All or Nothing
We generally try to strike a balance between freedom and commitment. We value our freedom to commit or not to commit. What I am about to suggest, however, goes against that grain. I am making an offer of all or nothing with respect to meaning, truth and, yes, existence. It is an offer which can hardly be refused. It presents an irrevocable choice, which most of us will want to, and are, postponing for as long as possible. The proposition is pretty obvious, but we have become masters at rationalizing away from the obvious.
The fragmentation of meaning, life and existence we have come to accept as part of the modern condition. The virtually unlimited choices placed before us every day represent for us the foundation of our freedom. On the other hand, there is the nagging suspicion that 'freedom' is just another word for nothing left to lose. But what is it that we have lost, amidst all of our freedom?
There is one word for that, too: meaning. Are we going to have to choose between freedom and meaning? Perhaps we just need to find a more meaningful meaning for freedom. For instance, what is the meaning of 'free will'. No one seems to know, but almost everyone has an opinion.
Chaotic and quantum systems are characterized by their unpredictable and ontologically random nature. For the materialist, this is as close to freedom as you can get. Every other 'freedom' is an illusion. Most of us find this response far from satisfactory. That's why we still have philosophers. Well, they were still there the last time I checked.
However, to say that freedom is something more than randomness is, it turns out, having to say a great deal. Very many papers and books have been written on this topic with, apparently, no one feeling that the topic has been exhausted. As you may have anticipated, I am about to add my own two cents, and I'll wager that, despite its brevity, there will be a substantial originality.
My proposition is that freedom and meaning are closely related concepts or problems, depending on your frame of mind. They are both related to the problem of reason. Reason is another word fraught with elusive significance. It has been said that we are the rational animals. We are the only animal purporting to have reasons, and do we ever! We have never been known to lack for them. Do we reason, or do we merely rationalize, more or less, after the fact. Do we just play the obligatory language game that we label as 'reasoning'? Reason, I maintain, is an all or nothing proposition. So will be meaning. Freedom? We'll just have to see about that.
Reasoning is generally teleological in essence. My proposition then is that there is no telos without a Telos, and there is no truth without Truth. Yes, there are facts. But we almost never want to tell just the facts. Just ask Joe Friday. What we almost always want to do is tell a story, and not just any story. We want, above all else, to tell 'Our' story. That is certainly what I am trying to do here. So I am also saying that there is no narrative without a Metanarrative. Now that is a bald statement. Go to the fiction section in any library or bookstore and you will see shelves full of narratives, but I'll warrant that you'll find not a single metanarrative, because right now there is only one BPW story, and we know where it is.
My bald statement becomes less bald when I say of what it is that stories are made. In the first instance, a story is a complex transaction between the teller and listener. Many norms come into play. It can be a very fine art. Perhaps it is even the only art. The most elusive aspect of the transaction is empathy. The listener must be drawn into the story, otherwise it becomes so much hot air, spilled ink or errant electrons.
OK, then, what is empathy? Just another feeling? On the last page we discussed bhakti, agape and love. Is empathy not of these? It is not easy to argue that there are any higher emotions. There are even those who have equated love with the Telos. I am one of them. And with this one twist of a phrase, I ought to be able to walk smiling into the sunset.
There is, then, only one story: the love story. All meaning, truth and existence derives from that Metanarrative. So are we free to love? Yes, and no. If so, it is our first and last freedom. That is my all or nothing proposition.
I have spoken of the Trinity: M, X & D: matrix, christos, dialectic. The dialectic is the elusive element. It is also the engine of existence. Dialectic is dialog. It is sharing in a story. It is, in the first instance, the playing out of the eternal, universal I & Thou. That is simply, then, the dialectic of empathy or love. The holy ghost is the holy spirit. It is the prime mover: Eros & Cupid. It has a thousand masks, but it is finally of one substance. It is the one legal tender in all cosmic intercourse.
Why then is D not an archetype? If it were, there could be none other. Love is jealous. It brooks no rival.
If meaning is reducible or analyzable, it is, at least, reducible to words. Are words reducible? I believe that it was the logical positivists, who, back in the 1920's, claimed they could reduce all meanings to 'sense data'. To some people back then, the idea sounded half-way plausible. Unfortunately, when put into practice, no one could manage even a single reduction. But, no, I believe the situation was worse than that: the logical positivists were never able to produce even a workable definition of 'sense data'. That hope of the Positivists represented the high water mark of materialism and analysis. The Artificial Intelligencers are the last bastion of 'Positivism', but they are no longer willing to engage in philosophical discussion. Daniel Dennett is their most articulate spokesperson, and even he admits that his essays are polemical and evangelical rather than philosophical.
Could any atomic theory of meaning make sense? What would be the minimum number of atoms required to produce a reasonable combinatorics of meaning? A very conservative estimate might be a hundred or so. What then are we to make of those hundred irreducible meanings? From whence did they come? Should they not have universal significance, as is alleged for the elements of math and logic? They could be likened to a finite set of prime numbers, for instance. The ontogeny of the atoms of meaning would present a metaphysical problem of the highest degree, but let us set that aside and look at another problem.
Given our hypothetical atoms of meaning, we still have the problem of context dependency. Even if the atoms themselves were context independent, this would be no guarantee that the 'molecules' of meaning would also be independent. At some level we will have to confront the Text. But can a text have a meaning, per se, given our assumption of atomicity? Texts should be epiphenomenal. The text serves no mental function beyond that of its constituent atoms. Does this make sense?
A text is a string of words. The sequence of the words will surely influence the meaning of the text. Where then is the meaning if not in the sequence? Different sequences of words signify different things. Consider the genetic sequences of DNA molecules. One sequence produces a chimp, another, slightly different one, produces a champ. Our reductionist will then argue that chimpness and champhood have no significance beyond that of their constituent atoms. But that is missing the point about the function of the DNA. A random sequence of DNA will produce nothing at all. This is nonsense DNA. Even the village reductionist cannot claim that nothing is the same as something.
What I am aiming at here is the so-called 'frame problem'. DNA remains functionless or inert without a proper biological context or frame. The same is true of language. Language requires native speakers. Native speakers require a culture. The psychological or social function of a given text will depend on the culture in which it is used. The problems of translation can be enormous, and there can be no such thing as an exact translation.
No theoretical limits may be placed on the possible scope of the frame. The more you know about the world, the more meaning you may be able to glean from or read into a text. There is no reason that an astute reader cannot perceive social subtleties unintended by the author. Authors are serving as cultural mediums as well as creators.
Textual considerations demonstrate that subtle shifts in meaning are endemic to any text. If that is true, our hypothetical atomic theory of meaning is simply not tenable. Whatever the ontology of meaning, it is not atomic. The only alternative is something organic. Now we begin to see why we have been so reluctant to give up on reductionism, despite its excruciating shortcomings. The devil we know is better than the one we don't. Better to have no meaning than organic meaning.
This is just what I warned you about: an 'all or nothing' problem with meaning. But there is lurking here a much bigger problem: the all or nothing problem of organicism.
It appears that semantics, among all our fields of knowledge, is the one most obviously susceptible to an organic interpretation. It is the Achilles heel of epistemology relative to organicism. But once that organism gets its foot in the semantic door, how will we keep it out of all the other doors? Reductionism is looking more attractive all the time. Well, lots of luck to us! I have spoken of the crumbling of the foundations of the fortress of materialism, but perhaps that is the wrong analogy. Perhaps those foundations are being eaten away. It was bad enough when we discovered ourselves to be space-farers stranded on a desert island. What will we do if our little island begins to twitch?
But, wait, we are only talking about epistemology, right? So what if our brains are organic? What else is new? Well, sorry, it's not quite that simple. A major tenet of reductionism was just the epistemic/ontic divide. Without its reductionist support, that divide becomes ever so tenuous.
If semantics is organic rather than syntactic or analytic, then our erstwhile computer will not be able to compute it. Something substantial will have to be added to the machine. That something must itself be organic. Now we are talking about the ontology of the computer. The distinction between natural and artificial intelligence is then an ontic distinction. There is no longer a need or motivation to distinguish between the ontic and epistemic aspects of the organism that must exist as the ground of being. At best, this organism would have various microcosmic aspects.
We have long suspected that there was something more to life and mind than atoms swerving in the dark. This suspicion is the basis of our vitalistic, anti-reductive musings over the centuries. That vital something is finally coming home to us. Not, in the end, because we were out searching for it, but rather because we simply had to give up the constant battle of trying to avoid and ignore it.
What then is this subtle thing that has been living with us, presumably since day one? From whence did it come? But are we not thereby asking, from whence do we come? Where is Darwin when we need him? Can't we just say that this organic quality evolved along with life itself?
The point is that Darwinian evolution is just genetic evolution. Clearly we cannot ascribe genes to organicism. By definition it is something extra-genetic. It would then, in fact, be a precondition for evolution. The biggest puzzle of evolution is just the origin of the cellular-genetic processes. This has been considered a prime motivation for vitalism. Whatever this vital potency is, if it is anything at all, it is the source of life and mind.
We have, at the least, an eternal vital potency that is both biological and mental in scope. This sounds like our hypothesized Matrix. It ought to, because that is just what the Matrix was supposed to be. But what then of the dialectic and the archetypes? Here is where the metaphysics begins to get interesting.
Did all of this potency sit idly by just waiting on the off-chance of a Big Bang so that it could then begin to impregnate the otherwise inert matter? But is there not a blatant Cartesian bias to this question? Why posit this dichotomy in juxtaposition to that which is inherently organic? If anything is likely to be all or nothing, would that not especially apply to organicism itself. What is the sense of a cosmos that is half organic?
The Big Bang is the epitome of something inorganic. It is certainly the contingency to end all contingencies. The organically potent Matrix is the mother of all teleologies. If ever there were oil and water, this has got to be it.
This is the big metaphysical crunch. We have been trying to make sense of Cartesian dualism for over three centuries, and look where it has gotten us? Mainly it has brought us to this dead end of materialism. If we wish to move forward, nay, start thinking again, we will have to choose the other branch of that fork. Immaterialism, here we come. You are welcome to keep your head stuck in the materialists' sand box. That is just the 'slumber of materialism'. Otherwise, let's wake up and smell the organic cosmic coffee. Yes, to wake up, that is my final 'all or nothing' offer. Refuse it if you can!
So there we are. We have our immaterial organic potency, our Matrix. Then what? Perhaps now there must logically come the single biggest step in our gestalt switch. We must begin to focus fully on the Matrix. We have to put dualism behind us. We cannot do that without bracketing space, time and matter, and unless you completely missed out on modernism, it would be impossible to imagine a more severe blow to our metaphysical orientation. Are we not simply turning our backs on three centuries of science? Yes and no.
There are several ways to proceed at this point. Several major issues present themselves. But, perhaps, first I need to back up a step. We could use more justification and preparation for the big leap. A bit later I will be attempting to justify the move from Matrix to Creatrix. I don't think this will be terribly difficult, so permit me please to bring on that big gun. Heck, let's go all the way and just postulate an omnipotent creator wishing to create the best possible world, and assume further that we can reason effectively about what might be the basic form of the BPW.
The simple point I then wish to make is that the BPW would not be created by means of a Big Bang. The Big Bang has features that would eliminate it as a candidate for the best possible creation. However, and here is the real twist, those same features, along with some others, make the Big Bang a prime candidate for the best possible phenomenological background for the BPW. With a little help from God, we can have our ontological BPW cake, along with the phenomenological icing of the 'Big Bang', and that this combination, if it were possible, would, indeed, be the best of all worlds.
With the Creatrix in the picture, we can remake the ontology without disturbing the phenomenology, giving us creatures the best deal possible. What is being offered to us is our 'dream' world, in both senses of the word. This is, finally, the very simple point I am trying to make: the obvious, and perhaps only, way to create a 'dream' world is to just dream it up, if possible. Like I say, metaphysics does not have to be 'rocket science'.
So here is our problem now: what would our 'dream' world, i.e. our BPW, be; and would it not be possible, or perhaps even preferable, to create this world by means of dream power?
Consider the last part of the question first. If we wish to entertain the notion of co-creation and of a 'participatory universe', then using 'dream power' is virtually obligatory. Here is another way to look at it. Materialism tells us that we live in a dumb universe. It came about, more or less, as the result of an accidental collision of dumb atoms. Of course, if there are enough of these dumb universes being created all the time, then every once in while there might be one with the appearance of a masterpiece, like the proverbial monkey typing a Shakespearian sonnet. If God were lazy, you would think she would use the 'monkey method' of creation.
OK, here is the big secret, and don't tell anyone I told you: God IS lazy, but she is smart lazy. Instead of using just the monkey method, she also uses the people method of creation. Remember, we are the smart monkeys.
Evidently, consumers are willing, these days, to pay more for a 'smart house' than for a dumb house. God is just a little ahead of this curve. She figured she would go ahead and create a smart universe. However, to cut down on the costs and the work load, rather than relying on just one central processing unit, i.e. herself, she would use the very latest in computer technology, i.e. distributed/parallel processing, but she calls it 'creature power'.
If bootstrapping is illegal, then that is too bad, but if not, then it would be pretty dumb for the Creatrix not to exploit it in Creation. That we creatures would be the primary participants in any such bootstrap, ought to be a given. But if this were the case, why aren't we aware of it? Well, I believe it was Freud who first pointed out that there must be a great deal more going on under our bonnets than we could ever know. Bootstrapping could well be one of those things. But then why have we been kept out of the loop on this? Maybe the Creatrix just wanted to surprise us. Surprise!
There are many skills we have which are performed better when we don't stop to think about how we do them. This is probably one of those. However, to live is to learn. To fully realize our function of co-creation, we will need, eventually, to give it our full attention, but this is a tricky business. Think of the poor fellow who goes sleep walking out on the window ledge. You're gonna have to wake the guy up, but you had better do it very carefully. This pretty much explains the surprisingly (for many) subdued orchestration of the X2-event. If Gabriel blows his horn too loudly, we might just fall off of our cosmic perch. So, is my horn-blowing not loud enough? Call 1-800-GET-THE-WAX-OUT!
But why didn't the Creatrix even bother to give me the time of day? It's all part of the Prime Directive. If you disagree, then prove that it isn't.
Yes, we are all part of the big Dream Machine in the sky. The universe is just our folie a 10^10. It must be a heck of job keeping 10^10 sleeping musicians on score. How does she ever manage? Hmmmm, let me get back to you on that one. But if you think it's difficult now, just wait 'til they start waking up!
I think I'm supposed to explain how the dream machine works. This is embarrassing because I don't know. My job is to speculate, to make educated guesses. So here we go.
There are two things that need to be explained: substance and space. If this is a dream that we are having, how does it manage to seem so substantial, so consistent, so realistic, so participatory? We pretty much all agree on the nature of the phenomenon. What is up for grabs is the noumenon. The materialist says it is matter, the immaterialist says it is spirit that is supporting the phenomenal world. The dualist says that it is both.
What is substance? This is a trick question. No, the answer is the trick. Here is the issue: is substance something that is present or absent? The materialist claims that substance is present. I suggest it is absent. The materialist claims that substance is just what is present(ed) to the senses. No, I say. Substance is present to our 'memory', or more specifically to our collective unconscious. The infant has no conception of substance. The mother's breast may be the first experience or conception of substance.
The concept of substance is tied up in our memories, habits and concept of time. It is something logically derivative, it is not yet immediate. But then is substance in the past or the future? The materialist would say that substance is mainly in the past, I say future. Substance is that to which we awake. Substance now is a shadow of that telic substance.
I fall back in to poesy? No, I fall forward. The ultimate, teleological consistency, substantiality of the world is just poetic. Our collective, telic unconscious is what drives the world forward. That falling is normally just the task of the poet and musician. Here you see me attempting to routinize, systematize the poetic charism.
The materialist has, in fact, lost contact with substance. Matter and substance are no longer to be found in the texts of physics. What has replaced them? Quite candidly, it is the Monster Group. A Platonic conception of mathematics is the closest that physicists can now come to our traditional concept of substance.
These few words may serve just to temporarily bracket the problem of matter and substance. In the meantime we turn to space. Matter is nothing without space. Space is just an organized nothing. Organized by what? By matter? Do we not then have a vicious, or is it a logically vacuous, circle?
A time slice of the phenomenal world is presented to us optically in three dimensions. To explain its optical properties, physicists perform ray tracing; that is, they trace the rectilinear paths of photons. Well, if we can have substance without atoms, can we have vision without photons? And which will be more difficult to rationalize?
Space may be the greatest obstacle to immaterialism. The reason is not because of the coherence of space, but precisely because of its incoherence. Space is substantial because we cannot manipulate it. We cannot manipulate it because we cannot understand it. We cannot understand it because of its logical vacuity. Am I making myself clear? Space is logically vacuous because it is alleged to be elemental. Einstein's General Theory of relativity went some ways toward reducing the substantiality of space by reducing its elementality, by increasing its relationality.
Permit me to back up a step and try a different approach to the problem of space. Let us start with meaning and vision. Meaning derives from narrative which entails a temporal sequence of causes and effects. Vision entails a two-dimensional visual field. Meaning and vision then require at least a two-dimensional dynamics and perhaps even a rudimentary physics. But would this tell us anything about how space comes about?
My thought is that in a teleological system there is no clear distinction between why and how. This is an issue that we now take up.
In a dream environment, the only limit on intent should be logical and narrational consistency. Any further limitations would have to do with optimizing and coordinating that environment. Virtually all dreams have a strong visual content. However, the psychodynamics that we label as zodiacal would be one of the most primitive of dream sequences. Cycles would predominate. Direct perception of essences could predominate over any visual content. Nothing spatial or celestial is entailed in the first instance.
The trick that we seem to accomplish is to have both direct and indirect perception without undue interference. What is the advantage of this? What does spatial or representational perception buy us over direct perception? I would guess that spatial configurations provide combinatorial diversity, not otherwise possible. Without spatial relations and the perception of those distinctions, Leibniz' Identity of Indistinguishables would severely limit our possibilities.
If in the process of Creation it is deemed desirable to partition the cosmic self into some 10^10 entities, then spatial relations become a bare necessity. Thus do we magnify the creative possibilities with minimal interference or contrivance.
What we get with spatial relations is a parallel processing relative to the cosmic narrative. At least we have a loom in time rather than just a single strand. If our two-and-half dimensional mundane existence is good, why not go for more dimensions? Somewhere I heard it argued that four dimensional topology presented some possibly insurmountable metabolic problems (e.g. difficulty of containment?). 3-D may be biologically optimal. Someone should look into that.
Where there's a will, there's a way. Let us not underestimate the cosmic will. But what exactly is the way to space? How does the Matrix see her way into space? The endlessly cyclical zodiacal narrative may just bore her to death. She lets her potent imagination get off on the combinatorial possibilities, and voila! The metabolic cycles pick up on Z, and kick into action. Evidently, space is eminently imaginable and dreamable.
Space and time are a major source of possibility. Matricial potency is ramified thereby. Without time, there is no narrational drama, merely aesthetics. Even the notion of sequence fails without any dimension. Could there be non-dimensional patterns? Cosmos is akin to ornament in Greek. Dimensional arbitrariness seems essential to the ornamental essence. Dimensionality would also be essential to freedom. It is hard to imagine a creation without the allowance of this aesthetic freedom, despite or because of the exigencies of the BPW hypothesis. At this low level of understanding it is not even possible to determine if spatial relations should be deemed internal or external. Temporal relations would be most likely to be internal. We suspect that the answer to this and many other questions will be determined by considering how to enhance the creative bootstrap process. Its space-time structure also enhances the participatory nature of Creation. Aesthetic freedom is readily passed on to the creatures of such a manifold.
Each creature is ensured its own spatial sensorium. The greater problem may be to keep all the sensoria in alignment, without resorting to the physical objectivity of a single manifold. It may be that the zodiac plays a role in the alignment. The global nature of the celestial phenomenon makes it an ideal synchronizing agent. The global megalithic culture was very much attuned to this phenomenon, in what appears to have been a closely coordinated fashion. Materialists use matter to align the sensoria; we use the sky. It is ironic that the material atoms must then be 'aligned' by the sensings of the creatures, according to quantum theory, at least.
Our problem is to explain the 'heavenly' translation of the zodiac from cosmic psyche to starry sky. It is not entirely unanticipated that the collective psyche should find itself projected upon the heavens. Students of the mythos have noted the universality of the translation between sky and spirit. Each of the archetypes has its work cut out for it, but it must also flow along with the phenomenon that it is organizing. The more that the organizing intelligence can be distributed, the more plausible is the model; the more natural will it appear. The zodiac may turn out to be the hardest working of the archetypes. It will require some attention. When it comes down to displacing matter, the zodiac may have to carry most of the water, Aquarian style. It would be helpful if the task could be subdivided, but that may not be possible.
Materialists appeal to the alleged objectivity of the atoms to explain the objectivity of the world. Objectivity projects upward in scale. The higher level forms and patterns are more subjective, lacking as they are in any essential identity.
For immaterialists the objectivity of the world projects downward. This downward projection is facilitated by the microcosmic identity of the creatures. We could also call this the zoocosm. It here that the zodiac comes into play. The zodiac is the original pantheon emanating from the Matrix. It exists originally in ouroboric fashion, being the primordial psychic cycle. The christos element comes to dominate this cycle, partly by preempting, in alpha-omega fashion, the narrative that generates all meaning and history. The christos becomes the organizing principle of the zodiac.
But then we have the ouroboric zodiac projected downward to the gaian zoocosm and outward to ouranos in a prototypical earth-sky duality. Actually the zodiac becomes a quaternity: earth & sky, alpha & omega. I certainly see a reflection here of the traditional four elements of earth, air, fire and water. This identification is underscored by the tradition that identifies the beginning of the world in water and its ending in fire. Like I say, the zodiac will have to work overtime. We do need a rationalization of this subdivision. In this scheme the quintessence is then the christos.
The zodiac starts out as a (dialectical) mind game of the matrix. It then projects itself out to cosmic proportions in a process of continuing symmetry breaking. This sequence is even reminiscent of the big bang. Here is the present sequence: M -> M, D, Z -> A, O, (X), Earth, Sky -> AZ'O/X/QRP. This is still a very sketchy sequence, but it is better than nothing. Keep in mind that this is much more of a logical sequence than a temporal sequence. The linear time dimension grows out of the A/O asymmetry. The time frame for the zodiacal precession of the equinoxes (25,000 yr, see Hamlet's Mill for the mythic origins) is of the same order as that of the Creation. Also note the distinction now between the primal (psychic) and residual (celestial) zodiacs: Z/Z'.
Here's just a thought: the psychology of Z gradually develops into an ecology. The psychic cycle is replaced by a reproductive and predator-prey cycle. What are the 'evolutionary' steps in this process? The reproductive part will be the toughest to rationalize, that is why there is an archetype just for this.
In the attempt to rationalize Creation, Z is turning out to be the key element. I had not originally anticipated that Z would portend the Earth/Sky duality, but that now seems to be the most natural way to proceed. It is noteworthy that this step has been anticipated by significant versions of the Mythos. For now, the Earthly side of the duality is my focus. The principle obstacle is the transition from Z to R. We'll know we're in Kansas when we can make this transformation. Reproduction or bust! This is the buckle of the bootstrap.
The metabolic/reproduction cycle, R, is the most 'materialistic' of the archetypes. This is our biggest hump, so to speak. The ouroboric symbol itself has a strongly metabolic connotation. (In this connection, note also the yin-yang symbol.) It is alimental as well as elemental, but I don't see how to incorporate that into a narrative.
With these caveats out of the way I can only give it my best shot. The reproductive cycle is a microcosm of our singular cosmic circuit, with the reversal of the head and tail that form our 'buckle'. Now the Telos or Omega becomes the head while the Alpha is the tail. The eschatological resurrection is the final cause of the Creation. Thereby the cosmos becomes self-consuming. The self-sacrificing God comes into her own, so to speak. There are no loose ends. The microcosmic seedlings are taken back up into the cosmos. As for the mechanics of this spiritual metabolism, I'm drawing a blank; but any good narrative ought to provide spiritual sustenance. Our microcosm would be incomplete if we did not act out and reenact the cosmic circuit. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in more ways than one. Neoteny anticipates evolution. Perhaps this is where the zoocosmic nature of the zodiac is more relevant than its more usual pantheonic, or purely anthropic interpretations. Can we thereby save our Darwinian appearances? Don't ya think? With this rationale we do not have to explain away some arbitrary first appearance of R. It is latent in the essence of almost everything, as is Creation itself.
So much for the Earth, how about the Sky?
Given a 3-dimensional space and a zoocosm, the benefits of differentiating between horizontal and vertical dimensions should not be difficult to either conceive or implement, nor would the idea of a spherical Earth. A remote, evenly distributed metabolic energy source should easily follow suit. The starry version of the zodiac then becomes almost an afterthought. Having done so much work already, the zodiac is seemingly relegated to its happy hunting ground, while helpfully providing chronometric orientation to any wayfaring species. It is, however, our fascination with the heavens that finally empowers us to conquer the atom, transforming the Earth into our terrarium along the way. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the starry zodiac empowers us to empower the atom.
The effort now is to see how the individual archetypes can emerge and function in bootstrap fashion. This should go a long way toward establishing the plausibility of the BPW. In this instance, atomic physics is brought about by the refocusing of Z after its branching out. The atom is the ultimate microcosmic reflection of Z. It sits at the confluence of Q, R & P. Q and P have yet to be brought back into this narrative. Originally in these pages the Sun and Atom were both primary archetypes, but later they were given a derivative status.
I submit that Pi 'dropped' out of the sky. This is not hard to explain historically. Q is another matter. It is Q that gives Pi its mundane purchase. Q is the tricky one. It may be allied with R and is the manifestation of panpsychism. It has a bootstrap quality that may be related to the ouroboric Z. Q, along with R, is the buckle of the cosmic bootstrap. The plethora of metabolic cycles are the primary instruments of quantum measurement. Animal consciousness might be viewed as simply an elaboration on this basic theme.
From the Anthropic perspective, Q is practically a no-brainer. It provides for the stability of the micro-world. It accounts for photosynthesis, vision and thermal radiation, among many other functions. But here again we are missing a narrative link to the other archetypes.
Quantum related symmetries provide for micro-level cloning. Thus its relation to R in providing the combinatorics allowed by spatial symmetry. It must also be involved in the organics of mathematics, as part of the anthropic loop implied thereby. In its relation to time it might possibly be sympathic with the A/O gap in the zodiacal circuit.
I am still trying to break the impasse over Q. Perhaps we can resort to the trinity (1, 2, etc), i.e. MDX or e^i*pi. The latter threesome suggest that Q should be identified with the imaginary unit and then, possibly, with the dialectic. None of these three (Q, i or D) make a solid archetype. Perhaps we can let Q represent the trio, among its more solid cousins. The combination (Q, i, D or Quid) might help us gain insight into each member. There is still the option of dropping Q from the seven primary archetypes. The Quid are bridging elements. They help provide for the relational character of the world, along with M. Such considerations ought to provide additional understanding of the function of the quantum.
Another facet of the Quid is projection. Quantum operators project probability functions into definite observable states. Such projection may underlie the emergence of Z from M. In this case there would be mutual observation and projection. In some fashion, a conscious specificity is wrested from the unconscious potentiality. A Quid for your thoughts.
The necessary mutuality of the primal emergence maintains a cosmic dialectical balance as seen in the yin-yang dynamic. However, the prophetic tradition does look forward to a constructive, teleological synthesis of Creator and Creation, Heaven and Earth.
Yes, there must be a teleological character to the Quid bootstrap. As it helps Z to emerge from M, so does it help R to emerge from the ouroboric structure of Z, and mainly from R we get the materiality of the world.
It is occurring to me just now that the Quid may also be responsible for the singularity of Creation. Consider Richard Feynman's quantum summation over histories formalism. In this case the sub-optimal paths destructively interfere leaving the one path of least action. This would be our BPW. It is the path of least resistance, given the primal Quid impulse. And there can only be one such BPW, just by Leibniz' Identity of Indiscernibles. Can we not play it again, Sam? Really there is no need. The Telos is just a universal Presence. Where there is no absence, there is nothing left to be repeated. It's all right there.
And now there is a bit of snow to be shoveled.
Evidently the Quid is involved in the symmetry breaking of M. In that role it is acting as the precursor of the Logos (1, 2, etc). But we also have the Johannine equation of X = L, thus we may have to append Quid as QuidX [but see below]. This is just to emphasize the relational nature of the archetypes, AZO/X/QRP, following from MDZ. QuidX is also involved in the A/O symmetry breaking of Z. In the BPW metanarrative it may be that the Logos has more to do with X2 than X1, but that is a technical detail. Both X and the third person, HG, serve as intermediaries between heaven and earth. This is another indication of the centrality of X.
Pi has also been related to the logos, symmetry breaking and X. This polyvalence of the archetypes is neither unexpected nor dysfunctional. This is how a relational world is supposed to work. It does not imply redundancy. Strictly speaking, M, D & Q are not archetypes. They are, however, essential to the bootstrap. Q also stands in for the atom. Perhaps the Logos as distinct from X should be given a formal status. Also note that X and Z are interchangeable in the trinity of MDX/Z. Z may emerge logically prior to X. X emerges as the self-organizer of Z, for the sake of Creation. Pi appears in the numerical trinity of e^i*pi, playing the role of the logos.
Four days ago I claimed it would be easy to see how Pi 'dropped' out of the sky, but I am not recalling the point of the allusion. OK, I believe that I was alluding to the chronometric power of the zodiac in particular and of the sky in general. It was astronomy on which we cut our mathematical teeth. The subsequent discovery of the e^i*pi trinity led the way to quantum physics and the taming of the atom. This was virtually the second incarnation of the logos as manifested in Pi. As such it would portend the X2-event that we are struggling to anticipate here.
The dialectic symmetry breaking of the zodiacal circle gives us the ouroboros and the ellipse. History is the result of the former, and I am tempted to say that anthropics is the result of the latter. That is less than obvious. Elliptic functions are the primary manifestation of the organicity of mathematics, which is a major factor in the anthropic telos via the physical symmetries of the Monster Group. Of course, there would be no history without anthropics, and vice-versa. Perhaps we are seeing the same breaking process from two different perspectives. There is just one dialectic operation, logos, zim-zum, syzygy, which would help to keep the panpsychism coordinated as in a psyche. The logos is always a dia-logos. Speaking of the zodiac, the number twelve figures prominently in the 'Monstrous Moonshine' that is part of the above organicity.
Symmetry breaking: I'm attempting to get a more coherent take on this topic. I'm also interested in this related statement. We have made some progress in deriving QRP from AZO, and AZO from M via D and L or symmetry breaking. D & L have to do with the mark of distinction. In physics, symmetry breaking is always spontaneous. Not so, here. Here it is always teleological, which is also true of D & L. T(elos) is self-realizing. Perhaps T & L are about the same, now that I think about it. DLT is another trio. These are three aspects of the self. Our non-spontaneous SyBr makes this trio a foursome: DLTS. Then we have the Syzygys to worry about. To what may they be ascribed? Here is some previous speculation.
The mother of all syzygys is the total solar eclipse. This is the most impressive of all celestial phenomena. It has certainly shaped human culture. Its related numerical coincidences were at the core of our ancient mathematical gnosis. There is a gender specificity on several levels of the phenomenon, providing an added semantic charge. The lunar shadow constituted a veritable stairway to heaven. Outside of anthropics, it is one of the strongest pieces of evidence against the accidental nature of the world. It is a calling card of the Creator.
The next most prominent syzygy is e^i*pi = -1. This has a 3+1 structure similar to that of the eclipse and of the trinity, MDX, when we include ourselves as the targeted element. Otherwise we have various types of coincidences, synchronicities and synergies to consider. Coincidences may be accidental or not. If not, they indicate an observer oriented and participatory bias in the structure of the world and the events that comprise it. In some cases we confront a possible non-causal semantic linkage between events. This could be the manifestation of an organic or holographic metaphysic. Such a structure is presumed in the postulation of a primordial Matrix, which in turn is a presupposition of immaterialism and the BPW hypothesis. In other words, the coincidences are the residue of the symmetry that preceded the dialectical breaking of it, and are the portent of a Telic synthesis. They both shadow and foreshadow the soon to be completed dialectical process that we call Creation/Resurrection.
The upshot is that we must add the syzygy/synergy to DLTS combination: now DLTSS. This is the third or middle element of our MDX or MDZ trinity. It is the engine of creation. But could this be other than the force or potency of love? Cosmic love + $3.75 will get you the proverbial cup of coffee in Times Square. Then what? The fact that we often identify X with O, T & L keeps our archetypal pot well stirred.
The logos operates as a symmetry breaker, very often; while the telos, as the omega, is the mother of synchronicities. Then recall that the dialectic, as a participatory dia-logos, combines L & T, sym/brk & synthesis, thus we may simplify DLTSS as D^3. Recall that this same dia-logos may have the empathic quality of love, or, at least, agape, to restate yesterday's result. As we identify O and T, we may also identify the Alpha with the logos, and then, following John, the christos with both pairs, and, so with the dia-logos [see below]. X then would be self-generating wrt M. This would make both Z & X primordial, one circular, the other lineal, with the ratio of pi. The cycle is something quite natural. The line is less so. Their ratio is also the logos, dividing the cycle. Distorting the cycle is the function of the dia-logos, producing the ellipse. This act puts us on the anthropic track via the Monster Group. Recall the Quid. It completes the microcosmic bootstrap. Its projective quality places it in the lineal column. It is the panpsychic version of the logos. The microcosm is the atom and the psyche, the two being logically related. Does this mean there cannot be an immaterial psyche? Both X & Z must live off of borrowed time. That need not render them mortal, but it does render time as virtual. Lineal history is not optional in the big scheme. The circuit collapses without a dia-meter. (I think of the virtual 'tadpole' Feynman dia-gram, remind me. The photon is lineal, like time but without time, while the electron/positron pair is excursive.) I'm hoping we are on the verge of completing the outline of the metanarrative. There are still some missing links, but the general form is taking shape. The cosmos is often depicted as a doubly or axially connected sphere. Shades of hollow earth! [This structure will have to be related to that of the ouroboros.] In e^i*pi, the imaginary iota serves as the dialogic element. Along with the logos or pi, it tames the ex-potential matrix. In math, the iota serves both an analytic and synthetic function.
The possibility that Z & X are coeval is a new thought for me. It would be a major factor of the metanarrative. It might help to explain the coevalilty of East & West. Factored into the equation may be a 'stealth' aspect associated with X, going back to the notion of the self-concealment of the less natural one of this pair. The mystical tradition is naturally diffuse, while the prophetic side is focused around a lineal succession, which is also the central story line of the narrative. We return to the problem of prophetic stinginess.
We see in the history of polytheism the example of the circle collapsing without a structural diameter. This collapse is instructive mainly in its naturalness. The dia-meter comes about as an alignment of the dia-logos. The axial alignment of the dia-logos results in the polar structure referred to yesterday. It may also be viewed as the head/tail symmetry breaking in the context of the ouroboros.
The ouroboros is obviously a case of dog eat dog, or god eat god to be more precise. There is much confusion about the nature of the sacrificial incarnation within the prophetic tradition, particularly between the orthodox and gnostic views. Many lives went up in smoke as a result. It all comes down to who ate whose lunch. In fact, the son ate the dad's lunch, despite the immediate appearance. Two of the pantheonic Z had to work out this deal, rather ignoring the rest, although there could have been a general conspiracy, the mother of all such. [2/4 - Please recall the juxtaposition of X/Y. Contra John, we may have to identify Yahweh with the logos. If anything, the christos would have just the last word, which is love. Yahweh is the mono-logos, Jesus is the dia-logos. Y disrupts the Z circuit in favor of X.] This is certainly a case of the telos wagging the dog. The rest of the pantheon may readily be excused for ignoring this shenanigans. It would all work out in the end. But this does seem to make X the derivative of Z. Is there a less biased way of spinning this yarn?
There may have always been a favored son of a matrix, as the partner of a primal dia-logos, but I'm not seeing the necessity. Does it have to be a single-self matrix? Can we invoke Leibniz' I/I? There must be a mythos relative to this problem.
Most of what I said yesterday was unnecessary. The simple fact is that the matrix is nothing if not the mother of creation. The genius of creation is simply its optimizing, teleological agent. This is not the patriarchal Creator of our fathers. That is the source all our confusion. It is our telos/christos that wags that old dog, and us. The telos necessarily operates though us creatures in participatory style. The participation is logically realized in an eschatological resurrection. This is just the bootstrap model of creation. The X1-event was an attempt to explain the bootstrap to a somewhat inept audience. It was never intended to be the final explanation. It was mainly a pump priming exercise: the first fruit of the resurrection, and all that. The final explanation is left for X2. That the messianic kingdom was within us, this message did register, in no uncertain terms, but it registered mainly at the emotion level. All we do now is rationalize that message. That is our X2.
The pantheists picked up on the notion of the God within. This idea was also the mother of all gnostic 'heresy'. Why have we been so slow to demystify that simple concept? Concealment and revelation are just as participatory as the rest of the world. It is only we who have concealed ourselves from ourselves. Our learning curve has been slow, and not always steady. We do, however, necessarily reach a threshold of readiness, when everything goes public. The social dynamics will not be unlike the first time, but the communication factor is several orders of magnitude greater. This is on account of the technology, but that is only the lesser part of it. The greater part is the intellectual content and our greater ability now to absorb it. Our training in scientific thinking over the last few centuries has much to do with our present state of preparation. All we have to do is turn that analytic obsession on its head, and that will be our synthesis. It may be easier said than done, but not by a whole lot. This time around, it will be all or nothing: no child left behind.
But is this X2 event not supposed to be of a minimalist sort? Is the prospective socio-political drama either necessary or desirable? In the first instance, I would say that it is technologically unavoidable, just from a communication perspective. It has to be an all or nothing event. But then won't there be disruptive consequences? The idea here is to minimize these disruptions by emphasizing the rational aspect of this new gnosis. This time around, the head will be leading the heart. The heart will catch up soon enough, but not so soon as to aggravate any disruption. Provided that the disruptions can be minimized, then any good story will benefit from its dramatic episodes. The metanarrative should be no exception. We are destined to live in interesting times.
Each time we go around the horn, there do seem to be fewer loose ends. Yes, for every answer, there are ten new questions, but these questions may be seen as subsidiary. The larger pattern becomes more solid. This is not to say there can be no more quakes in this cosmic scheme, but hopefully the scheme is sufficiently robust to withstand the damage.
What concerns me now is nothing less intractable than the genesis of genesis, or, in particular, the genesis of the logos. Down here it arrives with Abraham via Yahweh. In the BPW scheme, the logos serves as Alpha or the anchor of Creation.
I am taking the zodiacal pantheonic circuit, Z, as mainly internal to the matrix, and not involving the logos initially. The logos is the symmetry breaker of Z, occurring as either Y/X or A/O. Creation is acting as an appendage to the matrix, as if that were possible.
The radial symmetry of Z may be broken in elliptic fashion. This would be less disruptive than a circumferential break, and corresponds to the 'hollow earth' model. The logos then evolves via the syzygys of Pi. Admittedly, it is a long way from Pi to the Ten Commandments, but it is not inconceivable. A related issue is the origin of the Dialectic associated more with the christos. With ellipsis, the logos and dia-logos would come in tandem. Somewhere along the line we also have to come up with atom/Adam, speaking of anchors.
Previously we have spoken of Quid as being instrumental here, as the precursor of the logos, along with e^i*pi. But I have to ask if there can be a logos without a self. I'm thinking that the primal Z precedes the self, which is more associated with X. Nor may Pi precede the self. However, is not the dia-logos coeval with X, even to the point of being subsumed thereby? The primordial I/Thou is X/M. This is also the dia-logos which then entrains the Y out of the Z. Yes, the X does have to also belong to the Z. The primal trinity of MDX, is also a triangle of MXY.
Where then do we place the Quid? This will be associated with atom/Adam. The ouroboric Z and R are instrumental. Adam is the material guy. The Zoocosm, Z, converges on Adam, along with the metabolic atom. The Z becomes stretched out into human and natural history, as logically distinct and parallel elements within a single ecological/metabolic context. It is paleontology that is distinguished from archeology.
I would observe that if the ouroboric cycle is broken and stretched out it becomes a gestational cycle. The phylogenic version of the zodiac could then be applied to an ontogenetic cycle. As this is happening, other metabolic systems are entrained in coherent fashion. Ontogeny is a microcosm of cosmogony. What else would we expect? In cosmogony the logos plays the role of the DNA, yielding mathematical physics, for example. Admittedly it is not easy to conceive the transitional stages. Logical continuity in the 'evolution' of the archetypes is a big step toward naturalizing Creation, at least in the sense of rendering it coherent. That is also to make it plausible.
A natural impulse that is not helpful here is our impulse to inquire after the first instance of something, by way of explanation. This makes sense only when dealing with what Aristotle called 'efficient' causes. Only in such a regime does the origin explain the succession, as with the Big Bang or with the six days of Creation. The regime of the BPW is fundamentally teleological: it is the end that accounts for the means. In this case, 'end' is to be taken in its most general sense, not just as 'ending', although the eschaton may be expected to carry much of the teleological burden. The term Telos is meant to indicate the general sense of 'end'. I am suggesting that atoms and babies can sneak up on us unannounced. Their presence is felt well beyond the confines of history. They are integral to the dia-logos. We see this in the parturition of X. This is both an efficient and final process. Much of atomism is inherent in many fundamental phenomenologies. Genetic coding and photosynthesis are among the most basic of these.
It is eminently logical that a combinatorial diversity in the macrocosm should be supported by a cellular and molecular combinatorics. The habituation of biological cycles will serve to fix the molecular cycles. Biochemistry and biophysics, more or less as we know them, is the only possible outcome. The habituation process should be seen a logical rather than temporal. Linear time is just the result of breaking the cyclical symmetry. Time is the result of breaking the cycle habit.
Atoms are simply the logical accretion of our 'circuitous' memory. Memory is not in the atoms, atoms are in the memory. And memory is simply the temporal asymmetry of a coherence emanating from the Telos. This teleo-logic, organic though it is, also has a combinatoric support that we recognize as mathematical logic. The dialectic regime of the Quantum is the nexus of these two atomisms. In the terminology of the archetypes we might say that R & P -> Q. The coherence of Q is ultimately derived only from T/O. There is no logical way to get from Q back to T. The hoped for reversal of this sequence, as held by the logical positivists, has been as thoroughly discounted and discredited as any philosophical thesis ever has been. It is only the heavily fortified wall of Darwinism that is holding back the inevitable rising tide of a demand for coherence. Here you see the first trickle of coherence to breach that wall. The materialist establishment may only watch in silence as the trickle continues. Any response whatsoever will only abet the flow and hasten the deluge.
Individual memory is derivative of the atemporal cosmic mind or memory, which is not distinct from the immaterial cosmos itself. Atomism, as far as it goes, is just the logical result of analyzing that memory. Atoms cannot be more solid or stable than the logic of the coherence from which their quantum processes are extracted.
Let me hasten to point out that there is another aspect of the all or nothing game. This has to do with existence. For the immaterialist, existence is entirely relational, but for the materialist it is all or nothing. I would like to show that the latter position is incoherent. It should not be difficult.
For the materialist, existence must be clear cut, but, unfortunately, existence has been and remains notoriously abstruse. The fall-back position for the materialists is just to say that they will accept as gospel whatever happens to be the current ontological fashion within the physics community. The unacceptability of such an ad hoc metaphysical stance is widely remarked and acknowledged, even amongst the materialists. They apologize and ask the forbearance of their philosophical colleagues. The simple fact is that physics and metaphysics are concerned with very different issues. The ultimate responsibility of physicists is just to be pragmatic about their subject matter. Their ultimate metaphysics can only ever be that of pragmatism. The next simple fact is that pragmatism and materialism have a vanishingly small ontological overlap. My case is closed.
But just for the nonce, let us posit the existence of ideal [sic] atoms. The ideal atom would have an entirely independent existence. I maintain that this is incoherent. Said atoms would have to be indestructible in all eternity. More significantly, such entities would be incapable of internal relations. Their only relations could be accidental or spatio-temporal. Such a metaphysic could not support anything resembling chemistry. What could be the ontology of water, for instance? In fact, for our pragmatic scientist, the ontology of a molecule is not distinct from that of an atom; nor, even, is that of a pancreas. There can ever only be differences of degree for any sort of pragmatist. The ultimate ground of existence can ever only be phenomenological.
I maintain that chemistry is possible only in a relational world. No semblance of a molecule could exist without the presence of 'exchange' forces. The exchange force operates only because the different types of atoms share essential mathematical symmetries. These symmetries are only indirectly related to the external shape of a given atom. These internal symmetries are manifested only in the interaction between atoms. The symmetries are of no account other than in such a relational context. These forces are one aspect of the widely touted 'non-local' nature of quantum phenomena. The materialists do not deny chemistry, but they do deny that such purely relational essences exist outside of the quantum-chemical realm. In contrast, I maintain that quantum chemistry is just the tip of the relational iceberg that is our world. The essential properties of the pancreas are just as irreducible as are the molecular properties of water.
Just the fact that atoms are essentially relational does not make them the stuff of dreams, but it is a big step in that direction. What steps remain? There remains to reconsider the entire notion of independent existence. I maintain that the whole idea is incoherent. Let us consider the independent existence of the stars, just from the viewpoint of an astronomer.
Every day another star blows itself (nearly) out of existence, and we are none the wiser. We could care less. What metaphysical conclusion might be drawn? This says very little about the ontology of the situation.
Here is some ontology. The universe exists in a single unified dynamical space-time manifold. That manifold is what imparts many of the relational and physical properties to its contents. All of those contents once occupied a region vastly smaller than the volume of a single atom. Every star has had a long and complex history. That any star can exist at all is entirely the result of a remarkable balance in an intricate array of forces shared by every particle in the universe. Virtually no stars can exist outside the very complex dynamical systems of galaxies. The vast majority of stars were born in cohorts out of the death throes of a class of giant predecessors. In short, celestial phenomena are less ecological than the biosphere of the Earth, but only by degree.
Let us then consider the independence of existence on the Earth. Consider a baseball. Your typical baseball finds itself stashed somewhere in a locker. What is its ontological status? The materialist would see it as a collection of atoms assembled so as to physically conform, more or less, to an historically derived cultural convention. Despite these facts, its properties are completely reducible to the entirely local properties of its constituent atoms or molecules. We immaterialists beg to differ.
I will cheerfully concede that all of the physical properties of the baseball may be properly explained by physics. The question is whether those properties are the only ones that are essential to the baseball. The only essential qualities for the materialist are just the molecular ones, all other properties may be properly reduced to those. The other relations are external or circumstantial. For the materialist, all questions of ontological import reduce to those of physics. All other questions are epistemological, at best. We have already had reason to question the status of the epistemic/ontic divide. Just for instance, is this division itself to be construed as epistemic or ontic? I next point to mathematics as an obvious counterexample to any unambiguous division. And then where does one draw the line between mathematics and physics?
My attack on the absolutist position concerning existence invokes the problem of identity. I question whether these problems may be properly distinguished. Without alluding to identity, the question of existence becomes abstract, hypothetical and counterfactual. Without reference to a particular individual, the question of existence is nearly vacuous. Identity and individuation can be made as objectively as one might wish, but only according to such a wish. Otherwise, identity erodes with more or less alacrity. Existence without strict identity is necessarily probabilistic.
To say that water exists is about as vacuous as any statement can be. Sure, water absolutely exists, but perhaps not in this universe. Well, thanks for the information! When we inquire as to existence, it almost exclusively concerns particular existence. But even if my concern was with water in general, we would have to agree on the semantic reference of 'water'. I dare say that too many books have been written on the identity of 'twater', i.e. something phenomenologically resembling water, but on a hypothetical 'twin earth'. Ontology cannot logically escape the strictures of epistemology.
Yes, we are all prone to the gut feeling that existence is an all or nothing, independent proposition. My baseball may or may not still exist, independent of almost everything else in the world, and especially independent of the state of my knowledge. It is an understandable feeling, it just doesn't happen to make sense. It does not stand up to scrutiny.
While on the subject of identity, let me point to another aspect of it. Identity is necessarily projective. Identity can only ever be reduced to the act of pointing, referral, or, ritually speaking, to a social act of 'baptism'. The foundation of all identity is in self identity. All identification points back to a particular set of selves. This is an obvious, but often overlooked fact of existence, or simply a very pragmatic fact of life. A materialist has no basis for positing existence of any kind without positing a particular self. If I am an illusion, then so may be my world and everything in it. Of course, I believe that I am, and that it is, but I may rationally entertain that belief only under the aegis of some greater and more real existence that is necessarily even more 'selfish' than myself, if you'll excuse the turn of phrase.
It does seem that God has not gone out of her way to make us feel like the co-creators of this world. However, if her powers are limited, then we don't have to ascribe malfeasance to her. It is hard for me and a lot of other people to understand why so many people so stubbornly cling to the notion of an omnipotent God, in the face of so much contrary evidence and argument. The fact is, however, in the minds of most believers and non-believers the notions of God and omnipotence are practically synonymous. This is surely the greatest obstacle to any form of rational theism. The irrationalists manage to control the premises of the debates about God.
Rational theism necessarily borrows much from pantheism, and must be considered almost as heretical. The metaphysics behind irrational theism is dualism. The Western mind has fallen very deeply into the trap of dualism. It seems that the theists have gladly granted the pantheists an exclusive franchise wrt monism. To our short list of ad hoc synonyms we must add theism and dualism along with pantheism and monism. This historical convention presents a considerable pedagogical barrier to rational theism.
There must be an historical explanation for the nearly ubiquitous juxtaposition of theism and dualism, but it is certainly not being touted. I suspect that the notions of dualism and omnipotence are mutually supportive, but this is not immediately obvious. Dualism is supportive mainly of deism rather than theism. Deism also has to be considered heretical, but apparently less so than pantheism.
What we may be facing here is a politically motivated metaphysic. Pantheism/monism is frankly subversive to almost any established order. Only the most stable of societies could afford to dabble in it. However, theism is subversive relative to deism, but even deism turned out to be conducive to the advent of the scientific revolution. Deism remained the herald of that movement for some time.
Gnosticism is the most common form of theistic monism, only its otherworldliness keeps it in check politically. That otherworldliness is a subdued or modified form of dualism. It is a moral rather than a metaphysical dualism. The constant threat of gnostic subversion has always tended to push established theism far into the deistic corner. Scientific materialism has been the primary beneficiary of this circumstance.
Pantheism is simply the decapitated version of monism. Without recourse to a higher authority, the would-be social reformer is severely handicapped. The caste system of India survived many centuries of Buddhist monism. The linkage between prophecy and social criticism, particularly of the puritanical variety, endemic to the West, was absent in the East. Concerted revolution in the East had to await the dialectical spin-off of scientific materialism. Meanwhile, the polytheistic Hinduism plods along seemingly oblivious to the rest of the world.
Be that as it may, we are stuck with dualism in the West. I am suggesting a this-worldly gnostic heresy to counter the dualism and deism that has become so entrenched in the modern world, not to mention the presence of downright materialism. There is what probably amounts to an unwitting conspiracy between scientific materialists and deists to maintain the present order and disorder of modernism. Postmodernism, pantheism and mysticism are hardly a threat to the established modern order. The deistic tendencies of fundamentalism are, for the most part, silently supportive of this order unless they happen to verge into activism and terrorism, which is atypical and ultimately controllable. Modernism long ago made its pact with dualism, to the point that they are virtually synonymous.
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