Friday, March 16, 2012

The All-or-Nothing Cosmos

One of the perverse characteristics of our age is that the world is simultaneously regarded as exquisitely intelligible and yet completely absurd. Which is itself absurd, because it is impossible to understand how the two can be reconciled -- not in this or that aspect, but vis-a-vis the totality. In other words, we can all have a bad day. But does this mean our life is a total waste?

When I say that the world is seen as exquisitely intelligible, what I mean is that we've gotten to the point that we just assume -- correctly so -- that whatever or wherever we investigate in the cosmos, it will make sense, if not immediately, then if we put our minds to it.

This is science's unacknowledged legacy to stand on, of a Judeo-Christian tradition that insists upon the rationality of a world brought into being by a rational Creator. Faith in the rationality and intelligibility of the cosmos is faith in God once removed (non-Judeo-Christian cultures have no such faith, unless it has been imported from outside).

In this regard, as it bears upon ultimate issues, or limit cases, science is every bit as "faith based"as religion (except in a naive and uncritical way). What I mean is that, for example, science actually has no idea -- nor will it ever, on its own terms -- how a supposedly dead universe suddenly sprang to life 3.85 billion years ago. But most scientists seem to have a serene confidence that this ultimate discontinuity is unproblematic. Which is why I felt so fortunate to encounter the brilliant Robert Rosen during the years I spent puzzling over the problem of Life Itself (can't really recommend him to laypeople; he didn't live long enough to maybe dumb it down for us).

Likewise the transition -- or leap -- from (mere) animal to man. You will have noticed that in facing this question, science doesn't really work inductively from the actual evidence. Rather, it begins with a Darwinian conclusion -- for them, an axiomatic truth -- and deduces how this or that human trait must have come about via random copying errors naturally selected.

Yes, the results are comical -- for one thing, any overeducated fool can play the game -- but no more so than a religious person who, say, begins with the axiomatic truth that the world is 6,000 years old, and then tries to cram all the empirical evidence into that hypothesis.

We had a barmy twiteration of this the other day, in reader William's appeal to cosmic ignorance in support of his negative omniscience (similar to how scientism marshals intelligibility in support of absurdity). That is, in response to our belief that the universe must in principle be finite, he commented that he is

"limited in [my] perception of the observable universe by the space time coninuum in which [I] exist, and that [I am] able to perceive and theorize"; and that "The particle horizon -- the maximum distance from which particles can or have traveled in the age of the universe -- represents the boundary between the observable and the unobservable universe."

Well, that's certainly one way of looking at it. The intrinsically absurd way. For example, is it even remotely true that man's perception is limited to the laws of physics, or to what is empirically present? If this were true, then we couldn't even know the laws of physics. More to the point, man is capable of pondering universal truths that operate in the realm of being as such, in any conceivable cosmos. To exist is to be in very particular ways.

In other words, in order for something to be intelligible at all, it must share certain characteristics (which I will discuss in a subsequent post). Therefore, to the extent that there are things outside our "space-time continuum," if they are intelligible, then we can understand them. If they are absurd, then we can't. Simple as. But there is every reason to conclude that "existence" and "intelligibility" are intimately related, and that to exist is to be intelligible. To put it the other way around, it is obviously impossible for us to conceive of something that "exists" in an unintelligible way. Such is analogous to the "impossible-possible," or simultaneously "this particular thing" and "no-thing at all."

We can go so far as to say that the cosmos is "fulfilled" in knowledge of itself -- which is simultaneously man's fulfillment, at least on the natural plane.

But even then, there can be no contradiction between Reason and Revelation, since both are "written by the same Author." Thus, in the face of apparent contradiction, we must re-examine and rethink the matter through. Atheists and other trolls never tire of raising these contradictions, precisely because they haven't thought them through.

While it is no doubt true that in premodern times epistemology was subordinated to metaphysics, in our day it is the converse, so that metaphysics is subordinated to positivistic science, a strangely oedipal scenario in which the child murders its parent (and yet similar in form to how the left wishes to place the Constitution in an old-folks home and euthanize western civilization in order to seize their priceless inheritance; to paraphrase Don Colacho, leftists are simply "impatient heirs" -- so impatient that they are now feverishly stealing from their descendants too, but that's the subject of a different post).

Clarke writes that man innately possesses an "unrestricted drive" to know "all that there is to know about all that there is."

Good credo for the masthead: All There is to Know about All There Is.

As such, our mind is by its nature "oriented toward the totality of being as knowable, as its final goal which alone can satisfy its desire to know." Further, this is a kind of "natural hope" -- to go along with our natural faith -- "in the radical intelligibility in principle of all real being."

In short, Mind is ordered to Being. Or haven't you gnosissed?

Blah blah blah yada yada, if you pursue this line of thought to its inevitable end, you are faced with a choice: "Either the universe is unintelligible," in which case you are dismissed, and are free -- or compelled -- to wallow in your own absurdity.

If not, then "there must exist one and only one Infinite Source of all other beings, both of their actual existence and all the perfections (goodness) within them.... Our journey of the intellect, in search of the full intelligibility of what it means to be, has now finally arrived at the single Infinite Source of all beings, of the whole community of real existents."


The original desire for the good takes its energy from the ever-pulsating momentum of that Origin in which man, answering the creative call of God, flew across the abyss which parts nothingness from existence. It is the moment with which the possible bursts forth with a roar into the radiant dawn of its first realization: the swift current of a stream that originating in the bright darkness of mere Nature and steadily fed by its source, crosses by the dictates of innate conscience into the realm of freedom. --Josef Pieper

I don't care what Kant says. Half a cosmos just doesn't appeal to me:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cosmos and Reality, Infinite and Absolute

The human being is faced with a range of phenomena -- both exterior and interior, i.e., thoughts and things -- of which he needs to take account and make sense. And if he is to comprehend the totality of existence, i.e., the Kosmos, then the True Philosopher, the extreme seeker after knowledge, the ardent lover of wisdom, the off-road spiritual adventurer, must exclude nothing (including, of course, Nothing; in other words, he must also be mindful of non-being, or more or less complete privations of the Good and True).

Being that man cannot bearth or begaial himself -- for no man is autochthonous -- and stands in a venerable stream of tradition, he will eavoid dissing in it and dismissing the illustrious minds that went before, the vast majority of whom found the existence of Spirit to be soph-evident.

If embracing the fancies of a Dawkins or Dennett means rejecting the oceanic depths of an Aquinas or Maritain, then so much the worse for the modern misosophers who are blind to any reality that exceed the limits of their narrow reason. For example, reader William, as usual, turns reality on its head by appealing to what he calls "the infinite" in order to maintain his rigidly finite, parochial, and earthbound attitudes.

What he forgets is that to posit the Infinite -- which only man can do, and which in a certain sense defines man -- carries with it certain immediate implications. If nothing else, to take seriously the principle of the Infinite is to leave vulgar materialism behind and enter the realm of pure metaphysics. If the Infinite "exists," then it is obviously a first principle, since it cannot be surpassed. If nothing else, it is the end of the lyin'.

As Schuon explains, "To say Absolute, is to say Infinite."

I mean, right? Again, the mind cannot surpass infinitude, so it is an absolute: "Infinitude is an intrinsic aspect of the Absolute." As such, "It is from this 'dimension' of Infinitude that the world necessarily springs forth; the world exists because the Absolute, being such, implies Infinitude."

Now, we know the cosmos is "expanding," for that is an implication of Infinitude. Schuon:

"The Infinite is that which, in the world, appears as modes of expanse or of extension, such as space, time, form or diversity, number or multiplicity, matter or substance.

"In other words, and to be more precise: there is a conserving mode, and this is space; a transforming mode, and this is time; a qualitative mode, and this is form, not inasmuch as it limits, but inasmuch as it implies indefinite diversity; a quantitative mode, and this is number, not inasmuch as it fixes a given quantity, but inasmuch as it too is indefinite; a substantial mode, and this is matter, it too being without limit as is shown by the star- filled sky. Each of these modes has its prolongation" in our world, "for these modes are the very pillars of universal existence."

Those who "go off the deep end" receive all of the attention from mental health professionals, but it is also possible -- and more common, actually -- to fall off the shallow end, "to lose everything but one's reason," as somewag once said. These people can't really be helped, since they find the shallow end to be quite congenial to their simplistic (not simple) souls. They know how to wade, to tread water, to dog-paddle, and that's all they want or need to know.

This blog is not addressed to them, so I don't know why they keep returning. Their little vessels will just keep crapsizing unless they overcome their dysluxia and learn to god-paddle in the bobtismal waters of Raccoon Central.

The materialists propose what amounts to an absurdly false hierarchy with man at the top, but no way to explain how he got up there (since there can be no objective progress in a random and meaningless cosmos). As Schuon explains,

"To say that man is the measure of all things is meaningless unless one starts from the idea that God is the measure of man, or that the absolute is the measure of the relative, or again, that the universal Intellect is the measure of individual existence.... Once man makes himself a measure, while refusing to be measured in turn, or once he makes definitions while refusing to be defined by what transcends him and gives him all meaning, all human reference points disappear; cut off from the Divine, the human collapses."

This is why there can be no philosophy more anti-human than secular (as opposed to Christian) humanism; you cannot turn man into a god without placing him beneath himself, for you will simply create a demon who is beyond good and evil.

"Intelligence is the perception of a reality, and a fortiori the perception of the Real as such" (Schuon). Therefore, intelligence is the ability to discern the Real from the unreal, or from the "less real."

Furthermore, intelligence itself must share something of the substance of the Real, or it could not possibly know it. Ultimately, Truth and Intelligence must be two aspects of the same thing, or both are meaningless, at least as far as humans are concerned.

As Schuon explains, "the sources of our transcendent intuitions are innate data, consubstantial with pure intelligence." This is a key insight into how and why the intellect "resonates" with divine revelation and with the "inward appearance" of things in general. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, just as our physical eye perceives empirical reality, our spiritual vision is able to perceive the vertical realm. Or, to paradoxaphrase Eckhart, "the eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."

To put it another way, Intelligence itself is proof of eternal values, since man's intellect would be inexplicable -- for it would lose its sufficent reason -- if deprived of "its most fundamental or loftiest contents," which include Truth, Reality, the One, the Infinite, the Absolute. To recognize the Infinite is to reject all idols and graven images, including those of science.

Conversely, you can say -- as do postmodernists and other tenured apes -- that objective truth doesn't exist; but if so, then neither does intelligence, so there is no reason to pay any attention to their avowed lack thereof.

Scientific materialism provides us with facts and details, but no wisdom as to what they mean, or even whether it is worthwhile to know them. Philosophy, in the words of Josef Pieper, is simply "the hunt for that which is worth knowing, for that wisdom which makes one unconditionally wise..."

In fact, Pieper's conception is quite similar to Schuon's, in that he regards philosophy as being concerned with reality as a whole and with wisdom in its entirety, which can be seen as two aspects of the same underlying unity. He quotes Plato, who wrote that the lover of wisdom seeks not this or that part, but "integrity and wholeness in all things human and divine."

Clearly this is not so of science (nor should it be), which explicitly limits itself (or should, anyway) to this or that aspect or part of the cosmos, not its totality. It does, however, assume that there is a totality, even though this totality can obviously never be observed or proven empirically. No one but the Creator has ever "seen" the cosmos.

In fact, one could say that Cosmos and Creator are also two aspects of a single reality. There is no cosmos that cannot be known, nor knowledge in the absence of a hierarchically structured cosmos. Again, Being is Truth, at least around these parts of the whole.

To reduce reality to what may be clearly and unambiguously known through the scientific method is to in effect say that "I want to know only what can be made blindingly obvious and is thoroughly demonstrable to the densest man."

Such an approach is not worthy of the name Philosophy. Philosophy begins where science ends, which is to say, at the edge of the known, where it shades off into the vast unKnown that shines forth with a dark light visible to the eye of the soul.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

All This Useless Truth: First Things, Ask Questions Later

First things. First things. First, things. Or, principle first. Then things.

What's first? And who's on it? Things? Or Principles? Or do they co-arise?

Way before I ever encountered Thomism, I attempted to think all this through on my own. Yes, you could say "needlessly," as it turns out, but not necessarily.

I say this because I'm always shocked at how frequently my own free application of reason ends up in the same space as this Thomas fellow. Details may vary -- after all, he couldn't have foretold 700 years of scientific development -- but the broad outlines are similar. Let's say we're in the same school, if different classrooms.

But in any event, we share the same principal, Dr. Furst. Why? Because the One Cosmos mysthead tells me so:


So, in the book of the Sane Gnome, I begin with the question -- the first question, as it were -- of "Where in the world do we begin? Do we have any right to assume that the universe is intelligible? If not, you can stop reading right now and do something else, something that actually has a purpose."

Wait, a footnote, the first one. Let's see what it says. "Bear in mind, however, that if the universe has no purpose, then neither will anything you do instead of reading the book. Therefore, you might as well read the book."

So you see, there's really no way to avoid reading the book. You have no excuse, only pretexts.

Back to the text: "But if the universe is intelligible, how and why is this the case?"

Blah blah yada yada, "Of course we should start our enquiry with the 'facts,' but what exactly is a fact? Which end is up? In other words, do we start with the objects of thought or the subject that apprehends them?"

And hey, "just what is the relationship between apparently 'external' objects and the consciousness that is able to cognize them? Indeed, any fact we consider presupposes a subject who has selected the fact in question out of an infinite sea of possibilities, so any conceivable fact" is bound up with the subject.

So it seems that first things are immediately followed by first questions. That is, humans are uniquely capable of asking questions about the things they first encounter. Knowledge begins with this encounter between subject and object, but doesn't end there, as it does in animals and other atheists.

Rather, human beings may reason about their experience of things -- and, equally important, reason about reason itself. A better name for metaphysics might actually be "meta-epistemology," "meta-pneumatics," or something similar, so the accent is on the unavoidably supernatural properties of reason.

Metaphysics begins in being, not knowledge. Which is why any metaphysic that begins with science is, in the words of Maritain, "false from the beginning," because science assumes being without attempting to account for it.

To use a construction analogy, science analyzes the building without getting into the question of how it got there or who planned it. Indeed, it cannot even address the question without fatal contradictions, e.g., the absurcular argument of natural selection.

But unlike science, metaphysics is utterly useless, which is another way of saying that it is completely disinterested and hence objective. Conversely, science always assumes a point of view, and more generally, a whole paradigm (usually unexamined).

Now, "useless" doesn't imply "worthless." Hardly. To the contrary, "nothing is more necessary to man than this uselessness. What we need is not truths that serve us but a truth we may serve" (emphasis mine).

My fellow Raccoons, ask not what Truth can do for you, and you know the rest.

"For that truth is food of the spirit.... Useless metaphysics puts order -- not any sort of police order, but the order that has sprung from eternity" into man's otherwise rudderless -- or groundless -- intelligence (Maritain).

To express it poetically but then again literally, metaphysics allows man "to gravitate, head first, to the midst of the stars, while he hangs from the earth by his two legs."

In other words, in the Upanishadic formulation, the universe is a tree with its nonlocal roots aloft and local branches down below. Therefore, in the bobservational formulation,

"history is a chronicle of our evolutionary sprint from biology to spirit, in which we first climb down from the trees of eastern Africa and then up the metaphorical Upanishadic tree....

"Thus, we start our journey 'out on a limb' and soon find ourselves 'grounded,' but eventually find a radical solution to our troubling situation, arriving at the root' of the cosmos" ("radical" being related to the Latin "root").

So, where does this leave us? Out of time, for one thing. Still not adjusted to dawnlight wasting time...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Science of Values and the Mythology of Fact

Reader William is a self-refuting idiot. Fact or value?

First he affirms the fact -- or is it a value? -- that "It's a false dichotomy to compare religious belief with evidence based thinking."

But then he marshals misogynistic cable TV host Bill Maher to affirm the very opposite principle, that these two realms are "not two sides of the same coin." Rather, "you don’t get to put your unreason up on the same shelf with my reason. Your stuff has to go over there, on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kraken, with the stuff that is not evidence-based, stuff that religious people never change their mind about, no matter what happens."

In other words, fact and value are very much dichotomous and irreconcilable. But is this meta-statement about the world a fact or a value? Clearly, anyone with a modicum of philosophical training would recognize it as a value, because it is plainly not a fact that facts are value-free.

Nevertheless, post-literate, post-religious, and post-metaphysical postmodernists typically regard these as opposites, except when they don't.

As we know, if the leftist believes his made-up facts are on his side, he will appeal to them; if not, he will appeal to a "deeper" principle, i.e., that perception is reality, or that no cultural perspective is superior to any other, or that absolute truth is a myth.

Thus, the moment you defeat the leftist with facts, he will pull various blunt instruments out of his relativistic arsenhole, such as critical race theory, gender studies, queer theory, diversity, etc.

For the vulgar materialist/atheist, the existence of facts is unproblematic, uncontaminated by the nebulous world of values. Conversely, the world of values is a fact-free zone of more or less arbitrary beliefs.

But this was not the perspective of our founders, nor is it consistent with centuries of natural law.

For example, Locke -- who was a major influence on the founding generation -- maintained that morality stands "amongst the sciences capable of demonstration," and that it is grounded in "self-evident propositions" with "necessary consequences as incontestable as those in mathematics."

As such, "measures of right and wrong might be made out to anyone that will apply himself with the same indifferency and attention to the one as he does to the other of these sciences" (in Arkes).

Conversely, in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn demonstrated how scientific facts are only meaningful within a larger paradigm. For example, the Newtonian paradigm not only doesn't recognize quantum indeterminacy as a fact, but cannot recognize it period.

When the founders affirm that all men are created equal, they do not mean it in any relativistic or culture-bound sense. Rather, they are affirming a truth that is timeless and universal. There is no new fact that can come along and contradict it, because it is an axiomatic moral proposition implied by morality itself. It is certainly not a "value," if by value you mean something inherently subjective and personal.

As is true of any scientific fact, morality is not moral unless it is universally applicable and potentially knowable by anyone.

In other words, just as we say that Greek logic doesn't end with the boundaries of Greece, it is equally true that Judeo-Christian morality doesn't only apply to the Jews and Christians who value it. Rather, if it isn't universally true, then it isn't true at all, for universality is one of the minimum requirements of truth. In the words of Arkes,

"Moral statements purport to speak about the things that are universally good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust -- which is to say, good or bad, right or wrong, for others as well as for oneself."

This being the case, we can see that morality is founded upon universal truths that are accessible to reason. Man can know that a law is moral even if it clashes with his immediate self-interest. Just as certain mathematical truths remain true even if no one knows them, there are certain moral truths that apply to persons as persons.

You will have noticed that leftists are forever accusing conservatives of supporting principles that are in their economic self-interest. First of all, this is based upon a peculiar theory of economics that we do not accept.

Secondly, it only highlights the fact that we support principles that are universal, regardless of self-interest. In any other context, leftists would regard this as "noble" -- such as when wealthy liberals supposedly vote against their own economic self-interest by supporting statists and collectivists.

The moment man is capable of recognizing the existence of the good, this is an occasion for reflection. Does it just mean pleasurable, or good for Bob, or good for this or that group? Or does the word "good" imply a more abstract and universal standard accessible to man's reason?

For Arkes, there are certain objective moral propositions that may be drawn as immediate implications of the very idea of morals and of rational being.

Now, man is often -- more often than not -- bad and wrong, but all men -- as men -- are nonetheless equipped with the ability to reason, including within the moral sphere.

The leftist may concede that all human beings reason about morality, but the existence of so many diverse moral systems proves that there is nothing objective or universal about it.

Thus, in affirming relativism, the leftist necessarily embraces either amorality or immorality, the former inevitably redounding to the latter in any event.

To be continued....

Monday, March 12, 2012

Truth Sets Us Free, Freedom Sets Us on Truth

It may be daylight savings time, but for me that translates to dawnlight wasting time -- one less hour to leave unfinished what I didn't have sufficient time for anyway. Therefore, an edited post from several years back. Because of the edits, it contains some jump cuts that I didn't have time to smooth over.

This post is about Truth and Freedom, since we cannot have the one without the other. For who could argue with the following proposition: "The actualization of truth is no mere natural process but a spiritual event, which takes place only in the lightning-like encounter and fusion of two words -- the word of the subject and the word of the object. Outside of this event, there is no truth" (Balthasar, Theo-Logic).

Thus, if one fails to understand that truth is a supernatural thang, then one has some catching up to do. Nature may embody truth, but it takes a supernatural act to pull a truthy rabbit out of a material hat, to quote Aquinas on one of his rare "off days." No: "The truth of the object exists only so long as infinite or finite spirit turns to it in an act of knowing; the truth of the subject exists only as long as it abides in this act" (Balthasar).

So truth is implicated in both subject and object, but only their mutual encounter "activates" the truth between them, not dissimilar to the erotic spark between male and female. I know you know I know you know what I mean, because the love of truth cannot be separated from its own distinct version of eros, i.e., our innate epistimophila, or what the psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas calls the "eros of form."

This is a particular kind of encounter with objects that releases the truth of the self into being. This is why we all respond differently to different objects -- and subjects, i.e., persons -- which have a way of giving birth to a latent part of ourselves. If you think about it, this has mulch in common with the fertile Platonic idea of education, the purpose of which is more to draw out what is within than to stuff the bovine fertilizer into us. (If memory serves, doctor is from docer, to "draw out.")

One reason why I am impervious to the rantings of our trolls is that I knew America was a torture state way back in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was president. I knew full well that we were no better than the USSR, and that by opposing communism we merely reduced ourselves to their mirror image, just as we do today with the Islamic supremacists. Furthermore, we had just as many political prisoners as the Soviet Union, but we just called them "blacks."

In the spirit of fool disclosure, I must also admit that I actually attended a Noam Chomsky lecture some 20 years ago. I remember it well, because he assured the lunatic crowd that George Bush was poised to invade Cuba and oust our beloved comrade Fidel Castro. In fact, I'm guessing that the only reason we didn't do so is because Chomsky blew the whistle on Bush's nefarious plan.

Another reason why I don't argue with leftists is that I have only to mentally travel back to my own hellseein' daze, and imagine how I would have reacted if a so-called conservative had presumed to instruct me about anything. I was 100% unreceptive, and would use the occasion merely to enlist them into my persecutory fantasy world. Because I was just as intelligent then as I am today -- maybe even more so, given the inevitable loss of brain cells -- I was virtually always able to run circles around myself and repel any interlocutor.

Shame on me. There is no end to the damage to truth caused by the abuse of intelligence. I have never been impressed by Obama's intelligence. Indeed, for those of us who have been there, it is a sorry sight to watch this cognitively arrested boob in action. Obama is not free to discover truth, since he is laboring under the oppressive weight of systematic falsehoods he has passively absorbed throughout his friction-free life. Being good at articulating lies in charcoal activated cigaret-burnished tones should not be confused with being "articulate."

One cannot get to the freedom of truth unless one first appreciates the unfreedom that often surrounds it. The spirit must first apprentice itself to the object world before it can "attain to itself." This is similar to the manner in which one must first master scales and chords before one is truly free to play a musical instrument. In fact, for a true master, the unfreedom and freedom will live side by side for the remainder of one's life. John Coltrane used to practice eight hours a day long after he attained virtuosity.

Things are more than things, and facts are more than facts. If that weren't the case, then we would all be identical, in the way that animals and the tenured are.

For human beings, facts are always enshrouded in mystery, for they are an occasion to know the great Mystery of Withinness. Facts speak to humans, again, in ways that engage us in particularly intimate ways. Take the simple example of this book we're discussing today. Not a single person in the world would have highlighted the same passages that I have. So are the facts in the book? Or in me? Or in the space in between?

If it weren't for the wonderful erotic mystery that enshrouds truth, we'd all be singing from the same boring hymnal. "The event of knowledge would cast a cold, pitiful, shadowless light into every corner, and there would be no possibility of escaping this scorching sun. Being, stripped of mystery, would be, so to speak, prostituted" (Balthasar).

This is the precise opposite of a cynical relativism or spiritually barren deconstruction. Rather, that sort of "radical cynicism only becomes possible wherever man no longer has a flair for the central mystery of being, whenever he has unlearned reverence, wonder, and adoration, whenever, having denied God, whose essence is always characterized by the wonderful, man also overlooks the wondrousness of every single created entity."

There is a perverse joy in this radical cynicism. Nor is it difficult to trace its roots, now that I have a four year old boy who likes to build things, but not nearly as much as he enjoys tearing them apart, knocking them down, or disassembling them to see "what's inside." But of course, there is no inside without the outside. The outside is the manifestation of the inside, just as the inside is the invisible "essence" of the outside. Jettison either, and the cosmos is reduced to a flat and empty place.

The outside reveals the inside, just as the downside reveals the upside.