Final Journey: Is Anything Real?


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Video (5 min.) Tap and Nap

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In the parlance of our world’s scientists, we now accept generally that materials are nothing more, nor less, than energy. In physics, color is a sense perception (a combination of frequencies). My retina has three kinds of color receptors, most sensitive to the primary colors of red, green and blue, respectively. Stimulating combinations of these cells produce all color perception. But I (we) “see” more than that interplay of energy actually, and give dimension to sight by assigning conventional wisdom and knowledge (using symbols, words, etc).

Only “by convention there is color, by convention there is sweetness, by convention there is bitterness, but in reality there are atoms and space.” (460-370 BC, Democritus). I would add, there is also “time,” but even that dimension is under scrutiny and subject to revision.

The reality spoken of by Democritus is questionable. It is debated to this time I live in. Today, scientists concede that even atoms and space are a form of illusion, accepting that conceptualizations of the invisible building blocks rely on an only partly fathomable play of mere numbers governed by relativity and probability (uncertainty). Are these things waves or particles, composed of light or dark matter/ energy or something different altogether? Is there even a before and after?

Our philosophers and poets and experts of every kind gather into two main schools of thought on these “matters”: the impressionists (believers) and the skeptics. The first clique subscribes to the 18th century proverb, “First impressions are the most lasting.” An earlier 17th century proverb proclaimed, “A good horse cannot be of a bad colour.”

The second collection of critics (skeptics) looks for and finds misinformation in impression and advises us to see but not believe.

"Yes, I answered you last night; ‘No,’ this morning, sir, I say Colours seen by candel-light Will not look the same by day." Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning, The Lady’s Yes, 1844

Put out the candle completely and “all colours will agree in the dark.” Essays (1625), Francis Bacon, Of Unity in Religion.

What category would I put myself in? I guess it would be the “believer” with a healthy dose of mindfulness. I prefer applying some “horse sense” after the perusal of some serious research as the best method to judge what is happening, what I see, and what I experience. “My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour,” Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 2 scene 3,1 (1601)

My life’s journey, like yours, is not fulfilled in a sameness that one may ascribe to darkness (instructed by simple superstition and ignorance, and driven by pure chance and randomness). But I did not make the deal that Faust made with his devil. I accept that I cannot know everything. I am enamored by the lesser “shades.”

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© 2023 by Edgar David Boshart, edboshart@gmail.com

Arlington, Virginia, USA, 703-629-0160