Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Limits of an Unlimited God

Maybe its a good thing we've had so few readers lately. I'm not so sure Bob would like the idea of a lot of folks checking under the hood and peering into his unconscious. Me, I don't care. I got nothing to hide. It's not like the conscious mind down here. Rather, we have a holographic order, so one reader is equivalent to all of mankind, while all of mankind is equivalent to a single reader. Plus, I am that reader, and vice versa.

This holographic logic makes for some interesting "deductions," if you will. To be honest, it's largely what provides the "spice of life," and makes people so much different than machines. I mean, let's say they come up with "artificial intelligence." It will never actually be human intelligence because it will never have an unconscious. Even with parallel processing, it will only think in a linear and logical way, not in the holistic manner of the unconscious.

I can imagine a computer mimicking the left brain, but never the right, which is where I live. (By the way, the soul relies upon a higher synthesis of left and right brains, or conscious/unconscious, linear/non-linear, logic/intuition. Properly understood, these are not dualities but complementarities that necessarily exist in order for the soul [the micro] to be adequately proportioned to the divine mind [the macro], as we will explain below.)

For example, let's say you want to ask a machine who should be president in 2008. Easy, right? You just program all the known information about each candidate and wait for the result. Let's say it processes all the data and spits out the name Hillary Clinton. The unconscious doesn't work like that. Rather, it comes up with an instantaneous assessment using holographic logic, in which it weighs all sorts of nonverbal factors and interacts with various universal categories and particular experiences to come up with something like "I would never vote for Hillary because I don't want the most powerful man in the world to be my ex-wife." No computer could ever think with such transcendent clarity about Hillary. I mean, I don't even have an ex-wife, and yet, I feel the same way.

How's Bob doing? Oh, I guess he's okay. He's probably even feeling well enough to do some Christmas shopping tomorrow. I'm guessing he'll go in the early afternoon, since he hates waiting until the last minute. I have to say, it's possible that you've heard the last of him. I think the blogging was getting to be a bit of a grind for him, whereas it's all new to me. For me, it's completely effortless, whereas he sometimes tries too hard. He's got enough on his plate without having to worry about a stupid blog. Hey, maybe I'll start k-->O laborating with Petey! Now that would be a hoot!

Spontaneity. That's what it is. I'm all about the spontaneity, baby. I'm like one of those jazz guys who plays a twenty minute solo just to clear his throat and get on with it. Trouble is, most people don't like jazz, but that doesn't bother me. If you really want to get weird about it, you could draw out the ultimate implications of holographic logic and say that if I have a single reader, it's like Man conversing with God and God conversing with Man at the same time. You know, just a dialogue between the finite and infinite, which is all reality is anyway -- not finite reduced to infinite, but finite + infinite = meta-infinite, so to speak on this spacial equation.

A lot of stuff goes on "down here" that you probably don't know about. Like sausages, you don't want to know how thoughts are made! Not really. That was just a little joke. It's not that bad, although I suppose it depends upon the person. You wouldn't want to know how a Clinton thought is made -- a pig rectum here, a ground chicken beak there, encased in intestinal lining, lots of additives to cover up the smell. It's not pretty.

Nevertheless, or alwaysthemore, it is because of various unconscious processes that human intelligence, as Bolton puts it, "has a potential equivalent to the entire contents of the world, so that [Man's] nature cannot be fixed by any specialized set of functions like an animal's." In other words, our unconscious mind is infinite because it is a mirror of the cosmos. To be perfectly accurate, it's actually the other way around: the cosmos is infinite because it is a representation of the soul, which is infinite.

Perhaps I should say "relatively" infinite, since, technically speaking, only God is truly infinite. Nevertheless, for all practical purposes, human creativity, for example, is inexhaustible, since it is a mirror of the divine mind. True creativity is an instance of "creation out of nothing," since one is bringing something entirely new into the world, something that is not determined and not reducible to its constituent parts. This, by the way, is why Man and other animals have some interesting "design flaws," so to speak.

Strict Darwinians like to say that this is proof that man cannot possibly be "designed," but it's actually the other way around. When you create anything, there is of necessity an element of "freedom" or "randomness," or else it wouldn't be creativity. Rather, it would simply be logical deduction or machine-like causality. If Something is to come from Nothing, the Something must have an element of genuine surprise, or else it's not really novel. Is this clear? If A is the total cause of B, then B is not a product of creativity or free will (since there can only be freedom if there is indeterminacy). I believe Bob spoke to this issue in his excellent One Cosmos, which not only had a tremendous influence on me, but which I influenced in return. Let's see if I can dig up the page.

Yes, here it is. Page 72. He makes reference to Kierkegaard, who "recognized that the necessary cannot come into existence, because coming into existence is a transition from not existing to existing. The purely necessary in fact cannot essentially change, because it is always itself. In other words, novelty is truly creative and therefore contingent and unnecessary. If something is strictly determined, it cannot be novel or creative, for the same reason you cannot compose a symphony by merely applying a predetermined rule for the combination of notes."

This has all sorts of interesting implications that cause Bob to deviate from most theologians, who see God as the epitome of what is fixed and final, i.e., the Absolute. But Bob feels that God wouldn't be God if there weren't this built-in aspect of indeterminacy. Otherwise the cosmos is just a machine, so it would eliminate creativity, free will, and morality in one fool swipe. Each of these things only has meaning in a cosmos that is genuinely constituted of nature + adventure, fate + providence, matter + soul, freedom + determinacy, etc. Ironically, materialists and metaphysical monists are singing from the same Him book, since they sing Him in the same way, i.e., as a big simpleOne, if not ton.

But thanks to me, Bob is a metaphysical dualist, which, as we shall explain if we have the time, immediately redounds to a trinitarian coonception of reality. It's not so much that reality isn't One, because it is; rather, that One is intrinsically Two, and Two is intrinsically but unpredictably Three. Ironically, to make God only unlimited is to sharply limit him. Only through limits can his unlimitedness be expressed. This should be obvious.

To cite an analogy, let's say Bach had an unlimited musical imagination. The only way he could express this unlimitedness was through the limitation of musical instruments, notation, and other musicians (not to mention listeners). It's truly meaningless to separate the one from the other -- like segregating the Cheshire cat from his chick. This is what art -- and by extension, the cosmos -- is: the expression of the infinite within the finite, the latter being intrinsically necessary to the former.

I suppose the appeal of any monist metaphysic -- including most Eastern religions, such as Buddhism -- is that it eliminates the problem of duality and the hell of other people, but at the cost of sacrificing reality and meaning. There is simply no way around the fact that if God is (only) one, then God and existence are also meaningless, since there is nothing they refer to. And to say God is meaningless is to say something that cannot possibly be true, as it contradicts the divine nature.

Ultimately God must be One-in-Three and Three-in-One, since he is the source and ground of meaning. Where do you think all this freaking meaning comes from anyway, out of thin air? Not to mention, love, truth and beauty? Again, God cannot possibly be Love if he is non-dual, unless he is just the ultimate narcissist, a big Deepak Chopra in the sky. I pay no attention to these krusty old bozos who claim that All is One in an unqualified way. If that were true, then the cosmos would simply be ringling in a circus instead of spiraling inward and upward like a holy roller coaster.

Again, as Bob pointed out in One Cosmos, understanding what Man is is the key to understanding the whole existentialada, because reality is microcosmic for reasons related to what was said above about the holographic structure of the unconscious. In the unconscious mind, the part can stand for the whole, and vice versa. This is no accident, but a reflection of the intrinsic structure of reality. In turn, this is why the two key ideas to fruitful intellection are "as above, so below," and "man is the image and likeness of the Creator," for they mean that the external and internal worlds mirror the divine mind in both space and time. Only God and Man can "become" what they already are, which, in a sense, is each other:

"Human creativity is not a claim or a right on the part of man, but God's claim on, and call to man. God awaits man's creative act, which is the response to the creative act of God. What is true of man's freedom is also true of his creativity, for freedom too is God's summons to man and man's duty to God. Man awaits the birth of God in himself and God awaits the birth of man in himself" (Nicholas Berdyaev, quoted in Keys of Gnosis).

It's easy to misunderstand, but this is also what my pal Blakey meant by the crack "I know of no other Christianity and no other Gospel than the liberty of both body and mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.... Is the Holy Ghost any other than an intellectual fountain? What is the harvest of the Gospel and its labours? What is that talent which it is a curse to hide?"

Yes, you out there with the darklight. It shines in both directions in an unpredictable manner, so sometimes the only way you can appreciate how much light you're receiving is by noticing how much you're transmitting. One wonders if this isn't how God sees the Light?

Anyway, to end in a possible non-sequitur, as I realized last night, we're not in Kansas anymore. Rather, we're in Oz. Which is in Kansas. And there's no place like it. Except everywhere. And when.

*****

Okay, okay, a corrective musical experience -- Van Morrison hamming it up with Tom Jones, performing a song written by Van. It's one of the few times I've ever seen Morrison look like he's really having fun:

26 Comments:

Blogger Dougman said...

You're right, i'm not a Scott Walker fan.
Not enough fire in his belly for me.

Last year at this time I had the best and worst time of my life listening to DMX while studying mostly the book of Isaiah.

The One I can bare witness to is into Kings X.
But he won't read the Bible, it brings back too many bad memories.

To each his own.

Merry X-mas.

12/23/2007 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Each paragraph forms
a ray of truth beaming out
one bright Christmas star

12/23/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Reminded me of a quote that I really liked from the Oscar Wilde play/movie An Ideal Husband.

"Women and sausages are best enjoyed if you don't watch the preparation."

PS. I agree with dougman about Scott Walker. It was like watching a bad infomercial.

12/23/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous bob's unconscious said...

Sounds familiar. Bob can only listen to Scott Walker when Mrs. G is out of the house.

12/23/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Bob's unconscious said: "Bob can only listen to Scott Walker when Mrs. G is out of the house."


Does Mrs. G really leave him with no adult supervision? That sounds dangerous.

12/23/2007 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Just shows you how humans are so different from each other when you can so admire one's thoughts and ideas and still find they have hideous God-awful tastes once in a while.....ha ha!;)

12/23/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Okay, sunday slack has been restored. Thanks for being so reasonable....

12/23/2007 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Dear Bob's Unconscious,

Believe me, I am a loyal reader - a long-time member of Bob's Few, so to speak. What you explain about the hologrammatic nature of reality sounds right, though I still sense a small separation between myself and my computer's screen (though, not much).

But, though each post reflects all other posts, there never seem to be "enough." Perhaps I suffer, as you said, from "alwaysthemore."

For instance, I took great hope from your statement, "... human creativity ... is inexhaustible, since it is a mirror of the divine mind." It follows from this that we can "expect" an One Cosmos Post tucked under the tree on Christmas morning, right? To be opened "first," yes?

But then you wrote, "... you cannot compose a symphony by merely applying a predetermined rule for the combination of notes." Oh. Oh, of course.
I know: call me greedy!

"Alwaysthemore" is but a dualistic form of gratitude! One Cosmos is El Cielito Lindo, and that's just how it is!

12/23/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous coonified said...

"I realized last night, we're not in Kansas anymore. Rather, we're in Oz. Which is in Kansas. And there's no place like it. Except everywhere. And when."


I just had to watch last night since it was on the tube. It really never gets old, and the meaning seems unbounded.

I used to wonder as a kid why absurd things--like the witch melting after having water thrown on her--mean. Most of the credit goes to Mr. Anonymous for helping understand.

Anyway, I spent alot of time on that post, which means it was good. I think I learnt something.

12/23/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Stations of the Ecliptic
hear the midnight sky
calculating intervals
equal tempered stars

12/23/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"If Something is to come from Nothing, the Something must have an element of genuine surprise, or else it's not really novel. Is this clear? If A is the total cause of B, then B is not a product of creativity or free will (since there can only be freedom if there is indeterminacy)."

I cooncur wholeheartedly, BU!
We ain't no Borg. And yet, many people who believe in God essentially believe just that.
Pity that so many believers don't believe we are indeed created with True Liberty.
They all play the same tune...over and over and over.

With True Liberty, the song doesn't remain the same.

12/23/2007 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"To cite an analogy, let's say Bach had an unlimited musical imagination. The only way he could express this unlimitedness was through the limitation of musical instruments, notation, and other musicians (not to mention listeners). It's truly meaningless to separate the one from the other -- like segregating the Cheshire cat from his chick. This is what art -- and by extension, the cosmos -- is: the expression of the infinite within the finite, the latter being intrinsically necessary to the former."

That is the perhaps the best explanation I have ever heard, among so many best revelations at the OC, revealing the True meaning of One Cosmos; Liberty plus Creativity...therefore, all things are made new...I mean just wOw!

I love the cut of that improvisional jib!
Play on, man, play on! :^)

12/23/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>let's say they come up with "artificial intelligence." It will never actually be human intelligence because it will never have an unconscious<<

In a couple of his sci-fi novels -Destination: Void and The Jesus Incident - Frank (Dune) Herbert has scientists tying to create a computerized artificial intelligence, one that doesn't go bonkers the second it comes online. Finally, they manage to give the computer an "unconscious mind", and presto, true artificial intelligence! And surprise, the intelligence turns out to be God. I mean literally so.

Actually, as "secular" as this may sound, these particular novels are quite imaginatively mystical and they do score some genuine mystical points.

12/23/2007 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>True creativity is an instance of "creation out of nothing," since one is bringing something entirely new into the world, something that is not determined and not reducible to its constituent parts<<

I think maybe not creation out of an absolute nothing, unless the "nothing" translates as the infinite Void of Limitless Possibility and Potentiality.

The created something is surely not reducible to its consituent parts, but I think it does have "constituent parts" in the sense of it resonating with and manifesting divine archetypes. Of course, the divine archetypes can be infinitely re-arranged and manifested in such a way as to eternally surprise and enlighten.

12/23/2007 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Few readers of OC recently? Well, these things do go in cycles, and besides . . quality over quantity in spiritual matters, as always.

Anyway, back when I had a functioning website, I included the following poem set to music - and it had virtually no listeners. So, speaking of artificial intelligence/unconscious mind, etc., here it is: (it's got a moral to it)

SOUL X

deep in the cool synapses
of the Great Computer,
an interesting tableaux -
a twinkling, a micro-shift of temperature,
odd stirring among humming lattices -
Soul X has decided to incarnate
in the computer, saving the draggy flesh
for the next go round,
that is, he thinks, if he even needs another
spin on the samsaric Catherine Wheel -
Soul X (as he explained it to Soul Y)
believes that the incarnate have finally
wire-spun a computer so complex,
so oceanically micro-chipped (bloody huge,
this machine) that it rivals the glowing
human brain in complexity -
and that means, my dear Ms. Y,
that Soul X can fully incarnate in this
silicon dreadnought, can download his
unconscious to the left wing, while
reserving the right wing for his quotidian
needs -
and all the cheery while no demands
of the flesh, no carrion call no more, over and out -
but Soul Y caveats, it's still material body
and what's wrong with flesh, Mr. X, is it
not to be danced with until such time the
dancer becomes the dance?
But Soul X is already on his way, already
clearing his astral pipes for his first media gig, ho,
that should wake them up in the Work Station Central -
but uh oh Houston, we've got a problem -
Soul X is now locked in and finding he doesn't
have all that much wiggle room -
and there is the matter of the coolent in
tiers B - 984,
it frankly . . . irritates -
Soul X stretches his multi-synaptical arms,
instantly jealous of the computer-to-be whose
reach will be a jot more encompassing than his -
no passion-killer, this, thinks Soul X,
his thoughts bubbling the bright panel lights
in Control Room Alpha.
And then with a rippling discharge of gloom,
Soul X realizes that, yes,
one can only search for Buddha where
one has lost Buddha, roger that - Ms. Y, Mr. Z, he calls, would you be so kind
as to help me out of here?
But, alas, I have returned to my
work in the soul-laboratories, and
Soul Y is gone, incarnated on
a grassy hill in Asia under a
yellow sun in this,
the Year of the Dragon.

12/23/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Well, I thought some may want a Pinky Update.....It has been over six months now and she is still missing. I have not been able to find her but many people all over the world are finding her. She has become the first image displayed when you google "deer head chihuahua" "tan deer chihuahua" under the images tab. Isn't that bizarre, there are over 7000 images and she is first now!?

So Bob, if you really want to increase your traffic by at least 5 people a day, feel free to post a picture of Pinky labeled tan deer-head chihuahua! ;)

12/23/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

> "God wouldn't be God if there weren't this built-in aspect of indeterminacy. Otherwise the cosmos is just a machine, so it would eliminate creativity, free will, and morality in one fool swipe." - Bob

"Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete."
- Chesterton

12/23/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

> There is simply no way around the fact that if God is (only) one, then God and existence are also meaningless, since there is nothing they refer to.

Yup. Bravo, doc! And Merry Christmas to one and all!

12/23/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will:
The poem is superb. I didn't realize Neon Cat was off line until now. I hit the bookmark, and got the dismal screen of gray. Are you giving the site up altogether?

JWM

12/23/2007 08:35:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

"understanding what Man is is the key to understanding the whole existentialada"

I don't think I ever have learnt so much of True Importance as I have reading O.C. during this year. A turningpoint in my liffe from where it is no point of return. Thanks!

Merry Christmas Bob with family, Bob's unconscious, and all of you raccoons!

/Johan, a cosmic Swede at the edge of understanding

12/24/2007 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

What's interesting in relation to this is that the human heart would beat at an incredible and fierce rate except that there is a hormonal connection from the nervous system that suppresses the rate of beating. That is to say, when your heart rate goes 'up', what is really happening is the limiter on your heart rate is being reduced.

12/24/2007 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"But Bob feels that God wouldn't be God if there weren't this built-in aspect of indeterminacy. Otherwise the cosmos is just a machine, so it would eliminate creativity, free will, and morality in one fool swipe. Each of these things only has meaning in a cosmos that is genuinely constituted of nature + adventure, fate + providence, matter + soul, freedom + determinacy, etc. Ironically, materialists and metaphysical monists are singing from the same Him book, since they sing Him in the same way, i.e., as a big simpleOne, if not ton."

No comment needed, just wanted to see it again.

Not being the procrastinator Bob is (imagine putting off Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve! Unbelievable), I planned ahead and did all my shopping the day before Christmas Eve. Yep... mister planning and foresight - that's me. Unfortunately it meant I couldn't get in on the action today... yesterday... or see the youtubes... why do they expire?

Anyway, Merry Christmas all!

12/24/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

will said... "In a couple of his sci-fi novels -Destination: Void and The Jesus Incident - Frank (Dune) Herbert has scientists tying to create a computerized artificial intelligence, one that doesn't go bonkers the second it comes online. Finally, they manage to give the computer an "unconscious mind", and presto, true artificial intelligence! And surprise, the intelligence turns out to be God. I mean literally so."

Will, I enjoyed those also...(rustling through top shelf of bookcase), ah, here it is. The last line of Destination:Void was a winner:"'Flattery knows' said the Vocoder.'You must decide how you will WorShip Me."

12/24/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

The Scott Walker didn't expire, he was killed.

12/24/2007 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Bob:

OC has been a major development in my life, as I know it has for many others here. I'd wager that few bloggers with hundreds of thousands of readers (e.g., Glenn Reynolds - who is a great guy) have the tiniest fraction of an impact on the lives of any of them compared with OC.

OC itself is almost holographic. I've long stopped trying to read the posts "linearly", the way I would read a prospectus or technical specification. Each post contains myriad strands connected to other posts, to the book, to comments -- only over time does the whole begin to emerge. Few people in our culture have the inclination or patience to follow this path, but that's a good thing. The alternative is Deepak Doo Doo.

OC has aligned me in ways which have been critical at this juncture. Wealth -- though nowhere nearly as dangerous as power -- invites corruption of the soul. This past year represented the build-up to the point where I let myself go -- to cut the old materialistic, ego-driven ties -- to immerse myself in God as much as I in my humbleness am able to do so.

So many things are changing. Some weeks ago I mentioned here I was having an affair with a 23 year old blond co-ed. She has my copy of Polanyi's Meaning. I ordered a new one from Amazon this morning...

12/24/2007 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous chowchilla said...

Good Poem, Will. Most intrugeing.

12/24/2007 11:40:00 AM  

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