Welcome to Alpha Jedediah!
Alpha Jed for short.
Things that Fascinate me:
– God & the Bible
– Western Civilization
– US & the Constitution
Exploring the foundations of truth and wisdom. The world is hard to understand without a proper understanding of the foundations that invariably lay hidden beneath the confused conventional wisdom of everyday life. Writing this blog is an attempt to capture those understandings and get feedback as well.
Many great physicists have a penetrating philosophical outlook. Richard Feynman certainly fits that mold. Imagine my surprise to discover Feynman’s rumination on Western Civilization 60 years ago:
In this age of specialization men who thoroughly know one field are often incompetent to discuss another. The great problems of the relations between one and another aspect of human activity have for this reason been discussed less and less in public. When we look at the past great debates on these subjects we feel jealous of those times, for we should have liked the excitement of such argument. The old problems, such as the relation of science and religion, are still with us, and I believe present as difficult dilemmas as ever, but they are not often publicly discussed because of the limitations of specialization.
Western civilization, it seems to me, stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure — the adventure into the unknown, an unknown which must be recognized as being unknown in order to be explored; the demand that the unanswerable mysteries of the universe remain unanswered; the attitude that all is uncertain; to summarize it — the humility of the intellect. The other great heritage is Christian ethics — the basis of action on love, the brotherhood of all men, the value of the individual — the humility of the spirit.
These two heritages are logically, thoroughly consistent. But logic is not all; one needs one’s heart to follow an idea. If people are going back to religion, what are they going back to? Is the modern church a place to give comfort to a man who doubts God — more, one who disbelieves in God? Is the modern church a place to give comfort and encouragement to the value of such doubts? So far, have we not drawn strength and comfort to maintain the one or the other of these consistent heritages in a way which attacks the values of the other? Is this unavoidable? How can we draw inspiration to support these two pillars of western civilization so that they may stand together in full vigor, mutually unafraid? Is this not the central problem of our time?
Remarks at a Caltech YMCA lunch forum (2 May 1956)
Intellectual and Spiritual Humility & Heart!
How can we draw inspiration to support the pillars of western civilization.
Let the exploration begin.