Wholeness implies "partness," but the parts reveal an inner harmony, very much analogous to an organism, which is a unified harmony of countless parts. And as we suggested way back when, it would be strictly impossible for organisms to exist in a non-organismic cosmos.
You can't really build an animal out of Legos, only Logos.
This is something we rarely hear, but it's as fundamental as the principle that intelligence cannot be derived from unintelligence, or information from non-information, or light from darkness.
For if this cosmos weren't interiorly related, it is impossible to explain how interior relations could somehow emerge later (to say nothing of the intersubjectivity that makes humanness possible). Indeed, how could interiority ever appear in a universe of exterior relations only?
But there's really no mystery (in the colloquial sense) if we ponder the meaning of wholeness and harmony, because neither is thinkable in a cosmos of purely exterior relations. The best analogy that comes to mind is music, to which I believe we are attracted because it reveals or mirrors something fundamental about the very structure of existence.
For to be aware of harmony is to be aware of vertical hierarchy (in musical space, so to speak), and to understand melody is to understand a serial wholeness (in time). A melody is "one thing" despite having many notes; and musical structure is one thing in space, despite being composed of diverse voices, say, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, and piano.
These diverse voices are harmonized into one, but by shifting one's focal awareness one can also listen in such a way as to enjoy the inter-play of individual instruments. Indeed, this is one of the keys to enjoying jazz: appreciating how the parts relate to the whole and vice versa, in both time and in space. No animal can do this, because no animal can "enter" music. An animal can hear the notes but cannot perceive (get inside) melody or harmony.
For Clarke, metaphysics is "the systematic effort to illuminate our experience in depth and set it in a vision of the whole."
I suppose it goes without saying that this requires a person, so it is a non-starter to embrace a metaphysic such as materialism that renders persons impossible.
Indeed, it turns out -- not to get ahead of ourselves, but it turns out that metaphysics doesn't just presuppose personhood, but that... how to put it... personhood is both the alpha and omega of metaphysics, a principle to which we will no doubt circle back.
But let's slow our roll. Clarke goes on to say that metaphysics involves "a person taking reflective possession of himself" and his "place in the universe as a whole." Metaphysics is
that part of philosophy which attends explicitly to the vision of the whole, which tries to lay out the great general laws and principles governing all beings and rendering them intelligible, including what it means to be real at all.
But let's go back to the first part of that definition: metaphysics involves a person... You can really stop there, or again, you must at the very least propose a metaphysic that makes personhood possible, and certainly doesn't render it impossible. However, some things are just so flat-out weird and unexpected, that what appears "possible" starts to look suspiciously necessary.
That probably wasn't clear. Let's suppose you get into a coin-flipping contest with Hillary Clinton. You flip the coin ten times, and each time it comes up heads for Hillary. Is this possible? Sure. But it's more likely that you are dealing with a weighted coin, so odds are that the outcome is actually necessary (relatively speaking, of course).
How many cosmic coin flips have to come up heads in order for persons to exist? Last I checked, there are something like 150 fine-tuned conditions necessary for just life to exist. But I find this whole approach somewhat tedious. For if you just understand the quality of interiority, the quantities no longer matter. No quantity leads to quality, for the same reason that no degree of exteriority results in interiority.
Let's move on. And in. When God reveals his name as "I AM THAT I AM," he is saying more than a mythful. Rather, he am being quite literal. In other words, the ultimate principle of existence isn't just interior but personal: AM (being) is an I (interior unity).
Clarke describes six central themes that have dominated his metaphysical reflections over the course of his life. Let's take them one by one, perhaps one day at a time.
On the first day, Clarke speaks of the unrestricted dynamism of the mind toward being. We touched on this in the previous post, but to me it comes down to the plain fact that nothing in this world is proportioned to the scope -- the height, width, and depth -- of our intelligence.
This is very much analogous to the obvious fact that nothing in this world can fulfill our desires, such that desire is eliminated. Rather, our minds are proportioned to something vastly transcending this world, despite having evolved (according to Darwinism) solely in the world.
Is the latter possible? I don't think it is, not even with an infinite number of crooked coin flips. Why? Because no number of coin flips results in a coin that starts to decide which way it will flip.
Do you see the point? Numbers don't add up to mathematicians, not even a bad one. Yes, God is a mathematician. But have you ever heard of a mathematician who isn't a person? Even AOC knows that it's literally impossible for us to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps. Likewise, it is literally impossible to build a person out of numbers.
With this in mind, Clarke points out that human beings -- the metaphysicians among us, anyway -- have a drive to know
all there is to know about all there is. This drive knows no limits short of total understanding of all being, both in depth and in breadth.
Yes. That's a bingo. But consider the implications, or better, the underlying assumptions. For if man is to Know what Is, this presupposes a relationship between knowing and being.
Now, perhaps you haven't heard, but both modernity and postmodernity insist that there is no such relationship. Indeed, they don't even talk about being, even though this results in terminal incoherence. Nevertheless, ever since Kant, the Best Thinkers have been performing their cognitive tricks in a masturbatory cirque du jerque of inbred and sterile categories that prevent contact with "reality."
Like anyone could know anything while claiming to be out of touch with reality!
As we have been saying for I don't know how long, man can know many things about anything, but can never know everything about a single thing. This is strange but nevertheless absolutely true. By virtue of what principle is this not only possible, but necessary?
One word: creation (or perhaps better, Creator <---> Creature). Eliminate that word, and man cannot know anything about anything, and certainly nothing about everything. Yes, we are being quite literal.
Man is epistemophilic, meaning that he loves him some knowledge, which is what makes it such a passionate journey. On the other hand, a leftist is epistemophobic, or, to express it positively, "ideophilic," in that they love their ideologies, passionately. Which is why they hate us so.
But you can't hate real knowledge without hating being, AKA reality, and now you understand how and why the left is so passionate about so many impossibilities, whether economic, biological, anthropological, educational, meteorological, constitutional, etc. It's easy enough to blame that joker Kant. But he wasn't crazy, just ahead of the curve.
Anyway, being is not only "open" but radically self-giving, which is why our minds are able to intelligibly "receive" it. And this reduces to one circular and expansive dynamism.