Sunday, June 14, 2009

Darwinians and Other Cosmic Egomaniacs

Back in the days before blogging, I came to recognize an undeniable rhythmicity or cyclicity in my creative life. In a very real way, it was analogous to agriculture. Mainly, there were times of expression (harvesting) and times of reception (planting.) But this broke down into further categories of tilling the ground, identifying good seed, watering, pulling the weeds, eradicating parasites, pouring on certain chemicals, and a lot of patience. Trying to force one of these cosmic rhythms is like trying to push a string.

I've been mainly harvesting now for going on four years. I have no idea how that happened, since it has pretty much rendered paragraph one inoperative, unless the cycles are now just longer than they used to be. Perhaps bigger plants require longer cycles. Or maybe its just a condensed cycle. The first book required my whole life up to that point. The next one will only require the time from then to now.

So with all the harvesting, now I've got this huge silo full of grain. What do I do with it? Just keep piling more on top? I guess the point I'm making is that I really enjoy digging through the arkive. I'm starting to look forward to the weekends, since I get to go down into the basement and roam around. It's a totally different vibe -- like enjoying a museum vs. building one.

Or, it's like someone who accumulates a lot of wealth. At what point do they stop making more, and just enjoy what they have? So if I do decide to take a vacation, I imagine I'll spread the wealth around and repost things... We'll just have to see if this reflective mood persists. If it does, I don't want to try to override it. The meta-Cosmos knows best.

*****

How do we know with absolute certainty that metaphysical Darwinism cannot account for Man? Because we may know with absolute certainty.

And we may know with absolute certainty because the realm of the empirical ego -- which can more or less be explained on Darwinian grounds -- shades off to the transcendent interiority of the higher Self, of which it turns out that the ego is a sort of "emanation" or satellite.

[I would now correct this to say that Darwinism can't really account for the ego, which, after all, is an aspect of the miracle of subjectivity; it can, however, provide a "likely story" of how it came about, especially for very simple people whose minds are hardly separate from their bodies. Being that there are billions of such people, that's not nothing.]

Now, the gap between the empirical ego and the higher Self is another one of those ontological discontinuities that is infinite if viewed "from the bottom up." But if regarded "from the top down," then we see that the ego is a necessary feature of the cosmo-psychic economy. Just like maya herself, it "must be" if there is to be existence at all. In fact, you might say that the ego is a subjective mirror of maya, or of the relative plane, just as the Self is the mirror of the Absolute. Yes, man in his highest aspect is ultimately in the image and likeness of the Creator. But there are parts of us that are merely in the image and likeness of culture, or biology, or college, or television, or whatever.

In order to comprehend this more holistic cosmo-psychic economy, we must abandon the mental fiction of logical atomism that forms the ego's point of view. In other words, if you are a materialist, it is because you are operating out of the material ego, so there is no surprise there: you are simply placing the existential cart before the egoic horse. It's analogous to someone putting on red sunglasses and insisting that everything looks red. Of course it looks red. Of course our troll is an atheist. That is not a mystery but a banality, a logical necessity, just as someone with an insufficiently developed ego lives in a magical or malevolent world as a result of being largely ruled by unconscious or supraconscious forces he does not comprehend.

Now, our pardigmatic science, physics, proposes a model of reality which is literally impossible to picture in one's mind. Nor will we ever be able to picture it, for it is a not a human reality in the strict sense of the term. Not to get sidetracked, but I do need to emphasize that one of the reasons I am religious is because religion preserves the most intense forms of humanism, which is to say, of human knowledge about the human station and its privileges and responsibilities, its origin and destiny. You can know nothing of this reality if you restrict yourself to the material -- let alone sub-material -- domain.

To cite just one obvious example, the other day, one of the mutual readers of LGF and One Cosmos was commenting on the increasing lurch into anti-intellectualism of the former, noting that his rabbi -- an eminent scholar -- had spent his entire life studying the Torah, and yet, had not even scratched its surface. For those of us in a position to know, this qualifies as a truism. But for those not so positioned, it's hard to know what they think about this, if they think about it at all.

It takes no learning -- let alone, wisdom -- for a jokebooted mob of metaphysical yahoos to, as the reader put it, "pontificate with grand self-assuredness that they know fully what is meant in all the intricacies and layers of Torah and the rest of us believers are a bunch of deluded dummies. There's nothing to be said to such people." Indeed, like gleeful, deicidal three year-olds, they can tear down in the space of five minutes what it took 2500 years of spiritual genius to build. This is the power of No!, which parents of two or three year-olds know all about.

This No! is not without its developmental importance, as it is the first attempt to erect psychological boundaries between the me and not-me, and to gain control over what one will allow into one's head. But the pathological narcissist is often fixated at this developmental stage, the result being that they omnipotently destroy (or deconstruct) with the No!, but don't have any real Yes to replace it with (one thinks of Bill "Just Say Yes to Hookers and Porn Stars" Maher). The narcissist can tear down but cannot build, as we see with the left.

For example, the ACLU mercilessly attacks the Boy Scouts, but it would never occur to them to simply start their own group of God-hating boy scouts. Likewise, it's easy enough for homosexual activists to try to undermine marriage, but why not invent a new sort of institution to deal with homosexual relationships, which share nothing in common with the sacred bond between male and female?

One may well ask how these people arrive at their belligerent certainty on matters that far transcend their childlike, earthbound intellects? It comes from the transcendent absolute, only dissipated and "frozen" within the confines of the quasi-animal ego. Living truth becomes dead when co-opted by the ego in this manner.

When someone asks if you "believe in Darwinism," let's be honest. They aren't asking if you believe in whatever the theory of natural selection has been demonstrated to prove -- like a simple bacterium or dailykos diarist that learns a new trick (yes, I know, that was redundant). Rather, they are asking if you believe that it provides an all-encompassing explanation for human existence, and ultimately whether or not you are a theist. And to the extent that God exists, then Darwinism quite obviously cannot possibly embody any kind of "total explanation." It would be absurd to think so.

Again, even on logical grounds this is strictly against the law, and Sheriff Gödel does not take kindly to existential scofflaws. Some people try to get around Gödel by artifically restricting the implications of his theorems, but they are not to be taken seriously. For no matter how much we learn about the human genome, our understanding will be either consistent or complete, but not both.

Along these lines, Rebecca Goldstein -- author of the excellent Incompleteness -- notes that "Gödel was a mathematical realist, a Platonist. He believed that what makes mathematics true is that it's descriptive -- not of empirical reality, of course, but of an abstract reality. Mathematical intuition is something analogous to a kind of sense perception. In his essay 'What Is Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis?', Gödel wrote that we're not seeing things that just happen to be true, we're seeing things that must be true. The world of abstract entities is a necessary world -- that's why we can deduce our descriptions of it through pure reason."

Again: things are not true because they are logical, but logical because they are true; our ability to use logic and math to describe the world is a result of something higher and eternal (more on which below).

Another passage from this interview is worth citing at length: Gödel's ambition was "to produce a mathematical result that would have meta-mathematical implications, or at least suggestions, about the nature of mathematics itself. It's as if a painter produces a picture that has something to say about the nature of beauty, perhaps even something to say about why beauty moves us. Mathematics forcefully raises meta-questions, since it is a priori, immune from empirical revision, necessary. How can we have knowledge of this sort? What's it about? The truths we learn about the spatio-temporal realm are all ultimately empirical; and they're contingent. They're not immune to empirical revision.... Mathematicians are cheap; they are thus cost-effective for universities -- which is another way of saying that mathematics is a priori.

"But this aprioricity and necessity present problems. What can necessary, a priori truths be about? Maybe they're about nothing at all, other than the formal systems we construct, mere consequences of manipulating symbols according to rules, as in chess. Platonism rejects this answer. It claims that mathematics is descriptive of abstract entities, of numbers and sets, that exist separately from our attempt to understand them through our mathematical systems. Platonism has always had a great appeal for mathematicians, because it grounds their sense that they're discovering rather than inventing truths."

Now, there is a way "beyond" the limitations of Gödel, but it obviously cannot reside in any form of empiricism, rationalism, materialism, reductionism, or, least of all, metaphysical Darwinism. In other words, we cannot escape Gödel "from below." But we can most certainly escape him "from above." Indeed, the very existence of certain mathematical truths proves that this is possible: again, the certainty of math cannot be derived from itself but from the certainty of the Platonic realm of which it is a "descent," so to speak. This is something which the neo-Platonists -- one thinks in particular of the immortal Plotinus -- emphasized.

Again, to repeat our thesis: How do we know with absolute certainty that reductionistic Darwinism cannot account for man? Because we may know with absolute certainty.

Now, one might say that the whole basis of the spiritual life involves "ascending" to the level of those Platonic truths that "cannot not be," and then "embodying" them in the herebelow. This is again what religion is "all about." Some people understand this -- in fact, the vast majority of people -- whereas others -- we call them materialists, reductionists, Darwinians, The Tenured, Lizards, etc. -- are, for whatever tangled developmental or genetic reason, incapable of seeing it. For them, blindness is just another variety of vision.

Goldstein makes an excellent point above, with the analogy of the painter who attempts "to produce a picture that has something to say about the nature of beauty," or "perhaps even something to say about why beauty moves us." This, don't you know, is what I endeavor to do with words. And I know that I sometimes succeed at this, because every once in awhile we get a reader such as Godinpotty who cannot see the painting and therefore forcefully proves my case.

There is only one thing that is truly proportioned to man's intellect, and that is the transcendent Absolute of which we are mirrors, links, and even deputies. Any philosophy short of this will inevitably produce a human body with no head, or a head with no heart. And folks, if you don't see a lot of headless and heartless people walking around our society, you might want to start by looking to see if your own head is properly attached and up in the clouds where it belongs.

The only freedom that is proportioned to our nature is that which opens the gates towards the eternal Freedom we bear in the depths of our being, and not to that which betrays man's weakness -- especially collective man's -- to the powers of dissolution and spiritual suicide. --F. Schuon

23 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

I'm starting to look forward to the weekends, since I get to go down into the basement and roam around. It's a totally different vibe -- like enjoying a museum vs. building one.

I went through a similar phase around the holidaze. Partly I was feeling harvested out, and in a rut, so I started looking back through the past couple years worth of stuff. It was surprising (especially the words - I spent a lot of time thinking "I said that?"), and since I didn't remember most of the posts it was like looking at someone else's work. Which, in a way, is what I'm trying to do.

Of course, in my case I could look back at all of it in a day or two :)
Have fun, Bob. We like the reposts, too!

6/14/2009 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"We'll just have to see if this reflective mood persists."

Well, you know how-goes: in-halation, followed by ex-halation ... er, followed by ....

No need to worry, Farmer Bob, as you know. If you never had a reflective mood -- that you'd have to worry about!

Besides, you're right: lots of good stuff down there in the basement!

6/14/2009 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I was thinking about someone today who is undoubtedly still grieving the loss of their daughter, a year on. If metaphysical Darwinism were true, and if "death is just a natural part of the life cycle," and we're mere animals, why would we grieve in such anguish like that? It's as if we know in our spirits (whatever our darkened minds might tell us) that it's *not* supposed to be this way.

6/14/2009 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

And yes, Bob, I would appreciate a reprise of your work. I've missed a lot of it, myself

6/14/2009 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I would *rather* grieve (as those who have hope--Paul) than be infrahuman (Peter Singer of Princeton).

6/14/2009 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

How come scientists' "likely stories" get accepted as "science". Watch the history channel or discovery channel whenever they have so-called "science" shows... they are 99.9% likely stories without any basis in fact.

How have we come to be such lax thinkers?

Is "science" true because a "scientist" says it is? Is "religion" true because a "priest" says it is?

It would seem that getting people to recognize this issue is a critical step in having them thinking clearly about evolution, religion, and science.

6/14/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Science can only provide a complete account of anything to the extent that it stops asking "why" at an arbitrary point. Thus, its "completeness" will be purchased at the price of consistency, and vice versa. This was one of the main points my friend Gödel was trying to get across. Only the synthesis of vertical + horizontal approximates the wholeness of God in any adequate way.

6/14/2009 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous goddinpotty said...

we get a reader such as Godinpotty who cannot see the painting and therefore forcefully proves my case.

Oh I see the painting alright, I just think it's really, really ugly. And thus a false picture of the Absolute. You give God a bad name, but I suppose he'll survive you as he has other false prophets.

6/14/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Alan, my husband says the same thing. He says he watches when "likely stories" are posited, and sure enough, a few years down the road, they are presented as hard fact on science shows. He's watched it happen with more than one "what killed the dinosaurs" theory, for instance. We won't even talk about the total inaccuracies that are still put forward in children's science textbooks to this day.

6/14/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

We had the "History" Channel on briefly the other night (something about biblical technology); their flights don't even make it into the realm of "likely."

They actually had someone on who posited that the ancient Hebrews had discovered superconductors, and that's how the Ark was able to levitate. To demonstrate, they had a scientist build a to-scale replica, fitted with magnets on the bottom. They placed it over four superconductors, then cooled them with liquid nitrogen, and behold, the Ark did lift. but due to the mechanics of magnetic fields, it couldn't actually be moved.

How exactly a ready source of liquid nitrogen (or else some hitherto unknown, naturally occurring at local temperatures superconducting material) was to be found in the midst of the desert, where people had probably only rarely ever seen solid water, much less liquid nitrogen.

So just to clarify: the "History" Channel show found it more plausible to assume that a) the story of the Ark levitating was factual and therefore that b) the Jews had mad scientific skills that they only used in that instance (as opposed to any number of other, incredible uses it could have had; rather like inventing the wheel, then only using it to roll out an idol) and ultimately leaving no trace nor lore of this mechanism, than that, again assuming a) above, God might actually have been acting through the Ark.

Utterly, bafflingly absurd.

6/14/2009 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(Doh! PIMF. Graph 3 should have ended with "was never explained.")

6/14/2009 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

There was a goofball here not too long ago complaining that Bob was "repeating himself." Struck me as funny.

Hiked in those woods once, no use seeing them again. Read MacBeth in high school, no use reading it again. Went to Rome once, no sense going again.
Sometimes I think the been-there-done-that crowd have neither been nor done in the first place. They certainly haven't developed. (Anti-evolution!!!!!)

One of things that I like so much about this blog is precisely the so-called "repetition," the revisiting and re-sighting of the great Territory...and the different approaches and vehicles.
I always get something 'new' out of it.

More to the immediate point, the posts are worth re-reading. I do hope that we can get a daily encore from the arkives, if you take a hiatus, Bob. Yes, we could get our fix by hitting the basement individually, but it would be nice to have a common post. I enjoy and profit from the comments here.

6/14/2009 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The only freedom that is proportioned to our nature is that which opens the gates towards the eternal Freedom we bear in the depths of our being" . . .
My vast transcendents holds and is the whirlwind I am hid in it, as the fragrance of a rose is hid within its blossom . . .

T. Schuonfilia:)

6/14/2009 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Organizing the arkive is a must. There is definitely another book in there.

Recent posts have hit home with amazing synchronicity for me. I'm almost finished with Le Fanu's "Why Us?". As Bob noted, he's an atheist but nonetheless possessed of a good chunk of Truth.

One of the very few minor disagreements I've had with Bob is his tendency (IMHO) to let the "hard sciences" off the hook to easily when playing whack-a-mole with academia. Le Fanu solidifies for me more than ever that -- despite the immense body of solid, extremely valuable knowledge Science has yielded up, many (most?) scientists themselves are largely responsible for the dire spiritual state of the West through their insane insistence on the absolute "truth" of materialism, but increasingly for outright efforts to hide what the scientific method is actually revealing to us (more or less the theme of the book).

Western Science has done at least as much damage as good for humanity, although I believe we are gradually awakening from their nefarious trap.

Even last year I believed that Darwinian evolution is fundamentally sound (years after starting to read Bob's work). I am quite taken aback with the dawning realization that "climate change" is hardly the only massive fraud perpetrated by those hailing from the "hard sciences".

Obviously there are many exceptions, and many others who don't adhere to materialism out of what appears to be some demonic personality disorder, but rather like me out of simple ignorance.

6/14/2009 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

With liberty and justice for all... http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/

6/14/2009 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

From Will at 6/13/2009 01:22:00 PM

"Well, let's see what happens. Do me a favor, just look around your immediate environment on Monday, see if things don't seem a bit flakier, if there isn't something of a "dark intensity" on tap."

Things are heating up in my part of the whirled.

Friday-My marriage is headed for divorce and that was just fine by me.

Saturday-Something is working it's way into my consciousness, I realize later that it's panic.
I ask myself "Have you tried everything in your ability to turn from this course?"
The answer was no, there was some ugly truths (to me) that were still sitting in my mind that would never get cleared away if I didn't bring them to light. Some ugly accusations, and a few undeniable actions of hers that needed to be addressed.

Sunday-I question her and short order it turns into an arguement, she leaves to her parents house a few miles away.
I call her mother to let her know that she's on her way and that we need to come to terms with what I brought up or,...? The "What ifs?"
would be there forever. Her mother agreed and later I met Charity and concentrated first on keeping my breathing under control and not getting angry. It helped very much.
We were able to discuss most of the hot button issues without us devolving into another argument.

She was able to convey to me that she is worried about me and would like for me to get on anti-depressants before she would consider any reconciliation.

Soooo, I have to put my faith in God's hands here, and ask for all the prayers I can to help me through this trial. I don't want to be locked up inside myself with prescribed medications by some shrink that doesn't have a clue about my belief in God, since there are so many clueless in all the "Believers" my chances aren't looking the great.

I'm writing this at 02:00 hrs, from work, which is strange because blogs are usually blocked.

If I wasn't depressed before, I am now.


WV=ickypes
I promise I'll eat my peas from now on.

6/15/2009 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Now I feel worse.

From Dr. Sanity-

" I have been demoted to the near-mindless activity of pushing pills to the point that I understand why my collegues see every clinical situation as a biological malfunction--the old adage that says, to a hammer everything looks like a nail, comes to mind. Psychiatrists are the mental health profession's hammer; and drugs are the nail. And, the same powers that tell me to prescribe drugs, warn me against the evil of working too closely with any of the drug companies, for fear I might be corrupted, God forbid, by the dastardly profit motive."

Hammer?

Check

Nail?

Check

Place of the scull?

Check

Witnesses?

...

Witnesses?

...

6/15/2009 02:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Satan said...

"Witnesses?"

Check, mate.

6/15/2009 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...He believed that what makes mathematics true is that it's descriptive -- not of empirical reality, of course, but of an abstract reality. Mathematical intuition is something analogous to a kind of sense perception. In his essay 'What Is Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis?', Gödel wrote that we're not seeing things that just happen to be true, we're seeing things that must be true. The world of abstract entities is a necessary world -- that's why we can deduce our descriptions of it through pure reason.""

That 'pure reason' sets my alarm bells a ringing, only because it is usually used as a way of suggesting human reason being not only above 'mundane reality', but as operating without any reference to reality... and subjectivism is a necessary and guaranteed result of that path.

When we say 'It can't not be true', it isn't only because we can't’imagine’ it being otherwise, but because if we respect reality, truth, an that all we know, all we experience, all lines up in a clear harmony from the world we touch, on up into the highest conceptions we can attain to, without contradiction, without discordance, at the summit of it all, the unity that is danced between subject and harmony, every bit of it, says "It can't not be true'. And that is a far different thing than saying 'we can't imagine it otherwise', but it is easily counterfeited with that. And Numbers, and 'pure reason' are the counterfeit coin of that realm.

Numbers are the favorite of rationalists, because they are so easily used as fronts for what they want to put across, but numbers do not exist in some rarefied realm of Forms, they are far greater than that, they are the one slice of reality which we can clearly trace like a ladder from the perceptual discrete instances, up to the initial concepts of quantity, and on up into the higher levels with the Quality of Number and beyond. Numbers are very much a result of sense perception, but extended into the conceptual realm; they are our experiences re-membered as concepts.

6/15/2009 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I thoroughly agree that "...we're not seeing things that just happen to be true, we're seeing things that must be true.", but not because of some realm of Forms where 'Numbers' exist separately from and above reality, rather numbers are what result from our conceptualized perception of reality as it is, and because reality is One integrated whole, and is as it is throughout the cosmos, all of our laws of mathematics are logical because they are true, because they are conceptualized perceptions of what is true everywhere, and no human could consistently conceive them to be otherwise, because the Cosmos is what it is. Numbers fascinate because they allow us to traverse from the quantities of experience to upper reaches of Quality... they offer a direct conduit for 'seeing' the depth of what is, and how we properly are able to perceive, conceive and experience it.

"Again: things are not true because they are logical, but logical because they are true; our ability to use logic and math to describe the world is a result of something higher and eternal (more on which below)."

... which is reflected below in the minutest speck of materiality, and combines in complexity in an unbroken chain all the way upwards as a ladder for us to ascend with.

Numbers, seen as the rationalists do, as 'existing' apart from our minds, both reduces God to his language, and attempts to raise them up into a pantheistic realm of impersonal gods of qualities, along with beauty, truth, etc. The Good, the Beautiful and the True are not so because THEY exist, but because through our perceiving the sweet core of what exists, they are the perspectival focal point through which we see all that exists, and through reason we suspect that from whence it all came....

Sorry, perhaps too much for Monday (what Will?) morning, but in rereading the dead white guys on Justice, I've returned and centered on rereading Descartes; all the errors of the past get super charged through his 'critical method'. His ideas are the Nitrous, which mixed in with all the standard philosophical errors, makes them burn with the intensity that has propelled us into modernity, and behind his Cogito, or dualism, is his practice of making statements which discard the root and depth of words, of meaning, so they can be arranged to posed to put over whatever meaning he wanted to rationalize. And Numbers and Geometry were his legitimizer, and Rousseau exposed all his methods dark implications, and Kant justified them with his machinations of 'pure reason'....

Ugh.

6/15/2009 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Dougman, we'll be praying for you. Just remember to breathe.

(Also, don't forget your B-vitamins...)

6/15/2009 07:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dougman,

I just clicked on robertMasters.com blog to see if I could find a post about depression. I'm sort of in a rush but the thrid click on Dec/06 post-topic is about grief and think maybe it would be helpful for you?
I know he writes extensivly about relationships as well.

Theofilia

6/15/2009 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Julie, Theofilia

Thank You :^)

6/15/2009 11:59:00 AM  

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