Saturday, June 17, 2023

Absolute Convergence

So: Absolute reality, Infinite possibility, Perfect quality; these are at the top of the cosmic flow chart, and are of the same substance, each contained virtually in the others. 

Now, in Trinitarian thought, there is the idea of the immanent Trinity and the economic Trinity, the former dealing with God's relations vis-a-vis Godself -- thus technically none of our isness -- the latter touching on God's activity herebelow in creation and history, so, very much at the heart of all this bipedal monkey isness.

Is there some way to reconcile Schuon's description in paragraph one with orthodox Christianity? Indeed, could they be two ways of talking about the same divine reality? 

I'm always inclined to say Yes to the latter, even though there are real theologians who would say that this is a no-go zone, the reason being that God provides us with a revelation precisely because it is beyond anything we could ever wrap our minds around. 

But I'm not trying to wrap my mind around it per se; rather, I fully respect the apophaticity of the Godhead, and in either case the words are just pointers to what cannot be grasped. Dogmatic formulations are important, but they're not walls, they're windows. Maybe not totally transparent windows but neither are they opaque.

I even wonder if Pure Intellection converges upon what it is these formulations point to. Analogously, think of how biological evolution is said to be convergent in important ways. 

For example, I read somewhere that it has evolved the eye as many as 40 separate times, suggesting to me that natural selection really likes eyeballs (and vision), and that outward eyes must be a consequence of an inward, nonlocal form, morphogenetic field, or attractor in evolutionary phase space.

Irrespective of whether such archetypes guide the biosphere, there is no doubt that they exist in the vertical space of the pneumosphere; it's just another way of saying that human nature exists (it is an essence) and is one. In our day, affirming an essential human nature has become controversial, if not fascist, but that's human nature for you.

If there is a vertical convergence toward various nonlocal archetypes, then we should see evidence of it in anthropology, and indeed we do. I hold in my hands The Book Of Absolutes, by William Gairdner, which describes the multitude of ways we are alike because we share the same human essence ( ).     

I lied. I don't hold it in my hands. It's over there in the bookcase, and I'm too lazy to pull it out. Rather, I'm going to let an amazon reviewer handle it while I lean back and sip coffee. Surely they can't all be idiots.

Relativism is a particularly modern disease that has come to infect many aspects of life and thought in the modern world, especially and increasingly over the past hundred years. Gairdner makes a strong and persuasive case for the existence of absolutes or universal truths and constants by examination of ancient and modern evidence in many areas of human life and cultures, nature, physics, mathematics, cosmology, biology, sexuality, morals, natural law, and language. 
His central thesis is that "all of nature, all human experience, cultures, moral systems, and all sciences, from the softest to the hardest -- while they are repositories of sometimes countless differences... are characterized by the existence of a very large number of absolutes without which the subjects themselves could not be meaningfully discussed in the first place" 

Some fine insultainment here, meaning that Cousin Dupree can also take the morning off:

Gairdner trains his sights on the philosophy of relativism, the intellectual (more accurately, anti-intellectual) matrix out of which many of the most malodorous orthodoxies of the day have arisen. The palaver of relativism (epistemological, moral, cultural) can now be heard practically everywhere, from the public square to the private cocktail party. Everyone knows that truth and right, like beauty, exist "only in the eye of the beholder." (That there is no absolute truth is the only truth we dare to affirm with absolute certitude.)
Moreover, any acknowledgment of absolutes of right and wrong, or of innate and immutable factors within our universal human nature, all too inconveniently limits our choices and desires. It is not surprising, then, that relativism has been given such a free ride.
Along the way, Gairdner exposes the grossly political motivation behind the research of such pioneers of the new "science" of anthropology as Franz Boas, and the risible myths of primitive innocence confabulated by the likes of Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. And we learn that Einstein, though popularly supposed to have proven that "everything in the universe is relative," was persuaded that he had only demonstrated the universal and objectively knowable constants of nature. It is a little known irony that Einstein came to bitterly resent the misappropriation of his work by the demagogues of moral and cultural relativism.
The main burden of Gairdner's book is, more happily, to show that there exist, in fact, any number of demonstrable universal and abiding patterns, ideas, and truths that transcend and unify all historical epochs and cultures across the world: in mathematics, theology, myth, morality, and law; and that current studies in biology, psychology, and theoretical physics are uncovering new constants of human and physical nature every day.

So there. I guess what I'm saying is that if ultimate reality is in fact trinitarian, we should actually see hints of it everywhere, even if it is something we could never know with certitude in the absence of revelation. 

And now for a sudden left turn, or knight (night) move: we've suggested before that Absolute is to Male as Infinitude is to Female, such that our biological dimorphism is ultimately anchored in the nature of things. With this in mind, check out Joyce's ode to cosmic femininity:

In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!

Infinitude is the "bringer of pluralities," i.e., of mayaplicity and diversity. 

Her untitled mamafesta memorializing the Mosthighest has gone by many names at disjointed times.

Thus, a multitude of books, a "polyhedron of scripture" describing one Absolute reality. For Campbell & Robinson, her memorial to the mosthighest is the cosmos itself, while her memorial letter, her mamafesta to the Absolute, is the world's various scriptures: "Though it seems a more scribble to the ignorant reader, to the hardy student" it reveals

a multiplicity of coalescing personalities who merge, their contrarieties eliminated, into one stable somebody.

That's about it this morning. Goodnight and pleasant dreams!

Friday, June 16, 2023

On the Three Who Is and the He Who Are

I was looking around for Schuon's most concise description of the cosmic flowchart, and it appears to be in an essay called Dimensions, Modes and Degrees of the Divine Order. There's even a condensed version of it in The Essential Writings of Frithjof Schuon --  only eight pages to describe the whole existentialada!

In fact, it can be further condensed into a single sentence:

The idea that the Supreme Principle is both Absolute Reality and, for that very reason, Infinite Possibility, can suffice unto itself, for it contains everything, notably the necessity for a universal Manifestation.

Not the necessity for this manifestation, of course, but for a Manifestivus within the Godhead itself, which we call the Second Person of the Trinity. 

Perhaps it isn't kosher to think of the latter this way, but it's how I'm built, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Might as well try to convince me that E ain't mc² or that pie aren't round.

Absolute Reality and Infinite Possibility. Wait, that's only two. Is there room in there for a third Principle or Person, or is that too crowded?

we may envisage a third hypostatic element, namely the Perfect Quality; being the Absolute, the Principle is thereby the Infinite and the Perfect. Absoluteness of the Real, infinitude of the Possible, perfection of the Good; these are the "initial dimensions" of the Divine Order.

I have questions. First, can this abstract account be harmonized with a properly Christian metaphysic, second, is there such a thing as a "Christian metaphysic" over and apart from Christian revelation, and third, is faith in this revelation "higher" than knowledge and understanding of the metaphysics?

I ask the latter question in particular because in the traditional view, faith is ordered to God's revelation of himself, such that faith is said to be a kind of obscure pre-knowledge of its proper object, an object we can otherwise never apprehend short of the beatific vision, when all will be revealed. Until then, bestwecando is have faith in God's revelation.

Still, I wonder.... is this really the bestwecando? Supposing I want to go a little further. Is that wrong? Should I not do that? Is this sort of thing frowned upon? If so I gotta plead ignorance, because I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do it all the time.

I certainly mean no disrespect, I just think -- as I've said before -- that if God goes to all the trouble to reveal himself as Trinity -- and seriously, what trouble! I just read a book on the history of the early church, what with the martyrs and persecutions and catacombs.... Lotta blood, but at the same time, what did they know that we've forgotten? Must have been pretty earth-shattering. 

I'm thinking about the 34th pope, whoever he was. Why him? Because the first thirty three were martyred, so he must have been a pretty jittery guy, waiting for the other shoe to drop. At any rate,

the reader is struck by evidence of a courage so sublime that, viewed on the human plane alone, it places these tens of thousands of willing victims among the most outstanding heroes the world has ever known. As they faced death, all, from the most famous to the most humble, gave proof of a steadfastness of spirit and a tranquility which frequently aroused the admiration even of those who did not share the faith.

We're veering into a rather different post, my only point being all that trouble, and for what? For that little mustard seed?

What a small, insignificant thing this Church had been, on the day her Founder died the death of a common agitator on a bare hilltop.... Less than two hundred years after this date she existed everywhere.

Different post, dude.

Is it really, Petey? Is it really?

Yes it is. Now get back to the subject at hand.

Okay. We're thinking about the cosmic flowchart, and can't help but be struck by the threeness -- not fourness or twoness -- in Schuon's description:

Absolute, Infinite, and Perfect; for each divine mode participates by definition in the nature of the divine Substance and thus comprises absolute Reality, infinite Possibility, and perfect Quality.... being Absolute, these modes cannot not be, and being Infinite, they are inexhaustible; being Perfect, they lack nothing.

Okay then. According to God's own self-revelation, He is a hypostatic union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Is that it? 

I have questions. But I'm a getting little fuzzy with hypoglycemia, so we'll resume in the next post.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

The More Weird Cannot Come from the Less Weird

Yesterday we spoke of the material world and the senses that conform to and reveal it. For a strict Thomist all knowledge begins in the senses, but for a lax one like me it begins at either end, with the miracle of subjectivity or with the miracle of objectivity. 

After all, every object or fact presumes a subject, and every subject an object (or objectivity, which is to say, distance and detachment between two terms).

Of course, if I begin in the subject, by no means is this referring to the closed Kantian ego, rather, to the vertically open subject (or self) that is ultimately a kind of prolongation of the metacosmic Subject. 

All subjects -- or rather subjectivity as such -- are intersubjective, just as all objects are "interobjective." By the latter, I am referring to the nonlocality by which, in the words of Whitehead,   
in a certain sense, everything is everywhere at all times. For every location involves an aspect of itself in every other location. Thus, every spatio-temporal standpoint mirrors the world. 

Yes, weird, but weird enough? 

At any rate, if the objective world of physics is this weird, then surely the subjective world must be at least as weird, no?

What I mean is, subjectivity is without question the weirdest thing in all of creation, but to leave it at that is to posit a weird effect without a weirder cause; but how could the more weird ever emerge from the less weird? Call it a violation of Petey's Law.

I am permanently struck by Schuon's observation that 

The first ascertainment which should impose itself upon man when he reflects on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of that miracle that is intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- and consequently the incommensurability between these and material objects, be it a question of a grain of sand or of the sun, or of any creature whatever as an object of the senses

If the miracle of subjectivity or consciousness or intelligence is the first, what's the second ascertainment? Again, that would have to be the miracle of objectivity, intelligibility, or form (for we never encounter matter without form).

Now, all of the above surely is, but its isness isn't self-explanatory. Rather, it must be anchored in a principle that is its ultimate cause. 

In other words, every science, to the extent that it is one, is an investigation into causes; knowledge of anything is knowledge of causes, which is why theology used to be regarded as the queen of sciences, because it was an investigation into the First Cause, or even Cause of Causality.

It still is, except theology has been narrowed down and displaced into science, such that science itself is the crossdressing queen of its own theology, and that's just perverse -- literally an intellectual perversion, since any perversion involves a disruption of teleology, i.e., of the proper end of something.

Thus, just as human sexuality is ordered to its complementary other, human intelligence is ordered to Being. Detach it from Being, and what perversions result! Everything from Kantianism to Marxism to the Tyranny of Relativism and Sum of All Heresies more generally.

Really? The perverted and tyrannical Sum of All Heresies? 

Yes, because, just as there is such a thing as cosmic objectivity, there is (and must be) such a thing as cosmic perversion, which is (returning to our cosmic flowchart), a consequence of the very first decision in the tree, which is: Absolute. Or Relative. Pick one, but live with the consequences, entailments, and prolongations herebelow.

Or just say Genesis 3 All Over Again.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Summa Flowchartica

Reality is that which is, AKA Being. 

Now, we've all heard it said that reality is what exists even when we're not looking, but that's not quite right, since there are multiple states of being and corresponding degrees of knowing. We don't know math in the same way we know material objects, nor do we know God in the same way we do metaphysics.

This is not to reduce reality to our ways of knowing it, a la Kant. Rather, knowledge is still the conformity of mind to being, it's just that being has multiple degrees, and that's what our cosmic flowchart is all about: the degrees of being. 

There's a book by that name (The Degrees of Knowledge) by Jacques Maritain which I read back on 2002, way before I would have been capable of understanding it, and now I have to reread it. Look what you made me do!

Let's flip around for any insights into our cosmic flowchart. 

Every attempt at metaphysical synthesis, especially when it deals with the complex riches of knowledge and of the mind, must distinguish in order to unite.

Reality is not a jehovial blob of onederful blubber, but nor is it a scattered manifestivus of middling relativities hurtling higgledy-piggledy into sheer mayaplicity. And you can quote me on that.

Gosh. This pretty much describes the two extremes of the map we have in mind: "starting with the experience of the physicist and ending with the experience of the contemplative," and showing 

the organic diversity and essential compatibility of those zones of knowledge through which passes in its great movement in quest of being... 

And here's an important clue: it's ALIVE!

it is not a system, an artifact; it is a spiritual organism. Its inner connections are vital ties where each part exists by the existence of the whole. 

And you know me: this is because the Archetype of archetypes (i.e., Model of all models and modelers) is and must be the Trinity... or possibly the Trinity in an eternal dialectic with Beyond-Being, neither one being anterior, rather, just the way the Godhead roils. 

But we needn't worry about such deustinctions at this preluminary junkture. Rather, all will be clear in the beatific vision. After purgatory and all that. 

What? Yes, this life is the waiting room of purgatory, but some people blow off their appointment.

This book is too big. Let's get back to something more manageable, Philosophy of Science in Light of the Perennial Wisdom. After all, we just want a simple flowchart, not a Summa. 

Might I suggest a Summa Flowchartica?

That'll do. 

The point is, everybody's got one, whether they know it or not. In other words, we all have a map of reality, moreover, we generally won't see the things that aren't on the map, especially the higher and more subtle things. But also the lower and grosser ones. For example, no one will ever see a quark or 26-dimensional string. As alluded to a few posts back, some folks

may describe total reality as being one indivisible Unity. Some may divide it into two degrees: the Divine Order, and that of all that is created, namely, Creation. 

Or as Joyce says, "Somedivide and sumthelot but the tally turns round the same balifusion," and you can quote him on that. Come to think of it, "When a part so ptee does duty for the holos we soon grow to use of an allforabit."

In plain unglish, our flowchart must at once be petit but large enough to cover the whole meanderthalltale, if you are abcedminded to the allephbed of the cosmic playbook, what curios of signs. Can you rede its world? It is the same told of all.

That means everybody. Now,

Starting from the material world that is in principle knowable to our senses, we perceive the first state of being...

This world encompasses everything from planets, stars, galaxies, and the background radiation of the Big Bang at one end, to atomic and subatomic waves and particles at the other.

This vast thingdom is all just (just?!) a vast vibrating energy field, with (to reJoyce) movibles scrawling in motions, marching, all of them ago, in pitpat and zingzang, so wheenybeenyveenyteeny. And you can say that again!  

Everybody with me so far? Good, because it's about to get weird. 

To some, [the above] state represents all there is. We shall see, however, that this supposition radically falls short of adequacy.

Literally, because our flowchart must be an adequation to the whole existentialada, or rather, the whole dang cosmodilla, since Uncle Rico ate all our steak and the Chinaman stole our rug.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

I was Lost But Now I'm... Confident There's a Search Party

I was reading a book yesterday that compared the ascending and descending (or analytic and synthetic, respectively) approaches of the cosmic flowchart to the mouth and watershed of a river. Imagine two explorers;

The first went to the mouth of the river, where it spread out in all its power.... he pointed out the exact position of the springs and ridgelines, measured the flow, and carefully noted the orientation of the streams.

The second fellow starts way downstream, "and no one can describe the misfortunes that awaited him":

Sometimes he followed a promising stream only to find himself interminably lost in the sand or in various caves, and other times he found himself in the middle of a nearby basin surrounded by the inconsistent flow of his river. He went this way and that, sometimes retracing his steps, across trails and dead-end paths, and his explorations were filled with endless hopes and disappointments.

Sad! But it gets worse, because not only did he not find his way to the source, he never returned and is still missing. An unconfirmed rumor spread that he had left an account of his discoveries in a bottle, found after a flood "in the wheat field of a peasant from Cairo."

Extending the metaphors in this allegorical tale, the first approach is pure metaphysics, the second science. Science, of course, can never rise to its source, and only looks foolish when it tries:

Without philosophy, the sciences do not know what they know. 

To put it another way, everything science knows is embedded in a larger metaphysical scheme that provides context and coherence, even a vision (whether explicit or implicit) of the whole.   

Now, knowledge of the watershed is not knowledge of the mouth, but nor is knowledge of the mouth knowledge of the watershed. 

Although the account of the first explorer is (in our metaphor) "absolute," there is considerable contingency between it and all the ins & outs, what-have-yous, and random strands of the terminal moraine below.

At the other end, what can one say via induction about ultimate reality from the presence of a creek or swamp? Not a whole lot, except to say that these are not self-explanatory; they didn't didn't get here by magic.

Nor is a map -- no matter how detailed -- of all the streams and creeks an ultimate explanation, since these are only parts of a larger system. And

The doctrines that explain the higher by means of the lower are the appendices of a magician's rule book.

At the same time, a doctrine that explains the lower with sole recourse to the higher is the absolute determinism of Mohammad or Calvin. Not very helpful, and possibly as fatal as the other guy's approach. Either way, you're gonna get lost in between.

The great In Between is the hard part, isn't it? I mean, empiricism is easy, and so too is metaphysics, at least if you have the knack for it. But empiricism is a flat and boring road, such that no empiricist is content to stay in his lane. Empiricism itself cannot be proven empirically, and

The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.     

It's like describing all the creeks below and then imagining reality as a giant creek. But how to explain the paddle and canoe? And canoeist? 

By the way, our little fable is taken from The Thomistic Response to the Nouvelle Théologie: Concerning the Truth of Dogma and the Nature of Theology. It's a very "inside graceball" sort of book, so not a general recommendation. I've only just started it, but it looks to me like this dispute between strict Thomists and the more loosey-nousy nouvelle theologians is a bit like the up- and downstream approaches.

I don't think Thomas would ever do this, but it's not like you can deduce what you had for breakfast this morning from the metaphysical certitude of God, but nor can you ascend from the taste of breakfast to knowledge of the Absolute without a lot of vertical steps in between.

Which is why a watchword of our cosmic flowchart will be complementarity. We'll try to avoid getting lost in the clouds or stuck in the mud.

Monday, June 12, 2023

The Bob: Impudent Ass or Impertinent Clown?

I know: where's the complementarity principle when you need it?

But if we are to go boldly where no cosmic flowchart has gone before, it must "account for all that, in principle, is knowable to man," and "in such a way that [it] cannot be refuted by evidence" (BZ).  

A tall order no doubt, but then again, is it asking too much to be given a reliable map out of this desert bewilderness? All men look for it, it's just that most either pretend to have found it or give up early for an untroubled life of tenure, or of sensory and affective distraction. 

My feelings are not irrefutable -- sad! -- but this is something I strongly feel: that if we are created, then we are entitled to know why. This is not because I am an impudent and presumptuous ass, but because God presumably isn't. Of course he wants us to know what's going on. Why otherwise would he give us an intellect (not to mention other vertical courtesies, e.g., revelation)?

Every other sense and faculty has an object: colors for the eyes, sounds for ears, tastes for the tongue, nausea for the Tony Awards. Thus, being for the intellect; or intelligibility for the intelligence. 

Now, Christianity per se is not the map I have in mind at this early juncture. We need to draw a distinction between theology and metaphysics, just as we need to draw one between metaphysics and science. However, none of these can contradict the others: a map of California does not contradict a map of the U.S., nor a map of the U.S. the globe.

Unless you pretend California is the world, which is almost as stupid as pretending science is metaphysics or theology.

Here are a couple of allied aphorisms: on the one hand, -- and this will sound hyperbolic, but it's true -- 

Why deceive ourselves? Science has not answered a single important question,


Thought can avoid the idea of God as long as it limits itself to meditating on minor problems.

But while science doesn't answer any important questions, it assumes a host of them, for example, that reality (or Being) is, that it is intelligible, that the human intellect has unique access to this intelligible being, that the world is lawful, that knowledge is an adequation of mind to world, etc. 

As for why these are the case, science can't say, and simply beclowns itself when it tries. 

We are all for scientific law, so long as you don't attempt to enclose it in the Law! Otherwise you can expect a late-night knock on the door by Sheriff Gödel. 

As for the second aphorism, why not skip over the minor problems and instead start with the big ones, or even biggest? Who knows, maybe if we sort out the Big One, the little ones will solve themselves, or at least not be so annoying. 

Also, FWIW, ever since my mind came on line, I've always had this idea that people focus and obsess over trivial things so as to defend themselves from awareness of the elephant in the unconscious. This is just psychotherapy 101, except that I extend this idea to the upper vertical. 

In other words, just as there are a host of defense mechanisms to keep the demons at bay, there are a variety of means to keep God from bothering us. 

In fact, often the same mechanism does both, and I speak from personal experience, just as you and anyone with a bit of self-awareness will understand what I'm talking about from personal experience.   

Self-awareness. What a thing! Friend or enemy? Gift or curse? All we know is, it is here, and it is very much like the adequation of mind to world, except it reverses its gaze and looks at the interior world. And what does it find? 

For starters, a world. An intelligible world? Yes, but it's bit of a Jung-le, isn't it? Moss covered archetypes everywhere!

Some passages stick with you, and I wonder why? For example, this one, from a book called Man, the Measure of All Things, by Sri Krishna Prem:

From the beginning of time men have sought the solution to a three-faced mystery: the mystery of origins, the mystery of present being, and the mystery of destiny.
Check. This guy's been reading my mail!
Usually their search has been directed outwards amongst the data of sense experience; backwards into the apparent certainty of the accomplished past, forwards in speculation into the indeterminate future. 

Yes, I remember. Good times! 

Only very rarely some wise man seeking Deathlessness, with reversed gaze has seen the inner Self, the Self who is 'Lord of what has been and is to be.'

I'll have some of what he's smoking. Go on:

What has the Self, the mysterious root of human consciousness, got to do with cosmogony, an account of the origination of the material universe?

The Question of questions, and sometimes there is more Light in a good question than in any answer we could provide. This isn't one of them, for I wouldn't be blogging about this if there weren't a plausible answer -- you know, the one to which we are entitled. Unless we are just impudent and presumptuous asses.

To be continued. 

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Degrees of Reality and Degrees in Unreality

The senses tell us what is (and isright here & right now, although hearing certainly gives us a sense of the passage of time, especially music, which, as they say, is time made audible. 

But there is no knowledge per se at the level of the senses, since knowledge is immaterial and transcendent, i.e., vertical.  

Oh by the way, we're still working on the cosmic flowchart, starting this morning at the bottom, where science lives:

Modern science, by and large, ignores those phenomena which are not within the reach of man's sensory faculties (Bina & Ziarani, heretofore BZ). 

I don't know what's worse, when science stays in its lane because it insists there are no other lanes -- as if all of reality is some hick town with only one road passing through -- or when it changes lanes and pretends to be capable of a deeper metaphysic. 

What marvelous insolence any empirical verification has!

But science and material reality are distant effects of what is at the top of the metaphysical flowchart; it would be naive to invert this relationship of dependency, because science could never give an empirical proof of its own metaphysical assumptions.
To establish a scientific law is less satisfying that to discover evidence that destroys it.

If one is going to be logically consistent, to say I am a materialist is equivalent to saying I do not exist, and why would we pay attention to the opinions of someone who doesn't even have the courtesy to exist? First exist, then we'll talk.

The top of our flowchart is reserved for necessary principles that do not rely upon any other principles, and presuppose no prior truth.

A proposition is false when it obstructs truer propositions.

These propositions are in us by nature( i.e., they are self-evident), nor can we deny them without falling into absurdity -- for example, beginning the flow chart with the pseudo-principle that "there is no truth," which is false if true, thus violating the principle of noncontradiction. Sad!

Conversely, everything may be reduced to the principles in our cosmic flowchart, and if not, to hell with it. Our flowchart, whatever it turns out to be,

should be able to account for all beings in such a way that it cannot be refuted by evidence (BZ).

Note the whatever it turns out to be. Sounds like I'm presupposing the success of our quest, but it's true: I am certain the map exists, and that the search for it will bear fruit, even if I am not literally holding it in my hands. I know that if I take the time and trouble to draw the thing, it will be there.

Why so confident? 

Oh, just a feeling. 

Not an emotion, mind you. Rather, like walking along a plain and seeing a rising mountain way off in the distance. You can't make out any details, but you know it's there, obviously. 

Could it be a mirage? Hmm... If you're going to go in that direction, might as well ask, "could I be a mirage?"  

Could everything be an illusion?   

Nah, because then you would have the absolute certitude that everything is an illusion, and whence this certitude? How did it, of all things, get in here? There is just no way to get around the Absolute, even if you absolutely deny it.

The mountain is the Absolute. You may insist it's nothing, but

Nothingness is the shadow of God,

and shadows are a necessary consequence of the Light. Even absurdity presuppsoes the Intelligible.

So let's get on with the climb. Where's our purple sherpa?

Most philosophies are obstacles to avoid enroute but a few are mountain ranges that one is forced to cross.

Especially this one. By the way, a mountain is not a 45º degree wall staring us in the face, rather, more like a rising plain. Just keep walking toward it and before you know it, you're on it. Isn't this the common experience?

It reminds me of when I was studying psychology way down in grad school. There was a point at which I was no longer looking at it from down below, but inside and on top of it (not at the very top, but at least the foothills). The awarding of a Ph.D. is supposed to be a formal ceremony to signify that one has climbed this particular mountain, but...

But what if it means one has only internalized a certain map of the mountain? Worse yet, what if the map is totally detached from the actual mountain? Yes, it gets worse, because what if it is required that one pledge allegiance to a map that is not only unreal but cannot possibly be real?

Lucky for me, I graduated before that happened, but just barely. 

Back to the flowchart. Here is a helpful passage:

The notions of reality and being are interrelated. That is real which is, and that which is is thereby real. Therefore, to speak of reality is to speak of being, and vice versa.

Tautology, or hate crime?

The latter: for example, sex is no longer anchored in the reality of biological and scientific fact, rather, according to the American Psychological Association,

to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions and behaviors....

Some who do not identify as either male or female prefer the term “gender nonbinary” or “genderqueer.”

"Prefer," meaning You had better affirm my delusion, or no Ph.D. for you! I'm a little skeptical, but that's a hate crime too.

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