Thursday, 23 February 2012

Reality is a lake, not a river – stability versus dynamic change

Reality must ultimately be stable and eternal; dynamic change must therefore be a secondary and subordinate phenomenon: reality therefore is a lake not a river.


The observable world is one of change, of growth and decay, of birth and death. 

Yet knowledge of reality requires stability, eternity and universality – or else knowledge is merely delusion, and will (sooner or later) be swept away by the process of change.

In this world, therefore, knowledge requires that there must, somewhere and at sometime (but not here and now), be a stable world of eternal, universal and unchanging reality.

This primary insight is the basis of all philosophy.


The secondary matter is then to create a structure to model the relation between stable and dynamic.

There are only two possibilities: 

1. that ultimate reality is stable (and dynamic change is secondary), or 

2. that ultimate reality is dynamic (and stability is secondary, local, temporary, contingent).


But only one of these possibilities is coherent: that ultimate reality is stable.

Because if ultimate reality is claimed to be dynamic then this is self-subverting: there is no real knowledge, only delusion, therefore the knowledge that reality is dynamic is not real, it is a delusion.


However, modernity has made that incoherent choice, the wrong choice, because for modernity the ultimate reality is dynamic change, particularly that the ultimate reality is evolutionary change.

Therefore, modernity cannot engage with reality. Perceived knowledge is inevitably contingent, local and temporary, it is subjective and unstable – all we know (and this knowledge is lost as soon as articulated) is how we feel in the present moment.

Experience is the contingent sequence of such moments – neither linked with the past not pointing to the future.

Therefore modernity is leading us into disaster


For modernity, therefore, reality is a river, dynamically changing, sweeping away all apparent stability and order.

Any still pools in the river are merely temporary states, and are misleading representations of the underlying reality of continual flow and change: all still pools will sooner or later be changed – will be relocated transformed, disappear... 

When humans are reasoning, when humans think they know something, they are merely operating within one of these contingent still pools.

When reality is a river, all knowledge is ultimately a delusion – at best something that has historically been pragmatically valuable in a particular (unique) still pool existing in a specific place for a limited time – all of which is presumably soon to be changed.


But this is incoherent.

Reality must be placid: a lake – but a lake which contains dynamic activity...

Imagine a placid lake – but which contains dynamic swirls of movement.

The earth and all we observe is that dynamic swirl within the placid lake.


But whence comes the dynamic swirl in the placid lake?

While it is easy to visualise (because we have seen it) that a flowing river can generate, albeit temporarily, still pools here and there – how could a placid lake generate dynamic swirls in particular parts of its water? How could stability generate change?

The answer is that of course it cannot

One cannot get change from stability; at least, not by any natural means.

Therefore, the (true) model of reality as stable means that super-natural means must be the cause of dynamic change.

In other words ‘a god’ must be the unmoved-mover that generates change from stasis.


This is the basis of coherent metaphysics: the model of reality must primarily be one of eternal and universal stability, secondary reality is that world of observed change, and a god is necessary.

This basic metaphysical model is what is needed - minimally - to make sense of life, and to live in the world.