Friday, August 22, 2014

The Theory of Divine Relativity: Nothing Exceeds the Speed of One

Good definition of orthoparadox: "For the Christian the truth is in tension between certain contrary propositions." Thus, "theology has no function in resolving the conflict, but in showing its necessity" (Dávila).

The etymology of paradox is para + doxos, i.e., contrary to thinking, or thoughts that seem to run counter to one another. Ortho-paradox borrows from it and from ortho-doxy, meaning "correct opinion."

Therefore, orthoparadox -- which began life as one of those annoying but harmless portmanteaus compulsively tossed out by Petey -- has come to actually mean something in the Raccoon luxicon, something quite important and even central to understanding our cosmic situation. It is a joke no more, or at least a serious guffah HA!

Orthoparadox must be distinguished from mere paradox, which implies a problem in the data or in the thinker, something that can eventually be overcome, e.g. a false assumption or naive expectation or hidden variable.

For example, Einstein spent a lot of time thinking about certain paradoxes of classical physics before he resolved them by vaulting himself to an entirely new plane. However, that plane has now generated paradoxes of its own, most conspicuously, the disjunction between quantum physics and special relativity, or between locality and nonlocality. In short, special relativity insists that nothing can exceed the speed of light, while the cosmos feels otherwise.

And as it so happens, "feel" is more than just a figure of speech. Rather, it is actually central to Whitehead's metaphysic, which in turn forms the basis of process theology. For what is feeling? For our purposes, it is a kind of spontaneous interior knowing, which in turn implies a wavelike connectedness or unity of things.

Let's zoom out for a moment and consider the big picture: the Christian truth alluded to above by Dávila posits -- or embodies -- several irreducible orthoparadoxes of the greatest possible significance, for example, Trinity, Incarnation, and Resurrection. Expressed in the simplest possible way, God is One and Three; Divine and human; and Life in death.

None of these are paradoxes, nor are they mere mysteries that cannot be thought about. Nevertheless, as Dávila says, "In clumsy hands theology becomes the art of making mystery ridiculous." What I would say is that when the typical theologian reaches the threshold of a paradox, he makes a special plea to Mystery, and hopes you won't ask any more questions.

One of the most annoying examples of this is in the attempt to reconcile divine omnipotence with the obvious existence of evil. This is a difficult one to squirm out of, which is why even serious theologians will throw up their hands and say, for example, "God's ways are not our ways." Thanks for the tip!

The first thing I want to say is that perhaps God's ways are more like our ways than some assume. I mean, you and I want to eliminate evil, don't we? I always go back to something our Unknown Friend said, to the effect that God doesn't control history -- after all, he himself was crucified in history. At the very least, he doesn't control history in the way you imagine -- like a tyrannical dictator who eliminates freedom.

Here we are very much in the realm of orthoparadox, i.e., "the Creator of history crucified in history," which is a little like me jumping into this post and allowing myself to be physically pummeled by commenters.

Back to that idea of "feeling." Humans are social beings. Why? Or first, how? Because of "fellow feeling," or sympathy with and for our fellow man. When my son hurts, I hurt even more. Why? Well, Hartshorne writes that while humans love and care, they do not do so "perfectly." Our "social awareness" is mixed with a good deal of selfishness, or narcissism, or social unawareness -- granted, not as much as an Obama, who is so heartbroken that he nearly misses his tee time -- but we clearly have limitations, or we'd go insane.

Not so God, who is "socially aware -- period" (Hartshorne). He is the source and ground of our own soci-ability, which is to say, love. Thus, "We do not 'love' literally, but with qualifications" (ibid.); taken literally, love is God. He is the literal instance of what is for us a category. Likewise "knowing." We can know a little bit about everything, but we cannot know everything about a single thing. But God is knowing -- period.

Now, this knowing is, in my opinion, also the ground of nonlocality; you might say that nonlocality is the shadow of God's omniscience, or in other words, a consequence of the radical unity of things forged by God's knowledge-love. This interior unity is prior to any outward multiplicity. It is not so much "faster" then the speed of light as prior to it, for it is truly One Cosmos, and nothing arrives here more instantaneously than Oneness.

Well, I didn't have time to get nearly as deeply into this as I had wanted, but we'll take another plunge on Monday.

23 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

Just from reading the title, I have to say it: Wherever you go, there you are.

8/22/2014 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Our "social awareness" is mixed with a good deal of selfishness, or narcissism, or social unawareness ... but we clearly have limitations, or we'd go insane.

God feeling all the pain of the cosmos -- I think the world just got lit on fire.

8/22/2014 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thus, "We do not 'love' literally, but with qualifications" (ibid.); taken literally, love is God. He is the literal instance of what is for us a category. Likewise "knowing." We can know a little bit about everything, but we cannot know everything about a single thing. But God is knowing -- period.

Yes.

8/22/2014 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

OT:

More proof, as if any more were needed, that leftist social engineering (feminist version) always ends in the gulag/concentration camp.

At least she is honest about it.

Be sure to watch her introductory video. This is is no short-haired, man-hater in comfortable shoes. Yikes.

8/22/2014 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

On a lighter note, Sturgill Simpson is Waylon Jennings 2.0

8/22/2014 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Einstein: The spiritual relativity thing is an extrapolation from Einstein. Photons are still something which can be manipulated and measured by the material being, and are only partway to “everywhere all the time”, but I think they’re in that direction. Spirituality involves laws not yet measurable, or ever measurable, by the material. But I heard the Vatican has good people working on it. We’ll get there...

Love: Nobody is more evil, loveless, and (not so coincidentally?) antispiritual than the psychopath (known a few, not fun, incorrigible, avoid em all...). With them everything is about controlling the material, and love has no meaning. They cannot feel. At the other extreme end – the empath. Is it a coincidence they’re often spiritual?

Evil: For the all the physical laws to work there has to be the extremes. Maybe to make an earth you’ve always gotta break a few comets. To make people you’ve always gotta break a few amygdalas?

8/22/2014 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

feminist social engineering

She’s young. What she’s grasping for are the psychopaths, only 1% of the population but of which 75% are male. I once considered psychopath testing for castration. But then I realized it’s the rest of us, our gullible choices, which gives them their power. Can’t castrate everybody. Maybe just all the males. Oh wait...

8/22/2014 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Femitheist. Wow. That's a whole new level of upbeat stupid than I'm used to. On the bright side, I enjoyed discovering that there is now an online magazine devoted to Vice, because, you know, that whole concept has been so under represented up until now.

Scotch please.

8/22/2014 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Therefore, orthoparadox -- which began life as one of those annoying but harmless portmanteaus compulsively tossed out by Petey -- has come to actually mean something in the Raccoon luxicon, something quite important and even central to understanding our cosmic situation. It is a joke no more, or at least a serious guffah HA!"

Now that's deep.

8/22/2014 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Jack, irt that link, Margaret Sanger would be proud of this vile feminazi.

8/22/2014 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Going back to this,

Not so God, who is "socially aware -- period" (Hartshorne). He is the source and ground of our own soci-ability, which is to say, love. Thus, "We do not 'love' literally, but with qualifications" (ibid.); taken literally, love is God.

This leads to some thoughts that have been brewing thanks to recent perambulations around the internet. Happy Acres links to another good piece by Theodore Dalrymple about the state of the lower classes in Britain:

"This sophisticated innocence has departed. Without the institution of marriage, mother-in-law and divorce jokes are pointless and passé. Fun now means public drunkenness on a mass scale, screaming in the streets, and the frequent exposure of naked buttocks to passersby. Within moments of arriving on the street along the beach, which was ankle-deep in discarded fast-food wrappings (the smell of stale fat obliterates completely the salt smell of the sea), I saw a woman who had pulled down her slacks and tied a pair of plastic breasts to her bare buttocks, while a man crawled after her on the sidewalk, licking them. At midnight along this street—with the sound of rock music pounding insistently out of every club door, and each door presided over by a pair of steroid-inflated bouncers, among men vomiting into the gutters, and with untold numbers of empty bags of marijuana on the pavement—I saw children as young as six, unattended by adults, waiting for their parents to emerge from their nocturnal recreations."

Earlier this week, I read an article about near death experiences, discussing those cases where people have not a heavenly trip, but a hellish one. It would seem that all those old depictions of hell, where demons commit unspeakable acts of sexual degradation (among many other things), were not so much the feverish workings of Medieval imaginations as documentaries of what at least a few dead people have seen. It strikes me that progressives are working awfully hard to bring such visions to life here and now.

God is love, knowledge, communion; the demonic takes all the ways in which love is expressed, and sexuality in particular, and wrenches away all the meaning to create not life, but a sort of living death.

8/23/2014 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

More from Dalrymple:

"And so if family life was less than blissful, with all its inevitable little prohibitions, frustrations, and hypocrisies, they called for the destruction of the family as an institution. The destigmatization of illegitimacy went hand in hand with easy divorce, the extension of marital rights to other forms of association between adults, and the removal of all the fiscal advantages of marriage. Marriage melted as snow in sunshine. The destruction of the family was, of course, an important component and consequence of sexual liberation, whose utopian program was to have increased the stock of innocent sensual pleasure, not least among the liberators themselves. It resulted instead in widespread violence consequent upon sexual insecurity and in the mass neglect of children, as people became ever more egotistical in their search for momentary pleasure."

8/23/2014 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And here's the other article, via Rod Dreher, about hellish experiences:

“Everywhere spirits were locked in what looked like fights to the death, writhing, punching, gouging,” he wrote in Return From Tomorrow, originally published in 1978. “Even more hideous than the bites and kicks they exchanged, were the sexual abuses many were performing in feverish pantomime. Perversions I had never dreamed of were being vainly attempted all around us.”

I wonder what he'd think if he walked through, say, parts of San Francisco today...

8/23/2014 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Or again, HappyAcres and Master Dávila:

"The modern world will not be punished. It is the punishment."

8/23/2014 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "God is love, knowledge, communion; the demonic takes all the ways in which love is expressed, and sexuality in particular, and wrenches away all the meaning to create not life, but a sort of living death."

Yep. And it wrenches the particular action away from the context of the words or deeds with which they had, and contributed, meaning, separating them from the infinite hierarchy, 'creating' disintegrated swathes of flattened activities.

The only lure, temptation, that can be offered for that, is that it'll 'feel good!', the problem is that once you have disintegrated that particular action, the portion of the temptation, 'good', you were after, no longer exists, and all you're left with is activity, stimulation, which requires more and more of it each time to even register as a stimulation (pleasure having been long ago left behind).

"The modern world will not be punished. It is the punishment."

Yep. As with Virtue, Vice is it's own reward.

8/23/2014 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The ugliness of the world created by the left is payback for its comforting lies.

8/23/2014 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"The first thing I want to say is that perhaps God's ways are more like our ways than some assume. I mean, you and I want to eliminate evil, don't we?"

I don't think evil is something that can be eliminated because it isn't a "thing". Rather, it is the absence of something, expressly God's love. It is the vacuum when God has been rejected, and into that vacuum are drawn the manifestations of what we call evil, i.e. human selfishness of every type - inward taking rather than outward giving. Evil can only be replaced, not eliminated.

8/23/2014 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are as many reasons for depravity as there are people. But common ingredients include hopelessness, lack of discipline and inability to handle major psychological injury in their past. The social reasons offers them an excuse, but isn't a major ingredient.

Solutions? This’ll sound harsh, but the number of government ‘solutions’ represents a failure on those of us not compelled to depravity. If liberalism is a form of mob control, why do so many leave controlling the mob up to government? Romans had their armies, bread and circuses. Egyptians had their pyramids and monuments to keep the farmers busy during the flood season. Maybe the rulers preferred it that way.

Shouldn't freedom loving Americans be encouraged to build better voluntary organizations (yeah they exist but the system isn’t good enough) to encourage more freedom? If I was hurting/needy in some way I’d take a dedicated volunteer far more seriously than some barely employable government bureaucrat. If most others did too, then theoretically, those things would fall away from disuse.

8/24/2014 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Shouldn't freedom loving Americans be encouraged to build better voluntary organizations (yeah they exist but the system isn’t good enough)"

You mean... like churches? Rotary Clubs? Shriners? Lions Clubs? YMCA? (the list is goes (went) on ridiculously long, as are (were) the numbers of local variants)? Or libraries and hospitals (which both began as private organizations)?

"This’ll sound harsh..."

No, actually it just sounds ignorant and naive. de Tocqueville wrote at length about the American tendency to form such private civic groups (not without some caution about their potential dark side of enforcing social conformity) to take care of people or issues, without ever once thinking of it being a responsibility of govt to consider them.

Civic Duty once had a meaning far apart from that of govt social programs.

It was the ProRegressive movement in America that sought to interpose govt into those social solutions (including pushing hands on parent control and involvement from neighborhood schools, replacing them with elected, and administered bureaucracies with little or no respect for those they 'serve') and eventually to tax and regulate them almost to extinction, or to the point of being mere add-ons to govt programs.

8/24/2014 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay. So reinventing or improving the voluntary organization to challenge government functions is bad.

What is good?

8/24/2014 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

No, I think you miss the point. Left to their own devices, Americans have historically spontaneously participated in such organizations of their own volition. To encourage such organizations to increase (more than they already are, I might add), one need only diminish government charity, and let character take its course.

People don't give as much, in time or in money, when they believe they already do enough by forking over tax dollars to the government, which then provides welfare. Reduce government programs, and let people keep more of their own money, and they give more. That's all that needs to be done.

8/24/2014 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Thank you Julie.
Sheesh.

8/24/2014 05:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Van Harvey was telling me that government always wants to impose itself on such organizations, one way or another (still messed up with big government conservatives).

Some metrics would be helpful.

8/24/2014 05:57:00 PM  

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