“I am trying to find out truth. And from that point of view the very idea of something being imperfect, of its not being what it ought to be, has certain consequences.”
C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity
When I speak about the problem of morality, I am not talking about the difficulty of living a holy or moral life. I am speaking about how morality interferes with all the other explanations of the universe. I have a good many friends who rely on quantum theory as an explanation for how the universe came to be, how it operates upon them now, and what it holds for their future.
I have no quarrel with the operation of quantum physics and that it might best describe how things work. That is until people begin to talk about human behavior. Inevitably, when discussing human behavior, the topic of right and wrong (morality) soon comes to the forefront.
Quantum physics may explain the nature of matter and energy and how we perceive vibrating particles as humans. It has no explanation as to why you take umbrage with me for stealing from you or otherwise treating you in a manner other than the way I wish to be treated.
If there is nothing to the universe beyond vibrating particles and energy, what does it matter how we treat each other? If I’m recycled through countless lives until I “get it right” what does it matter how long it takes and where did “right” come from?
I read an article some time ago about an experiment in quantum mechanics in which the experiment was repeated three tries for the particle to react “right”. That was the experimenter’s word, not the writer’s. Right as compared to what? Left? Surely not. Properly? How could it do otherwise?
This idea of proper, or moral, or right behavior—that is behavior that complies with some standard we are expected to know, permeates our species. There are variations by region, culture, society, and faiths, but the similarities far outweigh the differences.
There is also a built into this standard an allowance for accidental versus pre-meditated violations of the code of behavior. Just speaking of a standard means we are measuring against something fixed.
I’ve heard it said that as we behave “better” we will vibrate at a “higher” frequency and that like frequencies will meld after death. Those rogues given to lesser behaviors will vibrate together at a “lower” frequency without contact with the higher frequency.
As a Christian that sounds a lot like our idea of heaven and hell, but my quantum-relying friends generally get upset with me for saying so. It is almost the same reaction I get when I ask for an explanation of higher and lower and who decides high from low.
I am not ashamed of what I believe and have no qualms about a person believing whatever they will. I do wonder about people who subscribe to an impersonal, unthinking, unreasoning universe and live as though they believe in a real right and wrong. I don’t deny them the right to believe as they do. I just wonder how they have no problem imposing morality on themselves and others while holding to a system that does not allow for it.