Bob, Bobber, and Bobbest
What I mean is, all living things have a telos, i.e., a mature form toward which their development is drawn, or at least might as well be.
I remember reading Sheldrake's A New Science of Life, on morphic resonance and formative causation, way back when it came out in the early 1980s. Something about his presentation struck (even) me as a little dodgy, but I don't see any way around the broader point that biology makes no sense at all in the absence of teleonomy, which essentially comes down to "future causation."
I see that the wiki article on teleonomy mentions Robert Rosen in the third paragraph, and it wasn't until his books fell into my lap that I felt I had a Coonworthy theoretical biologist to bring along on the bus.
Rosen may be saying some of the same things as Sheldrake, but since half the time I have no idea what he's talking about, it gives me confidence that he knows what he's talking about. In contrast, Sheldrake comes across as rather facile, and in the ensuing years has become downright Chopraesque.
Another rider we picked up along the way was the apparently obscure philosopher Errol Harris, whom we don't discuss much. He wrote a number of books, beginning with Revelation Through Reason, which were revelations to me at the time, but I have since then become more reasonable.
Let's inspect some of my Higher Marginalia in the latter book, shall we? "Life is the universe flowing through itself." That is literally true, because instead of traveling in a straight line, toward entropy and disorder, the universe somehow wraps around itself, creating a boundary through which energy and information pass. That's life.
A lot of this must have stuck with me, for example, "God's reality cannot be denied, as any such denial must rest on grounds which only God's reality can provide" (that may be a direct quote or my own formulation).
Here is another proof of God: "Every proposition is contingent, but in order for this to be so, there is one fact that must be asserted, and that is the existence of the completed system.... The perfected whole of knowledge and reality is, therefore, the necessary presupposition of all reasoning and all proof. The denial of its reality is self-refuting, such that without God's existence all rational discourse is undermined."
But we're getting a little far afield. Back to the weird structure of human existence. Just as every animal develops toward its mature form, human beings also mature toward theirs. The Big Difference is that this doesn't just take place in the key of matter -- i.e., our bodily form -- but is somehow transposed to the key of psyche.
In other words -- and I don't see how this can be denied, any more than biological teleonomy -- human beings develop towards their "true" (or at least truer) selves. That may not be the most felicitous terminology, but the main point is that we always live in a kind of dynamic and fruitful tension that reaches toward our better, or fuller, or more actualized selves: in my case, Bob, Bobber, and Bobbest.
Which is precisely Corbin's point, with all the angel business.
Because the first thing the curious primate wants to know is, "since this higher Bob is not yet here, where is he?" In other words, he surely "exists," but only in potential. But where is this "potential existence," and what is its ontological status? What about Bob?
For Corbin, this true self is our "angel." It is the source of our uniqueness, our individuality.
Again, it is indeed curious that, just as each human being has a distinctly recognizable face, we somehow possess a unique self, even if it is only in potential and generally stillborn. Much of the drama of history has involved creating political and economic conditions that will allow the self to be born and to flourish in this world.
This flaming article by Ann Coulter helps explain why this is so, as most cultures essentially function to either suppress individuality or allow only pathological versions of it. Liberals will no doubt call her "racist" for being so objective about these worthless cultures.
What happens to an animal if it is prevented from achieving its mature form? Another name for this is death, since the maturation process will take care of itself so long as something or someone doesn't prevent it.
Does something similar -- okay, identical -- occur with regard to psychological development, i.e., soul death, or zombiehood?
If zombies could vote, they would vote for someone like, I don't know, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, and that could never happen here, of all places, the Land of the Free and Home of the non-Zombies.
Rather than using the loaded term "angel," my preference is to simply use an unsaturated placeholder, or pneumaticon, for the angelic phenomena. The symbols I use came to me in about five minutes. Perhaps they look like it, but they have nevertheless done the job over the past ten or fifteen years, in this case (¶). When Corbin says "angel," I just think (¶), as in the following:
Each (¶) "is unique because it mirrors the potential individuality of the soul. It is a call to our individuality. Becoming yourself is a task. We are born with the potential to become who we truly are -- to engage in the struggle for the [¶] who is our celestial counterpart" (Cheetham).
I'll have more time tomorrow. To be continued...