Friday, December 16, 2011

Do All Planets Have Moonbats?

Well, that's disappointing. For the first time in like five years, I accidently deleted the whole post. If I can only relocate the tracks, I think I can reengineer the train of thought, more or less, but not in this slightly sour mood. Therefore, we'll continue with the next letter of Meditations on the Tarot, the Moon, and see what its made of. As always, your pre-enjoyed post has been outdated with new material and substandardly edited.

I suppose The Moon is always timely, since it also happens to be the Moonbat card.

That is, it is a meditation on the proper task of human intelligence, which is to liberate man from the type of magical enchantment that afflicts the secular world in general and the left in particular.

There are indeed "root causes" of such systematic blindness, applied stupidity, and moral idiocy, and they obviously have nothing to do with poverty, humiliation, or lack of education, since most of the bleeding blights of the left are conspicuously affluent, educated, and proud.

And these self-styled leaders, despite their tingle-inducing oratory, have always had difficulty selling their agenda to its so-called beneficiaries, which is why the agenda must always be forced upon the ungrateful bastards.

I'll be honest, if I may. Not only do we not know what is good for us, but I am beginning to seriously wonder if we are even worthy of Obama's generosity.

So, just how does one become an arrogant and sanctimonious buffoon of the left? One does it through considerable movement, but it is a retrograde movement, away from the nonlocal source and ground of vertical evolution.

As UF puts it, the Moon(bat) card "evokes ideas, feelings and impulses of will relating to the inversion of the evolutionary movement of life and consciousness, i.e., to their envelopment, arrest of movement, and retrograde movement."

Just as there are principles of growth, there are principles of existential shrinkage, the result being, by George, that the world isn't all it could be and should be -- and more!

In, say, Deepak's case, he obviously fancies himself to be some sort of fount of spiritual creativity (what other excuse could this windy Hindi have for gifting us with over sixty books?), but he is actually trapped and enveloped within a stagnant and predictable world view.

Admittedly, I've only seen samples, but I've never known him to express an original thought, only grammatically mangled banalities such as this week's steaming pile of sacred cow manure: "Everyone, I think, wants a better future, even when troubled times arise and a better future seems far away."

[The original post had a detailed example of Deepak's vileness, but I have excised it for the sake of speeding things along. I'm sure you get the idea.]

Such a mind does not radiate, but envelops; instead of a flowing current, it is a stagnant swamp. Hence, the perfect breeding ground for Monsters of the Id, or projected mind parasites. The problem is, leftist parasites always suck our blood, e.g., through taxes.

We couldn't care less if they sacrificed their own blood to their collectivist god. But why must we be forced to obey their state (as) religion? Isn't that unconstitutional or something?

Now, unKnown Friend points out that God has created -- or results in -- three sources of light: the sun, the moon, and the stars; or, creative light, reflected light, and revealed light; or again, intellect, matter (by which we mean the natural world), and revelation.

With regard to the moon, it is obviously inseparable from the earth around which it revolves (i.e., matter), so that lunar intelligence must be a kind of "reflection" of the material world. In itself, this is not problematic. But when isolated from the Sun of creative evolution and the Stars of revelation -- well, that is how you create the loony moonbat or the farking atheists who bark at the dark and call it light.

Because materiality has only to do with the more or less mechanical and repetitive aspects of the world, to be a moonbat is to exalt matter and convert oneself to a predictable machine that is its servant.

Now, such a thought machine knows nothing of starlight or sunlight, only the relative darkness of matter. And so the intellect is extinguished and "filled with dirt." It becomes as solid and impenetrable as rock, as our dirt-napping trolls mechanically and repetitively prove to us day in, day out.

Again, this is hardly to say that reflected moonlight is unnecessary or worthless. To the contrary, as UF points out, "if deprived of the environment of the material world," we would be "incapable of separating out particular things from their enduring totality and grouping them into categories and classes" (because of the divisibility and malleability of matter), but also "powerless to manufacture the implements and machines" which supplement our "organs of action and perception."

In other words, as we have discussed in a previous card, the radical transcendental realism of a Plato also results in a partial and therefore dysfunctional intelligence, because it regards the material world as totally in flux and therefore incapable of yielding any enduring truth.

Likewise -- or unwise -- the "illusionism" (if that's the proper word) of a Shankara, who regards the phenomenal world as pure maya, or illusion. One reason that there was no development in the Buddhist and Hindu worlds was because of this illusionism. Now that they have imported more realistic ideas from the west, they are taking off economically.

Now, if the Chinese could only find the Sun...

As we noted in that earlier post, both Christianity and Judaism specifically sanctify matter, so that we may develop the proper relationship to it, neither elevating it to a god (pantheism, materialism, atheism, Algoreism) or dismissing it as a kind of evil illusion (manicheism, gnosticism, and many strands of new-ageism, i.e., "The Secret").

Most moonbats are an incoherent combination of the two, in that they absurdly worship a world that is ultimately devoid of meaning. They are the inverse of the Islamists, who wish to destroy a resistant world that doesn't conform to their omnipotent infantile fantasies. Either way, the result is the same: if reality fails to conform to their ideological fantasy, then so much the worse for reality.

Life is ontologically anterior (but existentially posterior) to biology, just as consciousness is prior to matter. Matter is a kind of "congealed intelligence," which is why it is intelligible, precisely.

But it is not a "transparent" intelligibility, since it is always reflected intelligence, and if we identify our own intelligence only with it, we will be unable to leave its sphere and "leap" into the pure intellect -- just as life could never have inscaped matter if it only obeyed the laws of physics.

This latter intellect isn't quite so limited by reflected intelligence, so it sees into metaphysical principles more transparently. There went one just now!

Now, the Gospel of John urges us -- and I'm paraphrasing UF here -- to transpose intelligence from the domain of the created (i.e., the reflected intelligence of matter) to the domain of the creative Word. This is the difference between mere knowledge and true understanding, or between (k) and (n), respectively. The former is always "dead knowledge" (unless we give it life) that is bound to cause confusion and absurdity if we try to apply it to the living Knower.

But the latter is living knowledge, or wisdom, which is also integral knowledge of the whole. It is the knowledge that is "in the beginning," and is therefore always creative and always now. You will have noticed that the radical atheist has no coherent or even minimally credible explanation for the genesis of the knower -- and why anyone, himself included, would care what he thinks -- which is again why his knowledge is both dead and deadening.

Well, that post actually touched on some of the points I made in the Great Lost Post. Careful now: Save. Save again. Copy. No, copy, moron! Paste. Publish. There.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Word is a Bird: Forging our Feathers from Poetry

Back to Whitehead tomorrow. Today we'll wrap up The Star, part of our premeditated ascent on Meditations on the Tarot.

The next major theme discussed by unKnown Friend is poetry. As he puts it, "One cannot pass by poetry if one attaches value to tradition. The whole Bible breathes poetry -- epic, lyric and dramatic..."

Now, poetry is one of those quintessentially human modes that frustrates the reductionistic instincts of scientistic barbarians. To try to contain poetry within materialism is to kill it, for poetry is to language as life is to matter or mind is to life. A "scientistic poet" is a contradiction in terms, for poetry involves the use of something lower in order to express something higher. Poetry highjacks words and then uses them as the vehicle for a climb.

I happen to be reading a lightful little book called Riverrun to Livvy: Lots of Fun Reading the First Page Finnegans Wake (heretofore FW), which has a lot of material related to the mystical and translinguistic properties of language.

In FW, Joyce endeavored to exploit these properties, but only for all they're worth. Indeed, FW is intended to be nothing less than "a working model of the universe," something that is only possible and perhaps even sane because the universe is composed of language (in the sense discussed in yesterday's post).

As wonderful as language is, it can also become diseased, pathological, enfeebled, dead. Consider Marxist or Nazi rhetoric, which are only extreme cases.

But there are also subtle ways in which our minds become hostage to noughty words that really only shoot blanks. This undoubtedly contributed to Joyce's effort to escape the limits of language via his "Wakese." For just as poetry deploys language to express what cannot be said with words, Joyce left conventional language behind in order to express what only words can say.

However, Joyce was only doing "at an accelerated rate what the English language has been doing for centuries" (Cliett), which is to say, stealing, incorporating, morphing, poaching and playgiarizing with other tongues. Cliett notes that English has "accumulated three times the number of words of the next closest language." But Joyce still needed more. As. Do. I. After all, if the existing words were sufficient, we wouldn't be here.

Far from being some sort of superfluous or stupid human trick, poetry is essential to understanding the world. Only dumb-as-a-post modern prejudice tries to convince us otherwise, for poetry "gives wings to imagination, and without winged imagination... no [spiritual] progress is possible" (MOTT).

But this cannot be the undisciplined imagination that seeks only egoic (at best!) self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement -- you know, all those lousy little poets tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson -- but "an imagination that loves truth" and is in conformity with the hyperdimensional Real.

This is why poetry "is not simply a matter of taste, but rather one of fertility (or sterility) of the spirit. Without a poetic vein there can be no access to the life of the Hermetic [i.e., esoteric] tradition" (ibid.).

Poetry defies the law of gravity, and represents "the union of the upper waters and the lower waters on the second day of creation." The poet operates at "the point at which the separated waters meet" and converge, which facilitates a "flow" between realms. Surrealism meets at the other end -- where the lower waters of the unconscious meet with the ego to produce mostly nightmares.

Being that nothing human should be alien to us, surrealism (which is really subrealism) has its place, but real overmental poetry is like a window on the world from which it descends. It has light, power, and truth, because it is written with a combination of "warm human blood" and the "luminous blood of heaven." Such poetry casts a bright bloodlight over the mindscape to reveal things that would otherwise glow ungnosissed.

It it interesting to me that two of my favorite 20th century 〇lymen, Frithjof Schuon and Sri Aurobindo, relied solely on poetry in their later years, abandoning prose altogether. As Aurobindo wrote, "the poet's eyes perpetually go behind the thing visible to the thing essential, so that the symbol and significance are always in a state of interfusion."

In other words, poetry directly transmits something of which it is attempting to describe with words. To get lost in the words can obscure that to which they are pointing, which infuses their very substance. One has to let oneself go and allow the words to lift one up to the realm from which they are a descent.

Poetry transforms language from the closed circle to the open spiral. Note that deconstruction does this as well, but in that case, it is a death spiral that goes straight down into the infrahuman muck of the tenured. It is a result of the naturally supernatural desire of the soul to break free of language, but in the absence of recognition of the Divine hierarchy. Therefore, it is like the exchange of one hell for a worse one, for anyhell involves a closed system from which one cannot escape. The security just becomes tighter the lower one goes from the Logos.

Truly, we can forge our fetters out of language, which results in the flightless turkey of radical secularism. Conversely, we may forge our feathers word by Word to achieve a kind of verbical liftoff.

Of course, some thinkers take the contradictory position, and maintain that the bird is the word:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One + Many = Three

Continuing from yesterday's post, in which we posed the question: is it possible to use Whitehead's process philosophy to illuminate traditional theology, but without doing violence to the latter and descending into an intellectually feeble and metaphysically incoherent moonbattery?

As we have discussed in the past, there has never been a time that Christianity hasn't been in dialogue with philosophy, which is as it should be. Indeed, if one excuses oneself from this dialogue -- as if theology can stand on its own, with no input from the empirical or intellectual worlds -- then one will necessarily revert to an unarticulated and usually naive metaphysic, very much like scientists who unthinkingly conflate scientific method with ontological fact.

Either way, it is not as if you will have avoided metaphysics, only denied it. As Whitehead writes, "religion is among the data of experience which philosophy must weave into its own scheme":

"Philosophy frees itself from the taint of ineffectiveness by its close relations with religion and with science, natural and sociological. It attains its chief importance by fusing the two, namely, religion and science, into one rational scheme of thought..." (in Epperly).

As we know, the early Fathers were influenced by Platonism and neo-Platonism, while the scholastics brought in Aristotle. Up to that point, philosophy was far more unified than it is today. Not to exaggerate, but prior to Kant, one could discern a kind of linear path of philosophical development.

But post-Kant -- in large part because he essentially detached thought from reality, allowing it to become a monument to nothing -- philosophy ramified into the countless rivers, streams, creeks, eddies, gutters, and sewers we see today. Nowadaze -- or so we are asked to believe -- there is no philosophical unity, just a multitude of unprovable opinions. In such a timid and confused climate, it is no wonder that a bloodless scientism is able to carry the day. It is as if these people -- like New York Times readers -- are capable of trusting no source of information above the lowest and most coarse.

Although Whitehead's formal philosophical writing (e.g., Process and Reality) is known for its abstruseness, he was at the same time a memorable quipmeister or gagdad (for a few samples, see here). So, why didn't he write in this clever style all the time? Probably for the same reason that no respectable person would ever take me seriously.

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster--it is an opportunity. It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious. Seek simplicity, and distrust it. The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy. The future belongs to those who can rise above the confines of the earth. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

I am not surprised to discover that there is a whole book devoted to The Wit and Wisdom of Alfred North Whitehead. But we're getting off track. I was just searching for a particular comment of his, to the effect that the history of Western philosophy is but a footnote on Plato.

This implies that Whitehead perceived a much deeper unity -- or at least source of unity -- beneath appearances, and indeed, his whole philosophy might be thought of as a search for unity -- not just of the natural world, but of various irreducible antinomies that confront us, such as exterior / interior, subject / object, and consciousness /world. In his description, metaphysics is "a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted" -- a true, and not just tenured, Theory of Everything.

This being the case, it is no wonder that a number of Christian theologians were immediately attracted to his thought, even though, as far as anyone knows, Whitehead himself did not become formally religious.

Now, back to Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed. Yesterday we discussed Whitehead's appreciation of the cosmic complementarity of permanence <---> flux. In one sense, religion as such is the "vision," or apprehension (often via faith), of that "which stands beyond, and within, the passing flux of immediate things" (this and all subsequent quotes are in Epperly unless otherwise noted).

Whitehead describes with perfect nonsense the orthoparadoxical nature of this thing we call O: it is "something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest."

This is precisely what motivates your quest, -- your own adventure of consciousness -- whether religious or secular. If it isn't what drives -- or pulls -- you forward, then what the hell are you doing, just going around in meaningless circles? What, did you or someone else perform a logotomy on you? Are you trapped in the I AMber of Groundhog Day?

Then you have failed to assimilate cosmic lesson #1, that "ultimate reality" is (among others) the creative principle, accent on the second word.

Now, how can creativity -- which is always novel, unique, and unprecedented -- be a principle, which is presumed to be a kind of timeless archetype? How can that which can only take place in time be a reflection of the timeless? Because, for Whitehead, "the process itself is the actuality" -- which is somewhat like saying "the noun is the verb," or perhaps "the particle is the wave."

Ultimately, one might say that this is a reflection of the dialectic of Absolute and relative, or of O and Ø. The question is, is Ø "in" O? Yes, of course. Well then, is O in Ø? Again, yes, of course.

This is none other than panentheism, which is apparently more prevalent in Orthodoxy than in the West. For Epperly, this trans-complementarity, as it manifests in theology, "is reflected in the dynamic interplay of the apophatic, 'without images,' and the kataphatic, 'with images,' approach to understanding God."

Here again, this innerplay is "ultimate" insofar as humans are concerned. I suppose one could, in Buddhist fashion, annihilate the creative image-maker, but this only results in a God with no humans, which, as soon as you think about it, is no God at all (which in turn is just another form of God; and no, I'm not just trying to be cute: for the Buddhist, God is no-God, and vice versa).

Instead of seeing the mind as an inexplicable and ultimately irrelevant appendage to reality, Whitehead turned the cosmos back bright-side up, so that both the interior and exterior worlds share the same ultimate principle.

In this regard, he deviates from both scientistic nihilists and from traditional theologians. The former position is not worth refuting, but for the latter, it is the logos which is responsible for both intelligence and intelligibility -- which are two sides of this same Word.

As alluded to yesterday, there are certain aspects of Whitehead's thought that seem to conflict with tradition, but which I find myself embracing. An essential one would involve the nature of this Logos. Traditionally it is indeed understood as word or reason, the former implying a kind of static entity, the latter a mechanical process.

But. What if we tweak that formulation a little, and instead trancelight the two -- word and reason -- as language and creativity, which automatically and continuously create three? If nothing else, at least it would explain everything. So I got that going for me.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whitehead, Blockhead, Wholehead

Having digested yesterday's post, you may ask yourself: why is Bob not -- or is he? -- a formal Whiteheadian? You know, a process philosopher, or, more to the point, a champion of process theology?

That's actually a fair question. I recently asked it of myself while tending my little amazon kindle garden and noticing the titles under the heading Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.

At the moment there are only two. One of them is The Complete Works of Dostoyevsky, an author to whom -- along with William Shakespeare, Michel de Montaigne, and Maya Angelou -- I am often compared.

The other book is Whitehead's Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy: An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance.

While that last one may or may not sound intriguing, there's a problem: David Ray Griffin -- probably the most well known process theologian -- is a Category 5 loonibrain and 7.1 assoul on the sphincter scale.

For starters, he is a 911 truther and all-purpose moonbat. He is also co-conspirator of the Center for Process Studies, where kindred spirits talk to each other about such charming subjects as divinity and diversity, the trinity from an eco-womanist perspective, Cornel West’s postmodern theology, process theodicy from an African Perspective, and post-colonial critiques of theopolitical synergies of power.

So there is something about process theology that either turns the mind to mush or attracts mush-heads. I mean, what kind of person takes Cornell West seriously? What next, Whitehead, Sharpton, and Process Poverty Pimpin' ?

Back in the day, I read a fair amount of process theology, but everything I encountered was academic, jargony, coldly technological, politically correct, and devoid of sanctity. Very insular and college campus-y, if you know what I mean, in the same way that the only place one finds Marxists is in universities. Real people don't talk, much less think, like that.

Although one of the premises of process theology is the unification of science and religion, I found that their real objection was to theology, and that they simply misused or misunderstood various scientific principles in order support a secular agenda more to their liking.

As I've said before, a leftist anything is always a leftist first, the whatever a distant second, and this applies perforce to leftist theologies, which in the end (and beginning) attempt to bend theology to the contours of their collectivism, not to derive political philosophy from transcendent truth.

This got me to thinking: surely there must be someone who has used process philosophy to illuminate traditional theology? The closest I've been able to find is a Jesuit professor of theology by the name of Joseph Bracken, but I couldn't get through the first book I tried, which mostly consisted of obvious points couched in unnecessarily technical language, mingled with other apparent points he is unable to express in plain english. Much of it sounds frankly tenured.

So I guess it's down to me again. In order to acquaint myself with the perplexing lay of the scholarly land, I read a book called Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, despite knowing in advance that the book contains some unalloyed moonbattery and theological error, such as the assertion that "process ethics" sees rights as "relational and contextual" rather than absolute or individualistic.

But why? There is nothing in process thought that mandates such a conclusion.

"Further, process theology does not privilege human experience in terms of possessing absolute value." Nor does "being human" "set us apart from from the rest of creation." Again, these erroneous conclusions in no way follow from a process-view of the cosmos.

Speaking of conflating politics and theology, consider the following gem, which is devoid of theology but full of leftist mischief: "economic decision-making must be for the sake of human beings and the whole biosphere." Nice rhetoric, but how would that work in practice? Like Stalinism, or more like Maoism?

"The goals of justice and planetary sustainability are one and the same." Really? Are you sure about that? A lot of things that sustain the planet strike me as more than a little cruel and unjust.

It indeed reminds me of Chairman Mao's excuse for starving tens of millions of peasants: there are too many people on the planet! It is somewhat appalling that any self-styled theologian would try to derive his ethics from nature, for the biosphere indeed has an ironclad will to sustain itself via death, without the slightest concern for the individual.

How do these people take a perfectly fine philosophy and arrive at such nonsense? Or am I missing something, and is the nonsense built into the philosophy? I don't think so, because it is entirely possible to derive political nonsense from sound philosophy, theology, and metaphysics, e.g., the doctrine of predestination or the divine right of kings.

Rather, it is necessary that each plane in the cosmic hierarchy be explicated separately, but in such a way that it does not contradict first principles. One cannot simply blindly apply first principles to every situation, for this ends in a dogmatic and false absolutism.

This is, for example, what creeps people out about Ron Paul. He says plenty of things -- derived from first principles embodied in the Constitution -- that make perfect sense. However, he always goes too far, in that half of what he says results from a blind application of first principles, irrespective of empirical reality.

The same moral confusion afflicts leftists who wouldn't waterboard a known terrorist with information about an imminent attack, owing to an unthinking allegiance to the principle of "non-torture" -- which any normal person shares, up to a point, the point of suicidal insanity.

So let's think through some of Whitehead's first principles, and try to understand where his wackolytes go off the rails. There is much in Epperly's book with which I am in complete sympathy. Indeed, it is because of Whitehead that I have some views -- or at least suspicions -- that would be considered quite non-traditional, more on which as we proceed.

To put it another way, there are certain principles of process theology that allow me to understand aspects of theology that I otherwise wouldn't be able to accept, because they seem to violate common sense principles I am unable to reject.

For example, if theology posited that gravity doesn't exist, I could only pretend to agree with it -- just as I could only pretend to agree with any young-earth scenarios. If I were forced to choose between these two positions, I would have to reject theology in favor of science. But this is an artificial choice rooted in a false premise. Nevertheless, there's a lot of that going around, e.g., either intelligent design or evolution.

Here is an example of a principle I can wholeheadedly embrace: "Process theology describes the dynamic interplay of permanence and flux, evident in the universe and our own lives" (Epperly).

The critical subtext of this sentence is complementarity, in this case between permanence and flux, which might also be called eternity and time, implicate and explicate, potential and actual, one and many, Godhead and God, etc. I do not come down on either side of the complementarity, but rather hold the complementarity to be key.

To cite one conspicuous example, this is how I approach the Trinity, wherein it makes no sense to say that the Father is prior to, or above, the Son. Rather, there is no Father in the absence of Son, and vice versa.

Furthermore, they are, as in Whitehead's scheme, interiorly related, or intersubjective. The one is "in" the other, and vice versa. In normal logic, such an arrangement would be impossible, while in process metaphysics it is necessary, since the process is the reality.

Clearly, we must all grapple with the undeniable flux of things. This is not only an unavoidable conclusion of thought, but seems to be the very occasion for the dawning of thought (or of thinking, to be precise, since it is posterior to the thoughts it thinks).

As we have discussed before, the infant has no need of thinking so long as the mother is present and the two are merged in such a way that he needn't be aware of need or absence. (You can take this literally, figuratively, or mythopoetically.) But something changes. The Great Mother, the source of all warmth, comfort, and nourishment, is missing!

This is the First Thought. You'd be surprised how often people never get past it.

But that is only one side of the psycho-cosmic economy, for as Whitehead writes, "The other notion dwells on permanences of things -- the solid earth, the mountains, the stones [minus Brian Jones], the Egyptian pyramids, the spirit of man, God." Thus, "in the inescapable flux, there is something that abides; in the overwhelming permanence, there is an element that escapes into flux" (Whitehead, in Epperly).

This is one place where the above-referenced theologians go off the rails, for it seems that they embrace the flux part but cast aside the permanence part. Only in so doing could one affirm (absolutely!) that "there are no absolutes."

At long last, sir, have you no irony?

Yes, relativity is (relatively) real. But only because it is a kind of prolongation of the Absolute, a complement, not a competitor -- any more than God's transcendence competes with his immanence.

I'd better stop. To be continued, if there is sufficient interest.

Complementary -- you know, like ebony and ivory:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is God a Verb or a Noun?

For you newly puzzled readers out there or in here, we've been psychopompously conducting a chapter-by-chapter meditation on one of the classics of Christian meta-thought, Meditations on the Tarot. We are now up to XVII, The Star.

This is the aracanum of the evolution of life and of consciousness, which are two phenomenal slides -- or better, mayafestations -- of the same noumenal cosmic process.

To say that life or consciousness "evolve" is equally to say that evolution is none other than life and consciousness deployed on the planes of matter and time (which is why time takes time, especially if it's going to get anywhere meaningful).

As the previous arcanum speaks to the problem of construction (of the Tower), this one discloses the secret of growth, a very strange and surprising property to find in a supposedly dead cosmos.

Whatever else growth is, it is spiritual through and through. To meditate deeply on the nature of growth is to meditate on the workings of the Spirit (without which spiritual growth would obviously be impossible, for it is not something a mere man could ever accomplish or even conceive on his own).

Exactly what is growth? Growth in the sense we are discussing is always a process of complexification of interior relations, whereas construction is an exterior phenomenon only. The tower is built by laying autonomous brick upon brick, but this is clearly not how a body (much less, mind) grows. And as it so happens, it is not this latter type of growth that is the cosmic anomaly.

Rather, just as the mechanistic and atomistic plane of Newtonian physics is a local phenomenon floating atop the deeper processes of the subatomic world, the simple world of Aristotelian logic and linear relations is a kind of local exception to a more fundamental world of process, nonlinear causes, interior relations, and wholeness.

In other worlds -- the real(er) one, to be precise -- biology and evolution presuppose a nonlocal and internally related cosmos, otherwise life -- let alone mind -- could never get off the ground. If Darwinian dogma fails to acknowledge this antecedent principle of nonlocal wholeness, it is a metaphysical house built upon sand, for interior wholeness cannot somehow be shoehorned into an atomistic and materialistic paradigm after the fact.

Indeed, we can only "com-prehend" evolution at all because of the interior cosmic wholeness that permeates both mind and matter, for to understand something is to see into the deep unity beneath its appearance.

A machine has a oneness of function, but no interior unity. In contrast, the body and mind have an essential wholeness which permeates each of the parts (for example, each cell in the body contains the genetic blueprint for the whole).

Furthermore, you can take away many of the parts of a human being -- legs, eyes, pancreas -- and it is still a whole human being. But if you take away the wheels, seat, and handlebars from a bicycle, it isn't a bicycle anymore. This is because the human being is animated by a nonlocal essence, which is his true form (i.e., the soul is the form of the body).

A living thing is full of innumerable flowing circles (both interior and exterior), whereas the tower is static and "dry," so to speak. And even if it requires some exchange of energy -- like an internal combustion engine that requires gasoline -- the engine obviously doesn't engage in autocatalysis. It will always remain an engine no matter how much gas you put into it. (I should add that to grow is to convert the circle to a spiral, more on which in the following card, the mʘʘn.)

UF has a lot of regard for the philosopher Henri Bergson, with whom I have only a nodding acquaintance. I tried, but found him a trifle too French. However, Bergson's ideas have some overlap with Whitehead's, and I prefer my philosophy to be made in America anyway, if possible.

Whitehead was at Harvard (which at the time was still in America) when he switched in his mid-60s from mathematics and physics to philosophy; his metaphysical cosmology wouldn't have gone over in Great Britain, where they were stranded in the nul de slack of logical positivism; and his serious interest in religion would have consigned him to irrelevance in that endarkened intellectual atmosphere. Nor did he fit in with Eliot, Lewis, Tolkien, Dawson, and the rest, since his interest was more scientific and metaphysical than mythic and theological.

I note that the wiki entry says that "prior to World War I, he considered himself an agnostic. Later he returned to religion, without formally joining any church." What is interesting about Whitehead is that he is the first person, to my knowledge, to seriously and fundamentally "think his way" back into religion via modern (post-Einstein and Darwin) science.

As kooky as things are today among the tenured, the 19th century was actually the pinnacle of simplistic scientific mechanism, determinism, and reductionism. Partly because he was one of the few people capable of both understanding quantum physics and grasping its deeper metaphysical implications, Whitehead eventually made the grand Round Trip back to Cosmic Religion (albeit in a somewhat ex-centric manner, more on which later).

Like Whitehead, Bergson recognized that "the essence of duration is to flow," and "the fixed [or externally related] placed side by side with the fixed will never constitute anything which has duration" (MOTT).

In other words, what Bergson calls "duration" is a result of dynamic flow, not of any static extension in time and space. Thanks to modern physics, we now understand that even the most solid-looking object is a flowing iteration of subatomic processes; likewise, if you look close enough at your body, you will see that it is a hive full of billions of buzzing cells going about their quirky business. Just don't do it on acid.

As mentioned the other day, it is absurd to speak of growth in the absence of final causation, or teleology, for that way lies only Cosmic Cancer, i.e., disorganized and self-interested blobs in rebellion against the Whole.

For Teilhard de Chardin -- who is right about some things, wrong about others -- the final cause of the world is what he calls the "Omega point," but we prefer to call it O (or on an individual level, ʘ). It is "that toward which spiritual evolution is tending," which would constitute "the complete unity of the outer and inner, of matter and spirit" -- whom he believes to be none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ (which is, appropriately enough, getting beyond our current head light; like Tebow, we'll comeback to it later).

As Omega point, Jesus is the cosmic archetype, or logos, who both participates in history while transcending it and "luring" existence in his wake. Thus, he is simultaneously -- and necessarily -- fully present in the diverse modes of past, present, and future, each an inevitable reflection of the other. History "drew" God into it (so to speak) in the fullness of time, just as God draws history back to Him in the fullness of eternity. More on this later, since I am pressed for time at the moment.

Here is how UF expresses it, speaking from the First and Final Person perspective: "I am activity, the effective cause, who set all in motion; and I am contemplation, the final cause, who draws towards himself all that which is in movement. I am primordial action; and I am eternal waiting -- for all to arrive where I am."

Which is why we live "outwardly" in a world of dualism, but "inwardly" (or inwordly) in a nonlocal spiritual sensorium that transcends and heals the wound(s) of duality, seen in light of the future unification (not unicity, which destroys distinction) of all -- which is always available now.

This is to unify science and religion, evolution and salvation, or what we call salvolution. It is similar to what Whitehead is trying to convey in the following:

"God and the world are the contrasted opposites in terms of which Creativity achieves its supreme task of transforming disjointed multiplicity, with its diversities in opposition, into concrescent unity, with its diversities in contrast."

Or, call it the transition from an alienated static duality that can never reach O, to an inspiraling complementarity that never really left. This latter (or ladder) is pretty much the purpose of Stayin' Alive, gosh!

Assume the Raccoon position: on the ground but happily looking up:

Vs. static duality:

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