Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dreaming of Reality from the Dark Side of the Moon

Now that my colonasscapade is behind me, it's time for a little reflatulating on the experience. I noticed that as I was coming out of the anusthesia, my mind wanted to make as if nothing unusual had happened -- as if there had been no gap or "crack" in my consciousness. As I looked over my shoulder at the doctor, my first thought was that I had been conscious throughout the grossedure. My second thought was "what an odd way to make a living."

The next thing I remember is laying there in bed with my clothes on. Only later in the day did I wonder how and when I got dressed. But that didn't stop me from murmuring a mild protest to the nurse to the effect that there was no need to call the wife, and that I was fine to drive.

I guess it's very similar to the lacunae in our field of vision. Each of our eyes has a hole where the optic nerve connects to the eye, but our brains fill in the visual gap as if it's not there.

As I've mentioned before, all of us do the same things with our lives, creating a coherent and linear narrative out of the chaos and randomness. While there is coherence in our lives, often it is unconscious rather than conscious. We superimpose a "likely story" on the outward events, but the real coherence is coming from below -- or above, as the case may be. People often enter pyschotherapy when their conscious narrative is being disrupted by an unconscious one. St. Paul is an example of someone whose narrative was disrupted from above.

In fact, it's very disturbing and disorienting to have one's narrative disrupted in this way. It is one of the big reasons the left is so crazy. For decades, their's was the official narrative of reality, enforced from on high by the media, academia, and other elites, and they just can't handle the fact that other narratives exist. So they hysterically "confabulate" like a psychotic or brain-damaged person, imagining events and perceptions in order to paper over the gaps in their narrative.

In Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus asks, "What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?"

This brings us to the heart of the matter concerning the different forms of logic that govern the finite world of the horizontal and the infinite world of the vertical. Everyday Aristotelian logic is fine when applied to the horizontal, but if applied to the vertical, it will simply make a senseless and incoherent absurdity of it. Again, in the vertical world -- both the unconscious below and the "supra-conscious" above -- we are dealing not with irrationality but a sort of patterned transrationality, similar to the logic of dreams.

A purely scientific, materialistic, deterministic, and reductionist approach to the world will drain it of its vertical properties and create a sort of coherent but banal non-absurdity. Bonehead atheism is the quintessential example of this.

I am reminded of my first experience in psychoanalysis many years ago. I was laying on the couch and asked, "Am I making sense?" My cryptic analyst responded with words to the effect of, "Yes. Feel free to stop." You see, I wasn't really jumping into the uncharted world of the unconscious with both feet, but defending against it with a lot of surface rationalizations that made mere sense. Those familiar with the lingo of my book will understand that I was reducing O to (k) instead of allowing the evolution of O-->(k).

It is also possible to turn the world into an incoherent non-absurdity. This is what primitive cultures do, including most of the Mohammedan world. In other words, they create a world view that makes total sense to them and explains everything. Except that it is completely incoherent and actually explains nothing. It is a closed system that must repel any ideas that threaten it. Hence, their rejection of modernity and their consequent cultural Failure to Launch.

Finally, one can live in an incoherent absurdity. This is the world of the psychotic. It is also the world of hell, of a complete absence of logic or sense. Each moment of time becomes a calamitous novelty, as the psychotic mind perpetually disperses logic and meaning. To a lesser extent, this is also the world of deconstruction and much modern art, but for the denizens of that dark world, it is more of a contained process. For these modern sophisticates, it becomes a sort of parallel vertical world, superficially sharing certain characteristics with the religious. But it is an entirely counterfeit and ephemeral world of no lasting value.

Let us take two examples of the way language and logic are used to describe the horizontal and the vertical with regard to the origins of the cosmos. The horizontal view tells us that the universe is an Improvised Explosive Device that randomly banged into being 13.7 billion years ago. We know this because we can use logic and math to trace the outer edge of this explosion back to when it happened.

But this tells us nothing about the vertical. For that we need an entirely different kind of logic, something like this: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Now first of all, don't be like our trolls or like religious fundamentalists who get stuck on stupid and attempt to understand this vertical statement in the horizontal sense. In fact, the very point of the statement is to let us know that from the cosmic get-go "there is the vertical (heaven) and the horizontal (earth)."

As it so happens, if one is going to express the transcendent, the infinite, the eternal, one cannot do so without symbolism, paradox, myth, and wordplay. Wordplay? Absolutely. This is something that has long been known to the great rabbis, who "play" with scripture in order to mine it for its deeper meanings.

Now one of the reasons I like James Joyce is that he was fully aware of two things: that the world is made of language, of the word; and that our reduction of the richness of language to mere logical categories did violence to its creative potential for disclosing the nature of reality. For this reason, his last book, Finnegans Wake, consists solely of elaborate wordplay -- it is one long pun.

In Finnegans Wake, Joyce regards all of human history as one long dream in the mind of a single sleeping individual. Furthermore, the entire book is written in the vertical logic of the dream world, so that anything can symbolize something else and one person can stand for another or for an entire class of people. It is a timeless holographic world in which everything is internally related and happening simultaneously in the now of the dream. And, just as in a dream, there is no clear distinction between reality and imagination, nor is there the principle of non-contradiction that applies to the daytime vertical world of Aristotelian logic.

Unfortunately Joyce died shortly after Finnegans Wake was published, so he never had the opportunity to fully explain what he was trying to accomplish with his dense and seemingly impenetrable language. He saw that there was indeed coherence in the cosmos, but that it was the non-linear, vertical coherence of myth, poetry, theology, imagination, and dreaming.

18 Comments:

Blogger Smoov said...

Sometimes Bob-gags go right past me, but the sublime ass-ininity in the opening paragraph induced a bona fide diet coke nasal disaster.

Can anyone else on the web--or anywhere for that matter--cruise so effortlessly through cosmological, metaphysical and psychological themes to end up with tight insight into the structure of Finnegan's Wake--all in the course of a single blog post?

I keep thinking: more people should be reading this. Where is everyone?

On a personal note, the feds have finally decreed that APIS (Advance Passenger Information) will soon become mandatory for general aviation flights within the US (i.e., not just international carriers). All FAA Part 91 and 135 pilots will have to comply.

There goes any hope of my vacation.

9/15/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Hey, it's in the coontract:

"Circumnavelgazing the Whole Existentialada of Lumin Development with a Seer's Prattleogue of Joycey Jimgnostics"

9/15/2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just to follow up with the Doc, he said that everything looked good, but that I did have a "somewhat tortuous colon."

I said "you should see some of my posts."

9/15/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said "...the opening paragraph induced a bona fide diet coke nasal disaster. "

At the risk of tempting fate, through long and messy and embarrassing experience, I think I've finally trained myself to avoid ISS (Involuntary Spastic Spewage), by only allowing food and drink to come near OC when re-reading a post, when the effects are much more controllable.

"Everyday Aristotelian logic is fine when applied to the horizontal, but if applied to the vertical, it will simply make a senseless and incoherent absurdity of it... ...But this tells us nothing about the vertical. For that we need an entirely different kind of logic, something like this: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Now first of all, don't be like our trolls or like religious fundamentalists who get stuck on stupid and attempt to understand this vertical statement in the horizontal sense. In fact, the very point of the statement is to let us know that from the cosmic get-go "there is the vertical (heaven) and the horizontal (earth)." "

Just wanted to see the two quotes together. It's probably going to take me 5 posts to finish saying that. However, I don't think I want to try to approach the speed or volume of Gagdad's output - especially now... not to pile on or anything.

9/15/2007 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

"Dark Side of the Moon"

Dear lawd, oh no you di'int!

Bwahahaha!!!

Now to read the post. *ahem*

9/15/2007 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I was a teenage know-it all.

Speaking of closed systems and finite worlds, I once lived in such a place. Or darned closed to it. Bob also, in a former life, if I understand what he’s written. The size of my formerly finite world may have been a great deal smaller than Bob’s, which can be easily proved on paper, but both were closed systems. Doesn’t matter how stubborn, I mean large your ass is, it’s still just an ass. Same for closed systems. In fact, the part that was being closed out, was the only one worth having, if you’re going to choose between the two and have a closed system, that is.

9/15/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob, glad to hear it went ok.

When you said this:

“Just to follow up with the Doc, he said that everything looked good, but that I did have a "somewhat tortuous colon."

I thought your punch line was going to be:

“You should have seen the other guy.”

The ‘guy’ being him of course :-)
You’re right, what an odd way to make a living.
It’s a dirty job, butt..
Thank God for them.

9/15/2007 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

[forgive me] Glad it all came out ok.

9/15/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

"...all of us do the same things with our lives, creating a coherent and linear narrative out of the chaos and randomness. We superimpose a "likely story" on the outward events..."

Knowing this is so (if we can remember in the heat of interaction with others), changes how we see people. I find I am still inclined to believe people's stories, taking them at face value. For awhile anyway. What's scary is when I believe my own!

9/15/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks be to Bob for not showing us the widescreen edition of the procto-follies (the musical).

Although, for the truly hardcore, I understand the soundtrack is available...for a price.

9/15/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Fundamentalists who insist on "young earth" creationism and other forms of "horizontalization" have done more to damage Christianity in America than the Left.

There, I said it.

9/15/2007 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I'll second it too.
Oh..! I said it!

Ahh! I said it again!
There I went and said it again!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

(sorry)

9/15/2007 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Gagdad Bob said...
Just to follow up with the Doc, he said that everything looked good, but that I did have a "somewhat tortuous colon."

Good butt...somewhat tortuous.

Hmmm...
Are you sure he wasn't a cryptoproctologist?

BTW, that would make a great title for a book, or a song.

9/15/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Smoov - Christianity can't be damaged by fundamentalists, leftists, intellectual elites, or all the powers of darkness for that matter. I'm not sure how "young earth creationism" is any more damaging to Christianity than the countless "crazy" things that fill the pages of the Bible. Unless of course you think you can have Christianity without the Bible. The gospel itself is crazy talk to anyone who doesn't believe.

9/15/2007 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Ivan Ivanovich said...

I like the idea of vertical and horizontal, but what about the other two dimensions, depth and time?

Also, watching the crazies at the "Die In" waving thier signs and screaming at the cops, I wondered, are these the people who would sit down and talk with the Islamists so that "We can all just get along"?

Ivan Ivanovich

9/16/2007 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Nomo said "I'm not sure how "young earth creationism" is any more damaging to Christianity than the countless "crazy" things that fill the pages of the Bible."

I think the problem comes in, in just the same way as it does with the anti-theists; trying to apply spiritual knowledge as facts and figures, as the fundies do, or trying to validate spiritual knowledge on the basis of facts and figures, as the anti-theists do.

Forget the young earthers 6,000 years – there’s no need for such extravagance, Genesis’s six days of creation and rest on the seventh is a deep (Ivan Ivanovich) wealth of spiritual knowledge that will be difficult to fully mine over an entire lifetime. But as an example of Cosomological theory, it is pure and simple crazy talk.

Both the young earther’s and the anti-theists are Literalists, and both ARE examples of crazy talk, like trying to measure the degree of arc in a curve with a bathroom scale (no 'does this make my butt look big?' comments, please), they are inappropriate intersections of knowledge, they do not serve to integrate, but to disintegrate what you gno.

9/16/2007 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“… that the world is made of language, of the word; and that our reduction of the richness of language to mere logical categories did violence to its creative potential for disclosing the nature of reality ….”

Do you ever suppose that the mathematical indifference of unfolding Nature is illusory artifact of Elohim’s empathetic, synchronous involvement with other perspectives and foci? That we measure byproduct of interrelating Elohim, not Elohim themselves?

Maybe that is why the only limits we find upon our degrees of freedom are precisely those limits that most agree with how we exist in present synchronicity. Artifactually, we have evolved in respect of our limits; spiritually, we have evolved in respect of our synchronicity.

Perhaps, indifference could not manifest into existence, except in respect of another side of our coin of existence --- being the field of Empathy.

Perhaps, Empathy perpetually strives to balance meaning, pleasure, and pain in respect of each perspective’s capacity for appreciation. But, artifactual indifference from distraction of focus leads to pockets of distortion.

We intuit and experience, but do not measure, the God Who is on call within ourselves. Why, then, should we expect to measure the Godliness that may exist in anyone else, or anywhere else?

In our realm, perhaps aspects of us are the Elohim. If so, what accounts for an illusion of indifferent nature that is presented to us? Perhaps, that illusion is artifactual of spiritually elsewhere interests of other Elohim.

9/16/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

But with your question, is either view really “damaging to Christianity”? They can be damaging to public (meaning waffling, non or not-yet Christian) perceptions in a PR sort of way, and such things can be hindrances to it’s being spread, and they can add to individuals discomfort in publicly acknowledging belief in some settings(no one want others to think they'd seriously attempt to measure a degree of arc with a scale), but no, that’s not the same thing as damaging Christianity itself, again, perhaps another example of an inappropriate mixing of the horizontal and vertical elements.
[note to self: remember to scroll before cutting and pasting]

9/16/2007 10:55:00 AM  

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