Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Galileo's Subjective Experience

I am fascinated by how subjective first person experience becomes objective science, and thinking about some of the main discoveries of science perhaps make it easier to bring this question into perspective.

For example, consider those incredibly exciting moments when Galileo first pointed his new telescope at Saturn and saw a blurry lump of light consisting of what he first thought were three spheres, and which subsequent observation, and better focus finally resolved into a single sphere with reflective rings to the sides.

For a few days or weeks, that was a subjective experience totally belonging to Galileo alone.   No one else had ever looked into a telescope at Saturn and his experience had not yet been replicated.  It was his own private experience communicated (let us suppose) to no one.

Much of science even now starts as a subjective experience of some scientist in some lab somewhere, who sees an anomaly in the data, a blip on a screen when there is not supposed to be a blip, or some outlier which his brain registers as "abnormal", which might lead to a "hunch" that if he slightly tweaked the experiment, suddenly that blip or that outlier might suddenly turn into something significant.

At that moment, he is experiencing something subjective no one else has experienced, and his idea- his "hunch"- is part of bringing order to "matter unorganized".

This is what humans do- we order our worlds around us through our perceptions, some of which we share with others, and other experiences remain subjective, intimate, and private.

Of course when he published the data in whatever form, all of that changed from a subjective experience to an objective one that anyone can verify, and that act of publication makes it part of the totality of what humanity knows, and in a sense creates that reality for others.  Indeed this is what science is- a collection of observations and experiences once private, now made publicly accessible, or what can be called "objective evidence" because we all can replicate it for ourselves.

This is the insight I wish all could see, that this is the kernel of what humans do, and which is part of our little ventures into embryonic godhood and how our activy parallel the activity of God Himself, and how what he does symbolizes what we do, and what we do symbolizes what he does, in the ongoing dance of creation.

We are created in His image, as theomorphic humans, and in turn he reveals himself to us as our Father, the anthropomorphic God.

He is the Word, the God who is man, and the Man who is God.

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