Friday, May 03, 2013

what we learn from children about reality...

Jean Piaget had noted that children often take up to a year to develop a sense of object permanence, through which they are aware that objects continue to exist when they are out of sight. This explains why children are so delighted in games of peekaboo.

I am reading about this and other things in a book by a friend, Lothar Schäfer, Infinite Potential, What Quantum Physics Reveals About How We Should Live. You can perhaps guess by the title that it may not be light reading. But it explains, or attempts to explain how modern physics lays out a course through which we can actually live more meaningful lives.

I had asked Lothar to explain a subtle bit of physics to me, concerning a thing that I had read and heard on the news some time in the past... If you introduce two atoms to each other then separate them on different sides of the known universe, what happens to one simultaneously affects the other. I quickly realized that the subject was too complex to be explained in a simple conversation, so I bought the book. I'm not sure of the science in how they discovered such an interesting thing, but it points to profound truths about the universe. Materiality, space, time and energy are not what we have been taught to assume and most certainly what we might be led to assume from our experience playing peekaboo. Reality may be more akin at all levels to the experience we have of it before we develop a sense of object permanence. Lothar uses a term potentiality to address the quantum potential within things when they get to the sub-atomic level and notes that these same rules of potentiality apply to human life.

Most children learn quickly about the manipulation of objects and they soon learn that despite the apparent permanence of things, they are always in the process of decline. Toys are damaged, worn, broken or lost, and from that they learn to trust the principle of causality, which in turn also reinforces our sense of the materiality of our existence. That sense of materiality can override other important things like the sense of potentiality, which I think of as the sense of relationship. All things and all minds are connected, and we are best in touch with that universal connectivity when we are engaged creatively as was or is the creator in making beautiful and useful things. If you watch a child at play, she's engaged in the discovery of relationships. Put tools in the hands of kids, and real materials for them to shape, and they discover so much more of real life.

In his book, Lothar proclaims,
"Segregation is the passion of the mechanistic mind. Eventually the passion led to a somatic system affecting all aspects of life, including moral, public and economic order. In the same way in which molecules of biology ate taken outside of the realm of other molecules, there is a disconnectedness of the arts form the natural sciences; of philosophy from the practical life. There is a constant conflict between science and religion; between our rational nature and spiritual nature. All of these phenomena are expressions of a mechanistic mind-set; They re in conflict with the wholeness of the world, and, for that matter, with a wholesome life."
This may seem unrelated to the subject at hand. Let me assure you it is not.

Make, fix and create...

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