Liberal Emotiology: I Feel, Therefore I Am (and You Must, Or Else)
"For example," writes Spitzer, "the laws of physics described by standard equations... cannot be identified by direct observation or standard scientific instruments or tests." So, where are they? We know them by their effects, but we can never perceive the thing itself.
I suppose the strangest and most surprising thing of all is that these transcendent laws are intelligible to our own transcendent consciousness, *almost* as if they were made for each other. Einstein famously observed that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe was its comprehensibility.
We can compare this to how our senses work. Obviously our senses are proportioned to the environment they sense. To paraphrase Einstein, we might say that the most non-sensical thing about the world is that it can be sensed. Nevertheless, our senses interiorize a world that is exterior to us, as does our consciousness. Just as our senses are made for the physical world, our consciousness is made for a transcendent one (without excluding the physical).
I suppose I first encountered these ideas in Ken Wilber's Eye to Eye back in the early '80s. Humans have three "eyes," the eye of the senses, the eye of reason, and the eye of spirit. Even the tenured are forced to recognize the first two in some form or fashion, but seem to know nothing of the third.
But consistent with what we said yesterday, just because we ignore the third eye, it doesn't mean it stops "seeing." By way of analogy, there are certain people who are physically blind, and yet, will flinch if you take a swing at them. Something in them still "sees," except that the seeing isn't conscious. One of the purposes -- or outcomes at any rate -- of the spiritual life is to train the third eye, so that it can become familiar and comfortable in the spirit-realm. Notice, for example, how the spiritually untutored -- Bill Maher comes to mind -- simply ridicule what they cannot perceive. How easy is that?
And yet, they do perceive it. Or better, the perceptual apparatus is still there, but not seeing what it should. We all perceive higher values. Where did Bill Maher get his? From reason? No, because again, reason cannot furnish its own materials. Probably he derives them from his feelings, which is not generally a good idea. I mean, feelings should be consulted, or at least not ignored, but they should never be dispositive.
This is one of the main characteristics of the left, that they replace thinking with feeling. To the extent that they deploy their third eye, it simply ratifies what they feel about this or that, conferring upon it the familiar arrogance and self-righteousness. This is a kind of master key to understanding the preoccupations of the left, and how they transform the subrational to the transnational. Then their own feelings acquire a kind of omnipotent authority to which they are in no way entitled.
Think, for example, of their attitude toward the redefinition of marriage, or envy of the rich, or global warming. Because they consult only their feelings, and their feelings are imbued with a kind of bogus omnipotence via an absence of higher reflection, mere sentiment is transformed into a categorical imperative. Then, the person who denies the imperative -- that would be us -- is rendered evil. Yes, it is evil to transgress genuine moral imperatives. The left just substitutes the real ones with their feelings.
Back to how the higher fields of transcendence might operate. Spitzer writes that "they could exist in the same way as physical laws and constants -- as determinative information in the universe as a whole." This information "is not a thing, but rather, a controlling influence on things" and their relations.
In the past, I have used the example of how language works (probably borrowed from Polanyi). There are 26 letter of the alphabet which may be combined in certain ways to create words. The purpose of letters cannot be found in themselves; rather, they can only be understood with regard to what they converge upon, i.e., words.
The same relation applies to words and sentences, sentences and paragraphs, paragraphs and blog post, blog post and ... well, it depends. In most cases, the post is converging upon O. We are trying to aim language at higher realities -- not realities disclosed by the senses or by mere reason, but those realities disclosed by a proper awakening and discipline of the third eye.
The really shocking thing is that from the moment of the Big Bang, the universe is implicate with innumerable information fields that will only be explicated much later.
For example, the laws of physics were (are) buried in there, as was mathematics, life, mind, all of it. This is why I came up with the idea -- at least I think I did, because I've never really heard anyone else explain it quite this way -- that when merely biological homos became human, they specifically entered a "human space," so to speak, that pre-exists us. Life is the exploration and colonization of this space.
Think of Jesus' ungrammatical crack that "Before Abraham was, I AM." There is definitely something similar going on with all humans, which is why Plato was correct that the most important things involve vertical recollection, or what he calls anamnesis. Much of scripture is understood in this way, as in, "oh yeah, I remember paradise!" Or. "I remember escaping from slavery," or "I remember driving in that nail at the Crucifixion," etc.