Slack Liberation Theology (3.13.10)
Science has a lot of answers. But only to very narrow and specific questions. If you ask the wrong question, for example, "Why are truth and beauty so intimately related?", you get no answer at all. Worse, some questions just generate paradox, like, "What was before the big bang?"
Various sciences abstract from the meaning of being as a whole, which is only possible because truth emanates from being -- which is itself a timeless truth which we may know with certainty on pain of the impossibility of knowing anything. But science alone can never explain the existence of the truth-bearing scientist, any more than you can give birth to yourself.
Sciences develop very technical languages to convey this truth of Being -- for example, the language of quantum mechanics or the hyper-sophisticated coding of the human genome. But again, these languages aren't Being itself. The map is not the territory. The human genome project is not alive, nor can you make a cosmos out of mathematics.
Being just is. We can describe it any way we like, but our description can never exhaust the infinite ocean of Being. It perpetually flows into our little vessel of human knowing without being diminished one iota.
In my book, I use the symbol "O" to stand for the infinite and unknowable ground of ultimate reality from which our existence is derived, the latter of which is like a spark thrown from a central fire. It can never be known. We can only know "about" it. On the other hand, we can experience its heat and light directly -- or its warmth and illumination.
In fact, we can know many things about O, just as I can know many things about you. But I can never know you in the same way you know yourself in an unmediated way, from the inside. Only you can have this kind of "inside information" about yourself.
Thus, observational science proceeds in the direction of O--(k), while logico-deductive science proceeds in the direction of (k)-->O. (k) is the realm of everyday dualistic knowledge about O. This knowledge may be known objectively and passed like an object from mind to mind.
For example, the theory of natural selection is (k) about the ultimate unknowable mystery of the living O. It is not to be confused with O. For surely, O is alive, and yet, it can hardly be reduced to a biological object, which is only an effect, not a cause.
At risk of pointing out the obvious, the theory of natural selection cannot tell you how O evolved to the point that it could hypothesize and know a truth about itself, any more than musical notation can account for the existence of music.
Music is completely unperturbed by all the efforts to capture and contain it. All the music that has been produced in the history of the world has not yet made a dent in it. We will never "run out" of music.
Music will continue to flow forever, just as will language. Language will never explain the ceaseless creativity of language. It just flows and flows and flows, regardless of your theory or system. It is truly a mirror of the infinite, since it is one of the primary modes of O. "The Word" was with O from the beginning, and the beginning is always now: Yes, When He prepared the heavens, I was there. When He drew a circle on the face of the deep.... I was beside Him as a master craftsman (Proverbs 8:27).
Science must satisfy itself with (k), which is fine. Obviously, (k) has its place so long as we exist, as we must, in the "separative illusion." Since most cultures revolve around (-k), I am thankful I won the cosmic lottery and live in a place that mostly honors (k). For any method of science is correct, on its own level, to the extent that it submits to O and allows itself to be molded and determined by the limited object or domain it is studying.
But for most of history -- and in much of the contemporary world, in particular, the Islamic world -- this direction is reversed, and reality is determined and molded by (k), which automatically converts it to (-k). To be precise, in the case of the Islamic world, it is overrun with the more pernicious (-n), which never touched O to begin with. (Obama's hateful Trinity Church is a fine example of [-n].)
Worse yet, when (k) replaces O, one then lives in the parallel loooniverse of -O, or ø, which is where so much of contemporary leftist wackademia resides. Whenever you deny O, you will simply replace it with ø, and fall from essence to existence.
In fact, you may even elevate yourself to O, as do so many secular fundamentalist fanatics. They do this in both trivial and profound ways, from dictating how the infinitely complex system of the economy should be governed, to making it against the law to discuss O in public schools.
We in the West suffer from a different problem than the one that afflicts the (-n) Muslim world. Unfortunately, our culture does more than honor (k). Rather, it elevates it to the highest. The secular world tries to eradicate O and replace it with mere (k), which automatically places you in an abstract, substitute, and counterfeit world at least one degree removed from reality.
Religions, properly understood, attempt to restore our primordial relationship with O. Fundamentally, they contemplate the holy and manifest mystery of Being by trying to enter it directly -- not talk about it but from within it. And when they do talk about the mystery, it is not in the manner of (k)-->O (or at least it shouldn't be). Rather, the direction is reversed, and it is O-->(n).
(n) is not to be confused with (k). To take just one obvious example, it would be a grave error to reduce the words of Jesus to mere (k). Rather, Jesus spoke in almost pure (n). You will note that Jesus used no technical terms at all.
Obviously, specialized (k) can be quite technical. Most of it is well over -- or under -- your head. But (n) is often quite homespun and plain -- even rustic -- sounding. The Tao Te Ching, for example, contains no technical terms at all. Nor do the Upanishads or the Talmud. Nor, for that matter, did most of the great philosophers of history employ any technical language: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Schopenhauer. Only when (k) started to become confused with O did we see this great confusion in philosophy, a confusion that pervades the contemporary academic world.
In fact, sad to say, contemporary philosophy has detached itself entirely from O. It now consists of nothing more than (k) about (k), which, suffice it to say, is merely (-k) as it pertains to metaphysics, the latter of which being the science of the Real.
If revelation is an objective manifestation of O, the intellect as such is its subjective manifestation, the one mirroring the other.
The scientistic world of (k)-->O is a barren one that is unfit for humans. Being spontaneously gives itself to us, but in order to appreciate that, we must adopt an attitude of receptiveness. If we do not maintain this receptive attitude, the world cannot open up and give of itself from within -- within to within. Although the way of the jnani is not the way of the bhakti, in that it is "intellectual," there is considerable overlap, in that it is nevertheless a love relationship. It is phil of sophia, a passionate longing for Truth and Reality. Love opens up, or "liquifies" the hardened or frozen world of the self-projecting ego, and aligns us with the eternal source of divine Slack.