Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Ancient Faith and Modern Woo

Just the usual Coon pr0n freshly half-baked for your vertical innertainment...  

The relationship between self and consciousness has always reminded me of the particle / wave complementarity in physics. We are always conscious, but at any given moment only conscious of a tiny fraction of what is potentially present to the conscious mind. 

It reminds me of the Trinity, which is substance-in-relation, i.e., one substance in three persons. Thus, the substance is analogous to wave, the person-relations to particles. 

But just as in physics, the parts are by no means separate from the substantial field, any more than the water of the ocean is radically distinct from its waves; there is always a relation of parts within a unity of substance.

Reminds me of Whitehead:

Things are separated by space, and they are separated by time: but they are also together in space, and together in time, even if they be not contemporaneous (Science and the Modern World).

This is because in this here cosmos -- the one disclosed by modern physics -- "there is no element whatever which possesses this character of simple location." Ultimately, nothing is here without being everywhere because of the field aspect.

For a book that was published almost a hundred years ago, he gets pretty woo-woo: "every volume mirrors in itself every other volume in space"; and

Exactly analogous considerations hold with respect to durations in time. An instant of time, without duration, is an imaginative logical construction. Also each duration of time mirrors in itself all temporal durations.

You might be tempted to think such metaphysical spookulations have no practical utility, but such a paradigm might help us understand how, for example, everyday vertical causation works. Dávila:

Christ was in history like a point on a line. But his redemptive act is to history as the center is to the circumference.

Always above and in time. Likewise, short of an appeal to ad hoc magic, it would be difficult to explain, say, transubstantiation, in a machine or clock universe. But in a nonlocal organismic cosmos it is eminently reasonable. (This is not to stake religion on science, because truth is true regardless of the current state of any particular  science.)

Again, a geometrical point might be here locally, but it is also "everywhere" in its wave or field-like aspect. Such a consideration helps us make sense of the following aphorism:

God is infinitely close and infinitely distant; one should not speak of Him as if He were at some intermediate distance.

To say the cosmos is like a machine or clock may well be useful, but these are mere abstractions from a concrete reality that cannot be contained by any image, model, or mathematical equation. The model is not the reality, nor can you eat the menu. But climate hysterics never stop trying.

About the cosmic complementarity, Dávila suggests that

Two contradictory philosophical theses complete each other, but only God knows how.

We can't understand how something can simultaneously be particle and wave, but fortunately, someOne knows. Nor do we understand how our freedom gets in here, but that hardly makes it any less real:

Determinism is a verbal generalization; it is concretely unthinkable.

No, we haven't forgotten about our search for the source of the soul, and the following aphorism might furnish a clue: 

The free act is only conceivable in a created universe. In the universe that results from a free act.

In Christian metaphysics, only two things are special and immediate creations: the world itself (or better yet, Being as such); and the individual soul. Both are said to be created from no pre-existing materials.

Being is very wavelike, isn't it? For it consists of every conceivable event, thing, and thought, now and forever, and yet, all of these put together don't add up to Being, nor do they add to Being, since it's already always everything everywhere every time. 

And again, the soul situated within Being has a kind of particle character, even though it could never be a closed monad, but rather, is connected to the whole of Being.

For which reason Thomas could say that the intellect is "naturally capable of knowing everything that exists," and "in understanding is extended to infinity." How is this possible if we aren't somehow connected to all of Being in a wavelike manner? 

For ultimately, "Every rational being knows God implicitly in every act of knowledge" (ibid.). Again, we are parts but the part is always connected to the whole. Which helps us make sense of this last aphorism:

Only God and the central point of my consciousness are not adventitious to me.

Point and sphere... ʘ....

Since God is the universal cause of all being, it is thus necessary that wherever being is found, God is also there present (Thomas).

 We are always a substance-in-relation, like God himselves.

11 comments:

David Smith said...

"We are always conscious, but at any given moment only conscious of a tiny fraction of what is potentially present to the conscious mind."

You'd be amazed how long modern humans can go, and what complex activities (driving cars, carrying on conversations, etc.) while in "blackout" - totally free of any normal consciousness. Minutes, hours, days - just ask an alcoholic (preferably one who has been in recovery for a while).

Julian Jaynes is the best known (most publicized?) modern theorist of when and how we developed our present consciousness (see "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind") but he's far from the only one (Erich Neumann's Jungian "The Origins and History of Consciousness" sits next to Jaynes on my shelf), and of course there's the Anglican Owen Barfield's "Saving the Appearances".

julie said...

David, good points. I think most adults have had the experience of walking through the front door, only to realize they have no real recollection of having driven home.

Makes me wonder again about people who have no awareness of an internal "voice" - not just the ones who think only in images or only in sound, but the ones who say they have no internal dialog at all. They say their minds are essentially a black box. I mean, clearly they do think, act and have consciousness, but... well, it's truly a mystery how.

David Smith said...

CS Lewis talked about "chronological snobbery" when We Moderns assumed that everyone in the past wasn't just different, but were not quite as clever as We Moderns.

I make the leap to associating that with consciousness - that we assume that all of our ancestors had exactly the same consciousness and thought processes as ours, but just weren't quite as clever. And from there we leap to "everyone always and everywhere" thinks like me...

Gagdad Bob said...

One of my sources tells me that if the men of the past were as unintelligent as modern men believe, they could never have resulted in the modern men who believe themselves to be so brilliant. One more reason to embrace the doctrine of fallen mankind: it inculcates an appropriate humility and a kind of "meta-objectivity" about man's intellectual capacities.

Anonymous said...

In Oklahoma there’s this man who prefers to open carry guns and wear body armor as he goes about his weekly errands. Fully legal. Yet strangely, everywhere he goes, to banks and grocery stores and gas stations whatnot, people are freaking out and running away from him. Don’t they know he’s a good guy?

In the old wild west everybody could tell the difference between a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun. I think this is a sign that people aren’t as smart as they used to be.

Cousin Dupree said...

And our trolls prove the point.

Anonymous said...

Dupree, I'm painfully aware that conservatives believe that all attempts at national problem-solving will result in failure, unless the person in charge has been magically anointed somehow. Proclaiming Christianity gives one superpowers, apparently. Regardless of whether the person actually is a Christian or not.

So how do you (and I mean you personally) know the difference between a good guy with guns and a bad guy with guns?

Cousin Dupree said...

Not an issue for me. I don't live near urban Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Dupree, this was a red area in red Oklahoma. But I get your point. Conservative mass murderers are increasingly doing their business in urban Democrat areas.

You claim moral and intellectual superiority. Yet you're saying you don't have the powers to know the difference between a good guy or a bad guy no matter where you are? Or you just don't care?

Personally, I think it's the latter. I guess we all die some day. Why not go out with somebody else's bang?

Nicolás said...

Because he does not understand the objection that refutes him the fool thinks he has been corroborated.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Nicolás. Dupree can't seem to understand that if this "packing military heat and body armor' craze will be coming to his own town, all rural and red, to his own local bank, grocery and gas station, that he might have to be making some pretty snappy decisions about human character and intent.

Me, I'll be wary of the fat guys with the skinny face and legs.