Mavericks and Inspiration. Consciousness and Memory.
For some… quite serious fun…
Welcome. My name is Philippa and I hope you’ll stay and pull up a chair. Even if for just long enough for me to explain. Then I hope you will make yourself at home through all these web rooms where some bonnes choses have been prepared, with only you in mind.
I am told that books must say what they are on the tin. Like telling someone before a concert what the music they are about to hear actually ‘is’. Beethoven? Well, let’s see? Universal?… but on the other hand…tempestuous? Yet, if you listen to…and the slow movement is?…well, not really like anything else? Does that help? And the Debussy? Well certainly French…how do I define French? Well…Oh shame, you’re not staying…
This Odyssey is offered as a journey through our past. The left brain asks for the content of the journey before taking a step. Item One: Pack no prejudices…Item two, we’ll start somewhere near Kilimanjaro…
Because I am told you want to decide to book on at least some certainties and want it in a nutshell GO HERE for immediate gratification…well information perhaps. Then come back for something more nourishing. Like this.
( If you prefer, there is a brief reading to start you off without delay and you can do without me…well telling you anything before you tune your ears to a different kind of story… 1 The Map and Older Tracks )
INVOLUTION: Its incubation and its necessity. Reconciling Science and God. It’s not what you think! Nothing evangelical. Promise.
This book, for all its accolades (embarrassing so placed at the bottom of this page) from notable philosophers, was considered un-publishable. Science and God are not mentioned in the same breath, and poetic science is unheard of. So is the author mad? I think you should decide. Quite possibly.
WHY HAVE I WRITTEN THIS BOOK? AND WHO IS IT FOR?
Very few scientists admit to talking to (or about) God. Except those like Richard Dawkins who hates God and talks about little else (except his substitute for God-the gene) ‘Coming out’ as a believing scientist is as traumatic as admitting you’re gay. Luckily I am not known as a scientist.
But I am not a God bod either, in any conventional sense. So where am I coming from? For awhile I called myself a Christian because it seemed to me that the example of Christ was the most empathetic acknowledgement of the human condition and its injustices, but Buddhism had other attractions intellectually because it echoed what science increasingly seemed to claim as the nature of reality. Sufism seemed to bind the best of both in its practices but I am not a natural adherent to doctrine of any kind. So head and heart straddled the religions without being claimed by any.
But science could not really do it for me either, not the reductionist neo-Darwinian, purposeless, accidental account of the perfection and glories of the created world. Man’s superlative accomplishments, particularly in the arts and music, could not have arrived without some spiritual dimension being refined over time. Shakespeare and Beethoven arising by a succession of accidents, at the eleventh hour, seemed to me to be ludicrous.
So, like many, I was in limbo. Not exactly ‘looking’ but simply pondering. Religious instincts without a home (except in music and some literature).
Then when least expected I was gifted with an experience that tore my life apart. It would be called a spiritual experience, and gave me a heedless joy that had me dancing in the street. All that achieved was to get me shackled to a bed in the locked ward of a mental hospital.
Spiritual experiences in the sixties were simply insanity; unless instigated by drugs then they were explicable deviations, interesting but no more. After all science knew all the answers, and anyone who thought science has missed the point was deluded, and a danger to others and to themselves.
Faced with the daily threat of shock treatment or a frontal lobotomy I escaped and I have been hiding ever since. I learned it was safer to keep my mouth shut, and have lived an apparently ‘sane’ and balanced life to all appearances ever since.
So this work has had a long incubation. Joy had to be subsumed in work, but it has never entirely left me.
First I had to make the descent from Paradise, hand over hand, and re-learn the limits and constraints of ordinary life. Then I had to read and read and read to join the two worlds of Science and God in all the languages available, philosophy, science, art and music. The economy of poetry was imposed by the sweep of involution, through all time, all countries and climes. I would not live long enough to write The Decline and Fall of the Scientific Empire in prose. Nor would prose convey anything of the experience which is really what the book seeks to impart.
I cannot give you my experience: that was a gift. What I can offer is the vision of an alternative to Darwin and to orthodox religion, in the hope that the binding of science and god as a single phenomenon lit by the inspirations of maverick genius, will engender a new joy in the purpose of evolution, and your precious place within it. This book retakes the human odyssey to find a different root to the tree of life. There is a serpent for you too. It bears no malice, more than affectionate, in fact.
I hope you embark and enjoy.
‘A brilliant and erudite epic….reflects the act of genius…’ more generous hyperbole under ‘Reviews’ page.