Here is a great title for a post- “Effing the Ineffable“.  I wish I’d thought of it.  The author, Roger Scruton, a philosopher, attempts to circumscribe the indescribable and unquantifiable by revealing those who have tried to describe the ineffable. His conclusion is to relent and accept it.  

Having a brain and sensing the external world means that our sensory apparatus and our internal private monolog are interpreting a continuous stream of perceptual input whose format is based on the constraints of molecules and molecular orbitals. Is it possible that this organic object- the brain- is capable of  a broad enough spectrum of perception that it can understand its place in the universe?

I too am tempted to eff the ineffable. Like my philosophical predecessors, I want to describe that world beyond the window, even though I know that it cannot be described but only revealed. I am not alone in thinking that world to be real and important. But there are many who dismiss it as an unscientific fiction. And people of this scientistic cast of mind are disagreeable to me. Their nerdish conviction that facts alone can signify, and that the “transcendental” and the eternal are nothing but words, mark them out as incomplete. There is an aspect of the human condition that is denied to them. –Roger Scruton

Scientists are reductionists by nature. Scientists naturally seek an irreducible representation of a phenomenon and attempt to describe it symbolically. The symbols may be words or mathematical constructs (what ever it takes to get through peer review).

I think where scientists are not so welcome is in the aesthetic domain of the human experience.  Perhaps our place in the universe is simply to be the conduit through which the broader universe is self-aware. We sentient beings should enjoy that role and have some fun with it.

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