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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life"  --  Deut. 30:19

Most people live a life of paradox.  They want the stability of certainty, and, at the same time, they demand freedom of choice.  Logically, this appears to be impossible.  Freedom of choice requires uncertainty.  Whenever we make a choice, there is an element of uncertainty with regard to the outcome.

This is illustrated in chapter three of Genesis.  Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They expected to become god-like.  After making the choice, they discovered that there were unexpected consequences. 

A contemporary example is a football game.  The coach makes a choice based on his knowledge of the capability of the players on both sides.  He calls the play.  The other team intercepts the ball and carries it to a touchdown.  This is representative of the "game" of life.  Every time we make a choice, there are unforeseeable outcomes.  However, would you pay $50 to attend a game where the outcome of every play is known beforehand?

Nevertheless, we crave for stability.  Stability is comfortable because there are no surprises.  Unfortunately, this is true only if everything around us stays the same.  An earthquake or a rebellion will quickly end our stability.

In contemporary life, bureaucracies are an example of the striving for stability.  As a government or business grows, bureaucracies become increasingly rigid.  They resist change in order to reduce choice.  This is a self-protective device that the bureaucrat believes will reduce error and enhances his/her position.  However, experience has demonstrated that the consequences are a growing inability to respond to change.  This leads to increasing error.  Furthermore, it results in growing disconnection among the various subdivisions.  The outcome is reduction of the effectiveness and ultimate collapse of the organization. 

Once again, the resolution is found in the principle of balance.  In this case, we are looking for the balance between certainty and uncertainty, or stability and adaptability.  If the outcome of every choice is certain, then there is no need to acquire new knowledge.  On the other hand, if the outcome of every choice is totally uncertain, then there is no ability to acquire new knowledge.  Everything is chaotic.  At both extremes, there is no need for an observer.  In either case, our postulate that our purpose is the acquisition of knowledge of God is invalid.  Creation requires a balance of certainty and uncertainty.

This conclusion is supported by modern Physics.  The Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Theory asserts that, in the domain of atomic dimensions, the results of an experiment are uncertain until the outcome is measured.  The acquisition of knowledge of a quantum system depends on a balance of certainty and uncertainty.  Everything in the universe, including ourselves, is composed of particles of atomic dimensions.

However, in this uncertain creation, there is also need for certainty.  That certainty provides the "platform" for advancing knowledge.  The application of new knowledge requires reproducibility.  This application gives us the technology needed to extend our ability to acquire new knowledge.

Uncertainty and certainty are built into God's Creation.  Without it, we could not fulfill our purpose as observers.  If we do not recognize the necessity of this balance, we also lose control of our lives.

If you cling to stability, the changing circumstance of Creation will ultimately overwhelm you.  On the other hand, if you recognize and accept the instability of stability, you can reduce, not eliminate, the risk.  This is the reason we have insurance.  By creating an "insurance community", we reduce the potential loss to any member of the community.

In order to control our lives in the midst of cosmic uncertainty, we need the three elements of Kabbalah and Torah.  These are: 1) the morality of "respect your neighbor as yourself", 2) the justice of "measure for measure" and the knowledge of "you shall be holy; because I the Lord your God am holy".  These are not the fanciful wishes of an unrealistic world.  They are the solid rocks that insure our survival in the cosmic reality of uncertainty.

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