Tuesday, August 26, 2008

396)All in a day's online musing: Predestination and Free Will for Subatomic Particles; The God Particle; Cat and Mouse in the Blood-Sport of Politics

1)I came accross this article and posted it:


Discussion went back and forth and then I posted this:

I posted that article on the free will of subatomic particles because a discussion on free will and predestination was already underway. I checked the only book I have on AlSijistani and there is no direct material on this subject but one can infer a few things:

"It is after all the human being alone among terrestrial creatures who responds to the appeal that the four roots(Universal Intellect,Universal Soul, Natiq and Asas) issue. Humans are the single creature in the entire lower world to answer the call of God's Oneness and thereby make use of the sources radiating from above"('Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani: Intellectual Missionary' by Paul Walker)

I think that the issue of free will, when properly applied, must lead to a choice of the above-quoted scenario. Even when Aga Khan IV talks about institutional free will and independent thinking at a Muslim educational institution, there is always a qualification at the end:

"An institution dedicated to proceeding beyond known limits must be committed to independent thinking. In a university scholars engage both orthodox and unorthodox ideas, seeking truth and understanding wherever they may be found. That process is often facilitated by an independent governance structure, which serves to ensure that the university adheres to its fundamental mission and is not pressured to compromise its work for short-term advantage. For a Muslim university it is appropriate to see learning and knowledge as a continuing acknowledgement of Allah's magnificence"(Aga Khan IV,Speech, 1993, Aga Khan University)

With regard to the tiniest subatomic particles being predetermined in the way they behave or not Aga Khan III said:

"Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)


"...The spiritual and material realms are not dichotomous, since in the Ismaili formulation, matter and spirit are united under a higher genus and each realm possesses its own hierarchy..."(Azim Nanji, Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 1995)

It would seem that whichever way the material subatomic particle "chooses" to spin its choice is ultimately being influenced("predetermined") or guided by the All-Powerful(spiritual) Soul of God that created the particle in the first place. The human mind is made up of trillions and trillions of such subatomic particles ready to spin or go bust. Hence the brilliant statement by Aga Khan III:

"In Islam the Faithful believe in Divine justice and are convinced that the solution of the great problem of predestination and free will is to be found in the compromise that God knows what man is going to do, but that man is free to do it or not"

and the admonishment about the suboptimal use of free will:

"The man of faith who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah's creation. Indeed, itis man's intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University Convocation Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11, 1985)

About "the creation" Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) said:

"The first(and only) thing created by God was the Intellect('aql)"(circa 632CE)

about which Al Sijistani elaborated:

"The first and only thing to issue, by a process of origination, through the Divine Command, from the Absolutely Transcendent Originator(Mubdi) was Intellect and everything else in creation is an emanation from Intellect"

Back and forth went the discussion and I eventually chimed in:

While Al Sijistani's work may not have a direct connection to psychology, specifically its clinical applications, his cosmology is all-encompassing and very cosmopolitan in my view. In describing his 4 root sources of the truth(Universal Intellect, Universal Soul, Natiq and Asas) he makes it clear that his is a vision for all humanity, not just the Ismailis and Muslims to whom he was prosletysing to:

"For Al Sijistani, the truth is known and its roots are four. Between God and the individual human thinker, there are exactly four sources that provide truth, that define and give meaning to existence, and that keep the whole universe-from the smallest particle to the grandest creation-in place and continuing to do what each was intended to do. These four are the pillars for the architecture of the intelligible universe as he, and the Ismailis who followed him, saw it. His vision is thus comprehensive and inclusive. Studying Al Sijistani's thought is inherently interesting if only for the breadth of his aspirations and the complexity of his way of viewing the structure of truth"(Paul Walker)

In his characterization of the Natiq(Speaking Prophet) he makes itclear he is referring to the 6 great prophets and, by implication, all the other great sages and 124,000 minor prophets sent to mankind. He even mentions pre-Alid Imams when discussing the Ismaili viewpoint specifically.

Related posts:



2)Someone then posted this about the "God Particle":


to which I responded:

Higgs bosons are particles but they can also be looked at as a Higgs wave field: all matter has both particle-like properties as well as wave-like properties. A pinpoint laser beam of light shows light as a concentrated stream of particles whereas light that is shone through two slits cut into a cardboard will show a characteristic pattern of wave-like interference on the other side of the slits. Light therefore, a physical substance whose basic particle is called a photon, has both particle-like and wave-like properties. The same goes for all sub-atomic particles and all matter in fact.

We are all emersed in the Higgs field. Some have given the example of stretching your arm outward and then trying to move it back and forth-the inertia or resistance we experience in trying to do that movementis caused by the Higgs field. The discovery of the Higgs boson or field(which could happen as early as this year) will be a momentous one and will surely earn Mr Higgs, who predicted mathematically during the 1960s the presence of the Higgs particle in the universe, a Nobel prize. This is another example of how the universe is governed by the principles of mathematics. Most of the subatomic particles in the universe were first predicted mathematically long before they were actually discovered in real life. This mathematical and geometric symmetry in nature and the universe as well as in man-made structures from Islamic architecture and Islamic calligraphy are all symbolic of the abstraction of Allah the Transcendent in the Islamic tradition.

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Somebody brought up String Theory and I replied:

Interesting that you should mention string theory because it is very relevant to the Higgs particle or wave field. We are all immersed in the Higgs field, which bestows the property of mass onto material objects. That is why it is referred to as the "God Particle":

"Since the mid-1980s theoretical physicists have suggested Superstring theory to bridge the gap between Einstein's theory of Relativity dealing with macroscopic objects(stars, planets,etc) and Quantum mechanics and theory, dealing with submicroscopic particles(atoms, protons, quarks, etc).The suggestion is that the Higgs field or boson is a field that we are all immersed in and that tiny strings(either straight or in loops, the most fundamental particles of matter), when they vibrate in a certain way or configuration, interact with the Higgs Field to produce the particles we have become familiar with, ie, quarks, neutrinos, photons, electrons, protons, neutrons, etc. Some have given the example of stretching your arm outward and then trying to move it back and forth-the inertia or resistance we experience in trying to do that movement is caused by the Higgs field."


3)The Blood-Sport of Politics:

Finally, Somebody brought up the possibility of a Canadian federal election in the Fall and the game of chicken being played by the various political leaders, to which I chimed in:

Clearly, there is a game of chicken being played on both sides here. Over the past 8 months the Liberals have threatened to bring the Government down at each sitting(thereby violating the rule of a fixed election date set for Oct 2009 passed by ALL of Parliament and not just the Conservatives) yet backing down every time a vote of confidence was called for in the house. Now the Prime Minister has decided to join the game of chicken and he seems serious about breaking the same rule the Liberals have been threateniing to do at least 6 times since the beginning of the year. My impression is that politics is a blood-sport whether in Canada, the USA, Pakistan, India, France, Zimbabwe or anywhere else.

Easy Nash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql)(Prophet Muhammad, circa 632CE)