Thursday, December 02, 2010

Unkempt Thoughts

Got that title from Stanislaw J. Lec.

Walking out on the road today, the leaves were falling and skittering along the ground in the cold north wind. I remembered something I read or heard once that a flower is just a modified leaf. It occurred to me that a leaf was a modified branch, trunk, root. It further occurred to me that Virtue, Truth, Justice, Beauty, Wisdom, Liberty, Love, Consciousness itself, Life itself, were all just modified dirt which in turn is just modified hydrogen which itself is just the most simple thing that can be made of nothingness itself.

I'm still reading Aristotle these days and probably will be for a long time. I'll likely have more to say about this great philosopher in the days ahead. I studied him in University; but not really. For someone like me such a study is a life long endeavor.

On a side note NASA announced today they had discovered microorganisms that are "able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic." Why am I not surprised? Please let me know when a sentient life form is found based on this chemistry that has an appreciation of the above listed concomitants on a level with Human Beings. I am sure "they" are out there. For all I know the Sun itself is teeming with "living" entities. That is, my argument is that the WHOLE thing is an Apotheosis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Categories

I just wrote about Aristotle's statement that all knowledge is knowledge of something. Follow this argument. I know God. Therefore God is a thing. God is in reality not a thing. Therefore, knowledge of God is false knowledge. True understanding of God is not gained through the category of reason. Knowledge (of things) necessarily falls into this category. Another category is necessary for the unknowable. That category is Faith.

Are there other categories? Yes. Life spent in pursuit of the gratification of the senses is the most primitive. It is in fact a sort of proto-category. Think of Don Juanism. The artist, for instance, in a search of meaning, pursues beauty. Mankind was first an artist, even when he lived in caves. Faith as Religion and Reason as Science are evolutes of the category of Art. History as dialectical materialism is a further category. All of these reflect man's reaching out into the world for meaning and purpose. But the crowning endeavor, that which all the others aspire but do not achieve, is Philosophy. Think of it as consciousness being directed outward in Art, Faith, Science, History and finally in Philosophy, returning on itself. R. G. Collingwood made a study of this in his work "Speculum Mentis."

A further exegesis of this would be that Don Juanism is essentially characterized by longing, by desire; it is to be a slave of desire, bacchanalia. The next gratification will ostensibly bring fulfillment, full satisfaction, but really it just sets the stage for further desire, and, it is brutish in nature. This longing is slightly civilized when channeled into the pursuit of beauty by the artist. But beauty too is ephemeral and always just out of reach. One can't own it, only pursue it as an ideal. One work of the artist follows the other as the refinement approaches but never reaches the ultimate expression. Beauty is always on the horizon drawing the artist into an infinite regress. In religion the goal of the artist is formalized and posited as an absolute other the union with which is to occur in another dimension, another life, in death. Think about the Gothic cathedrals whose spires and buttresses looming in the landscape are rock made to appear as a yearning toward the sky. This yearning is a "Sickness Unto Death." It is the daemonic spirit in nature and is anything but liberating, this desire to be something greater than yourself, the inability to accept reality as it is. To posit "Truth" in an absolute other to be obtained only by "Grace" is the religious experience for the vast majority. It is also true that Science posits truth as something to be obtained in a Utopian future where perfect measurement ultimately results in a "grand unifying theory" that will enable man to own the purpose and meaning of the whole of Reality. Science mistakes measurement for understanding. History is the same kind of dialectic. Utopia is to be achieved politically in stages until finally perfect equality, peace and justice will be reached for all people everywhere. A true reading of history reveals that all utopias are in reality statist dystopias.

So these categories of existence in the world are for man all self limiting as they have been practiced by the majority of peoples. They all share the same false premise, that Reality is not complete. This falsehood we cling to is our excuse for not owning ourselves, for always seeking completion externally, and is responsible for all the perverseness of human nature. The sensuous genius of a Don Juan is driven by endless restlessness, infinite longing, and this same restlessness is the seed of the life of the artist, the religious, scientist, the belief in history as a redeeming principle, force of nature. Only in the philosopher might one encounter the opposite. Infinite yearning for the Other becomes infinite resignation that the journey is the destination. Once true philosophy is reached any endeavor whatsoever pursued has become like drinking tea from an empty cup; the best faith, the true scientist, the real artist, and so on, is first of all a philosopher and these pursuits are then freed from the mundane to reach the highest achievement possible.

The overture from Mozart's Don Giovanni precisely embodies the infinite restless longing of the sensuous genius in Don Juanism. This is elaborated in the sickness unto death of Western Civilization. (warning at the link = depravity)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aristotle

Reading Aristotle, Organon, De Interpretatione is like reading computer code at the machine level, the code, e.g., in CMOS. Not that there aren't nuggets that jump out at me, like, "knowledge is always knowledge of some thing." Knowledge is limited to what is perceptible. Perceptible means that which is delivered by the five senses. This precept is well known and it dovetails nicely with Protagoras' "man is the measure of all things," also. It is the basic tenet of my epistemology.

He goes on to the conclusion "...that necessity and its absence are the initial principles of existence and non-existence, and that all else must be posterior to these." He then states "It is plain from what has been said that that which is of necessity is actual. Thus, if that which is eternal is prior, actuality also is prior to potentiality." I think he is in this building up to his later concept of entelechy which doctrine I have adapted to my own philosophy and have written of previously in this space. I have an idea that the Universe is infinitely malleable, which idea, I think, has its roots in the principles stated here. My notion that the Real is akin to a fractal, I think, is also bound up in these concepts. It is infinitely self-inventing, and every instantiation increases and enriches the pregnancy for ensuing evolution. All that will ever be is already actual in the "beginning" even though all that will ever be is an elaboration on the infinite stream of prior instances. Every new instance is a new beginning and a new boundary for the new. Every new instantiation is an elaboration of its predecessor. And, our heavens are self made as are our hells. It's all about individual responsibility and self-reliance. Belief in nothing gets you just that.

Here it all is in the language of mathematics:


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Original Sin

Genesis. They ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This was forbidden them. What does it mean? The original sin is putting knowledge above faith. Man's knowledge is his alone and is limited and incomplete. A wise man is full of doubt and in that way keeps an open mind. The fool projects himself, and incidentally closes his mind, on the whole of creation; he takes the place of God. The bigger fool claims ownership of God, of the creative force or principle. Atheism is such a claim. It is the projection of the finite onto the infinite. While the whole of creation might be a kind of apotheosis, this can go horribly wrong. The beginning of true understanding is realizing that knowledge is always limited, always dependent on anthropomorphic modes of measurement. The biblical "knowledge that surpasseth understanding" is a way of stating this principle. It is got to by going into the "upper room." In another tradition, Raja Yoga, this meditative practice is described as focusing the breath between the eyebrows. What results is the discovery, ultimately an action of the unknown, that the "kingdom of heaven is within you." It is not a destination. And, the journey IS the destination. The journey IS the apotheosis, the transfiguration of existential mass into self-realized spirit. One might say that we exist so that "God" can have self experience. When we live within the guidance of virtue, Greek arete, our lives are conducive to its various components, such as beauty, truth, wisdom, courage, compassion, liberty, and love. These are like petals of a flower; the flowering of self-realized spirit. The end within, entelechy, is endless, the universe infinitely malleable. If you believe in nothing, that's likely what you'll get. Faith is the key. Knowledge without understanding is the bondage.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From the Bhagavad Gita







"Their soul is warped with selfish desires, and their heaven is a selfish desire. They have prayers for pleasures and power...."

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Fall of Mind-Reason

Usually it is because we are to close to something that we can't see it. So the problem becomes, for instance, how to distance oneself from reality. To Know the Real you can't be the Real. If you are what you would know then you're stuck with tautologies. From self identification (1=1) no knowledge is available. It conveys no information. Isn't it interesting that nonetheless understanding is available. Everything that is begins and ends with our body consciousness. Hard to break out of this. That is why in ancient Greece, for instance, we have Protagoras proclaiming that man is the measure of all things. On the basis of this it seems to me that the supreme good is taking responsibility, ownership of one's life. In a sense, then, to own yourself is to own it all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unkempt Musing

What exists does so in space and time. 'Things' exist. God does not. He's not a thing, though most conceive him as such. They are 'things.' God must be too. Anthropomorphism. God does not exist, he creates.* His Reality is only available through faith. No faith. No God. For the denier of faith only the body exists, that which is our material self. This also helps explain the fall from grace.

*Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Measure of all Things

The ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras famously said man is the measure of all things. This is in essence the heart of my previous post here. I would elaborate a little. We tend to project our being as an "object" in the world onto the whole of reality. So reason pertains only to the material aspect, principle. When Blaise Pascal , the great Christian philosopher of the seventeenth century, said "The heart has its reasons which reason can never know" he is saying that the heart is the faculty of spirit and operates through intuition. Clearly he places heart above. Spirit over matter. When we "give" attributes to God, for instance, we might say, "God loves me", we are projecting our humanity onto the whole of creation. That's fine but we need to have a full understanding that this is in actuality a form of self aggrandizement which I take to be the essence of the "fall" from Grace in the Christian sense. Isn't it better to just "wait" on the deity? I, personally, can't arrogate the status to myself that God loves me. My DUTY is to LOVE him! Then, I wait. This is a touch on infinite resignation, the task achieved by Abraham in the primordial act of faith as described when he takes his son Isaac to the mountain as a sacrifice.

I think with the ancient Greeks that the force of nature we call Love was created BY God for man as a means through which there could be commerce between the Creator and the created. In this sense, the essence of true love is to wait without expectation. To assert "God loves me" obviates that essence by pushing the "Me" to the front. This is my personal approach, not for everyone, except maybe to consider. I believe to love the Deity is a safe and sure path to take through this life whether one cares to examine or not the infinity of nuance available. The principle that the Universe is infinitely malleable, another overriding belief of mine, would see the emergence of a divine spirit that does indeed love man, if that is what man intends.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Heaven's not a destination

A message for my Christian friends.

To think of heaven as a place we go when we die is to cast the hereafter in the light of our being as humans. Our measure of things is based naturally in our physical presence in the world. Anthropomorphism. This works fine except when it is applied to the whole universe. Friends, this IS the "promised land". You've got it all. Yet you want it all. That is kind of crazy, you know? You think you are not complete until you live a good life and die then go beyond to a place of paradise, a heaven? All dichotomies such as this are false. I have to tell you. Heaven is within, it is not a destination. We speak of it as such in order to have it fit our knowledge of our bodies, our being in the world as created entities. If you manage to muddle through and finally reach this place you will turn in wonder and have to admit to yourself, "why, this is the very place I started from. In fact, it is where I have been all along!" All that's necessary is to cut through the veil of illusion and you can see this anytime, anywhere. Because it is like a sphere whose center is everywhere, whose boundary is nowhere. Don't take the metaphor for the Real. Own yourself! In that you will own the whole by default.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Existential Angst - Continued

Notes from September, 2009

Soren Kierkegaard. Reading of Gretall's Anthology, Pg. 231 (postscript) "God does not think, he creates. God does not exist. He is eternal."

Existence and eternality are polar opposites. Creation can only occur from the eternal perspective. Potentiality, then, is integral to eternality itself. Also, eternality is that by which we can grasp existence in the first place, in the same way "darkness" is that condition by which there can be light. Unless we witness the created from an eternal perspective it is a constant source of confusion. The self-centered person has lost the eternal perspective. That IS the "fall" from "grace". It is Materialism, the lot of the Narcissist, the Solipsist. It is to identify with the body instead of the spirit.

The despair is that we cannot know God. Such sorrow as would shame the abyss. We struggle out of this primordial matter to look on a creation the full purpose and meaning of which is ever just beyond our grasp. We close our fist on it only to open our hand to the revelation of....nothing. Completion is only found in the understanding one can never know (God). The transfiguration of sorrow and despair to faith is the infinite resignation to this reality. Only through inwardness do we arrive at this juncture. Not Art, not Science, nor History, especially not speculative Philosophy, and not dogmatic Religion. All of these "endeavors" of man, categories of being in the world, posit truth in an absolute other. And, I agree, Truth is vested in an absolute other, but not like man projects otherness. The absolute other is the repository for all that our understanding approaches but can never quite achieve. That is why the "leap" of faith is required to "realize" ultimate meaning and purpose.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clove Hitch



That knot is a clove hitch. I wonder if it was invented during that period of the age of sailing ships, 1500s through the 1600s, that saw the opening of sea lanes from Portugal, Spain, Holland, France, and England to the "Spiceries", The Moluccas, the Banda Islands, Neira, Run, and so forth. Whatever the history it is a very clever knot, a highly nuanced bit of technology. Suppose I said to you, mariner, we need a knot that no matter how hard we strain it, it is as easily untied as tied. The "clove" hitch is the answer.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Winter 2009

Who says it never snows in Central Texas? Well it almost never. The last time this happened was winter 1984. It snowed almost all day and some of the "flakes" were as big as golf balls. Real wet snow and just barely freezing though a week or so ago it got down to ten degrees, the coldest in 14 years but I remember when it got down to 8 one winter. Of course, you might know, we get a lot more ice storms than snow. I guess it averages about one ice storm per winter, about. So, snow here is a big deal.

The deck had snow for three days but most of it was gone in two.






Cedar tree near gate






Winter rye grass and the pond





Looking East from top of hill





Looking South






Looking Southwest




Looking West

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I had a dream

Really I had a whole series of dreams. The recurring dream was of construction activity to the East and North of my property and always involved trespassers. No matter what measures I took in these dreams I couldn't keep the people out. They would drive right through my yard and I'd chase them through the woods. Sometimes I'd grab a firearm and then chase them. I must have had 20 or more of these dreams over a period of ten years at least.

Well it finally came true. They are building a new high tension power line a few hundred yards from my place. It comes from the North and passes me by to the East, heading South. There is a lot of noise, chain saws, drilling machines, caterpillars, air compressors. Also, they have been on the property. I looked out my window, having heard a "vehicle" noise very close, and some guy on an ATV was tooling very fast right through the yard. Previously I'd heard what sounded like a pickup over by my barn. OK, this is it, I thought. What the hell is going on? I chased the guy down. He was looking for power poles. He was getting a GPS fix on every one and labeling as he went. No big deal. But I did take a pistol in the back seat of the truck when I ran after him.

It was a little later I realised those dreams had been prescient. That is a big deal. This has happened to me several times. Dreaming about future events. Interesting. What is time that this can occur?