Monday, July 26, 2010

Spiritual Environment and Soul Evolution

Evolution presupposes temporal continuity, which must exist if anything is to exist. In other words, if not for time, then everything would have to happen at once. (The word "evolve" is etymologically related to "unroll," as in an ancient scroll.)

And "temporal continuity" is just another way of saying "memory." For example, a person with alzheimer's loses his memory, and therefore his temporal continuity. It's always now, disconnected from all the other nows. Therefore, it's not even really now anymore, because now is only now in relation to a then. It's really closer to never.

One of my beefs with metaphysical Darwinism is that, like an alzheimer's patient, it isolates its own conclusions from the greater context of cosmic evolution. For as Harris writes, "The modern conception of nature is of a continuous evolutionary process, linking the purely physical with the biological, the biological with the psychological, and the psychological with the social, moral, artistic, and religious experiences of man."

Given this temporal continuity, it is wholly arbitrary to define things in terms of the past instead of the present or future, since everything is in the process of becoming. In other words, in studying any phenomenon, it is important to know what it is in its mature form. If you only study a caterpillar in an isolated slice of time, you won't know anything about its connection to butterflies.

Likewise, if you study the Big Bang in isolation from the human knower, you're missing the whole point, again, because you're arbitrarily excluding the temporal continuity that even allows a subject to know about and comprehend the Big Bang -- which is without a doubt the most astonishing thing about the Big Bang! I still can't get over it.

A couple of posts back we spoke of the importance of boundary conditions in human development. Only with the creation of a "semipermeable membrane" can the human subject properly evolve. But this is equally true of temporal boundaries. Again, if we weren't bound in time, we could not be, for we would be beyond being. But time for human beings is not merely duration. Rather, the point is to metabolize time, so as to create a deeper form of continuity in one's life, or a personal history, an identity.

For example, the typical therapy patient comes in with various temporal discontinuities. These are like "holes" in the psyche, except that they are gaps in time rather than space. As Freud said, the neurotic person suffers from "reminiscences," except that the reminiscences have lives and agendas all their own, disconnected from one's central identity. In short, they are mind parasites, or rogue elements within the psyche. And they are rogue elements because they have split off from the central government, which should ideally have a monopoly on memory.

Let's make this very personal in order to render it more vivid. I remember my first heartbreak at the age of 18. It triggered such a deep level of depression that only years later, in therapy, was I able to piece together what had actually happened.

To make a long story short, that heartbreak was just the occasion to feel a whole host of emotions that had been placed in escrow since early childhood. They were there, stored away in a kind of atemporal quasi-eternity, just waiting for the appropriate experience (or relationship, to be precise) through which to express themselves, or to deploy themselves in time. But because of the temporal discontinuity, I could not connect A (the source) and C (the person) at the time. I thought it all had to do with that scheming and faithless C, which it couldn't have, since it was an effect that so far exceeded its cause. Especially in hindsight, the cause seems hardly worth bothering over. Her?

But Darwinists routinely do the same thing. For example, the human subject so far exceeds the material shuffling of genetic material, that only a fool or a mental patient would deny the deeper temporal continuity. And on the deepest level, it should be a bananaty to peel out that in our cosmos, matter has the astonishing potential to sponsor life and human consciousness. As such, matter cannot possibly be only what the physicist says it is, just as life cannot possibly be what the Darwinist says it is, for both varieties of tenure, in their own way, deny temporal continuity. Again, they take an arbitrary time slice and impose a manmade boundary where there is none.

So if we're going to take time seriously, we would have to agree with Harris that "the product of an evolutionary process is, and must be, potential at its beginnings, and if what is inchoate at first becomes progressively unfolded as the process continues, the nature of the final outcome will be the key to the understanding of both the process itself and its origin."

Thus, the Darwinist wants to have it both ways: there is a continuous evolutionary series that culminates in man, and yet, this culmination may be reduced to a wholly random and mechanical iteration of genetic shuffling. Again, to do this not only abolishes man and all he values, but it ironically abolishes evolution, because it says that what has evolved has no intrinsic meaning that isn't reducible to the real meaning, which is simply genes in meaningless competition for survival. Frankly, this is psychotic, only intellectually psychotic instead of emotionally psychotic. (Again, the psychotic mind dismembers temporal continuity and as a result lives in a hell of nameless dread.)

It is also ironic that the Darwinist stresses the importance of adaptation to one's environment. For me -- and I am quite sure this is true of all Raccoons -- if I were forced to adapt my soul to the impoverished intellectual and spiritual environment of philosophical Darwinism, it would be exceedingly painful, very much like living in a totalitarian state in which I had to subordinate my essential identity to the group's ideology.

In fact, I am only able to articulate and evolve the most vital parts of myself through the pneuma-cognitive environment of the perennial religion. If I could not do this, it would be like a living death. It would be like a musician who was forbidden to ever pick up an instrument. How on earth am I to become myself in the absence of the appropriate spiritual environment to nurture and sustain my spiritual evolution?

Man is not just anything-- which is one of the main reasons why socialism never works. Rather, "the sufficient reason of the human state... is to be a bridge between earth and Heaven, hence to 'realize God' to some degree or other" (Schuon). And the sufficient reason of revelation is to provide a clueprint of that bridge and to facilitate that realization.

Now, I don't doubt that Queeg and other spiritual retards such as Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris, feel perfectly "at home" in the Darwinist environment they create for themselves, just as there are millions of people whose meager souls are satisfied by video games, or whose appetites are fulfilled by McDonalds. But that is a statement about them, not reality. I could no more feed my soul with metaphysical Darwinism than I could stuff my body with Big Macs, or listen to rap music all day, or watch MSNBC. Rather, I have a soul with very particular needs, and to be deprived of the means to fulfill those needs would be spiritual death -- which is to say, human death.

Again, given the temporal continuity of the cosmos, there is surely horizontal cause and effect. No one would dispute that. But at the same time, an effect cannot exceed its cause, most especially when we are talking about an "infinite" effect. And make no mistake: the human subject partakes of the infinite and the absolute, even if some human subjects prefer to exile themselves to the relative and the finite. They are obviously free to do so, but they are only free to do so because freedom is real -- which is again to say that it partakes of the absolute.

But such is the unevolved life of the spiritually unborn. They just can't crack the cosmic egg, and want to cram the rest of us into their poultry little vision of reality.

19 Comments:

Blogger ge said...

"...the temporal continuity that even allows a subject to know about and comprehend the Big Bang -- which is without a doubt the most astonishing thing about the Big Bang! I still can't get over it... "

recently i wrote
There is an answer to WHY ARE WE HERE? -Some-body must try & solve this mystery!
-to know, to love, to ask questions like these

where is the---there is the-- WHY ARE WE HERE?


wv: knosse

7/26/2010 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mikal said...

Speaking of "spiritually unborn"....

7/26/2010 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

As such, matter cannot possibly be only what the physicist says it is, just as life cannot possibly be what the Darwinist says it is, for both varieties of tenure, in their own way, deny temporal continuity. Again, they take an arbitrary time slice and impose a manmade boundary where there is none.

What in the world does this mean? What are the "manmade boundaries" imposed by physics and biology? You mean the boundary between past and future, since you also say:

it is wholly arbitrary to define things in terms of the past instead of the present or future,

That's pretty weird, because it seems that our actual embodied existence is what imposes this boundary; it's physics which ignores it and presents the universe as a seamless atemporal whole.

You can critique physics for erasing the boundary between past and future, but I don't see how you can critique it for creating it.

7/26/2010 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

just as there are millions of people whose meager souls are satisfied by video games

*cough*

Just for clarity, I'm guessing here you mean "people who would rather live in their video game worlds," and not simply "people who play in small doses to pleasantly pass the time." (Why, yes, I have been playing Mario Galaxy 2 this past week, why do you ask? ;)

7/26/2010 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I have 0% beef with McDonald's.

7/26/2010 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I read The Hobbit this past week for about the 42nd time. One of the things that gets mentioned over and over is Bilbo's store of "luck". At the end, Gandalf and Bilbo are talking about all the old prophecies being fulfilled "after a fashion". Gandalf asks Bilbo if he really thinks that all his "adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck" for his "sole benefit".

7/26/2010 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Don't know if you liked the LOTR movies, Mush, but Peter Jackson is working on The Hobbit.

7/26/2010 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Funny how Jackson is making them out of order, speaking of continuity..

7/26/2010 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Anon,

Their theories impose manmade boundaries on the human psyche. Best not to rely on human theories. There is sooo much more to it than that. They don't know what's going on either.

Not that you shouldn't read it and learn from it, if only to learn that it's crap. At least then you won't fall for that one anymore.

7/26/2010 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re: time

It seems we are capable of experiencing all sorts of "time". We can slow it down, speed it up, or never recognize it. Funny, your memory of your first heartbreak made me think of the adage "when time stood still". I know its an overused expression but only because its accurate. I hope you were able to school that lying, scheming A hole in time.

WV = gyratio... food for thought

7/26/2010 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I like the Jackson movies as action epics. I have my quarrels -- mostly with the Arwen arc -- but all in all they aren't bad. I had hoped he could do The Hobbit with McKellen and Holm, but, with Holm's age, it seems unlikely.

I thought the music was good. I don't suppose people who occasionally play video games are any worse than old Tolkienophiles.

7/26/2010 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

But what if one is both? There's just no hope for me, I'm afraid...

Even wv thinks I'm kroking!

7/26/2010 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You're not old.

Just imagine in twenty years or so when Liam is explaining how he got his college scholarship in performance video gaming. "My mom taught me everything I know."

7/26/2010 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

lol - now that would be a sight to behold!

7/26/2010 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Again, they take an arbitrary time slice and impose a manmade boundary where there is none."

Every enthusiast of the arbitrary (the lifeblood of the left in philosophy, politics, and the arts) exists, behaves, 'thinks', only by way of excluding the appropriate Context.

Context is the slayer of the Arbitrary... and they hates it. We see it here in the troll dance, assertions, dodges, accusations and running away from any form of a clear and coherent statement - the method of establishing context - it burns!

7/26/2010 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"...given the temporal continuity of the cosmos, there is surely horizontal cause and effect. No one would dispute that..."

Uhm... sure they do, they just do it by saying that we cannot possibly have any real knowledge of causality (let alone of reality), as with Hume, etc. That denial of cause and effect is one of the central pillories of leftism in all it's variants... certainly it's vital to darweenistaism.

...but we know that... did I miss a bit of the context somewhere?

7/26/2010 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Pardon a WTF OT moment, Just got a link to a youtube of one of my old 80's Vegas rock scene rivals, Rick Sailon, here playing lead guitar (and mostly violin in this clip) with Laura Branigan on the Tonight Show with Carson in '91.

His Dad was from Argentina, where he was a famous violinist... left it for America to escape the political upheavals, and used the Free Market to do quite well as an agent booking bands throughout the western states (zero regulation I might add), and helped our band out on many an occasion.

Rick's favorite T.V. program? According to his facebook page: "The Rachel Maddow Show".

Talk about context dropping.

7/26/2010 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

To go along with Mikal's link:
http://harpers.org/archive/1941/08/0020122
"Who Goes Nazi?"
via The Anchoress

7/27/2010 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Man is not just anything-- which is one of the main reasons why socialism never works. Rather, "the sufficient reason of the human state... is to be a bridge between earth and Heaven, hence to 'realize God' to some degree or other" (Schuon). And the sufficient reason of revelation is to provide a clueprint of that bridge and to facilitate that realization."

Ho! That cuts to the chase.

To build that bridge, we need INgineers to ensure the bridge doesn't crumble into the river Why?.

The darwinists prefer the troll bridge to nowhere.
Forget "why?" (how?, what?, where?), they're still unaware of Who.

They are stuck in an ill-usion of their own making.

Great post, Bob!

7/27/2010 04:28:00 PM  

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