Archive for July, 2008

God’s Freedom In The Human Dimension Implies Knowledge

July 26, 2008

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Life Is God’s Freedom In A Higher Dimension

The God Connection

What If Paper Continued

Assuming that nature is not irrational (the contrary would be an insane world), we may conclude that the diversity of existence is, to some extent, ordered and expanding. It may be that God’s freedom, as it becomes more and more complex, achieves the freedom to experience itself. It seems to me that the most natural consequence of freedom would be to strive for its most expressive, dynamic, and stabilizing possibilities. In the experience of freedom experiencing itself the joined variable of X/Y would become unified in one experience. But, given that duality is a universal constant throughout, the complexity of X/Y must be such that it is able to experience itself while preserving duality. This phenomenon may occur only if X/Y experiences itself in a direction not contained in itself, thus giving rise to a new dimension of itself.

We may symbolize this experience with –(X/Y)(X/Y) where –(X/Y) denotes the new dimension of God’s freedom and (X/Y) denotes the now unified experience of the power of representation of X by Y form. This new experience entails a new dimension of God’s freedom for the power of representation X by Y form is now able to move in a spatial environment. This “freedom of passage” becomes living movement within a spatial environment, and, it does so within the context of the logical or operator—you assimilate or you die! Thus, in the same way that a plane contains an infinite amount of lines but is a dimension removed from these lines, life consists of an infinite amount of freedom but is a dimension removed from this freedom, as an awareness of freedom.

When X/Y becomes alive the power of representation X by Y form becomes responsive within an environment. This experience is expressed in the Chinese symbol by adding black and white to the dualistic form of the circle. Here the black (or white, depending on your preference) represents the negative space of God’s freedom, -(X/Y), while the white represents the awareness of this space, i.e., life!

The nature of freedom is such that it must move forward into new areas of experience or cease to exist. If you pick up a book on ecology you will find that there is hardly a space on this planet where some organism has not gained a foothold. In this sense, freedom is spatially extended, but, as we have already seen, freedom is not limited by space. As the complexity of freedom increases, new dimensions of experience become possible. Life, ~(X/Y)(X/Y), once again moving in a direction not contained in itself, experiences itself. This experience is especially interesting because we, human beings, are this experience. In the human dimension, (-(-(X/Y) (X/Y))(-(X/Y)(X/Y))), becomes the experience of the experience of the experience of God’s freedom.

God’s Freedom In The Human Dimension Implies Knowledge

The God Connection

What If Paper Concluded

The possibilities contained in human experience are immense, but the immediate consequence is that the person who we are is able to maintain some degree of permanence in the midst of constant change. This becomes clear when you consider that in the experience of (-(-(X/Y) (X/Y))(-(X/Y)(X/Y))), the negative space of nothingness, -(X/Y), becomes experienced in awareness as not-being, and, in so far as we experience not-being, by implication, we identify being. This is not the end of it, however, for in that not-being, -(X/Y), occurs within the experience of awareness, (X/Y), while occurring within the space of a three dimensional environment, (-(-(X/Y) (X/Y)), this experience becomes experienced as discontinuity occurring in continuity (time of mind) while occurring in the continuous space of a three dimensional event (facts). In this experience of temporality, then, we experience the forward movement of freedom in the form of an implied knowledge of our environment. In itself, this “passage of time” does not produce a great deal of knowledge, but because we bring the logical relationships implicit in the X/Y form—and, or, and implies— to bear on the experience of an event, we may form judgments concerning the significance and the probable cause of that event. These judgments are determined valid across a continuum which ranges from sensation divorced from theory at one end, to, at the other, sensation reinforced by the most advance and respected scientific theories available.

[It is probably not a coincidence that the universal constant of duality, as defined in this paper and resulting from the phenomenon of awareness becoming aware of itself as not being itself may be further identified as number, and that this number, upon a prodigious extension of freedom, may give rise to the logically sound relationships of mathematics. This being the case, we cannot be surprised to discover that after a rigorous investigation of number, the results of those investigations, when applied to our spatial environment, in many cases, corresponds to the events which have been predicted to occur in that environment.]

Many of the judgments we use to define our experience result from our ability to identify non-being. In that we may identify a particular state of affairs as occurring or not occurring, it becomes prohibitive that this same state of affairs may occur and not occur at the same time. This principle (of self-contradiction), when applied to analytical thought becomes a powerful tool, but, more informally, this principle also may be used to determine a person’s priorities and consequent behavior; that is, making one
’s behavior and beliefs consistent. For instance, if I quite my job in order to experience more time form myself, I would, in a very brief time, come to realize that employment is an essential prerequisite for the experience of satisfying free time, hence quitting my job would be inconsistent with my desired goal.

With the creation of priorities, awareness expands, and here we see the guiding light which illuminates our future possibilities, however, if there is one lesson which we have to learn again and again, it is that when a person’s priorities, either by choice or by a deficiency in the basic necessities of life, are solely determined by a desire for immediate sense gratification, that in almost every case, those people become the victims and the prisoners of their own fear, prejudice, greed, and sometimes even violence.

The above state of affairs, which I have just described, i.e., (-(-(X/Y) (X/Y))(-(X/Y)(X/Y))), is graphically captured in the Tai Chi symbol by the contrasting black and white inner circles. These circles complete the representation of God’s freedom in the human dimension, the dimension of “time of mind.” This whole relationship, or (-(-(X/Y) (X/Y))(-(X/Y)(X/Y))), is expressed in the contrasting dualistic forms depicted in the Tai Chi symbol and, from my point of view at least, fully represents the experience of the experience of the experience of God’s freedom.

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Human Meaning Is A Product Of God’s Freedom

July 19, 2008


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I Am Usually Not In The Experience That I Am Describing But I Can Be

MV Conversation

The God Connection

Future Time

“So when did you realize the connection?” said MV. “You know, getting hooked up with the big guy, the one on high?”

“When I finally stepped back and took in the whole meaning of what I was thinking,” I replied. “At first the X/Y form was about how freedom existed in a world of cause and effect, but as it developed, it became impossible not to notice its religious significance. In fact, making that connection was a very small step indeed.”

“How so,” said MV.

“Well, it wasn’t hard to infer the existence of God when you consider that existence is really expressed freedom, and sense all existence is an expression of freedom, then something must be free. I suppose you don’t have to infer that God exists from that, but what other option is there?”

“That must have been a shocker,” replied MV, “a real leap of faith.”

“Not really,” I said, “Actually, experience and beliefs about experience, take place in two ways. The first way is like reading a book. I guess that’s what we’re doing right now–information processing. After an explanation, a nod of agreement is expected, but even with supporting evidence, vigorous debates are sometimes necessary before agreements are forthcoming. However, there is another level, a first-person level of experience that requires no leap at all.

“Typically, when I describe an experience I am not inside the experience—but I can be. When I am in pain, and say as much, there is no disconnect. My word’s—‘I’m hurt,’ and body language, erase any doubt that I am right there, front and center in the experience of the pain that I am describing. To be sure, in the beginning, that was not the way I experienced the X/Y form; then the knowledge/feeling experience was not a first person experience. However, at a later date, I did actually sense my ‘I-consciousness’ merge with the ‘presence of a self-aware God in the here and now,’ and that, for me, was a shocking experience. Eventually, I came off of that high, but there was never any going back after that.

“Put another way, it works like this: God resides in my temporal present as an all-knowing self-awareness, but I do not experience self-awareness this way. Instead, I experience my own beliefs, concerns, and intentions; I experience my past and my future in terms of my own thoughts, words, and deeds. ‘My reflective consciousness,’ says the X/Y form, ‘is one half of me, while the other half is the embodied physical event. However, the whole me is an affirmation,– an affirmation taking place in the space of logical implication.’ Thus, when the meaning of this state of affairs becomes clear, when the affirmation of who I am is understood from within the context of the X/Y form, responsibilities shift from my own personal relationship to myself, to the more daunting relationship of ‘my relationship’ to God’s self-awareness, i.e. my God relationship. This may sound strange, but there is a common analogue to this relationship, an analogue to my personal relationship with God through self-consciousness, –and it is expressed in the Gestalt figure/ground images.

“In the common Gestalt representation of ‘faces’ and ‘vase,’ whether you see two faces or a vase depends on which part of the drawing you see as a figure and which part as background. Although the drawing allows you to switch back and forth between the two ways of organizing perception, you can’t perceive the reversible drawing both ways at the same time. This figure/ground relationship, by analogy, is what is happening in the X/Y form. The source of everything, Divine freedom, becomes the form of consciousness while what I think, speak, and feel, becomes the content of consciousness, but, this conscious content is, so to speak, just one side of the two sided coin; that is, the ‘heads side’ of X/Y form being is the divine act of freedom while the ‘tails side,’ in the human dimension, becomes my own self-awareness, which, in turn, is God’s self-awareness. Form and content here, may speak a different language, but they speak with the same voice.”

“So what happened? What did you do after the initial shock had passed,” MV responded.

“Well, like I said, there were two experiences,” I replied. “The third-person one, processing information, came first. I had to talk to someone after that, and I knew what I had to say would not be easy to understand, so I enrolled in an independent study class in the religion department at my university. There, I knew I would be able to express my ideas, as well as get the feedback that I craved. In the middle of writing my end of semester paper for the class, I experienced God in the first-person. In fact, to get a better appreciation for that experience, maybe I should read some of that paper. The experience itself took place in the library—it was awesome!

The God Connection—What If Paper

April 30, 1981

What If, Then Maybe, It May Be

In this paper I will explore the possibility that human meaning is a consequence of God’s nothingness. The development of this idea has so radically changed my perception of the world that in my reassessment of the world, things, which once appeared insignificant or meaningless, now possess unlimited value. In the pages that follow I would like to share some of this newly acquired insight. My premise simply stated is: What if God is free not to be God?

The above premise begins to make sense when you consider that God and freedom are non-complementary terms. It is difficult to conceive of God contained within boundaries or limits, but in order for freedom to exist, qualifications must follow. For instance, implied in freedom is a freedom from, or a freedom to, and within these qualifications there is a further qualification of a not that or a not yet, i.e., place and time. Given these types of limitation it does not appear that freedom can be an attribute of an omnipresent, omnipotent God unless—God is free to not be God!

It may be that in order for God to Be and be free at the same time that God must, so to speak, “back into existence;” that is, by virtue of not being not-God, God becomes free, in the verb sense, and God becomes free to Be, in the noun sense. This odd state of affairs, it seems to me, suggests the original significance of John Paul Sartre’s description of a being that exists as being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is. But, of course, Sartre was not referring to God when he conceived this relationship. Rather, he was addressing what he thought to be the “mechanics” of human consciousness or for-itself consciousness. Nevertheless, in this description of consciousness we see the same relationship (once removed) addressing functionally identical situations, 1) human consciousness on the one hand, and 2) God’s freedom on the other.

In terms of God’s freedom, this relationship becomes simplified in the symbolic representation of the Chinese symbol Tai Chi, or what is commonly recognized as the yin/yang symbol—the black and white complementary parts of one large and two small circles. Fortunately, the Chinese symbol is sufficiently rich to express the relationships implicit in God’s freedom, but in order to give this symbol greater interpretative power I will express its meaning in the symbolization of what I call the X/Y form. This form and the Chinese symbol may both be thought of as defining each other as they define God’s freedom. But it would be a mistake to understand the X/Y form as a mathematical expression because the form represents the functional reality, which ultimately, develops into the relationships and properties that human analytical thinking takes for granted– space, time, and number.

To be free from oneself in order to be free to be yourself—may be expressed as the power of representation X by Y form. Here X and Y represent joined variables that have an unlimited capacity to represent any and all possibilities. Thus, in this form, we have defined the freedom of God. From here forward I will refer to this property as X/Y. It follows from X/Y, or God’s freedom, that an infinite amount of diversity is embraced by a universal constant, i.e., duality. Duality then places a limit on all possible realities, and this limit becomes totally absorbed in the logical property and meaning of what we are accustomed to refer to as and. The complementary shape of duality in the yin/yang symbol represents this same fundamental relationship.

The meaning that I have given these symbols refers to God’s freedom, but the notation is not yet sufficiently complex to relate God’s freedom to human consciousness. It is possible to speculate, however, that since humans are distinguished by their reason and ability worship a creator, and, since the nature of God’s freedom already manifests one of the key logical operators that contribute to reason, that God’s freedom is in some way profoundly tied to the logical operators which union, in then, permits human behavior. The remainder of this paper will explore this possibility and the inevitable consequences that follow.

To be completed next week.

Rule-Generating Key–The Gap Between Self And Self-Knowledge

July 12, 2008

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More MV Conversation

“Where did you get the idea for the X/Y form, anyway?” responded MV.

“I don’t know,” I said. “However, I was surprised to find Sartre’s philosophy in the middle of it. I never really liked Sartre. His philosophy was too abstract, too empty for my taste, but without it, I never would have discovered the X/Y form.”

“Wasn’t the ‘form’ about logic and levels?” said MV.

“Well, yes, but it’s even more about negation,” I responded, “It’s also about the negation that constitutes Sartre’s for-itself. From there, I guess, the idea more or less fell out of the self-referential paradoxes.”

“Self-referential paradoxes?”

“Yes, when definitions for particular entities relate back to the entity group to which the entity belongs,” I replied, “self-referential paradoxes result. The definitions that fall into the category of paradox are called self-referential concepts or relationships.”

“And these paradoxical relationships gave you the idea of the X/Y form?”

“Well, not exactly,” I replied. “But I guess they did make me think really hard about rules and what rules are based on, and even about the truth or certainty concerning what follows from rules. Just to give you some idea of what I’m talking about this is how Luchins, in his book on the foundations of mathematics, describes Russell’s antimony, plus a few other paradoxes:

[“By way of introduction to Russell’s antinomy, note that a set or collection of objects may or may not have the character of these objects. For example, a group of horses is not a horse and a group of people is not a person. But in some cases a set of objects does have the character of the objects. For example, a set of numbers may itself be a number. As another example, the set of all sets may be considered to be a set. In other words, a set may or may not be a number of itself. Thus, the set of all horses is not a member of itself where as the set of all sets is a member of itself. Consider now the set, denoted by S, of all sets that are not members of themselves. Is S a member of itself or not? Suppose S is a member of itself; then (by definition of S) S is not a member of itself. Suppose S is not a member of itself; then (by definition of S) it is a member of S. Hence we arrive at the contradiction that S is a member of S if and only if S is not a member of S. This is known a Russell’s antinomy and is an example of a set-theoretic antinomy…

In a similar illustration, consider the chief (or high priest) of a tribe who makes sacrifices for those and only those members of the tribe who do not make sacrifices for themselves. Does he make a sacrifice for himself? If he does, then he does not; and if he does not, then he does… (And lastly), another well-known antinomy concerns a liar. For example, suppose a person says, “This statement I am now making is a lie.” Is the quoted statement true or false? It can be shown that it can be neither, without involving a contradiction.” (Luchins and Luchins, Logical Foundations of Mathematics for Behavioral Scientists, p.13).]

“Your X/Y form fell out of this gobbley goop,” exclaimed MV.

“Let me back up a bit,” I replied. “I guess you could say that I am not the only one who ever held the belief that the universe is rational. Einstein believed in a rational universe, and so did the Greek philosopher Heraclites, who, some 2400 years ago, thought that a non-human intelligence or Logos ordered everything. Because the universe is rational, it is intelligible and an intelligible universe has a whole lot in common with the X/Y form, as it also does with self-reference too. To my way of thinking, the X/Y form is a pre-condition for self-reference to occur.

The original idea that there was a pre-condition for self-reference was developed in the symbolic logic of C.I. Lewis. To avoid contradictions such as occur in the Liar and other paradoxes, Lewis developed what he called pragmatic contradiction. It, pragmatic contradiction, treats together the speech and the act of speaking. “All statements are false” cannot be true because it implies, not a restriction against self-reference as Russell said, but because it implies the necessary truth of the contradictory opposite, “There exists at least one true statement.” Starting with a contradiction-free affirmation, the structures of knowledge can then be made to follow in a necessary and systematic fashion. In this way, the closed system problems that arise in mathematics are avoided. Trying to locate the foundation of this knowledge—the source of rule-generated information–was what led me to the idea of the X/Y form. What also led me to the X/Y form was that I saw how the “the pre-condition for self-reference,” the negation that constitutes Sartre’s for-itself, and the certainty of rule generated information, are all a consequence of the X/Y form.

My Response To—An Inherently Ra
tional Universe

Aug. 6, 1981

An Inherently Rational Universe

In my presentation on the different contexts of freedom, I was, basically, agreeing with Northrop’s realistic interpretation of how mathematical constructs are found to correspond with a real, knowable aesthetic universe. As Goethe emphasized and Northrop concurs, the cosmos is like a living organism even though law governs it. In other words, I was trying, in my presentation, to make sense out of the broad generalization that the universe is inherently rational. Support for this idea can be found in many areas:

In Jean Piaget’s exploration of cognitive development in children, and in Ernst Cassirer’s investigations—especially in his study of aphasia (Cassirer, 1957, p. 205-77), this idea does indeed find support. In fact, setting in front of me right now is a magazine article entitled, “The Wisdom Of Babies” (Newsweek, 1-12-81). It strongly suggests that an awareness of self is somehow embedded in the mind of babies. The article states: 1) Babies quickly develop the notion of ‘self’—of being different from other things in the world, which suggests that the brain may be prewired for this concept. 2) Infants are born with a set of dispositions, which may form the basis for symbolic thinking. 3) The belief that humans need language to make the mental leap from the specific to the general is becoming more and more questionable in that babies seem to be able to construct categories and make generalizations. Could it be that at the time of birth information is already being channeled by a set of rules? Perhaps, in the language of mathematics we can find what we are looking for—precise definitions for foundational rules.

Unfortunately, even in mathematics, foundational rules are hard to come by. Part of the problem is that what gets called mathematics in one culture is different from what gets called mathematics in other cultures. The source of the problem—how do you define number—has generated much controversy. In short, there is no agreement on whether number refers to an idea or to a property of objects or to a pencil stroke, and so on and so forth. Curiously, even with this hazy concept of number, mathematics still provides the language for the most exact of empirical disciplines—science. This problem has not gone unnoticed by mathematicians.

In the logic school of mathematics, number is defined in terms of the concept of sets and cardinal numbers. According to the Frege-Russell definition, “two sets are said to have the same cardinal number if there exists a one-to-one correspondence between them.” The cardinal number of a given set is defined as the set of all sets that have the same cardinal number as the given set. However, it was later shown that a contradiction arose from this number concept. Even before the contradiction arose, this definition was received poorly among intuitionists who did not consider it necessary to reduce the concept of natural number to simpler concepts. For them number was simply the result of the notion of an abstract entity plus the notion of an indefinite sequence of those entities.

An advocate of the formalist school of mathematics, David Hilbert, attempted to formalize mathematics in a way that would satisfy both the logicists and the intuitionists. Hilbert proposed to formulate classical mathematics as axiomatic theories and then prove that these theories were free from contradictions. This attempt came to an abrupt halt when Kurt Godel published a theorem that demonstrated that any formal number-theoretic system, if consistent, contains an undecidable formula; that is, a formula that can neither be proved nor disproved. In other words, Godel’s theorem tells us, “that it is self-contradictory to suppose that mathematics can be proved free from self-contradiction—that, in fact, there must always be true but unprovable theorems” (Pledge, 1959, p. 190). This striking result– Godel’s theorem, suggests that the source for the certainty of rule generated information will not be found in the “language of the universe,” which is what Galileo Galilee once called mathematics. If we can’t look to mathematics for certainty then where can we look?

Certainty is hard to find no matter where we look, but finding the origin of number shouldn’t pose so great an obstacle; at least that’s what the philosopher, mathematician, and linguist Ernst Cassirer thought. According to Cassirer, “…in many languages, the etymology of the first numerals suggests a link with the personal pronouns: in Indo-Germanic, for example, the words for ‘thou’ and ‘two’ seem to disclose a common root…we stand here at a common linguistic source of psychology, grammar and mathematics; that this dual root leads us back to the original dualism upon which rests the very possibility of speech and thought” (Cassirer, 1957, vol. 1, p. 244). The mathematician Dedekind traced the concept of number back to an even more fundamental origin. He ended up reducing the system of natural numbers to a single basic logical function: he considered the system to be grounded in “the ability of the mind to relate things to things, to make a thing correspond to a thing, or to image a thing in a thing (Cassirer, 1957, vol. 3, p. 257). If the origin of number is located in the mind’s ability to relate things to things, then the self-limiting theorems of mathematics, it seems to me, have something to say about consciousness itself, something strange, and, ultimately, something that will remain strange. Douglas Hofstadter seems to agree. In his book, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, he echoes this sentiment when he states:

“All the limitative Theorems of metamathematics and the theory of computation suggest that once the ability to represent your own structure has reached a certain critical point that is the kiss of death: it guarantees that you can never represent yourself totally. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, Church’s Undecidability Theorem, Turing’s Halting Theorem, Tarski’s Truth Theorem—all have the flavor of some ancient fairy tale which warns you that “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which…will always be incomplete, cannot be charted on any map, will never halt, cannot be described” (1979, p. 697).

Perhaps, it is that crit
ical disjuncture between self and self-knowledge that holds the key to the rule-generating phenomenon that we are looking for!

Movement Here Does Not Occur Across Space And Time-It Occurs On the Back Of Negation

Response Continued

Self-Inquiry

What if the self that we identify with, the one expressed in the word “I,” is something different from what we think it is, something that once it becomes identified will entail bold implications, not just for psychology, but also for everything that we know and understand.

In its simplest form, self-inquiry becomes a statement about X becoming aware of Y. The power of representation X by Y form, or, the self-awareness experience, didn’t materialize out of thin air; rather, it had to evolve like any other complex state of being. I am not talking about evolution in the usual sense here. I am talking about the evolution of self-consciousness, an evolution that evolves space and time (not the other way around) as products of its own evolution.

Obviously, a problem arises right away. How can consciousness evolve outside of space and time when change takes place inside space and time? In the same way that logical necessity exists independently of space-time, so too the existence of X/Y is not contingent upon the existence of space-time parameters. Logical necessity and logical possibility exist– inside and outside– space and time. Indeed, as the investigations of both Heidegger and Sartre have shown, the self—Dasein for Heidegger and the being of for-itself for Sartre—pre-exists temporality as the “condition for temporality.” That said it is still hard to imagine how change can take place outside of space and time. Perhaps Sartre can help here.

The negation-dependent being of Sartre’s for-itself provides insight into how the X/Y form can exist outside of time and space, and, in that circumstance, produce change. For Sartre, for-itself exists by virtue of its own negation as being-what- is-not–while-not–being-what-is. This peculiar way of existing is not so much different from the way X/Y exists outside of space and time. Just as, on the level of the for-itself, negation moves consciousness into an awareness of self (and temporality), so too, on the ground level of the X/Y form, the double negative moves X/Y into an affirmation of its own negative space.

Movement here does not occur across space-time; rather, it occurs, so to speak, on the back of negation. In a sufficiently complex condition, X/Y’s double negative form becomes affirmed in a higher state of being, albeit in the negative space of itself. In so far as this affirmation occurs in its own negative space—the negative space of a higher dimension of itself, this affirmation remains connected to the original X/Y form—X/Y’s pre-temporal, pre-spatial state of being. It is through this logical movement that X/Y will, eventually, gain space-time awareness, and, as Sartre has pointed out, become a question unto itself, but since all this rests on the X/Y form becoming more complex, I need to say a few words about the qualitative difference that increased complexity sometimes makes.

This idea has its critics, especially among those people who view the world in terms of strict causalities. Hofstadter, however, gives us a different view when he says, “Complexity often does introduce qualitative differences. Although it sounds implausible, it might turn out that above a certain level of complexity, a machine ceased to be predictable, even in principle, and started doing things on its own account, or to us a very telling phrase, it might begin to have a mind of its own” (1979, p. 389). But, we are not talking about machines here; we are talking about the changing flux of increasing complexity as it relates to logical form and space-time relationships. A complexity that, on one level, becomes an awareness of space—the space of an environment, and, on another level, becomes the awareness of the awareness of an event. In other words, both self and environment evolve out of the X/Y form.

From an evolutionary point of view, the X/Y form works like this: Beliefs are affirmed or rejected based on supporting reasons and evidence. Darwin’s theory of evolution, for instance, is accepted or rejected based on how evidence for Darwin’s theory is viewed. The process of accepting or rejecting reasoned evidence is what the X/Y form represents, but it can’t represent beliefs and evidence until it has evolved into the liberated state of (X/Y)-(X/Y)–(X/Y)(X/Y).

Freedom moves, but is limited by form. Evolution moves, but is limited by genetic mutations that may or may not benefit individuals or species. For the moment, let’s assume that understanding evolution requires not just understanding natural selection, but also understanding the liberation that occurs in the X/Y form. Unless inhibited, freedom moves in the direction of more freedom. But, the X/Y form tells us that freedom and form are bound together in the same way that structure and function are bound together, e.g. the heart muscle. In the original state of the X/Y form very little freedom is possible. However, in the evolution of liberation (the evolution of the X/Y form), when the X/Y form evolves it evolves as a whole unit.

When the power of representation X by Y form achieves the capacity to experience its own negative space, the X/Y form evolves–as a whole unit. By its other name, this liberated experience is called, “the emergence of life in a nurturing environment.” On the level of the X/Y form, life is manifested as “continuity occurring in discontinuity,” or, -(X/Y)(X/Y). This newly liberated form of duality, once again, upon achieving a sufficient level of complexity (now alive), experiences its own negative space. This negative space, by its other name, is called the embodied space of a physical event, the embodiment of (X/Y)-(X/Y), which, in turn, manifests “discontinuity occurring in continuity,” or, –(X/Y)(X/Y). Jean Paul Sartre described the experience of –(X/Y)(X/Y) as “for-itself consciousness,” but, when th
is experience is understood as the liberated state of (X/Y)-(X/Y)–(X/Y)(X/Y),—- what leaps fully formed from this new dimension of freedom is the capacity to accept or reject reasoned evidence for unsubstantiated assertions—the capacity for rational analysis. This idea will become clearer (I hope) as I continue to describe the logic behind how the X/Y form piggybacks itself into freer states of expressive awareness on the back of negation.

On its most fundamental level, the X/Y form expresses a double negation. On this level X and Y are entwined. In this process then, X/Y becomes –(X/Y)(X/Y) where –(X/Y) represents the negative space of a now affirmed (X/Y). This affirmed state, biologically speaking, lives in an environment—its negative condition. In death, this affirmation dissolves back into the entwined space of the X/Y form. But, in life, it maintains and perpetuates itself as it evolves more life– more freedom.

Once again, upon achieving a sufficient complexity, the affirmed state of X/Y liberates itself from its negative condition. At this higher level of affirmation, negation occurs in affirmation while occurring in affirmation occurring in negation—the negative space of itself. The X/Y form, in this second transmutation of itself, now becomes (X/Y)-(X/Y)–(X/Y)(X/Y) where (X/Y)-(X/Y) represents the negative space of the now affirmed state of (X/Y)(X/Y). This affirmed state, psychologically speaking, “knows itself” to be living in the space of a physical event—its negative condition. Here, the affirmed state of -(X/Y)(X/Y) becomes the person that references everything that lies outside of its own affirmation, which includes both the inner states of mind and the outer conditions that extend from the body– to the limits of the space-time continuum. In death, the person dissolves back into the whole of the dialectic–the X/Y form’s ground condition. But, on the rational level of “knowing events,” it maintains and perpetuates itself as more freedom evolves and more knowledge accumulates as a consequence.

I suppose, there is nothing to prevent this process from repeating, but, in real experience, I have no idea what that would mean. I do know, however, what (X/Y)-(X/Y)–(X/Y)(X/Y) means. The X/Y form has bootstrapped its own self-awareness, its own “I” awareness, and as such, the capacity of the self-representation X by Y form represents the uniquely human capacity to create and represent its own negative space. Human history, or what gets called civilization, is the direct result of (X/Y) liberating itself from–(X/Y), in the liberated form of (X/Y)-(X/Y)–(X/Y)(X/Y), be it in the form of the individual or the collective. And so the story of freedom and civilization continues, now in the form of culture, knowledge, and space/time, — the negative event of self-awareness.

The Thread That Extends Through Consciousness, Freedom, And Matter

July 5, 2008


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MV Conversation Continues

Future Time

“Yes, but in your presentation, as I recall, you answered all the Professor’s questions,” said MV. “It’s just that in the poetry department your answers fell far short.”

“My answers lacked more than poetry,” I replied. “They lacked substance. That’s why, after a couple days of thinking about those questions, I tried to write out in a letter another set of answers to Dr. Clifford’s questions.”

“Is that when you introduced your X/Y form?”

“No. The X/Y form didn’t even exist until after I mailed that letter,” I replied. “In fact, after I dropped off the letter, and after considering the implications of what I had just written, only then, while walking home, did the X/Y form come into focus.”

“So when did you begin to speak out about your X/Y form, anyway?” said MV.

“I never did. When I finally got around to talking about it,” I replied, “I had already simplified it—to make it easier to understand. In that regard, the X/Y form and b~b ~bb mean the same thing. Irregardless of form, though, the bottom line is that the ascendance of the human being, — the origin of self-consciousness, — can be traced back in time to where consciousness bifurcated into the split of self/other. But, hey, I’m jumping ahead here. This whole revelation began with the two questions Dr. Clifford asked when I concluded my Dynamic Of Freedom presentation. He asked: ‘How is freedom implied in consciousness?’ And, ‘how is consciousness connected to the aesthetic continuum?’ My answers were disappointing, so I went home and took another stab at those questions in the letter that I wrote to him. I described how existence, freedom, and knowledge were all grounded in the precondition for anything whatsoever– in the ‘nothingness’ that lies at the heart of everything, and, while walking home from mailing that letter the X/Y form just seemed to pop into my head.”

Letter Response To Dr. Clifford’s Questions

March 11, 1981

Dear Dr. Clifford,

During the discussion period following my presentation, you asked two questions: How is freedom implied in consciousness and how is consciousness connected to the aesthetic continuum (the “stuff” our senses connect us up with)? I was not happy with my response. So, I will try harder this time. As I recall, my response to the first question was that freedom and consciousness are the same thing, and, in response to your second question, I said freedom cannot be conceived as a thing to be isolated, it must be conceived within the totality of the relationships it expresses. Now that I have had more time to think about your questions, I would like to add that there is a common thread that extends through consciousness, freedom and the aesthetic continuum. In Eastern philosophy this thread is called by the name sunyata. Basically, sunyata requires that all things are linked together, or, put another way, not a single thing comes into existence without some relationship to every other thing. I realize this is probably not a concept familiar to you, and, for my part, I will not bring it into this discussion except to say that it must be considered in any final evaluation of what I am trying to say.

But, on second thought, and from another point of view, perhaps you are familiar with this concept. Zukav, in his book The Dancing Wu Li Masters, connects the idea of interconnectiveness up with the wave/particle nature of light when he says:

“Transferring the properties that we usually ascribe to light to our interaction with light deprives light of an independent existence. Without us, or by implication, anything else to interact with, light does not exist. This remarkable conclusion is only half the story. The other half is that, in a similar manner, without light, or, by implication, anything else to interact with, we do not exist! As Bohr himself put it:

“…an independent reality in the ordinary physical sense can be ascribed neither to the phenomena nor to the agencies of observation.”

By “agencies of observation”, he may have been referring to instruments, not people, but philosophically, complementarity leads to the conclusion that the world consists not of things, but of interactions. Properties belong to interactions, not to independently existing things, like “light”. The philosophical implications of complementarity became even more pronounced with the discovery that the wave-particle duality is a characteristic of everything.” (1979 p.118)

Anyway, it’s time to get back to my presentation, back to a description of the significance of the indeterminate part of the aesthetic continuum and the consciousness/freedom connection.

The aesthetic continuum, as has been pointed out by Northrop, is both determinate and indeterminate, and this indeterminacy is encountered in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. We reach a point, in the subatomic realm, where our picture of nature becomes blurred. At this level, the inner structure
of the atom is closed off to all descriptive accounts. In the logic of physics this means that A or B, in an AB system, can be determined with any desired precision, but a conjunctive statement concerning A and B becomes imprecise. In fact, for some physicists, a conjunctive statement concerning A and B becomes completely meaningless.

In an attempt to clarify the above described situation, the mathematician, John von Neumann, in his book The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics asked the question: “If a wave function (Schrodinger wave equation) actually should describe something in the real world, what would that something be like?” He then answered that question when he said; it would be “…a strange animal constantly changing with the passage of time. Each moment it would be a simple mixture of possibilities, it would be a sort of organic whole whose parts are changing constantly but which, nonetheless, is somehow a thing-in-itself. This thing-in-itself would continue to develop indefinitely until an observation (measurement) is made on the observed system which it represents” (Zukav, p. 218). Von Neumann’s description, I believe, is not only valid for what takes place at the quantum level; it’s also valid for what takes place in consciousness—in particular, in Sartre’s description of the consciousness of the for-itself.

Asking A Question Collapses The Jumping Monkey Behavior Of Consciousness

Letter Response Concluded

My relationship to consciousness–my self-consciousness (according to Sartre)–brings to consciousness the pure negative of nothingness, and, in so doing, denies itself the possibility of truly becoming self-conscious. Again, according to Sartre, a negation separates me from myself. Nothingness then, lies at the heart of consciousness. Sartre describes man “as the being by which nothingness comes into the world.” Being for-itself can never, in any final sense, be conscious of itself. It carries within itself the rift of nothingness that negates that very possibility, and as such, only makes itself known to me as a lack, a lack that typically fills up with ego, –but it does something else too. Without it, without the nothingness that negates, the question and our capacity for inquiry would cease to exist. The annihilating act of self-consciousness is the real consciousness behind consciousness. It is the lack of self, a question unto self that we are left with. It is what Sartre calls the pre-reflective cogito. What this means is that any knowledge of consciousness is secondary to existing consciousness itself. This is not unlike what physicists experience at the quantum level.

In quantum mechanics, when a measurement is taken on a system, one of the many possible states of that system gets actualized (the system breaks down). It is the collapse of the wave function that allows the physical state of a system to be observed. In our own consciousness there exists an analogue to the wave function collapse. Asking a question collapses the “jumping monkey” behavior of our awareness. John von Neumann’s “strange animal” does not just exist at the quantum level of experience. The act of measuring a system under observation at the quantum level is, to my way of thinking, no different than stopping the jumping monkey experience of awareness as it tumbles through temporally generated thoughts. Perhaps you have had this experience? Take a “time out” and listen to people in conventional conversation. It’s “just one thing after another.” Mental associations move the direction of discourse seamlessly through different subjects. Moved by these mental associations, consciousness develops indefinitely (a macro version of von Neumann’s strange animal); that is, until a question arises. With the question we “collapse the system.” We actualize future possibilities. What do you mean? How can that be true? Why, at the quantum level, does a cause and effect disconnect occur? See what I mean? A question stops the flow of consciousness, but, according to Sartre, the consciousness of for-itself, at its most fundamental level, is already stopped before the question can be asked. The very existence of consciousness—the consciousness of the for-itself—is a question in waiting.

In quantum mechanics it is not possible to observe reality without changing it. When we get close enough to a system to see what’s happening, we change the outcome, or put more succinctly, there would be a different set of alternatives had we not interfered. Even our choice of experiment affects the outcome. The particle-like nature of light or the wave-like nature of light depends on how we choose to look at it. We cannot eliminate ourselves from the picture. Thus, an objective look at nature is prohibited. The knower and the known, at that level of experience, are inextricably intertwined. At the quantum level, just as it is in self-conscious, we are looking at the reduction of primacy of knowledge to the primacy of existence; but, even more than that we are looking at the reduction of the primacy of existence to the primacy of freedom, or at least the freedom of multiple possibilities.

Returning to Sartre, two consequences follow from the existence of for-itself. 1) Consciousness and belief have overlapping meanings; and, 2) negation and freedom form an inseparable unity. It is not possible to separate belief from consciousness and still have cognitive awareness. Consciousness is necessary for belief, and belief is the being of consciousness. In Sartre’s terminology, this is consciousness of reflection reflecting, or my consciousness of presence-to-self. In terms of “existing,” every conscious existence exists. It is not possible to separate freedom from existence and still remain in existence, and that is the way I see things at the quantum level of experience, also.

The concepts of position and momentum are intimately bound up with the idea of what it means to exist. At the atomic particle level, we may have to admit that this thing that we have been calling a moving particle is not a moving particle at all. If we can’t determine (in our description of a particle) more than one of the two properties that define existence then how can we be justified in concluding that the thing under examination is actually a particle? I am suggesting that at the level of consciousness where existence has been reduced to freedom, so too, at the level of the atomic particle, freedom is inextricably bound to an “existing particle,”– the inseparable unity of freedom and negation. That would explain why we never see moving particles the way they really are. We only see them the way we choose to see them. Niles Bohr, in his theory of complementarity, addressed this very issue.

Bohr developed the concept of complementarity to explain the wave particle duality of light (or the conjugate variables at the heart of all existence). Wave-like characteristics and particle-like characteristics, or so the theory goes, are mutually exclusive, yet they exist as complementary aspects of light. Although one of them always excludes the other, both of them are necessary to understand light. Wave and particle characteristics exclude each other because light, or anything else, cannot be both wave like and particle like at the same time. I believe the thread of negation that runs (concurrently) through consciousness, freedom and matter explains this anomaly.

An almost identical relationship is taking place in what Sartre calls the dyad of belief-consciousness. By standing off from itself as it reveals itself, Sartre’s pre-reflective cogito structures the consciousness-belief dyad. According to Sartre, we have consciousness of an object only through the negation of not being that object, and, it is that negation that separates me (my consciousness) from my belief. The pre-reflective cogito cannot be posited as an object of reflection because it is its own existence; it knows itself only through the consciousness of existing. For Sartre, the knower in this knower-known relationship can never be known because it is existence itself. Because consciousness and belief exist in a cohesive relationship, each postulating the other, consciousness is necessary for belief and belief is the being of consciousness. Their meanings overlap. Thus, a necessary duality shapes our cognitive awareness and that duality is what constitutes our “freedom to know” the world in terms of spatiality, quantity, temporality, and instrumentality. Zukav, in his book, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, identifies the significance of this “common thread”—the thread of nothingness extending through consciousness, freedom, and the aesthetic continuum (the “stuff” our senses connect to) when he says:

Since particle-like behavior and wave-like behavior are the only properties that we ascribe to light, and since these properties now are recognized to belong (if complementarity is correct) not to light itself, but to our interaction with light, then it appears that light has no properties independent of us! To say that something has no properties is the same as saying that it does not exist. The next step in this logic is inescapable. Without us, light does not exist. (p. 118)

To sum up, the aesthetic continuum is grounded in nothingness, — the nothingness of freedom and self-consciousness, or the source of all possibilities. This negation, this thread that runs through consciousness, freedom and matter (the sage calls this thread sunyata, the philosopher calls it the ground of being) births our capacity to question, know, and change that world—hopefully for the better.