here to download the peer-reviewed version of this essay
published in B'Or HaTorah Vol. 14E
Science tells us that
"It" comes from "Bit" -- that the world is based on information -- and
that information is based on contrast. We know that contrast
attracts our attention. And we know further that what catches our
attention also engages our awareness and self-awareness. Our
awareness and our self-awareness enable us to decide how we shall act
in response to what has attracted our attention. Thus, awareness and
self-awareness are also driven by high contrast.
We are naturally curious about the unusual. The more unusual, the
interesting. Perhaps this is a product of our evolution where surprises
- events that stand out in sharp contrast to the ordinary - are often
We need to notice the wolf among the sheep because while the sheep are
not threatening, the wolf may be.
Things and events that are unusual stand-out against a background
of the ordinary and the usual. They attract our attention.
Anomaly is thus an attractor, perhaps the attractor, for
The greater the anomaly the greater the attraction. Thus the greatest
in the world having the highest contrast with the ordinary will
be the most effective attractor of our consciousness.
As Prof. Roger Penrose points out in The Emperor's New Mind, the source of highest contrast in our physical world is our hot, small
sun in the cold, dark sky. Not only are all of the heavy elements
for life produced in the nuclear furnaces of the stars, not only is our
sun the source of the nuclear energy which warms our planet, not only
our sun the source of heat and electro-magnetism needed to drive
processes in the solar system, but the hot, small sun against the cold,
dark sky also provides us with the neg-entropic gradient - the
- needed for the self-organization of life.
While we receive energy as heat, light and electromagnetic radiation
from the sun, neither we nor the Earth are net users of energy. We
the energy we receive so as to maintain ourselves in energy
If we did not, we would either heat up or cool down.
Professor Penrose has given us examples of the effects of high
at different levels of energy and information, and he has pointed out
it is not the energy, per se, but rather the neg-entropy, the
we get from this high contrast, that enables life to self-organize and
evolve. However, for our purposes Prof. Penrose does not go far enough.
Since, as we are told, the neg-entropic gradient needed for the
of life is due to the difference in entropy between the
organized visible photons coming from the hot, small sun and the
disorganized infra-red photons our plants (and planet) re-radiate into
the cold, dark sky, we might then speculate about the effects of an
higher source of contrast.
We know that contrast attracts our attention. And we know further
what catches our attention also engages our awareness and
Our awareness and our self-awareness enable us to decide how we will
in response to what has attracted our attention. Thus awareness and
are also driven by high contrast.
But what high contrast are we discussing? The physical sun provides
the highest possible contrast against the sky. The sun attracts the
attention because it nourishes the plants. At every level the principle
of high contrast becomes more explicit. Instead of the nuclear furnace
of any star, instead of even the energetic and neg-entropic gradient of
our star against the sky, we need an even higher light to account for
self-awareness. We could account for the attractor that draws out and
our attention, and our awareness, and entices our self-awareness to
by the discovery of an infinitely compact, infinitely distant,
energetic and neg-entropic source - against a perfectly cold, dark sky. By definition, this ultimate, abstract idealization would
If there were such an extreme contrast between exquisite singularity
and all-encompassing wholeness, it alone would be the ultimate source
highest attractor of our awareness, our self-awareness, and our
will. What less infinite light could compete for our attention? We
look to this infinite-sun against the background of its infinite-sky
our spiritual growth from the physical plane just as a plant looks to
finite physical sun in its physical sky for its growth from the
In the Five Books of Moses, there are two names for God.
("The Name" in Hebrew), also known as the Tetragrammaton
(the "Name-Of-Four-Letters" in Greek), and often translated
as "Lord", represents the most compact and Exquisitely Singular aspect of God, while Elokim, sometimes called the
(properly spelled with an h instead of a k), "God",
represents the most expansive All-There-Is Whole aspect
God. The relationship between the complementary aspects of Exquisite Singularity and All-There-Is Wholeness is defined as
contrast. This highest contrast is also represented by the first
Bet (Bet = house, the distinction between inside and outside),
the Hebrew text of Genesis, from which the cosmos is said to unfold. In
Kabbalah, the contrast of Absolute Unity in the context of Complete
is known as Tzim-tzum, "self-constriction," or compactness.
In Kabbalah it is taught that creation continuously unfolds
the Tzim-tzum process. In this philosophical context, the
existence of our personal awareness, our self-awareness and our
will directly infers (but, of course, cannot prove) the existence of a One-Whole Lord-God.