Friday, November 03, 2006

A Whole in One!

I’m not sure if I am in a frame of mind to post anything substantive this morning. The gagbaby had his shots on Wednesday, which seemed to trigger a reaction of some kind, which I guess is common. But he woke up screaming in the middle of the night, which startled me out of a deep coma. It took quite a while to get him back down, and even longer to get me back down, so here I am, feeling slightly dead.

And deadness is the right word when you're having a little difficulty pulling it all together. Yesterday Dr. Sanity had a relevant post entitled All Trees and No Forest, about the intrinsic pathologies of leftist postmodern thought. She writes, “There is a long philosophical tradition that has claimed that universality and abstractness have no legitimate basis in our experience of reality. This is usually called the ‘problem of universals’ and it derives from the fact that we humans experience objects in the real world as discrete, concrete and individual. Yet, this is contrasted to our thoughts, which experience and know about objects in more general and abstract, or universal ways.”

Now, if you want to create intellectual tyranny, all you have to do is undermine the possibility of universals, which is exactly what the psycho-spiritual left has been trying to do over the past 40 years or so: “By making universals and generalizations completely subjective, they have successfully invalidated anyone's attempts to understand reality and truth.” For to destroy universals is to destroy the human world, precisely. It is to do away with absolute truth, objective beauty, universal morality, and God (God being the “universal of universals,” or even the possibility of universals).

This is why I insist (to paraphrase Richard Weaver) that all attacks on religion are ultimately an attack on mind itself. This is not to imply that there are not bad forms of religion . Of course there are. That is self-evident. Nor does it imply that there are no useful forms of analytic thought -- of the proper application of reason. However, the human world specifically exists in a dialectical space between whole and part, the One and the many. A “world” -- any world -- is a synthesis of particulars into a coherent whole, which in turn reveals the meaning of the otherwise meaningless particulars.

The ontological category of real wholeness is anterior to any philosophy or ideology of any kind, and explains why any reductionistic or materialistic philosophy is logically self-refuting, whether it is garden variety “bonehead” atheism, natural selection, or Randian objectivism. Take natural selection. It begins with the concept of the organism, which is obviously a “whole.” But why does it begin there? Who said that an organism is a discrete whole, and how did the wholeness get there? Isn’t the existence of wholeness a prior condition of there being organisms to begin with?

In other words, if the universe -- which, by the way, is another concept of wholeness that is completely unwarranted on any reductionistic grounds -- were not a self-prehending whole (in Whitehead’s terminology), there is no way that wholeness could suddenly emerge later in the course of cosmic evolution. As it so happens, the existence of anterior wholeness explains many of the otherwise inexplicable mysteries of existence, including both life and consciousness, the mysteriously unitary and yet multiple “I AM.”

To most sensible people, it goes without saying that there will never be a scientific or reductionistic explanation of consciousness, even if they cannot articulate why they believe this. The reason is that consciousness represents on a micro level the personal experience of the macroscopic subjective wholeness of existence itself. Ever since language began colonizing the brain, it has been an unending task to synthesize these bits of meaning into a coherent self and world. But this coherence is not something we can ever arrive at inductively. Rather, the wholeness is our prior condition, and it is simply a matter of intuiting ever deepening levels of complex wholeness -- both objectively (in the world) and subjectively (within the self).

This ceaseless process of synthesis -- of the metabolism of experience -- is life itself. In other words, mental life is the dynamic synthesis of the interior of the cosmos, sponsored at every step along the way by an anterior wholeness which makes it all possible. My book was nothing more or less than an expression of this wholeness, hence the title “One Cosmos Under God.” Ultimately, it is perfectly accurate to say that the only philosophical alternative to mine is some form of many chaosmoses over matter, which is to say, any sort of empiricism, rationalism, reductionism, scientism, deconstructionism, what have you, that tries to arrive at wholeness through partness. In reality, “you can’t get there from here.”

Now, in order to truly to intuit that ultimate wholeness known as God, you naturally must liberate your mind from much of what is merely local and accidental, which encompasses most of what goes by the name of “culture.” In may respects, culture is a public neuroses, just as neurosis is a private culture. As we mentioned a couple of days ago, reductionism is “satan’s perspective” of reality. He sees only trees, and wants you to believe that only trees exist. That way, you will be assured of never discovering the ultimate Forest that goes by many names, but which is ultimately One. If we can only rid ourselves of this annoying One, then the noetic enterprise that is man’s true vocation will come to nothing -- which it does for all the sterile counter-philosophies alluded to above.

Now, we must be very careful what we allow to enter our psyche, because memes of various kinds carve out a niche there and reproduce themselves, which can often result in tenure. You will have noticed that I was recently having some problems with blogspot that were making my site behave very strangely. It turned out to be a corrupted template, which is an apt metaphor for the problem with fallen man. Except that it is not a metaphor. It is completely literal.

My blog’s template is supposed to be an effect, not a cause, of wholeness. In other words, I have an idea of what I want my blog -- the whole of it -- to look like. But when the template is corrupted with little parts that aren’t supposed to be there, they reproduce and compromise the wholeness of my vision.

It is exactly so with the mind, with what I call mind parasites. To the extent that these parasites have taken root in you, your psychological template has been corrupted, and your ability to intuit wholeness -- both exterior and interior -- will be compromised. Both the world and your life will more or less fail to make sense, and in extreme cases, can become as static as a dog’s bark or the Democratic platform.

The more ill the person or culture is, the more obvious this becomes. The personal will -- another example of inexplicable wholeness -- becomes riven and undermind by various competing factions with agendas all their own. In the case of a sick culture, it will be forced to narrow reality down to the perspective of its parasites, as we see in the Islamic world. This is why they must remain closed societies, which is absolutely no different than the neurotic person whose mind becomes a more or less closed system caught up in the endlessly repeating agenda of its mind parasites. This is the true meaning of the repetition compulsion at the heart of any neurosis. The compulsion to repeat is not a cause, but an effect, of the mind becoming a closed system and therefore being unable to profit from experience.

A culture or subculture is a group fantasy, or imaginary collective vision of the interior of reality. And anything lying outside the group fantasy is a foreign language. Thus, the very real culture war in which we are engaged is between two very different languages. However, some people are bilingual. For example, I am able to speak fluent materialism, secularism, atheism, and leftism, because I used to believe all of those dopey things.

But I also speak fluent spiritualease, and can see that this is a far more comprehensive language for describing reality. In fact, the differences are so striking, that without it, it would be a little bit like trying to explain Hamlet with mathematics. While I suppose you could do it, you would specifically lose sight of the author’s intent, which is located only in an aesthetic wholeness spread throughout the text -- just as God’s wholeness is spread throughout reality in the form of his immanence. As a matter of fact, that beautiful wholeness is actually present in the numiracle of math, as most great mythematicians realize.

I will grant that materialists have a certain understanding of the parts but no wonderstanding of the whole. Nothing is that simple, let alone everything. The problem is, when you try to teach something you do not understand, you just pass along the parts. Thus, our universities crank out spiritually crippled beings aleinated from the real, and call them “educated.”

If the mind did not exist, scientists would have no trouble explaining it. But to be alienated from God is to be trapped in the spiritually ass-fixiating manifest. Conversely, in order to witness the whatness, the theophany of God’s metaphysical radiance, you must realize that the brain is exterior to being, and that inscapes everywhere dot the so-called external world. Wholeness is everywhen and where. Or as Joyce put it, "when a part so ptee does duty for the holos, we soon grow to use of an allforabit."

Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God. --F. Schuon


AngloAmerican said...

Is a person who can truly “intuit that ultimate wholeness known as God” significantly any different from the average man on the street? Is that person happier, wealthier, more creative or healthier than average? Would it be possible to find such individuals and study them?

You would perhaps expect those individuals to be above average in all the above categories but would that be as a result of incidental activity such as eating right, avoiding self abuse and the like?

It seems to me that for transcendence to be truly transformational, rather than just ‘feel good’ emotions, the effects of it would translate into the ‘real world’ somehow. Transcendental individuals would exhibit behavior that was noticeably beneficial or even remarkable if not miraculous. Otherwise it could be merely described as a technique for living or a technique for coping with the thought and reality of someday not living.

If no practical difference in an individual can be seen that cannot be easily explained by more ‘down to earth’ reasons it casts into doubt the theory that feelings of transcendence are anything other than just feelings. Feelings are powerful but good feelings are no guarantee of truth.

The Bible and other scriptures have many tales of individuals performing remarkable feats as a result of their closeness to God. Yet today we see nothing like this level of miraculous activity. Many Individuals I personally have come across who say they are chosen by God have exhibited and continue to exhibit personality characteristics that I rate as somewhat average. So, to me, transcendence hasn’t even produced an above average worker let alone revealed the inner secrets of the Cosmos. This is a hurdle I have found difficult to leap over.

Gagdad Bob said...

Good points all. I will address them later today, when I'm not so busy. However, it does sadden Petey that you don't see him as super-human.

dilys said...

Well, AngloAmerican, there is no guarantee that health, wealth, etc. accrue visibly to the diligent adherent to transcendence for kibitzers to evaluate. I myself believe that virtue, handily defined in the Ten Commandments and the Buddhist precepts, is closely correlated to a human life of integrity, beauty, and happiness; but this is not the final word on transcendence. The Eastern Church believes virtue and the resultant success is far from a sufficient condition to the elemental transformation into holiness. Though lack of it usually proves a serious distraction.

The metaphor I like is "source code," particularly in the context of the Christian schisms. I was just reading that Open Source is about the source code being accessible, but that there is a gentleman's agreement to pass it on unchanged. At some point the source code -- via the Fall, whatever that is -- was corrupted. It could be said that with The Messiah Intervention, the source code was lined out again, by example, precept, and energy infusion. [I've made my own best guess as to the best custodians of the Code, and so far, well, hold tight and check the seat belts...]

Revelation and faith are intrinsic to working with these ideas. Both are available in the familiar wrappers. A passive and fastidious "I'm not convinced" may be a statement of fact, but it's not a helpful menthodology to reify.

I'm really just here to see the Cousin.... "DuPrEEEEEEEE?!!?"

tsebring said...

That Dr. Sanity posting was a real jewel - Bob, I think you’re starting to rub off on her (no inappropriate entendres intended). Postmodernists have us all on the mental dissecting table, ready to lobotomize our collective God-consciousness into a neurotamatic nano-state.

I commented thusly on The Doc’s site; it’s worth repeating here:

The obsessive micro-granulation of all wholes into little pieces-parts that Postmodernists engage in reminds me of two things:

1. That annoying, nerdy cousin with an IQ of 170 with no social skills or sense of how to engage in normal conversation, who makes it his mission in life to contradict everything everyone says and point out all the exceptions, the result being that the conversation is trashed. And he wonders why he has no friends….

2. Monty Python - the TV series and the movies:
A. From the TV series, the Argument Clinic, where a person can walk into a room and engage in a pointless series of contradictions for 10 minutes, then walk down the hall and be abused, then hit on the head in the next room;
B. The Holy Grail, where Arthur’s attempt to gain entrance to a castle degenerates into an argument about the air speed velocities of African swallows laden with coconuts;
C. Life of Brian, where a Roman Centurian catches Brian writing anti-Roman graffiti, and proceeds to argue about the grammar of the graffiti.

Baillie said...

May I quote from my own blog? (I apologize if it's a no-no.) I think it's supportive of an aspect of your much more sophisticated argument (unless I'm muddled, which wouldn't be a novelty.) :P

"Lacking the sort of mind that can read an argument contemptuous of Christianity and then quickly lay out a sharp, analytical defense, I must rely on commonsense and the poetic. No doubt this makes me an idiot in the eyes of many a smart-alecky online atheist, but these things must be endured.

The commonsense comes in with this simple contemplation: I exist.

Plus this: the stars and the planets and the light-years are.

I exist and you - whoever you are reading these remarks – you exist. The two of us and the rest of mankind inhabit time and space. Time and space have to be somewhere. So where are they? Is there just one universe? Two, three, infinite universes? (Despite all that an astrophysicist or astronomer might argue, infinite universes are highly unlikely. In fact, the idea would seem to me to be a contradiction to the basic laws of physics, however relative.) What’s beyond that one or more universes?

Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as Day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were tall as they?

Emily Dickinson might also have asked, “Is there an edge to the universe?”

Presumably it has one. It definitely had a beginning, despite any Mobius-strip theories to the contrary. But what was there before the universe started expanding in that there?

I’m supposed to believe that poof! one day, a subatomic particle just decided it was time to exist? (Though where it thought it was going to exist is rather mystifying. Not to mention when.) One particle isn’t enough, I don’t think, though my grasp of astrophysics is admittedly slight; it seems to me to require a great many subatomic particles to provide the mass necessary for the Big Bang to actually make enough of a Bang! to produce minor details such as stars and planets. (But then, as I said, I’m not an astrophysicist, so what do I know?)

But, Baillie, you moron, you can’t really believe that there’s some all-powerful “God” out there? That’s so Upper Paleolithic.

Well, it seems to me that we’ve got two choices. One, as noted above, is the secularist Poof! into existence of something out of nothing into nowhere. The other is that the subatomic particle went Poof! because Someone who inhabits eternity in a reality beyond our comprehension and even imagination made it go Poof! and lo and behold, there was Time and Space and Matter! Much smaller than a mustard seed and wanting considerable improvements, but perky and full of beans and eager for the excitements ahead.

That second choice is far-fetched, I agree. But as a scientist somewhere once said, it ain’t nearly as far-fetched as the alternative."

will said...

AngloAmer -

I don't know how different the Biblical times and our times are with respect to the number of miraculous acts and such. None of the secular historians of Biblical times really picked up on the comings and goings and doings of Christ. You might say Christ's miracles were hidden in plain sight, that is, they weren't front-page news - the NY Times probably wouldn't have covered them. To the secular historians of the times, and to the NY Times, Christ would have been just another cult leader with a small following.

I doubt that the NY Times or any newspaper really did an investigative, in-depth probe of the "miracle of the sun" at Fatima in 1916 - which was, in many ways, an even more spectacular miracle than those you find in the Bible.

There's an old Zen ditty that goes something like: "Before Enlightenment, So and So chops wood, carries pails of water. After Enlightenment, So and So chops wood, carries pails of water." Meaning that spiritual transformation doesn't necessarily translate quantitaveley (though it can), but rather the emphasis is qualitative. If one has the spiritual eyes to see it, that qualitative change is VERY real as are its results.

Let's say one person is spiritually transformed from a self-pitying ego-freak into a mature, relatively selfless individual - think of the things that could be *avoided* for the rest of that person's life time: emotional/psychological entanglements that lead to such things as health problems, divorce, lawsuits, criminal behavior, etc., etc., maybe even wars, holocausts, and so forth.

Considering that most people are, sad to say, self-pitying ego-freaks to one degree or another, think of the effect on the planet should even a third of the world's population become spiritually transformed. Ah, the things that could be avoided.

fergus the cat said...

Just when I was getting used to the liebensraum . . o well . .

I'm really just here to do some serious drinking with Cousin D.

hoarhey said...

I would say that a person with even the most remote contact with their conscience is in some sort of dialog with God.
Even the most abusive alcohlic or violent head-sawing jihadist has that contact if they have even a slight, gnawing feeling that "somethin' just ain't right with this".
It's the place from which all revelation can grow and be revealed if given the chance.

"Is that person happier, wealthier, more creative or healthier than average? Would it be possible to find such individuals and study them?"

Why would such a person wish to submit to a bunch of clueless morons studying him?
It's not all that complicated.

And a BIG shout out to Cousin DuuPree. HEY CUZ!

J. Peden said...

angloamerican, you have missed the whole point, which is that the benefits Gagdad Bob talks about are not measureable, and certainly not by others as arbiters of the things you refer to, which themselves are totally irrelevant.

The only arbiter is you. Why are you so concerned with measures and others? The transcendent miracle is you. No 12 step program will do anything to help you out of your diversionary dissections.

See, tsebring's post, also, on dissections. Who cares about doing eternal dissections? [Though they are often surely hilarious.]

a Duoist said...

The 'One,' the "Neo" of the Matrix trilogy.

At a guess, how many tens (hundreds) of millions of innocent humans have we humans slaughtered in the name of, 'the One'? As an example, for the One God of Abraham? Or another example, for the One Truth?

How long will it take us before we on the Right finally recognize that the ontological Absolute, at its logical extreme, is homicidal? Perhaps such knowledge will take even longer than the awareness by the Left that the Relative, at its logical extreme, is suicidal.

As a political conservative, every time I hear the argument on behalf of the 'One,' I want to roar, "Murderer!" And when I hear the argument on behalf of the 'Many,' I shake my head and want to weap.

There's a third choice, a life-nurturing, anabolic option between the murdering absolutist who can not admit to the possibility of error and the suicidal relativist who can not make a choice, even in self-defense; but that third, anabolic choice is not to be found in this blog.

'Be free.'

ben usn (ret) said...

A Duoist-
Be free?
Liberty is far better than mere freedom.
Freedom without responsibiiy is simply anarchy.
Mere freedom isn't a classic liberal or conservative view, since anarchy inevitably inpunges on another's freedom.
Your reductivism bars you from learning the language that is spoken here.
Likewise, you also fail to comprehend the language used here.
Naturally your language is limited to your atheistic paradigm, and you can make no sense of a language that doesn't communicate
in those terms.
Indeed, supernatural language cannot begin to be understood with those limitations.

I look forward to Cousin Dupree's commentary!

Anonymous said...

A Duoist
"At a guess, how many tens (hundreds) of millions of innocent humans have we humans slaughtered in the name of, 'the One'?"

I wrestled with all the killing done in 'G_d's' name too. Trying to look for a motivation from the creator to be a destroyer, and I couldn't fathom one.
Then i went with a different thought, taking it all at face value. Kind of like holding "Him" responsible for all of it, because his name was written all over it, even cursing G_d after Beslan.
Well i came away with a revelation that, to me, would make sense, given the evidence i,ve seen.

Get back to me if you're interested.

Golem14 said...

"In so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof which cannot themselves be proved. And in the act of destroying the idea of Divine authority we have largely destroyed the idea of that human authority by which we do a long-division sum. With a long and sustained
tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it."

--G. K Chesterton

justin said...

As a scientist, I think I can demonstrate your argument a bit more formally, if you're interested. The entire scientific method is predicated on certain statistical properties of the class of possible scientific models. In particular, the assumption is that the universe chooses from turing computable patterns in its behavior. It is possible, however, to contrive alternate classes of formal languages without the right statistical properties. This is all to say that not only is science unable to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow, it can't even claim that the sun will most likely rise tomorrow without making a tremendous assumption about the universe.