Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Floating Upstream Along the Ancient Celestial Trail (12.20.11)

Continuing with UF's riff on the Gospel of John, he says that it appeals to the human soul to shift its ground of intelligence from the created to the creative through a union of sun and moon. What does this mean? Let's find out.

The mode of science is entirely lunar, in that it seeks to "reflect" matter. Which is fine for science. Just don't confuse it with philosophy or metaphysics, much less theology.

The lunar mode can only comprehend that which is discontinuous, never that which is continuous. In fact, if I am not mistaken, the word "science" is etymologically related to "cut," which is what science must do in order to understand anything. But the cutting is in the mind of the scientist, and cannot be confused with what is ultimately real, and which unites the scientific knower with what he knows. Matter is atomistic, malleable, and infinitely divisible. Using only the tools of science, it is impossible to even approach the problem of intrinsically continuous and holistic properties such as life and mind.

But the Gospel of John confronts us with the creative Word, "which is the light and life of men." Here, intelligence "has the task of understanding the whole world as the organisatory act of the Word and Jesus Christ as the cosmic Word made flesh." Whereas lunar intelligence seeks to understand "that which is," this logocentric mode seeks to participate "in the becoming of that which is to be." It is not just to be "born again," but to give birth -- which is to participate in the intrinsic and eternal creativity of the Word. (This is the Voidgin Birth alluded to in my book.)

Real creativity is clearly a kind of higher life and higher life that is continuous with, or a mirror of, the divine activity. The point is, on the intellectual plane, approaching God doesn't just require a leap of faith, but a leap of creative activity -- which is also its seal of authenticity. It is again one of the things I intended to convey by the symbol O-->(n), as it is a continuous flow, "or river of water of life," not something fixed and dead.

UF writes that it involves the true union of intelligence and the intuition of faith. In the typical believer, it seems that these two modes are "engaged," but they have to move on to a true marriage, and become "one flesh." It is not simply one mode added to the other, but a real harmonious -- and creative -- union. (There is much more on this union in the following letter, The Sun, which I suppose we'll be getting into tomorrow.)

UF singles out several thinkers whom he believes approached or achieved this fusion of faith and intelligence, including Origen, Denys, Aquinas, Jacob Boehme, Berdayev, and Teilhard de Chardin. He also has a lot of praise for Bergson, with whom I again have only a general familiarity. But he includes an extended passage from Bergson that well captures what we are discussing here. He makes reference to the circularity of mere logic, and the need to break out of this closed world:

"If we had never seen a man swim, we might say that swimming is an impossible thing, in as much as, to learn to swim, we must begin by holding ourselves up in water and, consequently, already know how to swim. Reasoning, in fact, always nails us down to the solid ground."

You can no doubt appreciate the baleful consequences of our scientistic jester's mundane and earthbound intelligence, which is again in servitude to that which is infinitely beneath its scope and station: "It looks to the least developed and the most primitive for the cause and the explanation of what is most developed and the most advanced in the process of evolution.... it retreats into matter. It does something with regard to the world which would be absurd with regard to a work of art.... Intelligence which prefers retreating to flying must inevitably arrive at the impasse of absurdity.... And the absurd... this is suicide for intelligence" (MOTT).

Bergson continues: "But if, quite simply, I throw myself into the water without fear, I may keep myself up well enough at first by merely struggling, and gradually adapt myself to the new environment: I shall learn to swim.... if the risk be accepted, action will perhaps cut the knot that reasoning has tied and will not unloose."

This reminds me of the anecdote in my book about the yeshiva student who is asked if he knows how to swim: "No, but I understand swimming." The analogy with our jester is exact, whose pride forbids him from leaving the solid shore, but who nevertheless imagines that he understands what it means to dive into the Ocean. (By the way, I hope it is understood that I am not "scorning" or beating up on him, but merely using him as a handy object lesson. He will be the first to assure you that he is not in the least offended. If he were vulnerable, sincere, or honest enough to be capable of taking offense, I would handle it in a much different manner.)

So our intelligence must take the plunge in order to leave the prison of materialism: "[L]eap it must, that is, leave its own environment. Reason, reasoning on its powers, will never succeed in extending them, though the extension would not appear at all unreasonable once it were accomplished." For example, one could publish thousands of studies on the nature of walking on solid ground, but they "will never yield a rule for swimming: come, enter the water, and when you know how to swim, you will understand how the mechanism of swimming is connected with that of walking. Swimming is an extension of walking, but walking would never have pushed you on to swimming."

That is a critical point, for from the perspective of walking, the leap to swimming looks "discontinuous." But from the perspective of swimming, one can appreciate the continuity, which is none other than "the God of the gaplessness" of reality. Science sees "gaps" that it imagines the religious believer fills in with "God." But it's actually the other way around. Once one leaps into the Word, one sees how there are no gaps at all, and why it is so easy for science to fill the apparent ones!

This, in case you didn't know, is the reason why I arranged my book so that the chapters are both continuous and discontinuous, from nothing (or beyond-being) to being, matter to life, life to mind, and mind to spirit (in other words, there are distinct "chapters," even though the sentences that link them run together). Only from the point of view of the first half of each pair does the second look discontinuous. But from the point of view of the second, one doesn't just "see," but one unproblematically lives the continuity. One swims.

After all, doesn't your body easily unify matter and life without you having to think about it? And doesn't your mind easily unify intelligence, life, and matter? And doesn't the Raccoon naturally live the unity of matter, life, mind and Spirit, or O? Of course. And there is no "technique" for doing so, accept for aspiring (↑) to the nonlocal Grace (↓) that meets us more than halfway, and then coontemplatively "breathing" in its eternal rhythm. We could never do it ourselves, not in 13.7 billion years.

The unity comes from the top, not the bottom, of the cosmic hierarchy. Which is why it is indeed One Cosmos Under God.

Esoterism is not a collection of extraordinary and unknown things, but rather it is above all a less ordinary and less known way of seeing ordinary and known things -- of seeing their profundity --Meditations on the Tarot

Abandon All Hopelessness, Ye Who Enter Here
(image courtesy of the Frothy One)

94 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

"(By the way, I hope it is understood that I am not "scorning" or beating up on him, but merely using him as a handy object lesson. He will be the first to assure you that he is not in the least offended. If he were vulnerable, sincere, or honest enough to be capable of taking offense, I would handle it in a much different manner.)"

It's so sad and kind of annoying that you even have to make that clarification. Although I thought (perhaps I was wrong) that yesterday's admonishments about the eeeevils of scorn were in regard to Deepak.

But anyway, excellent post. And I am now officially behind in my reading. Stupid real life, always getting in the way...

12/02/2008 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

He will be the first to assure you that he is not in the least offended. If he were vulnerable, sincere, or honest enough to be capable of taking offense, I would handle it in a much different manner.

Sure, I'm not offended, but that's because I'm quite sincere and honest. There are also plenty of areas that I'm soft and vulnerable, too... but so far no one's hit any of those.

Oh, and as long as we're talking etymologically, 'atomistic' (a-tomos, not cuttable) and 'infinitely divisible' have opposite meanings.

Using only the tools of science, it is impossible to even approach the problem of intrinsically continuous and holistic properties such as life and mind.

A lot of things appear to behave continuously, but are actually collections of discrete items. Hence the whole centuries-long debate about atomism.

Note that this means that continuous models can work very very well for a very very wide range of situations. It's only at the far extremes that such models start to diverge from reality.

12/02/2008 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

You are confusing "atomic" with "atomism," which is "a theoretical approach that regards something as interpretable through analysis into distinct, separable, and independent elementary components."

12/02/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/02/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yeah, whatever. It's only truth.

12/02/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

action will perhaps cut the knot that reasoning has tied and will not unloose."

George MacDonald was very fond of this approach to faith as a living counterpoint to the stultifying Calvinism of his day. "If any man will do, he will know," was often the theme of his protagonist's dilemma.

*****

Just got my copy of MOTT two days ago, and, WOW. That should keep me out of trouble for a year or two.

12/02/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A key contrast is that [ant] society emerges from the hard-wired decision-making of thousands of efficient little biological robots, whereas ours is, at least partly, conscious and intentional."

-- Of Ants and Men
Compare the two civilizations, and who wins? (Christine Kenneally)

Pffft. No big diff, dude.

12/02/2008 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger SB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/02/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Oh, awesome, someone's pretending to be me. Now that's the kind of thing that does get under my skin.

Check the profiles - mine has an actual email address, and a link to my website at ingles.homeunix.net, and has been "on Blogger since May 2008".

Petey - But, of course, even there you're talking about 'elementary components', i.e. indivisible items. Hence, 'atomism'.

12/02/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger SB said...

Good Morning Everyone (at least everyone on West Coast time). I just wanted to direct you to an article that complements Bob's and UF's riffs on THE WORD. It was written by FR James V. Schall and it is entitled "Words Create History". Enjoy!

http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2008/schall_benxvisynod_oct08.asp

Steve B

12/02/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger SB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/02/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>a union of sun and moon<<

I think this ideal has been emerging in the Zeitgeist; it hovers "above", exerts a certain magnetism. One can see it in the Marianic mvt of the Church, the within/without blending of the feminine principle with the traditional patriarchy.

For most minds, however, the "without" holds sway so that the blending is all surface exterior. Thus you have Obama's metrosexuality in place of genuine integration of male/female, sun/moon principles. Worse, you get Depox's wholly linear shotgun marriage of sun/moon principles in which they eventually subvert each other, resulting in weakness, lack of clarity and purpose.

12/02/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

More sun/moon unionizing -

Extending on the walking/swimming metaphor, there's the logic/intuition equation. Intuition seems impossible with regards to logic, yet one could say it's a "faster" logic, or maybe more precisely, it's a "higher" logic, a within/without logic. Another way of putting it - when logic and intuition are blended via alchemical marriage, the result is Gnosis, true Ingelligence.

12/02/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/02/2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Hey, Bob, is this really how Raccoons are supposed to behave? I've reported the imposter (who's only been around since December 2008 - i.e. today) to Blogger.com, but it'll probably take a while for them to get around to removing the schmuck.

Any chance you, as owner of the blog, could shut them down?

12/02/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Our weaknesses are not those we assent to unless we are assenting to those that we already have...

It is somewhat clear that for the most part the problem that Atheists have - or at least, declared atheists anyway - is identifying existence with manifestation of God. That is, most see that there is order and in some sense experience beauty inasmuch as they remain partially irrational (since given their system of understanding perfect reason would be mind-death) but do not make the connection between these and the notion of God.

This could be for many reasons, which may indeed vary from day to day and certainly from atheist to atheist. Having converted, taken the leap as Bob was saying, they will begin to recognize the underlying pattern in their own behavior, perhaps because they have transcended it, as the swimmer transcends walking in learning to swim, as he has made the moving about of travel no longer about walking about the earth on two feet, but about a higher thing which both walking and swimming are manifestations.

So it is not unusual that Ray should object to precisely every accusation thrown against him, whether true or false. Since truth does have a personal element to it, that is, we as changeable subjects are part of the Truth, objective subjects as it were. For on a given day he may feel that his objections are different (as each different day Bob states new variations and elaborations on things relating to God.) But it seems likely that to Bob and others there is a clear pattern to his behavior. Now, I can't say for certain they are correct, since only God knows the heart, but I will say that I do not doubt that a pattern lives there, a malicious sort of rule, a cage of invisible iron.

Now when in a cage in a small room with no apparent doors, whom is within and whom is without? In that case it would seem to not matter, and all talk about imprisonment simple irony. 'You are out of the cage? Oh, no, there are the bars.' The others of course are claiming to this one truly imprisoned that they come and go, and it is he who is imprisoned, but he has already accepted that there are no doors. It is possible he has come up with an explanation that satisfies him as to why they periodically are not present. Maybe the room is shaped like an L.

Anyway, from an ironic perspective one may consider nothing insulting; but this is different from a position of perfect peace. However, so long as one is imprisoned in that dimension, there will be no way to tell if one is on the inside or outside of the cage. Is rolling with the punches just a state of numbness? Or is there a higher peace that actually is able to love another as they are without calling what is evil, good?

As with all roots there is a plant, and with every plant there is a fruit. The plant which grows in bad ground gives sour fruit, and the diseased plant bears bad fruit as well.

The ironic perspective seems to me a great evil; instead of making a union of sun and moon (think of George MacDonald's 'The History of Photogen and Nycteris' for his slap-you-in-the-face story about this sort of thing) we make a mockery of the idea of the union, thus creating a 'false' union of them; we make them seem quite the same, as what differs sun from moon also differs moon from sun! Never mind that the two sides of a coin are never joined until they are pressed to the same disc. The man and woman are head and tails, and the marriage the disc; whether both round or embossed or whatever, what we must ask is firstly can they be part of the same coin? And secondly we must ask, what sort of coin would they become?

The idea of 'joining' leftism and conservatism is like taking the tails-mint of a penny and the head-mint of a Byzant and trying to put them together. Firstly the size is wrong and no matter which side you should see the coin from you would not be seeing the coin for which it belongs, and secondly no matter how similar coin-faces necessarily are by nature you can't simply combine any two; for combining unlike faces would create a lie, no matter how well-meaning.

12/02/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - "irrational" - contrary to reason - is not the same as "prerational" - orthogonal to reason.

Beauty isn't irrational. (Though sometimes the irrational can be beautiful, or at least beautifully funny, but only for the mirror it holds up to, and thereby reveals, the rational.)

12/02/2008 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

A perfectly reasoned-through atheistic worldview would exclude real beauty, and thus from that level or position comprehending beauty would be irrational. Beauty is the manifestation of well-ordering; order exists for a purpose; a full atheistic view sees no ultimate end for things, thus remove the necessity for many things to be beautiful at all. The further this advances the more it requires a state of irrationality to appreciate beauty.

Also, in terms of experience, I think we experience the prerational as a kind of irrationality. At least, that is the way it always comes through to me. Thus the distinction is actually a kind of picking apart - some kind of contrarian impulse I suppose. So we may say either beauty is prerational or irrational and still possibly be saying the same thing. Therefore I find it more likely you were reacting to my words as being about atheists more than about being about beauty.

12/02/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - since we saw the Airing of Grievances begin yesterday, this year, don't forget your Festivus pole.

12/02/2008 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingels said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/02/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Julie,

"It's so sad and kind of annoying that you even have to make that clarification."

The clarification comes with an accusation of being an insincere liar.

Scorn is normal operating procedure here. It's not carefully chosen, and it frequently lacks content.

Sometimes, though, it's pretty funny.

12/02/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - I'd say, rather that 'order exists', and may have a purpose.

And even when it has a purpose, it may not be one that accords with ours. The malaria parasite goes about its business pretty elegantly - it's a beautiful bit of engineering - but the purpose the organism pursues is anything but beautiful, from our perspective.

12/02/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The Sun is beautiful Ray, and yet if you throw yourself into it?

I am still detecting no water in the bottle of your objections.

12/02/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - I don't experience the 'prerational' as 'irrational'. I've never found love to be irrational, for example. Orthogonal to reason, but not against reason.

Maybe we have different understandings of what's irrational and what's prerational.

12/02/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Neither are, strictly speaking, rational. Thus one would not be wrong in saying that the prerational 'clothes itself in darkness'.

12/02/2008 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ray, when we say the word 'invisible', we do not mean 'emitting no light' or 'clear and see through', but simply 'unseeable'. Whether that is because it is in fact clear or insubstantial, or supersubstantial and emitting a light that we are not able to behold is not being implied by the word itself.

Likewise, irrational; against the reason. Both the prerational and the actually wrong and absurd go 'against the reason'. I prefer to leave the word untainted with such a distinction; it need not be connotative.

12/02/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - But I thought one of Bob's points was that the model of the universe he espouses is not 'against the reason', rather entirely compatible with it?

Motion can be "not easterly" (north-south, up-down) or "counter-easterly" (toward the west). Bob talks about things being "vertical" instead of "horizontal" - but the vertical is not against the horizontal, it's orthogonal to the horizontal.

One of the things I've tried to explain is that one can accept that there are things orthogonal to 'reason' that aren't contrary to reason.

There's "non-Euclidean geometry", but there's more than one kind - hyperbolic and elliptic. So far as I can see, we can agree that things aren't fully Euclidean, but y'all go the elliptic route and others go the hyperbolic route.

12/02/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

As always, you miss the 'play'.

Re read this post and maybe you'll grasp why the prerational is both rational and irrational at once. Irrational must mean for a given subject, for him to be honest, "against what my reason is able to discern." But if he still believes it, he is placing his trust in another that there is sense to this thing though he does not - yet - grasp it.

You can not reduce things like you can in mathematics. The process also has existence, that is, how one goes from seeing the world as a mysterious and undiscernable mess, to seeing it as perfectly ordered. And then doing that again and again until you finally float above the waters and can see the great ocean from above.

I sense a high level of abstraction in your understanding, as though 'it is reasonable', 'it is ultimately reasonable', and 'it is currently reasonable' should be treated quite the same.

I pray you did not intend any mockery in your first paragraph. I sensed a hopeful 'gotcha'.

12/02/2008 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

In other words, it does not help the man who does not understand to tell him things are reasonable which he does not understand. Bob's point is that in order to comprehend the reasonability of the cosmos does not just require the right instruments or mental gymnastics but transformation.

I think perhaps the mistake is that you intend to be doing the teaching here?

12/02/2008 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Scarlet Pimpernel said...

"I think perhaps the mistake is that you intend to be doing the teaching here?"

Od's Bodkin! Ray has two mouths and no ears!

12/02/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

River, I think that's the mistake quite a few people make here...

After reading through these comments, I can't help wondering if Ray's trouble isn't that he sees the world as "either - or" when the whole point - the underlying theme (or rather one of them) of MOTT is that it is both either and or, and ideally you synthesize the two seemingly incompatible elements at a higher point. Which is why so much of what is said comes across as contradictory (and a "gotcha!" in the SJ's mind), even though it makes perfect sense when you look at it with raccoonish overstanding. What causes Ray cognitive dissonance serves us as a guffahaw experience.

Trouble is, none of us can make him see that. He just has to dive off that cliff his own self to learn that you can swim through the air.

12/02/2008 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Sapmoss said...

I hear that babies naturally know how to swim despite not yet having reached the age of reason or even before learning to walk. Perhaps it's because they have not the spirit of fear or timidity, but of love and a sound mind? I mean, they must have a sound mind if they instinctively know to hold their breath underwater.

12/02/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Personally, I find the Not-Ray much more authentic.

12/02/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

GB says: Matter is atomistic, malleable, and infinitely divisible. Using only the tools of science, it is impossible to even approach the problem of intrinsically continuous and holistic properties such as life and mind.

I was thinking about this the other day in terms of space, which is, of course, not empty. There is -- there must be a ground upon which all material things exist. Down below the subatomic world of particles there is a continuity of the matrix. Within the confines of the universe, is there such a thing as nothing?

12/02/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I only know because I do it.

But the two mouths thing ... how apt.

12/02/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Things that are truly continuous, invisible, holistic but still not abstract? Without such things, I'd think the universe simply wouldn't be at all.

12/02/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Yet Another Ray said...

A better question: Is there anything outside the confines of the universe?

12/02/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Yet Another Ray said...

Is there an outside?

12/02/2008 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous More Authentic Not-Ray said...

It remains to be proven.

12/02/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Sapmoss said...

Speaking of babies...I was noodling around facebook when I saw this verse and had to include it.

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. -1 Corinthians 14:20

The question, "Is there anything outside the confines of the universe?" can either be asked as a child would ask, "Why is the sky blue?" or it could be asked in a different manner. The manner and reason in which it is asked must be dealt with first.

12/02/2008 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

"The lunar mode can only comprehend that which is discontinuous, never that which is continuous."

This is the problem with Islam. It is a moon god cult with lunar (lunatic) thinking.

12/02/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

“Real creativity is clearly a kind of higher life and higher life that is continuous with, or a mirror of, the divine activity. The point is, on the intellectual plane, approaching God doesn't just require a leap of faith, but a leap of creative activity -- which is also its seal of authenticity. It is again one of the things I intended to convey by the symbol O-->(n), as it is a continuous flow, "or river of water of life," not something fixed and dead.”

Oh I like that!

And stepping down to a lower level, it is what I tried to convey in my Reasons of Reason posts, was that a key component of Reason is your creative imagination – without that you are only engaged in calculating, not reasoning.

12/02/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said “There are also plenty of areas that I'm soft and vulnerable, too... but so far no one's hit any of those.”

Ray… do actually keep a database of your comments with links to pages they were made on, broken out by subject, keyword, etc? Or are you just such a googling beast that you can ref back to particular comments you made many moons ago?

Either way… kind of disturbing.

12/02/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said “Check the profiles - mine has an actual email address”

Don’t be fooled by unofficial Ray Ingles witlettes, remember kids, only my irrelevant comments bear the Scientistic Jester label, and are authentic examples of missing the point!

12/02/2008 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

mushroom -

>>there must be a ground upon which all material things exist<<

I think they used to call it "ether" before they abandoned the idea in favor of pure vacuum.

Ether seems to be making a comeback in the form of "dark matter" and other similar darkness.

Jacob Boehme once made the observation that there is not one parsec of space, anywhere in the universe, that is not inhabited.

12/02/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Will - thanks for your comments today, by the way. You always have such a great perspective.

12/02/2008 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Exactly, Will. Dark matter, ether -- a matrix. I don't think I'd read that in Boehme, but that's the idea.

12/02/2008 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

lol - how do you find these albums, Bob? That's hilarious!

12/02/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Nice catch, Julie!

I was all, wha-a-a...??

*snerk*

12/02/2008 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Thanks, Julie, and likewise.

12/02/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

I coonfess when realRay started crying foul, all I could think of was The Chinchilla Show

My bad

12/02/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Will, River, do you suppose the ether explains what scientists have been unable to, in re: why the sky is dark at night?

Is the assumption that space is empty keeping them from a more simple explanation?

12/02/2008 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Mushroom -

Just to be sure, Boehme didn't mean that all of space was inhabited by material beings just as ourselves, but rather that there are infinite planes of "substance" - astral, etheric, and on up - that are inhabited. Just as the astral and etheric roughly correspond with the material earth, so does every bit of space, even "empty" space, correspond with its own plane of existence.

And that's why, I think, all that space is there.

12/02/2008 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Indeed, we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses...

12/02/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Joan -

I know nada about explanations for night darkness, other than the sun goes to the other side of the earth. Sounds interesting, though. It is said that there's no complete explanation for night darkness? Who knows, maybe it does have something to do with ether. Trust in one thing, though - if there's any easy and obvious explanation for something, scientists will reject it in favor of a much more convoluted theory.

As far as I know, the concept of ether was a given up until a century ago. I don't know why the concept was abandoned. Maybe it was just too mystical sounding. Or - my personal theory - the idea of an existentially empty universe, a universe of vacuum, was just appealing to the linear modernist mind.

What *I* find appealing is the concept of an infinitely layered, holistic, organic Oneness of a universe - a complete Fullness as opposed to the one-ness of an Emptiness.

The ether, Mushroom's "matrix", or as it is called "Kundalini" yokes it all together into one big Fun House of infinite rooms and chambers. No space wasted!

12/02/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Wait, I do think I know why the ether theory was abandoned.

Ether didn't show up in a microscope.

And you gotta be able to see it with the naked eye for it to exist, ya know.

12/02/2008 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Happy belated Birthday to Van!

All spirits under the pelt, with naked eyes to see, are invited to the fiesta de luces.

12/02/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I was thinking about Thanksgiving - and I must say Bob, I'm thankful for your blog. Whenever I read it I can't help but smile the whole way through. Have an awesome day!

12/02/2008 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Will, I would then think that string theory and quantum physics concur with ether; that the multiple and bubbling universes within universes, the tightly layered planes of existence, the parallel universes are all subatomic parts of the whole existentialada.

Perhaps the emptiness is denser than the space we occupy. I like that thought: we are the open spaces in creation, and the Cosmos is trying to fill us with light, revelation, and illumination.

12/02/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Joan -

>>Perhaps the emptiness is denser than the space we occupy<<

That's a good one. Well, our material realm is something of a shadow realm, one in which a divine archetype such as Spirit is corrupted into mere water. And materially-speaking, we seemingly are little insignificant nothings in relation to the mind-boggling vastness of "empty" space. But that is the shadow realm. In the world of divine archetypes I have no doubt we are much "larger".

Yeah, I'm sure string theory is going to change - they get awfully specific with their equations and there's still not enough hard information to go on - but it does go back to the idea of ether, a universal matrix.

12/02/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Deepak plays the victim card. Of course. On top of everything else, he's a wimp.

12/02/2008 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I soooo want to do a parody of the Emo Kid saying, "Leave Deepak Alone! Wahhhhh!"

Heh. I got a whole heap of scorn for anyone who named their son, Gotham. Poor kid.

12/02/2008 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

I wonder if his middle name is Siddhi.

12/02/2008 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Zoltan said...

"Down below the subatomic world of particles there is a continuity of the matrix. Within the confines of the universe, is there such a thing as nothing?"

mushroom, in Greek philosophy the "matrix" has several names. "Receptacle" I believe is the Platonic preferred term. "Matrix" may be also but my memory is dim on that.

Classical Christian theology uses Latin correlates of the Greek terms of art and adds its own clarifying terms, usually symbolic ones drawn from both Testaments.

The discussion of "nothing" in Greek and Christian theology is extensive and sophisticated.

The preferred term for non-being in Greek is me on But there is also the term uk on (again, dim memory, especially on spelling) that indicates being not in the absolute sense.

Both of these are existential categories, describing direct experience in the common life. The Greeks philosophical schools/monasteries were Europe's first existentialist philosophers.

This characteristic of the breed is part of the reason their language and stochastic structure was amenable to use by Christianity, which is intensely existential, as are all revelatory constellations.

Non-being is always considered, and rightly, dependent on being. Non-being (me on) includes such powers as disease, irrationality, tyranny, fraud ... whatever opposes being, which is most fully expressed as life and particularly human life.

Neo-Platonism, like Christianity, asserts, accurately, that non-being has no independent existence. This is of signal importance, especially in the ancient world, which, as ours, was given to ontological dualism.

Manicheanism and most of the modern world asserts that non-being does have independent existence, that there are two "god" in the sense of two equal powers, one good and one evil and these are forever at war in the human breast with no resolution of conflict possible because each is ontologically independent, having potency from itself, autonomously.

Augustine counters the Manichaean ontological dualism with the famous principle and dogma, esse qua esse bonum est, being itself is good. In other words, non-being is derivative and ultimately impotent, having no independent existence.

uk on is not non-being, not opposition to being. Rather, it is being not, having no existence whatsoever, existing not. To even speak of it is oxymoronic, but it must be mentioned because some experience points to it, or seems to.

There are moments in Christian theological exposition which depend on the distinction between me on and uk on, e.g., the problems of theodicy and justification.

Non-being exists, as disease, hatred, tyranny, etc. exist. They are real, but they are derivatively real, not independently real. They do not have existence apart from opposing being, that which is good, true and beautiful. Non-being must oppose being to have existence. But it does not have independent being and so is not being itself (esse ipsum).

There is implied in all of that an extensive discussion of the different meanings of the terms "being" and "existence." I do not intend on going there more than to caution that the words "being" and "existence" are important technical terms of art that have significantly different meanings and connote experiences (phenomena, phenomena, toujours phenomena) that are related existentially and therefore linguistically.

Bob employs terms of art for these and related matters that seem to work in much of the modern context, which is a good thing and dearly needed.

Whatever the terms of art -- and these must adapt with the times (the mission of apologetic theology) -- the discussion itself is very ancient and thoroughly developed, even helpfully so if one wishes to understand the classical terms of art in which the discussion occurred.

12/02/2008 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

QP said "Happy belated Birthday to Van!"

Ooh! (Me Van? Mine was on the 28th, but it's hard to tell nowaday's, too many darn Van's running around, Morrison, Gogh, etc), absolutely love the painting, so I'll take the B-Day credit either way!

12/02/2008 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ether on a plane!

12/02/2008 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re Deepak,
Quick - somebody call a waaaaahmbulance!

12/02/2008 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Happy Birthday Van!
I bought you a bottle of scotch but Skully drank it.

12/02/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

No I didn't! I lost it playin' dice with LaFayette and Scatter!
I'm purty sure there was some monkey business goin' on there.

12/02/2008 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

BTW, never play craps with a monkey name Scatter.

12/02/2008 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks Ben!




Got my eyes on you Skully... I had a lead singer that swiped my scotch on my birthday. Had.

(actually I'd be pleased to think you tipped some back for me!)

;-)

12/02/2008 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Si, si Van, my HB-Day was indeed for you, the living, local Van amongst us. Glad you apprehended and claimed your just desserts.

12/02/2008 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Finally caught up on the comments... wow you guys really covered the waterfront today, from "Pffftt!" (only one, not three of 'em?) to Plotinus and Ether (Gotham Siddhi ... lol!)

What a feast.

12/02/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

River said "A perfectly reasoned-through atheistic worldview would exclude real beauty, and thus from that level or position comprehending beauty would be irrational."

I don't think you can catch all atheists in that net, at least not on the basis of atheism alone, I think the persons conception of Truth is the real determinor.

There are many thoroughgoing atheists who nevertheless grasp the nature and oneness of Truth (as opposed to many competing, flat, unrelated, 'truths'), and who deeply appreciate and revere Beauty. Of course, we'd likely count them as unknowingly knowing God, but that's beside the point.

And of course, there are many I've known, who have claimed to be religious, who pay fealty to the many multi-culti relativistic truths, who prefer the ugliness of 'modern art' to 'old fashioned' notions of Beauty ('probably elitest!') in art.

I will say, I don't see how someone can denigrate beauty, and make any credible claim to revering Truth or Religion, let alone God.

It just doesn't work.

12/02/2008 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

River said "I think perhaps the mistake is that you intend to be doing the teaching here?"

I too think that's a root of many of the pontificating non-scorners who prance through here - they aren't trying to learn, but instead trying to counter-teach.

Wouldn't be quite so bad, if they actually had something worth teaching....

12/02/2008 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hah - exactly!

12/02/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Pontificating non-Scorner said...

I resemble that remark!

12/02/2008 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow. Well, Ray, looks like you have representation in Olympia, at least.

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, don't it? Really - so touching. And so tolerant of them.

12/02/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The sign, a new addition this year, is sponsored by the Freedom from Religion Foundation."

The funny thing, Julie, is that they are so stupid they don't even realize they already are free from religion. LOL!

12/02/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - Irrational must mean for a given subject, for him to be honest, "against what my reason is able to discern." But if he still believes it, he is placing his trust in another that there is sense to this thing though he does not - yet - grasp it.

No, I get it. As I said, "we have different understandings of what's irrational and what's prerational." There are things that I see as irrational that y'all see as prerational.

I sense a high level of abstraction in your understanding, as though 'it is reasonable', 'it is ultimately reasonable', and 'it is currently reasonable' should be treated quite the same.

No, not the same. Things can appear irrational but actually be rational or prerational. (Isaac Asimov (sorry, Mushroom) said that "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I've found it!), but 'That's funny...'")

On the other hand, people are also very very good at rationalizing, convincing themselves that something irrational is actually rational. So you've got to be careful.

I wasn't pointing out a 'hopeful gotcha'. I was trying to point out the issue that all the stuff that's 'apparently irrational' had better be 'actually rational or prerational'. There are things that strike me as actively irrational, not prerational, that's all.

12/03/2008 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Mushroom - "...there must be a ground upon which all material things exist"

Why? (And if so, why must it be sentient?)

Will - the idea of the 'ether' arose because it was thought that electromagnetic waves needed a medium to propagate in, like water waves need an ocean. Maxwell, and then Einstein, showed that this concept had issues. Trying to square it with Relativity required more and more epicycles, and indeed everything could be accounted for without using it at all. A swipe of Occam's Razor, and, well...

Finally, the fact that the universe is expanding tackles Olber's Paradox (why is the night sky dark?) handily. The notion that's 'not explained' is just as much a myth as the bumblebee thing.

12/03/2008 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Julie - That's not how I would have worded such a sign. I probably would have just celebrated Newton's birthday. (He argued that Dec 25th wasn't Christ's birthday anyway.)

Fortunately, the guy behind the nativity scene isn't upset.

12/03/2008 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Oh, and I don't come here to play the part of 'teacher', just 'difficult student' at most.

12/03/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anne Sullivan said...

difficult student

Helen was far more teachable.

12/03/2008 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

lol, the Bumblebee flight thing - hilarious! I will remember to tell that one. Of course bumblebees can fly - they fly. Making fun of our shadow equations never gets old, though.

As for the comment Ray, I have run into things, like I noted, that seemed to me to be 'actively irrational' but were only so because I was unable to grasp the rationality of them. Which further proved to me that I am certainly not the Transparent Eye or whatever - my reason is by no means perfect even given all the right info.

I don't disagree about appearance, but remember that rationality is always both is and to, that is, there would be no rationality without minds to reason. We would assert that the world is illusion insofar as we do not see things as they actually are, thus the idea that the 'World is Maya' is true, but only if interpreted in that sense. Since the world is relative anyway, the world is relatively illusory, right? Relative to us, of course.

Of course you should be mindful that it is mostly pointless to argue with me since I don't intend to give 'a brick for a jade' or anything such as that. Plus, you're arguing with a poet at best, not a logician.

I'm having you for sport. But maybe if you are not dismissed but wrestled with you'll gain something more.

12/03/2008 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, but River, you are the only one wrestling; wings beating the air, as it were. The UnMan can do this for the rest of your life and never, ever feel the weight of your goodness and gentle spirit bearing down on his pointy head.

But maybe you two should get your own blog together a la Hannity and Colmes? Ray of course, being Colmes, mechanically saying the same things over and over in desperate bid to maintain position at all costs.

12/03/2008 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

You mean like a man with a pair of mechanical wings next to one full of hot air?

Ho!

12/03/2008 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

No, it's not really a good comparison, you and Hannity of the Hot Air. I can't stand him! Give me a better analogy, quick!

:o)

12/03/2008 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - The bumblebee story doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. Picture this dialogue:

Physicist: Simple aerodynamic models don't account for bumblebee flight.

Van: You're a moron. You say bumblebees can't fly.

Physicist: No, that's not what I said. All I said was that bumblebee flight is more complicated than simple fixed-wing flight.

Van: But those equations show that they can't fly. Physics can't explain it.

Physicist: No, if you take into account large, nonlinear oscillations and dynamic stall, it's quite clearly not magic...

Van: Look at this schmuck, saying bumblebees can't fly!

12/03/2008 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Heh. That was actually pretty good, Ray!

12/03/2008 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

I have run into things, like I noted, that seemed to me to be 'actively irrational' but were only so because I was unable to grasp the rationality of them.

Oh, hey, that's cool.

Of course you should be mindful that it is mostly pointless to argue with me since I don't intend to give 'a brick for a jade' or anything such as that... I'm having you for sport.

And that's cool, too. I don't mind people laughing at what I actuall say. If they're right, it's funny. If I'm right, they're funny.

The fake up there bothers me because they effectively put words in my mouth that I didn't say. I don't hide behind pseudonyms, and I try hard not to say things I'll regret later. I try hard not to be rude or insulting.

Parody is one thing, but parody that isn't sufficiently distinguishable (the name and the icon being identical - fooled Petey, and he's a divine manifestation) from what it's parodying is actionable, even in law.

(How many people noted that in the final comment, the triangle was reversed? Show of hands.)

12/03/2008 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - My Google-fu is superior to yours! Prepare to be defeated! :->

(site:onecosmos.blogspot.com ingles <some words I remember writing>)

12/03/2008 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not Ray.

12/03/2008 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said "...Van: You're a moron. You say bumblebees can't fly..."

Hmm... amusing, but no, nothing wrong with the first statement, so the rest wouldn't follow from me. Lets try it this way:

Van: It's true that simple aerodynamic models don't account for bumblebee flight, but...

Ray: You are less than correct. You say bumblebees can't fly, I've got links that show their cell structure.

Van: No, that's not what I said. All I said was that bumblebee flight is more complicated than simple fixed-wing flight.

Ray: But those equations show that they can't fly, so your reaction proves that free will is just a reaction against environmental circumstances. Memes explain it.

Van: Wha..huh..? No... unlike the doctrine of necessitarianism your views are following (see Rousseau, Godwin, Mill, etc), which leads to B.F. Skinner type of determinism, my observations of and evaluation of facts and other environmental factors, involve my attention and volitional action at each step of the evaluation, and so my conclusions are freely chosen - merely recognizing facts, does not invalidate free will, recognizing facts, and the possibility of error, only confirms it.

Ray: Mill! Rousseau! When have I ever mentioned them? You see, this proves that I don't believe what they said! I do wish that you'd keep things as flat and disconnected as I see them to be... just look at what I said, and not the principles I rely upon in saying them, I don't know them so they can't have any relation to what I'm saying, please stop putting words in my fingers.

Van: But Ray, what you're saying is following the philosophical principles that they promulgated....

Ray: There you go again :<

Van: Moron.


(However I do bow to your superior google-fu skills. Cool.)

12/03/2008 10:55:00 AM  

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