Friday, June 19, 2015

Boundaries Part I – A Proper Foundation


In this series of blog posts I attempt to explain everything about human civilization and its error using the lens of boundaries. Politics, philosophy, eternity, the universe—everything.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

There has always been a God, and at the beginning of time He went on a creating rampage, populating a mind-numbingly enormous universe full of the most diverse kinds of things imaginable. With a word He gave us a giant burning ball of plasma to light the solar system, endless stretches of salty waters and vast swaths of firm ground. He then made the living things, plants that reproduce according to their kind, birds, fish, animals, us. Each created thing was increasingly glorious, and each thing came with its own set of inherent properties.     

At the same time He was creating visible things He was also creating the invisible ones—the boundaries. Every new act came with a wall that kept the old thing separate from it, a new line of demarcation, a space between things preventing their transmutation. Each time God said “this!” He was concurrently saying “not that!” This is necessary because a thing is only itself because it’s not something else at the same time. I am a man, not a wooden podium, and were I to become a wooden podium, I would cease to be a man. A lion is inherently different than a rock. A plum tree isn’t a star.
 
This isn’t a particularly insightful thing to say, even children intuitively grasp that water isn’t air, animals aren’t earth. As adults we continually affirm not just the fundamental truth about boundaries, but our preference for them. Pendereski is ugly because his music lacks distinction, while Mozart is nice because his music doesn’t. So boundaries are quite literally the pillar on which existence sits, and we intuitively recognize and appreciate them.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth… And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to tend it and to keep it.”

And not only did God create all these wonderful things which can make us happy, but by dent of making us in His own image and giving us dominion over the world, He gave us the power to sort, categorize, and organize them. He’s purposely left the world “unfinished” and given us a shadow of His own creative power to make things more of what they are. As a result we’ve made corn many times more fruitful, watermelons seedless, and sheep wooly. We’ve made teeth straighter, athletes more dominant, and drinking water purer. Although each created thing was given a boundary, a line, and its fundamental nature remains fixed and inaccessible to us, we’ve nevertheless been able to shape things and make them more fruitful. By accepting things for what they are, submitting and agreeing with reality, our job has been to name and organizing things—and even a cursory glance at a skyscraper will reveal we’ve done well at it.

My point here is that it’s God Himself who’s behind the great, immovable, unshakable boundaries (everything from motion to mathematics) that separate things and keep them from bleeding into each other. By nature things have certain properties that just don’t change—and even if you could change them, the thing would stop becoming what it once was the moment you did. We can bombard silicon with other elements and make a microchip, but it stops being beach sand after we’re finished because everything only has a finite amount of elasticity before you run up against the hard barrier that separates things, the invisible laws which hold up our existence that just are.

I think that pretty well establishes my point, but let me say one more thing to the person who is still unconvinced, or the troll: you don’t actually disagree with me and we both know it. You know that 2+2=4, and that four can only mean the one thing, because if it also means five then it means absolutely nothing at all. You may even be willing to go so far as to say you deny these fundamental boundaries, but I’m willing to bet you don’t attempt to use your eyes to ingest bricks, your ears to breathe plasma, and your kidneys to make the rain fall. You, like everyone else, inherently appreciate boundaries, and give glory to God when you breathe the air He made for you to breathe, and speak with your vocal cords as He designed you to. You know full well that if we were to melt down or abolish all the distinctions which separate things the universe would cease to exist.

So with that as the lens by which we will view everything, we’re now ready to get at the fundamental problem of humanity.





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