Thursday, July 9, 2009

(3) Pilgrimage

Over drinks and dinner that night my friend and I had a really
marvelous discussion over how I might turn this eureka experience
into something. My friend felt that if I were really to plough into
the Book of Nature, seeking God, perhaps I best first do a little
homework on God. Religion! Oh no, that's not my forte. "So my
friend, why not start out with philosophy." He made mention that
the Philosophy of Science included Metaphysics, which connected
Cosmology with Ontology.

Ummh, "please explain" I asked. Well it's about not only the
Nature of the Universe, but also about the Nature of Being. Oh.
And where does God fit into all this? Well--as my friend put it--
"that's for you to find out." So, how about giving me a hint where to
start. My good historian put it nicely, start with Classical Philosophy.
Both Platonism and Stoicism have useful insights, or at least intuitions,
when it comes to the Foundation--or Plenum--of the universe.
They talk about this Godhead, if you will, and call it the "Logos."

Driving back to Princeton, I certainly had lots to mull over. And
shortly after I arrived home, I trotted over to the university's
Philosophy Department and introduced myself. Considering I was
a scientist at the Plasma Physics Laboratory, they actually treated
me with some amused respect. Here was an older guy asking
probably naive questions--for them--and pondering aloud how
he might move towards getting some answers.

They gently put it to me that, yes, my friend was probably correct to
point me towards the Philosophy of Science. And, most definitely,
I should take some coursework in Classical Philosophy if I were to
focus eventually on Metaphysics. The department's people with
whom I talked were friendly, bemused with me, but not con-
descending. I got an inkling that I need move into their territory.
So I put in my bid to once again enter Graduate School and study
with these good folk.

They were nice and took me on, albeit at part-time speed. I still had
my position at the Laboratory, but I figured by the time I retired I would
have secured my degree. I was right about that, and in the midst of
all this new philosophical study I had loads of fun. It seemed as if
I had moved into a new milieu that was "just right" for me.

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