Saturday, December 29, 2007

Degrees and Chimes of Freedom Fleshing (12.29.10)

I remember Bob reading a book by Stanley Jaki in which he suggested that the existence of free will was more than sufficient to prove the existence of a trail of transcendence that leads straight back to the Creator if you only follow your nous. Yes, here it is: an intimation of "freedom or rather free will belies mere material existence.... in the final analysis, the elemental registering of free will almost exhausts whatever else can be said about its reality. Everything else is embellishment, very useful and informative as it may be, because it is irrelevant unless achieved and articulated freely."

In other words -- which I have freely chosen for the occasion -- any argument for or against free will automatically presumes its existence, which in turn proves the reality of that which is free to choose, i.e., the soul. To say that free will does not exist is to void one's argument at the outset, since one's arguments can appeal to neither truth nor to that which may know it: as Poincaré commented, "no determinist argues deterministically," so "all arguments against free will are so many proofs if it" (Jaki).

Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is anti-liberty, which is why the secular left, dipso shitso, is so dangerous. I'm very much looking forward to Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, as I am certain that this theme will be explored, thus freeing me of the responsibility. That is, intrinsic to the project of leftism is the abolition of that which transcends matter, and therefore, the dehumanization of humans. This is why their assault on religion in general and the soul in particular is not "accidental" but absolutely essential to their goals. They must replace transcendence with immanence. Once that's accomplished, then everything else falls into place. It's like building the cage. Once the cage of immanence is complete, then man lives behind bars he can't even see, bars as strong as steel and as high as the imagination.

The problem is, not too many people think about what the existence of free will implies, since it is not quantifiable or reducible to anything but itself. Like so many other fundamental realities -- time, life, intelligence, consciousness, etc. -- it seems that we we know everything about it except what it actually is. This leads me to suspect that these fundamentals are somehow implicitly linked to one another, and that there is but one Incomprehensible Thing with several different sides, depending upon how you look at it, e.g., life is time, time is freedom, consciousness is life + time, intelligence is freedom + truth, virtue is truth + action, etc.

As Jaki writes, in a certain sense, free will "is subjectivity itself." Thus, we are free to the extent that we are a subject rather than an object. However, freedom can only be exercised in an objective world, which is to say, on objects, including "objects" within oneself (including objective pseudo-subjects that have no business being there, i.e., mind parasites).

If everything is subjective, then there can't be free will either. This leads to an interesting speculation about the necessity of the world for God's freedom. In other words, just like us, how could God be meaningfully free unless there are objects (or, in his case, subjects) to act upon? To put it another way, perhaps God's freedom is ultimately given its highest expression in the existence of the human subject which can either deny or align itself with him. Thus, denial of God is the ironyclad proof of his existence. But you knew that already.

There is no meaningful freedom in the absence of the human will, but the will is only free to the extent that it is free from certain repetitive actions and mechanical patterns of thought, which we call Mind Parasites. As Emerson wrote (cited in Jaki), "Intellect annuls Fate. So far as man thinks, he is free." But freedom itself is not necessary. Rather, its existence brings one "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs in mid-air unless suspended from that Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator."

Hmm, why does that sound zimmilar to some other hearsong I've heardsung?

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended


The Judeo-Christian insistence "that man is free was born out of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do." We are created free so that our actions "may have that merit which only a freely performed act can have. God therefore has to remain a subtly hidden God, lest man should find himself 'constrained' to obey Him" (Jaki).

In Keys of Gnosis, Bolton widens the argument out to a truly cosmic perspective. He begins with the premise that "Free will and its opposite, determinism, form a duality in human consciousness which parallels that of Providence and Fate in the world." This makes perfect sense if freedom is only free to the extent that it both emanates from, and returns to, the Creator when exercised responsibly, and yet, can only exist in a world that is other than free, which is to say, partially determined and bound by Fate. (When "the word becomes flesh," it essentially submits itself to the world of fate which it must re-transcend -- or as Petey cryptically expressed it in the Coonifesto, "ascent you a son, amen for a child's job.")

In reality, there is no pure freedom or pure determinacy on the human plane -- or, by extension, no pure providence or fate -- but always a mingling of the two in various proportions. As Bolton explains, this is why the issue can appear confusing to people, since it's not as if freedom is an either/or proposition. Rather, each individual has a varying mixture of freedom and determinacy. Furthermore, this would imply that the central task of spiritual growth is to increase the former while diminishing the latter, i.e., mind parasites and other mechanical patterns of thought and behavior, so that we may increasingly "rise above" fate and become truly free. Here it can easily be understood how an improper kind of freedom is slavery while a proper kind of slavery is freedom. It's not actually a paradox at all, especially since the truth (and only the truth) can set you free.

Ironically, it is during our early childhood that we are most "free," i.e., unconstrained by any limits. But we actually aren't free at all, since there is no will to choose or to mediate the freedom. Thus, when we nostalgically yearn for the freedom of childhood, we are actually pining for the absence of freedom, or the "pre-free" infinity of non-choosing. For just as there is an infinity of endless numerical succession, there is also the infinity of the pre-numerical Zero. A better word would be innocence than freedom. Innocence literally means "without knowledge," and in childhood we are without knowledge of our freedom. This implies that the exercise of free will and the "fall" from the innocent paradise of infancy are indistinguishable, just as it says in Genesis. Therefore, Everything means less than zero just as Elvis said it did.

So, as Bolton writes, we are "originally unfree, but with a nascent free will which can develop to its full potential under the right conditions."

There he goes again! I mean my master, the toddler in the next room. For a long time Bob didn't want children, because he thought it would constrain his freedom. He was right. Free at last! From mybob.

I wonder if the Creator feels the same way about his unruly brood, or if he doesn't, how that could possibly be?

To be continued...

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder.
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind,
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind,
An' the unpawned painter far behind his rightful time
And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.
--Bob Dylan, Chimes of Freedom

20 Comments:

Anonymous at in la said...

Truth talk and Dylan....gotta love One Cosmos.

12/29/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Incredible post, Bob. Bookmarked for good.
It also leads me to believe that by the subject proves God has an awful lot of patients…I mean patience…or both. I have to think He thought we were worth it the moment He came to the creation decision – to separate - which as you know was an awfully long time ago. I can’t think there would have been any point to it, to even beginning it, without also Providing freewill. It seems it may have been a choice He also had to make. And he decided in favor of freewill – with all the risks and pain that would have to go along with it – He still did it. Some go back to Him of their own freewill…which must be the best kind of reunion.

12/29/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous coonified said...

I had to listen to a little toy monkey sing wild thing while I was reading the post. What's below is the butchered understanding that came out. I'm hopeless sometimes.

"and that there is but one Incomprehensible Thing"

Wild thing

"no determinist argues deterministically"

You make my heart sing...

"several different sides, depending upon how you look at it, e.g., life is time, time is freedom, consciousness is life + time, intelligence is freedom + truth, virtue is truth + action, etc."

You make everything groovy...

"However, freedom can only be exercised in an objective world, which is to say, on objects, including "objects" within oneself"

But I wanna know for sure...

"that man is free was born out of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do."

Wild thing, I...think you move me..

"But we actually aren't free at all, since there is no will to choose or to mediate the freedom."

So come on, and hold me tight.

You move me

Wild thing

12/29/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Bein' as it's Saturday, and another "long weekend" to boot, and after a long string of kaleidoscopic posts written by your Other Half, I thought you might be in the mood to "catch your breath"...

But no! Another post, chock full o' the answers we sought about those pesky mind parasites, and on to Nested Truths: subject <----> Object; freedom <---> necessity; material <----> transcendental; plus Elvis, Dylan, Emerson, Bolton, more ....

We are the lucky ones: Bob's Unconscious never sleeps!

12/29/2007 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Coonified:

The Troggs hail from my father's hometown in Andover, England. Who knows, we're probably cousins. Being that "Troggs" is short for "troglodyte," I'm sure they're related to Dupree.

12/29/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous coonified said...

"Being that "Troggs" is short for "troglodyte," I'm sure they're related to Dupree."

Seeing how Dupree might not be able to put the two together, maybe you should keep that between you and you. Wouldn't want the moneky to get out of control.

12/29/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"There is no meaningful freedom in the absence of the human will, but the will is only free to the extent that it is free from certain repetitive actions and mechanical patterns of thought, which we call Mind Parasites."

It occurred to me by reading this alongside Ben's account of potential looters that parasites of any kind are predictable, patterned, and mechanical and that they are dislodged best by disruption. Lock and load! Parasites are regularly blown to smithereens by ordnance provided by arms dealers such as One Cosmos.

Except By Prayer and Fasting
slavers replicate
maya in human test tubes
eden's flashing swords

12/29/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The Judeo-Christian insistence "that man is free was born out of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do." We are created free so that our actions "may have that merit which only a freely performed act can have. "

and,

"To say that free will does not exist is to void one's argument at the outset, since one's arguments can appeal to neither truth nor to that which may know it"

ooh... so True - kicked a post out of me with that one. The problem is that most people want to use their Free Will to deny it exists, and that they must choose to understand anything at all, including the Truth of their own Selves. From The Self Evident Truth Of Free Will: "Most people run from Understanding, it terrifies them, they want conclusions that just are and do not require their understanding and consent. They want Ideas to just BE true (with a very little 't'). All worthwhile things are already discovered, already known, true without having to be concerned about about contradictions - in fact, contradictions are their secret delight, that things can exist in a convenient jumble of facts that are just so, reaffirms that things just are and so don't require you to Reason through them, that it is, in fact, pointless to do so."

What most people want is the ability to deterministically 'know', without the burden of gnowing it, and Free Will makes that impossible. There is no free ride to perpetual peace, Knowing is a verb, it must always be active - but you must choose to keep it so.

12/29/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

Another great post, Gagster.

Re the Troggs: have you ever heard The Troggs Tape? (LINK NOT WORK-FRIENDLY!) It's the most brainless and hilariously obscene slice of rock-band life ever recorded.

12/29/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I've only heard about them, but they were apparently the inspiration for the legendary spat between Nigel Tufnel and Michael St Hubbins. For what it's worth, I once saw Michael McKean, who plays the latter, at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. He didn't recognize me.

12/29/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

That tape is very realistic. I tell this to Bob all the time when he's working on a post: You gotta put a little bit of fucking fairy dust over the bastard, you big pranny.

12/29/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"I wonder if the Creator feels the same way about his unruly brood, or if he doesn't, how that could possibly be?"

The Psalmist said, "The Lord is my shepherd...". I won't go into a long discourse on the depth of the meaning of those few words, particularly in context, but suffice to say - that is how.

12/29/2007 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Djadja said...

Bob’s Other Half said: We are created free so that our actions “may have that merit which only a freely performed act can have. God therefore has to remain a subtly hidden God, lest man should find himself ‘constrained’ to obey Him.”

This would account for why miracles are exceedingly rare — they have to be because of their compelling quality. Thus Thomas is not as blessed because he had to see to believe. Faith in a subtly hidden God can be hard to come by.

As Flannery O’Conner’s Misfit put it: “Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead…and He shouldn’t have done it. He shown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can….I wasn't there so I can’t say He didn’t…I wisht I had of been there,” he said, hitting the ground with his fist. “It ain’t right I wasn't there because if I had of been there I would of known.”

God’s hiddenness can be pretty vexing at times. The good die and the bad live. If it were not so, we would see the cause and effect of our moral choices, and they would be not be so freely made.

12/29/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Perhaps our greatest act of will is faith.

12/29/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Switching gears a tad, from the Amazon blurb for Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning" that BU is eagerly anticipating,

"Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist."

Oh-Ho! I'm looking forward to that one!

12/29/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Heil Hillary!

OK, Van set me off...sorry.

12/29/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Speaking of assholes & fascists and the need for ordnance correctly used:

The monks at Mepkin Abbey have supported their contemplative lives for 40 years largely by supplying eggs to local grocery stores. No more. The abbey has succumbed to a campaign undertaken last year by the animal-rights activist group, People for th eEthical Treatment of Animals. Too bad......

http://www.charleston.net/news/2007/dec/22/
petas_attack_brings_sad_end_mepkin_
abbey25679/


Oooooh, pussies of the first order, going after old men.

Hey Cuz, can't we catch them behind the woodshed & give them a well-deserved shellacking? I'm sure The Twins would enjoy an outing too.

wv wants to go along: lqjconk

12/29/2007 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hey, back from adding Goldberg's book and Bolton's to my shopping cart at Amazon, and what should pop up under "Customers who bought this item also bought:"?

Yep,
One Cosmos Under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind & Spirit (Paperback)

12/29/2007 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Elephant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/29/2007 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

The most important day in my life, I believe, was when I as a teen read and understood a small tract by Elias Aslaksen, in which he made it clear that I have the choice in every single situation about how to act, no matter what someone else has done previously. As long as I am the one who retain control of my body, I can choose to blithely ignore whatever others have done, if that is the best course of action.

While I understood this immediately, I have spent the next 30+ years implementing it. What is the saying again? Thoughts are the threads that bind us to actions. Actions are the ropes that bind us to habits. Habits are the chains tha bind us to fate. Therefore, to avoid an evil fate, avoid evil thoughts.

12/29/2007 09:51:00 PM  

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