Temporal Dilation, Cosmic Music, and Human Be-Who (11.12.10)
Based upon this, the past would appear to be fixed, but is that really so? Not if the past is inherently entangled with the future. Future events can occur which will give the past an entirely different meaning. For example, if you wrote a history of the 19th century prior to World War I, it would look very different than a history written after World War I, because only as more of the future became the past could you understand events that were implicit in the past, but yet to play themselves out in time. In other words, the past had hidden potentials that were still playing themselves out in the future. As Bolton writes, "the contents of the past and present are thus in constant change by virtue of their changing relationship to the present."
In so many ways, MSM journalism really is an attempt to control the now, so as to control the past and therefore future....
In physics, there is only a one-way arrow of change, from past to future. But as Bolton explains, "to give the experience of change," time "must form a combination of static and dynamic elements. A time series which consisted of pure dynamism could not supply any kind of experience because every element in it would have become something else before it could be known." Alternatively, "a purely static time would not be temporal at all. Only a mingling of the changing with the unchanging can constitute time..."
This is why I not only think that music is the best analogy we have for time, but why we are so drawn to it: because it reveals the very form of time, which in turn brings inherent pleasure, similar to the epistemophilic pleasure of discovery. In short, the ear can tell us much more about time than the eye, but all of science is biased more toward the eye in its mapping of reality. Indeed, science ultimately aims to map all of reality in such a way that it specifically excludes time. For example, a "grand theory of everything" would consist of a single equation that unifies all of the forces in physics -- forces which result in the "illusion" of time. But what if the cosmos is more like a symphony, which has a complex vertical structure (i.e., the "spatial" chords) and a more open and horizontal "melodic" aspect that wends its way through the chords?
Zuckerkandl writes that "The knowledge of space that hand and eye possess is exactly matched by their ignorance of time.... A true image of time must be an image for the ear, an audible image made of tones.... Thanks to music, we are able to behold time."
Now, a work of serious music is obviously a "whole," but it is again a temporal whole with a complex array of vertical and horizontal relations. In fact, in rereading Eliot's Wasteland yesterday, I could hear how very "musical" it is, with complex motifs recurring and commenting upon one another as the poem unfolds, just as in a symphony. Thus, it seems that poetry in general would represent a closer approximation to the structure of reality than any ordinary linear prose.
I am sure this is what Schuon means when he says that a simple believer in literal creationism is surely closer to the truth than any form of materialism can ever be. To say that Genesis is "poetry" is hardly to denigrate it; rather, it is to point out that it employs the appropriate modality to even begin to talk about ultimate reality. It does not pretend to be able to capture the unsayable in language (unless you have no poetic sense and have missed the point), but to use what can be said to disclose what otherwise can't be said or even thought about.
The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Language, like music, is deployed in time. Because of this, you cannot comprehend the meaning of a statement by analyzing its constituent parts, i.e., by breaking it down into its individual words and letters. It is not that the words and letters additively reveal a meaning; rather, they are all in the service of a higher meaning, and were chosen for the very purpose of conveying it. Here again, much of the pleasure in writing is searching for and "discovering" the correct word or phrase for the meaning one wishes to convey, very much as a musician will try to find the proper notes to say what he wishes to say in a solo. This is one more reason there can never be "artificial intelligence" except in its linear sense, but never in the holistic way in which the human mind operates.
For example, I was reading just yesternow (National Review, 12.3.07) about the vast differences between a chess-playing computer program and a chess master. The computer program must consider trillions of possibilities before deciding on a single move, whereas "even the greatest human player considers at most a few thousand, and usually far fewer." Thus, this "billion-to-one advantage in calculating power is nullified by the human grandmaster's power of understanding." It is this depth of understanding that instantaneously excludes literally billions of blind alleys.
As does a profound philosophy of life. In particular, I'm thinking again of how revelation is intended to provide a musical structure with which one may adequately play the "cosmic suite." No computer program could ever do this, because in life, the choices multiply exponentially as compared to a chess match. How do we reduce the chaos to meaning, without reducing meaning to meaninglessness, as does science?
Relgion begins with the idea that ultimate meaning exists, and that it is this meaning that "sponsors," so to speak, all of the meaning we encounter on a moment-to-moment basis, no matter how trivial. Meaning is meaningful because Meaning is always there propping it up; or words are there (including everything from DNA to the mathematical constants that govern physical reality) because the Word is there "behind," "beneath" or "above" them. "Meaning" and "Wholeness" are two aspects of the same phenomena, since meaning is only grasped by sensing the wholeness of parts. In fact, in the absence of wholeness there could obviously be no parts, because they wouldn't be parts of anything.
This is patently true of "spatial" objects, but what about temporal ones? If we try to analyze time by dissecting it down to its constituent parts, do we not eliminate the very melody we are attempting to hear, the Song Supreme? This is the domain of metahistory, which is apparently no longer fashionable, except that it actually is, in the same way that the Left presents us with a counterfeit version of any profound truth. Leftism is like an inverted mirror of falsehood, in which deep truths are presented upside down and backwards, for example, the doctrine of materialism. Materialsm is just an ass-backward religion that starts at the wrong end of reality and proceeds to elevate its absurd error to an absolute.
But the moment you treat parts in an atomistic way, as if they are unrelated in time, you have falsified reality. This is precisely why physics is powerless to understand the most profound and shocking facts of the universe, i.e., life and consciousness. They cannot even discuss these things without a priori turning them into something they are not. But as I wrote in One Cosmos, "Only by changing our perspective to a 'top down' one, from spirit to mind to life to matter, does the cosmos become intelligble in its totality, a totality that unquestionably includes biological and psychological dimensions."
Thus, in the Raccoon view, "when we talk about a 'relationship' between Life and the cosmos, we are dealing quite literally with a tautology, a statement of equivalence." Given the temporal entanglement of the cosmos, in order to not mislead, we cannot refer only to "the universe," but to something along the lines of "the living universe" or "the universe in the process of becoming locally conscious," because only in such a way do we not exclude the most important fact of the cosmos, i.e, the observer making the statement.
It actually goes a lot deeper than this, as is explained in One Cosmos (which is the perfect stocking sopher for the Raccoon in your life who doesn't know he is one). That is, I believe it can be proven that the universe is intrinsically and not just accidentally conscious. It has never been unknown to human beings that this can be proven in mystical experience, but I believe it can also be proven by mere transrational logic. Certain things just must be, and one of them is that our individual consciousness partakes of a much greater consciousness, in the same way that our little ego relates to the cosmic Dreamer who dreams us. One image Alan Watts used to employ is that of a lampshade with hundreds of pinholes. Viewed from the outside, it will look as if there are hundreds of little lights, but in reality, there is only the one bulb at the center.
Oh yes, about that little "slot" where we dilate time and gain a more expansive view of the cosmic goings-on. Sorry that this post has been a bit chaotic -- I'm just free-associating under pressure, since I have to take over child-care responsibilities momentarily. But Mouravieff writes that this slot is like a keyhole -- or key to the whole -- that opens many mysteries.
I believe I've written about this before -- about the "A influences" and the "B influences," the former coming "from the world," the latter outside it. One of the first steps in any spiritual practice is, of course, to tap into a stream of B influences, through which you begin to liberate yourself from the chaotic A influences (which are alternatively coercive, seductive or hypnotic, and average out to "zero") and begin to actualize your very own latent esoteric center (which I symbolize as (¶) in my book) which then proceeds to operate as its own "magnetic center" which draws nonlocal help from other Coons, both living and technically dead. Now that you are "plugged in" to the Coon network, I am sure that this has become a basic fact of your day-to-dei life.
I can't possibly do justice to this topic in the alotted time, but let's just highlight the fact that spiritual knowledge can never be reduced to "know how" in the absence of "be who," for it always involves an expansion of being, not merely the accumulation of intellectual knowledge, or (k). Furthermore, once this be-who (n) is assimilated, it works on us in a way that (k) never can; in that regard, it is much more analogous to medicine, or perhaps a catalytic enzyme. But as it impregnates us, it.... impregnates us, and in spirituality you can definitely be "a little bit pregnant," as (¶) grows and expands within.
Now, the present can be so narrow as to be functionally non-existent for the average person. So distracted is he by the world of A-influences, that the slot of the present -- the only place where be-who can occur -- narrows down to nothing. It might as well be the past, which is why people in thrall to the A influences are technically dead, and why Jesus said that they should just bury their fallow travelers.
But there is another present -- I believe this is the present Petey was referring to on page 15, where it says, You haven't perceived the hologram to your private particle? Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty. Why, it's a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf.
Mouravieff writes that the present "necessarily has extension," but that for exterior man, "this extent is very short.... if we reduce this Present to the zero we think it is, it becomes purely and simply cessation of existence. It is thus that death actually occurs."
Ah ha! Life, therefore, has something do to with the expansion of the present. For someone who abandons himself to A influences, the present disappears. But all forms of concentration, meditation, intellection, and prayer, are aimed at enlarging the present, which is in reality the only "place" that is outside time -- or "above" it, so to speak. If time is a line, this allows us to exist at a right angle to it, where we can begin to perceive time in its fulness, exercise a more profound degree of free will, and make deeper connections with the non-temporal realities that vertically flow into time.
This is what Mouravieff believes Jesus meant when he cracked about the "strait gate": For wide is the door and broad is the path that leads to perdition. Many are they that enter it. For strait is the door and narrow is the Path that leads to life, and few are they that find them. And this is precisely where Jesus and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs merge, for this narrow path is the way back "upstream" to the source of our cosmic slack.