Know Thyself, Know ThyGod
True enough, I arranged for the cheapest possible shipping, but matters were further delayed because the mule was not permitted to cross federal lands. I asked the rider why he couldn't simply maneuver around the sawhorses, but it seems he's not here legally, so he didn't want to risk exposure.
I tried to assure him that the officials usually responsible for ignoring immigration laws weren't even there on the job to ignore them, but his only frame of reference is his own government, which is at least serious about keeping Mexicans out of Mexico.
So, where does this leave us?
We were just wondering whether it is true that change is intrinsically bad, while immutability and independence are always good. The Greeks looked at this vale of sorrows and quickly concluded that it was essentially a trainwreck in comparison to the beautiful, abstract, unchanging realm of platonic ideas. Their advice: get out. Tune in (to the Ideas), turn on (to the One), and drop out (of the many).
Which is one big reason why the Incarnation represented such foolishness to these gentiles. It essentially turned common philosophical sense upside down, by suggesting that there was something intrinsically noble, valuable, and redeeming about this crazy world.
For, why in heaven would God, the absolute principle, infinitely distant, free of change, unsullied by hand or tongue, ever submit to such indignity? Why would eternity ever consent to time, of all things?
Besides, how could the intrinsically changeless ever even have knowledge of the intrinsically changeable? To know something is to be changed by it, since it requires the conformity of knower to known; thus, the knower is partly determined by what he knows.
Think about it: just as it would be impossible for a being of pure contingency to know the absolute, it is impossible for a being of pure necessity to know -- and therefore be changed by -- the contingent.
Hartshorne relates this way of thinking to (what he believes to be) a common fallacy whereby irrational extremes condition and relate to one another -- for example, one vs. many, unity vs. plurality, matter vs. spirit, chance vs. determinism, exterior vs. interior.
But what if the truth is in the middle -- not in terms of some weak-minded compromise, but rather, an ultimate principle that is always two-sided?
Looked at this way, immutability is just human nonsense, a pure abstraction that can't even be thought, since it conforms to no object or experience (experience itself being experience of change). Could it be that immutability is an instance of (-k), just as is radical determinism, or materialism, or a logical atomism of exterior relations only?
Well, I say: what's your problem with time? Hartshorne maintains that the Greek prejudice against time persisted into the middle ages, envisioning a God for whom "the entirety of things is eternal, spread out immutably as datum for omniscience. Nothing is really past or future, and nothing is first nonexistent and then existent."
That's all well and good, but have you really considered the implications? For one thing, it implies that God's "decision" to create the world is "both eternal and yet not necessary," which -- recalling what was said above about extremes of logic -- makes the world a kind of "eternal accident" (an example of an unproductive paradox as opposed to a fruitful orthoparadox).
Again: what if we simply take the words "create" and "creator" seriously. Thus, "in the beginning" the Creator creates. And he never stops creating, for the vertical beginning is always now.
And having created, the Creator is "changed." How do we know he has changed? Because he sees what he has created, and sees that it is good. I'm not usually a biblical literalist, but what's wrong with taking this literally?
"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." So, "male and female He created them" (note the Us-them parallel, implying intersubjectivity both above and below).
If we are in the image of God, it very much matters what God is like. And if God is free of change, then so too should we strive to be that way. We should be more like progressives, who never learn, who never change, and who never create.
But what if there are "additions to truth" in "every new act of creativity?" Well, for one thing, what a blast it would be to be God! And what a joy and privilege to participate in his infinite creativity! Otherwise, if it's just the same old same old forever -- well, to quote the book:
Vishnu were here, but just His lux, God only knows only God, and frankly, ishvara monotheotonous -- no one beside Him, no nous, same old shunyata yada yada...