Everything is for the Best in this Best of all Possible Worlds

Roland Stahl
November, 2019

     The idea that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds comes from Leibnitz, but it is probably best known from Candide, the hilarious story by Voltaire, in which the idea is mercilessly pilloried by Voltaire’s matchless wit.  The poor hero Candide, his wife Cunegonde, and his philosopher Pangloss, suffer the most horrible adventures imaginable, while Pangloss is trying to explain to Candide how all of their sorrowful catastrophes can be understood within the context of this “best of all possible worlds.”  But, funny as that story is, I have been increasingly inclined to agree with Leibnitz!  The key to understanding the concept lies in the operative word “possible.”  In fact, this is the only possible world; hence, it must surely be the best.  

     I have been reading the very enjoyable and brilliant book by Paul Davies, The Mind of God, which examines many of the fundamental questions in which I have been interested all of my life.  There is one point to which he returns again and again (and he is not alone in this fantasy; I see it all the time among philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians) ~ he expresses astonishment at our amazing and complex world, full of some special set of particular “laws of physics” which just happen, by chance or otherwise, to apply to our world.  He continually speculates about all of the infinite variety of other possible universes which may happen to enjoy some completely different set of physical laws.  However, it is my belief that what we know as “the laws of physics” are inevitably derived from the ultimate nature of reality as revealed by many inspired writings and esoteric traditions, such as the Hebrew Kabbalah, the I Ching, the Taoist writings of Lao Tzu and his followers, as well as the ideas of Heraclitus, Pythagoras, the Hermetic alchemists, and many others, all of which I have tried to restate in as clear and consistent a presentation as possible.  

     I am a die-hard Platonist, believing that all of the metaphysical ideas which I derive from the numbers of mathematics are inherently real and inescapable.  That is, these ideas are not “invented;” they are “discovered,” and it is not surprising that many speculative philosophers and mystics have come up with very similar views of this ultimate nature of reality.  This means that all of the elaborate metaphysical implications of those ultimate symbols, the numbers of mathematics, are not clever inventions, but are ongoing discoveries about the ultimate nature of reality.  

     So I say to all of those philosophers who like to speculate about all of those other “possible universes,” some going so far as to suggest that there are an infinite number of possible universes, “No ~ you’re all wrong!  This universe and its laws of physics are not just a happy collection from amongst some infinite pool of imaginary “laws of physics,” but that every aspect of the world we know is inevitably derived from the same ultimate and universal metaphysics which may be derived deductively from those Original Symbols, the numbers of mathematics, according to the famous epiphany of Pythagoras that “all is number.”

     So we suggest that the numbers of mathematics are not just some clever inventions, but represent a window into the Mind of God.  The metaphysics which we derive from the numbers of mathematics are not only derived a priori from those symbols, but the metaphysics derived from the numbers of mathematics constitute the only such metaphysics which may be derived from any other symbols or ideas.  There are no other symbols comparable to the numbers of mathematics in their a priori purity and perfection.  Any other symbols you might enjoy are all derived from the lower world, created, according to Plato, by the Demiurge from the pure ideas of the upper world of perfect forms.  

     In fact, all of this is so obvious and clear to me that I am really surprised that many otherwise brilliant philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians can speak so blithely about all of those infinite other possible universes with some selection out of an infinite pool of possible laws of physics! No, all of what we know as the laws of physics must be ultimately derived from the same original metaphysics (the only possible metaphysics) revealed by the numbers of mathematics.  Some of these mathematicians speak of an arbitrary set of “input conditions” out of which some novelty universe du jour might be hatched.  

     By the way, in case anyone wants to know, I have figured it out ~ the egg came first.   If you have to ask where the egg came from, you haven’t been paying attention.  

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