyhow that’s how I came to be an ego-free being I know that I am aware that there is so much out there I don’t know, keeps my mind free from the constraints of ego. And why would I ever want to fence something so beautiful as everlasting growth and exploration in w something so trite as “being right”?

        Um yea. Those are my thoughts. Unnumbered. Just ideals based on experience and teachings

  5. Hi Audacious,

    We may have subtly different interpretations of what exactly our ‘ego’ is – one thing i KNOW it is is it is incredibly tricky and as soon as we think we ‘have it’s measure’ it ensnares us in yet another deception.

    I had never heard of Cupid’s Cup before, but in my personal version of self-philosophy it fits pretty close or, at least not sufficiently differently to be worth arguing the point with you 😉

    I would clarify though, that i too believe no man can know ALL there is to know about scripture (which i believe is for all mankind, not just our own unique selves alone). But that NOTHING shall be hidden from us if we seek it diligently and with His Purpose as our guide. It is of course – as in everything -, what we then chose to do with any acquired knowledge which could be said to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. (Conforming with His Will or not)

    Jesus? i have my own thoughts, but referring to him these days is difficult owing to so many having so much of their own ‘baggage’ concerning him – the original post was intended to reach a wider audience than just Jesus followers. Applies to anyone who has decided not to believe in a religion ( based purely upon how man has stuffed so much of the basic concepts up so far) or even to those of non Judeo-Christian religions, with whom i have no real issue – unless they use less than well informed ideas to trash other peoples religions and claim theirs is the ONLY way to God. (Which is one of many reasons why i don’t call myself a Christian).

    I am a looker – i look into things and see what if any ‘truth’ they contain for me – and also what truth they may be completely missing. You can of course follow anything down a near infinitely long ‘tunnel’ and never reach the end – i try to not get stuck down any one single tunnel.
    I enjoy researching science, history, religion, philosophy – hopefully to become a more ’rounded and less grounded individual.

    Being Jewish i’m assuming you know that Jesus was a Jew who believed he was sent to gather up the lost peoples of the remnant of God’s Chosen people ( Jews) and return them to God’s flock? I’m sure i have no need to remind you of the long history of Jewish rebellions against their God? So, how much have you read of Him and what He says?

    Or, like my other American Jewish lady friend ( a former Bronx gal too i believe , now in lower NY state) are you more of a secular ‘believer’ these days? ( and something i meant to mention on one of your posts…. it never actually HURTS to ask something (or even for something) – God says it’s ok ( both OT and New T i think – don’t quote me, yet!) and a US court of law has deemed it so.

    Threatening with menaces however, is illegal – i believe? 😉

    Reply
    • Threatening with menaces however, is illegal – i believe? 😉

      relevance???

      I don’t get it. who threatened who, wink? I don’t threaten, im not mafia, was it you and I totally missed it? went right over head? US court? hmmm I dunno I studied Australian Law personally

      Reply
      • Dear Jay,

        It’s ok to lighten up sometimes ( specialy if something seems to be getting ‘heavy’ – yes?)

        I reserve MY right (there’s the R word again? Hmmm…) to, at any point of my choosing in a comment/conversation, attempt to inject a little humour.

        It is always ok to ask…. but not if you ask and back up with a threat, which i believe in any legal parlance is often accompanied by the term ‘with malice/menaces’ or do i just watch too many dumb cop shows on tv?

        It was not intended to apply to any previous part of our communications, merely as a caution to the “it’s ok to ask” comment.

        Have i cleared that one up??

    • how do you know someone in the Bronx NYC is lower NYS… secular is not about belief or knowledge but about practice. I learned what I learned and I practice what I practice. they are two different things. What was the question again?

      I read.. what I was meant to read in the … 7 years of Hebrew School… so pretty much front to back but not word for word, I mean x begat n who begat L who perished but not before he begat….

      Reply
      • How does anyone know anyone these days? we met on the net! ( you said ‘is’ lower NYS??? i said former Bronx now IN NYS (Pomona) – clear?
        Secular: Adjective
        Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis: “secular buildings”. (from Google defn) i was using that context.

        My friend claims Jewishness: observes many of the customs and religiously inspired holidays and celebrations with her family, but is not really sure here is a God let alone The One God of Moses Israel and Abraham that, to my mind, is integral to the whole theme of being a Jew. I doubt that she has ever ( other than you said) actually read and tried to understand any of the Torah or other religious works for herself and knows little to nothing of the things God has commanded His people do unto eternity, but listened only to what ‘someone else’ has told them to.

        She certainly has no idea of what Jesus is about.

        I’m not being in any way anti-semitic here.. i feel much the same about many Christians, Muslims, atheists etc. in that they(we) do what they feel like more than what might be to their actual benefit, believing it is the ‘right’ thing for THEM (ie an individual) to do.

  6. Here is a perfect example why the sooner this bronze age mythology and the idiots that wish to perpetuate it must either put up – or push off. Please go and read it.

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/north-carolina-legislators-want-to-abolish-freedom-of-religion/

    Reply
  7. Welcome.
    Read it.
    I have not, do not, and never want to, live in America: Land of the Free-koids
    If that is your perfect example i suggest you look up the definition of the word ‘perfect’ – really!
    Apparently, based upon the article you wanted me to read, you are of the belief that the people of the rest of America (and a bunch of guys who’ve been dead for almost 2 hundred years) have a greater right to tell the people of N Carolina how they should live than they themselves do? I thought America was a democracy? My understanding of the word is a place where the Majority decide the laws they keep and those they lose – no?
    Finally, do you believe everyone in NC has to keep only a state bird for themselves or that everyone must wear only a state flower? So what would be the problem with a state church?

    Come back when you have a better idea of perfect – or just a better idea.

    Reply
  8. Pingo

     /  6 April, 2013

    Rightness is a great topic. Thanks for addressing it and calling a spade a spade.

    Being right is more addictive than crack cocaine to a human being. It is not just that people “believe” they are right, they are that they are right, an entrenched invisible always being pulled for way of being. People actions ooze being right. Even people who say they are not always right think they are right about that. There is no getting out of it even if ya try. In my way of seeing things, no one is more or less righteous than anyone else, it is an all pervasive species thing. Are babies born being right? I am not sure, it very well could be genetically programmed in the brain patterns going back thousands of years. For sure “being right” was here long before I was born.

    Reply
    • Hi Pingo,

      In my mind all babies are born ‘neutral’ (possibly with some inherent leanings, perhaps acquired in the womb? who knows?) and they commence ‘growing up’. It is my belief that they develop a ‘right bias ( a tendency to move towards their being ‘right’) The world does it’s best to stay ‘neutral’ which has the effect of seemingly turning ‘left’ when we turn ‘right’ ( which to us of course seems like we are being ‘straight’, while the world is ‘agin us’).

      Some of us reach a stage where we begin to see the actual reality, recognise our ‘rightness’ for the individual bias it actually is, and start to work more in harmony with the natural world (the ‘balance’) while others persist that they are balanced and the world is left or ‘wrong’ and continually do battle against it.

      Ah well…

      Reply
      • Pingo

         /  6 April, 2013

        “Some of us reach a stage” sounds plausible and complimentary to those people but I have never met anyone who has reached such a stage or transcended being right yet. Reached a stage suggests afait accompli, a new fixed way of being, no effort or practice any longer required. Do you actually know such a person? There is that story about the monk who sits on a mountain and reaches enlightenment and when he comes down off the mountain goes into a crowded market and the first person who bumps in them their whole perceived so called enlightenment vanishes. i see being responsible for the mechanism of being right as an ongoing practice, never forgetting that that is the design and that it aint going anywhere. I have met people who own it very fast and let it go very fast, but never any who no longer needed to practice being responsible for it like a practice.

        You think the being or being right can be shed or left behind?

  9. Pingo

     /  6 April, 2013

    meant: “You think the being of being right can be shed or left behind?”

    Reply
  10. Very good question, i suspect you may be one who is doing his best to counteract the right bias and commend you for it. ( any tips? 😉 )

    Personally i would say i have the Hope that it can be left behind, although as you say, it can quickly return if we again become ‘unaware’. or a whole new ‘bias’ may take the place of the ‘right’ one.

    I have met a few people who are far more aware of such biases than myself, but in the main they tend not to be ‘mainstream’ and do not draw specific attention to themselves. They continue the ‘perfecting’ of themselves and will some times offer a helping hand to others who genuinely seek to do as they.

    I believe the key to ‘leaving’ the being of being right is to establish a new ‘being’ – one that has far greater awareness, is not so sleeplike but more awake to all that is, living from that more than from the ‘right’ being can help us see the Narrow path wherein lies truth, not mere biased versions of it.

    I am open to the possibility it may take more than a single lifetime to achieve any measure of success. But is better we try than never to have tried at all.

    Reply

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