The Piper's Calling You to Join Him On the Stairway to Help
There is the external world, there are nervous systems, and there is the space in between. That’s it.
That ladder transitional space is where everything happens and where everything evolves (i.e., where evolution can know of and thereby transcend itself). Other animals do not live in this space, or barely so. Rather, they more or less live in their nervous systems, which are “designed” only to notice certain aspects of the environment -- those necessary for immediate survival (and survival of the physical graffiti of the genes).
The more primitive the animal, the more there tends to be a deterministic, one-to-one relationship between information and environment. This is pretty much to be a rock and not to roll, at least on one's own power. Lower animals obviously possess will, but not free will. Only man possesses will + intelligence, which is to say, freedom -- which marks the infinite distance between a potted Plant and a written Page.
With Homo sapiens, a sub-universe or microcosmos somehow opened up in the gap between world and neurology, which became the new virtual environment for humanness to take root. Here, for the first time, the forest echoes with laughter. Ho!
To a certain extent, the emergence of psychological space is analogous to the sudden appearance of biological life some 3.85 billion years ago, when the levee of cosmic evolution truly broke, and it had somewhere to go. Prior to that -- for the first 10 billion years or so -- the cosmos simply was what it was -- a single level reality apparently consisting only of exterior, material processes. There was nothing there to witness the meaningless pageant, no voices of those who stand looking, just a dark night populated by black dogs. There was quite literally no there there, since there was no particular point of view through which to look. There were only all places at once, even though there weren't actually any places. We can only know of the many things and places in hindsight. But there they were. And here they are. But how did I get here?
Prior to the emergence of life, there weren’t any qualities either, since every quality is in relation to a subject. As I noted in the Wholly Coonifesto, the cosmos obviously didn’t “look” like anything, since vision is a property of eyes. Physicists say it was very hot, but not really. Only in relationship to the cool and ironic physicists of the present day.
Nor was it large or small. It was just... a truly inconceivable nothing, for as Big Al Whitehead wrote, “apart from the experience of subjects, there is nothing, bare nothingness.” It almost makes one feel a bit dazed and confused, for however we think about or visualize this nothing, it’s just us projecting our ideas and images about it within the above-referenced transitional space. It is only within this transitional space that the cosmos can know itself, explore its qualities, and contemplate its own birth and even death. Without us, the stores would all be closed and we could never get what we came for. And yet, it makes me wonder...
The point is that, with the sudden emergence of life, the cosmos now had the makings of an inside, an entirely novel ontological category that cannot be accounted for by physics. Science can account for a lot of things, but one thing for which it can never account is the shocking presence of an inside, of a cosmic withinness, of an interior presence in the midst of what had only been an “exterior” up to the emergence of life.
Prior to that, the song had remained the same for billions of years -- the universe had no freedom, no destiny, no meaning beyond itself. But the appearance of life represents the dawn of all those modalities, the unimaginable opening of a window on the world and a stairway to heaven -- which, if you are not all but rendered insensate by scientolatry, should cause a little bustle in your hedgerow, to say the least.
We are all beneficiaries of that tiny window that cracked open almost four billion years ago, when some small part of the cosmos, instead of entropically dissipating into blind nothingness, wrapped around itself, bound up time and space, declared its independence, and went on being. In order to achieve this outrageous act, these whirling little dynamos -- cosmic heroes each and every one -- had to establish a continuous exchange with the “outside” in order to maintain their dancing days on the edge of nonbeing.
Of course, we don’t like to think about it, but for all of us, life is always that same little traveling catastrophe on the invisible border between being and nonbeing. We do what we can to tilt our spinning joyroscape toward the being side, but we can’t really resolve the tension, any more than we can slow down the rotation of the earth by digging in our heels. In order to be at all, we can only be in that fragile space between being and nonbeing, and hope that the piper will lead us to reason.
Or so it seems on first consideration, based only upon our natural reason. But surely you know that sometimes words have two meanings, and we have already established the fact that our natural reason can only go so far in explaining ourselves to oursophs. That is, we only pretend to understand what it means for the cosmos to have an inside that comprehends logic, just as we only pretend to understand what Life actually is.
A living inside. What could that mean? Isn’t that what we really want to know? What is this transitional space, this living inside that we all inhabit? In through this out door flows music, poetry, paintings, mathematical equations, jokes, dreams, and a whole lotta love -- and then it closes. But does the space disappear with it? Or is it somehow anterior to our entrance into it?
Perhaps that is the question. In one sense, there are some provocative signs on the wall, but we want to be sure. What is the nature of this space that we are privileged to enter and inhabit during our human journey from nothing to nowhere and back again? Because curiously, from the scientific (actually, scientistic) standpoint, this space shouldn’t contain any objective reality. At most, it can only be a fleeting secondary or derivative reality, like rings of smoke through the trees wafting up from the primary reality -- which is purely material. But if that were the case, how is it that the mental space we inhabit is in fact a realm of universal truths and values?
Let’s start with something basic, say the handful of mathematical equations that govern the character and evolution of the cosmos. Where are these equations, and where were they before there was even a cosmos for them to operate on? In short, where does mathematical truth reside? Maybe that’s too easy a question.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Hold it right there, Tom -- don’t even go beyond that. When you say that these truths are self-evident, how do you know that? What an preposterous thing to say. What is the nature of the entity that supposedly knows, and what is the nature of the truth it alleggedly apprehends?
And yet, we know it. The uncorrupted intellect knows because it sees, not with eyes that evolved to transduce light waves into visual images, but with a transpersonal eye that was created to see primordial and Absolute truth. We can know these moral or artistic or scriptural truths just as clearly and absolutely as we can know any scientific truth. “Thou shall not murder” or “All men are created equal” are as clear to the transrational moral eye as 2 + 2 = 4 or "never throw a 3 and 2 curveball to the pitcher" are to the rational eye. In each of the above cases, the mind -- which by all rights should be subjective and conditioned -- is able to peer into the absolute and partake of its qualities.
The gulf between human beings and other animals is virtually infinite because of our ability to conceive of the absolute and to know eternal truth in light of it. In this regard, we truly are made in the image of the absolute and infinite One -- the Interior of the interior and its Houses of the Holy: the Truth of truth, Beauty of beauty, Being of being, Life of All, A Love Supreme, Om, now I remurmur! The cosmos is in the Self, not vice versa, for that is truly a truth that can notnot be, or we couldn't ether.
There are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
there's still time to change the road you're on
If you listen very hard
the tune will come to you at last
when all are one and one is all