Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Evolution in Fact and Fantasy (12.11.11)

Letter XVII, The Star. This is the aracanum of the evolution of life and consciousness. To say that life or consciousness "evolve" is equally to say that evolution is none other than life and consciousness deployed on the plane of matter. As the previous arcanum speaks to the problem of construction, this one discloses the secret of growth, which is spiritual through and through. To meditate deeply upon true growth is to meditate on the workings of Spirit.

(By the way, I apologize in advance if this post is a little skeletal and telegraphic. I just didn't have time to flesh things out in a fully coherent manner, so you're on you're own.)

Growth is always a process of complexification of interior relations, whereas construction is an exterior phenomenon only. The tower is built by piling fully autonomous brick upon brick, but this is clearly not how a body (much less, mind) is "built."

Rather, biology -- and evolution -- presuppose a nonlocal and internally related cosmos, otherwise life -- let alone mind -- could never get off the ground. If Darwinism does not acknowledge this first principle of nonlocal wholeness, it is a metaphysical house built upon sand, for interior wholeness cannot somehow be shoehorned into an atomistic and materialistic paradigm after the fact. We can only "comprehend" evolution at all because of the interior cosmic wholeness that permeates both mind and matter.

A machine has a oneness of function, but no interior unity. In contrast the body and mind have an essential wholeness which permeates each of the parts. Furthermore, you can take away many of the parts of a human being -- legs, eyes, pancreas -- and it is still a whole human being. But if you take away the wheels, seat, and handlebars from a bicycle, it's not a bicycle anymore. This is because the human being is animated by a nonlocal essence, which is his true form.

A living, growing, or evolving thing has three essential requirements: it must be a partially open system that exchanges matter, information, or energy with the environment; it must be in a system state far from equilibrium; and it must exhibit autocatalysis, in which the end product of a reaction feeds back into the system and facilitates further growth of itself.

A living thing is full of innumerable flowing circles (both internal and external), whereas the tower is static and "dry," so to speak. And even if it requires some exchange of energy -- like an internal combustion engine -- the engine obviously doesn't engage in autocatalysis. It will always remain an engine no matter how much gas you put into it. (I should add that to grow is to convert the circle to a spiral, more on which in the following card, the Moon.)

UF has a lot of regard for the philosopher Henri Bergson, with whom I have only a nodding acquaintance. However, Bergson's ideas have a lot of overlap with Whitehead's, and I prefer my philosophy to be made in America, if possible (Whitehead was at Harvard when he switched from mathematics and physics to philosophy).

Like Whitehead, Bergson recognized that "the essence of duration is to flow, and that the fixed [or fully exterior] placed side by side with the fixed will never constitute anything which has duration." In other words, what Bergson calls "duration" is a result of dynamic flow. (Of course, we now understand that even the most solid-looking object is a buzzing iteration of subatomic processes.)

As mentioned the other day, it is strictly absurd to speak of growth in the absence of final causation, or teleology. The final cause of the world is what Teilhard de Chardin calls the "Omega point," and what we call O. It is "that toward which spiritual evolution is tending," which would constitute "the complete unity of the outer and inner, of matter and spirit" -- who is none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ.

As Omega point, Jesus is the cosmic archetype, or logos, who both participates in history while transcending it and "luring" existence in his wake. Thus, he is simultaneously -- and necessarily -- fully present in the diverse modes of past, present and future, each an inevitable reflection of the other. History "drew" God into it (so to speak), just as God draws history back to Him.

Here is how UF expresses it: "I am activity, the effective cause, who set all in motion; and I am contemplation, the final cause, who draws towards himself all that which is in movement. I am primordial action; and I am eternal waiting -- for all to arrive where I am."

Which is why we live "outwardly" in world of dualism, but "inwardly" (or inwordly) in a spiritual world that transcends and heals the wound of duality, seen in light of the future unification of all -- which is always available now.

This is to unify science and religion, evolution and salvation, or what we call salvolution. In fact, this is precisely what I was attempting to express on page 261, which may seem less clear, but is actually more clear than the above, since it is designed to "lure" one up to the Subject under discussion:

What you was trying to find, you done had it all the time, only God is left, now left behind: we swallow our tale and the Word is finished. So much straw anyway. Adameve, Christomega, lifedeath, sundown, Sonarise: Finn again, we rejoyce: salvolution, evelation, ululu-woo-hoo-aluation!


Joan of Argghh! said...

I'd love to leave a fulsome and shiny comment, but all I have to share is this picture.

But don't click over to it if you have something transcendent and serious to share, because you'll just forget whatever it was.

Raccoons really have a hard time sticking to the subject. They're always getting hung up on fun.

River Cocytus said...

Today is the day of salvation, as they say. The stars keep shining on; you just can't see them when the Sun is out.

Djadja said...

I recently became drawn into a blog exchange about evolution with a group of Christians, some of whom were fundamentalists. It’s been a while since I’ve discussed evolution with fundamentalist Christians, and I tried to draw a distinction between evolution and evolutionism. The fundamentalists would have none of it. I mentioned Bergson’s concept of indivisibility to show the teleological wholeness that evolution demonstrates, and referred to evolution in terms of growth with the analogy of a tree whose end is known when the seed sprouts but whose exact shape is also subject to chance. They would have none of it. And having once been among their number, I can tell you that the animating factor in refusing to enter a reasonable discussion on evolution is fear. And fear leaves them vulnerable to the evolutionists because they have sealed themselves into their fortress Bible.

Djadja said...

Thanks, Joan. I needed that!

River Cocytus said...

They've turned the Temple into a Tower, Djadja. Symbolically speakin'.

julie said...

(Djadja - I haven't forgotten your song, by the way - I just don't know when i'll be able to give it the requisite attention. Could be january...)

Petey said...

Yes, the fundamentalists and Darwinists equally live in fantasy, and deserve one another.

Ray Ingles said...

Furthermore, you can take away many of the parts of a human being -- legs, eyes, pancreas -- and it is still a whole human being.

What if you take away just the brain?

What if you were to keep the just the brain alive in a cybernetic body?

Cousin Dupree said...

Then you would be an asshole.

Ray Ingles said...

As mentioned the other day, it is strictly absurd to speak of growth in the absence of final causation, or teleology.

Can final causes change? Can something change which final cause it 'aims for'?

Ray Ingles said...

Dupree - What does that say about the author of Alzheimers?

River Cocytus said...

Or the heart, Ray. What about the heart?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Can final causes change? Can something change which final cause it 'aims for'?

Ray, the Space-Time Continuum called. They want their 3 seconds back.

River Cocytus said...

Ray - if you remove the steering wheel from the car, suddenly it can't turn left and right! Never mind that such a thing disrupts the embodied unity necessary between the driver and car - to create the car going somewhere of which the car is only part. The person functioning as Driver occurs the same moment as the car functioning as Driven; thus we can see a kind of vision of body and soul. Take away certain parts and you hinder the function, but not the essential wholeness.

Also consider that a human cell is also human, while a piston is not 'car'. This is a key difference between the organic nature of the body and the constructed nature of the car. Thus by a degree humans are closer to God than a car, as they, while compounded and complex, still are whole on multiple levels in a certain way.

The witness of seeing the saints after death - bodily death - shows that humans may partake in God's nature - this wholeness - on levels that are not shared by any other animal.

Ray Ingles said...

River - A human cell may be 'human' in some senses, but it's not a human. Otherwise exfoliation would be mass murder.

Of course, y'all do seem to be almost as fond of Monty Python as I am...

River Cocytus said...

Then what is a zygote, Ray?

Anonymous said...

A zygote is still just a cell. Hence why they're called zygotes, and not babies or fetuses.

River Cocytus said...

So, when does it become human, then?

Ray Ingles said...

River - Not before 33 days or so, as far as I can tell.

River Cocytus said...

Or is what makes it human what it may become? Hmm... isn't that what this card is all about.

Ray Ingles said...

Going by what it 'may become' is problematic, though. From the link:

"If you think a fertilized egg has a soul, you run into problems with actual biological reality. Zygotes can split up to two weeks after fertilization, leading to identical twins or triplets, or even quadruplets. Let's keep things "simple" and consider just identical twins. Which twin has the soul? Or does each have half a soul? Or does God 'supplement the soul supply' in such cases with an extra? If so, when? At the moment of splitting? Or does it happen earlier - does God, at conception, infuse an extra soul in a zygote that It 'knows' will split later? Is there an objective way to detect zygotes that have an extra soul waiting for the split? Or if the extra soul comes later, is there an objective way to tell which twin had the original and which one got the 'bonus soul'?

Then there's the case of 'chimeras'. Sometimes two eggs get fertilized at the same time. If both manage to implant, you get fraternal twins. But (very rarely) sometimes those developing zygotes fuse, and give rise to a person that is composed of two different cell lines. This has resulted in puzzling cases where a child appears not to be genetically related to the mother that conceived and gave birth to them! Consider, if both zygotes got souls at the moment of conception, does a chimera have two souls? Or did one of them 'die' and the other one kept on living? (Which one? Did the one that died get a 'free pass' to heaven?)"

River Cocytus said...

The soul and body arise at the same time. If it divides, then it is two souls, if it merges, then it is one. I don't see the complication here?

Joan of Argghh! said...

If the sum of the whole can never be greater than the parts, then God cannot exist.

But like the infinite half-distance between two points, the parts are infinite within the whole. In fact, the further in we go, the more innumerable parts we discover. We have no idea of the sum of the parts.

Therefore, all things are possible, all creation is eternal, and God is indeed, greater than and equal to the sum of all the parts. We just haven't cataloged them yet.

I'm thinking that leaves all sorts of room for growth as we contain more gno-ing, more appropriating of Truth, and more beer. (Which is where this comment originated, I think. A little bit of a seed of barley and such, enough time and growth, and the next thing you know, you're brilliant and witty.)

If Ray has proved anything with his pedantic pontifications, it is that infinite possibility ceases to function within Ray's brain cells. They are just cells. Nothing more.

Joan of Argghh! said...

But seriously, where do thoughts go when brain cells die?

Ray Ingles said...

River - Eternal essences can split and merge? Well, er, okay...

Skully said...

"Growth is always a process of complexification of interior relations, whereas construction is an exterior phenomenon only. The tower is built by piling fully autonomous brick upon brick, but this is clearly not how a body (much less, mind) is "built."

My Wench is a brick house.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Skully is very brilliant and witty.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Yes, evolution is a stumbling block for fundamentalists.
Darwinists have turned the "e" word into a dirty word, and fundamentalists can't get past that deception.

I'm sure fundamentalists would freak out at the very mention of MOTT: Meditations on the Tarot.
(The "t" word).

They isolate themselves and stunt their growth by refusing to look beyond their fortress.
It's not hopeless, however. I was once a fundy, for a few years.

I must say it's better than atheism, and the New Age churches, and some folks are very satisfied with that narrow view, but I gnew, deep inside, that there was infinitely more, and infinitely deeper than the kiddies pool. :^)

River Cocytus said...

Souls are not eternal by nature, and are created when the body is created, albeit since they are invisible and not material in a way which is not fully understood. Souls are only eternal by grace, that is, the energy of God. If God willed they would simply cease to be, as would everything. Anything that is not God is not Eternal by Nature, and if it everlasts, does so only by God's will. The logoi, that is, ideas of us which preexist us are of the Logos and are thus eternal. But like any idea they are only a potential and not an actuality. (Leaning heavily on Maximus & Gregory N. here...)

If what you said was true there would be no evolution; after all that would mean the soul is you and the body is not. Why even be born? But if one grows both spiritually and physically in this life, then the soul is not eternal by nature, since it undergoes change.

Or, that's what John D, Maximus and Gregory say.

Skully said...

"This is to unify science and religion, evolution and salvation, or what we call salvolution."

Ho! Yet another cool word that makes it into the anals of the OC.

Robin Starfish said...

I'm sure fundamentalists would freak out at the very mention of MOTT: Meditations on the Tarot.
(The "t" word).

They sure do, Ben. I've had great raccoon sport with it lately. ;-)

All in good fun, of course.

julie said...

Don't miss today's Screedblog.

hoarhey said...

Alas, sooo much Ray to skim past today, and ignore. I feel cheated.

Have you ever asked yourself the question, "Why do I spend my time on the web with a bunch of deluded strangers?". Perhaps you have a web-link explaining the phenomenon.

On second thought..............nah.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Oh and BTW Ray, Asimov was an asshat.

walt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well...I never considered it Walt.
Hmmm, a factual piece of fiction, a new myth...
I'll give it a try but I hold you responsible. :^)

walt said...

Ben, you're fast!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That sorta just bubbled up like cheap champaigne.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Bob-
Thanks for such a superb MOTT teachin' n' study!
This belongs in the pantheon of the best of the best! :^)

Bravo Zulu Sir!

Van said...

"I should add that to grow is to convert the circle to a spiral, more on which in the following card, the Moon.)"

oOh... I can't wait for that, thar be grails in them thar castles... seeing the qualities in the quantities, defines the circles, seeing the qualities in the qualities, causes that circle to rise vertically and we lift ourselves seemingly by our own mootstraps.

Van said...

Speaking of Towers, what in the hell is this?
Jimmy Carter and The Elders? A new singing group? No, just one of the most blatant exercises in tower building on record:

"...Mr Carter is one of a group of world leaders, known as the Elders, who were refused entry visas for Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation.
Mr Zuma described as an "unfortunate act" Zimbabwe's decision to refuse visas to Mr Carter, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel, a human rights activist.

The three said the sole aim of their trip - on behalf of the Elders, a group set up to tackle world conflicts - had been to help people in Zimbabwe, and that they had no intention of becoming involved in any political negotiations.

Here's how they describe themselves,

"We are moving to a global village and yet we don't have our global elders. The Elders can be a group who have the trust of the world, who can speak freely, be fiercely independent and respond fast and flexibly in conflict situations."

Proof positive that Tony Robbins and Deepack are the merest of pikers in the self aggrandizing charlatan world salvation con game.

Van said...

Ben said "Oh and BTW Ray, Asimov was an asshat."

In some ways, but with the Foundation and Robot books, he had the ability to toot with style.

Anonymous said...

I love reading One Cosmos!

Can you even imagine what is taught in a typical university philosophy program these days? Every time my mind so wanders, I'm forced to metaphorically stick my fingers in my ears and say "lalalalalala can't hear you!"

Really though, where else than right here in the world does such a nourishing blend of ideas exist?

Brazentide said...

"Can you even imagine what is taught in a typical university philosophy program these days?"

I couldn't tell you if this is the exception or the norm. Unfortunately I suspect the latter.

Ray Ingles said...

Hoarhey - A few minutes here and there while I'm waiting for compiles or installs to finish is one thing. I dunno how Van manages to write the novels he's posted on his site. My time when I'm home is devoted to home and family. :-/

Joan of Argghh! said...

Ray, you are such a liar!

And a small little man.

Zoltan said...

A brief coup d'oeil of today's comments (through #45):

It is a necessary (telos) and therefore salutary role of philosophical atheism to keep horizontal posture from remaining prone, vertical posture from remaining upright and, most importantly, the pretense of horizontal as vertical posture from gaining respectability.

Bob's post today does not imply that complexification -- how delightful to see that delicious neologism in active service after all these years! -- is automatically salvolution, but the danger of one's implying that it does is real.

Ego is forever young.

Teilhard's basic red flag among members of his order was the suspicion that his concept of process eliminates transcendent power and action, that salvolution is intrinsic to nature and actualizes itself ineluctably in natural processes.

Scientific humanism, including that of Whithead's process theology, Weiman's natural theology and Bergson's ecstatic monistic theology, rests on just this premise, that process itself is self-creating, self-maintaining and self-fulfilling.

Thus, we need only educate everyone in the process process demands -- i.e., the one we represent and operate -- and all will be perfect forever more.

Omega achieved through the Ivy League and the Sorbonne -- and all Armageddons of the world's benighted ignoramuses obviated because they have been consigned to reeducation and extirpation camps.

If salvolution (another delicious neologism) inheres ineluctably in nature, the paradox (para, against + doxa, common expectation) of "visitation" (Gott mit uns.) is impossible or at least moot.

Ray is responding to a tone in today's comments to the effect that salvolution inheres ineluctably in nature, in process itself.

He is skeptical. He is right, you know.

And he bears himself honorably amidst uncharitable characterization, and not from hubris.

John Cage, the prominent queer atheist, loved to quote his father, "Measurements measure measuring means."

Just so.

Obscure the paradox of the reality indicated by the symbol of the Cross and we know/understand "a whole lot that just ain't so."

Atheists do not point directly to that paradox, of course, but they perform a service to the same valuation and end: they point to the internal contradictions of immanentalist soteriology, which appeals to the triumphercially hunominalist modern mind.

If theology cannot be consistent it cannot be theological. God is the master of surprises. Therefore theology must also be and make that its consistency.

Surprises are not irrationalities or absurdities. They are paradoxa, not paralogos. Or, they are not, as a Latin phrase has it, invita Minerva, against the life, the structure, of the mind.

Atheists are God's best friends.

"Internal wholeness" is a fecund concept deriving from phenomenology rather than mere theory, and of signal puissance.

The root meaning of Latin salus, from which we have English salvation is "healthy in the sense of whole."

There is also this to be considered: "The truth is the whole." G.W.F. Hegel

The truth's being the whole is the ultimate methodological tool for all human activity.

It promotes honesty and humility.

It is called via negativa in the Latin Church ("Western Civilization") and neti in Vedantic parlance.

Its form is usually stated as "Not this, not this." but better today expressed as "Yes, but also ...."

I am sure this method has received review here previously.

Gagdad Bob said...


hoarhey said...


A "few minutes here and there" my ass.
Paragraph after paragraph takes more than a few minutes.
At least Van would be honest about the time he spends.

hoarhey said...

"And he bears himself honorably amidst uncharitable characterization, and not from hubris."

I used to believe that statement to be true but I've seen too much evidence to the contrary over the last few months.

Van said...

Ray said “I dunno how Van manages to write the novels he's posted on his site. My time when I'm home is devoted to home and family. :-/”

Heh... an interest in how I use my time, or a gripe about your inability to manage it?

No matter. Here's the typical breakdown of reading and writing time in my day, for inquiring minds who need to know:

I get up quite some time before anyone else, and get a lot of reading and writing in then, usually 1.5-2 hrs.

Most of my during the day comments come from compile, build, install times - or those blessed 'in between tasks' periods - luckily I've been valuable enough to keep on, even when there's nothing to do - we'll see what the coming economy makes of that. You can pretty much tell whether I'm in one of those periods, or a project crunch & deployment period (as has been the last couple weeks), by the amount of comments I'm able to get in during the day.

And then there's lunch - I usually spend my lunch hour at my desk, headphones on, cubeland vanished into whatever I'm reading or writing.

Although the boys are grown past needing my constant presence beyond dinner & after conversation or the occasional football game, etc, Rachel (9) still makes use of me (a little materialistic lingo for you there), and beyond the usuals of deprogramming the school day, homework and family stuff, she still manages to let me read her a chapter or two (we're up to "Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire") before bed.

My wife works 3 full day days a week as a Nurse, so half of the week, once the kids are in bed, my nights are free for reading and writing, and every third weekend she gets stuck with working, which may or may not mean more time for reading & writing, depending on what the kids have cooking.

That pretty much sums it up, if I'm not with the family or work, I'm usually reading or writing, which can amount to 2 or 3 hours a day... I very rarely bother with doing anything else - I spent the 80's having 'fun', nothing bores me more than going out to 'have fun'. Hope that satisfies you Ray... of course that won't affect your utter lack of having any ideas to write about even if you found the time, but, that's your problem, not mine.

(insert favorite passive/agressive smiley here)

Joan of Argghh! said...

Zoltan, Ray is an energy vampire. He can move through an army of commenters over the months, drawing new ones in to rake or defend him and thus sustain his need. He is so very "nice," why should anyone like me be mean to him?

Well, Ray is no smoldering flax or bent reed, else he would find in me the most affable and compassionate of allies; my heart being not so small as my ego is over-large. But I do have one.A heart, I mean!

Bob allows him to stay, and he suffers me to stay, too. You call out to Ray's soul in your way, and I'll pummel through his flesh to find it. It'll be fun to see who finally succeeds.

And I mean that. Nothing would be more joyous-- even for me to be perceived as heartless and unthinkingly cruel-- if that is what it would take, to bring Ray into the Stable and see the miracle of his soul.

Anonymous said...

-thought I was pretty much a master punster, til meeting RG:
'"inwardly" (or inwordly)
- a sweet one!
or his teeming paragraphs like today's ultimate.
This passage of Schwaller de Lubicz* was recalled reading Bob's endwords:

There is no “first seed,” and the egg preceded the chicken. The substance of this egg has always existed as substance without form, the Cosmic Virgin. The sperm of the rooster, to the contrary, became, generated in the passage from cosmic nebula to itself.

The Christic principle, on the other hand, is direct fertilization without specific seed, a leap from the abstract origin to the ultimate human product: Man-God.

*the end of ESOTERISM & SYMBOL

-GE on mozilla wont let me login darnit

Zoltan said...

Joan of Argghh,

One would not be in error to consider me a nobody, bereft of ability to help much less power to save anybody, including my self.