Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lord Keep Me Out of the Loop

The loop -- or løøp -- is the world of purely horizontal causation. It is precisely this loop that free will is able to "rise above" and operate upon.

But clearly, there is nothing in nature that could have somehow willed itself to rise out of the loop. Rather, any apparent loophole would simply be another aspect of the loop. If one is a materialist, this is the way it is and the way it must be. But such reductiognostic sophistry is nothing more than a childish GIGO fit.

To be perfectly accurate, human beings do not actually rise above the loop. Rather, our means of inscape is a descent from above.

Again, we may think of this descent as a line in vertical space that connects us to our creator in the most intimate way. Which is why Eckhart was orthoparadoxically correct in saying that the eye with which I see God is the very same eye with which God sees I.

Note that this is another kind of loop. We call it the loopwhole, for it encompasses the All -- like the eye atop the pyramid on the back of your legal tender.

As the Rabbi expresses it, there is really only one source of light. The soul is not so much a "point" but more a "continuous line of spiritual being" that stretches from a general source to "the specific body of a particular person" -- and beyond, even into the darkness.

But note that this darkness is not and cannot be "intrinsic" or essential; rather, it is a function of the diminution of the light as it proceeds further away from its source, for shadows are a function of light, not vice versa.

We can all get caught up in closed loops of various kinds. For a human being, these are always pathological. Indeed, they are the quintessence of pathology, being that life -- and this includes spiritual life, not to mention psychic life -- must remain an open system in order to grow and develop. Once the mind is closed -- or in a loop -- there can be no true growth, only the illusion thereof.

This is for reasons alluded to in yesterday's post, that in a closed system, each event entails the next and is fully entailed in a previous one, extending back to infinity -- a false infinity, to be sure, but we cannot blame scientists for not being metaphysicians. They are not bound by the prescription, "metaphysician, whole thyself."

One could more accurately call it "hell," which is not eternal proper (which only applies to God), only "perpetual." Not only is hell closed, but it is the quintessence of ontological closed-ness. Not for nothing did Dante speak of "the circle of hell."

We'll get back to hell momentarily, but I want to continue with Bolton's discussion of the higher space of free will. And when we say "higher," we not only mean in the vertical sense, but also because this is a space of higher dimensionality.

Indeed, it is because of this higher dimensionality that we cannot comprehend the mind through any model of linear causation. Rather, the mind is in and of hyperspace, so it simply cannot be contained in any model derived from everyday Aristotelean space. Rather, the converse: the four-dimensional space of physics is contained in hyperspace, just as the circle is contained by the sphere (and this applies perforce to the circle of hell). We can only be in hell because hell is in us.

Bolton makes the subtle point that an accidental cause cannot really be thought of as a cause per se, in the sense that it "does not exist specifically for what it brings about." We are surrounded by such accidental causes, which are precisely the kinds of closed loops discussed above. In themselves, they are meaningless and always add up to zero.

But human beings have the freedom to respond in diverse ways to these accidental causes. This is because we partake of the higher Cause that can operate on the lower ones.

And this "is due to the presence in us of the 'weakness and slackness' of not-being" (Bolton) referred to in yesterday's post. Again, our space of freedom, or slack, must be a realm of non-specificity in order to be truly free. Specificity, or determination, is the opposite of freedom, and again places us in the loop.

Speaking of closed loops, I remember a period of my life in which I was trapped in a nasty loop. This was back when I first entered graduate school -- or it entered me, to be literal -- and was reading Freud. It shows you how internalizing a bad metaphysic can result in real despair. This absurcular loop resulted from taking to heart Freud's ideas about psychic determinism. There may also have been some herbal cigarets involved, which tautened the dread.

Long story short, if everything is caused by the primitive unconscious, and our conscious self is just a kind of derivative defense mechanism, then what is the point of life except the discharge of pure animal impulse? But I was already doing that. I surely didn't need graduate school to learn how to be a beast.

It was around then that I stumbled upon Ken Wilber's Spectrum of Consciousness, which succeeded in vaulting me out of that loop. He and I have since gone our separate whys, but I will always be thankful for what thy wilber done. Life is full of such offramps and inscapes. But once you exit the unfreeway, it doesn't mean you have to rely on the other guy's map. Indeed, to do so is to defeat the whole purpose of going on one's own bewilderness adventure -- just like Jesus did after his baptism.

When we deliberate, contemplate, meditate, or pray, we are out of the loop. For me, when I write these posts, I am out of the loop.

In fact, that's pretty much the whole point of this verticalisthenic. Actually, I am trying to relux into the more fruitful loop of the divine-human partnership, and just see what comes down. Re-pent is trancelighted from metanoia, which means to turn around. But in practical terms, it essentially means to turn around and get out of the loop. It is to leave the material thingdom for the divine kingdom.

Cooncidentally, this is beautifully discussed in Jennifer Upton's Dark Way to Paradise: Dante's Inferno in Light of the Spiritual Path, wherein she describes how the Inferno is a detailed description of the closed loop of hell. And while it may or may not apply to post-mortem reality, it undoubtedly applies to this life.

She also shows the necessity of hell, for it can be a "road to heaven." Along these lines, she quotes Martin Lings, who wrote that "the descent into hell" is necessary "for the discovery of the soul's worst possibilities." These "need to be recovered, purified and reintegrated" if we are to be fit for the upper storeys, i.e., the repenthouse. Anything incompatible with God must be left behind, like those boosters that fall off an ascending rocket ship.

Hell is also a static place, in keeping with its status as a closed system. Its unhappitants are "mired eternally in the form of their ruling sin," and "fixed in their stations": "they are chained to all the sins, the fears and the angers they simply could not face in life" (Upton).

In contrast, purgatory -- which you might say is where we live -- has in it the possibility of vertical movement, and is thus "the archetype of the spiritual Path" (ibid.).

In hell, "being itself is a burden." But we could also put it conversely: when we are burdened by being, we know we are in hell. Which is why Raccoons pray: O Lord, keep us out of the løøp!


Anonymous said...

This post is not much of an attack on the moonbats. I suppose you'll get back to business tommorrow.

Homework: Think of three leftist figures you despise and rehearse ways to defame them cleverly.

Gagdad Bob said...

Apologies for leaving you in the loop.

julie said...

Sad thing is, he could choose to rise up out of the loop. Apparently, he'd prefer it if we - or particularly, Bob - instead toppled down to his level. Or better yet, somewhere far below.

Guess it's easier that way. No self-improvement required, just feel better by making the other guy look worse.

I've been going back and rereading some of the old fairy tales lately, because it's interesting now to look for the tale beneath the tale. A common theme is envy, where virtue is clothed in filth while vice is bedecked in jewels and finery. Projection on the part of the ugly is rife. But the discerning eye always sees through the charade, rejecting that which is intrinsically foul for that which is intrinsically beautiful.

Hellish is as hellish does...

Anonymous said...

Stay in the loop. Being in the loop is good. Being out of the loop is bad. Ask any manager.

Religion and philosophy are very nice, I suppose. So is daydreaming.

But, the job on the table is to stick it to the blue man. Everything else must take a backseat to that.

After leftism is eradicated there will be plenty of time to think about other things.

Apropos Lileksian Observation said...

...but part of the responsibility of parenting is not to pass off your own failings on your child, but to pass on what you’ve learned. Right? Or, put another way, you punish your kid for being yourself. We’re not going to have two losers around here, no sir!

Magnus Itland said...

Have ye not heard the phrase, "moonbat out of Hell?"


mushroom said...

Speaking of loops, I think I may have found where our old buddy Ray hangs out these days. The next one discusses the Moral Landscape. It's pretty sad to think that these people were intelligent enough to earn advanced degrees in physics and similar disciplines.

But since there's no free will, I guess they had no choice.

julie said...

Mushroom, how odd - I was just thinking of our old jester, for no apparent reason.

From the first line at that first link, you can pretty much predict where the rest is going:

"The world consists of things, which obey rules. A simple idea, but not an obvious one..."

Not obvious? Is he kidding? If you're a "physicalist," as he calls himself, that's pretty much the entire existentialada right there in a nut case. And on the purely material level, he's correct. Sort of. However, that's about as insightful as saying of a straw house, "This house is made of straw, which has properties."

julie said...

Holy cow, the tortured logic of that second link... and the comments... just wow. It's amazing what mental acrobatics people will engage in to avoid accepting the truth - that if there is no god, there is no objective morality, period.

Anonymous said...

Physicalism sounds like the real deal. Now there's a philosophy you can depend on.

julie said...

Great! They seem like a nice community, I'm sure they'll welcome you with open arms.

On your way out, don't let the screen door hit ya where the good lord split ya...

Adieu! Oops - that's not where you heading. Adios! Er, Goodbye! Uh... Adiablo? Well, you get the drift...

Rick said...

Great post. Just order the book on Dante. I'm going to have the loveliest library in the poorhouse.

Also good:
"Bolton makes the subtle point that an accidental cause cannot really be thought of as a cause per se, in the sense that it "does not exist specifically for what it brings about."

Scratch that, great.
I mean, "accidental cause" really is the pin that the false premise of the non-existence of free will relies upon. It's a trick. There are no accidental causes when speaking only of the horizontal realm.
Causes only come from the vertical (will) and the first cause we can know of being the Word which "caused" the horizontal into motion. And so on.. All other "changes in course" are willed -- in a manner I believe Polanyi called "dual control". I think..

Rick said...

Somebody check my math there, please.
(If you wish to ;-)

julie said...

Rick, you just reminded me of something else I thought of this morning in defense of the word "Cause." That is, that the Word is the Verb...

Rick said...

Indeed it is.

mushroom said...

I hadn't thought about it, but it does make a nice bleed valve for OC trolls.

I've added to my RSS feeds, at the bottom. It has the same positive effect on my thinking as the digital lynching of Palin over Tucson. I tend to wonder if perhaps we're all missing some really important point that all these anti-humans understand. Then I hear what Krugman or the Variance people have to say and I am reassured that somebody's missing the point but it ain't us.

Books and gruel, Rick, what else do you need?

Rick said...

wv: qualites

Just in case, I'll add... an animal may choose to do this or that, which will "change the course" of a mechanistic system and appear the same as human dual control. The animal's choice is not free will. Free will requires knowing.

Rick said...

"Books and gruel, Rick, what else do you need?"

I'm not complaining. As long as they let me take the books, and my mate and kit. I'd like a window too. And a candle. If it's not to much trouble. And a pillow. Oh, and a blanket.
Here we go again..

Rick said...

Speaking of, it's gruel time in the EST.

mushroom said...

I apologize for going off topic so much today, but I saw this bizarre juxtaposition in the news.

Roy Lofquist said...

"While one who sings with his tongue on fire

Gargles in the rat race choir

Bent out of shape from society's pliers

Cares not to come up any higher

But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in."

Saint Bob.

The atheist purports that natural laws can explain all that we see. Yet, the second law of thermodynamics, that's Physics 101, denies this. Order always decreases. We know of no physical processes that increase order - except for life. The usual snappy comeback is: "But that's only for closed systems". The physical universe is a closed system.

Information Theory revises and extends the concept of entropy. The big bang, the origin, is the time of lowest entropy in the thermodynamic universe. Can't get any more ordered than that. It was also the time of minimum information. Yet, we now observe order on a different and higher plane - life - than that uninteresting time. Goes against the natural laws as we know them. Ergo, supernatural.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute--isn't God an invention to salve our anxiety regarding the unknown?

That's the current thinking at this university, anyway.

We don't actually believe in God because the laws of physics and the rules of chance seem to have the bases covered and things explained.

OR are we missing something?

Roy Lofquist said...


You wrote:

"We don't actually believe in God because the laws of physics and the rules of chance seem to have the bases covered and things explained.

OR are we missing something?"

What you are missing is the last 100 years or so of Physics and the relatively modern development of information theory.

Sounds like I'm spouting off but I am actually trying to paraphrase the writings of Roger Penrose and others.

Never heard of Penrose? He's the co-author of most of Stephen Hawking's books. His office is next door to Hawking.

He calls himself an atheist but his writings surely argue against that. I have been perusing his "The Emperor's New Mind" since it was published in 1989. A tough slog even for one who has been fascinated by science and cosmology for 60+ years and understands the math.

Bob, our host, has influenced a lot of my studies - both by his own book and his references. "Meditations on the Tarot" and "Asimov's Guide to the Bible" are well worn and always in reach.

I was an atheist for many years. I am no longer. The evidence compels me to believe that we were created. I also believe that our creator is purposely mysterious and beyond our understanding. It wouldn't be very interesting if it were otherwise.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Those who stay in the loop...the looprekhans, have lost their lucky charms.

As a result they go kookoo for pooploops and tricks.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

First anon-

"Quick! To the batloop!"

Van said...

"To be perfectly accurate, human beings do not actually rise above the loop. Rather, our means of inscape is a descent from above.

Again, we may think of this descent as a line in vertical space that connects us to our creator in the most intimate way. Which is why Eckhart was orthoparadoxically correct in saying that the eye with which I see God is the very same eye with which God sees I. "

This reminded me of something I was just reading and know-it-alling about elsewhere, from Cicero's "Treatise on the Laws" circa 51 BC:

"I will not detain you long. Since you grant me the existence of God, and the superintendence of Providence, I maintain that he has been especially beneficent to man. This human animal—prescient, sagacious, complex, acute, full of memory, reason and counsel, which we call man,—is generated by the supreme God in a more transcendent condition than most of his fellow–creatures. For he is the only creature among the earthly races of animated beings endued with superior reason and thought, in which the rest are deficient. And what is there, I do not say in man alone, but in all heaven and earth, more divine than reason, which, when it becomes ripe and perfect, is justly termed wisdom?

There exists, therefore, since nothing is better than reason, and since this is the common property of God and man, a certain aboriginal rational intercourse between divine and human natures. This reason, which is common to both, therefore, can be none other than right reason; and since this right reason is what we call Law, God and men are said by Law to be consociated. Between whom, since there is a communion of law, there must be also a communication of Justice."

When you honestly seek the bottom of your ideas, you might be surprised to find that you are not alone in them, and that that bottome extends waaayyy up above....

ge said...

Radiation vs Crystalisation?