Posts Tagged ‘love’

Existence God Structure Logic Love

September 18, 2010

Early on I identified with agnosticism, – an escape from what I had been taught. But, I continued to study religion–aesthetic traditions, philosophy of, and Christianity. However, the religion/God that, for me, is spot on, not only affirms God’s existence, but also demonstrates a consistency and coherence with events— predictable scientific events. What follows is a brief description/explanation of the God that Is. (Inspiration for this post came from a Google search on the principle of double negation.)

Ideal Meanings

The necessary elements of every assertion are based on “ideal meanings” that fill our perceptions with meaning. This process, over time, alters both the meaning and the content of our perceptual field. But, what it comes down to is testing the deductive consequences of those “ideal meanings” against the sensual contents in the field of our perceptions. For instance, consider that space, as an ontological entity, in the theory of general relativity, doesn’t exist. The being of space has been replaced with purely methodological considerations. What space ‘is,’ or whether any definite character can be attributed to it, is no longer a concern. Rather, we must be concerned with the geometrical presuppositions, the “ideal meanings” that get used in the interpretation of the phenomena that we ascribe to nature according to law. And further, at the quantum level, as far as a person’s limited reason is concerned, there is no quantum world, just an abstract quantum physical description. In other words, over time, both knowledge and the perceived field that we find ourselves in changes.

God’s Structure

The structure of God that explains why the physical universe is comprehensible, why the mind will never stop explaining things, and why mathematics (both present and not yet invented) will continue to explore imagined possibilities, arises from God’s structure, a structure rooted in the freedom to be free.

God is structured through negation—event structuring negations which circumscribe all physical, biological, and psychological events. Human self-consciousness is a product of negation; the evolving universe is a product of negations. When it comes to understanding “why negations,” the distinguished astronomer and Pulitzer-prize winner, Carl Sagan, said it best: “We are the universe’s way of understanding itself.” Bottom line, though, is that our participation in this process and the universe’s participation in this process are rooted in “divine liberation/structure,” or the freedom to be free.

So what exactly is this structure that logically implies God’s existence, the natural world, life, self-consciousness, and liberation, the liberation that produces the ups and downs of civilization? The source of this structure may be traced to the principle of double negation! The following is cut and paste description of this principle:

[Double Negation Principle

The principle that, for any proposition P, P logically implies not-not-P, and not-not-P logically implies P.
Classical logic accepts both these halves of the principle, but intuitionist logic accepts only the first half, and not the second. This is because it accepts the law of contradiction (and so, given P, cannot allow not-P), but rejects the law of excluded middle (and so, given not-not-P, does not consider itself forced to accept P).]

In God’s structure the not-not-P that logically implies P becomes not-not-God therefore God, and this structure sustains the universe. This structure is frozen in time (synchronic), but the “awareness of the implication of P,” is both a product of synchronic and diachronic evolution (time-dependent evolution). To be sure, humans are a product of the evolution of star-stuff, but they are also a product of the isomorphic transformations of structure (transformation is the medium of synchronic movement and transformation need not be a temporal process: 1+1=2; 6 divided by 2=3; clearly, the “following and making” here meant, are not temporal processes. The law of intelligibility is the foundation of all “laws”). These changes that occur in divine structure are real, yet, at the same time, they conserve the not-not-P structure that implies God. In the structure of divinity, existence, or that which is identified as existence, remains circumscribed by the ~~P therefore “G” structure.

God, by any other name, is the “affirmative ideal,” but this is not the end of it. Star-stuff evolution moves from simple to complex over time. When existence, circumscribed by the ~~p structure achieves sufficient complexity, two significant events occur. First, the structure of ~~p reboots into a higher ~pp structure which, in turn, circumscribes more complex forms of existence, i.e., life. The ~p in this higher structure conserves the ground structure of ~~p, or, in other words, death/decay preserves the divine structure of ~~p, therefore “G.” A major liberation occurs, however, when ~~p becomes P, i.e., the implied “G” of ~~p becomes alive—and “life” continues the simple to complex movement!

The first structural liberation occurs between ~~p and ~pp, but the second structural liberation (the one that produces human consciousness) occurs, after a sufficient diachronic complexity is achieved, when ~pp reboots to p~p~pp (or when the now liberated ~pp structure experiences discontinuity in continuity, or “time of mind consciousness” occurring in the higher negative space of p~p). The higher negative space of p~p conserves the structure of God while the ~pp structure, in turn, liberates the “affirmative ideal” (God by any other name) in human self-consciousness.

The Meaning and Significance of the P~P~PP God Structure

We might ask, what does the God structure of p~p~pp mean in ordinary language? Our “time of mind steam of consciousness” is embedded in a physical event. Physical events take place within our perceptual field (sensory experience) and are identified, scrutinized, and categorized within our “time of mind” experience. F. S. Northop says it best when he says, “To be any complete thing is to be not merely an immediately experienced, aesthetically and emotionally felt thing, but also to be what hypothetically conceived and experimentally verified theory designates” (The Meeting Of East And West, p. 450). In other words, divine structure leaves us with the same “reality,” i.e., an awareness of the physical processes that constitute the material world—the same world we were “schooled in and grew up in,” or, it leaves us with what can be inferred from the structure of God described above. (I’m sure different inferences can be made from the above description, but that is what “time of mind” is all about—testing the consistency and coherence of ideas in the market place of critical thinking and debate).

What the God Structure Tells Us About Ourselves and Love

God’s logical consistency is connected necessarily to the evolution of everything that we know about the universe, i.e., connected necessarily to all the possibilities of human behavior EXCEPT the behaviors that contradict God’s self-consistency, e.g., behavior that takes life unnecessarily, behavior that causes unnecessary suffering, behavior that does harm to the environment–harm to that which preserves and perpetuates freedom, life, love, and reverence for the God that makes “all” possible.

And, speaking of love, God’s structure not only finds a place for love, LOVE, ultimately, becomes the most significant experience possible. True, love’s meaning is embedded in “time of mind,” but the experience of love enters through the negative space of “time of mind”– the space of the aesthetic continuum, which, structurally, implies the existence of God. In terms of God’s structure, “time of mind” is the source of meaningful symbol creation, which, in turn, opened the door to the creation of language, myth, religion, art, theoretical knowledge, and the rest of the civilizing processes that we call civilization. But, this ongoing self-liberation is not only embedded in civilization, it is also embedded in the aesthetic continuum where the true meaning of life can be found. The gorgeous sunset that sometimes swells our eyes to tears is not just a product of the spinning earth; it is also part of the spontaneous, pulsating, emotion that flows from the whole of the aesthetic continuum. Inspiration for the poet, painter, and musician comes not from cerebral musings, but rather from the empowering emotion that inspires life, imagination, and awe. The strength and resolve necessary to create a better world is not found in analysis and calculation, but rather in the empowering emotion that calls us to love, beauty and truth. The immediately grasped, emotionally moving ground out of which all things arise–the aesthetic component of our experience–beckons us to seek the impossible, express the unspeakable, and imagine the inconceivable.

William James held that “stream of consciousness” is comprised of both thinking and feeling elements. Feeling, for James, participates in knowledge and understanding. Echoing this sentiment, in his article, Reason and Feeling, Professor Creighton describes how feeling animates mind:

“In the development of mind, feeling does not remain a static element, constant in form and content at all levels, but…is transformed and disciplined through its interplay with other aspects of experience…Indeed, the character of the feeling in any experience may be taken as an index of the mind’s grasp of its object; at the lower levels of experience, where the mind is only partially or superficially involved, feeling appears as something isolated and opaque, as the passive accompaniment of mere bodily sensations…In the higher experiences, the feelings assume an entirely different character, just as do the sensations and other contents of mind.”
(Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy In A New Key, p. 100)

And further, F.S. Northrop, in the quote below, emphasizes the spiritual relevance of the aesthetic continuum, and the trans-formative value of feeling and emotion, when he states:

“Now it is precisely this ineffable, emotional, moving quale that constitutes what is meant by spirit and the spiritual. Thus in order to do justice to the spiritual nature of human beings and of all things it is not necessary to have recourse to idle speculations, by means of which one tries to pierce through the glass beyond which we now see darkly, to supposedly unaesthetic material substances behind, or into some unreachable and unknowable realm where mental substances are supposed to be. On the contrary, the spiritual, the ineffable, the emotionally moving, the aesthetically vivid—the stuff that dreams and sunsets and the fragrance of flowers are made of—is the immediate, purely factual portion of human nature and the nature of all things. This is the portion of human knowledge that can be known without recourse to inference and speculative hypotheses and deductive logic, and epistemic correlations and rigorously controlled experiments. This we have and are in ourselves and in all things, prior to all theory, before all speculation, with immediacy and hence with absolute certainty.” (The Meeting of East and West, p.462)

However, I think Jesus of Nazareth said it best when he said “Love God with all your heart and do on to others as you would have others do on to you.” Love animates and grows the spirit and the spiritual. Without it there would be no work ethic, no survival. Where LOVE burns brightest, that is where the Absolute Affirmation reigns supreme. It is love that must be affirmed. Liberation moves God’s structure forward, but LOVE is the real liberator. Lover and beloved become as one in love. All opposites come together in love. There is no substitute for love. Love is the greatest apperception. Freedom, beauty, and completeness are embedded there; the psychic and the cosmic are embedded there. It is the same in death as in life!

The “Time Of Mind” Concept in the Literature of Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, and Science

We have come to the end of this post—finally. And yet, I still feel the need to say one last thing about “time of mind;” in a survey of some literature, one can find support for the “time of mind” concept, albeit, support framed in terms of the consequences of “time of mind,” not it’s structure. Anyway, thanks goes out to all who have read this far, and if interested, my blog, for the most part, is a recollection of the history that has allowed me to write this blog.

Since one might not be familiar with how the “time of mind” concept (discontinuity occurring in continuity) plays out in the literature, here are a few examples from the literature of philosophy, sociology, psychology, and science. For instance, Descartes’ cogito ergo sum “I think (doubt), therefore I am,” is obviously impregnated with the experience of the “affirmative ideal” experience, impregnated with the discontinuity of doubt/negation occurring in the continuity of “the affirmation of existence in order to doubt existence). And further, in Sartre’s definition of consciousness: “Consciousness is a being such that in its being its being implies a being other than itself,” the experience of discontinuity occurring in continuity, for Sartre, becomes the defining condition of a self-conscious person. And again, in psychology, every time the subject is identified as “coming to be,” or “under construction” discontinuity occurring in continuity/the affirmative ideal is what is being discussed. In fact, Piaget’s concept of “self” is defined as “the center of functional activity.” And, again in Sociology, where Thom focuses his studies on the “the overcoming of the primitive ambivalence or opposition between the modes of difference and no difference, and, in a like manner, where Simmel focuses his studies on “man as both the fixing of boundaries and the reaching out across these boundaries—the language of discontinuity occurring in continuity is front and center in the discussion. And lastly, in the physics of the quantum particles, where the collapse of the wave function is observer generated, we are not only witnessing the language of the “affirmative ideal,” we are witnessing (with each collapse of the wave function) empirical evidence supporting the claim that God exists in the structure of human self-consciousness, i.e., GOD INCARNATED.

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Looking Ahead To A Hopeful Future

February 14, 2010

For a description of the above diagram see my The Voice Of The We Of Divinity Post 1 and 2. Here’s a description sample:[In other words, in the psychological mind quadrant, we are constantly being stimulated, inspired, (and disgusted) by the hermeneutic circle of communication that comprises this quadrant. The independence, integrity, and freedom of the individual,–the groups, organizations, and institutions that the individual participates in, are encountered in this quadrant. Language, politics, morality, and religion originate here. Justice gets done here. Worldviews are created here. “Approved life styles” are affirmed here. Hamlet gets read, discussed, and criticized here. When our purple self horizon expands, it moves us further into this quadrant, into that place where the scope of human discourse burgeons. To quote Lett, (speaking in a different context) this is the quadrant “where people will assign meanings to their activities and experiences and will invest considerable intellectual and emotional currency in the development, expression, and preservation of those meanings.” (James Lett, The Human Enterprise, p.97) But, even though our mind is, so to speak, set free in the purple quadrant, our body remains in the blue quadrant. So, where do we go when the blue-self horizon expands?

Well, if you’re me and you live in a place where snow covers the ground six months of the year, you dream about wintering in Florida.]

By the way, in terms of my posts on God’s footprint– that which separates/connects the observer to predicable (physical) events is the purple quadrant, i.e., the crust that defines the pie piece shape of the footprint.

Occasionally, I get flashes of insight. I had one the other day, so I will now add it to my blog. It goes here because my insight was/is a very good summation of the 555 typewritten pages that is bwinwnbwi’s blog:

L…Does God exist?

O…It is probably better to ask what is God as opposed to does God exist.

L…Okay, What is God?

O…God is logic.

L…Oh really, then what is logic?

O…As the premier liberator, logic is what liberates the “otherness of existence.”

L…And existence, what is that?

O…Existence is what embeds and restricts the liberation of the “otherness of existence.”

L…So existence and God are different then?

O…Not quite, the triune of existence, logic and otherness forms the single Godhead of the Trinity.

V…Excuse me for butting in, but upon hearing my name I feel compelled to add to the conversation. After all, it is my form that comes closest to describing the Godhead of the Trinity.

O…Welcome. I bid you go for it; help all of us better understand the triune of existence, logic and otherness.

V…Okay. Let the V image represent the liberation of the “otherness of existence.” 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 liberation side of the V, let the letter b represent a higher form of the “otherness of existence” (life) and ~b represent existence (~b on the empirical side). Life moves freedom forward and in this case upward too. Further up the V, let ~bb represent an even higher form of the “otherness of existence,”– the participatory moment of a conscious self, and let b~b represent (on the empirical side of the V) the existence of the physical event of a self-conscious being. With the advent of self-consciousness, freedom again moves forward. The V grows larger (and wider) as the story of civilization unfolds.

L…And this is God?

V…Yes. God is the logic of existence, the logic that affirms the unity of existence, life, self-conscious beings, and the “otherness of existence”, or the ground out of which all things arise and return.

L…Why would anybody buy into this abstract mumbo jumbo? Where’s the “jack”, the benefit, the reward?

V…I’m only the form of the Godhead, I’m not the experience. However, for those “in the know,” the otherness of existence—freedom-liberation is reward enough. But there is more. The experience of all there is waits for those who are capable and aspire to have this experience. In this experience there is the felt form of the affirmation of all there is, there is…..

E…My apologies for this interruption, but upon hearing of the Godhead experience; I just couldn’t keep silent any longer! Let me introduce myself, many names haunt me, but only one can be experienced—LOVE. [That you need Love more than anything, you know at all times in your heart. But don’t you know also that Love needs you–in the fullness of eternity, you? You need Love in order to be, and Love needs you for that which is the meaning of your life.] (Paraphrased from a Martin Buber quote in his book, I And Thou, p. 130. I substituted the word love for the word God here).

Our freedom is not meant to deny the emotionally moving, immediately experienced aspect of ourselves; quite the contrary, it is in this emotionally moving, immediately experienced aspect of ourselves where the divine comes to be a truly shared experience.
Here’s a new post, well, not quite! I stopped posting because, basically, I don’t have anything more to say, but, in WordPress (my Yahoo 360 escape vehicle), I noticed I was not getting any reads on my structuralism paper’s most significant Foucault post (a paper not posted at Booksie). The problem, I believe, was/is that this post is separated from the other Foucault posts by other posts explaining my dialectic theory of freedom. The Foucault post in question, however, introduces the spiritual significance of my freedom theory, and this brings me to the reason for this post—it is the Foucault post and the post of spiritual significance combined—a post well worth reading. For the record, I want to thank WordPress and Booksie for providing the space and the opportunity for me to express my thoughts, hopes, and beliefs. Thanks!

THE PHYSICS OF A NEW EPISTEME-A NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE

In so far as liberation occurs, power arrangements occur. And, in so far as power arrangements occur, they begin to dictate the terms of the liberation process. According to Foucault, these power arrangements become the defining force in the environment. As has already been pointed out, the liberation movement of freedom eventually liberated the “implied knowledge of the environment.” From that point on, knowledge became the most encapsulating vehicle of freedom and freedom became manifest in power relationships.

Social organization and social structure are born out of the power arrangements which best reflect the prevailing episteme. According to Foucault, man (as a conceptual entity) and scientific knowledge are also born out of these power arrangements. Blanchot describes the theme that surfaces “above the analysis” in Foucault’s books:

“Thus, already in The Archaeology of Knowledge, where we seem to indulge in the illusion of an autonomous discourse (an illusion with which literature and art perhaps bewitch themselves), there are announced the multiple connections between knowledge and power, and the obligation to recognize the political effects that are produced, at any given moment in history, by the ancient desire to disentangle the true from the false. Knowledge, power, truth? Reason, exclusion, repression?” [Foucault, Blanchot, 1987, p. 80]

These power/knowledge relationships, when considered in the context of the liberation process, become just another obstacle that stands in the way of liberation. These “pockets of power,” in the form of social structure and social organization, may be thought of as static elements in the liberation process; that is, from the point of view of the people who tend to benefit from these “pockets of power” they are static, but, from the point of view of the people who are “locked out” of these “pockets of power” they are oppressive. In other words, although power/knowledge relationships dictate the options available in terms of accessing one’s environment, ultimately, there is no preferred state of privilege and control; it all becomes an obstacle in the liberation process.

Of course, in the real world, I realize I have just described the stratification of the “haves” and “have-nots;” and, I suppose, Foucault would be content to leave it at that. One cannot deny that built into the power structure of social organization is the secured status and privilege of the groups that possess the most power. And further, this security, more often than not, becomes secured by denying power (access to the environment) to an “underprivileged” class of people. That said, it should also be noted that the power/knowledge consequence of the liberation process, as it becomes manifest in the highly differentiated attributes of society (Durkheim) contributes positively to the individuals well being, health, growth, and freedom–the freedom that satisfies needs, permits access, provides security, encourages aesthetic appreciation, provides moral examples, and, promotes justice,–attests to this fact. At the very least, in so far as change is inherent in the liberation process, this change may be for the better. In order to understand how this change for the better can come about, a whole new way of thinking must incorporate itself into the social fabric. A new episteme, in Foucault’s language, must arise. This episteme has already taken root, I believe, in the logical implications generated by the new physics.

The new physics speaks of strange and exciting phenomena. Where this physics will take us is presently unclear but, what is becoming clearer is that it is incorrect to think of our relationship to nature in terms of the three-term relationship of Locke’s mental substance, appearance and material particles. Berkeley, Hume and Kant addressed the inadequacy of this three-term relationship. In brief, John Locke did not have to choose this three-term relationship to explain Newton’s particles. He could have said that mathematical space and time is the vehicle which allows for an analytical account of the aesthetic continuum and that the observer and what appears for the observer are determinations of this aesthetic continuum.

[Footnote. This and the next couple of paragraphs are meant to be a very brief summary of a theme developed in F.S. Northrop’s book, The Meeting of East and West, see chapter entitled The Solution of the Basic Problem, p.436]

He could have said this but he did not because it would have been extremely difficult, given the interpretation of Newtonian physics at the time.
Now we know that it is more accurate if we describe our relationship to nature in the form of a two-term relationship. The first term of the two-term relationship is the theoretically postulated, hypothetically designated, component of experience while the second term is the immediately sensed determinate portion of the aesthetic continuum. This aesthetic component of experience is relative to every individual while the theoretic component occurs in a public space characterized by repeatable experiences. Confirmation of the theoretical component of our experience becomes the key word here and this confirmation may be formal, as in a scientific result, or it may be informal, as in the best that pragmatism has to offer – if it works, use it.

In The Eye Of You And Me We See The Eye Of God

What We Have Here Is A Spinoza Monism With A Mobius Twist- God Existing Inside Out

In the process of writing this paper I have deliberately refrained from using spiritual connotations to describe freedom’s synchronic axis. And, indeed, I suppose one of the beauties of this idea is that one is not forced into making the “leap” to a more spiritual interpretation of freedom (the humanism of James or Dewey will do just fine here). But, the fact remains that my description of freedom is based in two logical primitives, one being found in the logic that something has to first “be” before it can be negated i.e., the principle behind Descartes Cogito, and the other, the affirmation that follows from the negation of a negation. In self-consciousness (discontinuity occurring in continuity) we see the affect of the first logical primitive and in not, not being we see the logic of an affirmed wholeness, affirmed God. It is also in self-consciousness where Piaget’s functional center emerges, where the constructive process begins, and where identities are created/discovered, and all of this is based upon the structural transformations of not, not being as it evolves into the self-consciousness of human consciousness (or the answer to the questions–“Who participates?” and “What is participated in?”).

This implied wholeness is outside of experience, but it only requires a small “leap of faith” to conclude that God exists in this affirmed indeterminate wholeness, exists in this “ground of being,” exists in the “affirmative ideal” that is at the center of structuralism and logic, which, in turn, permits the freedom to ask the question: Does God Exit?

And, operationally speaking, the answer to that question is that in the liberation of self-consciousness, given the logical relations implicit in self-consciousness (God and freedom are One), God not only exists, but God is also all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present.  What we have here, ultimately, is a Spinoza monism with a Mobius twist, a God simultaneously existing inside out.

In what follows I will not evade the spiritual content that the synchronic axis of freedom generates. In this Mobius twist we find the final answer to the questions, “Who participates?” and “What is participated in?”

In the immediately grasped indeterminate, all-embracing oneness of God’s freedom lies the source of the knower and consequently the knower’s freedom. F. S. Northrop tells us how wondrously close we are to God when he says:

“Now it is precisely this ineffable, emotional, moving quale that constitutes what is meant by spirit and the spiritual. Thus in order to do justice to the spiritual nature of human beings and of all things it is not necessary to have recourse to idle speculations, by means of which one tries to pierce through the glass beyond which we now see darkly, to supposedly unaesthetic material substances behind, or into some unreachable and unknowable realm where mental substances are supposed to be. On the contrary, the spiritual, the ineffable, the emotionally moving, the aesthetically vivid — the stuff that dreams and sunsets and the fragrance of flowers are made of — is the immediate, purely factual portion of human nature and the nature of all things. This is the portion of human knowledge that can be known without recourse to inference and speculative hypotheses and deductive logic, and epistemic correlations and rigorously controlled experiments. This we have and are in ourselves and in all things, prior to all theory, before all speculation, with immediacy and hence with absolute certainty.” [F.S.. C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West, p.462]

All intuitive sensitivity and religiously felt compassion flows from the all embracing oneness common to man’s nature and nature’s creatures, up through the many levels and transformations of freedom until it finally becomes manifest in the self-realized aspect of human freedom as love, caring, happiness and reverence. The telling factor behind this whole process comes with the knowledge that the “I” of God and the “I” of you and me are one in the same. Here I am reminded of the penetrating words of the Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart who is reported to have said, “The eye in which I see God and the eye in which God sees me are one and the same.”

In other words, the liberation of God’s non-being becomes God’s immanence in the here and now while, at the same time, there exists an implied transcendent God (the ground of everything, the source of all becoming). Divine immanence, however, is particularly important to all living creatures because it encapsulates all the “reality” that can be experienced and known.

Love God Freedom End of Life Story Redemption Chapter Finis

January 25, 2010

I’m taking a break from posting. I can’t say when or if I will return. (In terms of further reading, I suggest my Voice of the We of Divinity post.) My conversation with the Devil comes to an end here. The devil, in all this, has been my creative attempt to give voice to the ~b of ~bb in freedom’s dialectic at the level of b~b~bb, and, as such, “soul” in my story becomes the equivalent of that which connects human beings to God. The problem is that what connects God to humans also separates humans from “self” (self as the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self) and God. Free will and self-consciousness, however, follow from this separation. We have the “option to choose,” and, of course, choice carries with it a lifetime of baggage which determines “how we choose.” Nevertheless, choice falls between good and evil and if per chance it should land in the neighborhood of evil, civilization provides law and order to counter harm and mayhem. Again, in terms of freedom’s dialectic, the ~b of ~bb at the level of b~b~bb is the source of meaningful symbol creation, which, in turn, opened the door to the creation of language, myth, religion, art, theoretical knowledge, and the rest of the civilizing processes that we call civilization. This ongoing self-liberation is not only embedded in civilization, it is also embedded in the aesthetic continuum and it is here that the true meaning of life will ultimately be found. The gorgeous sunset that sometimes swells our eyes to tears is not just a product of the spinning earth; it is also part of the spontaneous, pulsating, emotion that flows from the whole of the aesthetic continuum. Inspiration for the poet, painter, and musician comes not from cerebral musings, but rather from the empowering emotion that inspires life, imagination, and awe. The strength and resolve necessary to create a better world is not found in analysis and calculation, but rather in the empowering emotion that calls us to love, beauty and truth. The immediately grasped, emotionally moving ground out of which all things arise–the aesthetic component of our experience–beckons us to seek the impossible, express the unspeakable, and imagine the inconceivable. The ~b of ~bb at the level of b~b~bb, — or the voice of the devil in my story—is the voice of Divinity made whole in consciousness, and, as such, this voice is not the traditional voice of Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil. This soul-stealing demon of tradition, rather, was the imagined product of wandering nomads lost in the desert many millenniums ago, or so says Randy Newman in his Rock Opera Faust, and I agree. However, imagination itself is a product of the ~b of ~bb, so, to put a more wholesome spin on the plight of the wandering nomads, one could say that the voice of Divinity, via the imagination, was admonishing consciousness not to stray from the divine path. Again, self-consciousness and imagination are component aspects of the voice of Divinity, but in general parlance of dialogue the word typically used to reference that voice is “conscience.” However, Divinity has a more direct and powerful voice. Divinity (when it truly speaks) speaks through the language of love. This post ends with an epilogue concerning God, love, and my description of what I have concluded to be the ultimate meaning of life.

I Surrender To The Endless Love That Binds Us All

In Your Darkness I See The Path Of Refuge-The Path To The Loving God That Beckons

Future Time Ten Concluded

“Ahhh, finis, what a sweet sound,” said MV. “Let us be off then!”

“Not so fast,” I replied, “where could I possibly go? In your darkness I see the light that shows me I have already arrived. It’s you who have kept me apart from the Lord. Nothing is separate from God, nothing except this ‘sense of separateness,’ which is you. If indeed I was separate from the Lord, I could not exist. As long as you do your work, that is, spread hate, vindictiveness, jealously, cruelty, and uncaring ways, there will be no reconciliation, no communion, no God-connectiveness. ‘Self-centeredness’ opens the door to everything except the Divine. Ego forces the Divine out of existence. That law, although not found in any textbook, says it all. As Heaven’s fallen angle, your boundary, your horizon, not only shows me how I am connected to God, it also shows me how you are kept apart from God. That is truly the mark of Satan, — the mark you are powerless to change. However, without you there would be no questioning, no progress, and no success; without you I could not ask: How can I do God’s work? With the answer to that question, though, you become a mere shadow presence. Over those who can ‘walk the talk,’ you have no power. I have paid my dues. It is your darkness that illuminates the path before me now. Your darkness points towards the refuge where you cannot trespass, toward the liberated and liberating condition of the loving God that beckons!”

“Aren’t you forgetting something? You’re dead,” MV replied. “It wasn’t out of kindness that you murdered yourself. It wasn’t love that drove you to suicide.”

“But it was,” I said. “I could not live without it. It was just a flicker, but a flicker of the real thing was, for me, a flame all-consuming. My vision was limited back then; it was simply a girl—that girl, and I didn’t understand, but that did not and will not make me your slave, and besides, slaves love, too!”

“Just think,” said MV, “if you knew back then what you know now you could have lived a different life, a real one. You do have blessings to count, though. Your memories are real. You will need them where you’re going. If you’re lucky, those memories may be consoling.”

“You poor fool,” I said. “If only you could long for beauty, yearn for completeness, or feel the need to be free, then you wouldn’t be so quick to judge me or anybody else. I have found God in the Absolute Affirmation of existence, but you can’t do that! What I see and feel you cannot see and feel. I know, like I have always known– but even more so now–that God is love. Love is what the Absolute Affirmation is all about. It is love that must be affirmed. You are not the liberator. The real liberator is love. Lover and beloved become as one in love. All opposites come together in love. Love is where real liberation takes place. There is no substitute for it. Separation does not exist there. Love is the greatest apperception. You have no power before love. Freedom, beauty, and completeness are embedded there; the psychic and the cosmic are embedded there. It is the same in death as in life, and I know that you know that, even if it is beyond you! You cannot change the unchangeable! If you want me, take me; that is… if you can. In either case, I am going home. You’re nothing compared to the eternal baptism of love! To consummation I surrender; to the unending love that binds us all, I surrender!”

Epilogue

The Word Of Revelation Is: I Am There As Whoever I Am There, Nothing More

In Truth, There Is No God-Seeking Because There Is Nothing Where One Could Not Find Him. How Foolish And Hopeless Must One Be To Leave One’s Way Of Life To Seek God: Even If One Gained All The Wisdom Of Solitude And All The power Of Concentration, One Would Miss Him

God And Love

Since the Enlightenment, minds at the cutting edge of intellectual development worship at the logic and reason alter. Emotional disturbances are either irrelevant to intellectual progress or worse– prohibit it. Our emotional nature, particularly in this Age of Reason, has been relegated to the irrational part of the animal brain. But not here—not in God’s love attribute!

Factual data, hypothesis, generalization, judgment, all the signs and symbols of language originate in and are part of our sensuous and emotional experience, our aesthetic experience. Words have histories and, if traced back far enough, those histories end in the participatory process that occurs between consciousness and the aesthetic continuum. As I have described in an earlier post, the participatory event reifies conscious objects (language being one of them) and, in the process, the environment becomes objectified. In the end, whether in metaphysical thought or discursive reason’s manipulation and formulation of signs, symbols, and ideas, it is all about the participatory event that sees, feels, understands, and acts.

For many of us, affirming God is easy. Getting to know the meaning of the relationships behind that affirmation is the all-important next step however. Fortunately, Martin Buber was there first, so I’ll let him do most of the talking here. Affirming God, for Buber, is no more difficult than affirming the ground out of which duality arises, and Buber understood this. In his book, I And Thou, he alludes to the spiritual significance of this affirmation when he says:

“Dimly we apprehend this double movement –that turning away from the primal ground by virtue of which the universe preserves itself in its becoming, and that turning toward the primal ground by virtue of which the universe redeems itself in being –as the metacosmic primal form of duality that inheres in the world as a whole in its relation to that which is not world, and whose human form is the duality of attitudes, of basic words, and of the two aspects of the world. Both movements are unfolded fatefully in time and enclosed, as by grace, in the timeless creation that, incomprehensibly, is at once release and preservation, at once bond and liberation. Our knowledge of duality is reduced to silence by the paradox of the primal mystery” (1970, p. 149).

In freedom’s dialectic, double negation, life, and the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self may be thought of as representing Buber’s turning away from the primal ground, while double negation, death, and the physical event may be thought of as turning toward the primal ground that conserves and redeems being. Affirming a transcendent God then becomes no more difficult than affirming the ground out of which duality arises, but in doing so, one is also affirming God’s immanence—God’s thou-ness.

In the human being the I-thou, I-it, aspects of the world arise. It is in “presence,” a presence other then I-it, that the eternal You achieves the power of articulation—the God-presence that occurs in and through human relationships. In, I And Thou, Buber illustrates this point often and with elegance:

“…in every You we address the eternal You, in every sphere according to its manner. All spheres are included in it, while it is included in none.” (p. 150)

“Of course, God is ‘the wholly other’; but he is also the wholly same: the wholly present. Of course, he is the mysterium tremendum that appears and overwhelms; but he is also the mystery of the obvious that is closer to me than my own I.” (p. 127)

“…in truth, there is no God-seeking because there is nothing where one could not find him. How foolish and hopeless must one be to leave one’s way of life to seek God: even if one gained all the wisdom of solitude and all the power of concentration, one would miss him.” (p. 128)

“The word of revelation is: I am there as whoever I am there. That which reveals is that which reveals. That which has being is there, nothing more. The eternal source of strength flows, the eternal touch is waiting, the eternal voice sounds, nothing more.” (p. 160)

“The encounter with God does not come to man in order that he may henceforth attend to God, but in order that he may prove its meaning in action in the world. All revelation is a calling and a mission.” (p. 164)

“God embraces but is not the universe; just so, God embraces but is not my self. On account of this which cannot be spoken about, I can say in my language, as all can say in theirs: You. For the sake of this there are I and You, there is dialogue, there is language, and spirit whose primal deed language is, and there is, in eternity, the word.” (p. 143)

The bottom line here is that communication occurs “between” God and the infinite regress of Being. God is there in my relationship with nature and God is there in my relationship with human beings, but it is in that relationship, my relationship with other people, where the highest order of communication resides, where the eternal You communicates, –in the I-thou relationship. That said, one question remains: Why all this communication? Why anything at all as opposed to nothing at all?

Language Development Follows From The Need To Express Complex Emotions

The Passionate Need To Express And Understand Life’s Meaning Drives (For Some) Their Mental Life

God And Love Continued

For me, the God qua God idea is totally incomprehensible. Emotion is another thing all together, though. Without emotions consciousness could not exist. Thinking and feeling are so entwined in consciousness that some have argued language development follows from the human need to express complex emotions. William James held that “stream of consciousness” is comprised of both thinking and feeling elements. Feeling, for James, participates in knowledge and understanding. Echoing this sentiment, in his article, Reason and Feeling, Professor Creighton explains:

“In the development of mind, feeling does not remain a static element, constant in form and content at all levels, but…is transformed and disciplined through its interplay with other aspects of experience…Indeed, the character of the feeling in any experience may be taken as an index of the mind’s grasp of its object; at the lower levels of experience, where the mind is only partially or superficially involved, feeling appears as something isolated and opaque, as the passive accompaniment of mere bodily sensations…In the higher experiences, the feelings assume an entirely different character, just as do the sensations and other contents of mind.”
(Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy In A New Key, p. 100)

Of course, there will remain an inefficacy concerning emotion and language. Language is after all a poor medium for expressing one’s emotional nature. But, when looked at holistically, it is certainly possible that myth, ritual, art, language, and the abstract logical necessities encountered in mathematics and science are products of one’s passionate need to express and expand meanings. One might even go as far as to say that the passionate need to express and understand life’s meaning drives one’s mental life. But, if true; that is, if mental life is all about discovering life’s meaning, then we will forever remain frustrated. Professor Northrop tells us why when he says:

“Now it is precisely this ineffable, emotional, moving quale that constitutes what is meant by spirit and the spiritual. Thus in order to do justice to the spiritual nature of human beings and of all things it is not necessary to have recourse to idle speculations, by means of which one tries to pierce through the glass beyond which we now see darkly, to supposedly unaesthetic material substances behind, or into some unreachable and unknowable realm where mental substances are supposed to be. On the contrary, the spiritual, the ineffable, the emotionally moving, the aesthetically vivid—the stuff that dreams and sunsets and the fragrance of flowers are made of—is the immediate, purely factual portion of human nature and the nature of all things. This is the portion of human knowledge that can be known without recourse to inference and speculative hypotheses and deductive logic, and epistemic correlations and rigorously controlled experiments. This we have and are in ourselves and in all things, prior to all theory, before all speculation, with immediacy and hence with absolute certainty.” (The Meeting of East and West, p.462)

The Need To Share The Sublime-Share Love-Answers The Question Why Exist

You Are Not The Liberator-Love Is The Real Liberator

God And Love Concluded

Staring into the heart of the Milky Way galaxy on a warm summer’s night, it is impossible not to feel the emotion. Or, again, picture yourself perched on a mountain peak, the setting sun’s soft yellow rays illuminating the range of peaks before you. In very special moments like these something happens, something sublime! What could possibly be more sublime? Perhaps sharing the sublime with others! It is, I believe, the need to share the sublime that answers the question Why Exist. But even on this mountaintop Buber was first:

“That you need God more than anything,” says Buber, “you know at all times in your heart. But don’t you know also that God needs you–in the fullness of his eternity, you? How would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you for that which is the meaning of your life.” (1970, p. 130)

Sadly, for me to really appreciate Buber, I had to read him through the prism of freedom’s dialectic. Somehow that bites! But, on the other hand, look at all those people who read Jesus; how many really experience the meaning of the words: Love God with all your heart and do on to others as you would have others do on to you? Probably not many! I want to end this post by describing a relatively recent event (the meaning of which I am still struggling over). Maybe I should call it a revelatory event, or maybe not. Like the people who read Jesus but don’t hear, I’m not exactly sure how much of a revelation this was/is! Anyway, the actual event I’m about to describe took place a very long time ago. I’m going to let the woman in the event do the talking here. At the time, she was advocating a particular mystical tradition and when I begged off her invitation to join the group, she stood up and walked away. From afar I continued to watch her meander down the beach as she stayed in and out of the clinging ocean surf, but, while watching, I reached for my bag and took out pencil and paper and began to write down the highlights of our conversation. She was a strong woman, very impressive, as you can probably tell from my notes:

“Love, propelled by the beauty it creates,” (I’m paraphrasing somewhat here), “burns through the senses in music, poetry, literature, painting, dance—all artistic forms of expression follow from it. Love animates and grows. Without it, there would be no work ethic, no survival. Perhaps, someday, you will have the inclination and the time to look beyond yourself, to that world where creativity and love burn brightest. If that day comes, I dare say you will come to know that love is what the Absolute Affirmation is all about. It is love that must be affirmed. You are not the liberator. The real liberator is love. Lover and beloved become as one in love. All opposites come together in love. Love is where real liberation takes place. There is no substitute for it. Separation does not exist there. Love is the greatest apperception. You have no power before love. Freedom, beauty, and completeness are embedded there; the psychic and the cosmic are embedded there. It is the same in death as in life, and I know that you know that, even if it is beyond you! You cannot change the unchangeable!”

In freedom’s dialectic, where self-consciousness, life, and duality—the affirming structures of God—become transparent to mind, divine love emerges. Love is, according to the great mystic sage from India, Aurobindo (1892-1950), “a union of self with self, soul with soul, and spirit with spirit.” In freedom’s dialectic this union is already achieved, but experiencing the immediacy of this union in the here and now is a very rare experience indeed. For me, this experience remains only an idea, but for others, few to be sure, love is all there is!

God Cares End Of Life Story Redemption Chapter 3

January 1, 2010

This post continues with a brief conversation between the devil and myself, and then switches over to an earlier conversation which is itself a continuation of the God’s Footprint–Determinism conversation of several posts back. That dialogue was set high in the Canadian Rockies where Stan, the English professor, Noel, the Philosophy professor, and Tony, the Physics professor, were trying to figure out the significance, if any, of the conceptual differences underlying the physics of the macro world, Relativity, and the micro world, quantum mechanics; however, in this post the dialogue moves away from physics and picks up with Stan’s interpretation of Whitehead’s process philosophy.

With The Courage To Face The Mystery The Possibility Of Communion Arises

Future Time Nine Continued

“You do realize,” said MV, “that growing closer to God is kind of a ‘coming of age journey’ and the first step in that journey is the one where you leave behind your parent’s home.”

“Tell me more,” I replied.

“Think of your parent’s house as whatever makes you comfortable,” responded MV, “upon leaving home, all preconceived notions about the world, — security and expectations, — all must go. And, as you have already pointed out, with the arrival of quantum physics, even some physicists have found themselves ‘coming of age,’ so to speak; when the concepts of causality and localization no longer apply, when the ordered world of space and time turns into a topology puzzle, there’s no going home again. Leaving solid ground behind is a scary thought, don’t you agree?”

“Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also an opportunity.”

“That’s my boy,” responded MV. “You had a good teacher eh! When an observer’s reference frame determines the veracity of measurement, and the ground under foot dissolves, that’s when the opportunity for a new kind of communion and comfort zone arises, albeit one that requires the courage to face the mystery head on and imagine new possibilities.”

“What you are saying won’t make sense to a person tucked away in their self-made protective cocoon,” I responded. “You’d be wasting your breath there! It’s too bad it took me so long to learn that lesson. I could have avoided a lot of grief if I had been just a little bit smarter.”

“Yes, you were slow,” replied MV, “but don’t be too hard on yourself. Life’s an investment you know, and everybody wants their monies worth. Even if all the evidence is against you, it’s very difficult to cast your fate to the wind and start over. It’s impossible for some people to give up their cocoon. That’s why leaving solid ground is such a scary thought—and it should be! But, getting back to the point; after a struggle, you succeeded in making sense out of those freedom and consciousness issues. It’s just too bad you couldn’t communicate that success to others. But, look on the bright side, you’ve still got me! And since I’m the ‘enabler’ here, you don’t need anybody else. Enjoy your success, and besides, it’s only a matter of time before others figure it out. Actually, your work is not that hard to comprehend. Your two term approach to reality, as opposed to Locke’s three term approach, certainly was a good start.”

“Yes, that was the beginning for me,” I replied. “When I gave that presentation back in 1981 I knew I was onto something, but I didn’t know where those ideas would eventually take me. Maybe that’s par for the course, though; after all, here I am asking the Devil to tell me about God.”

“You might say I’m helping you to remember your own work,” responded MV, “it’s a good thing too because you need all the help you can get. And, as far as giving credit where credits due is concerned, I’m the best one for the job!”

“Your reputation for humility precedes you,” I replied. “I’ll just ignore that last comment if you don’t mind. Anyway, let’s review Whitehead’s process reality; not only did Whitehead create a philosophy around the freedom-consciousness connection, he also articulated a unique understanding of divinity.

“As you wish,” replied MV.

Whitehead’s Occasions Imparted A Kind Of Sentience To Nature

Alfred Lifted The “Process” Out Of The Philosopher (Kant) And Put It Squarely Back Into Nature Where It Belonged

Consciousness All The Way Down

As I was saying in a previous post, my theory of knowledge, or the consciousness/aesthetic continuum theory of knowledge, replaces Locke’s consciousness/appearance/material world theory of knowledge. Immanuel Kant was, however, the first to eliminate the necessity of Locke’s appearance concept from knowledge. Sense experience, for Kant, was filtered through twelve categories of understanding, categories that mentally “structured” our experience of the so-called material world. In other worlds, Kant’s categories permitted knowledge of our “experienced world.” For both Kant and Locke, however, consciousness and knowledge were considered a unique human experience. Whitehead’s process philosophy changed all that.

The role of consciousness in Whitehead’s philosophy was not restricted to human awareness. For Whitehead, consciousness was not a secondary attribute of the world; rather, it became the primary attribute. His process philosophy was developed after Kant, Einstein, and the revolutionary advances of quantum physics had totally deconstructed the worldview of the 18th and 19th centuries. What follows is a three-way conversation set in the Canadian Rockies between university professors; a rendering of an actual event which took place back when Peter (my backpacking partner) and I met up with these three professors while backcountry hiking in Jasper National Park. The conversation below, however, is fictionalized. The dialogue represents my efforts to come to terms with my reading of Whitehead’s philosophy.

The Conversation Continued

“Wouldn’t you know it,” said Stan, “I’ve lost my train of thought. But I do have a few more observations, albeit a little off topic.”

“Go for it,” said Noel, “it’s time to move on anyway.”

“Well, it’s not totally new,” Stan replied, “it’s just that when I was listening to your bantering, I felt like I had heard it all before. In my youth I studied Alfred North Whitehead. In fact, he inspired my desire to attend Harvard. He ended his career teaching there. Did you read him Tony?”

“No, I shy away from metaphysics,” responded Tony. “But I know about
him. You can’t go to Harvard without becoming familiar with prestigious alumnae.”

“Whitehead spent the first half of his academic career as a Professor of Mathematics,” Stan continued, ” he and Bertrand Russell attempted to prove that the axioms of number theory could be deduced from the premises of formal logic. Their book on that subject, Principia Mathematica, is quite famous. Whitehead also published another book on mathematics in which he formalized a set of rules and theorems, from which the theorems of Euclidean geometry are derivable. All this was done, for the most part, before Einstein published his famous theories. Whitehead, not surprisingly, took a keen interest in Einstein’s published works. And, like Cassirer, he
wrote a book on relativity theory; only in his book he disagreed with Einstein. As I recall he didn’t like the elevation of the velocity of light to a law of nature and he was critical of the flexible nature of space. Whitehead’s formalism was based on the premise of uniform space, or more precisely on the ‘non-contingent uniformity in spatial relations.’ As might be expected, in the scientific community, his ideas fell out of favor, but they played a
major role in the metaphysics that he developed latter in life. In that metaphysics, Whitehead lifted the ’process’ out of the philosopher (Kant) and put it squarely back into nature where he felt it belonged. Man, the symbol-generating animal, became instead, the product of process reality.”

“I guess this is as good a time as any to bid you fine fellows ado,” interrupted Peter, “It’s past my bedtime. But thanks for making my sleeping bag look so delicious. See you in the morning.”

“Sleep tight,” Stan replied, and then throwing another log on the campfire, he continued, “what you were saying about ‘organic unities of time’ constituting our inner sense of being really made me think about Whitehead. He too believed that ‘whole movements’ or ‘epochs’ constituted individual unities of experience. He called those unities of experience occasions and then he went on to base his metaphysics on those occasions. For him, occasions came all at once or not at all and ultimately provided nature with a kind of sentience. What’s interesting is that, at their most elementary level, where occasions are overlapping events, they still possessed a kind of sentience. Is anybody familiar with what I am talking about?”

“Yeah, it’s called animism,” replied Noel, “Eh, I’m only joking.”

Whitehead Understood Occasions To Be Processes Of Self-Development, Self-Creation

Elementary Events Overlap And Become Part Of The Actual World, Develop Into A Biosphere Full Of Sentient Qualities, Which In Turn, Develop Into The Very Words We Are Speaking Now

Conversation Continued

“Sure I’ve heard of Whitehead’s metaphysics,” said Noel, “but I haven’t studied it in any depth. As I recall he turned nature into a kind of sentient being, and thus sidestepped all the epistemological problems that arise in subject-object opposition and in the self-world dichotomy. But, in his philosophy, didn’t he understand occasions as processes of self-development, or even self-creation?”

“Yes, that’s exactly right,” Stan responded. “The idea was that an
occasion was a ‘prehending entity’ in active interaction with its whole environment. Whitehead thought of these ‘prehending entities’ as processes of self-formation with ‘subjective aim.’ They began as simple overlapping events, evolved, and, as they say, the rest is history. Right?”

“Of course,” said Noel, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, you
are aware that teleological explanations of the world are not just history, they’re ancient history! Isn’t that why we call it meta-physics, eh Stan?”

“Don’t forget about the problematic areas of science,” Stan responded. “Whitehead’s metaphysics speaks directly to those issues, especially the ones at the quantum level. Just hear me out.”

“I’m all ears,” replied Noel.

“Just as in quantum theory,” Stan continued, “where physical reality is at best, quasi-continuous, where successive leaps or vibrations of energy fuse together to form physical objects perceived by us as continuous, so too in Whitehead’s occasions we see physical experience taking place in leaps of becoming. His ‘process reality’ moves from becoming to being. For him, potentiality is rendered specific with the becoming of each event. What this all means is that the whole system that we take to be space and time literally
grows out of the way that events are systematically related to one another in nature.

“Again, in quantum mechanics, where the discontinuous existence of
fundamental particles forms the continuous existence of larger physical bodies, in Whitehead’s occasions there is a parallel state of affairs going on. First, elementary events overlap and become part of the actual world. Then these enduring occasions develop into a biosphere full of sentient qualities, which, in turn, develops into this–our present state of affairs, specifically, into the words we are speaking right now. But that is not the end of it. In fact, it doesn’t end. The ‘subjective aim’ of the occasion presses in upon the environing realities of all physical, biological, and psychological phenomena, and in combination with these realities, continues to create a more fully developed reality. Species evolve, and so it goes, one occasion after another, unfolding, pushing this ‘now’ into the past while receiving ‘what is’ and ‘will be,’ again and again. Novelty arises as new forms of self-expression and new vistas of self-fulfillment unfold. Ultimately, what is going on in Whitehead’s metaphysics—in addition to eliminating the subjective /objective split that occurs in the philosophies of Descartes, Locke, and Kant, is a ‘bootstrapping’ of self-development, a bringing into existence a more self-fulfilling, self- expressive, sentient nature.”

“This is getting too ethereal for me,” said Tony. “What’s next,
God?”

“Well, yes, that’s exactly right,” responded Stan, “But apart from the God thing, I believe Whitehead’s thought speaks directly to the concerns brought up in this conversation.”

“If you say so, “Noel replied,” but what about God? How did
Whitehead perceive God, anyway?”

If The Call Is For Retributive Justice The First Mirror Will Pinpoint The Guilty

In So Far As Self-Aim Conforms To Its Immediate Past, There Is Determinism, But In So Far As Any Entity Modifies Its Response Through The Subjective Element Of Feeling, There Is Freedom

Some Freedom Is Not Divine—God Cares

“If you say so, “Noel replied,” but what about God? How did Whitehead perceive God, anyway?”

“Same o, same o,” replied Tony, “as a redeeming father figure.”

“That’s not true,” said Stan, “Well, maybe it’s a little true, but it’s more complicated than that. Whitehead would be the first to admit that if religion didn’t exist, it would have to be invented. From a sociological point of view, it does too many things for too many people for it not to exist. Religion is necessary for another reason, though. It deals with permanence amid change, and for Whitehead that meant connecting the idea of permanence up with the idea of ‘extensive connection’, or the general ordering that takes place in process reality. In other words, God is co-continuous with all the ‘happenings’ of the world.”

“Go tell that to Dostoyevsky,” replied Tony, “As far as he was concerned God was a mass murderer of innocent children.”

“Okay, Tony, for the sake of Dostoyevsky, lets hold God accountable for all the world’s sins,” responded Stan, “but first lets look to see on whose behalf God exists. Remember, occasions are environing events with a self-aim; they represent the creation of novelty and change—and, as such, the entire physical universe is processing its way back to God–the conceptual, eternal, side of God. God is ‘eternal presence’ and bears witness to all past and present occasions. The future, however, is like an unused role of film. Being exposed, it is always in the process of being developed. The untimely deaths of innocents are part of that process, part of the internal constitution of God, as God works through the transition from the eternal to the actual, and from the actual back to the eternal. God is the reason for all becoming, and nothing exists that is separate from God. All ‘passing’ is absorbed back into the eternal witness of God.”

“That’s not good enough,” Tony replied, “whose pain or whose suffering is not the issue. The fact that there is way too much pain and suffering is the issue. With all the pain, cruelty, and injustice in the world, we just can’t let God off the hook, even if, as Whitehead believes, God shares in all of it. Believe me, God would be convicted by a jury of his peers.”

“Tony’s right,” Noel replied, “God has to go.”

“I’m not finished yet,” Stan responded, “there’s more than just witnessing what’s going on here. In fact, there’s a dynamic that shouts out for change; if indeed a retributive justice is called for here, then one has to look no farther then the first mirror to pinpoint the guilty.”

“Hold on! Who’s getting huffy now,” replied Tony, “I didn’t start this. I didn’t ask to be born. I’m just here, doing what I can to stay alive. How the hell can I be held responsible for God’s handiwork?”

“Do you feel sad when you see dying children,” said Stan.

“What’s that supposed to mean; of course I feel sad,” shot back
Tony, “but I can’t change it. I block it out of my mind.”

“Well that’s what brands you as guilty,” Stan replied. “It’s the playing out of those self-expressive, self-fulfilling feelings that you can’t avoid that gets you into trouble. Insofar as occasions conform to their environment, insofar as the ‘self-aim’ conforms to its immediate past, there is determinism, but insofar as any entity modifies its response through the subjective element of feeling, there is freedom. Feeling and freedom are codependent for Whitehead, and God is in touch with all feelings. He is there, inside agonizing screams, and He is there in all suffering, especially suffering caused by injustice. He is also there, however, in all hopes, joy, and happiness, in addition to fears, regrets, and sorrows. Good feelings move the world forward to a better place. It is feeling that gives subjective aim to occasions. We encounter, in good feelings, the ‘allure of realization.’ It is possible to create a more humane, peaceful, and loving world. Whitehead said as much, and Gandhi taught us how to proceed, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world’—both in life and love.”

“I must say, that’s an interesting brand of pantheism,” responded
Tony.

“It’s not pantheism,” replied Stan, “it’s a divinely anchored
process reality.”

“You can call it anything you like,” said Tony, “its still
pantheism.”

“Not according to Whitehead,” replied Stan, “The future is empty, and in that emptiness resides the freedom to create a better world– the freedom to replace emptiness with ‘goodness.'”

“Or the freedom to create a worse one,” interrupted Noel, “if change
is pervasive, it doesn’t have to be good.”

”True enough,” replied Stan, “accept the same God who is there inside another’s suffering and pain will not be there in the masochistic and sadistic cravings of those individuals who pleasure themselves by inflicting pain and suffering upon others. Nor will God be found in the laws of a society that refuse to recognize the destitute, oppressed, and persecuted—God’s children.”

“Do tell,” exclaimed Noel, “How can God be in touch with all feelings—your words not mine, yet be inside some feelings and not inside other feelings?”

“Feelings that preserve, perpetuate, and expand consciousness,” replied Stan, “always trump feelings that dehumanize, degrade, and destroy consciousness; the former is a product of divinity, the latter a product of neglect. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not proposing the impossible here; that is, the elimination of all negative feelings, but striving for that goal is divine. Everything else is just plain human.”

“I don’t know,’ said Noel, “Whitehead’s got himself a hard sell there. The God thing aside, nobody has ever been successful in merging feelings with reason, if indeed that’s what he’s trying to do. I’m afraid I just don’t buy it. It’s not doable. Go ask Plato if you don’t believe me.”

“Not doable because you don’t buy it,” said Stan, “or not doable
because it can’t be done?”

“Both,” replied Noel.

“That’s ditto from the scientific point of view,” chimed in
Tony.

End Of Life Story Chapter 1

December 19, 2009

Here’s another short story—a story of redemption (four, five….chapters probably). The content of this story covers some material already posted but from a different angle—the angle of my personal life. In my journal writing, in order to spice it up and add perspective, I couched my story in a plot where I made a wager with the devil (the Faust story was/is a favorite of mine). In the wager, if I found God the devil would take my soul (a pretty safe bet I thought). The devil, in the beginning, I knew to be the onset of my insanity (a voice in my head that had a life of its own). The upside of the wager, however, was that I could tell the voice to go away. In other words, I got control of my mind back. The devil still popped up occasionally—to teach me how to find God—but he would also leave at my command. Throughout my journal writing I would have conversations with this voice, but in this story I am having my end of life conversation with the devil.

Redemption—The Indictment

Future Time Nine

“So it’s finally come to this,” said MV.

“Come to what?” I replied.

“Look at yourself; alone again,” said MV. “Most people, in the end, are consoled by real accomplishments, services they have performed, treasures they have accumulated, and extended families they have produced. They can say, ‘Hey, I’ve lived a good life and here’s the proof.’ But you, you sit in that hard rocker, listening to ancient and sad music. Perhaps you’ve missed something, eh?”

“My kids are grown now. Some things don’t work out as planned,” I said. “Their mother, after a long battle with Lupus, has passed over. My memories, if not too impressive, are still consoling. Regrets? Sure, why not, who can go through life without them, but, if it’s my time, I’m ready, bring it on. In fact, I look forward to it, it will be like going home.”

“But, don’t you think that ‘home’ would be a bit more hospitable if you hadn’t left so many opportunities unanswered?” MV responded.

“I’m not sure I like these questions,” I said. “Certainly there would be less suffering if people only knew they were on a ‘chance of a lifetime’ journey. But what’s that got to do with me? Everybody is on that journey. I found God, but it took me half a lifetime to do it. It can’t be forced. What are you saying, that my time was wasted?”

“No, not at all,” replied MV. “I’m just saying, in terms of squandering resources, which you chronically badger about, your education could have been put to better use. I mean education doesn’t grow on trees you know. It’s a dream unrealized for most people. To bad it’s not like popcorn, plentiful enough to give away. But it isn’t, so the lucky ones have to give back. At least that’s the way it used to be. It’s all about accountability you know!”

“A death bed indictment; is this what I’m hearing? I didn’t rob, commit adultery, or murder anybody,” I said. “I found God. I’m not guilty of anything. Besides, as you know, my education came late, and that’s not very helpful. I mean, Jesus, I spent mouths trying to do volunteer work for the criminal justice system. They didn’t want me. I guess I was just too honest, but I kept trying; that is, until I broke my leg. It was my custodian job that paid the bills. Being thankful for small favors is one of life’s difficult lessons, but I’d say I learned that one pretty well. Why should I feel guilty?”

“It sounds like somebody wrote that old blues song just for you,” replied MV. “You know, the one: ‘If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.’”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I said, “employment, for me, has always been difficult to find, but otherwise I’ve been pretty lucky.”

“You can say that again,” responded MV, but it wasn’t luck.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Turn on your radio,” said MV, “turn to public broadcasting.”

“What?”

“Do it, said MV. “There’s a ‘dedication song’ playing right now. Eric Clapton is singing it, and it’s dedicated to you!”

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all…”

“Wow, how did you know that song would be on the radio?” I exclaimed.

“Because your time is up. You are my property now,” responded MV.

“I’m nobody’s property.”

“Come on,” said MV. “Don’t be obstinate. I hate to break it to you like this, but remember back in ’75, in Deadwood, when you tried to put your lights out in that cocoon full of lethal gas? Well your luck wasn’t all that bad back then. You succeeded, but then again, so did I. You didn’t die because I wouldn’t let you die. You are alive today because of me, and further, because of me you found God, you found God in a place where others would never dare even look. Now I’m here to collect my due!”

“I didn’t die in Deadwood. You’re crazy. Go away. I command you to go away.”

“Those days are over,” said MV. “Besides, telling me what to do only worked before you found God, not after. From the moment you drew your last breath in Deadwood, I’ve been the consummate puppet master. I lead you down the path that you desperately wanted to find. Go ahead, ask yourself, was it worth dying for?”

“I thought I was finished with you. I thought I was rid of you.”

“You might want to rephrase that—‘Breaking news story, the king is dead. Long live the king’–you’re dead,” said MV. “Death by affixation the coroner said. Congratulations! On that cold February afternoon in 1975 you succeeded in killing yourself. It was just another suicide, didn’t even hit the paper, but that was expected. Deadwood had an image to uphold.”

“What is this! I might be dying, but you’ve got nothing to do with it. I have lived a good life–family, God, and the memories.”

“Arrogant to the end, I see,” said MV. “You have been living in a kind of limbo since your death, living at my behest. But it all stops now. What matters is that you have lived your dream. You should thank me. It hasn’t been easy, though; you’ve been a challenge, even for me.”

“I am not dead.”

“You wanted to discover God and you did,” said MV. “What more can I say? At first, you were slow, but, with a little help from me, you did it. Think of it this way: it’s our mutual success. You got what you want and I, well, one might say, for me, its all in a job well done. We can both be proud! Who knows, if you hadn’t murdered yourself, you might even have discovered God without my help. But we will never know, will we. Why don’t you just think of yourself as a little voice in my head, that shouldn’t be to hard should it! Hey, nothing goes as planned you know. How does it feel? Call it your just desserts. Ah, how sweet it is; that song I mean, ‘if it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all.’ Don’t you agree?”

“I’m not dead. The joys, sorrows, love of family, love of life, love of God, all of that was real. It is real. You’re a phony. You don’t exist.”

Redemption—My Refuge Lies In Your Nothingness

Future Time Nine Continued

“If I don’t exist, if I’m not real then who am I then?” said MV.

“You are something that has gone radically wrong. You are an unhinged piece of my brain. You are insanity–my insanity,” I said.

“Don’t flatter yourself. You’re not insane, never have been. That’s a lame excuse, a rationalization,” exclaimed MV, “and you know it. Wake up. I’m real. This is not a dream. God is real and, at least from your point of view, the rest was also real.”

“I know it’s all real. That’s what I’ve been saying all along,” I replied.

“Only the part about God,” said MV. “Your metaphysic—our metaphysic–turned out to be pretty accurate, but it is far from the whole story. I’m not just an unhinged piece of your mind, a figment of your imagination. I’m a hell of a lot more substantial then that—in due time you will see for yourself.”

“You are an empty voice in my head, caused by the firing of to many or to few synapses in my brain,” I replied, “or maybe your just some unconscious, out of control demon haunting me from the past. I don’t know what you are. I just know that you are not who you say you are! Without the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self you wouldn’t even exist–nor would I.”

“Very good,” responded MV. “Now you’re beginning to talk sense. But I’m more than that. Think about it. It’s all there in your metaphysic. Am I just a product of the for-itself, or am I something else? Let me give you a hint. Without me there wouldn’t be a for-itself.”

“You are the force that keeps opposites apart,” I said. “You are fragmentation. You are the enabler of life, and self-consciousness, but you also subvert freedom, subvert that which seeks liberation.”

“Now you’re starting to get it,” MV replied, “but you can do better. Remember, as you pointed out many times before, you have to take the bad–with the good. Go deeper.”

“You are the reason I am here. You liberated me so I can be here, so we can both be here,” I said.

“You’re on a roll. And who are you?” responded MV.

“I am consciousness that is free because of you. I am the divine incarnate, the discriminator of right and wrong in the here and now. I am in partnership with God in the ongoing process of creation.”

“That’s right,” said MV, “and what does that make me then? Take your time. I want to hear this. Go for it!”

“That makes you the source of my consciousness, the source of my free will, the source of purpose. You truly are the fallen angle of God, God’s compliment in every way. Without you there would be no awareness, no sacredness, no wholeness, no God! ”

“Great, I thought we’d never get there,” replied MV. “I am the enabling force of creation. Wouldn’t you say that makes me a little more than a run amuck voice in someone’s head?”

“Yes, I suspect it does. I see now,” I said.

“It follows from everything I know, but you don’t know everything. You can’t! You are the negative side of the universe.”

“Indeed, that is true,” replied MV, “but that is enough. It is more than you can imagine or even dream. What you call creativity is little more than a sensing body’s stimulus/response to a space/time event. I, however, exist across time, everywhere, from eternity and back, so don’t tell me who I am. I will tell you who you are. Remember, ‘There are many mansions in God’s house,’ and your arrogance has been duly noted. In God’s house you are barely a spectator, so stop trying to second-guess me!”

“You’re missing something, though. And that something is everything,” I replied. “The potential for beginnings precedes all beginnings, and it is in your nothingness that that potential gets affirmed. You may be a part of it all, but what’s really real is above that, above you! Your job is to keep everything, including me, separate from the creator. By your own admission, I have found God, and you cannot trump that. I am not your property. God is above everything.”

Being God And All Why Did You Stack The Deck

August 23, 2009

Drink’in With The One On High

Sept. ‘76

I needed time alone. I was glad I had left the party, and there were at least three hours of sunlight left. The fifth was still half full, and once I reached the trail, I put the puppy down, and took a long, choking, drink. I had never hiked these hills before. It was always exciting to hike in the Black Hills. You never knew what to expect. You might stumble upon old bottles, Indian artifacts, or even abandoned goldmines—all leftovers from the gold rush days in the late 19 th century. You had to be careful, though; the allure of the unexpected could get you in trouble, especially if you were already half drunk like I was. In fact, in no time at all, I became helplessly lost. Hoping to see something that would get me back on the path to the cabins, or at least to civilization, I climbed to the top of a mountain. The climb–not to mention the fear that overcomes you when lost in the woods– sobered me up. I had carried the puppy most of the way, and it seemed that I had been lost for way too long. The puppy, for sure, wasn’t up for this kind of hike.

From the top of the mountain, I could see trails below, as dark clouds were rolling in above me. I was apprehensive, but not yet ready to panic. I decided to walk down to the trail and follow it, but first I would rest. I took another drink from the vodka bottle, and looked down at the puppy that was fast asleep at my feet. I looked up at the sky and started to move slowly around the puppy. I did not want to be lost; I wanted to be back home, in my own house, away form all the tension that had arisen between C.S. and myself. I continued walking around the puppy, looking up at the clouds, and then back at the sleeping dog. The vodka started to go down easier. I felt like I was in some kind of trance, and then my head started to spin. As I stumbled, and fell to the ground, I became angry. I looked up and screamed, “Hey, big guy, what are you looking at?

Some poor lost drunk, or a joke for your amusement? Do you even care? Is voyeurism your thing? Aw come on, everybody has to get their kicks some way. I’d offer you a drink, but that’s kind of hard to do. I guess I’ll have to drink for both of us. Wow, that’s good stuff—too bad you can’t enjoy it too. Tell me; am I really worth your time? I mean, malcontents abound. I’m sure there are more interesting ones than me! Do you hear me? Admit it! You don’t need me. And, I sure the hell don’t need you. There, now we’re even!

Wait. Before you go, before we end this little taa-do, I have a question. Why so shitty a job with creation? What were you thinking? Being God and all, why did you have to stack the deck? Why so much unfairness, unhappiness? It’s first class for the few and table scraps for the many! Talk about shortsightedness! I mean, take me for instance, when you handed out brains, why so stingy? Talk about a short shift. Oh, by the way, you missed me in the “talent line” also. You must have been on coffee break. But, hey, we need all the Mr. Mediocres of the world—right! Maybe to make you laugh? Forgive me if I’m not amused, though. Down here there’s not much to laugh about; know what I mean!

You just love playing with loaded dice, don’t you. We get a heart, and then you fill it full of holes. Why so little contentment anyway? What’s that all about? You’d think just getting through the bad times, the hard times, would make us happy. But noooo. No satisfaction there. For Christ’s sake, there’s only so much to go around. Those who can– Take, those who can’t, get diddly squat. You did that—what a guy! Oh, by the way, I haven’t forgotten about love. Your generosity was overflowing there, or is it lust I’m thinking of? Excuse me! I know the real thing exists. I got a crash course in it. Remember? But why is the grass always greener on the other side of that hill? Of course it is. You should know! You created it that way.

‘Lucky in love, unlucky in life,’—bullshit–if lustful urges and roving eyes don’t sabotage love, then the lust for wealth, fame, and glory will. Where’s the fairness? Where’s the justice? Survival of the fittest you say. Believe me, if I was given just half a chance, I could have created a better world than this–Don’t give me that crap about freedom. Right over wrong, good over evil, that’s all bullshit too! Brains, brawn, and cleverness—determine good and evil. That’s the way it’s always been. Reinventing good and evil has always been the privilege of those who rule. Go ask the Indians! Blankets for land! Oh sure, smallpox infested blankets for the white man’s manifest destiny. The ‘good guys’ won—right! Don’t get me wrong; I can appreciate a good thing. We wouldn’t be having this conversation on a beautiful mountaintop if the Indians had got their way.

But wait, you know more about that than I do. The church, Your Church , burnt the ‘witches,’ and ‘heretics’—right! In the end, advantage always goes to the clever, the powerful, and the cruel. And what for—a better life? An Afterlife? There’s a trump card if ever was one. Things may be shit now, but wait; in heaven everybody gets their reward! Is that it! Is that your ‘Sola Scripture promise,’ your Christian message heard round the world! ‘Trust in the Lord,’ and rejoice in the glory of eternal life! Really! Trust the one who offers a never-ending feast of the weak to the strong. Yeah, that makes great sense! But no thanks! I don’t feel very trusting today. If its trust you want, trust in this: Keep your false promises, corrupt henchmen, and love, unconditional or not! I don’t need that shit anymore. To false hopes, great expectations, and love gone sour—I say goodbye, good riddance. Enough already! You can stay in your precious ‘Paha Satva Mountains,’ You and Carole Sue both. Not me. I’m out of here. That’s my pledge! With this drink of vodka I seal that oath—let it be done. It is done!”P1010238