Governing Principle

For thousands of years humankind has sought to comprehend the ultimate governing principle of the universe. Archeological evidence suggests that for many humans who lived in the ancient world, that principle was greed. More specifically, it was greed for power among various superior beings that we today tend to call "gods". As the governing principle was defined, so also was the human condition. For if we are all but pawns in the games of gods, then we must conduct our lives in deference and reverence to them or else wind up caught in the crossfire of the wars they wage. This isn’t to suggest that early religions were all of the fatalistic variety, but certainly one can imagine how they might have tended toward that.

It has to be remembered, though, that at the point where religions were organized enough to leave archeological records of their practices, the greater societies in which they dwelt were organized with distinct hierarchical structures. So one must wonder, did society reflect the affairs of the gods or did the gods reflect the affairs of society?

Today, humankind still searches for the governing principle, but in accordance with our modern values we turn to the universe of science for guidance. As with our colleagues of old, what we find is in large part determined by the kind of lens we've chosen to apply to the problem. But if we accept on faith that there is, in fact, a governing principle, then it shouldn’t really matter what lens we use as long as we acknowledge that our perception of the principle is shaped by the method we’ve employed to examine it. If we can do that, then we're not in danger of confusing our perception of the principle with the principle itself, and we're more likely to allow ourselves to be guided by it rather than falling prey to bending it to fit our own narrow agendas. The key, it seems, is to never confuse the means for the ends.

So, in theory, if there's a governing principle irrespective of the tool one uses to find it, then it’s possible that every tool one tries will ultimately lead to the exact same thing.