Belonging to the universe: Explorations on the frontiers of by Fritjof Capra

By Fritjof Capra

The trailblazer of latest technology and a latest Thomas Merton discover the parallels among new paradigm pondering in technology and faith that jointly provide a remarkably appropriate view of the universe.

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DAVID: The doctrine of limbo was a theological conclusion from a hypothesis of Saint Augustine. Augustine conceived of original sin as original guilt, transmitted at conception to each human individual. Hence all of humanity is a massa damnata, an accursed mass, redeemed by Christ but still subject to sin; even the act of conceiving a child, the sex act, is for Augustine at least minimally sinful. Augustine's is only one possible solution to the theological issue of human propensity to sin, but his solution prevailed because of his exceptional importance in Western theology.

Although people normally are unaware of this, this question got scientists into modern physics. In the nineteenth century, Michael Faraday and Clerk Maxwell developed a comprehensive theory of electromagnetism, which culmi­ nated in the discovery that light consists of rapidly alternating electric and magnetic fields that travel through space as waves. These fields are nonmechanical entities, and Maxwell's equations, which describe their exact behavior, were the first theory that went beyond Newtonian mechanics.

Using the tree as a metaphor, theology would deal with the roots and science with the branches. Now, obviously there will be an overlap, because what is a deep level of reality and what is an outer level of reality can only be loosely defined. So there will be an interface. At that interface, science and reli­ gion traditionally got into trouble and now can inspire one another. Well, they did not always get into trouble traditionally. There were periods in history in which a particular religion was really carry­ ing the whole scientific endeavor of the time.

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