Monday, November 24, 2014

Temporal and Spatial Oneness

A few months back I read Hartshorne's The Divine Relativity, but never got around to discussing it in detail. In retracing my steps, I see that I touched on it on August 22. At the conclusion of the post it says "Well, I didn't have time to get nearly as deeply into this as I had wanted, but we'll take another plunge on Monday." Evidently, this is the promised Monday.

Let me first review what I said before, so as not to repeat myself...

One line stands out this morning, the reference to a "spontaneous interior knowing, which in turn implies a wavelike connectedness or unity of things." This latter is an important principle to which we will return, in that the wave of being renders possible the particle of knowledge. Or in other words, ontology is to epistemology as wave is to particle. Thus, we may know as we do because being is as it is.

Coincidentally, yesterday afternoon I was dipping into Meditations on the Tarot, and our Friend from Beyond the Grave says much the same thing. In Letter I, he discusses the attainment of practical and theoretical unity, the first consisting of the unity of the self -- i.e., concentration without effort -- the second to "the basic unity of the natural world, the human world and the divine world." To perceive the latter one must be the former:

"As concentration is the basis of every practical achievement, the tenet of the basic unity of the world is the same with regard to knowledge -- without it no knowledge is conceivable." In other words, in the absence of the prior unity, not only can we not know knowledge, but we can't even know of knowledge.

Thus, "The ideal -- or ultimate aim -- of all philosophy and all science is TRUTH. But 'truth' has no other meaning than that of the reduction of the plurality of phenomenon to an essential unity -- of facts to laws, laws to principles, of principles to essence or being."

Bottom line: "Without this unity nothing would be knowable." There would be no possibility of venturing from the known to the unknown, because there would be no link, no common ground, between the two. But in reality, there is always a bridge of being between them, analogous to how the continents of the earth are separated by oceans but connected underneath.

To say that "the world is knowable" is to implicitly affirm "the tenet of the essential unity of the world." And if we pursue the latter principle to its logical end, we understand that the world is not a "mosaic," or jumble of fundamentally disconnected parts, but rather, an organism, "all of whose parts are governed by the same principle."

Which leads directly to Alfred North Whitehead's organicism (AKA process philosophy) and to his most prominent acolyte, Hartshorne. Hartshorne was the first to systematically apply Whitehead's insights to theology.

As we have discussed in the past, where most philosophers "spatialize" the cosmos, for Whitehead, time is central. As a consequence, where others see things-in-isolation, Whitehead sees processes-in-relation. There is nothing in the cosmos that is not concretely related to everything else, at all times. Yes, we can think otherwise, but that is an abstraction from the concrete reality.

For example, we can look at a cloud in the sky and imagine it as a separate thing (indeed, it is difficult not to), and yet, it is simply the visible expression of the infinitely complex process we call "weather." We could say the same of "price" vis-a-vis economics. Hayek's central idea is that the price of the most basic item is full of information about the entire economy.

Unless the state -- the great destroyer of information -- gets involved. A market economy is a vast organism that processes an infinite amount of information. The "fatal conceit" of the statists is to pretend to control a process that is fundamentally impossible for any human -- or group of humans -- to understand. (Same problem with Darwinism, global warming, and scientism more generally.)

What we commonly call "science" presupposes the unity of the horizontal. Not only does it not study the vertical, it knows nothing of it (at least explicitly). For example, because of the unity of the horizontal, we know exactly where the earth will be in relation to the sun in one, one hundred, or one thousand years (assuming no hidden variables science has not yet discovered).

The unity of the vertical is known in a different manner, via the method of analogy. It too is an artifact of the unity of the world. The most consequential vertical analogy is between God and man. Such analogies are "timeless" where science necessarily operates in time.

Take, for example, the myth of Genesis. To reduce it to a scientific statement about the horizontal world is to fundamentally misunderstand it. Rather, it embodies a number of key "typological symbols," or prototypes and their relations. Such vertical archetypes "manifest themselves endlessly in history and in each individual biography." Although they are in time, they are not of time. But they do impress their patterns on time, which is why they must be expressed via myth.

The myth is the story of the prototype as it moves through time. Our BFF from Beyond the Grave compares them to the undulations left in the sand as a result of desert winds. The undulations are not the wind, only its visible effect. Likewise the archetypes, which are not seen but which nevertheless leave their imprint on our lives.

This is why it was so easy for us to "see" where Obama would end, way back in 2008. For as Joyce wrote, -- and this is the one lesson of Finnegans Wake, repeated endlessly in an infinite number of ways -- "if you are abcedminded to this claybook," then "what curios of signs in this allaphbed!" For "it is the same told of all." (Man is the curious claybook written with the archetypal ABCs.)

Change? "Modern man calls 'change' walking faster on the same path in the same direction" (Aphorisms of Don Colacho).


julie said...

I've been reading the Book of Wisdom today - as much out of curiosity as to why it was left out as anything else. It seems to mesh well with the post though, at least in part...

Solomon said...

12 Wisdom is brilliant, she never fades. By those who love her, she is readily seen, by those who seek her, she is readily found.

13 She anticipates those who desire her by making herself known first.

14 Whoever gets up early to seek her will have no trouble but will find her sitting at the door.

15 Meditating on her is understanding in its perfect form, and anyone keeping awake for her will soon be free from care.

16 For she herself searches everywhere for those who are worthy of her, benevolently appearing to them on their ways, anticipating their every thought.

17 For Wisdom begins with the sincere desire for instruction, care for instruction means loving her,

18 loving her means keeping her laws, attention to her laws guarantees incorruptibility,

19 and incorruptibility brings us near to God;

mushroom said...

While I'm waiting for jobs to run and Ferguson to smoke, I had time to read this. I was thinking about that this weekend in terms of the sun and how we are in it and of it. As I was picturing it, the presence of the Spirit made a lot more sense.

And about wisdom, the Dilbert guy, Scott Adams, strikes me as someone who really doesn't want to deal with God as a person. So he said, talking about quantum physics, is that what all the particle physics research proves is that God exists -- except God is something like probability.

I laughed, but then I got to thinking about probability in terms of truth and morals and freedom. What Adams should call it is wisdom, because Sophia is God's Girl Friday.

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.

(Proverbs 8:22, ESV)

Van Harvey said...

I work in the Ferguson area, we were sent home in the afternoon, most schools are closed tomorrow as if it were a slow day.


Proverbs, Wisdom, book 8 is my favorite. Sure wish it was dead more. Proverbs 8 King James Version (KJV)

8 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.

36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

Van Harvey said...

sigh. *dead more* -> 'read more'

Van Harvey said...

Heh, I guess I should have refreshed after Julie's first comment.

Van Harvey said...

... er... woulda been wise....

julie said...

That's okay, the fact that you didn't made it more perfect. Talk about syncoonicity!

julie said...

Jiminy Christmas - look at that crowd waiting for the verdict. Stay safe out there tonight, Van.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good to know that officer Wilson got justice in spite of Holder, Obama, and Sharpton's best efforts to ensure he would not.
This time the rule of law one, thank God.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Won, that is.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sadly, ofiicer Wilson will not be able to continue working at Ferguson, thanks to Obama and company.
Probably not anywhere else either, as a police officer.

This is what happens when racists like Obama, Holder, etc., disregard the evidence and the rule of law.

One can only conclude that Obama and his minions don't want justice but want riots and racial strife instead.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Because officer Wilson legally defended himself Obama wants to "reform" the criminal justice system.

Also bathers on about racism and discimination, blah blah.

Van Harvey said...

It is disgusting. His every comment presumes that the citizens of the Grand Jury who reached a unanimous decision of no cause for charges, and were the Only ones to see all of the evidence, according to his snearing comments, either lied or came to a racist - a decision made, not that it should matter, by white and black jurors - decision.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Despicable indeed.
BTW, who's bright idea was it to make the decision public AT NIGHT?

I reckon all that talking the police did with the protesters and bending over backwards to give them more control didn't work out either.

The incompetence the law enforcement leadership has shown is literally mind boggling.
But that's nothing compared to the democrat leadership (what leadership?) failures, not to mention their failure to uphold their oath to protect our Constitution and rule of law.

Meanwhile, the leftist media keeps right on throwing gas on the fire along with their democrat bosses.
This is part of the transformation of America that Obama was talking about.