06 August 2008

A Statistical World

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that there were no Truth.

I know, you think that’s hard to do, but let’s be honest, there are millions of people doing that every day. So put yourself in their shoes and pretend for a moment.

No Truth. No thing, belief, bit of knowledge or scrap of wisdom which is…simply is. No reality which is true whether it is known or unknown, mysterious or plain as day.

Now, how would a people respond to such a crisis?

A few thoughts: for one thing, they would begin taking measurements of everything in every possible way, hoping through extensive studying, sampling, statisticizing, logging, blogging, surveying, polling, scrutinizing, investigating, and otherwise calculating—hoping through all of this that they might come to some conclusions about how reality is. They have nowhere else to turn, so naturally they try to place everything around them in some kind of framework defined by their own terms.

Having taken proper measurement of all things, they next would begin to form “norms”—the standards for every item which define what a proper example of each item would be, or how it should act, speak, behave, think, grow, look, etc. You may insert any object you wish as the given item: pencil, potato chip, song, person, vegetable, and so on. These all must be compared to the new “ideal,” which is in fact no more ideal than any other such item—but the statistics make it so.

Of course, the scientists, psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, and other learned men who establish all of these norms are desperate for the comparisons to occur—not only because they themselves devote their lives to nothing better than comparison (such a sad imprisonment that must be!), but also because every comparison can be used as evidence for their “norm” by either justifying the created standard or violating it. Every comparison validates the standard.

All of these mathematical men would be far too blind to realize that their given, created standards are empty and vain. They have the length of the “perfect” banana set down in millimeters. They know the exact birth-weight for a “healthy” baby sycamore. They can tell you the “ideal” conditions in which to grow poppies, puppies, acorns and humans. Even if those conditions have never been seen anywhere on planet earth.

Thus we see that, in the absence of Truth, people will take measurements enough to establish ideals of their own, even a heaven of ideals which this physical realm can never touch.

The world does this; the Church does this just as well.

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