Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Reality Before Reality and the We Before I

The first principle of the science before science is that "the world exists independent of us and of our understanding." You'd think this wouldn't be controversial, but that's because you're not a genius, like Descartes or Hume or Kant.

Descartes, for example, in looking for a good place to set up a philosophy business, started inside his own head (I-think-therefore-I-am) instead of with the outside world. It's amazing he had any customers at all, since the doors are permanently closed.

Thus begins a tragic bifurcation in the human spirit. It leads straight to Kant, who concludes that we not only begin in the head but can never leave there -- or in other words, all we ever "know" are the forms of our own sensibilities, AKA the ontologically closed nervous system. Epistemology is severed from ontology, and here we are imprisoned in the subjectivist hell of Obamaworld, with no appeal to the higher court of reality. That was fast!

"Subjectivism" means that we cannot consult the world -- objective reality -- to settle our differences.

Rather, perception is reality, and crouching behind perception is a beefy looking man slipping on brass knuckles. "I think therefore I am" soon enough redounds to "I think therefore you aren't."

Seriously, have we ever had a president so hermetically sealed in his own ideology? That he is "narcissistic" is somewhat beside the point, because that pertains only to the interpersonal plane, when he's closed on every level. He can't be reached by reality because his soul is unlisted.

The essence of narcissism is closure of the human subject. It is only a pretend closure, of course, because the narcissist still needs others, only not for their own sake. Rather, the narcissist needs others to serve as mirrors of his own grandiose narcissistic image. In the absence of this mirroring he will begin to experience an emotional depletion, since there is no energy "coming in." Thus, he is covertly an open system, but in an intrinsically pathological way.

Now, I believe that ultimate reality is Trinity, and one might say that Trinity is intrinsic intersubjectivity. Thus, even -- or especially -- God is an "open system." In his case he is open horizontally with himself (so to speak) -- i.e., Father-Son-Holy Spirit -- but also vertically, with the world.

For this reason, every part of the world, no matter how teenytiny, will reflect this fact (a part so ptee does duty for the holos --JJ). Everywhere we look we see an open exchange of matter, energy, or information. It is what makes the world intelligible, for what is knowledge but the precipitate of an open encounter between mind and world? The world is always instructing us in its mysterious allforabit, and how weird is that?

Look above your head at the One Cosmos mysthead, and what does it say? Life is Our School, The Cosmos Our Teacher, Truth the First Principal. In a way, that says it all, for life is our school and the cosmos is our teacher. And Principal Truth pops into class every now and then to make sure order is maintained and everyone is learning.

This is not the way it is in leftworld, where ideology is the school, feelings the teacher, and political correctness the obnoxious principal.

When we say the human being is an open system, we mean -- like God -- both horizontally and vertically. But for us -- in contrast to the Trinity -- verticality is prior, while horizontality must be a prolongation of this. A human, in order to be one, must be open to love, to truth, to beauty, to virtue. These verticalities are known as "transcendentals," so to be open to them is to be vertically open.

Contrast this with the psychological, philosophical, or political narcissist. Descartes, for example. To what is he open? Himself. For which reason he is the quintessential infertile egghead engaging in metaphysical masturbation.

I remember reading in a book by the philosopher of science Stanley Jaki that we begin with the plain fact that objects object. Here again, this seems like a trivial truth, but recall the adage that a tiny mistake at the beginning will lead to monumental mistakes down the road.

Descartes, for example, should have begun with the idiotically plain fact that "Objects object, therefore they exist." That is literally the eureka moment that makes all other eurekas possible.

Conversely, if your eureka moment is "I think therefore I am," you have consigned yourself to a closed system from which you will never legitimately escape. If your first principle is "me," you can never get to the real You.

In contrast, even secular psychoanalysis recognizes the primacy of the You. The I is only discovered in the space of the vibrant and living relationship between mother and infant. I guarantee you that an infant raised without human contact -- assuming it could live -- would never discover the I, let alone the I Think and the I AM. For truly, as the Son might say to the Father: You are, therefore I am. And We are, therefore the Holy Spirit is.

Hey now. Dramatic. That seems like a good place to end.

Well, at risk of deflation, I've got a little more time to make a few more ancillary points. I mentioned this in the book, but have you noticed how the subjectivists begin with normal science, and then twist it around in order to support their subjectivism?

This is especially done with quantum physics and by scoundrels such as Deepak Chopra. We only know about quantum physics because we begin with really existing things like rocks and tables and chairs. We don't begin at the other end of extreme mathematical abstraction, and then try to get from there to the ponderable reality of intelligible objects.

But in a fiendish twist, the pneumapathic Deepaks of the world start with the paradoxes of quantum physics in order to prove that the macro world is pervaded by the same sorts of paradoxes, such as "perception is reality." Thus, they want to have their scientific crock and eat it too: misusing science to support a crazy a priori ideology.

Don't believe that people can be so systematically stupid? Here is one of Deepak's latest garbled mixtures of truth and fantasy. He writes, for example, that Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions "shattered the notion of objective progress in science by arguing that given their starting assumptions, every scientific scheme for explaining Nature -- what he called a paradigm -- is right on its own terms."

Or in other words, we begin with the paradigm, not with the objective world. Does that truth apply to Kuhn's paradigm? No, he gets a special exemption, so his paradigm is true.

"[N]o one has rebutted Kuhn's point that we view Nature through our own paradigm, our worldview, and that the history of science is a constant stream of shifting paradigms, one after another. There is no way to step outside the paradigm you totally believe in."

Er, I think you just stepped out of it, Deepak. Or into it, rather. The rest is just a pool of blather filling in the crater produced by the initial misstep.

15 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

..but have you noticed how the subjectivists begin with normal science, and then twist it around in order to support their subjectivism?

I'm reminded, perhaps just tangentially or possibly even erroneously, of people who like to make claims about various substances (especially "natural" products), without ever doing any actual, rigorous testing to see if those claims are true. For instance, hydrogen peroxide is not a disinfectant. But it has been claimed as such for so long that even a large number of medical supply companies sell it as such, without ever having done any actual testing to see if it worked. Turns out it doesn't; just foams up a lot, and stings, so people assumed it does something useful for wounds. it *might* help in removal of foreign particles, but that's about it.

Anyway.

Every once in a while I get curious about claims made about various substances, many of which are also billed as disinfectants, or natural insect repellants/ insecticides, or any variety of other seemingly magical properties. The only way to find out if they work, though, is to test them. I did rather a lot of that last fall, upon discovering just how badly my house was overrun with ants. Turns out the best way to get rid of ants, in Florida at least, is to call people whose job is to come up with effective ways of getting rid of them.

9/11/2014 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"The first principle of the science before science is that "the world exists independent of us and of our understanding." You'd think this wouldn't be controversial, but that's because you're not a genius, like Descartes or Hume or Kant.

Ahhh. You had me at 'The'. This is going to be a very satisfying meal.

9/11/2014 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

Descartes, now there's a guy that comes immediately to mind when talking about people that can't abide a mystery, and have no sense of the consequences of trying to subdue something much bigger than yourself. In fact, I would say he is the model par excellence. He may have only been the embodiment of the spirit of the age, but as you note, we are still well inside the temporal blast radius of his assumptions.

9/11/2014 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Paul Griffin said "...we are still well inside the temporal blast radius of his assumptions."

That is a really good way to put it, exactly so. Descartes was the start, wittingly or not, he loaded the canon which everyone from Rousseau to Kant to Hume and on have been blasting us in the foot with ever since.

9/11/2014 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

Talk about asking the wrong question...

9/11/2014 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

He can't be reached by reality because his soul is unlisted.

That right there is poetry.

9/11/2014 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

... in order to prove that the macro world is pervaded by the same sorts of paradoxes, such as "perception is reality."

They can play that game only because they are so insulated from reality.

9/11/2014 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Conversely, if your eureka moment is "I think therefore I am," you have consigned yourself to a closed system from which you will never legitimately escape. If your first principle is "me," you can never get to the real You."

Aye, and if you can never get to the real You then what's the point?

9/11/2014 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"But in a fiendish twist, the pneumapathic Deepaks of the world start with the paradoxes of quantum physics in order to prove that the macro world is pervaded by the same sorts of paradoxes, such as "perception is reality." Thus, they want to have their scientific crock and eat it too: misusing science to support a crazy a priori ideology."

Which explains how leftists can claim to be the "reality based community" although they deny reality in reality.

It strikes me as ridiculous that anyone would think they hafta say that to begin with. I mean, who thinks that way? Certainly not someone grounded in reality.

9/11/2014 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Ben said "Aye, and if you can never get to the real You then what's the point?"

I guess if you can't get to the real you, a ewe would have to do. Say! Maybe that explains the islambies and their sheep!

9/12/2014 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

You know what they say, Van: if you can't be with the boy you love, love the sheep you're with.

9/12/2014 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Speaking of making claims, it seems none of O's posse can manage a sense of authority when they speak. The passive tics and tells give away their real position within the diktat. If they speak with certainty, it's likely to come back on their own heads.

Everyone hedges their speech and their bets because they know exactly how the hyenas will pull down their prey-- having done it themselves on Reddit a million times.

9/12/2014 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Huh. Apparently the music of the spheres is in the key of D. Or at least a small part of it.

Scientists Capture The Sound Of A Single Atom, And Apparently It's A 'D-Note'

9/12/2014 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow - talk about raising questions! How does one go about constructing an atom, and what kind of atom did they construct? Did they just manufacture an element?! That seems pretty interesting to me. And how do you make a scaffold that's smaller than an atom? Also, just because this atom resonates on a D (a perfect D, or just kind of close to a D?), I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that not all atoms resonate at the same pitch. Why not measure a natural atom - was there a shortage?

Interesting stuff. Thanks, Van :)

9/12/2014 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "Why not measure a natural atom - was there a shortage?"

:-) Yep, that one, and this one, really caught my attention:

"We have opened a new door into the quantum world by talking and listening to atoms,"

Talking to them? Raises some interesting questions about what they consider talking to consist of... but I'm betting that one side of the conversation, or the other, thought that there was very, very, very, little sense being made.

9/12/2014 10:56:00 AM  

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