Being and Nuttiness: O, Where Does it End? (3.19.08)
Science has a lot of answers. But only to very narrow and specific questions. If you ask the wrong question, you get no answer at all, like, "Why are truth and beauty so intimately related?" Worse, some questions just generate paradox, like, "What was before the big bang?"
Various sciences abstract from the meaning of being as a whole, which is only possible because truth emanates from being, a truth which we may know. How is that possible? Science can never explain the existence of the truth-bearing scientist, any more than you can give birth to yourself.
Sciences develop very technical languages to convey this truth of Being--for example, the language of quantum mechanics or the hyper-sophisticated coding of the human genome. But again, these languages aren't Being itself. The map is not the territory. The human genome project is not alive, and you cannot make a cosmos out of mathematics.
Being just is. We can describe it any way we like, but our description can never exhaust the infinite ocean of Being. It perpetually flows into our little vessel of human knowing without being diminished one iota.
In my book, I use the symbol "O" to stand for the infinite and unknowable ground of ultimate reality that undergirds our existence. It can never be known. We can only "know about" it.
In fact, we can know many things about O, just as I can know many things about you. But I can never know you the way you know you in an unmediated way, from the inside. Only you can have this kind of "inside information" about yourself.
Thus, observational science proceeds in the direction of O--(k), while logico-deductive science proceeds in the direction of (k)-->O. (k) is the realm of everyday dualistic knowledge about O. This knowledge may be known objectively and passed like an object from mind to mind.
For example, the theory of natural selection is (k) about the ultimate unknowable mystery of the living O. It is not to be confused with O. For surely, O is alive, and yet, it is hardly a biological object.
The theory of natural selection can never, ever tell you how O evolved to the point that it could hypothesize and know a truth about itself, any more than musical notation can account for the existence of music.
Music is completely unperturbed by all efforts to capture and contain it. All the music that has been produced in the history of the world has not yet made a dent in it.
Music will continue to flow forever, just as will language. Language will never explain the ceaseless creativity language. It just flows and flows and flows, regardless of your theory or system. It is truly infinite, since it is one of the primary modes of O. "The Word" was with O from the beginning, and the beginning is always now.
Science must satisfy itself with (k), which is fine. Obviously, (k) has its place. Since most cultures revolve around (-k), I thank God that I live in a place that mostly honors (k). Any method of science is only correct to the extent that it submits to O and allows itself to be molded and determined by the object it is studying.
But for most of history--and in much of the contemporary world, in particular, the Islamic world--this direction is reversed, and reality is determined and molded by (k), which automatically makes it (-k). In the case of the Islamic world, it is overrun with (-n), which never touched O to begin with.
Worse yet, when (k) replaces O, one then lives in the parallel loooniverse of -O, which is where so much of contemporary leftist wackademia resides. Whenever you deny O, you will simply replace it with a -O.
In fact, you may even elevate yourself to O, as do so many secular fundamentalist fanatics. They do this in both trivial and profound ways, from dictating how the infinitely complex system of the economy should be governed, to making it against the law to discuss O in public schools.
We in the West suffer from the opposite problem that afflicts the (-k) Muslim world. Unfortunately, our culture does more than honor (k). Rather, it elevates it to the highest. The secular world tries to eradicate O and replace it with mere (k), which automatically places you in a counterfeit world at least one degree removed from reality.
Religions, properly understood, attempt to restore our primordial relationship with O. Fundamentally, they contemplate the holy and manifest mystery of Being by trying to enter it directly--not talk about it but from within it. And when they do talk about the mystery, it is not in the manner of (k)-->O (or at least it shouldn't be). Rather, the direction is reversed, and it is O-->(n).
(n) is not to be confused with (k). To take just one obvious example, it would be a grave error to reduce the words of Jesus to mere (k). Rather, Jesus spoke in almost pure (n). You will note that Jesus used no technical terms at all. Obviously, specialized (k) can be quite technical. Most of it is well over--or under---my head.
But (n) is often quite homespun and plain--even rustic--sounding. The Tao Te Ching, for example, contains no technical terms at all. Nor do the Upanishads or the Talmud. Nor, for that matter, did most of the great philosophers of history employ any technical language: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Schopenhauer. Only when (k) started to become confused with O did we see this great confusion in philosophy, a confusion that pervades the contemporary academic world.
In fact, sad to say, contemporary philosophy has detached itself entirely from O. It now consists of nothing more than (k) about (k), which, suffice it to say, is merely (-k) as it pertains to metaphysics, which is the science of the Real.
That is, if revelation represents O-->(n), metaphysics is nothing less than (n)-->O. The latter is not possible without the former. Without genuine O-->(n), metaphysics will just be an intellectual parlor game, as in the grotesque mystagoguery of a Heidegger. As it pertains to O, plain speaking is the mark of authenticity. Problems only arise when people confuse the plainness of religious language with mere (k).
Fundamentalism in any form--whether secular or religious--is the reduction of O to (k) or (-k).
The world of (k)-->O is a barren one that is unfit for humans. Being spontaneously gives itself to us, but in order to appreciate that, we must adopt an attitude of receiving. If we do not maintain this receptive attitude, the world cannot open up and give of itself from within--within to within, alone to alone (or Allone to a lone).
This is a love relationship. It is phil of sophia, a love-filled longing for the Real. Love opens up the world. Or rather, allows us to appreciate the Love, Truth, and Beauty that are just there. Why are they there? It is a mystery to be savored, not a riddle to be answered.
For as the Upanishads tell us, the universe is a tree, its roots aloft, its branches down below. And as Christianity teaches, it is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf.
I think I will start a new feature on the blog, that is, monitoring some of Petey's far-flung activities. He's all over the blogosphere, dropping little notes here and there. (Sometimes he has to do it under my name, because he doesn't have his own password.)
He wants me to call it "Petey's Corner," but I challenged him to come up with something better.
I notice that Petey left a pointed comment on Dr. Sanity's blog yesterday, regarding her suggestion that the Left declare itself a religion. He said,
"I like this idea, since liberals are halfway there. After all, they already make a god out of their irreligion. It would be just a small step to make a religion out of their godlessness.
"Of course, being a godless irreligion, liberalism has no god, only demons. Plenty of them, from Alar to Zionists.
"And the motto of the N.Y. Times would have to be, 'There is No God, and We are Her Mouthpiece'."
In fact, Petey also commented on the Muslim version of the Vagina Monologues. It's a very short play. Just one word: "HELLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!
Petey doesn't understand why the left is obsessed with collateral damage in the Muslim world, but couldn't give a hoot about the far more widespread clitoral damage.
Today, Dr. Sanity has a song parody of "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay," by Monty Python ("We're the Democrats and We're Okay). Petey had the effrontery to add a final verse of his own to the Maestro's offering:
I hug the trees, I wear high heels
Suspendies and a bra
I wish I'd been a girlie
Just like ex-Pres' Jimmah'
Of course, Petey does not intend to question the masculine sexual power of Hillary Clinton. For one thing, he agrees with Sharon Stone that it's way too threatening.