Saturday, May 28, 2022

The Structure of Metascientific Revelations

Okay, the question comes down to, are persons just accidents, or something worse: are we just contingent parasites on the fabric of being, or symptoms of a more serious condition? 

What does brother Nicolás say? Either God or chance: all other terms are disguises for one or the other.

This question is tied into the cosmos as a whole, since persons, and only persons, reveal (and are revealed by) a directionality in the structure of being: we are here, the big bang is back there, and we know it. How to account for this implausible development? How do subjects emerge from objects, biology from physics, freedom from necessity, etc? In a word, transcendence: by virtue of what principle is it here?

If human beings didn't exist, we would have no trouble whatsoever explaining the fact. But here we are, the most inexplicable fact conceivable. No wonder people turn to religion. Got any better ideas?

No one wants to toss out science, least of all me. However, when the anomalies, contradictions, and exceptions begin to pile up, we need to rethink its foundation. For

The seeming exception is in reality very often the symptom that shows us the insufficiency of our previous schema of order, which helps us to break open this schema and to conquer a new realm of reality (Ratzinger).

We're all familiar with Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Science can take care of itself, so long as it stays in its lane. What we need is a metascientific revolution. 

Come to think of it, some people think Christ was some kind of revolutionary. Well, he was. Just not a political one. 

And Petey has suggested that Christ didn't intend to found a religion -- rather, the cure for religion, and who could blame him? After all, the Way is not fundamentally an abstract idea, rather, a concrete person, an event -- an event that is prolonged in time, to be sure, but an event nonetheless. We're participating in it right now -- or vice versa, we hope. 

The exception shows us that we have built our closets too small, as it were, and that we must break them open and go on in order to see the whole (ibid.). 

Now, no one should be confined to the closet for simply believing the universe is queerer than we can suppose. Grow up: there are a lot of us out there. Moreover, it's who we are: transpersonal!

Lets' treat it like any other hypothesis: let's suppose that Christ is

the true fulfillment of the idea of the human person, in which the direction of meaning of this [human] being comes fully to light for the first time (ibid.).

How would we go about proving this hypothesis? Or maybe we can start by disproving the null hypothesis: that the message of Christ has no meaning or significance, whether personal or cosmic.

I ruled out the latter quite some tome ago. Not only does it explain nothing, it unexplains too much we know to be the case, both logically and experientially. 

Nothing is lost in believing ultimate reality is personal, for

human existence is not canceled, but comes to its highest possibility, which consists in transcending itself into the absolute and in the integration of its own relativity into the absoluteness of divine love (ibid.).

This is SCIENCE, so the allusion to love makes me a tad uncomfortable. Nevertheless, scientifically speaking, what is a human person without love? You don't want to know. 

Okay, a monster: take a human person, deprive it of all love, and that's what you'll end up with. Conversely, "Love is the act that transforms its object from a thing into a person" (Dávila).

Anyway, back to the irreversible temporal flow of the cosmos:

Christ is the directional arrow, as it were, that indicates what being human tends toward, although, as long as history is still on the way, this goal is never reached.  

Don't worry: this just means time and timelessness are complementary; or that time is a function of eternity. Come to think of it, for our purposes, there is only the present moment and eternity, the rest being an abstraction. Or in the words of the aphorist,

One must live for the moment and for eternity. Not for the disloyalty of time.

"If person is the relativity toward the eternal" writes Ratzinger, "then this relativity implies 'being on the way' in the manner of human history."

Another important point: as alluded to above vis-a-vis loveless monsters, the I and the We are properly mediated by and in love; now Christ is the very incarnation of this principle,

the integrating space in which the "we" of human beings gathers itself toward the "you" of God. Something emerges here that has not been sufficiently seen in modern philosophy, not even in Christian philosophy.

You don't say. Someone needs to write a blog post! 

Speaking of paradigm shifts,

On both sides there is neither the pure "I," nor the pure "you," but on both sides the "I" is integrated into the greater "we" (ibid.).

Which means that "not even God can be seen as the pure and simple 'I' toward which the person tends" -- or rather, least of all can God, of all persons, be seen this way. And

This trinitarian "we," the fact that even God exists only as a "we," prepares at the same time the space of the human "we."

So we got that going for us. Better yet, 

If God were not a person, He would have died some time ago (Dávila).

3 comments:

julie said...

How do subjects emerge from objects, biology from physics, freedom from necessity, etc? In a word, transcendence.

Reminds me of this. I suppose it must be possible to somehow mix the same exact quantity of chemicals as are present in the beginning; maybe even zap it with a tiny jolt of electricity for that extra bit of something, but it would be extremely surprising if anything happened. There is more here than meets the eye, the microscope, or the probe.

John Venlet said...

I suppose it must be possible to somehow mix the same exact quantity of chemicals as are present in the beginning; maybe even zap it with a tiny jolt of electricity for that extra bit of something, but it would be extremely surprising if anything happened.

Julie, I just do not think this would be possible, nor even suppose it to be possible, for the simple reason that the information required, the data required, which humans as beings have winnowed out from the material world, could not, and does not, arise spontaneously from a mix of chemicals, no matter how exact, zapped with a bit of electrical energy. It is impossible without The Creator.

julie said...

John, I don't at all disagree. For much the same reason, I don't think it's actually possible for the infinite monkeys given infinite keyboards and infinite time to ever produce much more than an agglomeration of letters that approximates a sentence, much less come up with the works of Shakespeare. It would be as surprising as finding a natural formation that just happens to have taken the shape of St. Peter's Basilica or Big Ben. Or seeing a white noise pattern on a TV screen spontaneously produce a detailed portrait.

Quite simply, randomness cannot beget meaning, no matter how much potential exists in the material. It requires a mind and intention for matter to become anything more than what it is on its own.