Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wandering in a Window Wonderland

We all know that science and philosophy begin in wonder. I wonder: is there anything else we can say about wonder that hasn’t been said before? Something more than we might find in a fortune cookie, greeting card, or office poster?

This is a helpful way of putting it: “when you start to wonder about something,” says Lonergan, "You are giving the flow of experience an orientation toward understanding.” 

All animals have a flow of experience, but only human beings consciously will this flow in the “direction” of “understanding.” Nor just understanding this or that, but literally everything. To engage in philosophy is to aim wonder at O, and let it fly.

Higher mammals do try to understand, but only those things connected to instinct. You can get your dog to wonder which hand is holding the treat, but not which painting is aesthetically superior, which artist more profound, and where does art come from, anyway? Oh, and by the way, can I buy some pot from you?

Even if dogs do wonder, they don’t wonder about wonder. Nor do they understand understanding or have insight into insight. 

But is this capacity of ours important, or just an accident of evolution, a side effect of something else that is “important,” i.e., reproductive fitness? 

Well, supposing it isn’t important, we could never know that, because it would presuppose an ability to know what is important, and this is ruled out by the initial reduction of importance to reproductive fitness.

In short, we have a problem of ontological circularity, and on two levels: first, how does one escape one’s genetic program, and second, how does one escape one’s ideological matrix?

How we vaulted up and out of instinct is admittedly vague. Or, it is incredibly specific -- for example, as described in Genesis. Is that description credible? No, not in the details, if taken literally. 

But that’s not how ancients thought about things. Rather, it is sufficient if you take away the lesson that the human soul does not and cannot come about in the usual way, especially by any purely materialistic means. That’s just a nonstarter, a simplification so crude that one would have to be tenured in order to believe it. If you'll buy that, I have a degree in gender studies I'd like to sell you.

Anyway, our flow of experience is not a geyser that shoots straight up but a river that flows forward. 

Well, it’s a geyser too, but that would go to a different subject, to mysticism and contemplation, i.e., raja Christianity (or yoga) as opposed to jñāna Christianity.

Backing up a bit and maybe even tugging at my collar, I accept the yogic distinction of paths to the divine, which are easily translighted into Christian terms. One doesn’t have to practice yoga per se to appreciate these different approaches, i.e., wisdom, contemplation, service, devotion, etc. Each of them is present in all of them anyway, since God is fractal (e.g., each Person of the Trinity has everything "possessed" by the others).

For example, I will tweak the following passage by Prof. Wiki on jñāna yoga into purely Christian terms:
Jnana is knowledge, which refers to any cognitive event that is correct and true over time. It particularly refers to knowledge inseparable from the total experience of its object, especially about reality or supreme being. In Christianity, it is knowledge which sets one free, or facilitates liberation from sin, wherein one knows the unity of self with Christ, the second Person of the Trinity. 
One final point before we wrap up this lecture. As we know, certain cosmic conditions are necessary in order to know anything about anything. One of them is that this particular moment of time must somehow be relevant to all moments of time, i.e., all times and places, ultimately to the entire cosmos and beyond. This goes to the ultimate telos of the flow of experience referenced above.
In other words, this little window into eternity must literally be a… window into eternity. To wonder is to look out this window -- whether we look forward (science) or above (religion). 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Really, Bob, Must You?

Before moving on to Lecture 2, a couple more points from Lecture 1 (of Understanding and Being, which consists of a series of recorded lectures on Lonergan’s magnum opus, Insight). 

Toward the end, he makes a somewhat passing comment about how no one has ever seen a “must.” Rather, it is something that can only be understood. Once you think about it it’s obvious, and yet, full of implications. 

For example (these are my thoughtlets, not Lonergan’s), we all must die, but my dog is right now sunning herself in the backyard, happily oblivious to any existential or ontological musticism. 

More generally, her life is entirely free of any musts, even conditional musts, for example, I must feed her, she mustn’t bark at the new neighbors, and the poop isn’t going to pick up itself. 

Mathematics is really a binary language of must be or can’t be -- or at least it was back in my day, before progressive educators got hold of it. Must be nice!

Nowadays, the mathematical must is transcended by a higher must. In this case, if Children of Color do poorly at math, then it must be due to racism. There is no other possible explanation. And if you don’t accept it, then you too must be racist. 

This turns out to be a convenient explanation, because like the must itself, no one has ever seen this racism. Rather, it can only be “understood.”

Then again, note how progressives do indeed employ the mathematical must in order to prove the existence of racism. For example, that’s a nice corporation you have there, and if there’s a statistical disparity between how many black employees you have and how many we think there should be, then you will be fined. And the fine will be expressed in an exact number. Unless, like google, you transfer an exact amount of cash to the Democrat party, then you get a pass.

I don’t want to get bogged down in the insultainment. Let’s just say that human beings have unique access to this world of must be, could be, and can’t be. But it’s more complicated than that, because most of what the left believes can’t be, and yet, there it is. What’s going on here? They must be mad!

Or is there a method to their madness? Must be both. 

One of the frustrating things about this day and age is that we have insight into them, but they have no insight into us. They never stop with their usual accusations, but these aren’t insights, rather, just libel.  

Now, what is indoctrination but the assimilation of a whole range of false insights about the world? Having once been a manchild of the left, I know this is true. None of those neo-Marixst insights actually saw into reality, so what was the appeal? Why did I believe it? 

Let us count the whys! Social status, unearned virtue, intellectual superiority, cheap omniscience, cultural pressure, fitting in, cash and other valuable prizes….

But in the end, a hollow universe. 

Enough! Lecture 2, entitled Elements of Understanding. By the way, the first was called Self-Appropriation and Insight, and thank God I appropriated myself from the left without even having to pay a cult deprogrammer. Which reminds me. There is only one amazon review for the book we’re discussing: 
[Lonergan’s] writing is esoteric, erudite and the stream of consciousness inundating. One has to read ever so slowly so that the text registers. Wonderful exercise in self-exorcism!!!
Ho! Turns out I didn’t have to employ that cult deprogrammer because I exorcised myself. Not without nonlocal assistance, of course, but that’s another Subject. At any rate, turns out the universe isn’t so hollow after all. It's just that inverse insight makes it appear that way.

Speaking of which, I see a note to myself in the margin: your cosmos is as large as that which interests you. This is a lesson I try to impart to lil’ Gagdad, being that I am interested in everything. Therefore, my cosmos literally can’t get any larger, and yet, it is always expanding. In other words, it cannot be contained, but the ceaseless attempt to do so is just about the last word in adult innerattainment. Must be fun!

It is. But why? It reminds me of that old joke by Steven Wright:

You know that state of being totally puzzled, only relieved by a sudden insight? I feel that way all the time. 

Only man can render himself puzzled, confused, open to surprise. Seems like most people put a premature end to this bewilderness adventure, when I don’t see any way out short of death. We all must die. But no one needs to stop wondering in the bewilderness and being fed from above with daily insights. But perhaps I’ve said too much. You must think I’m mad!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Critical Ignorance & Perpetual Notions

Dear Diary:

I’ve now finished six books by -- and another two about -- the big-brained theologian Bernard Lonergan, most recently one called Understanding and Being

This one is my favorite so far, and not just because it was the cheapest to obtain, rather, because it had the highest ratio of (!) to (?). In other words, I understood much of it, and there was less glazing of the eyes.

I shall now attempt to translate it to plain Coonglish, because what good does it do anyone if two large-brained primates -- say, Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel -- conduct private conversations to which no one else has access and few others would understand anyway?
To avoid the difficulty of an Atlantic crossing, the Gödels sailed from Japan to San Francisco, which they reached on March 4, 1940, then crossed the US by train to Princeton. There Gödel accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Study. Albert Einstein was also living at Princeton during this time. 
Gödel and Einstein developed a strong friendship, and were known to take long walks together to and from the IAS. The nature of their conversations was a mystery to the other Institute members. Toward the end of his life Einstein confided that his "own work no longer meant much, that he came to the Institute merely... to have the privilege of walking home with Gödel” (Wiki).
What about the restavus? How are we supposed to march forth into the great unknown? Well, one of the guiding principles of this blog is that normal folks have their rights, and that ultimate reality is not some exclusive private club, but rather, in the words of the Aphorist,
In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter.
Indeed, I could write a whole book on that subject, and maybe I already have. Maybe I should even stop, but here we go: let the flipping begin!
In Lecture 1, Lonergan brings up the old paradox that "seeking knowledge is seeking an unknown,” so how do we know what to look for, and how do we know when we've found it? 
If we knew what we were looking for when we were seeking knowledge, we would not have to look for it, we would have it already…. 
But no one just starts out blindly looking for "knowledge." Rather, we begin with a theory, a hypotheses, a paradigm, etc. Moreover, as discussed in yesterday’s post, we ultimately begin with -- whether we acknowledge it or not -- an implicit link between Intelligence and Intelligibility which we (Bob & Co.) call faith
So, “seeking knowledge” already presupposes a great deal, at the very least that knowledge exists and that seeking it will be fruitful, i.e., that the link between our seeking at one and and the Great Unknown at the other never stops flowing.
In thinking about this yesterday, an image popped into my noggin from the movie Avatar, when the main character, Jake, plugs his hair into that beast and connects to some superior magical nonlocal Gaia wisdom or something. 
In James Cameron’s clumsy iconography, I suppose it’s supposed to be analogous to God and Adam, only better this time. In his Manichaean world, "Avatar views tribal people as an honest group, whereas a technologically advanced imperial culture is fundamentally evil.” Okay. No wonder he supports Hillary, despite already having four ex-wives.
Back to our titanesque subject -- literally, since we are hot on the trail of Everything -- “there is a combination, then, of knowledge and ignorance,” and not just the buffoonish ignorance of glitzy but ditsy Hollywood nit-wits, but a systematic and methodical -- AKA critical -- ignorance.
In short, if you’re ignorant and you know it, clap your hands. Conversely, if you’re ignorant and you don’t know it, you don’t have to keep voting Democrat. Rather, there is a cure, but there is some pain involved. Some disassembly is required, followed by reassembly, or what Lonergan describes as
A double movement of analysis and synthesis -- analysis to discover causes, and synthesis to move from causes to the things.
In the past we have symbolized this double movement as (↓), bearing in mind that it is actually an endless spiral, or a sort of perpetual notion machine, in that we never stop having generative notions about Being, which generate further notions. 

The order of discovery is just the opposite of the order of doctrine. In doctrine you start from the principles and draw the conclusions, but in discovery you discover one conclusion after another and gradually you move on to your principles.

I guess that's it for today. Lecture 2 tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Faith in Faith

This is a nice way of putting it:

If it were necessary or useful to prove the Absolute, the objective and transpersonal character of the human intellect would be sufficient as evidence, for that same intellect testifies irrecusably to a purely spiritual first Cause, to a Unity infinitely central but containing all things, to an Essence at once immanent and transcendent (Schuon).
As we’ve said before, there are certain "limit categories" beyond which it is impossible to think conceptually, and I suspect -- or maybe even guestimate -- that these are either different aspects of the same “object,” or its first entailments -- in this case,  such categories as Transcendence, Immanence, Unity, Cause, Center, Essence; or rather, the very Cause of causation, Unity of oneness, Center of centrality, and Essence of essentiality.

Total Truth not something we can grasp, but which we can certainty reach. In other words, so long as we are confined here to the land of finitude, our reach exceeds our grasp. 

But then again, you might say that our reaching is the grasping, in the sense that faith is already a kind of knowing, or darkness visible. Somewhere Schuon says something similar… Can’t find the exact passage, but this will do:
Faith is like an "existential" intuition of its "intellectual" object.
We come into the world with preconceptual categories that are ready to be filled out by experience. The mind is not a blank slate, but rather, has an implicit structure that is -- so to speak -- con-cave to the world’s con-vexity and vexation. It is similar to animal instinct, only on a higher nonlocal plane.

Which may sound a bit woowoo, but is really quite experience-near, and is why there exist all those universals that are present in every culture. In The Book of Absolutes, Gairdner discusses the current state of the research, which finds “the existence of some 311 human universals (and counting).” (I read this book way back in 2009; may be time for a second look, but not now.)

At any rate, my point is that what we call “faith” is (at least for the Christian) a link between two realities. This link is anything but static, although it can be if yr doin it rong. 

But when properly functioning, it is no more static than the link between our intelligence and the intelligibility of the material world. What occurs between these two terms is an endlessly spiraling intellectual adventure that only ends upon death. Just like religious faith, scientific faith deepens over time. Unless, of course, yr doin it rong.

This dynamic link is a two-way flow, in that we begin with the data of the senses and work our way up from questions to ideas to concepts to judgments to system, etc. 

But just as with religious faith, our scientific faith always exceeds our grasp. Or rather, whatever we grasp always results in more questions and deeper exploration. If we could arrive at the end, we would be God. Every scientific answer generates new questions -- thank God, for if this weren’t the case we’d be bored stiff. And as boring as the stiffest evangelical atheist.

On the other hand (or cerebral hemisphere), we can actually reach the end, this being what folks call God, precisely. Looked at this way, a dynamic religious faith is a science of the vertical. Or, in the words of Schuon, it is
a priori a natural disposition of the soul to admit the supernatural; it is therefore essentially an intuition of the supernatural, brought about by Grace.
Which is why it is universal, celebrity atheists notwithstanding. The latter live in the shelter of their own simple beliefs, which begin and end with an unjustifiable faith in themselves, of all persons. For it is written,
There was never any conflict between reason and faith, but between two faiths (NGD).
There can, of course, be conflict, but only because error or passion or presumption has entered the picture: Genesis 3 All Over Again. Don't they ever get bored of it?

Come to think of it, this entire discussion has much in common with Lonergan’s Insight  and Method in Theology, in that his whole point is that what is universal is our insight into reality, while what is particular is the object of insight. 

These objects vary from matter (physics) to organisms (biology) to “the past” (history) to Celestial Central (religion), but the Method is the same. Which is a good introduction to the next post. 

We’ll end with a few more observations by Schuon on the subject of faith:
There is no faith without any knowledge, nor knowledge without any faith.

Faith is a priori a natural disposition of the soul to admit the supernatural; it is therefore essentially an intuition of the supernatural…
Faith as a quasi-ontological and premental certitude…. The mystery of faith is in fact the possibility of an anticipatory perception in the absence of its content; that is, faith makes present its content by accepting it already, before the perception properly so-called. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Cosmos and Freedom

A little more distracted than usual this morning. Wife is home, and making all sorts of novel sounds, what with the clattering of the walker. Everything okay? Yes. You sure? Yes. Need anything? No. You sure? Yes. What was that noise? Just breathing. 

The cosmos is a creature and so are we. However, they say we are in the image and likeness of the one who creates both, so that gives us a leg up on the cosmos: among other things, we can know it, but not vice versa. 

That we can know the cosmos is at once self-evident and yet not remotely self-sufficient. In other words, such a miraculous ability hardly explains itself, and yet, here it is and here we are.  

I spend a fair amount of far too much time on the internet, and it is somewhat disconcerting that so few people share my concerns, because it suggests that one of us -- me or the world -- is concerned with nothing and unconcerned about everything else. One of us is grabbing reality at the wrong end. The other way around, stupid!

This has been a long and tedious debate -- i.e., which is the business end of reality? Matter or mind? Being or becoming? Reason or revelation? Object or subject? Science or faith? Plato or Aristotle? Boxers or briefs?

Apropos of nothing — or possibly everything — I saw a headline this morning that celebrity atheist Sam Harris has deleted his twitter account in protest of free speech. Not in support of free speech, mind you, but against free speech. 

Now, what is an atheist but someone who knows nothing about freedom and even less about how it gets here and why we have it?

The why is easy: in order to discover truth and conform ourselves to reality. The how is a little tricksier, but it has to do with the Image and Likeness referenced above.

So, while we’re giving thanks, let’s give some for freedom, especially the vertical kind, since there really is no other. Because a merely horizontal freedom wouldn’t actually be freedom, rather, something like “indeterminacy” or unpredictability at best. Who gives thanks for randomness?

Well, I would, but only in the context of something higher. If randomness means “ontological wiggle room,” or “metacosmic loophole,” or divine Slack, then I’m glad it’s here. 

For example… well, first of all, I would never kick my dog, but if I did, I don’t know what she’d do. But that doesn’t mean she’s free to react in any way she wants. 

However, if someone kicks me, I can think about how to react. On the other hand, if I’m kicked off twitter, then there’s nothing I can do about it, at least before Musk. There was no higher authority than the Committee to Enforce the Latest Thing.

I don’t know if I even like the term “free speech,” for the same reason I don’t like the term “hate speech.” How about just freedom, which encompasses thought, speech, religion, self-defense, private property, and assembly — in other words, inside and out, vertical and horizontal. For the left, it always comes down to “freedom doesn’t really exist, and besides, only certain people get to exercise it.”

Bah. Moving on. All scripture is important, but some things are more important than others. In other words, there are degrees. Of verticality. What are the most important points? Good question, but right now we’re focusing on cosmos and freedom. The cosmos as such doesn’t have it but we do. 

Now, the cosmos has been here for 13.8 billion years, and we’ve been here for far less than 1% of that time. Even our sun has only been here for about 4.5 billion years, and our existence proves there can indeed be something new under the sun -- and not just freedom but life itself, which has been here for 3.7 billion years, give or take.

Like anyone could even know such things. But we do know them. 

Here is a passage from Schuon to which I often return, because it describes the essence of our situation so concisely:
One of the keys to the understanding of our true nature and of our ultimate destiny is the fact that the things of this world never measure up to the real range of our intelligence.
True. At least the latter: as indicated at the outset, we have one up on the cosmos, in that we understand it but not vice versa. Or at least we are free to understand it, even if some people reject both truth and the freedom to explore it.

But is this really a key to anything? Or just another lock?
Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or it is nothing (ibid).
Now, that is at once a Bold Statement, but surely true, for the same reason the Aphorist tells us Either God or chance. All other terms are disguises for one or the other.  

As I suggested in the book, this is a true Binary, in that one of them cannot be a little or even a lot more likely. Rather, it is simply one or the other. 

Some people make their choice at the outset, based on common sense, tradition, culture, conformity, or even full-blown tenure, whatever. 

Others start at the empirical end and reason their way up to the Absolute, but it’s the same Absolute, AKA, necessary being, or that which cannot not be. Absent this, then there can be no basis whatsoever for truth, freedom, or any other transcendent reality. We are all Sam Harris. Or, there is “truly” nothing and Sam Harris is its prophet.

We judge that claim impossible, or rather, infinitely stupid.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Spacetime and Other Problems

An inexcusably rambling post, but what's done is done.

It has probably occurred to you that the problems of time cannot be solved by more of it. Time itself is the problem. No time, no problems. But how and why did it get this way? 

We live "in" time and space. But we are not -- or so we have heard from the wise -- of time and space. Or at least some “part” of ourselves is not their product (i.e., evolved in time), but rather, is said to be a special creation, something inserted or added to the already existing one. The human soul seems to be Bonus Material that is both unnecessary and gratuitous, and maybe even a hassle.

In a wide-ranging discussion yesterday, my son asked whether existence is even a good thing. He’s very sensitive to the evil and suffering in this world, and wondered whether the whole existentialada might not be worth the salsa. 

I certainly know what he means. Is it worth the bother to exist, or rather, why not create existence minus all the suffering? Or, how about just a floor to the suffering? 

If there is an infinite intellect behind it all, he no doubt considered and rejected this idea, and indeed took it on directly with the assumption of human nature. Reminds me of this:
The history of Christianity would be suspiciously human if it were not the adventure of an incarnate God. Christianity assumes the misery of history, as Christ assumes that of man (Davila).
Who would invent such a God? I know I wouldn’t.    

The problem of evil is a notoriously difficult one, and without question the strongest argument against the existence of God. However, it seems we cannot have a creation genuinely separate from the Creator and not have Problems. Best we can do. 

Rather, we have to look at things from the other way around and wonder why there is all this beauty, truth, and goodness. How did they get here? Obviously they’re not self-explanatory. As to the dark side of our spacetime matrix,
that which is “other than God” could not possess the perfections of God, hence in the final analysis and within the general imperfection of the created, there results that privative and subversive phenomenon which we call evil (Schuon).
Evil “must be” if there is to be anything at all, even though, at the same time, it doesn’t cease being evil: freedom permits any number of things that are against the natural law. Absurdity only enters the picture when the left conflates the possible with the natural and necessary, as with the transgender insanity. In any event, 
the “absurd” cannot but be produced somewhere in the economy of the divine Possibility, otherwise the Infinite would not be the Infinite. But strictly speaking, evil or the devil cannot oppose the Divinity, who has no opposite; it opposes man who is the mirror of God and the movement towards the divine (ibid.).
But let’s get back to where we find ourselves, which is to say, spacetime. Schuon breaks it down for us:
Space has three dimensions: length, width and height; then six subjective dimensions: above, below, right, left, before, behind. 
Analogously, time has four objective dimensions -- the four phases of a cycle: morning, day, evening, night; or spring, summer, autumn, winter; or again, childhood, youth, maturity, old age -- and two subjective dimensions: the past and the future; the present being beyond our grasp, as is the center in space.
If you’re like me, you’re no doubt thinking to yourself waitwut? But Schuon is on to something with the distinction between subjective and (merely) objective modes of space and time. You may recall a few weeks back, when we were discussing the nature of objectivity, which is actually a mode of the subject. 

What do we mean by “objective”? Ultimately we mean that something is, but this only follows the considered reflection and judgment of a well-informed subject. Obviously, only a subject may know what is objectively true. It’s how we distinguish between a hallucination and the objective world.

Back in the old days of clinical psychology, we used to have a concept called “reality testing.” Part of a routine mental status exam was to assess a patient’s capacity for reality testing, i.e., their ability to distinguish between mental content and objective reality. 

The weakness here, of course, is that it presupposes the sanity of the psychologist, and this can no longer be taken for granted, to put it mildly. For the very concept of sanity must be nested in a hierarchy of objective truths from top to bottom. I want to say that your sanity is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, for example, it does no good to affirm physics and deny biology, or to affirm biology and deny the human nature that transcends our animality.

But now that perception is reality, reality testing is off the table. For example, if a man claims to be a woman, there is no objective standard outside this subjective claim. 

Same with wild claims of "systemic racism" or “patriarchy." Indeed, if you subject the former to scrutiny, then you’re the racist: "Psychologists need to work with individuals to challenge their or others’ denial of structural racism as a means of working toward eradicating it" (APA website). Paranoia, projection, and subjectivism are the new objectivity.

Here’s another doozy from the APA, this one regarding the recent mass shooting in Colorado:
The gunman in the Colorado Springs shooting has been charged with a hate crime. It is clear that violence rooted in hate and racism is all too common.… We need to commit to both eliminating hateful rhetoric and strengthening gun laws.

So, because of this non-binary mental case, normal folks need to give up our first and second amendment rights. I have a better idea: how about if we stop pretending mental illness is normal?

I’m afraid that’s not going to happen in our lifetimes, and probably not ever. What we used to know of as sanity will be limited to a marginalized and persecuted remnant. Humans specialize in adapting to the culture, and if the culture is insane, then abnormality is the new normal. In case you haven’t noticed.

There’s more, but let's give it a rest.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Space is to Spacious as Time is to (x)

Yesterday we were thinking to ourselves that space is to spacious as time is to (x). After pondering it for a good ten or twenty seconds, we concluded that there is no word for (x). 

Timaeus? Plato already yoinked that one for unrelated purposes, although the dialogue does indeed touch on our theme. According to Prof. Wiki,

Timaeus begins with a distinction between the physical world and the eternal world. The physical one is the world which changes and perishes: therefore it is the object of opinion and unreasoned sensation. The eternal one never changes: therefore it is apprehended by reason.
The two worlds are conditioned by the different nature of their objects. Indeed, "a description of what is changeless, fixed and clearly intelligible will be changeless and fixed," while a description of what changes and is likely, will also change and be just likely. "As being is to becoming, so is truth to belief." Therefore, in a description of the physical world, one "should not look for anything more than a likely story."

Platonism is one of the permanent possibilities of philosophy (or philosophizing). It is a respectable approach, but like most philosophies, it gets some things right and many things wrong. 

Bob knows it's difficult to arrive at an explanation that doesn’t unexplain even more. This is because -- come to find out -- “complementarity” (so to speak) is built into the Substance. With this one weird trick, it is possible to explain it all without leaving anything out, at least insofar as self-conscious finitude — AKA the human station — allows.
I am aware of no other metaphysic short of a triune ontology that places complementarity at the foundation of things without devolving to a vicious dualism.
But that’s not the subject of this post. Then again, since I’m the one who brought it up, perhaps it will help us understand what (x) can possibly be.
Could it be that I’ve discovered an obvious and experience-near reality for which there is no word? Well, let’s begin with the reality, which is something like “spacious time.” 

Note that it’s difficult to even talk about time without bringing in spatial metaphors. For example, Time is Tight by Booker T & the MGs, or Tomorrow is a Long Time by Dylan, or As Time Goes By from Casablanca.

There’s also Summertime, when the livin' is easy, and now maybe we’re on to something, because ease is a noun and not just an adjective: the state of being comfortable, as freedom from pain or discomfort; freedom from care or worries, tranquility of mind; freedom from labor, effort, inconvenience, or burden: RELAXATION.

By Jove, I think we've got it: space is to spacious as time is to... SLACK. I can’t assume everyone knows the religious origins of the term, which can be found here: (

Of course, slack is a joke, and of course Bob an even bigger one. For the secret protects itself, sometimes behind gales of laughter. But now that we have something to grab hold of -- a word -- I think we’re in a better position to investigate its relevance to the human journey "through time." Whatever the case may be, I think you'll agree that