Law and Universe: The Redefinition of Law
Since modern science began to progressively destroy the mythological and religious understandings of the previous 10 millennia or more of human culture and civilization, we have understood physical law only from the perspective of mechanistic rationalism. This particular philosophical point of view (which is called “science,” but is in fact a religious dogma in its own right) insists that nothing can be “understood” except from a physical and materialistic point of view. Of course, the exact opposite is in fact true — it is impossible to understand anything strictly from a physical and materialistic point of view. Yet science has managed, through its manipulation of material technologies, to gain credibility as an ascendant force in every human society today, simply because it multiplies “wealth”, as narrowly defined in the sense of acquisition of materials. The fact that it has become intensely destructive and is in many ways degrading the real wealth of human societies, from their cultures, their religious understandings, and their arts all the way to the environment that they live in, which is perhaps the most dangerous and horrifying result of science — is ignored. Mechanistic rationalism has exerted a powerful hypnotic force on human beings, one that is difficult to resist. This is because it is tied, at its root, to the animalistic instinct for survival, which relies on the acquisition of material, especially food productive mates, in order to succeed.
Yet it is clear enough that human beings are unique and remarkable in regard to other animals; and despite the fact that we have discovered we have an incredible amount in common with other animals, including social cultures, tool use, similar empathies, and so on, animals definitely aren’t intelligent in the same way that humans are. So ascribing all of our aspirations to a set of mechanical reactions that center on survival alone is an incredibly limiting philosophy. It is not only narrow; it is false. It is false because it provides no interpretive mechanism through which we can understand what it truly means to be human. Studying every gear that a clock is made of will not tell you how they are assembled and why a clock tells time, or even what time is. You could know everything about the clock gears, right down to the molecular composition of the various alloys they are made of; yet this wouldn’t explain time or why anyone should be bothered with it in the first place. Science has never been able to bridge that gap, and it never will. It’s quite clear that a different group of meanings needs to be deployed at a higher level than that of mechanistic rationalism in order to understand even this one very straightforward and commonplace object and the phenomenon it connects to.
For this reason, law needs to be redefined not from the perspective of the mechanical operations that devolve upon matter as a result of physical interactions; we need to redefine law from the perspective of metaphysical humanism, that is, the way that things behave in the context of human understanding.
Remember this: mechanistic rationalism discounts the human, and begins with the material in order to explain the human. This is an upside down perspective; instead, it is necessary to begin with the human in order to explain the material. Everything about the material relates to what it means to be human first, and not the other way around. We can see this from a very simple and straightforward inversion of understanding about what it means to conduct the activities of science. Science — the investigation of meaning within physical and material world — cannot take place without humans to conduct it. If we remove humans from the universe, and everything else stays exactly the same, the activity human beings call “science”, along with all the meanings that it applies to things, from the physical laws on up through the quantum realm into the atomic and molecular realms, and then the rounds of life, becomes entirely meaningless. It doesn’t exist. The concepts of the various realms don’t exist. The words for them don’t exist. The relationships being investigated don’t exist. And so on.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.