Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Religion in the Raw at the DNC Convention

"The hard problem of consciousness," writes Spitzer, "really begins with the hard problem of living systems."

In other words, the mysteries of life and of consciousness are really two iterations of the same mystery. In neither case can the phenomenon be reduced to its physical constituents without eliminating the higher principle that animates, defines, and illuminates it.

Life is transcendence, because "in living systems, physical processes are oriented toward objectives that lie beyond them..." In short, organisms are oriented toward their own future. In Robert Rosen's expensive terminology, they are anticipatory systems.

And "if a living system cannot be reduced to physical processes, then how much more irreducible will be consciousness in animals and self-consciousness in humans?" (Spitzer). Animals have their ends and we have ours. But ours are infinitely remote from other animals, whose aims, while transcendent, are nevertheless quite "close" to the body and its immediate needs. Animals always orbit closely to their own biology.

Conversely, man's transcendence can -- and should -- go all the way up, and to all points in between. Actually "should" is not quite the correct word. In reality, our consciousness always proceeds to God; or better from God, who is its sufficient reason. As daylight is to the central sun, consciousness is to God, simultaneously distinct and yet "not-two."

So much becomes clear if we simply dis-invert the cosmos and see things from the top down instead of bottom up! Then, instead of the impossible leap from matter to consciousness -- the infinite journey from existence to experience -- we see a kind of smooth transition from Creator to creation: from supra consciousness to consciousness, from mind to life, and from life to matter.

In another book that I almost understood, Rosen argued that it was simply metaphysical prejudice to assume that the simple, linear, and unambiguous physical systems described (and describable!) by physics were the cosmic norm.

What Rosen really accomplishes is to provide a scientific alibi for accepting Whitehead's conceptualization of reality: that everything is process and that all processes have a degree of life and of consciousness, however attenuated. Then you don't have to somehow magically shoehorn them in later. The cosmos is an organism that converges on God; cosmic evolution is simply the mirror image of a prior involution. For this roundtrip back to God, we must unpack what is involved in us (as potential) in order to realize it in time. Woo hoo!

At the remote end of our consciousness is the necessary being we call God or O. Between man and God is a whole hierarchy of transcendental values that are easily discernible as Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Unity. Without these transcendentals, nothing makes sense down here. Man is always oriented toward his own transcendence, no matter how hard he tries to deny it.

This explains how and why man is necessarily, always and everywhere, homo religiosus. I say, if you don't believe in God and religion, try watching a few minutes of the DNC convention. There you will see religion "in the raw," that is, the religious impulse untethered from and unbound by any divinely authorized channel. This is why it so resembles madness, because both madness and transcendence are "unmoored," so to speak, from physical reality, only in opposite directions.

Looking at the convention the way I have described will help you to avoid throwing up. And if the spectacle does not induce vomiting, then you are ontologically insensate to what is going down.

Our way turns a pagan ceremony, rife with hatred, scapegoating, and magical manipulation of reality, into an interesting cosmo-anthropological study. They are always trying to bait you, to drag you down from your peaceful transcendent perspective. But you must remain detached and alert: wise as the serpents on stage but innocent as doves.

You're really looking at a lower form -- or better, mode -- of humanity, and I mean that literally. Not only do they violate every commandment of God -- each being a signpost to transcendence -- but they incorporate the violation into their platform: idolatry, murder, theft, envy, deceit, etc. Truly, it is a "plunge into darkness." Which is why they project their own darkness into Donald Trump. This remarkable crockstep unity is either an example of DNC-MSM coordination, or of instantaneous nonlocal quantum coherence on the lower vertical plane.


Gagdad Bob said...

A concurrence: moral sickness at the DNC.

Gagdad Bob said...

I'm old enough to remember when silence was genocide vis-a-vis AIDS. Now silence is mandatory regarding actual genocide of homosexuals.

julie said...

Not to mention - no really, they don't want anyone to mention it! - the actual rape culture the feminists have invited in and given the all-clear to do as they will, quite often excused even by their victims. Who of course don't want to mention it, because people might get the "wrong" idea.

maineman said...

It looks like, when you sell your soul to the devil, that's pretty much that.

And the Simon article includes an embed: the administration framed the martyring of the French priest as a religious freedom issue. That would mean Obama supports the freedom of Isis to express its faith by killing Catholic priests.

Well, we are dealing with powers and principalities. That means all of the enemies of Christianity will eventually stop shooting cops, beating up Trump supporters, blowing up coffee shops, and get around to more focused attacks on the church.

Gagdad Bob said...

Powers and principalities. If there's a better explanation of human depravity -- especially of how it takes over whole nations, cultures, movements, and ideologies -- I'd love to hear it. Every time Bernie Sanders barked "revolution" last night, it gave me a chill.

maineman said...

Fortunately, I stopped getting TV several years ago, so I can't subject myself to the DNC without a lot of unwarranted effort. Much better this way. Nothing but old movies online, with an informal cut-off of 1960 that is rarely violated.

julie said...

Maineman, re. the powers and principalities, indeed.

We watched bits and pieces last night, but couldn't stomach any more of the DNC than that. Howling mad, the lot of them.

mushroom said...

Man is always oriented toward his own transcendence, no matter how hard he tries to deny it.

Some of us try really hard. I tend to think this is the source of a lot of the murderous outbursts -- as if a person is trying to prove to God, himself, and humanity that he is most certainly not like that.

A friend has been telling me I ought to watch the conventions -- I didn't watch the RNC either except for a brief bit of Trump at the end. My friend doesn't understand defilement the same way I do. It would be like watching pr0n.

Gagdad Bob said...

Someone said that fascism is the violent rejection of transcendence. However, for the fascist, violence is transcendent.

Gagdad Bob said...

Dark? Trump isn't dark enough.

maineman said...

I clicked on First Things and there was, lo and behold, a beautiful little piece by one Jean Duchesne, special advisor to the Archbishop of Paris, translated from the French. It is fitting that the first European martyr should be from the Eldest Daughter of the Church.

The money quote:

This, today, was something else altogether. The target of this revenge was not the West in general, nor its complacent and egotistical prosperity, which can seem insulting to the penniless inhabitants of the world beyond. The target of this revenge was the root of the West, the West’s living source, even when it is unremembered—namely Christianity, in the time and the place where, tacitly but invincibly, it becomes most explicitly and intensely real: the celebration of the Mass.

John Lien said...

"Whitehead's conceptualization of reality: that everything is process and that all processes have a degree of life and of consciousness, however attenuated. Then you don't have to somehow magically shoehorn them in later."

Hmmm, I like that. Maybe that's why I patted my old tractor on the hood and told her she was a good girl for mowing that field, and I didn't feel silly at all for doing so.

Van Harvey said...

Hey, anyone catch the return of Ted Kennedy's nose last night? It was wearing a Bill Clinton body this time, but... I swear that's the same nose!

doug saxum said...

With all the time you spend reading, working and blogging, do you ever have a chance to pick up the Bass and jam a little?

Gagdad Bob said...

No. A number of years ago I sold my Rickenbacker to a guy who played in a Norteño band. Poor Rickenbacker! I replaced it with a Strat and took some lessons (I already knew the rudiments) but never really followed up. Every once in a while I will pick it up and bash along with a three-chord band such as the Ramones or Clash, or blues or rockabilly or Who or early Stones.

Gagdad Bob said...

The other day we turned on the guitar with the gain all the way up, and used it as target practice with Nerf guns. It makes an interesting boi-oi-oi-oing sound when you score a direct hit. When you hit different strings, it sounds like a Yoko Ono composition.

doug saxum said...

That's cool.
Do you play any other instruments, or want to learn another?

Gagdad Bob said...

I don't have time to multi-slack. I'm happy just to listen. I mean, in another life I'd love to, but there's only so much time.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, when I appreciate the greatness of certain musicians, I ask myself, "what would be the point?" I feel the same way with certain writers, which is why I don't bother trying to pretend to be one, rather, just a communicator.

doug saxum said...

Yeah, listening to the greats is humbling, breathtaking and so much more.
I tried to get my long time friend, who is a good song writer, to expose his music
to more listeners... Like on the net or radio, to no avail.

Part of what made me lose enthusiasm for playing the Bars was that we were only playing cover tunes. Nothing original.

But I do have a CD that I shared drumming duties with Gordy Knudsen. (one of Steve Miller's drummers)

doug saxum said...

"Gordy Knudtson"

Oops, sorry Gordy

Anonymous said...


Gagdad Bob said...

Yes: the left wants to give its constituents the markers of success without the traits and habits required for its genuine achievement (that was the problem with the housing fiasco in '07-'08). It's why people let into prestigious law schools based upon affirmative action just flame out later. You might say that the left merely kicks the can't down the road.

Van Harvey said...

On the 'picking up the bass' front. I've just been sucked into an inhouse band with my consulting company. I successfully resisted invitations for two years - I spent the 80's playing with a really good band (and all its turmoil), and never liked the idea of reverting to hobby/garage band status. Done, moved on.

Then my wife heard and joined in on the pestering, something about it would be good for me to have another activity besides reading. Pffft. So... the end result is that this Monday was the first time in 25 years that I picked up the bass and played.

Sore fingers, hurt pride, verrry garagey...but kinda fun. Eh. We'll see what we see.

Anonymous said...

"...kicks the can't down the road."