Thursday, February 02, 2023

The View from Nowhere by Someone

A reader alerted me to an essay by our old friend Hans Jonas called The Concept of God after Auschwitz. Turns out I've read it before, as it is contained in a book called Mortality and Morality: A Search for the Good After Auschwitz

Although we’ve often mentioned Jonas's The Phenomenon of Life, we’ve never discussed this one. I must have read it in the dark ages before blogging. Back then if you read something interesting, there was no place to talk about it except in the margins of the book. 

The essay in question actually dovetails with yesterday’s subject of what amounts to relativity in God. We’ve discussed this question in the past, but it’s one of those things I keep coming back to, for it is as if all roads lead there. All the roads on which I travel, anyway. 

The question is, is this a true Divine Attractor to which the roads are leading, or just, like, my own opinion? If so, it’s not worth much, because what we’re really looking for is the central View From Nowhere, not the marginal view from Bob’s head.

The modern world couldn’t be more schizophrenic or bipolar on this question of the View From Nowhere, for which reason the seams are beginning to tear in their cheap fabric of non-being. 

What I mean is that we are presented with two irreconcilable positions, first the I LOVE ME SOME SCIENCE crowd that pretends science really is an exhaustive view from nowhere, untainted by subjectivity. 

But this coexists with the widespread delusion that perception is reality and that any and all knowledge is not only “perspectival” but rooted in Power and Oppression, or Racism and Sexism. 

How to reconcile these two unintelligibilities? In the low-IQ consensus that science, math, physics, and even objectivity itself are the cis-hetero white man’s power play. For the most part, Big Science is ether too cowardly to fight back, or actually defends these imbeciles, perverts, and ideologues. 

For example, all of biology is organized around sexual reproduction, and yet, it fails to do its part by crushing the perverse agenda of the QWERTY+ people. 

Now, there is obviously a view from nowhere, and only God can see it. However, at the same time, we can obviously know of its existence, but it turns out that this isn't fundamentally different from any knowledge of any kind, for only God can know essences directly and exhaustively, whereas we can apprehend them, but never completely. We can know a great deal about anything, but can never know everything about a single thing.  

Why? A lot of reasons, but perhaps the main one -- or the one they all reduce to -- is that we are finite while God (or O) is infinite. Note that we can easily use that word — “infinite” -- even while having no idea what it means. Indeed, we can only even define it negatively, as in “not finite.” We know all about finitude. It is the shadow or prolongation or creation of what is not finitude. 

Does this satisfy your intellect? Perhaps it does, and there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, because at least you don’t believe the impossible and absurd, as do the votaries of scientism and relativism.  

Speaking of the latter, to say we are finite is also to say we are relative. Relative to what? For the postmodern cretin, relative to other words. We live in a linguistic hall of mirrors, such that every word reflects and refers to another word, not to something called “reality.” 

But… they just now described reality as a network of language. How did they slip through the linguistic net and attain the view from nowhere? 

Even more fundamentally, how did they evade Gödel? Because he would agree that there is no escape from any nontrivial manmade system via that system. Nevertheless, so what, because escape we do. In other words, man qua man is the very being who transcends any system imposed upon him.

That’s a rather miraculous trick, but how do we manage it? Probably the same way God does, only in reverse. 

Let’s go back to what was said at the end of yesterday’s post, that ultimate reality, the view from nowhere, must somehow be an irreducible dialectic of O <—> ( ). If this is so, then it implies something to the effect that the Creator is always creating, or that the Absolute is always tossing out relativity, or Infinitude is always becoming finite. 

Now turn this around and look at it from our perspective, AKA the view from somewhere, indeed, someone: a human person. Forget for a moment about the two-way arrow, which is controversial. However, no believer would disagree with a one-way flow of O —> (•), from Creator to creature (the dot in the middle symbolizing the human person). 

Likewise, certainly no Christian would dispute the description of our lives as a vertical adventure of  (•) —> O, which is indeed the whole point: that God becomes man that man might become God.

Still, there’s a little catch in there if we want to insist upon an intelligible concept of God. But this is my short morning, so we’ll have to pick up the thread tomorrow. 


julie said...

Note that we can easily use that word — “infinite” -- even while having no idea what it means. Indeed, we can only even define it negatively, as in “not finite.” We know all about finitude.

From a certain perspective, we do partake in infinitude as well. Not in the sense of duration, obviously, but in the capacity of thought, experience, and creativity. Even while there are limits in a certain sense (things we couldn't possibly imagine or perceive, limits of intelligence or understanding, etc.), within those limits there is an essentially infinite amount of expression. We're fractal, having a definite shape and boundary, and yet impossible to map around the edges.

Gagdad Bob said...

Another good version of Wayfaring Stranger by one of my country favorites, Porter Wagoner.

julie said...

As a kid, I loathed country music. Probably more than a bit of snobbery, but I also just didn't get it. Glad to say I grew out of that; really enjoyed this version, thanks.

Gagdad Bob said...

Like anything else, 95% is crap, especially today, when it's more like 99%.

Anonymous said...

Give Country Rap a listen.
Adam Calhoun, Ryan Upchurch, Demun Jones,…


Anonymous said...

Music is best coming from the bottom, from real life and hard practice. When it comes from corporate boardrooms it's usually crap. The same is probably true for most things, including the metaphysical musings.

Cousin Dupree said...

The man can't bust our metaphysics.