Friday, November 24, 2017

Immortality While You Wait

Just some highlighted passages from The Immortal in You: How Human Nature is More than Science Can Say, before moving on to the next subject.

Actually, my mind is already deep into the next subject -- the subject of real and diabolical liberty -- but I hate to just move on as if the previous book never happened. If only for myself, I want to remumble some points worth mumbling. We call this process "assimilating truths into our psychic substance," AKA, plundering the book for purposes of anticipatory plagiarism.

Then again, I often highlight passages I already know and understand, because it's nice to know I'm not alone in understanding them. When someone else independently discovers what you have, it might just be reality. (I emphasize "independently," in order to distinguish the process from group hysterias and other collective delusions such as Trump Derangement.)

For example,

"[W]e must think that the human mind differs from the animal mind in some way as the infinite does from the finite."

That is just a soph-evident fact for which it is up to us to ponder the consequences. Remarkably, many people do not see this fact, for which reason they cannot draw the implications. Nevertheless, it is a critical Fact of Life.

Speaking of which, "Philosophy is like thinking and breathing: not something that we can either do or not do if we like, but that we must do, and must do either badly or well, so long as we live."

Therefore, our first foray into philosophy should simply be an inquiry into what we already believe, both explicitly but especially implicitly. Suffice it to say that most people deeply believe in things they don't believe they believe, most especially some god by another name. True, it is often a false god, all the more reason to get to the bottom of one's implicit philosophy.

"Precision or exactness is not the same thing as certainty. I am absolutely sure that I am taller than my wife." However, "That is not an exact statement." Analogously, perhaps science will some day "prove" with quantitative precision that God doesn't exist. Nevertheless, he most certainly does, for metaphysics is more certain than science, even if less precise.

"[S]eeing the things in a relationship is not the same as seeing the relationship itself." For example, male and female are obviously related. But is that the same as knowing how they are related?

Just ask a feminist: she has an absurd idea of how the sexes are related, and yet calls this absurdity knowledge. This only demonstrates -- as if such demonstration is necessary -- how a leftist education doesn't relieve stupidity but weaponizes it. And the first casualty is oneself.

"Behold the marvelous power of your intellect: it enables you to know (and not merely guess) the truth about all kinds of things you have never specifically checked."

This goes to the metaphysical truths to which man is, yes, entitled. Why entitled? Because to be ignorant of them is to be denied the possibility of actualizing man qua man. It is no different than saying a cow is entitled to grass or a fish to water. It would be pretty stupid, not to mention cruel, to create a cow with nothing to eat. It would be crueler still to create rational beings with nothing to know -- i.e., intellects without truth.

"It could never be true that 'there is no truth,' since that statement itself would then be true." Nevertheless. What did Orwell say? "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." But the implications of this obvious truth are (literally) infinite.

Two sentences, each containing exactly 100 characters: "The bomb will detonate in ten seconds unless you cut the wires in the right order, so be sure to cut the first wire labeled P." Or, "The bomb will detonate in ten seconds unless you cut the wires in the right order, so be sure to cut the first wire labeled R."

So, a 1% difference in finite content makes a rather large -- even infinite, i.e., life and death -- difference in meaning. The next time some clever chimp tries to tell you his DNA is 99% the same as yours, pull out this gag and see how he responds. He will no doubt fling poo, and defend the practice by insisting it is "protected speech." But the deeper principle is that semantics cannot be reduced to syntax, or meaning to grammar.

Not only is it OK to be white. Contrary to animal rights activists and global warming enthusiasts, it is also okay to be human.

"There are no saints among the beasts, but neither are there any Hitlers or Stalins." Hitler's DNA is no doubt 99.9% (or whatever) the same as ours. So, where is the difference? It's all about the verticality, which is not reducible to syntax or quantity.

Excellent observation from biologist T. Dobzhansky, that if Homo sapiens were classified based upon "psychological instead of mainly morphological traits, man would have to be considered a separate phylum or even kingdom" (emphasis mine).

Here again, this is a fact which is full of implications. Really, it is just another way of affirming that man is a Special Creation, a la Genesis. There is the rest of creation. And there is man. To not see the distinction is to not see; or, it is blindness masquerading as vision.

Another good line, this one by none other than Noam Chomsky: "It's about as likely that an ape will prove to have language ability as that there is an island somewhere with a species of flightless birds waiting for human beings to teach them to fly."

Ho! Great observation, but what prevents Chomsky from drawing the correct implications? Intellectually speaking, no one ever taught him to fly.

"Though all animals share one world, all may be said to live in different worlds, since each perceives best only that part of the environment essential to its success" (Tinbergen).

My note next to this says: Escape from Planet of the Apes. For what is humanness but an escape from a horizontal entrapment in subjectivity, into the wide open space of universals, essences, and disinterested objectivity? Hmmm?

Aquinas: "If the intellect were a part of the body," then "it would not understand universals but only particulars."

Yet another self-evident truth available to anyone, full of momentous implications. If your mind could only retain particulars, then like a computer you would soon run out of space in your hard drive.

To be continued... Tuesday.


julie said...

There is the rest of creation. And there is man. To not see the distinction is to not see; or, it is blindness masquerading as vision.

Every so often, "scientific" articles come out explaining how animals are Just Like People, only moreso. The implication usually being that people are defective animals. Just this week I learned that male dolphins court their ladyfriends by bringing gifts.

Quite often, such articles are followed by lamentations about the deficiencies and atrocities of man.

They see the distinction, but refuse to acknowledge it; their eyes have offended them, and so they pluck them out.

ted said...

I had a discussion with a friend of mine recently getting his doctorate in religious studies. Sadly, he had come to a place where the human holds no special privilege in the cosmos. He claims, we are no better than the rest of nature. This came about when a discussion around abortion came in, and he said killing a fetus is not any more tantamount to killing animal life. His quote: "If you truly want to be pro-life, then you need to be a vegan too."

Sidebar, Loved this: "[S]eeing the things in a relationship is not the same as seeing the relationship itself."

Gagdad Bob said...

Your friend probably even calls himself a humanist.

Rick said...

My guess is DNA exists to satisfy the human intellect but beyond that..?
I mean it seems as an example that it was (more) sufficient that Joseph be a suitable man and father to the young Jesus and that genetic lineage, well, not that important. How genetically similar was Mary to Jesus? The Bible does not say.. But the God I know might answer: Irrelevent!
This DNA adventure sure seems to reveal there’s more important stuff it can’t do than it can. I almost feel like the pursuit itself creates the cosmos.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

We are a self-rewarding,a self-punishing program. If we want to live in a planet of apes,apes will be our orientation but if we want to live in a planet of Jesus Jesus we will be. Simultaneously we are programmed also with a consciousness that is oriented to understand the vertical universe and not only the horizontal particulars. Our growth in our both realm is also another opportunity this time for the real divine reward and punishment where the truth is revealed.Here we are his guests awaiting his reception in another world. Everything is pair except the one. Religion is our school from which we are graduating to meet the headmaster. Ibn Arabi said, I have graduated at the hands of Jesus. One school with many teachers delivering the same message. It is main message is to point to him. To share his love with others that is why loving your enemy is the first step in that path. Noble ends can not be pursued by ignoble means. Goethe said, the eternal feminine draws us forward. it is entitlement and not equality is the main call of the feminine and let us understand it in that context. Women are the placement of care and mercy and some unwise voices should not send us to the other side. The left is another domain where violence and anger will not help, as if the abuse is the monopoly of the left only. It is said that change takes place at the edge of the human comfort zone. No wonder mercy is the flag of religion. We live under the operation of a highly integral just system that we do not know when it triggers in the face of the ill mongers. The harms we inflict on others will ricochet and hit us. God is the light field in whom all reside, the energy that is humming inside us and outside us because he is everywhere at all times. Humans are required to restate their life and should not let themselves be imprisoned in other statements. It is a purely personal enterprise. Thank you for a good meal in our vertical journey.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

While in the flow I like to add that, god said, if you absent me from the centrality of your life, I made you forget your real mission in life and live a life of restlessness. In this trajectory Rumi said,You sit here for days saying, it is a strange business, forgetting that you are the strange business. You have the energy of the god but alas you dissipate it in the wrong errands. It is time to reawaken our lonesome heart to remember who puts it there to regulate the flow of our life both in its biological cycle where our role is indirect and minimal and its spiritual cycle where our role is dominant and basic.

Anonymous said...

Great Post, Robert. Thank you.

Pursuant to the post, DNA has relevance for the physical body and its evolution.

However, as you have noted in previous posts, there is a parallel spiritual evolution which is not as well known by the public. However, it is certain DNA is not very relevant to this line of evolution.

Part of the problem of seeing animals as distanced from people by an infinite gulf is the fact they are undergoing parallel spiritual evolution just as people are.

We've all done multiple turns incarnating as animals (prior to being people). Newly minted people (first time as a person) often have uncanny animal characteristics, a hold-over from their last several lives in animal form. With a discerning eye one can tell what animal they were. I've met a bear, a sea turtle, etc. I'm sure you can identity one or more of these cases if you can suspend your rational mind for a moment.

Animals are junior partners, siblings, children to us. They are ensouled beings and they are not infinitely separated from people, or least not all the time. Death brings us all together where the next round is planned, and there are joyous reunions and anxious separations.

So it seems to me.

Dr. Xaviera McCoombs

doug saxum said...

...where the next round is planned,