Friday, September 16, 2016

Homo Bangians and the New World

"With the advent of man," says Polanyi, "a whole new world of meanings burst into view." Absent this extraordinary Bang, it would be as if the others -- e.g., existence and life -- had never occurred. Certainly the latter two wouldn't mean anything. And in fact, nor do we Homo bangians mean anything unless we are converging upon the Singularity of singularities, AKA the Great Attractor.

A whole new world of meanings. What is the nature of this world? It is not merely the exterior world, for no meaning occurs there. Nor is it just the interior world, because with no anchor in reality, it is reduced to a dream. Rather, meaning takes place in the space between world and neurology, or between a ponderable exterior and pondering interior.

This world can only be known through personal participation; or just say persons. "Knowing of any sort," writes Prosch, "is the creation of a meaningful integration of subsidiary clues, dwelt in as a projection toward the achievement of a focally known whole -- even in the cases of perceptual objects of the sciences."

In other words, human perception is already the meaningful creation of an integrated whole. It is what humans do. In thinking about this, it must converge upon our mysterious ability to know universals. Almost as soon as we begin speaking, we are able to, for example, abstract dogginess from the dog or treeness from the tree. In other words, we organize the clues of this world into more abstract, universal, and meaningful categories.

"Perception does this, ordinary knowing does this, scientific knowing does this, poetry does this, religion does this."

Or in other words, we may regard knowing itself -- already an abstraction -- and appreciate an even deeper abstraction that unifies all its forms, from everyday perception to science to religion. If this is true, then "knowing the world" cannot be fundamentally different from "knowing God." Or, the data are different but the form is the same.

In a way, we already know this; for example, bio-logy is applying our reason to the data of life, as theo-logy is applying our reason to the data of God. Whether we are investigating bios, anthropos, or psyche, it is the same -logos that illuminates each.

Polanyi speaks of "conversion" from one worldview to another. While it applies to religion, the religious conversion represents a more universal phenomenon. Conversion as such "occurs when a person sees that a new world view would seem to open many more possibilities for a richer field of meaning than the one previously held" (Prosch).

This is why I conceptualize meaning as an attractor state in our psycho-pneumatic phase space. It is very much as if our minds are "pulled" into more stable attractors that integrate and harmonize more clues. This is very different from "imposing" meaning in a top-down manner, which always results in eliminating or obscuring important clues.

The latter involves a closed mind (and world), while the kind of exploration and discovery we're talking about requires openness and sensitivity to nonlocal (vertical) gravitational forces -- like surfing the invisible waves that flow between God and our local shores.

Speaking of gravitational forces, we are always "in the orbit" of God. In principle, thinking cannot occur without this attraction. Man is innately epistemophilic, meaning that he is a (the) truth-seeking being. No, he is the truth-loving being, hence the seeking. This accounts for the palpable joy of finding truth: it is what we are made to do.

Like any properly serious truth-loving being, Polanyi "took Gödel's theorems very seriously." Indeed, if only people would take him seriously, not only could we avoid an awful lot of philosophical mischief, we might even find a cure for tenure in our lifetimes. For it is written:

"No conceptual system can ever demonstrate within its system its own consistency." Rather, "Belief is always based on personal, tacit grounds, extraneous to the system..."

This comes very close to describing Adam's sin. For what is the Original Error to which man is always susceptible? Surely it must be imagining that his manmade system is sufficient unto itself; that it is both consistent and complete, thus having no need for that which transcends it, AKA God.

Note how this inevitably causes man to go off the cosmic rails. Again, in order for there to be be thinking at all, it must take place in the attractor space between man and Absolute. Deny this link -- this vertical trailroad -- and man only orbits himself in an act of cosmic onanism.

What we call "religion" is simply conscious participation in this orbiting; among other things, it allows us to "bring together events occurring in nature with a Cause that is not in nature," thus respecting Gödel and not incidentally the second commandment, for thou shalt have no other theorems before Gödel's.

12 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

This comes very close to describing Adam's sin. For what is the Original Error to which man is always susceptible? Surely it must be imagining that his manmade system is sufficient unto itself; that it is both consistent and complete, thus having no need for that which transcends it, AKA God.

Throughout the Old Testament, this point is made again and again whenever God sends His prophets to tell the people where they've gone wrong:

..."Our ancestors inherited mere frauds, empty, worthless."
But these are no gods at all!
Therefore, I will indeed give them knowledge;
this time I will make them acknowledge my strength and my power:
they shall know that my name is Lord.
- Jeremiah 16:16-21

In essence, again and again they are told that their manmade systems are in fact horribly insufficient. They worship their own projections, when the Reality has revealed himself continuously. Of course, Reality has standards. And consequences...

9/16/2016 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Man is innately epistemophilic, meaning that he is a (the) truth-seeking being. No, he is the truth-loving being...

Reminds me of a song I heard the other day, "Some people get religion. Some people get the truth. I never get the truth."

I've had a weird week. Catching up with the posts is always overwhelming.

9/16/2016 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger BZ said...

I especially liked this post; I understood it, mostly. Thanks.

9/17/2016 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Excellent. That makes four of us.

9/17/2016 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Don't know if it matters, but for the past few weeks your posts generally haven't been showing up in my feed reader until days later. Just checked my email spam folder because the comments have seemed pretty quiet this week, and it looks like most of them went there for some reason. Same with comments from Bruce Charlton's blog. You may not be actively "no platformed," but even so the end result is that people might be missing new posts and comments because for whatever reason, they just aren't showing up.

Plus, the whole world seems to be going insane these days. And thinking is hard :)

There may be more reasons why it's been so quiet.

9/17/2016 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Thinking is hard, and there are so many easy ways to avoid it. I accidentally watched some of the news this morning. The lack of clarity must be intentional.

9/18/2016 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

I think what Mushroom said is correct, at least in my case. So many times I read this blog and come to a statement that - in order to begin to understand it - requires me to focus, turn off the fire hose of surface existence, detach and get to work. It's like driving along on city streets and then all of a sudden you are asked to go off-road, break trail, hack a few more feet into the jungle. It is much easier to stay on the paved roads. I say all that to confess my laziness. I need to do better!

And on a related note I am amazed at how you do this day after day, Bob, all the new insights, new connections, moving further in and higher up seemingly without pause. Thanks for your efforts, amigo, and I will try to keep up a little better in the future.

9/18/2016 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good definition of what I call the bewilderness adventure: "To find God is to fall into bewilderment, not the bewilderment of being lost and unable to find one's way, but the bewilderment of finding and knowing God and of not-finding and not-knowing him at the same time" (William Chittick).

So, every post is a new bewilderness adventure, set down in real time, simultaneously on- and offroad. Or, it is as if one must simultaneously build and discover the path one is on.

Again, very Polanyi-esque.

9/18/2016 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For it has been reveiled to the Children of Toots and other miscellaneos Coonfolk:

"[A]s a human individual who has come into existence and then returned to his Creator, he has tied together the Origin and the Return.... He is the part and the Whole, the many and the One, the small and the Great, everything and All. Just as he turns round about God, so the cosmos turns round about him" (Chittick).

9/18/2016 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Re the 1st Wm. C quote above...
before popping in i'd just writ the thought:
'The world occurs in our minds
our human skulls
we're not out of our minds
to be out of our minds
w/ confusion [=bewilderment] how this can be so'

9/18/2016 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Speaking of gravitational forces, we are always "in the orbit" of God. In principle, thinking cannot occur without this attraction. Man is innately epistemophilic, meaning that he is a (the) truth-seeking being. No, he is the truth-loving being, hence the seeking. This accounts for the palpable joy of finding truth: it is what we are made to do."

The truth of the first part of that "thinking cannot occur without this attraction" is inescapable, and naturally, man, the ultimate escape artist, will go to the greatest lengths to try and escape it - or at least ignore or deny it. Which is all horribly complicated by the fact that he can't stop seeking the truth. Well, this side of the tenured he can't.

9/19/2016 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "I've had a weird week. Catching up with the posts is always overwhelming"

Same here. Time began slipping into the future around Tuesday, for me. And then about an hour ago I woke up outta nowhere, wide awake. 4:15? WTH? And then it hit me "Ah cool! I've finally got time to catch up on OC posts!".

Sometimes seeking is very odd.

9/19/2016 03:43:00 AM  

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