23 June 2011

You Bet Your Life

I wrote an article for the American Jujitsu Association newsletter several years ago with that title. My point: there are over 850 different Jujitsu techniques cataloged within Budoshin Jujitsu. You could spend your entire life trying to learn them all - but that wouldn't be very pragmatic. Instead, I encourage my students to perfect those that work for them - work on the ones you would bet your life on. For instance, a shorter student naturally can get off a hip-throw on a larger person (and thoroughly trash an attacker) much easier than the other way around. Why, then, would one of my 6"1' (185 cm) blackbelt assistant instructors even bother with working on it? Mainly, so he can teach it to the 5'1" (155 cm) female student who is so good at it now that she is already a brown belt - almost a blackbelt herself.

If it isn't pragmatic - if it doesn't work - I'm not interested in wasting time on it.

I feel the same way about my LDS religion. Does it work for me 168 hours per week?

require that.

The things that are most attractive to me about LDS doctrine are that it is self-consistent - no loose threads, no Limbo elements - and it is utterly pragmatic. Don't get me wrong - Joseph Smith himself pointed out that fully a third of the Book of Mormon was sealed and unavailable to him... and that some knowledge was available to individuals only after much pondering and personal revelation.  For me, this included an off-the-wall thing like knowing if a nuclear holocaust would happen between the US and Russia. Until the 1990's this was a persistent residual worry in my life; this was one of those things that was important to me, if not others. I got an answer, which (also as a fundamental and elegant part of LDS doctrine) I am permitted to share only with my family. The basic stuff is all there, though, and it works for everyone who cares to think about it.

The LDS doctrinal philosophical framework works for me in the most pragmatic way: it makes me happy. It is also consistent with my lifetime experience - how things work in the world, and how it makes the wonderful and sad things of life all make sense.  I have a means to fit them into a larger context: they all fit into one greater whole.

I'm quite content to bet my life on it.

Is my LDS belief system conformable with science? Insofar as science understands things, absolutely. That's another requirement. A key issue here, however, is that science is an evolving understanding of things real.  Some scientists have a myopic view that the current version of scientific understanding is the ultimate, perfect, will-never-change-in-the-future science. (It's their religion.) Even a casual examination of the history of science disproves that particular conceit. There are 26 fundamental constants that physical science simply cannot explain: they just are what they are.  In the larger scheme of things, modern science and technology are light years ahead of the science of the 17th Century. However, if you look at things like the anthropic principle (see earlier blog of that title), the fundamental constants, climate change, Dark Energy, earthquake prediction, the nature of the Earth's core... well, it becomes abundantly clear that we are barely in the infancy of science right now.  It's really not a bad place to be - I have something to do.

From where I sit, however, I can see them both converging on the same thing: The Truth.


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