John Wall's Critique of Lane's Post on Wilber and Feynman

Author: John Wall
Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar
Publication date: 1996

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

I just had a chance to check out some more of your critique of Ken 
Wilber and wanted to respond to your "Feynman's Clocks" episode.

I like Feynman, too, and I've read his two popular books.  Wilber 
doesn't grab me, and I haven't read any of his books.

However (hey, if there wasn't a "however," I wouldn't bother to 
write, right?), I can never just sit idly by when a rationalist 
claims to be more reasonable than an irrationalist.  There is no 
logical reason why Feynman's finding of a physical cause for the 
clock-stoppage is more reasonable than Wilber's finding of a 
mystical cause for the wind storm.

There is also no difference in degree of maturity of views between 
finding meaning in physical events and rationalism versus finding 
meaning in mystical events and irrationalism.  There is no logical 
basis for positing the "it's only poetic; it's only aesthetic; it's 
only metaphorical; etc.," approach.  That is "only" a bias.

Even if you insist that Feynman's clock stoppage was a chance event 
with no mystical dimension whatsoever, you cannot prove your 
position.  If you can't prove it, it is unscientific.  Your stand is 
not "reality," but a mere preference, an opinion.

Everything is imbued with meaning, Dave.  Not just isolated events, 
but the whole works.  It's all there, whether we notice it or not -- 
just as earth was a sphere before anyone noticed.  Sure, Feynman 
found a rational cause for the clock stoppage.  He also implied an 
irrational cause (alas, I don't have the book handy to look up his 
version of the story).  There are only a few reasons for accepting 
the rational cause and excluding the irrational.  Either your belief 
system is being jeopardized (fearsome stuff!); or you simply have no 
taste for meaningful events because you've let atrophy, or failed to 
develop, your soul; or you simply need to reproduce the effect of 
the clock stoppage sometime in the future and therefore need to 
understand the mechanics of it.

The presence of a rational cause does not exclude the irrational 
cause, and vice versa.  They are not mutually exclusive.  They are 
both "real," and the constellation of the two ignites our most 
profound humanity.

It's not just chance that favors the prepared mind.  It depends on 
what one is preparing for.  Archimedes said "Eureka!" when it dawned 
on him how to find the ratio of gold to silver in the king's crown.  
The monk said "Aha!" when it dawned on him that the kingdom was 

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.