Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Further Reflections on the Nature of the Real

"Socrates said the same thing always, having only one thought, idea of universality.  Modern philosophy has many ideas, all having limited truth."

The idea that ‘reality’ results from the conscious gaze was mentioned in the previous post.  This notion is supposed to have been put forth by the proponents of quantum mechanic's so called "string theory."  It comports with a philosophical notion that I find has merit, that only that in which we believe is real.  People find themselves in a body in the world mediated by eyes, ears, etc., and come to believe that perceived phenomena are real.  This notion has been questioned by many down through the ages with Merleau-Ponty's statement that we must not wonder whether we really perceive a world, we must instead say, the world is what we perceive being a fair rendering of my personal position.  Assuming the world thus perceived is real, it follows that this reality is, because we believe it to be so, because, we can "see", have given it our "conscious gaze."  However, this leaves most in a quandary as to the "existence" of that which is beyond the phenomenal.  I've written many times about this but find myself going back to the subject again and again.  What about God and other non phenomenal attributes?

Ask not if God exists.  Ask if he is Real.  There are beautiful things, most would agree; in my scheme the "things" exist but not the "beauty", at least not until it is realized.   Beauty is not perceived in and of itself.  Beauty is only seen when there is first a thing.  Like the divine beauty is eternal; and truth, and Love, and so forth.  And what is Real is found only through faith.  Believe not and that reality falls away.  God is likewise manifest in things.  But God is not a thing except as a potentiality.  So he doesn't have existence, being eternal.  Nonetheless he is Real, the primal Real, but only for those who believe.  Truth, beauty, and love, etc., potentially manifest, but likewise require a "conscious gaze".  One makes a conscious choice to see or not see the truth, or the beauty of a phenomenal object.  A value judgement is made.  One makes a conscious choice to Realize the deity.  Failing to do so leaves one with an empty cold Universe where only ephemeral objects are real, and that only because we have affirmed them, and when they dissolve into that whence they arose, including the body in which the "conscious gaze" originates, all that can be said is that out of nothing comes nothing.  In the end if you have no faith, nothing is your reward.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Commentary on Grand Unified Theory

"In the order of intelligible things his intelligence holds the same rank as does his body in the expanse of nature, and all it can do is perceive the appearance of the middle of things, in an eternal despair of knowing either their beginning or their end. All things proceed from the nothing, and are led towards the infinite. Who can follow these marvellous processes? The Author of these wonders understands them. None other can do so."
Blaise Pascal

"That’s why we’re here: the passing of time has no meaning unless experienced by conscious beings."
James Lileks

...or consciousness, truth, beauty.  Time and these are universal but must be individualized, localized to be meaningful.

God hides in plain sight.  He does not do the things man does, think, etc., but he is there when we do them.  We are confronted with the incomprehensible Otherness of the opposite.  Today I see woe has its wisdom, sorrow enlightens the soul.

Michael Hanlon on theory of "pocket universes"  This sounds a lot like Aristotle: "If it is allowed by the basic physical laws (which, in this scenario, will be constant across all universes), it must happen.  This idea from the Multiverse theory.  And from Michael Hanlon on string theory: "The ‘many worlds’ interpretation of quantum physics....states that all quantum possibilities are, in fact, real. When we roll the dice of quantum mechanics, each possible result comes true in its own parallel timeline. If this sounds mad, consider its main rival: the idea that ‘reality’ results from the conscious gaze. Things only happen, quantum states only resolve themselves, because we look at them. As Einstein is said to have asked, with some sarcasm, ‘would a sidelong glance by a mouse suffice?’"


Hawking:   "If Einstein's general theory of relativity is correct, the universe began with a singularity called the big bang. Now because it was a singularity, all the laws of physics broke down. And therefore we cannot predict how the universe began. A few years ago I was at a conference on cosmology that was held in the Vatican. And at the end of the conference the participants were granted an audience with the Pope. The Pope said it was fine for them to inquire into the early history of the universe, but they should not ask questions about the big bang itself... because that was the work of God. However, at that conference I proposed that Einstein's general theory of relativity would have to be modified to take quantum mechanics into account. And that modification would mean that there was no singularity. Space time would be finite in extent, but with no singularities. In this picture, space time would be like the surface of the earth. It's finite in extent, but it doesn't have any boundary or edge or singularities."


"The universe... the universe would have a beginning and an end in the same sense that degrees of latitude have a beginning and an end at the north and south poles respectively. There isn't any point with a latitude 91 degrees north. And similarly, there isn't any point in the universe which is before the big bang. And the, but the north pole is a perfectly regular point of the earth's surface, it's not a singular point. And similarly, I believe that the big bang was a perfectly regular point of space time. And all the laws of physics would hold at the big bang. And if that is the case, we can completely predict the state of the universe from the laws of physics."


"I think it's an open question as to whether we will find a complete unified theory. All I can say is that we don't seem to have one at the moment."


"We may never find a complete unified theory, but I think that there is a 50-50 chance that we'll do so by the end of the century."


"In principle, but not in practice. Because the equations are very difficult to solve in any but the simplest situations. We already know the laws of physics that underlie the behaviour of matter in normal circumstances. So in principle, we should be able to predict all of physics, all of chemistry and biology. But we've not had much success in predicting human behaviour from mathematical equations."

Science posits the Real, the source of meaning and purpose, in an absolute other.  It's over the horizon and is called something like "complete unified theory" and would resolve the general theory of relativity with the (theories of) quantum mechanics, the physics of the very large with that of the very small.  There are no concrete objects, but waves in force fields.  Every discovery leads to new postulates as the absolute other is approached but never quite reached.  Like going the speed of light requires ever more energy as one approaches light speed, to make the final leap requires all the known energy in the universe.  I postulate that to calculate the grand unified theory similarly requires ever greater calculus and that eventually you run out of calculus coincidentally at the same moment you would reach the ultimate theory.  Anyhow, Hawking says, the theory can't be solved in anything but the simplest situations and then only in principle, not in practice. I think the evidence can't be finally owned because it hides in plain sight.  You can't find it because the premise you don't already have it, is false.  The mention that ‘reality’ results from the conscious gaze does indeed border on a line of inquiry that gets into territory normally shunned by physics, by science.  But Hanlon says it seems mad.  James Lileks could have formulated his statement thusly.

What's also interesting is the notion that if a reality is possible it will eventuate.  Aristotle postulated this too, and noted that unimaginable horrors were necessary conditions.  Also notable is the absence of anything not quantifiable from these types of proceedings.  Sean Carroll, for instance, dismisses philosophical insights relating to consciousness, the soul, and religious notions of transfiguration, for instance, as flowery speech.  Science generally doesn't consider anything that can't be measured.  And religion, it's parent, or at least predecessor, tends to shun measurement.  Thus, for science, measurement becomes the sine qua non of knowledge. You own reality by taking measure of it.  But knowledge isn't the only path to understanding.  Indeed it can be an impediment.  It seems to me a grand unified theory would actually account for time, beauty, love, truth, and such coming to have meaning when actualized in a field of consciousness of a sentient life form.  My personal grand notion, call it theory if you want, is consciousness is the instrument of the soul and the issue of Grace working through the emotions, through mind, to affect the apotheosis of matter.  Art, religion, science, history, and philosophy as developmental stepping stones, as stages on life's way, taken together give better results than any one taken alone.  Consciousness is directed outward in all but the last, just asking the question, or positing the answer in a false other.  In philosophy consciousness actually returns on itself ever going out only to find that outwardness is another way of looking at inwardness.  This scheme is elaborated by R. G. Collingwood, and Soren Kierkagaard.

People, science won't believe in God because they have no proof, evidence.  They fail to realize evidence always pertains to some thing and that God is not a separate thing unto himself.  Its closer to reality that he is all that is in which case the "evidence" is hiding in plain sight.  He can't be parsed from the whole of reality: neither can you. If you must have evidence look at the  back of your hand, look at all that is, for the whole thing is God is as valid a statement as he is not, doesn't exist.  Precisely.  We perceive ourselves, taking that as evidence we exist and at the same time as the paradigm for the proof of anything at all.  Self measure is established as the measure of all things.  We anthropomorphize the whole of reality.

Extending our mind with mathematical equations we define alternately increasingly fine and/or gross models of reality.  We see particles so small, the Higgs Boson, for instance, the so called "God" particle, they revert to fields of energy, and worlds so dense and large, black holes, that their matter assumes  the distribution observed in the whole Universe.  Our mind holds these realities as we extend our experiments searching out valid proofs.  But the mind was always there with the proofs coming behind.  What kind of world is it where mind is centered everywhere, bounded nowhere? No matter where we focus our technologically enhanced senses, our mathematically precise concepts, we find, if we care to notice, consciousness, mind, precedes us.  Our reach always exceeds our grasp.

If that's too much to swallow then here is a simple formula that is known to work:  "Praise no day until evening, no wife until buried, no sword until tested, no maid until bedded, no ice until crossed, no ale until drunk."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Is there an Apriori Realm? Existentialism, Essence, and Existence

We must not, therefore, wonder whether we really perceive a world, we must instead say: the world is what we perceive.
M. Merleau-Ponty

Perception…. is the background from which all things stand out.
M. Merleau-Ponty

More Merleau-Ponty: "….doubt….could never finally tear us away from truth. …in so far as we talk about illusion, it is because we have identified illusions, and done so solely in the light of some perception which at the same time gave assurance of its own truth. We are in the realm of truth and it is the experience of truth which is self evident. The experience of truth is self evident. To seek to ground this in a more pervasive claim, such as Descartes’ doctrine of doubt, would prove unfaithful to my experience of the world; one should be looking for what makes that experience possible instead of looking for what it is. The self evidence of perception is not adequate thought or apodeictic self-evidence. The world is not what I think, but what I live through."

To be limited is in turn to be a limit because it is not possible to say which defines a thing/limit more, its definition of itself or its definition in the terms of that which it limits.

Consciousness I see as non ego and if I am only conscious then I am living in the original image of man in the the world, i.e., everything is equally conscious. The advent of ego awareness makes consciousness ‘mine’ but not really because ‘I am of the universe’ and to say something is ‘mine’ is therefore absurd, tautological - it says the universe owns itself.

If consciousness is truly passive it can’t be affected. It is the background –as passive- for change, and change appears intelligible by virtue of the passiveness of the illuminating nature of consciousness.

So the void (consciousness) is like a mirror that stands, as it were, ‘behind’ the ego and functions as a perfect mirror – it reflects (illuminates) absolutely indiscriminately and equally whatever is immediate to the ego. And since the void is infinite, consciousness will be the same for any possible ego, i.e., infinite.

Since consciousness is coextensive with the void then an explanation of consciousness in physical terms would be an explanation of vacuum in physical terms, i.e., there is nothing physical about it.

By virtue of the infinite quality of consciousness I can abstract my “self’ and go, with abstraction, anywhere to do anything. That is to say, I can ‘picture’ in my mind the configuration of the sun, moon, from above/outside. I can visualize being outside, at an almost infinite distance, the whole cosmic reality, seeing the ALL as a mere luminous dot/unity. I had this dream/experience/vision while a child.  Must I not have already been there in some sort of way to do this?

Valence: clinging by vectors/same energy levels/inclination/tendency

People participating in religious, artistic, musical, scientific, etc. activities participate in a movement of mind/matter spread over space and time. The direction of these endeavors depends on the valencies of the participating people, in their thinking and doing being combined in a total historical movement, e.g., communism, etc. How can the world shake these patterns? How can we be free of harmful tendencies/habits? Just by seeing and doing….?

..and again how does one articulate in a vacuum? Easy! Out of an utter sense of newness, freshness, vitality, and the assurance that nothing whatever is in our way, finally speaking. We will go wherever our inclination takes us. The only choice we have is how we will be inclined. And isn’t that just seeming as well?

At the center of all inclination/intention is the thirst for the real. This is irreducible…..and untouchable in the sense that you can’t see yourself, who and what exactly you are without first relaxing the process generating that end. This is the first thing, the beginning of true life. This is the state of vulnerability. It is where the first and last risks are taken. If you learn properly to take a risk, if you can relax to a deep enough level, you can act on what you see laid out before you with certainty and precision. You know your acts go to their mark, because you have seen everything there is to be seen.

Repeated acts are volitional to their own repetition. Deeds of a kind attract, ergo, bad doing equates to bad company; ergo, its possible to attract “higher beings” good and bad.  Every "doing" generates and is sustained by its own spirit/life force.  Go once to charity or love or compassion and it is easier to do so again.  The same is true for the opposite.  Spirits grows by participation.

Whatever is, whether one or many, participates in the Real. This participation provides one commonality. Allow that it may be that the only way objects can appear to be separate is in part because they really are not.

Our own perceptions are among the class of external objects as well as ideas, knowledge, sensation, etc.

Consciousness is primordial, I think. In the sense that it is a universal principle that the “One” should be awakened as we awaken (to our godliness), “God” rises to self consciousness in human awareness; on the emergence of sentience.

About gestalt versus sequential views of the Real: Perhaps some see the universe as a gestalt, perhaps a very young child, for instance, but “man” sees the same universe in terms of sequential images in his vain attempt to rationalize with propositional relations what Camus calls the absurd realm, that realm outside our consciousness. To accomplish this ominous task would presume the necessity, and even the possibility, of placing in one to one correlation, an abstract, verbal (or mathematical) proposition with every atomic proposition and every possible combination of all atomic propositions. Our universe will probably be approaching inclusion in this particular pulse of its symbiotic, onomatopoeic existence. Man should recognize, as a pragmatic fact, that the universe is a tautology and that each thing that is will continue to be, only in different space and time. Man should learn, therefore, to function temporally, but from an eternal perspective… Strive to see the whole instead of its nebulous parts as the ground of reality.

Existentialism has two schools. The christian school of Jaspers, Marcel and the Atheist one of Sartre, Heidegger.

Atheistic existentialists have in common the belief that existence precedes essence or that subjectivity is the starting point.

Your Christian existentialist holds that production precedes existence. To build the first table the artisan had to have conceived its image, its essence, before setting to work. God is considered a superior sort of artisan.

And again, the atheist view is that man is the only being in which existence precedes essence. Consciousness precedes thought, for instance. Man appears, defines himself and all other things. He makes himself what he is, as the essence he defines is, by a necessity of language, subjectivity. He is responsible for himself and, at the same time, all other men.

Say that man is chained to human subjectivity, this is the essential meaning of existentialism. By choosing his own will man chooses mankind's will as he always picks the good over the evil. There is not an apriori realm, and there is nothing for man to cling to either within or without himself.  When clinging arises wisdom is shut out.

Those unfortunates who spend their lives waiting on God sadly miss the point that God is waiting on them.  Many live in hope of getting a better gig in "heaven".  Really, we already have a gig in heaven.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Table

But is there an actual "table", for instance, if every instance is somehow different from every other? Is the rose ever actual or is the actualization of the rose, and the table, in itself endless? And man? In what sense is he never fulfilled, complete? Doesn't this touch on the lack of concreteness in beauty, truth, wisdom, understanding, and, of course, Love, and Liberty? Isn't it why God himself must be taken on Faith? For how does one grasp, hold, have, keep what is itself a kind of infinite potentiality? Consider that the "reason" we can never have final knowledge about anything is because nothing in itself is ever final.  Understanding is available but comes with a leap beyond mere reason, a leap from having to being.  Being or figure it out.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Word


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Luke 19: 35-40  And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.  And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.  And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;  Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.  And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

The intake of your breath is the exhalation of the universe.  Your exhalation is the breathing in of the Universe.

In my last post I wrote about the first act of creation, of the principle of illumination.  But what is the Word?  Isn't it just a primordial principle capable of self actualizing.  Think of Greek Logos or Hebrew Davar;  first principle with the power to manifest itself, or, potentiality with the power to self actualize.  Then think of the rose.  The actualization of the rose is endless.  There is no actual rose, only potential.   Likewise, there is no concrete "word" or "truth" or "beauty".  There is no now, no present.  Try and hold onto one.  If there were we could own these but since we can't we are only borrowers.  The word is in the manifested cosmos, and vice versa, as the rose is in the bud and the bud is in the rose; for every actuality there is a new potentiality.  And, my sight of the rose is the rose's means of seeing itself.

We know nothing, really, any more than we can hold onto the present.  It's best to let God keep his secrets.  Many claim God "loves" them.  I don't know but intuit rather that God is Love.  We are blessed to participate in this Love and in this moment; my concern is not that he loves me but that I love him.  The potentiality of love of the deity is in the very rocks at our feet.  The emergence of sentient life gives voice to these stones.  It's because we don't or can't fully know that we have a sense of wonder, awe, and an appreciation of beauty and truth. These keep us searching, make the journey ever new whether it really is or not.  Were the truth about the ultimate purpose and meaning of existence vouchsafed to us reality might be as boring to us as it must be to God without his life in and through his creation.  Christ is the word made flesh, it is written.  I write that the whole of Reality is the manifesting Word.

The Star of David and the symbol for the Hindu sacred syllable Om.  The esoteric meaning of the Star of David is that God descends into matter in order to reascend a self realized spiritual being.  That is another way of stating Christ is the word made flesh.  I think the Om symbol has the same meaning.  The sacred syllable Om is the equivalent of the Word.  Our voice is the rocks crying out.

"The Universe is in us", he says in this video.