Friday, January 05, 2024

Math is Hard, But Life is Harder

Recall what the late Robert Rosen's daughter says about his works:
Do not be intimidated by the mathematical notation in this book! The mathematics represent additional illustration of ideas already described in prose. It was his form of "bullet proofing."

This gives me a whole new perspective, because I had assumed the parts I understood were trivial, while the more lofty stuff was totally Bob-proof. Now I can review the material with the assurance that I actually do understand it.

Can we stipulate that Life is a pretty, pretty important subject? Where would we be without it? And yet, when I was writing the book and immersing myself in the philosophy of biology, I found no fully satisfactory answers, any form of reductionism being entirely out of the question. It's fine for biologists, but not for a free range bio-psycho-pneumo-cosmologist.

On the one hand, I did find some helpful thinkers along the way, in particular, Whitehead, Hans Jonas, and Michael Polanyi. But Rosen provoked a major click -- which is that sound in your head when disparate pieces of the puzzle suddenly cohere and reveal a deeper dimension, like one of those "magic eye" pictures.   

In the preface to Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry Into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life, Rosen asks

For whom is this book intended? I do not know.

Join the club!

This  book itself has no pragmatic purpose of which I am aware.

Welcome to our world!

It is thus for anyone who wants to claim it. 


Now, why do we wish to yoink it? In short, because the existence of Life (which I will captitalize when speaking of the phenomenon of Life Itself) is one of the Top Five Mysteries for which any worthwhile metaphysic must account. A cosmos capable of giving rise to Life is radically -- I would say infinitely -- different from one that is not so capable (let alone one that gives rise to a Mind capable of meditating on Life).

In fact, the attributes of such a cosmos are so statistically unlikely that one is forced to conclude that the the cosmos is "designed for life" or something. Or like a conspiracy to create biologists.  

But that's not my argument, nor is it Rosen's. Let's just stick to the facts before jumping to conclusions. Back off -- this is science, man, not the vain speculations of some silly blogger.

Back in the 1940s the eminent physicist Erwin Schrödinger turned away from his indeterminate cat long enough to write a book called What is Life?, and Rosen's book is something of an update, or at least asks the same question. One of the problems is that physics simply cannot cope with the problem of Life, more on which as we proceed. 

Indeed, I have Schrödinger's book, but I don't know that I even finished it, and not just because of the math. He even says on the first page that Life is "much too involved to be fully accessible to mathematics." 

More generally, it seems to me that there's something important about Life that we miss by virtue of living it, as in how the fish knows nothing of the water in which it swims. So it's a hard problem, nor will mathematics solve it. 

this text is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do, much harder than doing the research it embodies (Rosen).

Again, join the club:

The problem was to compress a host of interlocking ideas, drawn from many sources, which coexist happily in my head, into a form coherently expressible in a linear script (ibid.). 

Now, if the result isn't "art," it certainly partakes of a (right brain?) psychological mode that underlies art. Moreover, perhaps a work of art would be the best way to express these ideas. It's something I often grapple with: that I am not an artist, but need to be in order to convey what I'm trying to get across. 

Here is one of his bottom lines: "Physics as we know it today is, almost entirely, the science of mechanism," but mechanisms 

are very special as material systems. Biology is a class of systems more general than mechanisms. In fact, the relative positions of physics and biology become interchanged; rather than physics being the general and biology the special, it becomes the other way around.

That's a radical idea: that biology is prior to physics. Nevertheless, CLICK.

For example, if we begin in the usual way, with physics, we necessarily reduce qualities to quantities, such that "Qualitative is nothing but poor quantitative." 

But such unqualified nothingbuttery, is, of course, a quality. In other words, there is nothing quantitative about a metaphysic that pretends to reduce everything to quantities, just as materialism cannot be defended with recourse to inanimate matter. Just ask a rock if materialism is true.

Transcendent qualities cannot reduce to numerical quantities, which reminds us of the Aphorist, who says the same thing in a more poetic way:

The laws of biology in themselves do not have sufficiently delicate fingers to fashion the beauty of a face.   

More generally, 

The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.

We love science, but let's be reasonable. It doesn't explain everything, beginning with science. 

Another way to address the problem is to affirm that semantics doesn't reduce to syntax. If it did, then every pedantic grammarian would be a great writer, and every machine would be a work of art.

Besides, Gödel. A system of purely syntactical rules will be consistent but never complete. In short, we all deploy the rules of grammar to convey meaning that cannot be reduced to those rules. There are even grammatically correct sentences that convey only absurdity, AKA journalism. Not to mention grammatically insane sentences that convey dense holofractal meaning such as Finnegans Wake. 

What is the meaning of meaning? This sounds tautological unless we consider the word "meaning" from multiple levels -- levels that cannot be reduced to the lower one. 

Some people say life is meaningless. I say that's a meaningful sentence. Wrong, but nevertheless full of meaning.

The meanings are the reality; their material vehicles are the appearance.

You just need to appreciate this and take it seriously:

Scraping the painting, we do not find the meaning of the picture, only a blank and mute canvas. Equally, it is not by scratching about in nature that we will find its sense. 

This is the cosmos to which we must return -- not by denying science, but by situating it in a deeper context. This is the real cosmos, the one in which we actually live --  and can live, for no one can live in math, or DNA, or anything less than Life Itself.

To be continued, or perhaps not, depending on the level of interest.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

The Complex Time of Life Itself

We left off yesterday with presence, about which Schuon says

The saving manifestation of the Absolute is either Truth or Presence, but it is not one or the other in an exclusive fashion, for as Truth It comprises Presence, and as Presence It comprises Truth. 

Such is the twofold nature of all theophanies; thus Christ is essentially a manifestation of Divine Presence, but he is thereby also Truth: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one enters into the saving proximity of the Absolute except through a manifestation of the Absolute, be it a priori Presence or Truth.

The Presence of Truth is the Truth of Presence? 

Reminds me of taking attendance back in school. I always said "present," even though I wasn't, or "here," even though I was someplace else. Or perhaps I was present, and school was a vast conspiracy to pull me out of it.  

Where did I go? How does existence become diffused, blunted, diluted, etc., and what are we going to do about it?

Time dilation. Problem is, 

"the present" has no duration at all; yet all events must occur in some present (or "now"), and it is only through the present that future events can be related to those of the past. Accordingly, we conclude that all events must be made up of successive "nows," none of which has any duration, and the question arises, how can events which take time be made up of "presents" or "nows" which do not (Harris)?

I suppose it's like Zeno's paradox, only applied to time. But just what is the relationship between one moment -- whatever that is -- and the next? 

There's also the problem of objective and subjective time, for it seems that the moment only exists in our heads. It's as if our heads go around taking photos of what is never static in reality. 

I wonder what Schuon says?  

Concrete time is the changing of phenomena; abstract time is the duration which this change renders measurable.

A ha. So concrete time is a side effect of change, and change is whatnow? For a Thomist it is the passing from potency to act. In the penultimate analysis, time is the time it takes for creation to return to God:

The complete perfection of the universe demands that there should be created natures which return to God.

Elsewhere I have suggested that in the ultimate analysis time is a side effect of a trinitarian metaphysic: the "timeless time" it takes for the Father to engender the Son, which, of course, takes place in eternity, but let's be reasonable. 


a world composed of both permanent and transitory beings is better than one in which there are only incorruptible beings (ibid.).

Really? Thomas doubles down:

a world in which there were only spiritual beings would not be better but less perfect. 

So, it's a full-employment cosmos, consisting of material beings, spiritual beings (angels) and everything in between: a spooktrum. And

All movement [i.e., change] is derived from something unmoved. 

Therefore, it seems that the mystery abides in a complementarity between Big Change -- i.e., Creation -- and Big Changeless -- Creator. The rest is up to us:

The perfection of the whole of corporeal nature depends in a certain sense on the perfection of man.

Big Responsibility! And it seems an impossible one absent the Incarnation that closes the loop -- or mends the breach -- caused by man in his fallen state.

The Divine Wisdom joins the last of the higher kind with the first of the lower kind. 


the intellectual soul is said to be like the horizon or boundary line between corporeal and incorporeal substance (Thomas). 

So, God is always just over the subjective horizon, Truth as such being "the last end of the whole universe." I suppose we could say that Being is at one end, nothingness at the other (even though, strictly speaking, nothingness cannot exist in any positive sense, although the left never stops trying).

Recall what Robert Rosen said yesterday:

Any question becomes unanswerable if we do not permit ourselves a universe large enough to deal with the question.

So, in order to deal with the question of time, we need a bigger universe -- one that doesn't exclude Big Eternity, AKA God.

If we're on the right track, then there is no time in the absence of eternity, these two being Metacosmic Complementarities. 

Absolute is to space as Infinitude is to time, which is to say, point and moment, respectively. Thus 

The fundamental contradiction of scientism is to want to explain the real without the help of that first science which is metaphysics, hence not to know that only the science of the Absolute gives meaning and discipline to the science of the relative; and not to know at the same stroke that the science of the relative, when it is deprived of this help, can only lead to suicide, beginning with that of the intelligence, then with that of the human, and in the end, with that of humanity (Schuon).

God-Man being another complementarity. Not an ontological one, but certainly an existential one, for to say man is to say God. Otherwise, to say man is to say animal -- which is to say matter organized in a peculiar and statistically unlikely manner. Which is infracosmic stupidity, i.e.,  

the inability to discern the essential from the accidental: it consists in attaching oneself to mere facts and in considering them simply in themselves, that is, without the least induction. 

Back to Rosen, who I was reading yesterday, both his Life Itself and Essays thereon. In fact, I consulted a third book, Anticipatory Systems, although I'm not about to shell out $130 on a book, especially one that is only 10% comprehensible to the likes of me. But guess what? I looked at the preview, and in the preface written by his daughter, she says

Do not be intimidated by the mathematical notation in this book! The mathematics represent additional illustration of ideas already described in prose. It was his form of "bullet proofing."

 So it's accessible after all. She also says that

Perhaps time is not quite as linear as we have always presumed it to be. My father's view, in fact, was that "Time is complex."

Complex, like how? Not sure, since the preview ended before I could find out. But there's this: 

Living organisms have the equivalent of one "foot" in the past, the other in the future, and the whole system hovers, moment by moment, in the present -- always on the move, through time. The truth is that the future represents as powerful a causal force on current behavior as the past does, for all living things.

Now, teleology is a naughty word in biology, but it seems that one of Rosen's purposes was to resurrect it and render it respectable with pages and pages of bullet-proof equations. Which are also Bob-proof, but apparently this doesn't matter so long as Bob knows how to read.

Among other things, teleology is "future causation," which we experience as anticipation. Lower organisms are always characterized by anticipation, except they aren't self-consciously aware of it. 

For example, earlier this year I remember watching a hummingbird assemble a nest piece by piece. She was anticipating a couple of tiny eggs, but of course, she didn't know that, the birdbrain. But I did. 

And again, all organisms are anticipatory systems, which is what distinguishes them from non-living systems, no matter how complex. Which means that the time dimension -- including the future -- is central to biology. 

But how? I addressed this in the Book, but I think I have a better grasp of it today than I did back then. Rosen, proposes the radical idea that (I'm paraphrasing) physics should not be our paradigmatic science, and that it especially reveals its deficiencies when attempting to deal with organisms, which it cannot do without stripping them of what makes them organisms, precisely: Life Itself is reduced to the nonliving.

Best physics can do is regard organisms as linear machines, but the model is not the thing modeled. Suffice it to say that organisms are too complex to be modeled. He then makes the equally radical claim that complexity is the rule, not the exception. Conversely, physics proceeds as if "every material system is a simple system," but for Rosen, biology is more general than physics. 

Problem solved. But as alluded to yesterday, he doesn't take the argument all the way to the end -- or top, rather -- where we see an internally related Trinity that, in my opinion, is the nonlocal archetype for all living things -- for Life Itself.

I think we're done for today, or at least this is a good place to hit the pause button. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Truth, Presence, and Relationship

This post is all over the place, the reason being that yesterday's post made me a little over-excited, spurring me to consult half a dozen disparate books that failed to congeal -- like Jello that is still half liquid. Nevertheless, here it is:  

Just when no one else I suspect is in my tree, I pull out a volume of Errol Harris and see that it has a blurb by one of my favorite Catholic theologians, W. Norris Clark (the book is called The Reality of Time, and like most of his books, has 0 reviews on amazon; I first read it a couple decades ago, when I had never heard of Norris Clarke):

It is a beautiful piece of deep philosophical thinking, expressed with outstanding clarity and elegance. I like especially the rare combination of rich immersion in the facts of science with profound creative reflection and synthesis. This is truly a distinguished, even great work.

That Clarke found the book blurbworthy is enough to warrant a serious Second Look, even though I don't agree with everything Harris says -- for example, I recall him being partial to Hegel, and he seems to have been an idealistic one-world government type of guy. 

I suspect that he made it to the cusp of O, while remaining enclosed in rationalism. It's a capacious rationalism, but fails to abide in the place from which Reason emanates.

What would we do without time? It's very nature

compels us to posit something other than continuous change, in contrast to which alone that change is possible, something other than time, on which time itself is dependent, or of which it is a necessary aspect, yet which is not and cannot be in process (Harris). 

Which I think means that time must be a serial entailment of the timeless, or of something trans-temporal. Although when he claims it cannot be in process, a voice in my head says perichoresis, which is something like an "eternal process," unless I'm way off base. Whatever it is, it isn't static, nor is it closed, a subject we will take up when we eventually return theoretical biologist Robert Rosen's call.

"The central metaphysical problem seems to me to be how we identify the present moment," and Harris confesses that he is stumped. Indeed, in physics it doesn't exist, last I checked. For example, Einstein said

The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

I see that he also said that "Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live," which makes him a Kantian, one of our many philosophical non-starters. 

Back to the now: as far as I'm concerned, it's *just* the bisection of the horizontal by the vertical; to even know of time indicates that we must be partly outside or above it (just as we are partly free and partly determined). Which makes sense, being that we are a composite of spirit and matter. 

As usual, I agree with the Aphorist:

Creation is the nexus between eternity and history.

I think I've discovered the source of Harris' difficulty: he is trying to get from Here to There via philosophy, when no philosophy can do this, precisely. While he is admirably open to religiosity, he nowhere alludes to having made the Plunge (or rather, being fully open to God's plunge). 

The philosopher is, as it were, an angel caught in time. Philosophy as such must fail, because one has to speak of the whole in terms of the parts, and now Rosen is calling again.

First of all, I don't understand everything he says, but I do understand the 10% that is expressed in plain English, like 

In hierarchical systems, the upper level gives meaning to the level of focus, the lower level.

Or that our pal Gödel "effectively demolished the formalist program," which is to say that "no matter how one tries to formalize a particular part of mathematics," it cannot coincide with "the set of truths about numbers." Which is another way of saying that semantics -- meaning -- cannot be reduced to syntax --  order.

The meaning is in the Whole, but again, in this cosmos the Whole is in the parts. In short, don't panic, it's organic. Just don't conflate organicism with (mere) biology, because the source of life is at the top. God is not only alive, he is indeed Life Itself. And abundantly, from what we have heard from the Wise. At any rate,

There is always a purely semantic residue, that cannot be accommodated by [any] syntactical scheme.

What is Life? 

Any question becomes unanswerable if we do not permit ourselves a universe large enough to deal with the question.

So, in order to deal with certain mysteries that science cannot elucidate without hitting an infra-metaphysical wall, we're gonna need a bigger universe. Simple as. Reduction is fine as a method, but it betrays us if elevated to an ontology, i.e., to the extent that it looks "only downward toward subsystems, and never upward and outward." 

Which is a bit ironic, because nor did Rosen, as far as I know, take the vertical plunge upward and inward. Suffice it to say that if he knew what we were doing with his ideas, he'd probably file a restraining order.

Rosen is absolutely correct about open systems. It's just that he fails to take the concept all the way up, to an open cosmos, open to what we call O, which is the ultimate answer to otherwise insoluble questions such as What is life?, What is thought?, What is beauty?, and What is existence?  

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

Again, the scientistic rule book is formal and quantitative, such that meaning is expressed through it but but not from it. The meaning of mathematics cannot be deduced from mathematics.

Then again, -- well, math is hard, but it seems to me that math can be reduced to one and multiples thereof. But Oneness itself is at the top, otherwise we have multiplicity without Unity, which is another one of those philosophical nonstarters.

Which is where metaphysical irony comes in, for we know we are obligated to express true ideas, even though no idea can express the Truth, Truth being a Person and a Relationship. Nor can one ever point to a relationship, because the pointing is itself a relationship between pointer and pointed. 


Excuse me?

You heard me. 

Apparently, I need to work this into the discussion. While I'm thinking about it, let me hand the wheel over to Dávila:

Proofs for the existence of God are the ideology of the feeling of His presence in the soul.

A voluptuous presence communicates its sensual splendor to everything.

Is that what this moment is, pure Presence?
The momentary beauty of the instant is the only thing in the universe that concurs with the eagerness of our souls.

Let's allow these ideas to congeal for another 24 hours, and then try again to nail them to the wall.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Taking the Pulse of the Cosmos

To reset: we're considering the possibility that the cosmos is structured in such a way that the whole is present in the parts, both spatially and temporally. If it is, then infinitude is present everywhere, and eternity is available everywhen. 

Of course, you already know what I think. Sure, they laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved it beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic, way back when I published my dissertation in 1991 and 1993. 

That was when I still hoped to become a respectable scholar, but I threw it all away in 1995, when I decided to take my own ideas seriously and plunge into the Mystery on a fooltome basis. Really, given what I'd already written, there was nowhere else to go but up, or at least I wanted to find out if there was an up.

Let's dig out that 1991 offering and see if there are any useful nuggets, the child being father to the man, and all that. You know how it is:

Every writer comments indefinitely on his brief original text. 

Is that what I'm doing? Just spending down my modest inheritance?

The peculiar properties of the hologram provide the model for a resonant order of information in which everything is internally related: the whole is somehow enfolded in each part of the hologram, and vice versa.

In fact, 

the very ability of the mind to form symbols so readily may rest upon its its holographic substrate, in which one image can contain many ideas and images... 

Lots of yada yada about implicate and nonlocal waves of potential meaningfulness, and explicate local particles of actualized meaning. I see that there's even a subsection called HIGHER DIMENSIONAL SPACE AND TIME, in which youngBob claims that  

three-dimensional euclidean space is not a given, but rather, a special limiting case of a far more extensive n-dimensional space...

Space and time can no longer be thought of merely as a priori categories (a la Kant), but rather matrices through which the universe has created the conditions for its further evolution.

The universe has created? Yeah, I wasn't about to deploy the G-word in a secular journal (Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought). Just as it took a long time to figure out that I was no longer a man of the left, it took an equally long time to realize I wasn't an atheist.  

Say, I wonder if that journal still exists, and what sorts of things they're writing about? Looks like it went belly-up in 2003

Enough gnostalgia. The next chapter of book we're looking at is not shy about the G-word. It is called The Idea of God. For it seems that the attempt to confine ourselves within the straitjacket of finitude

denies itself and impels our thought beyond all limits to the postulation of an infinite being, on which all else depends and in which everything lives, moves, and has its being. 

Rather, "There must be"

an infinite whole -- call it what you will -- in which alone anything can be, and through which alone anything can be conceived.

We no longer call it the universe. Or if we do, the realization is forced upon us that the universe isn't what we think it is. No need to apologize, for we know that "knowledge in science" involves

transcendence of the finite because the subject of that knowledge [can]not consistently be brought under the laws and categories by which all its objects [are] determined. That which transcends the merely finite object of a science of finite entities subject to causal laws is consciousness, and, especially, self-consciousness...

He's not wrong: 

The sheer objectivity of science proves incompatible with the sheer subjectivity of consciousness.

But not really, because

Reflection upon scientific knowledge finds these two aspects of knowledge to be mutually necessary and correlative and at the same time mutually irreducible. 

In ether worlds, Somedivide and sumthelot but the tally turns round the same balifuson -- the fusion of "an absolute subject of an absolute knowledge," AKA the God of whom we are fractal images.

We abide in a cosmic network of interrelationships, in which "the relation between man and God is analogous to that of cells in a living body to its mind," or -- extending the analogy to time -- "we might think of ourselves each as 'a pulse in the eternal life.'" 

Grace circulates through the arteries of the living cosmos, or something, in a vast spiral of

exitus-redditus, an exit from and a return to God, Who is both Alpha and Omega. God is the ontological heart that pumps the blood of being through the arteries of creation into the body of the universe (Kreeft).

So don't be a stupid clot, or coronary thrombonehead in the body of Christ. 

Monday, January 01, 2024

To BE Continued Because I AM Continuous

In describing the present moment, it's hard to top the "moving image of eternity," so credit to Plato.

I suppose it's like describing the "here" as the finite image of infinitude, or as a bounded image of the unbounded. 

The point is, eternity is not an aggregation of moments, just as the infinite is not a stack of places. Rather, supposing you've been anywhere, you've been everywhere, man, and the Aphorist implies as much:

At any given moment, the most important place on earth can be a palace, a pigsty, or a cell. 

In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter.

But supposing these are true, how are they true? Easy: the world is temporo-holo-fractalistic-expialodocious!

Let's go through the steps, with Professor Harris as our guide. Or at least I hope he will guide us. All I remember is that he and I are on the same page, broadly speaking. And that few other thinkers I've encountered think about these things in the same way I do, for what that's worth. No one I think is in my tree. Or damn few, at any rate.

In short, he may be wrong. But he's my kind of wrong. Let's go: 

If the world is to any extent intelligible its elements must constitute and must be comprehensible in some form of interrelated system constituting a single whole.  

But the world is intelligible. Last I checked, anyway. Therefore, existence must be an interrelated system constituting a single whole. 

The end beginning. Or both, rather.

Conversely -- to give the Devil his due -- 

If it is ultimately unintelligible, science and philosophy must in the final issue collapse and knowledge would have no sustainable grounds.

The end. This time literally.

And yet, the world continues going round -- not just the physical world, but the intelligible world. People keep thinking, even when they don't. But enough about the left. We'll get to them in due time. But as far as Bob is concerned,

the inescapable and fundamental presupposition of all knowledge, and ipso facto of all intelligent action, is the existence of a world at least in some degree intelligible.

Again, to put it bluntly, any knowledge presupposes all knowledge, i.e., an absolute intelligibility we call O. 

But O is not a blob, rather, an ordered totality, a whole, a cosmos:

The arc of a circle must be the arc of a complete circle to be an arc at all, and the same is true of any part of any conceivable pattern.

I don't know if Harris mentions fractals, but that is what he is describing, for a fractal exhibits

similar patterns at increasingly smaller scales, called self-similarity, also known as expanding symmetry or unfolding symmetry (wiki). 

And this unfolding or developmental symmetry not only partakes of the spatial dimension, but of the temporal; both spatial (here) and temporal (now) parts reflect the whole existentialada. 

On the one hand this may sound strange or obscure, but it is really quite obvious. IMO. No whole, no parts, whether in space or in time.

"Every manifold is a multiplicity of elements in relation, and every relation is a link." To say RELATION is to have said it all, for this is a relational cosmos (as is any conceivable cosmos, as we shall see).

I am tempted to just say that reality is irreducible substance-in-relation, but

A continuum, to be continuous involves heterogeneity of parts, for unless the parts are distinguishable they cannot continuously diverge. On the other hand, they equally cannot be totally heterogeneous and must be uniform and alike in some respect if they are to be continuous. 

Hold on a moment -- I Blake for Visions: 

To see a world in a grain of sand / And heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour. 

And The of murphy bed of the now is the resting place of eternity (Cousin Dupree).


Continuity thus involves both identity and difference and what varies continuously is that same property which is universal to the whole....

Hence the universal essence, to be at all, must involve the gamut of its specific forms, without which it is nothing...

Bottom line:

if there is a relation between the mind and the world which it knows, they must both belong to one system.... Consequently, we cannot assume a break between the actual world and ourselves and we must recognize an inevitable continuity between the world and our minds.

That's all I'm saying, which is to say it all: "There can be no unbridgeable gulf between thought and existence," and the bridge is not a thing but a dynamic relation between terms. I AM is one term, and I am is another: Yours, Mine, and Ours.

To be "continued," because what choice do we have?

Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Hologram to Your Private Particle

We try to make a little progress every day, even if we are coming up against the hard limit of an important football game. 

Which reminds me of our neighbors down the street. We were once over there for dinner, when the wife called to the husband to come to the kitchen. He said, "Wait a minute -- there's an important game on." She responded that "there's no such thing as an important game."

Suffice it to say, they are divorced. 

Back to Augustine for a moment -- while still on the subject of holofractal time -- he writes of how "I cannot totally grasp all that I am. Thus the mind is not large enough to contain itself." But

how can it not contain itself? How can there be any of itself that is not in itself? As this question struck me, I was overcome with wonder and almost with stupor (in Louth). 

Well, good: a Christian koan!

Let's try to think this koan through -- to the stupor and beyond. First, if you're not a mystery to yourself, either you're not trying or you're a bit thick. No offense, because if you fall into the latter category, you're not reading this blog anyway, trolls excepted.

Most words function as "containers" for a "contained": the word "dog," for example, contains the essence of "doginess," and even babies know how to do this (albeit implicitly).

But some words attempt to contain what cannot be contained; their content cannot be "tamed," so to speak, the word "God" being the quintessential case, for it can only pretend to circumscribe the Mystery.

Likewise "transcendence." As Voeglin says, it is more a directional pointer than a destination; it ultimately points to what he calls the Apeiron, the

Unlimited, indefinite, unbounded..., the "unlimited" source of all particular things. Because it transcends all limits, it is in principle undefinable (Webb).

So it seems that human consciousness partakes of the Apeiron in the very sense described by Augustine, for it cannot contain itself, and (ortho)paradoxically is both itself and not itself

Which is another way of saying that the part is in the whole and the whole in the part, even while the part cannot be the whole per se. 

The first step to God is discovery of self, discovery of the self as a spiritual being that contains and transcends the material order (Louth).

Louth then quotes Pascal to the effect that 

It is not in space that I should search for my dignity.... There is no advantage to me in the possession of land. As space, the universe encloses me and swallows me up like a little speck, [but] by thought I understand (or embrace) it.

So, in understanding the cosmos, thought embraces what embraces us. Louth continues: "though the self"

is a vast and wonderful thing, it is not God, nor does it contain God. And yet, in a way it touches God, it strains beyond itself to God....

For the mind longs for the truth, for reality, for true joy, joy that endures, that abides in the truth; in this is reaching beyond itself. Truth is not something that man possesses: it is like a light that shines in his mind and that he apprehends, even if only dimly (emphasis mine).

In this experience, we are "collected and bound up into unity within oneself, whereas we had been scattered abroad into multiplicity." About which I will have much more to say, and in fact, already said:

In the end, we are no longer a scattered, fragmented multiplicity in futile pursuit of an ever-receding unity, but a Unity that comprehends and transcends the multiplicity of the cosmos.

Thus "the end of our spiritual destiny is really an origin... a return to the beginning, a veritable re-ascent of time back to its non-temporal source."

We are Ones again back by oursoph before the beginning, before old nobodaddy committed wholly matterimany...

Yada yada. Suffice it to say that if you haven't perceived the the hologram to your private particle, it was probably just lost in the mail.

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