Friday, December 17, 2010

Towards a theory of everything

The 'Holy Grail' of much intellectual pursuit from time immemorial has been a search for some explanation of everything. A theory, an equation, a philosophy that would give a unified explanation of why things are as they are. It's a noble ambition but will always fail because of our own human  limitations. Of course, by faith, I know that the answer must just be God and, personally, I'm quite satisfied with that. Others wont be. Recently I've tried to approach this in another way. Like the 'chaos theory' physicists who examine minute segments of the cosmos in search of the key that will lead to a 'theory of everything' I've been thinking about whether there is a single answer to all the problems of today and particularly those that seem so obvious to traditional Catholics.

Is there a Ground Zero to be found? Did somebody step on some sort of sacred butterfly many years ago and cause a ripple effect through to the current days? Using this theory of course every action taken to correct the original error will cause further ripples. I know that the liturgiologists and the liturgists will all have their own theories here. The theologians will almost turn to the modernist controversies of the early Twentieth century. The philosophers will probably lay the blame at the feet of Aquinas or, if they are being particularly daring, Augustine.

Personally I think our immediate problems probably originated in the Great War and the crisis of faith and growth of general cultural skepticism that ensued.  Of course by faith, and some experience, I know that there is a real entity who works day and night across the generations to stop any unity of thought or practice. Starting with an seemingly innocent question in the Garden of Eden his greatest achievement to date has been to make many Church leaders think and teach that such a unity of thought is undesirable. That unchecked or unchallenged dissidence is a good thing in itself. Of course in the details this seems insignificant but in the bigger picture it has led to a free for all.


  1. Great War a bit too late, IMO - 'Dover Beach' and all that...

  2. The post-1918 thing takes you so far, but I'd look at 1945-1950 and ask whether the Hierarchies in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and Belgium didn't go wildly, madly, looking for something to do which might concentrate their and lots of other people's minds on the present and the future, and on there rather than here; and whether two of the "other people" might have been born as Pacelli and Montini.

  3. A most joyous and blessed Christmas to you Father !

  4. Nice, Father. I haven't thought about the butterfly thing since my 'theory of chaos' days - a very long time ago.


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