01 November 2008

Theory of Everything

'Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics' is my new favourite book, and that's a good thing because it was written by my supervisor at the OU.

One of the main points the book makes is that the world is a confusing, complex place and we are all confused and complexified by it (yes, that is a verb, and yes, I did make it up). We, however, don't like confusing and complex things so we create systems or grids to look at the world and make sense of the non-sensible. We tell ourselves stories.

This relates to language in the area of metaphor as we are always reaching to make what is abstract, not abstract. We are trying to put pants on it, take it to dinner, and pretend we are not eating alone.

The problem is, we are often eating alone; that is, we can't make sense of it all. There are large parts of what happens to us that just don't make sense, can't make sense, shouldn't make sense. And I'm beginning to think that part of wearing the big boy pants is coming to accept this. Or, if not to accept it, to stop trying to make sense of things that can't make sense. Or to quit thinking that the goal is to make sense of everything.

Theories of Everything say that everything can fit into a grid and they usually have a very large category for things that don't make sense labeled 'god'. So when something happens that we can't make sense of, or doesn't fit into our grid, we say, 'That's god's business, I don't need to make sense of it.'

The more I think about it, the less I buy this idea and the less comfortable I am saying that anything can explain everything. Does the fact that we are complexified by things really warrant religion? This way of thinking makes me a poor candidate for fundamentalist-type religious pursuit, which is too bad, really, because I was a pretty good Fundamentalist Christian. Instead, I have to ride at the back of the bus, the homeless guy who isn't quite sure where the bus is going, but feels like being on a bus is better than being outside in the cold.

It seems to me that there is no problem with saying this theory or idea solves some problems, but it can't solve all of them, and it doesn't quite fit on all situations. This seems the most reasonable to me, having proofread my first paper for Introduction to Social Research and getting ready to go to bed.
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