Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Evolutionary Creationism (7.24.11)
Alright, let's resolve this thing once and for all. 200,000 years is long enough for anyone to have to live in darkness about his origins. How do we reconcile God and Darwin, Adam and evolution, kings and chimps, Elvis and Scatter?
The most daunting aspect of this problem is the possibility of provoking the righteous wrath of Kepler Sings, who, if I get this wrong, might do to me what the Rrrrreverend Jackson wishes to do to Obama. I accept virtually everything he says, by the way. He is a fine spokesman for my right cerebral hemisphere. The difficulty lies in reconciling it with everything else I accept.
Let me preface this by saying that I am more or less willing to adopt what science determines to be "true" -- within sharp philosophical limits, of course -- for the same reason that I am willing to accept the advice of my doctor that if I don't take insulin I will die.
I mean... put it this way. As it so happens, my mother was a Christian Scientist, and I attended Christian Science Sunday school until the age of 10 or so. In fact, you could say that my mother was a devout Christian Scientist, with the exception of the Christian Science part. That is, when we left the plane of theological abstraction for the world of concrete reality, we took medicine and went to the doctor, just like anyone else -- in fact, more so; my mother was a bit of a hypochondriac by proxy. Frankly, there was no attempt whatsoever to reconcile what I heard in Sunday school with what went on the rest of the week, especially if I had a fever of 98.7, in which case it was off to the Doctor.
Which I suppose played a role in sowing the seeds of religious doubt in my mind, being that I became a vocal atheist by the age of complete ensoulment, or by the time I turned nine. So in my case, my Christian indoctrination completely backfired, as it was one of the primary causes of my rejection of it. Obviously, I am not alone in this regard. The absence of elementary consistency was abundantly evident even to a nine year-old, and a healthy mind seeks unity above all else. It is what the mind does and what it is for. It can also analyze into parts, but always for the purpose of synthesizing things into a higher and more complex unity.
The other day, I heard a brilliant analysis of Obama by Rush Limbaugh. He was pointing out that the reason he is reduced to such a stuttering prick (to quote Tommy DeVito) when off the teleprompter, is that he is a deeply divided person, either consciously or unconsciously (and undoubtedly both, in my opinion). He is the polar opposite of, say, Ronald Reagan, who always knew what he thought and could answer any question, for it was simply a matter of returning to first principles and applying them to the problem. Very scientific, if you will.
But one of the intrinsic problems in being a liberal is that you can never reveal your first principles, because if you explicitly articulate them, people will be repelled at what a contemptuous and supercilious asshat you are. Therefore, you must always couch them in terms of "compassion," or "helping the little guy," or "healing the planet," or "unity," or some other such blather. So in that regard, Obama is dealing with a more general problem that is intrinsic to liberalism, which is How to Fool the Idiots. One must be very cautious, because even the idiots are only so stupid. Thus Obama's constant verbal ticks: "uh, uh, uh, let me, uh, say this, uh, uh, I've been completely, uh, consistent about this, blah blah blah."
Being that liberalism is the political embodiment of multiplicity (or of an oppressive "bad unity" to try to heal it), it should not be surprising that its adherents are so intrinsically inconsistent. It's not so much that they are dishonest, but that the whole ideology is dishonest -- it is a lie from the ground up. Which is also why, the worse your character (or the less your intelligence), the better you will fare as a liberal politician, because you will be able to lie with great ease and even fool yourself.
Anyway, in Rush's analysis, he was pointing out that Obama is running several campaigns simultaneously, and that it is obviously a struggle for him to keep them all straight in his head, thus the great difficulty in being consistent and giving straight answers. Because of this, he is always one gaffe away from a major meltdown. For example, he's running one campaign for blacks, but an entirely different one for whites. (I won't even review the whole list, because it would take too much time, and I've already made my point; here is a list of the various irreconcilable positions which Obama must hopelessly try keep straight in his mind.)
My only point is that in the ultimate sense, science is the reduction of objective multiplicity to subjective unity. But the only reason this is possible is because the human intellect mirrors the unity of creation. Our mind operates the way it does because we live in a cosmos, which is to say, an ordered totality. And the cosmos is an ordered totality because it exhibits "nonlocal" internal relations. Because of this, every part of the cosmos embodies and participates in the whole, just as every gene contains the blueprint for the whole body. Again, the cosmos is thoroughly entangled with itself, which is why we may know anything and also why we may know anything. It is how and why Man may be the microcosmos that he is.
Now, metaphysics is all about first principles. As with the example of Reagan above, my intention is to have a completely consistent metaphysic, so that, in order to answer any question, I need only "return to first principles" to answer it. In this sense, Darwinism is a lie, because it cannot furnish any consistent first principles. In fact, whenever a committed Darwinist tries, they end up making self-refuting statements right out of the box, just like a liberal politician.
But so too, in my opinion, do literal "creationists." Of course you are free to insist upon young earth creationism, but you must know that it is going to contradict so much evidence that you will essentially have to split your mind in two. You will live in a scientific world with all of its blessings, and yet, a part of you will have to reject it, or at least not be able to fully integrate it into your belief system.
I made reference to this the other day when I only half-jokingly mentioned that my right brain agrees with Schuon about evolution, while my left brain agrees with Aurobindo (or Teilhard, if you like). One of Bion's adages (which he borrowed from someone else) is that the answer is the disease that kills curiosity. In the case of my book, I've posted in the past about how it was essentially the fruit of years spent in the state of "higher bewilderness," essentially trying to resolve the dilemma of Adam and evolution. In a sense, it would be easy to just come down on one side or the other, and make the coontradiction go away.
But for me to do this, I would feel as if I were back to the life of a Christian Scientist hypochondriac. For better or worse, the way my mind is built, it seeks unity or wholeness, which is a very different thing from "unicity." In other words, to simply accept an ideology -- whether scientific or religious -- and superimpose it on the world would be an example of unicity. Such a worldview will be "consistent" but it will not be complete, as it will necessarily have to omit a lot of details and anomalies.
Or, I could accept both science and religion, and not worry about the lack of reconciliation. Such a world view will be more complete, but it will lack consistency.
The Raccoon, dash it all, wishes to have a maximum of completeness and consistency -- at least as much as Gödel will allow. Which is a lot, once you accept the implications of his theorems, one of which is that truth is prior to our fragmentary logical "proofs" of it.
The point is, there must be a deeper way to harmonize revelation and science. But the only way to arrive at this is to dwell in the bewilderness and actually ratchet up the tension, as opposed to prematurely resolving it. The same thing applies to psychotherapy, at least as Bion envisioned it.
For example, a therapist might know what is going on with a patient after the very first session. But it won't do the patient any good to simply provide him the answer, which would essentially foreclose the evolution of O by superimposing mere (k) upon it. Rather, what you want to happen is for O to evolve into genuine (k) in the patient; it is the difference between (k)-->Ø and O-->(k). In order to accomplish the latter, one must exercise Yeats, I mean Keats, "negative capablity," which is to dwell in "uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."
If one does this long enough, one will eventually "snap." Now, being that a Raccoon is an extreme seeker and off-road spiritual aspirant, you might say that he wants the ultimate spiritual adventure. Therefore, he will feed his head with inconsistencies and contradictions until it basically explodes. But in a good way.
Well, I guess I've barely cleared my throat on this one, and now we're out of time. I assume we'll continue tomorrow.