Human Meaning Is A Product Of God’s Freedom

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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.


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