Other Enquiring Minds

I once spent a couple of days with Fr Michael Wood at an Orthodox monastery in France. He is a Russian Orthodox priest of Australian and Anglican origins, and runs a western rite mission in England. He spends time on Facebook bringing us lovely images of medieval English churches. He has also set up a new blog Notes on Life, which I happily make known here.

I have been particularly struck by his article God, the Cosmos and Everything.

I see a certain collusion with the Gnostic vision, a brave attempt of conciliating credal orthodoxy with the mystical and apophatic tradition of understanding the notion of God.

He also introduces the “new” view of the world as expressed by scientists specialised in quantum mechanics. He muses on the way most of us were taught physics at school: the atoms comprising matter in the form of little “solar systems”. What were believed to be solid particles are pieces of information.He also sets out to try to understand something of the “virtual reality” theory. The world exists only by the information on which it depends. No autonomous existence is possible as in the materialist hypothesis. The creation narrative, or the Gnostic equivalent, would have to depend on an analogical understanding. He goes on to describe the need for there to be dimensions outside the universe we experience. The usual analogy is the radio and the wide range of frequencies one can tune in onto – but only one at a time, or the very narrow band of light frequencies we can see with our eyes.

We are brought to awareness of how little we experience or know. Perhaps that is part of our own “evangelisation” and eye-opening from the various prisons in which we languish. Well done, Father.

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7 Responses to Other Enquiring Minds

  1. Rubricarius says:

    A very pleasant man although I have only met him once. By coincidence yesterday I came across a pamphlet I had forgotten I even possessed ‘Orthodox Manual and Calendar’ published The Gregorian Club, 1989. I cannot recall who gave it to me, whether it was you Father or Ray Winch. Anyway I re-read it and agreed with almost every sentence in it.

    • Nice to hear from you. Memories of Ray Winch… Some things I have read on the internet portray Fr Michael as unstable and cantankerous. Some of the sources of such “information” have fallen themselves into discredit and more. 1989 represented some heady days with Dr Ray Winch and the lectures he organised at Pusey House that year when I was still a student up at Fribourg. I had a good impression myself of Fr Michael when I went to spend a couple of days in that ECOF monastery in the Dordogne.

  2. Peter says:

    Or one could just read the original document http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1011/1011.3436.pdf which has been heavily cut and pasted (plagiarised) but with no attribution in Father’s blog.

  3. M says:

    Just for the record, since I have only just been pointed to these comments by a friend, I have actually never seen the article that “Peter” refers to. I looked at it just now, and I’m afraid that it is entirely unfamiliar to me. So such anonymous accusations do rather fall flat. I wrote the article, having obviously read others writing on the subject, but as far as I know, I repeated nothing consciously. Of course it is always possible to repeat some remembered phrase without realising that you are doing so. Having worked for years in a university, I am only too aware of plagiarism – and also only too aware of the damage that anonymous accusations can do. Fr. Michael

    • ed pacht says:

      Ah, yes, the internet is such an encouraging medium for snarky anonymous accusations. One needs to be very careful of snap judgments, for damage can certainly be done and often is. I, for one, believe less than half of what I read on screen.

    • I put one of my own articles through a “plagiarism checker” and found that it was about 80% plagiarised – but I can affirm in good faith that the article in question was of my own composition, and nothing was copied from anything else at least without an acknowledgement of the source and using quotes. I may have been influenced to some extent by material that I had read in various places. Are not all writers similarly influenced when they are writing original work? There are not that many ways of expressing scientific knowledge on the basis of scientific writing. Sometimes, memes cannot be avoided when expressing ourselves. We live in a world where a lot of people are writing. I don’t know how “plagiarism checkers” work. Since I used one, I am now bombarded with targeted advertising featuring this thing. Obviously, someone is making money out of it.

      I thank you, Fr Michael, for writing in and setting the record straight.

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