Lift A Stone And God Is There; Ask A Question And God Is There– End Of Five Part Blog

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New Model Of The Observer/Observed Relationship Commentary Concluded

In The Beginning was the paradox: How does unity coexist with multiplicity? How does oneness make room for otherness? How does the all- perfect source become something less than it-self? God, being up for this challenge, solved the dilemma, and She did this by (gender is optional here, in fact, it’s probably best to think of God in terms of process, in terms of “processing divinity”) the liberation of Her own non-being. This event had to be performed in such a way so as God could both be and not be God in the same phenomenon. Her solution is doable, even logically doable, in the form of being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is. In this double negation, God becomes free in the phenomenon of not, not being God, while affirming (by implication) the God that is free to not be God. In other words, the liberation of God’s non-being becomes God’s immanence while, at the same time, there exists an implied transcendent God. God’s immanence is particularly important to humans because divine immanence gets called “reality.”

[The idea that God is free to not be God is unusual but not unique. In the journal, Deconstruction and Theology (1982, p. 89-90), Robert P. Scharlemann, in the article The Being of God When God is Not Being God, adds some commentary to this idea when he says: “The thesis I should like to propound here is that, in the theological tradition of this picture (the concept of finite being as ens creatum) is that the world is itself a moment in the being of God; what cannot be thought is that the world is the being of God when God is not being deity, or the being of God in the time of not being.” It follows from this view that an infinite amount of diversity is both permitted and discovered in God’s freedom not to be, a diversity that, ultimately, is at one with God. What makes this possible (and logically consistent) is the peculiar state of being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is, for this being, in addition to characterizing God’s freedom, also characterizes the liberation process that evolves God’s freedom (God becomes more free as freedom evolves) and this freedom, ultimately, characterizes physical events, biological events, and psychological events, (or the divine self-consciousness of the here and now).]

Pure change, or that which is both release and preservation, bond and liberation, is what’s happening within the polarity of being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is,--the defining poles of God’s immanence. However, this change changes conditions and evolves. At a higher evolved level, this change becomes continuous in the space of discontinuity—becomes alive. Evolution, in addition to evolving content, evolves “form” also. A change in form is not necessarily a change in meaning however, e.g. two means 2, 1+1 means 2, 4-2 means 2. In the same way, the meaning of ~~b, being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is, is conserved in the life/death cycle of God’s non-being. This transformational change of non-being from physical to biological, and from biological to psychological (non-being experiences self-awareness in a physical environment) can be described as follows:

Let the V image represent God’s freedom. Let one side of the V represent the empirical world (aesthetic continuum) and the other freedom. Identify the vertex, the bottom of V, as ~~b (the purist form of unity). Somewhere above the V vertex, on the freedom side of the V, let the letter b represent life and ~b represent the negative space of life (~b on the empirical side). Life moves freedom forward and in this case upward too. Further up the V, let ~bb (discontinuity occurring in continuity) represent the next stage of freedom—the participatory moment of a conscious self, and let b~b (continuity occurring in discontinuity) represent (on the empirical side of the V) the physical event of self-consciousness. With the advent of self-consciousness, freedom again moves forward. The V grows larger (and wider) as the story of civilization unfolds.

What God’s freedom is defining here is God as Immanent (the phenomenal world) and God as Transcendent (the God of all religions). All we can know about Transcendent God is that God exists. The space of logical implication tells us that much. On the other hand, we can know a great deal about God’s Immanence because that’s what we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Everyday, as a self-conscious being, we participate in inquiry, analysis, conscience, and imagination. Now, let’s take a closer look at what the form of ~bb, of b~b~bb entails (the freedom of the human mind).

What separates, on this level of non-being, humans from other animals, is the experience of number, identity, language, etc., in a word, symbols. As has been pointed out by Piaget, the symbol is a product of cognitive structure, which, in turn, is a product of the externally given structure of an animal’s accommodation/assimilation of its environment. Even the spatial and temporal structure of mental events, is, according to Piaget, a product of natural structure, but, and this is a big But, why do humans, as opposed to other animals, share the same experience? Suppose that knowledge and self-awareness does not arise, phoenix like, out of natural structure, but rather, arises from both natural structure and the uniquely human cognitive structure of b~b~bb—with ~bb basically representing the structure Sartre’s pre-reflective Cogito!

In so far as the human animal is defined by God’s non-being, humans become aware of non-being, and out of this awareness, by implication, arises a “mental given.” This “mental given” is experienced as the object pole of consciousness—the unreflective consciousness, while not being the object of consciousness allows for conscious reflection on the content (the “mental given”) of consciousness. Functionally, ~bb, or the cognitive experience of discontinuity occurring in continuity, is very close to, if not identical with, both Sartre’s pre-reflective Cogito and Piaget’s center of functional activity. Discontinuity occurring in
continuity, or cognitive ~bb, not only identifies the source of conceptual representation– symbolic meaning, it also explains why our thoughts should be able to represent the world outside our mind, especially when it comes to the application of mathematics to physical theories. Since both the world and our ideas are created from the logic of existence
(~~b, God not being God in the form of an affirmation of God), there is a necessary correspondence between mind and world. In other words, the laws reflected in nature correspond to the laws of mathematics reflected in our minds since both are based on the more fundamental law of the logic of existence—God becoming free in the phenomenon of not being God.

Going out on a limb, so to speak, I would like to get a little more specific concerning another consequence of the structure b~b~bb. This structure represents the “capacity to represent,” which, in turn, is embedded in the life structure of ~bb, which, in turn is further embedded in the original structure of God’s non-being, ~~b. God’s non-being then is what we observe and study, and when possible predict. Predictions are possible because the evolution of the universe takes place in this space that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the “space of logical implication.” So now we may ask: What are the pre-conditions for this state of affairs?

Determinism, locality and continuity allow for the reductionist methods of science to work; that is, until science penetrates deep into that area where the integrity of the physical universe breaks down, where the deterministic motions of mass points no longer exist. At the depths of the “material world” there exists a fuzzy world that exhibits only statistical behavior, behavior only when we observe it– when we separate ourselves from it. There we find a physical reality with no uniquely determinable location, a physical reality that exists in several states at the same time, a physical reality structured by a mathematical equation. In God’s non-being, or, in this context I guess I should say, in the theory of freedom’s structural form, two “forms” stand out as a way to better understand the contradictory concepts, which remain at odds with one another in the theory of relativity and quantum physics.

The same attributes (discontinuity, indeterminism, and non-locality) that characterize self-consciousness characterize also the “double negation” that serves as the ground of freedom. Both of these “forms” generate implication. At “ground” implication remains open, while in self-consciousness, implication opens up the human world-historical-process. In other words, the negation that lies at the center of self-consciousness, the negation that permits our capacity to solve mathematical equations, lies also at the “ground level” of our experience with quantum physics. Because observation takes place in the space of continuity, determinism and locality– self-consciousness’s negative space— there is an unavoidable clash of worlds—the world of continuity, determinism and locality (relativity) clashes with the world of discontinuity, indeterminism, and non-locality (quantum physics). Bottom line—the theory of relativity accurately describes natural phenomena. Einstein’s equations, when applied to the world of physical events, provide accurate information concerning our status as participating agents in the physical universe. Likewise, quantum mechanics accurately describes natural phenomena. Only the phenomena being described are “fuzzy” because, as it is throughout freedom’s dialectic, the space that separates also embeds and connects. In other words, on the quantum level, self-consciousness confronts its own ground condition in the form of the “phenomenal strangeness” of quantum physics.

Ultimately, from its most holistic perspective, freedom’s structural form tells us: Were it not for the negative space/condition of determinism, continuity, and locality, the discontinuity, non-locality, and indeterminism of human consciousness (opposites are necessary to conserve wholeness) would not be free in a world of our own experience (by degrees, experience of our own choosing), seeking truth, justice, and religious meaning!

To sum up my worldview, in as few words as possible: My worldview is, very close to Wolfgang Pauli’s. [The three physicists I quote (paraphrase) here are described in Ken Wilber’s book: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Greatest Physicists]. A Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Pauli, earned a reputation for being a ruthless critic of ideas during the time when physics was birthing the principles governing sub atomic particles. His contributions were numerous, including the famous “exclusion principle” and the prediction of the existence of the neutrino. At the center of Pauli’s philosophical outlook was his “wish for a unitary understanding of the world, a unity incorporating the tension of opposites,” and he hailed the interpretation of quantum theory as a major development toward this end. (p. 173)

My worldview is also in tune with the profound reverence Einstein held for rationality. Einstein believed that scientific knowledge ennobles true religion—not the religion that inspires fear in God, but rather a religion “capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself.” For Einstein, “the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence” was the highest religious attitude. (p.113)

But, even more than with Pauli and Einstein, my worldview resonates with Arthur Eddington’s. He was possibly the first person to fully comprehend Einstein’s relativity theory. He also headed up the famous expedition that photographed the solar eclipse which offered proof of relativity theory. Eddington believed that if you want to fill a vessel you must first make it hollow. He also said, “our present conception of the physical world is hollow enough to hold almost anything,” hollow enough to hold “that which asks the question,” hollow enough to hold “the scheme of symbols connected by mathematical equations that describes the basis of all phenomena.” He also said, however, “If ever the physicist solves the problem of the living body, he should no longer be tempted to point to his result and say ‘That’s you.’ He should say rather ‘That is the aggregation of symbols which stands for you in my description and explanation of those of your properties which I can observe and measure. If you claim a deeper insight into your own nature by which you can interpret these symbols—a more intimate knowledge of the reality which I can only deal with by symbolism—you can rest assured that I have no rival interpretation to propose. The skeleton is the c
ontribution of physics to the solution of the Problem of Experience; from the clothing of the skeleton it (physics) stands aloof.” (p. 194)

So, given this new model of the observer/observed relationship, what intimate knowledge of reality can we claim? What personal insight into our own nature can we claim? Last night I took another look at Stigmata, one of my favorite movies. Just before the end credits ran, these words appeared on the screen: “The kingdom of God is within you and all around you and not in buildings of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift a stone and I am there.” These words, words taken from the gospel of Thomas, were recorded in the Aramaic language—the language of Jesus–some nineteen hundred years ago. The next words that appeared on the screen were these: “Whoever discovers the meaning of these sayings will not taste death.”


2 Responses to “Lift A Stone And God Is There; Ask A Question And God Is There– End Of Five Part Blog”

  1. itchy left palm Says:

    At least some bloggers can write. Thank you for this piece..

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