Moral Entropy, Bonehead Math, and the Open Cosmos (1.13.11)
Whatever the case may be, Bolton insists that the Law must exist, because it is rooted in a much deeper principle -- you know, one of those principles that "cannot not be": "namely, that the world-order is moral, despite all contrary appearances." I suppose it can get confusing, because the point is that the whole cosmic system is moral, even though experience of seeming exceptions may fool us into believing this isn't the case. However, in this regard, it may be analogous to the second law of thermodynamics, which -- according to physicists -- can never be violated on the macro scale, local appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.
In other words, in the material cosmos, entropy is da' law. What about organic life? Or evolution? Or increased complexity? Aren't these obvious exceptions to the law of entropy? Not according to physics. In fact, the pioneering work of Ilya Prigogine in chaos theory demonstrated how non-linear self-organizing systems can only increase their complexity because of the existence of entropy, which they "dissipate" by maintaining disequilibrium and openness to the environment, but only up to a point. To put it another way, open systems at disequilibrium -- that would be you and me, for example -- are able to dissipate entropy and therefore maintain dynamic order. Until they don't. Life is a fugitive from the law of entropy, and when entropy finally catches up, you die. This is why everyone is so nervous. Wouldn't you be?
However, there is no unsane reason you cannot turn this formulation back on its feet, and affirm that entropy can only exist in a cosmos that is fundamentally ordered. In other words, it seems obvious that entropy is always parasitic on order, not vice versa. And where did all the a priori order come from? Physicists are not permitted say, since -- ironically -- they operate in a totally closed system in which no influences from outside the system are permitted. This is an assumption that science can never prove, on pain of making Gödel spin in his grave, which cannot happen, since he has been at complete thermal equilibrium since 1978.
I personally believe -- and Petey agrees with me -- that it is preposterous to suggest that the deep order -- say, those 20 mathematical parameters that govern the character and development of the physical universe, discussed in my book, which is now down to #470,452 on amazon, thanks a lot -- came from "entropy," or from complete cosmic equilibrium. This cannot happen, for the same reason I flunked trigonometry in the 12th grade -- that is, you cannot derive higher mathematics from complete emptiness and utter indifference. (This follows from the big bong theory, which I don't have time to explain at the moment.) Seriously, it's like suggesting that God had to take a bonehead math course at Pierce Junior College in 1975, to pick a date at random.
No, it's worse than that. It's like insisting that the cosmos was created from "nothing" instead of Nothing -- which makes all the difference, "difference" being the very opposite of entropy. You could even say that God makes all the difference, which is certainly what Genesis teaches, in that the very first act -- the act which makes any subsequent action possible -- is to separate. Just try googling "genesis separation chaos judaism," and watch how google instantaneously organizes the chaos of cyberspace into metaphysical truth at your fingertips, just like an echo of Genesis.
Again, we are not denying entropy, only putting it in its proper place. For one thing, if entropy did not exist, we could not have freedom, for the universe would either be the "pure order" of a machine or a pure absence of order -- a chaosmos, not a cosmos. Entropy is a middle term without which we could not get from here to there, not a final term that allows us to go nowhere. For example, the reason why the Commandments were necessary was to keep moral entropy in check. Left to his own deviceings, man will morally dissipate. But this surely doesn't mean that moral dissipation is the inevitable end of man. Rather, the soul may journey toward perfection because of entropy.
Man always lives his life in relation to value, "value" being the essence of quality, which can never be reduced to quantity. To live in relation to value is to live teleologically and to therefore allow oneself to be shaped by influences from "above" or from "the future." Now, are these transcendent values "permanent truths," like the truths of mathematics, or are they just worthless artifacts to be worn away by the sands of entropy? Is it true that we shouldn't murder, or is it no more real than a rainbow?
In the real world, entropy exists. In fact, you could say that this is one of the lessons of Genesis 3. There is no entropy in paradise -- no death, no knowledge of duality, no separation from the Principle, no need for junior college. I remama that warm little womb, don't you? But then I was bearthed and begaialed and bodhied out. And here I sattva, or try to anyway, despite my book sales drifting toward total entropy.
So in the end, predestination is indistinguishable from strict scientism, which are both just sloppy solipsisms and slippery solecisms. To quote Bolton, "When everything is believed to happen because of natural forces alone without relation to value, the experience of the validity of belief is cut off from the outside world, and made exclusively part of the individual's relation to him or herself." And "If all consequences of beliefs and actions had to await the hereafter, the result would be an impassable divide between the temporal life and the eternal..."
Just so, if actions and their consequences have no moral value, then existential entropy is absolute and man can never become what he is: "A world in which anything could happen to anyone would be one in which the natural order was inherently amoral, and the commandments of religion would not make any concrete difference. Far from meaning an openness to Providence, it would really mean no Providence at all" (Bolton).
The "good news" of religion is that the world is not a closed circle, that it is not an eternal prison, that it has an exit and an entrance.... "Perdition" is to be caught up in the eternal circulation of the world of the closed circle... [whereas] "salvation" is life in the world of the open circle, or spiral, where there is both exit and entrance. --Meditations on the Tarot