Mechanisms or Meaning?
Sometimes the mind tends to look for the complexity in simplicity.
A few days ago I had a conversation with a mechanical engineer as to the process with which a car engine actually operates. The engineer grew excited as he explained the details of how the pistons, compression, air-fuel mixture correlate with the cam shaft, cylinder head, & fly wheel. He’d then explain in fine detail how the fuel injectors spray gas into the cylinder at precise moments in order to maximize operable combustion within the engine. He would continue explaining how the engine oil, cooling system, electrical components, & exhaust system all work cohesively to provide the necessary environment to effectively drive an automobile for hundreds of miles.
Digging further I contacted a physics professor regarding the actual physics aspect of a moving vehicle. The professor would explain quite thoroughly the concept of Stokes’ law, drag, friction, retarding force, and many other concepts that sounded interesting but were quite foreign to me.
Next I would speak to a human biologist about the physical aspect of driving an automobile. The professor would then describe the details of how sight/vision gets processed in the brain, the body’s nervous system reacting with perception, the compression of the digestive tract from prolonged sitting, and the numerous hormones likely to be excreted during various moments of driving.
Having been intrigued by the potential difference in hormone secretion based on perception, I would then contact a neurobiologist who would describe the vast fluctuation in EEG patterns while driving in addition to the precise regions of the brain activated during certain stressors. It was a fascinating conversation regarding the intricate details we are unaware of as we do something as simple as driving a car.
Overall I felt rather satisfied from the explanations given by the mechanical engineer, the physics professor, the human biologist, and the neurobiologist. I felt as thought I could comfortably grasp the detailed mechanisms of how a car operated, the physics behind its movement, the biology that takes place inside a human body, and the distinct differences in brain activity while driving. For the aspects that I didn’t fully comprehend, I felt comforted knowing that I could refer those questions to a bonafide expert.
While I felt as though I had a newfound much deeper grasp of the mechanisms of this “car driving” phenomena, in actuality I could probably afforded to dig deeper into the specifics by discussing even more details with a quantum physics professor as to the deep mechanics of movement on a sub atomic level. An endocrinologist in order to dive into a discussion of hormonal release from each endocrine gland based on stressor perception in the brain. A chemist in order to dig into the oxygen, gas ratios and how they relate to optimized combustion. A psychologist to explain how experiences prior in life could possibly lead to altered reactions vs. the norm while driving.
In essence, there are numerous other experts in related fields that could have afforded me an even deeper grasp of the mechanisms behind the phenomena of “driving a car”.
Let’s say that I did in fact dig deeper and contact the 4 additional experts in additional to the original 4. Even with all of the expertise amongst all 8 of these highly educated, inquisitive, and well versed scholars… when I propose the question, “I drove a 2000 Toyota Camry from San Francisco to Los Angeles by myself in September 2015. Can anybody tell me why?”
With all the details behind all of the mechanisms of driving a car… none of these experts could even have the faintest clue as to the “meaning” and/or “reason” of driving a 2000 Toyota Camry alone from San Francisco to Los Angeles in September of 2015.
This is why I pose the very simple question… mechanisms or meaning?
It’s one thing to explain mechanisms for “how” things transpire.
It’s another thing entirely to explain the meaning or “why” behind the mechanisms.
They should not be confused with one another and from my own perspective… “science” regularly oversteps it’s boundaries in this regard. I appreciate “science’s” ability to dive deep into the mechanics for how phenomena transpires at varying levels. It’s a necessary fundamental understanding of “how” things work.
However, I’ve heard too many unscientific, illogical postulations appearing from the “how” attempting to explain the “why”. If a group of mechanical experts are completely incapable of explaining the simple reason I drove 400 miles recently, it appears rather irrational that an even larger group of mechanical experts were fit to answer much deeper, more complex, and likely more important questions.
There are boundaries to every field and once we begin to overstep these boundaries, progression can begin to become digression.
There is so much weight being placed on the mechanics of transpiration that the science of finding the “greater reason” behind the mechanics has been largely discarded and labeled as the field of the “esoteric”. Collectively we have a mechanistic framework for how the world “works” and tend to explain the “unexplainable” utilizing whatever reasoning it takes to stay within this mechanistic framework. I’ve seen some ridiculous, illogical explanations that hardly adhere to basic scientific principles from prominent science “gurus” stemming from this mental framework.
At some point within the next 18 months, I have no doubt that we will understand the precise mechanisms behind endogenous DMT synthesis. I also have no doubt that following that there will be a cascade of information as to how it effects our bodies electromagnetically and possibly in a quantum biological aspect down the road as well. There might even be some deep insights as to how endogenous DMT allows us to tap into the “quantum field” allowing us to do “superhuman” feats and have transcendental experiences.
However… we must remain rather cognizant that these are merely specifics as to the mechanisms.
It would seem rather illogical to discard the experiences, emotions, feelings, and insights that occur during these transpirations as if they were unimportant or too “far-fetched” to take seriously. To do so because these aspects do not fit into our mental framework of “mechanistic reductionism”, would be akin to conjuring grand hypotheses as to why I drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles based on comprehending the minute mechanisms rather than simply asking me.
Sometimes we can tend to overcomplicate the simplest things while at the same time oversimplifying the complex.
It appears that the truth is found somewhere in the middle.
I say… do not discard any data from any point in time from any person, place, or thing. There are gems to be had amongst the pile deemed as “rubble”.
We might just be in a renaissance time in world history when the importance of the “why” catches up to the importance of the “how”.
Mechanisms or Meaning?
PS. I drove from SF to LA to meet a friend and go to Disneyland. A very simple, straight-forward non-mystical answer or reason. Maybe someday we will all be comfortable enough to accept people’s transcendental experiences that don’t fit the current “mechanistic reductionist perspective” at face value and utilize the information to increase our understanding of this big game we call “life”.
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