Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

Jerusalem and Athens converge. Faith and Reason converge. St. Paul and Plato converge. By now, the reader might have noticed my writing style where I tend to lurch here and there between philosophy, the hard or life sciences including a bit of history as well. The modest effort and intent is of course not only to make it fun and interesting but lest regurgitate what is already out there on the news. And here goes it when I stagger between here and there….the temptation is irresistible.

In a classic magic-realism, Mariamawit is very creative when she said, Tigray is a holy-land where the dead comes back to life. Tigray however, doesn’t defy “The Law of Entropy” rather, the Abiy regime declared many times over that Getachew Reda, Debretsion, Fetlewerk, Generals Migbey, Abraha ድንኩል among others dead but we see them came back to life. What gives? Perhaps they were already dead and it was “true.” That is when Leap of Faith defies Entropy instead. 

Enter Ludwig Boltzmann and Soren Kierkegaard.

Suppose you’re on the Moon and you see this blue planet—Earth. What you see is however, a serene, smooth looking planet floating around. When you depart the Moon and getting closer and closer to landing on Earth, the smooth texture and the serene aura disappears and you see and hear commotion of sorts where life hustles and bustles around instead. 

That in mind, suppose you see a hot glass of water from a distance, the water looks smooth and calm but imagine that, you’re one of the water molecules inside the hot glass and how would the molecules appear to you? Ludwig Boltzmann in the late nineteenth century enquired. You would see the molecules agitated and pushing on the glass and against each other as well. The scientific community however, was not ready to accept the “Atomic” concept as one of the fundamental unites of matter and his profound insight was rebuffed and ridiculed instead. 

He went on to postulate that, the fact that we are unable to know the exact position and dynamics of the molecules in nature in general, our perception of nature is handicapped and it is based on approximation at best. In his field, “Physical Chemistry”, what we know about the dynamics of the molecules is inferred in terms of statistical averages—temperature, volume, pressure and density. The parameters again, do not tell us the real picture but approximations of the real deal instead. And this lack of information to know reality as it is or missing information is defined as “Entropy.” As such, Entropy is defined as the measure of the missing information.  

The missing information tends to increase as nature tends to move forward from order to disorder—the past can not be reversed, a scrambled egg can not be put back into its former egg shell and the dead can not come back to life, for instance—. This revolutionary insight is hailed as one of the greatest discoveries if not the greatest ever. Boltzmann however, didn’t live to busk in the glory, tragically, frustrated by the scientific community in tandem with his infliction of chronic mood swings, at the age of fifty seven, while his girlfriend and daughter were enjoying at the shores of Aegean Sea, he took his own life. In his honor, his mathematical model [S= -log W] is inscribed on his grave in Vienna, Austria. Where S is Entropy and W is possible physical states.

If Boltzmann’s “Second law of Thermodynamics” or the “Law of Entropy” forbids the dead from coming back to life, can a Leap of Faith do the trick?

Soren Kierkegaard, the Norwegian and one of the pioneers and founders of Existentialist movement, and a brilliant mind, in mid nineteenth century, in his major work titled, “Fear and Trembling” retells the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac when Abraham who fathered Isaac at the age of eighty was told by God to sacrifice Isaac up on alter on a mountain. Kierkegaard puts forward different versions of the story but the one relevant here is the version where the tension arises between ethics and religious beliefs and the tension as Kierkegaard put it, created anxiety in Abraham. 

Kierkegaard argues that, it was ethically wrong for Abraham to kill his son but religiously right because Abraham was convinced that God can not be wrong. This is the critical point—Abraham’s conviction that God can not be wrong—meaning that in the end, Abraham was convinced that, God would not let him do something unethical and he was going to spare Issac’s life. And it was this intense Leap of Faith drove Abraham not only to follow the order but was able to see “the missing information” that was only privy to God. As the story ends, Abraham sacrifices a Ram instead of his son—Isaac. In a sense, intense Leap of Faith not only transcends ethical imperatives but can change the mind of God where the dead comes back to life as Isaac was essentially dead but “came back to life” through faith. 

And that was essentially Mariamawit’s powerful argument when she said, Tigray is a holy-land where the dead comes back to life. The extraordinary faith not only in God but also in the sense of justice, logic defying things—miracles— are happening in Tigray. God, Mariamawit argues, raises a powerful army out of practically nothing when the peddlers and merchants of false prophecy pronounced them not only dead but [ዱቄት ሁነዋል] as well. They rise including Tigray as an independent and powerful nation.