The Reality Before Reality and the We Before I
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.