Friday, December 02, 2005

Mechanical Miracles

Measured and restrained can easily become mechanical. Consider the candles. In medieval times, as now, you might light a candle for an intention. Then, you might truncate the candle to the measure of the saint who assistance you invoked. Now, at least in the Cathedral in Philadelphia, you drop a coin into a box and an electric light turns on. It is deeply unsatisfying -- but perhaps difficult to express why. I might say that we moved from one truncation error to another. The light is now utterly mechanical, we control its incandescence, the time it will "burn", the risk inherent in its burning.

Has this truncation of the expansion limited our ability to hear the communication of the unmeasured and unmeasurably abundant grace of God? The outward form appears much the same, but the res, the spiritual reality, has been irrevocably changed. Quantum chemists know that small changes in the functional form, to the point where two functions still appear identical, can lead to much larger changes in the expectation values of critical characteristics, such as the energy!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that marginal changes over time can lead to drastically different results, but if the spiritual body is drastically off the mark then wouldn't quantum changes in worship be apt? Could it possibly lead to a more fulfilling spiritual existence? Obviously I'm not defending the church's decision to replace candles with lights (that was probably a purely economic decision [even more alarming]), but change could be positive.

    ps. what's your view on the power of affirmation (a.k.a. prayer)?