Posts Tagged ‘structure’

The Language Of Freedom

June 11, 2011





While puzzling over how to respond to INspired Ink’s post, “The Here and Now”– A Post A Day 2011 post, I stumbled upon the following 2008 post of mine and thought it special enough to post again (my response to Ink’s post was a single paragraph response from the below post).

The Reciprocal Relationship Of Content/Form Interdependence

What’s Going On With These Posts—Are They Random, Directed, Or Something Else?

I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. If there’s a common theme running through these posts, it’s my quest to understand what I don’t understand. That said, in this post the suggestion is that I understand something, or, to put it more gently, what I haven’t understood so far, begins to make more sense if understood in the following way:

The subject of freedom is a major theme in my writing. Freedom, depending on its context, means many things to many people. Operationally speaking, though, we first encounter freedom as the freedom to act. Satisfying our biological needs frames this freedom. I associate Aristotle with this freedom because he was the first to recognize, as far as I can tell, the importance of the sensation/understanding connection. Freedom is not just a sensation, however. The freedom to avoid the unpleasant and pursue the pleasant has the indirect effect of creating the environment out of which all other freedoms are expressed.

On another level, a higher level, phenomenological freedom expresses the question that theoretical freedom answers (the freedom to be logically consistent). This answer, scientifically speaking, is verified through its reliable predictions as they relate to our aesthetic experience. This answer, sociologically speaking, allows for behavioral change and emotional growth. In other words, as a dynamic process, freedom (or lack there of) is continually being discovered in the “universal limiting space that defines it.” As knowledge accumulates, for instance, life’s expectations and goals may change. The value and meaning of relationships may change. What at one time was sought for pleasure and comfort may, with increased understanding, become unpleasant, and so on and so forth.

But there is another kind of freedom, one that escapes categorizations. This is Buddhist freedom– a freedom we cannot sense, a freedom that is by definition indeterminate. Even so, paradoxically, much has been said (and written) about this freedom. Fortunately, the Japanese sage, and student of Zen Buddhism, Nishida Kitaro, has discussed Buddhist freedom without venturing outside the “limiting space” framework of freedom.

Nishida went looking for “pure experience” and found it in the “absolute free will” emerging from and returning to absolute nothingness. Since Nishida wanted to communicate this realization, he created his own logic, the logic of basho, because he believed the only way to communicate ultimate reality—true selfhood, was through a rational methodology. To be fair, I think his logic referenced existence more than analysis, but when you need to communicate the reality at the center of the creative world, where “absolute free will” lives in the “eternal now,” analysis by itself just can’t do the job. Anyway, three categories distinguished Nishida’s logic: basho of being, basho of relative nothingness, and basho of absolute nothingness. (Most of my information on Nishida comes from the book, Great Thinkers Of The Eastern World, Ian P. McGreal, Editor, p. 384-5.

For me at least, basho logic seems to be describing three different levels of interconnectivity—the interconnectivity of three different “pulses of freedom.” The basho of being becomes the limiting space of existence while the basho of relative nothingness becomes the defining characteristic of that limitation. The basho of absolute nothingness, on the other hand, is the glue and ultimate reality that Nishida is trying to communicate. In this interconnectivity a dual purpose is at work. As the ground of everything, the logic of basho works to support and restrict all beings. Upon achieving a state of self-realization, however, one experiences the absolute interpenetration of nothingness with all the particular existents in the universe. According to Nishida, everything that Is, is within the interconnectivity of basho, and, at bottom, the “self as basho” identifies itself with all the existents and beings of the world. The “self as basho,” “self as absolute nothingness,’’ wakes to perfect freedom, perfect wisdom and perfect bliss.

The fact that language will not (can not) permit a description of “fully enlightened beings,” is what inspired Nishida to create his basho logic. Was he successful? I cannot say, but I’m glad he tried because the second major theme in my writing is to search out a language rich enough to express all of freedom’s ramifications. Next week’s blog, in fact, will be a good indication of just how far I’ve come in achieving that goal. Like Nishida, I believe that a sufficiently strong freedom language will incorporate logic, albeit a logic referencing existence and analysis, and the concepts of interconnectivity and interpenetration. This language will require also (for me at least) the concepts of transformation and reciprocity, more specifically, the reciprocity that exists structurally in content/form interdependence.

One of the things I’ve found intriguing is how certain conceptual forms can go through various transformations without loosing meaning, e.g. 2 means two, two also means 1+1=2, two also means 4-2= 2. In logic, in a like manner, A and ~A cannot exist at the same time (the law of non-contradiction wherein a statement and its negation cannot both be true and false at the same time), but, ~~A then A (the principle that any proposition implies and is implied by the negation of its negation) is perfectly true, e.g. it is the case that not, not A implies A.

Transformations like above are not limited to analysis. For instance, suppose that my own self-awareness was a product of mind and something else. Suppose also that this something else not only defined (formed) self-awareness, but also was responsible for the interconnectivity of my self-awareness across time, which is to say past mind events connect present mind events and present mind events connect future mind events in the same way that form interpenetrates content, i.e., the reciprocal relationship of content/form interdependence.

Self-awareness as a structured reciprocal relationship is not simply a product of my imagination; it surfaced for me after reading a book by Jean Piaget. Before I describe what I found in his book on Structuralism, here’s what the Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Vol. 6, p.306) has to say about what he studied: “Piaget examined the development of not only abstract concepts such as classes, relations, and numbers, but also physical concepts like space, time, atomism, conservation and chance, all of which he has regarded as constructed from behavioral activities.” My search for a vocabulary rich enough to describe freedom’s ramifications increased ten fold after reading Piaget.

The Psychologist, Jean Piaget, put the origin of structure and the symbolic content that it generates, in an organisms capacity for action. For Piaget then, the knowledge of our objective and subjective experience begins in the recognition and coordination of sensorimotor activity. By locating the source of cognitive structure in the sensorimotor activity of babies, Piaget opened up the possibility that “structure” was grounded in “nature”– not in “mind.” Through his investigations, he was able to show how the subject and object poles of experience are “products” of experience. In fact, what we typically call “normal cognitive skills,” for Piaget, is a product of necessary developmental stages, i.e. sensorimotor, representational, and formal operative. Only after the individual passes through theses stages does one acquire “normal cognitive skills.” The subject pole and object pole of a child’s experience remains undissociated early in the sensorimotor stage, but after passing through the stage of formal operations the child (8-12 year old), in his/her capacity to invoke reasoned judgments and deductive thought, is then able to conceptualize what is not perceived (e.g. principles of conservation, reversibility, transitivity, etc.). For Piaget then, cognitive-awareness is not something we are born with; rather it is the product of an ongoing developmental process. This is important because it tells us that logic stems from a sort of spontaneous organization of activity,– that the pre-condition for knowledge is an assimilation of a given external into the structures of the subject,– and that out of these subjective structures arise, phoenix like, the genesis of self-awareness. Thus, not only do we find the relationship of context/form interdependence in the ongoing activity of accommodation/assimilation of environment, we also find it in the relationship that binds natural structure to cognitive structure.

The mental event structure that we cognitively experience as “movement into the future” becomes (according to the way I understand Piaget) a product of the externally given context/form interdependent relationship of accommodation/assimilation. In the externally given accommodation/assimilation structure, accommodation is understood to be a change in the assimilated product of environmental interaction, i.e. acting on the past to create a present, and, likewise, assimilation is understood as an action actively reproduced in such a way as to incorporate new (accommodated) objects into one’s own assimilated experience, i.e. actualizing the potential to intelligently navigate a course through an uncertain future, thus, this externally given “structure” of accommodation/assimilation becomes (when subjectively internalized) what Piaget calls the center of functional activity, or, the context/form interdependent experience of “self” moving from past, to present, to future. However, to introduce a caveat that I believe any anthropologist would agree to, the capacity to dissociate one thing from another is itself a product of social evolution. The “self” experience of today is not the “self” experience of archaic people. Social consciousness is intimately connected with its environment, and only gradually, through the process of reification, does that environment become externalized as an object of consciousness. In other words, today what is perceived in clarity and sharpness was, for archaic people, perceived as a relatively undifferentiated whole. The evolution of mind then, in addition to evolving structurally, “in time,” also evolves linearly, “across time.”

The question that still needs to be answered is where exactly is Piaget’s “self” located? According to Piaget, “the center of functional activity is not located in the traditional ‘me space’ that we so often take for granted; nor is it located in the ‘lived space’ that is described in the works of various existentialists; nor is it located in the positivists physico-chemical brain activity,” Nietzsche’s will to power, Marx’s economic determinate, or Durkheim’s normative order etc. Rather, Piaget locates his “constructionist self,” in general terms, “somewhere midway between the nervous system and conscious behavior (because) ‘psychology is first of all a biology.”’ To be more specific, however, Piaget locates the “constructionist self” in the structure of content/form interdependence. Piaget explains:

“But what manner of existence is left, then, for the mind, if it is neither social, nor mental in the subjective sense, nor organic?

…If it is, as Levi-Strauss says, necessary to ‘reintegrate content with form,’ it is no less essential to recall that neither forms nor contents exist per se: in nature as in mathematics every form is content for ‘higher’ forms and every content form of what it ‘contains’….

This uninterrupted process of coordinating and setting in reciprocal relations is the true ‘generator’ of structures as constantly under construction and reconstruction. The subject exists because, to put it very briefly, the being of structures consists in their coming to be, that is, their being ‘under construction.”’ [Piaget, Structuralism, p. 112]

If Piaget is right, and intelligence is an extension of natural structure then intelligence arises, phoenix like, from natural structure, but, suppose intelligence (rather than arising from structure) was, just as Piaget believed, contained in the structure of content/form interdependence, and here’s where it gets somewhat tricky,
what if this content/form interdependence became self-conscious, and, this self-consciousness then became the “start up” of human intelligence, and/or what Piaget calls the center of functional activity.

This is a bit much to take in, to be sure, but that is what I will write about in next week’s blog. In closing, I want to end this blog with a modern day description of self-awareness, one that also upholds the idea that human intelligence is a product of context/form interdependence.

Identifying Jean Paul Sartre’s philosophy as structuralism is, I am aware, pushing the envelope. However, an authority on structuralism has proposed this option (without, I might add, elaborating on it.) “One might go as far as to say…that structuralism is analogous to Sartre’s view of consciousness — it is what it is not, and it is not what it is.” [Jean-Marie Benoist, A Structural Revolution, p. 1] In Sartre’s book Being And Nothingness, his chapter on Being-For-Itself is subtitled “Immediate Structures of the For-Itself.” [Jean-Paul Sartre, Being And Nothingness, p. 119] Structure is not hidden in Sartre; it’s just that on the whole Sartre’s book is a polemic against reading structure as anything more than appearance.

In the representation of Sartre’s thought as “consciousness is what it is not, and it is not what it is,” we find reciprocal movement, the same reciprocal movement encountered, in Piaget’s content/form interdependence. Specifically, Sartre defines the consciousness of the transcending For-itself (our self-space) as: “Consciousness is a being such that in its being, its being is in question in so far as this being implies a being other than itself.” (Ibid. p. 801) [As far as I am concerned this for-itself concept, and much of what is also written in Being And Nothingness, is as much a product of the thought of Simone deBeauvoir, Sartre’s life long confident, as it was the creation of Jean Paul Sartre. Throughout the writing of the book she (PhD in Philosophy) was his sounding board, and editor. Unlike Sartre, she stayed committed to this philosophy until she died.) In an extrapolation on Sartre’s definition of consciousness, Benoist describes the relationship inherent in consciousness as: “it is what it is not, and it is not what it is.” My own reading of this relationship is: being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is. In either case, however, we end up with a description of content/form interdependence.

This double movement is represented on many levels in Sartre’s exegesis on being and nothingness. This double movement becomes very specific in Sartre’s description of his pre-reflective Cogito. In so far as we find ”nothingness” at the center of Cogito, consciousness per se must be understood to be set apart from itself, therefore, Sartre’s pre-reflective Cogito will always form one pole of our conscious experience while the “objects” of consciousness will take their place at the other pole of conscious experience. This condition, where the pre-reflective Cogito becomes the preexistent structure for conscious awareness of objects, is another way of arriving at what Piaget called the center of functional activity. Depending on where “you” focus your concern, the content of consciousness is either pushed to the front of consciousness (the unreflective consciousness), or, the object of consciousness is pushed into the background, as the “negation of consciousness” is brought into the foreground (the reflected upon object of consciousness).

Together, our pre-reflective Cogito and the object of consciousness form our conscious experience of the knower-known dyad– content/form interdependence. In so far as this double movement turns on the pivot point of pure negation, the known exists for the knower, but the knower can never be fully known. As self-consciousness rises in consciousness, it is denied the possibility of becoming fully self-aware. This result, the incompleteness of self, brings us back to Sartre’s original definition of consciousness, or, “consciousness is such that in its being its being is in question in so far as this being implies a being other than itself.” This center of functional activity, this content/form interdependence that makes thinking possible, this symbol-generating movement of free thought that emancipates language, myth, science, and morality, pushes and pulls self-awareness down the road that hopefully leads to a more civilized society. In the absence of this center of functional activity, “thinking” is restricted to the manipulation of signs—mere sensual indicators, minus the symbols that carry the significance of those same indicators. In other words, in the absence of this center of functional activity, language becomes severely limited, if not impossible.

Self-consciousness emerges where the center of functional activity– begins. This experience comes with a price. As individuals, we are condemned to be free. In the words of Sartre, we must perpetually “confront the world and self as a lack,” and, because of this, we cannot escape responsibility for our choices. Irregardless of how we choose to act, we must take responsibility for our choice. For Sartre, responsibility lies in the chosen act and therefore can never be separated from the person who chooses. If, on the other hand, we happen to be living in the episteme that the postmodernist Foucault characterized as, “belonging to the questioning of that to which one belongs,” then responsibility becomes absorbed into the power/knowledge relationship of “responsible to whom for what ends.” Certainly Foucault argues this position and, I might add, it is not a coincidence that Foucault characterized the modern episteme as “man’s obsession with what eludes him.” Just as I am sure that Foucault read Sartre, I am also sure that Foucault’s description of epistemes is off the mark and here’s why:

While Sartre has delineated the not-self and the consequences that follow from not-self in our everyday world of social interaction, he stops far short of identifying the structure of his pre-reflective Cogito— the content/form interdependence that constitutes self-awareness—with what Piaget called natural structure. The short answer here is that content/form interdependence encompasses both nature and human consciousness– as the “innate structuring capacity of all structures,” and this will be the subject of next week’s blog.

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.

The Hard Problem Of Consciousness

August 29, 2010


The Hard Problem Of Consciousness

“The famous philosopher of mind, John Searle, said, “Not only do we have no idea what consciousness is, we have no idea of what it would be like to have an idea of what consciousness is.”

Saint Augustine had an idea: Consciousness is our Soul, and exists by direct connection to the Mind of God. The Catholic Church is willing to accept evolution of the human body, but not the conscious mind or soul. Descartes just posited mind, Res Cogitans in his famous dualism of Res Extensa — i.e. matter and machines including the human body, and Res Cogitans, the conscious mind.

Modern Connectionists often equate consciousness as another emergent property of sufficiently complex computational systems. I worry, since water buckets by the millions pouring water into one another above and below a bucket level threshold for 1 or 0 could be a complex computer. I just have a hard time believing they would be conscious…..” (by Stuart Kauffman, NPR blog entitled The Hard Problem: Consciousness)

These days I spend my computer time looking for appropriate subjects (blogs) to comment on. Typically, after a bit of introduction, my comments take the form of cut and pastes from my blog. I am about to enter the changing life experience of retirement, so maybe I’ll find the time to blog again—I can’t say for sure. Anyway, yesterday I posted a comment on Reijo’s blog (see below) and today I googled “consciousness blog ontology” and came across the NPR blog noted above. When I started to leave my comment on the NPR blog I discovered “comments closed.” So here I am with no place to go except my own blog. I found the comments under the NPR blog interesting, especially the one’s that protested the use of “quantum fuzziness” to suggest the consciousness/physics connection. Here’s an example:

“This discussion reminds me of the early 20th century search for the “ether” through which electromagnetic waves propagate. There was compelling reason for the search for ether, as radiation behaves much like matter waves (which propagate through matter). However there should be no reason to search for any ontological possibilities through which quantum waves “wave” as they are complex and thus have no physical meaning. Schroedinger’s equation and its solutions are only tools by which to understand physical phenomenon.

In short, I think the logic is fuzzy.”—Colin Clement

What the above comment suggests to me is that QM is describing a physical universe, albeit one different from the classical one we live in, but nevertheless one that we discover as opposed to the one that some people believe identities the consciousness/physical reality interdependent connection. But then, a few pages over in the NPR blog you find this comment by Pankaj Seth:

“We have theories about a lifeless, insentient early universe, early earth but they have been established due to inference, and obviously not direct perception… these theories rely upon the assumption of a fundamental duality between matter and mind. When we try to isolate matter apart from consciousness, we can do it from the POV of the I-self witnessing the classical world, but when we dig deeper as in QM, we cannot establish such a duality between the perceived matter and the perceiving consciousness. There is a duality at the sensory, I-self level (and hence the evolution of the early universe and life… . Similarly, it is found in Buddhist and Yogic meditation practice that at the depth of self-experience, there is a non-duality between perceiver and perceived… “Nothing perceived is independent of perception.”

What I am suggesting below is a structured universe which, at the appropriate structural level, acquires the ability to focus in on the different layers of the structured universe’s contents. In this respect, think of this ability (self-consciousness) as the lens that accounts for knowing consciousness, a consciousness that informs on the different levels of the universe, i.e., informs on the quantum, biological, and psychological levels of the universe. In this way, we come to the experience and understanding of a universe of content, a universe of structure, a universe that preserves the integrity of the Affirmative Ideal, and a universe that answers Heidegger’s question: “Why are there beings at all instead of nothing.”

So now we come to the comment that inspired this blog. Below is my response to Reijo’s comment concerning my comment on nothingness– Nothingness by calthai

Thanks for the interesting comment. Parmenides was right, “what is not, is not,” but that is definitively not the end of it.

It certainly is true that (not not) interesting implies the word interesting, but, similarly, I would like to suggest that “being what is not while not being what is” implies something akin to Parmenides’ plenitude/being. While reading Sartre’s Being And Nothingness, I wrote the following:

“Being-in-itself (Sartre’s concept of being) cannot be defined because language is ‘definition dependent,’ while Being just is (is free of dependence). I wonder if Sartre, in this respect, was influenced by Parmenides’ poem. In Parmenides’ ‘way of truth’ being was beyond description. Time, plurality and motion, all aspects of duality, were not compatible with Being. Although I don’t understand why, knowledge was considered an extension of Being in Parmenides philosophy. For Sartre, if you strip away all determinate characteristics and all those meanings which are due to human interpretation, you are left with being-in-itself.”

In today’s world, we do not give much thought to concepts that cannot be defined. That said, the notion of “wholeness” has found its way into the lexicon of scientific theories. When solving relativistic space-time problems, the geometry of the space-time continuum supersedes all notions of the physical nature of space and time. Likewise, at the quantum level of applied physics, the uncertainty relationships (Heisenberg), particle probabilities (the decoherence problem) and the non-local universe (Bell/Aspect results), when taken into account, suggest the existence of a universe-wide connectiveness. Given this turn of events, I will describe in next few paragraphs not only the “wholeness aspect of Being” that is consistent with Sartre’s philosophy (its ontological aspect), Parmenides’ Being, and the universe of connectiveness, but also how this “wholeness aspect of Being” expresses itself in the unique relationship that is up-right walking, language speaking, analytical thinking, empathy feeling, imaginative, curious, and goes by the name–human being. Thanks for the opportunity to post. (Sorry for the length, I only post when inspired—thanks for that too).

I want to begin my discussion of structured existence by revealing its shape. It looks like the letter v. The first thing to notice about the V is its openness. This openness moves the content of existence forward; in fact, one is tempted to say that “to be free” is why existence exists. Science does a good job explaining the content of existence, but it is severely challenged when it comes to explaining the “otherness of existence,” or the liberating process that structures existence. As existence and liberation move up the V, freedom expands. Freedom expands diachronically at each level of structure (think evolution here), but, over time, lower level structure becomes “content” for higher level structure (Piaget). At each “step up” freedom yields a new synchronic (frozen in time) structure, one that, although different from the lower structure, still preserves the integrity of the lower structure while structuring a whole new dimension of freedom. This process continues until it reaches the level of freedom (content) that occurs among symbol generating, language speaking life forms. Yes, that be “us.” So let’s take a look at this process that moves existence forward and expands freedom in a little more detail.

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 (not, not-being is the structure of existence, not the content). The “double negative” characterizes the entire V, and implies that which exists outside the V– the Affirmative Ideal (Piaget), or, more to the point, an affirmation of the Affirmative Ideal. In other words, the V and all that it represents/manifests, via the “double negative,” connects/embeds everything to everything else, first through the empirical world and second through the Affirmative Ideal. In terms of quantum strangeness this state of affairs is revealing. But, this is only the first structural level; the second level occurs somewhere above the V vertex.

On the liberation side of the V, let the letter b represent the more liberated form of the “otherness of existence” (life is the content) and ~b, (~b on the empirical side of the V,–~bb is the structure of life), represent the conservation of the integrity of the Affirmative Ideal vis-à-vis the space that separates, embeds, and connects. The word most often used to describe this condition, however, is death. Albeit, life, now firmly established, moves freedom forward until an even more liberated form of the “otherness of existence” emerges.

Let b~b~bb represent this highly evolved form of structured existence. We are familiar with this structure because it represents the participatory moment of a conscious being where b~b (on the empirical side of the V) represents the existence of embodied self-conscious and ~bb (on the freedom side of the V represents the participatory moment of “time of mind”—the conscious content of a thinking human being). With the advent of self-consciousness, freedom moves forward and the V grows larger and wider as the story of civilization unfolds (unfortunately, sometimes the story of civilization takes two or three steps backward before forward momentum is restored).

In summation, the b~b~bb structure liberates the interplay of self-consciousness and environment. Embedded in the physical environment (b~b), human self-consciousness (~bb) creatively reaches out for the accouterments and the necessities of life while at the same time generating new (and sometimes logically precise) meanings that give content and “color” to all perceptions–a percept is product. This creativity, in our cosmopolitan world, gets identified with technological advances, beauty (art) and ethics—all of which can be measured against the significance of b~b~bb—the most potentially expressive product of freedom’s dialectic. Someday, perhaps, the day will come when people will thirst for cooperation, education and shared resources in the same way that today they thirst for power, wealth, and fame.

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained The Problem

April 25, 2010

The Problem

Part 1 of 4 posts

Sometimes thoughts and ideas arise out of thin air and that’s what happened the other day when I got the idea to blog about Quantum Strangeness, and how it becomes less strange when viewed through the prism of what I call the structure of existence. So, welcome to my theory of everything (TOE).

Life is lived in terms of a series of events: appointments, muscle aches, down time, paychecks, road trips, shopping, phone calls, work, work, etc., etc. My TOE, however, is suggesting a more meaningful universe. You see, in the same way that the constancy of light’s velocity moved Einstein to think “outside the box,” (actually he imagined the constancy of the velocity of light since in 1905 that phenomenon had not yet been confirmed)leading him to deduce the required relationship between an observer’s reference frame and the predictability of events, so too, in my thinking about quantum phenomena, existential phenomenology, and religion’s aesthetic traditions, I was lead to think “outside the physical event.” What could possibly exist outside a physical event you ask? That something is logic, and, in my case, that something is structured in such a way as to account for our experience of temporality, rationality, and predictable events; furthermore, that structure is a lot easier to understand than Einstein’s theories. Logically speaking, the structure I am suggesting is the simplest possible structure imaginable, and yet it is flexible enough to contain the whole of the space-time continuum (Einstein, 1915). This structure exists on three levels, the two higher levels preserving the integrity of the bottom level. It’s not as if this structured existence will change the way science gets done, but, in the overall scheme of things, the reality explained by science is not as emotionally gratifying (or encompassing) as the reality suggested by this structure.

My theory, as with most structuralism, has two components, a diachronic timeline of events (think evolution here), and the frozen in time structural aspect of experience (think logic and mathematics here). Because the universe, in my theory, takes place in the space that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the “space of logical implication,” the universe is comprehensible. Whoops, I’ve put the cart before the horse, so to speak, so I now digress to a brief discussion of the strangeness of quantum phenomena.

At the quantum level, the universe looks and behaves differently from the way we typically perceive it. At the level of the very small, we loose track of independently existing things. For some physicists, it becomes difficult to think of the universe as a collection of objects because it’s more like a complicated web of relations, a web of relations existing between the various parts of a unified whole. An elementary particle, under certain conditions, is no more than a set of relationships that reach outward to other things. What’s happening in physics today is a far cry from what happened in the past, and its telling us new and exciting things about the universe, and maybe even about ourselves! This new vision of reality is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive. When humanity is brought into the mix with everything else, a whole new ballgame arises. The center of balance shifts, and overtime, possibilities open, even if in the short run, the rules remain the same. Humanity will be in for immense benefits if this new vision catches on. Here’s a little bit of the history behind this strange new science.

It all started with Max Planck’s black body radiation experiments at the turn of the century. He discovered that radiation or light propagates in discrete packets. Those packets are called the quantum of action. The energy in a quantum of action varies, but its discreteness does not, and that discreteness is known as Planck’s constant. Particles in classical physics evolve in a continuous manner, and in three dimensions of space, but in atomic physics that just doesn’t seem to be the case. With the discovery of the quantum of action, there was a merging of the dynamic state of the elements under study with their localization. The particles’ independence dissolved, as it became impossible to simultaneously determine position and momentum, an impossibility for which the uncertainty relations of Heisenberg became the precise expression. After the uncertainty principle, Cartesian space and time co-ordinates ceased to be applicable, and physicists were forced into learning new rules for a new game. In fact, all the conjugate variables of analytical mechanics–energy, time, momentum, position, had to be dealt with as approximations; they had to be dealt with in terms of statistical analysis. Ultimately, with the loss of space and time localization, physicists were forced to abandon their concept of a deterministic physical universe and, because of that, Einstein spent the rest of his life (after publishing his major accomplishments) trying to put “determinism” back into the universe.

It’s true that our knowledge, at the quantum level, is limited by statistical analysis, but it works, and it works well. That, according to Niles Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, was pretty important in itself. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, the model attributed to Bohr and Heisenberg, it doesn’t matter what’s going on at the quantum level, what matters is that in all possible experimental situations we can, within certain limits, predict the outcomes. Understanding reality, according to the Copenhagen Interpretation, lies beyond the capabilities of rational thought. The laws governing individual events are, at the quantum level, completely discarded. Only mathematical laws governing aggregations apply. According to quantum mechanics, it is not possible, even in principle, to know enough about the present to make a complete prediction about the future. Even with the best possible measuring devices, it is still not possible. Overcoming all the history that’s still building in quantum mechanics is a daunting task for anyone. Einstein wasn’t the only physicist who disliked the theory. Many have tried to dislodge the Copenhagen interpretation. In every instance, however, the physical world has intervened and said, “Your questions are meaningless.” No physicist likes to hear that! When a wave behaves like a particle and a particle behaves like a wave, the concepts that used to define the physical world no longer apply. Nature now requires a marriage of ideas that in the past were designed to live apart. Neil’s Bohr just got tired of fighting the inevitable. That’s when he started seeing things in a complimentary light. He basically said that there are no waves out there. There are no particles running around, either. That strange animal that interacts with the experiments, the quantum of action, is all there is. Because Bohr believed that, he introduced the idea of complementarity. He considered the particle picture and the wave picture as two complementary descriptions of the same reality, each description being only partly correct and having a limited range of application. For Bohr, the entity “electron,”–just like the other elementary entities of physics—had two irreconcilable aspects, which must be invoked in order to explain, in turn, the properties of the entity. To give a full description of atomic reality, each picture is needed, and both descriptions are to be applied within the limitations given by the uncertainty principle. In fact, when the queen of England knighted Bohr for his work in physics, he was forced to pick a family coat of arms, and so he picked the Chinese symbol of Tai-chi. Because he believed that reality had to be visualized in both its complimentary and contradictory aspects, but not at the same time, he felt that, at least at the level of the quantum of action, the basic idea of Eastern mysticism’s yin/yang reality had been confirmed. But, there is more to quantum strangeness than yin/yang reality! There’s another level to this relationship of mutually exclusive opposites coming together in same reality and it’s called “observer-generated reality.”

The classical notions of space, time, causality,–objective reality, — break down at the quantum level. Remember there are no waves propagating. According to most physicists, the wave function is not quite a thing, it is more like an idea that occupies a strange middle ground between idea and reality, where all things are possible but none are actual. An electron is not a particle either, it is more like a process, always forming, always dissolving. It can’t be detected until it interacts with a measuring device and even if it does interact we don’t know if it interacts with the device per se, or if it interacts with the last link in the chain of events that define the experiment—the consciousness of the human observer. The physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, devised a thought experiment to illustrate that point.

You put a cat in a box with some poison gas. When the gas is released, the cat dies. The release of the gas is triggered by radiation decay that is totally random (cannot be predicted). In classical physics, the cat dies at the time of the decay, but in quantum mechanics the cat dies when the observation is made, when the last link in the chain of events that defines the experiment occurs. At the time of observation when the box is opened the wave function collapses and probability becomes actuality. Of course, common sense tells us that can’t be true, but that’s precisely the point, common sense breaks down at the quantum level, things are “different” at that level. So the question remains: Is it (or when is it) necessary to include human consciousness in our descriptions of the world? Or, put another way: What role does measurement play in an experiment? Does it provide a description of the world under study or does it actually create that world? Quantum Mechanics has a hard time answering questions like these. Maybe one day that situation will be better understood, but until that day comes, talk about “objectivity” is probably best left to the Buddhists. They don’t have a problem with “independent reality” because, for Buddhists, there isn’t any; everything is interdependent. The subjective world and the objective world are, for an enlightened Buddhist, just words referring to mutually conditioned relations woven into one fabric. Keeping the Buddha in mind, along with the strange universe described above, I want to begin my discussion of structured existence by revealing the shape of my TOE—it’s shaped like a V, yes, it looks like the letter v, but that’s just the beginning.

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained Structure of Existence

April 24, 2010

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained
The V Shape Structure of Existence

Part 2 of 4 posts

The first thing to notice about the V is its openness. This openness moves the content of existence forward; in fact, one is tempted to say that “to be free” is why existence exists. Science does a good job explaining the content of existence, but it is severely challenged when it comes to explaining the “otherness of existence,” or the liberating process that structures existence. As existence and liberation move up the V, freedom expands. Freedom expands diachronically at each level of structure (think evolution here), but, over time, lower level structure becomes “content” for higher level structure. At each “step up” freedom yields a new synchronic (frozen in time) structure, one that, although different from the lower structure, still preserves the integrity of the lower structure while structuring a whole new dimension of freedom. This process continues until it reaches the level of freedom (“content”) that occurs among symbol generating, language speaking life forms. Yes, that be “us.” So let’s take a look at this process that moves existence forward and expands freedom in a little more detail.

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 (not, not-being). The “double negative” characterizes the entire V, and implies that which exists outside the V– the Affirmative Ideal, or, more to the point, an affirmation of the Affirmative Ideal. In other words, the V and all that it represents/manifests, via the “double negative,” connects/embeds everything to everything else, first through the empirical world and second through the Affirmative Ideal. In terms of quantum strangeness this state of affairs is revealing. But, this is only the first structural level; the second level occurs somewhere above the V vertex. On the liberation side of the V, let the letter b represent the more liberated form of the “otherness of existence” (life) and ~b, (~b on the empirical side of the V), represent the conservation of the integrity of the Affirmative Ideal vis-à-vis the space that separates, embeds, and connects. The word most often used to describe this condition, however, is death. Albeit, life, now firmly established, moves freedom forward until an even more liberated form of the “otherness of existence” emerges. Let b~b~bb represent this highly evolved form of structured existence. We are familiar with this structure because it represents the participatory moment of a conscious being where b~b (on the empirical side of the V) represents the existence of embodied self-conscious and ~bb (on the freedom side of the V represents the participatory moment of “time of mind.” With the advent of self-consciousness, freedom once again moves forward and the V grows larger (and wider) as the story of civilization unfolds (two steps forward one step back, or maybe more).

The Logic of Divine Necessary Opposites

We must shift gears here and think of the universe not as something that consciousness defines, but, rather, as something that defines consciousness. The idea that consciousness pervades the universe is not new. The Greek philosopher, Heraclites, believed that a non-human intelligence or the Logos ordered everything. For Heraclites, all the discrete elements of the world were organized into a coherent whole. The Stoics, using this idea, turned the Logos into God—the God that is the source of all rationality. But, those ideas were developed some 2400 years ago. Can the Logos be equated with the universe and all its elements today? When the noted logician, Alburey Castell, was confronted with a similar question, he responded:

“Suppose the sciences divided into four major groups: the mathematical, the physical, the biological, and social. Suppose the philosophical disciplines also divided into four major groups: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics. Where among these does logic belong? Is it a fifth in either group? Or a subdivision of some one of the eight divisions? It seems to me to be neither of these, but somehow common to all divisions. The nerve of every science and every discipline is inference, or argument. In every science and every discipline two questions are always being asked and their answers sought: If these facts are granted, what follows? From what prior facts do these follow? That is If P, then what? And, Upon what does P rest?” (A College Logic, 329)

Before I begin to answer the question –Upon what does P rest? I want to give a little background information on the law of logical contradiction.

“The laws of logic,” says the Dictionary of Philosophy, “are regulative principles governing the pursuit of knowledge and the construction of scientific theories. Seen in this way, logic is the most general of all sciences… To assert a contradiction would be to depict things as being one way and yet at the same time not that way. But nothing can be p and not-p at the same time. To believe a contradiction is thus to hold as true something that is necessarily false” (Antony Flew, p.210).

What the rule of non-contradiction means in practical terms is that if a contradiction is found in a work of reasoning then that work is of little or no value. On the other hand, if a reasoned work identifies the condition for the possibility of any contradiction whatsoever, then that work would be valuable indeed!

Oh, by the way, freedom’s dialectic (the V structure) is the answer to the question –Upon what does P rest? This experience (the third level of the V structure) opened the door to meaningful symbol creation, the door that swings forward into the creation of language, myth, religion, art, and theoretical knowledge…and into the creation of the civilizing processes that we call “civilization”. But, not to forget, all of this rests on the pre-existing liberating processes of liberation that have come together in human consciousness, and, ultimately, rest on the ground condition of the Affirmation Ideal, Logos, God, albeit, an affirmed indeterminate Divinity. Freedom’s dialectic is at once bond and liberation, bond as Divine Affirmation and liberation as “the otherness of existence” progressively becomes freer!

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

What separates this second level of existence form the third, — the human animal from other animals, is the experience of number, identity, language, etc., i.e., the potential to create and communicate through symbols. In so far as the human animal is defined by God’s non-being, humans become aware of non-being, and out of this awareness, by implication, arises a “mental given.” This “mental given” is experienced as the object pole of consciousness while “not being this mental given” allows for conscious reflection on the content of consciousness. Functionally, ~bb, or the cognitive experience of discontinuity occurring in continuity, is very close to, if not identical with, both Sartre’s pre-reflective Cogito and Piaget’s center of functional activity. Discontinuity occurring in continuity, or ~bb, not only identifies the source of conceptual representation– symbolic meaning, it also explains why our thoughts should be able to represent the world outside our mind, especially when it comes to the application of mathematics to physical theories. Since both the world and our ideas are a product of the logic that structures all existence, there is a necessary correspondence between mind and world. The laws of mathematics, physics, and nature are all grounded in the same structure, the structure that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the “space of logical implication, connects to the liberation of God in the here and now. Probably the most difficult (and uncomfortable) thing to apprehend here is that all reality/existence is the non-being of God,—the “otherness of God.” I didn’t invent this idea; there is a literature devoted to it. Unfortunately, I have not read much of it. Actually, maybe I did invent this idea, since I came upon the literature only after I had developed my argument for the structure of existence. Anyway, Robert P. Scharlemann, edited a journal devoted to this topic. Below is a quote from that journal:

The idea that God is free to not be God is unusual, but not unique. In the journal, Deconstruction and Theology (1982, p. 89-90), Robert P. Scharlemann, in the article The Being of God When God is Not Being God, adds some commentary to this idea when he says: “The thesis I should like to propound here is that, in the theological tradition of this picture (the concept of finite being as ens creatum) is that the world is itself a moment in the being of God; what cannot be thought is that the world is the being of God when God is not being deity, or the being of God in the time of not being.”

It follows from this view that an infinite amount of diversity is both permitted and discovered in God’s freedom not to be, a diversity that, ultimately, is at one with God. What makes this possible (and logically consistent) is the fact that all existence is grounded in one structure, the structure that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the “space of logical implication, connects to the liberation of God’s non-being in the here and now. Another way to state this peculiar state of affairs is that all existence exists as: being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is. This “way of being,” in addition to characterizing God’s freedom, also characterizes the liberation process that evolves God’s freedom (God becomes more free as freedom evolves) and this freedom, ultimately, characterizes physical events, biological events, and psychological events, — the divine self-consciousness of the here and now.

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained The God of Immanence

April 24, 2010

The God of Immanence

Part 3 of 4 posts

Since the divinity aspect of structured existence is wide open at this point, I’d like to say a few words concerning God, and then let a dialogue that I wrote a while back say the rest. The dialogue is something I had hoped would happen (no such luck) between Mike (an old schoolyard friend of mine) and I when we were bicycling the Canadian Maritime Provinces. The Affirmative Ideal is what allows people to believe in God; that is, they believe because they can! God certainly exists in affirmation, but God also exists in the flesh, yours, mine, and all the rest of humanity. God exists in all the rest of nature too, but God is made self-aware in self-consciousness. Think about that; the more you do the more the barriers between God and self-consciousness fall away. It’s not an unpleasant experience.

In Every Human Being God Pulses–The Depth And Center Of All There Is

“Okay,” I said, “but what I’m about to say is not exactly user friendly. It’s about a different kind of God, one that, as far as I can tell, nobody is familiar with.”

“Well, does God have foreknowledge or not?” Mike responded.

“He knows everything that is known,” I said. “It’s hard to describe, but He knows it all without foreknowledge.”

“You’ve got my attention now,” Mike replied, “How exactly does He pull that off?”

“It’s in his freedom,” I said. “In nature, life, and culture we find God’s ‘self-expression’, and that–is an affirmation of God and God’s freedom.”

“Oh, this ought to be good,” replied Mike, “what kind of image is that? Is He still the old man on high, divine worker of miracles, dispenser of rewards and punishments, or am I missing something?”

“That image is a bit outdated, wouldn’t you say?” I said.

“Well is He limited by time or not? replied Mike.”

“No,” I said.

“Is He omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient?”

“Yes to all three,” I replied.

“Well, I rest my case. It’s the same-o, same-o,” Mike responded. “We humans are bound by law and limited by death. We don’t like it, so we imagine a God without limits. We get sick, but God does not. We are caught in space and time—not God. We face horrendous hardships and suffering—not God. Both Freud, and Feuerbach before him, had it right; god is a product of our own desires because, as cripples, we need a crutch. We need god, but he remains forever out of reach. Religion was born out of that need. God is our security blanket. In reality God is based in false hopes and promises, and exists only in our dreams.”

“There’s more to the story than that,” I responded. “The theologian, Paul Tillich, had a different idea. In fact, he believed the image of a superhuman God should be replaced by a more internalized ‘depth image.’ Instead of believing in an external God, he chose to believe in a God that was the ground of all that is. God, for him, became ‘infinite center,’ a ‘presence,’ a feeling, a reality, an opening to all sacredness and divinity. That’s kind of what I’m talking about when I talk about God, but I came to that image in my own way. And, by the way, as far as gender is concerned, God doesn’t have any.”

“That sound’s a bit pantheistic to me,” Mike responded. “So who or what is this god?”

“Pantheism is part of it, but there’s more,” I said. “I have always been attracted to those images of deity that identify God with nature. Spinoza, Lao Tsu, Whitman, Black Elk, all those guys believed nature to be sacred. God is nature, but nature is also an expression of God’s freedom, and further, God’s freedom is something ‘other’ than God. It is God when God is ‘not being God’–God’s own non-being. I know that sounds strange, but I can’t help it. That’s the way it is.”

“Sure,” Mike responded, “cut to the chase why don’t you, and we’ll see just how strange that idea really is.”

“I’m getting there,” I said. “All nature is a ‘way’ of non-being. And, this non-being is peculiar in that it is not a singular thing. It is dualistic in character, and takes the form of a double negation. In this double negative we find God as affirmation. We find God as freedom, and we find God as environment. Just as a receptacle is defined by empty space, non-being defines God. God, in the form of the ‘other’, is both God and freedom, and through reasoned analysis we can derive the meaning and significance of God. In fact, both freedom and reason, on some level, are present in all non-being, all nature.”

“That’s the chase,” Mike replied. “That’s it?”

“I told you, my god is not user friendly,” I said. “Freedom exists at every level of nature. It also goes through changes, and these changes represent freedom at more complex levels. After a sufficient level of complexity, freedom becomes less restricted. When it experiences its own double-negatives in the space of higher negation, it becomes alive. In that sense, freedom is always ‘stretching itself’ and ‘reaching out’ for more freedom. At a sufficient level of complexity, inorganic nature becomes organic, and freedom becomes freer. At death, nature’s double negation must be conserved, so higher expressions of freedom dissolve into less free states, and, ultimately, into God because God is affirmed in double negation—in being non-being. This is my religion. This is what I believe. God is not separate from nature, life, and/or culture. That’s how I understand the meaning and significance of God.”

“What has culture to do with anything?” Mike said. “Its just part of life. Hell, social insects have culture!”

“True,” I replied, “but they do not bring self-consciousness to culture; consequently, they are not free to expand that culture into self-determined orders of complexity. Only humans can do that. Humans are free in a way other animals are not.”

“That’s bullshit,” Mike said. “Culture keeps us alive. It’s the same with insects. It’s a matter of degree, not kind, and the same goes for what you call freedom.”

“Suit yourself,” I replied, “but at least hear me out. According to the way I perceive God, human culture is a product of God’s freedom. In culture, God acts out the self-aware expression of freedom. This higher-level experience is two levels removed from God’s least free expression. This freedom brings with it an ‘empty box,’ a box of negation—a box attached to consciousness. Other animals are boxless. Consciousnesses–self-consciousness—uses this box to see what’s not, and ask ‘why?’ With the good comes the bad, however. This box also permits ruthless people to value greed over knowledge, violence over peace, and vengeance over beauty. Without this box, though, agreements for the purpose of securing peace and preserving beauty would not be possible. Judgments would not be possible. Self-expression would not be possible. The history of civilization would not be possible. In fact, the history of civilization is the history of this box, the history that records the struggles for liberty and the freedom to overcome that which prohibits liberty. When we seek the origin of freedom, we end up in religion.”

“You think religion can save the world!” responded Mike. You think if only people believed as you do, they would act differently? How ignorant! How pretentious! Who is shortsighted and stubborn now?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “Actually, I try not to think of it in those terms. It’s too scary. After searching all these years, it’s enough for me to have a security blanket that works for me.”

“You deserve an ‘at-a-boy’ for that,” Mike replied. “Everybody’s entitled to their beliefs; that is, as long their beliefs do not deny the beliefs of others. Even if you wanted to change the world, in my opinion, you couldn’t, not with what I just heard. The truth is I don’t understand a thing you just said. But, if it’s any consolation, I did enjoy hearing it. I don’t know why. How about another beer?”

“Sounds like a winner,” I replied, “but indulge me for just a little bit longer. I will be specific.”

“If you must,” Mike replied, “Waitress, two more beers pa’ lease.”

“First, God is the inescapable depth and center of all there is. The immanence of God is what I call freedom and this immanence is present as nature. When freedom achieves self-consciousness it is able to name and create truth and beauty. In fact, it calls us forward into life, love, and wholeness. The biblical Jesus was, most likely, so completely transformed by his awareness of the divine that his thoughts, words, and deeds were recognized as divine. Not surprisingly, the gospel writers saw him as the Son of God, and translated his story into the Passion Play that it was, — it is. My religion has nothing to do with ‘revealed truths,’ and it is not about heavenly rewards or punishments. Rather, it is simply a way to perceive and process the God experience, the experience that pulses in every human being. As far as proselytizing goes, all I want to do is open people’s minds to the idea that ‘terra firma’ is hallowed ground. I mean that both literally and figuratively. In our relationship with others we share that ground, and that ground becomes sacred or profane depending on how it is shared. That is what I believe, and that is really the end. Now I’m finished.”

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained-Question and Solution

April 23, 2010

The source of the question and the solution to the problem

Part 4 of 4 posts

It’s time to say a few words concerning where the idea of ~bb (the Implicative affirmative of the not-me-self) came from. Unfortunately, it didn’t drop out of thin air, but once I found it, I could see it lingering in many disparate places (I identified some of those places in my thesis). As it is with many discoveries, it occurred in a flash of insight after many years of muddled thinking. My muddled thinking came mostly from reading Sartre’s Being And Nothingness. Sartre is, more than anyone else, responsible for the concept of ~bb in the structure of b~b~bb, (Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre’s life-long companion is, in my opinion, every bit the equal of Sartre in matters of philosophy, so she gets equal credit here). Sartre’s Being And Nothingness and Heidegger’s Being And Time, by explaining the inseparable nature of time and consciousness, helped me conceive ~bb, as did my studies in Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Jaspers. Kierkegaard helped me connect “nothingness” with God, and Jaspers helped me connect reason and freedom with everything else. Here’s a quote from Jasper’s Reason And Existenz:

“The distinctions of empirical existence, consciousness as such, and spirit do not imply separable facts. Rather they represent three starting points through which we can come to feel that comprehensive Being which we are and in which all Being and everything scientifically investigable appears. These three modes taken individually are not yet the Encompassing as we represent it. Consciousness as such, the location of universally valid truth, is in itself nothing independent. On one side, it points to its basis in empirical existence. On the other it points to spirit, the power it must let itself be dominated by if it would attain meaning and totality. In itself, consciousness as such is an unreal articulation of the Encompassing. Through it, the
Encompassing is differentiated into those modes according to one of which the Encompassing can become individuated and knowable as empirical natural processes, and, according to the other of which it is understandable, a self-transparent, totalizing reality or Freedom. Empirical existence and spirit produce forms of reality; consciousness as such is the form in which we envisage the
Encompassing as the condition of the universally valid and communicable.” (p. 58-59)

In the following journal entry (I kept a journal while reading Being And Nothingness), Sartre directly references the ~bb (the for-itself) in the b~b~bb structure:

Knowledge is found everywhere except in the being of the for-itself. Worldliness, spatiality, quantity, temporality, instrumentality, etc. arise in consciousness as objects for the for-itself, but the for-itself can never become a conscious object—just like a knife blade cannot cut itself. Were it not for the inherent nothingness found in the being of the for-itself, there would not be a consciousness of knowledge. Sartre has described the for-itself as the “pure reflection of nonbeing,” and it is this negation of being which let’s knowledge come into the world. In this respect, the knower-known dichotomy is reduced to mere fabrication, since the knower does not exist. “For-itself nothingness” permits consciousness of reality, but the for-itself remains just outside the reach of that reality because there is no knower to be known.

Sartre also tells us that the ever-elusive present is a further consequence of this negation. Our location in time, to put it mildly, is not very precise. I am conscious of being conscious of something other than myself, and that something is my past self. What I grasp in self- consciousness is my past self—the self that has become being-in-itself. But, being-in-itself is being, so it follows that consciousness is always conscious of being. I have a body and I have a history; these are my objects of consciousness. I am never, however, conscious of the for-itself’s negation– its lack, hole, nothingness, (it makes no difference how you say it, all are equivalent), because this negativity for Sartre is the pre-condition for consciousness to be conscious. And further, it is this non-being of consciousness, which becomes the basis for my freedom.

To recap: Self-consciousness, or my relationship to consciousness, brings to consciousness the pure negative of my own nothingness. Self-consciousness denies itself a coincidence with itself. It denies itself a coincidence with the objects of consciousness–the consciousness-belief dyad. It is in consciousness, however, as presence-to-itself, but it denies itself the possibility of ever becoming fully aware of itself. Self-consciousness is its own negativity. Thus, I am conscious of it as what I am not, as what I lack, as a “hole” in my consciousness, as a “hole” in my very being. — End journal entries.

The basis for ~bb in the structure of b~b~bb was first disclosed by Sartre. Ironically, he interpreted consciousness—being for-itself– as proof of the non-existence of God. Actually, what I got out of his reasoning was that freedom (restricted by its environment) is all that we are. We are the being that is being what is not, while not being what is. We are the negating for-itself as it frees up the consciousness of anything except the for- itself. We are the lack that continually references the lacked. This condition of consciousness is written into Sartre’s definition of consciousness:

“Consciousness is a being such that in its being, its being is in question in so far as this being implies a being other than itself.”

Given the above, is it any wonder why self-help books line bookshelves; why people “who think too much,” are the most likely to suffer from angst, anomie, depression, drug abuse etc.; why life speeds down the tracks of boredom, desire, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, emptiness, desire, (repeat) leaving us with the unanswerable question why? Again, given Sartre’s for-itself (~bb), we are left with (and this is significant) 1) the source of the question and 2) the space that connects to the “space of logical implication.” (think Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” here). In anthropomorphic jargon, at this level of freedom (b~b~bb), think of God as placing the baton of “logical implication” into to open hand of the relay team money guy, the guy expected to glorify the team by being the first to cross the finish line of the “good race.” Sometimes I wonder if God picked the right money species for the job!

Quantum Strangeness Structurally Explained

“Relativity,” according to Laszlo (2004), “did away with space and time as the backdrop of deterministic motion of mass points, but it preserved the unambiguous description of the basic entities of the physical universe.” In my structural theory opposites are necessary in order to preserve “wholeness,” so discontinuity, indeterminism, and non-locality become just as essential for a description of the physical universe as determinism, continuity, and locality. The levels of negation in my structural theory answer why contradictory aspects separate the macro world of Relativity from the micro world of quantum physics. Predictions are possible because the evolution of the universe takes place in this space that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the “space of logical implication.” So now we may ask: What are the pre-conditions for this state of affairs?

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

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

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

The Principle Of Relativity Includes In Itself The Observing Intellect End Of Life Story Chapter 5

January 15, 2010

My conversation with the Devil continues to cite the connectivity problems that arise in the micro universe and then draws upon Relativity theory for confirmation of the necessary opposites that shape God’s footprint. In the discussion of temporality that follows—given the theory of God’s footprint—the message is that because unidirectional time is not found in space-time human beings are free to seek knowledge, make decisions and reverence the God of all possibilities!

God’s Physical Footprint Answers So Many Questions

Relativity Is A Theory Made To Order For A Consciousness That Is Independent Of Events

Future Time Nine Continued

“God’s footprint answers so many questions,” said MV, “fundamental questions, like, why are we here?”

“We’re here,” I replied, “because God is free.”

“Yes, of course,” responded MV, “but it’s in the details that we find answers to the really difficult questions and the more we focus on these details the more meaningful God’s footprint becomes. For instance, why are the parameters of the universe—the relative strengths of gravity and electromagnetism [so far, three dozen and counting (Laszlo, 2004)]—so fine-tuned to the existence and survival of life? Our connection to a friendly universe is just one of the ‘connectivity problems’ that must be dealt with. God’s footprint becomes more meaningful when the observation problems relating to the collapse of the wave function and/or the wave/particle dualities (Bohr’s complementarity theory) are considered. But the real connectivity stumper, and where God’s footprint also comes into play, is found in our participation in a quantum event that instantaneously connects us to an event theoretically on the other side of the universe. That connection presupposes a whole different kind of connection. It’s that kind of connection that David Bohm was referring to when he pointed out that in the two basic theories of physics-Relativity and quantum mechanics—there are “entirely contradictory concepts which have not been brought together; this is one of the problems that remain. They both agree, however, on the unbroken wholeness of the universe, although in different ways.’”

“Now I’m lost,” I said, “what does all that have to do with God’s footprint?”

“Remember, from a structural perspective, the footprint remains a closed system,” responded MV, “but, in terms of content, there’s more to the footprint than closure. The formulation rules of structure, affirmative ideal, transformation, wholeness, and self-regulation, permit the structuring process some degree of freedom, which, ultimately, works to transform the ‘micro world’s duality based structure/content form’ into a more ‘independent, structure content form,’ or the independent form of consciousness and events; and further, when this independent form of consciousness turns it’s lens back upon duality based structure/content, the limiting aspect of structure/content—complementarity—comes into focus.”

“Whatever you say,” I replied, “But what about Relativity? How can Relativity and the duality bound nature of the micro world be consistent?”

“You’re not listening,” said MV. “Relativity is a theory made to order for a consciousness that is independent of events. In fact, a consciousness that is independent of events is one of the underlying principles of Relativity. Indeed, the working concepts in Relativity, — determinism, locality, and continuity, are not only used to describe what Relativity takes to be the interdependent relationships that exist between observers, reference frames, and physical events, these concepts may also be used to describe, at least in part, the closed system structure of God’s footprint. That said, however, micro level structure is different from macro level structure, and there’s the rub. Remember, form is content for a higher form and content is form relative to some inferior content. When the observer penetrates duality based structure/content form, ~~b, the observer’s independent relationship with the event comes to an end. This consequence is the result of the closed system nature of God’s footprint.”

“I’m listening but I still don’t understand,” I replied. “Do you mean that Relativity explains physical phenomena in the macro world because the structure/content of b~b~bb permits self-consciousness to exist independent of the events, while, at the micro level Relativity does not explain physical phenomena because physical phenomena, at that level, is really an inferior form of the b~b~bb structure/content?”

“Precisely,” responded MV. “The concepts of indeterminism, non locality, and discontinuity are the concepts that best describe physical phenomena at the micro level of experience. And further, it is precisely those participation problems found in quantum physics, ‘the agencies of observation problems,’ which validate the existence of God’s footprint!”

The Self, ~bb, Generates The Salience Of Cognitive Objects

Future Time Nine Continued

“Ok, help me out here,” I replied. “Let’s walk through this, or better yet, let me take it from here. You correct me if I’m wrong. Going back to the basics; were talking about God’s freedom and the liberation of consciousness. It begins with a simple footprint; that is, the micro world’s duality based, ‘structure/content form,’ or ~~b. Consciousness, in this simple footprint, is caught between the two ‘nots,’– not this, not that. However, the footprint grows when the ‘two nots’ become, after a structural transformation, caught in the life/death struggle that we call life. In this higher structure/content form, God’s footprint expands, and consciousness becomes freer. But wait, it’s not over yet. Another structural transformation occurs and God’s footprint expands again thus liberating an even freer form of consciousness. In this new structure/content form, consciousness becomes independent of its surrounding environment and begins to think for itself–becomes self-consciousness. How am I doing?”

“Not bad,” said MV, “but we’re supposed to be taking this somewhere. It’s about the details; the implications, remember?”

“I’m getting there, be patient,” I replied, “in fact, I am there! It’s all starting to come back to me now. It’s right there in the transformation between the consciousness of struggle– life–and the higher consciousness of independent thought. When life consciousness transforms into self-consciousness temporality or ‘time of mind’ is birthed and from this new born the spirit of self-liberation follows. In fact, I included ‘time of mind’, the ~bb structure of b~b~bb, in my thesis. To get an acceptable thesis I had to write a paper explaining what my thesis was going to be about and I remember how difficult it was to talk about structure without talking about the structure of b~b~bb. Instead, I talked about the inner component of self that generates the salience of cognitive objects, or the ‘time of mind’ aspect of mind. Fortunately, my thesis was approved. Here’s a bit of the summation that I used to convince my professor to let me write my thesis:

[This argument will begin with a description of Descartes’ cogito (Flew, 1979), giving specific attention to the “identity inference” implied by this cogito. This inference is described by Anscombe (Ed. Cassam,1994, p152) as: “The thinking that thinks this thought–that is what is guaranteed by cogito”. I will then describe how the self (when the self is understood in terms of the triadic relationship, “me-self,” negation of the “me-self,” and, “I-self”) offers a different conceptual basis from which to derive the “identity inference” without attaching itself to Descartes’ excess baggage, or, as this baggage is described by Hermans, et al., (1993, p. 39), “the existence of a unitary, closed, highly centralized subject or self, as an entity in itself, having an existence ‘above’ or ‘outside’ the social environment.”

With the triadic self-concept in place, I will then proceed to describe why “a relativity to a basis,” according to Evans (Ed. Cassam, 1994, p. 196), “becomes a conditional attribute of the self-ascription of mental predicates,” and, why acquiring knowledge (accessing the truth or falsity of knowledge) invokes an act of self-reference where the subject is required to reflect on the credibility, or basis, of the knowledge in question.

From this model of a triadic concept of self I will be able to forcefully argue that much of what Mead (1934) and James (1890) described as the socially generated component parts of self are, in fact, an accurate description of self. However, I will also argue that, as a consequence of the conditional attribute of the self-ascription of mental predicates, a second, inner component of self is at work. It is this inner component of self that generates the salience of cognitive objects, and, in so far as this inner-self is capable of instantiating inner directed values, e.g., numbers, sets, multi-valued logics, this inner-self makes possible the hypothetical-deductive method of scientific explanation and prediction. It is relevant that the source of these inner values can be traced to the space that differentiates the self into a “neither this” (social), “nor that” (individual), circumstance, as opposed to Descartes’ “clear and distinct ideas.” Since the time of Descartes, these “clear and distinct ideas,” have been considered the source of these inner values and, hence the source of rational thought.]

“Just to get clear on one point,” said MV, “this ‘time of mind’ that you refer to, is that the same as the measured time of clocks?”

“No, it’s different, but it is embedded in the time of clocks,” I replied, “because it is an event. Einstein revolutionized space and time by merging the two in his space-time concept, but ‘time of mind’ is not included in space-time. However, space-time includes ‘time of mind’s negative condition.’ In fact, it is the negation of ‘time of mind’ which, on a structural level, closes God’s footprint, the footprint that now incorporates the independent form of consciousness and events.”

“Since you have already worked this subject over in your writing,” said MV, “I see no point in continuing this conversation. Instead, let’s take a look at your expanded explanation. I will say this, though, your particular sense of ‘time of mind’ may not be included in Einstein’s space-time, but the consciousness that is independent of events is one of the underlying principles of Relativity. This is not my belief; rather, it comes from no less of an authority than Hermann Minkowski, the first person to see the four-dimensional space-time continuum embedded in relativistic equations. According to Minkowski:

“The principle of relativity includes in itself the observing intellect, which is a circumstance of the greatest importance…this principle gives indications concerning things which take place in moving bodies, not only in relation to physical and chemical phenomena, but also in relation to phenomena of life, and therefore also to the quest of man. It is remarkable as an example of a thesis based on strictly scientific experiment in the purely physical domain, which bridges the gulf between two worlds generally considered to be of different nature.” (P.D. Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, 1982, p. 104)

Time And Problem Solving Are Interdependent

Science deals with time on three levels. There is the time, which following from Newton’s laws of motion, is used to predict the future of moving objects. It terms of our solar system, this is the time that allows for space travel. Reflecting on this time, the French mathematician Laplace declared that the existence of God was an unnecessary hypothesis. He realized that the initial conditions at the birth of the universe predetermined everything, thus everything becomes predictable, — both backwards and forwards. There is also the time encountered in thermodynamics and in the biological sciences—a unidirectional arrow of time. According to the second law of thermodynamics energy dissipates while entropy (disorder) increases, or, in other words, things decay. A third level of time is found in Relativity and in quantum mechanics. This time gets measured by the t-coordinate in an undifferentiated continuum, and, according to Denbigh, “if this coordinate is ‘taken for real’ as has been the tendency among many scientists and philosophers, the familiar distinction between past, present and future, so important in human affairs, comes to be regarded as a mere peculiarity of consciousness” (Kenneth Denbigh, Three Concepts of Time, 1981, p. 4).

In the above time examples, time and problem solving become co-dependent. This dependency is itself dependent, from the perspective of freedom’s dialectic, on the space of implication or ~bb. We are free to problem solve and act on our environment in a consistent and systematic manner. We acquired this freedom only after embedded consciousness, after a lengthy evolutionary journey, liberated consciousness’s implicative aspect in human consciousness.

The Unidirectional Flow Of Time Is About Conservation

Identifying The Absence Of The “Unidirectional Time” In The Negative Space Of Freed Embedded Consciousness, We Are Once Again Brought Back To The Realization That If It were Not For The Four-Dimensional Space Time Aspect Of Freed Consciousness, You And I Would Not Be Free In A World Of Our Own Experience, Making Decisions, Seeking Knowledge, And Paying Reverence To The God That Has Made All This Possible

Temporality Concluded

Discontinuity occurring in continuity, or ~bb, in freedoms dialectic, permits the dissociations that help build, one upon another, the fruits of civilization. But, on a more personal note, one can also fall victim to the culturally imposed conformity that acts to stifle intelligence and creativity. In this respect, the practice of dissociation breathes fresh air into the dull mental habits that suffocate creativity and imagination. Here’s what Douglas Hofstadter has to say about this kind of dissociation. He calls it “jumping out of the system”:

“One can certainly jump from a subsystem of one’s brain into a wider subsystem. One can step out of ruts on occasion. This is still due to the interaction of various subsystems of one’s brain, but it can feel very much like stepping entirely out of oneself…This drive to jump out of the system is a pervasive one, and lies behind all progress in art, music and other human endeavors” (Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, 1979, p. 25)

In much the same way as Hofstadter suggests, the necessary condition, in my opinion, that allowed Einstein to jump out of the system of absolute time (in his attempt to reconcile the results of the Michelson Morley experiment) is found in the implicative, unidirectional temporal nature of ~bb, — the same “time of mind” that identified reversible time and entropy. In fact, one has to look no further than the communication of meaningful sentences for evidence of the primary character of unidirectional time. Not only does ordinary experience support this claim, but so to does Relativity theory.

Sense experience moves in one direction only. In perception and cognition we cannot unsee, unhear, unsmell, untouch, and unknow. According to freedom’s dialectic, rational discourse is a product of unidirectional time, but also, according to freedom’s dialectic, unidirectional time is embedded in its opposite condition. We may then ask, what is the opposite condition of unidirectional time? Fortunately, for confirmation of “time of mind’s opposite,” we need only look to the implications of Relativity theory. In the book, Ideas and Opinions, Einstein describes the significance of the four-dimensional space-time continuum with special emphasis placed on the fate of the now:

“The four-dimensional structure (Minkowski-space) is thought of as being the carrier of matter and of the field…Since there exist in this four-dimensional structure no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four-dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three—dimensional existence” (Einstein, Ideas And Opinions, 1954, p. 371).

And, agreeing with Einstein, Hermann Minkowski, the creator of the four-dimensional space/time continuum (he discovered the mathematical significance of relativistic equations) says this about “time of mind’s negative condition”:

“In the universe all is given: for it there is no past or future, it is—the eternal present; it has no limits either in space or in time. Changes take place in individualities and correspond to their displacement along the world ways in the four-dimensional, eternal and boundless manifold. In the domain of philosophic thought these ideas should produce a greater revolution than the displacement of the earth from the center of the universe by Copernicus” (P.D Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, 1982, p.105).

Identifying the absence of “unidirectional time” in the negative space of freed embedded consciousness, we are brought back to the realization that were it not for the conditional aspect of space-time, we would not be free to pursue agendas (for the most part agendas of our own choosing), make decisions, seek knowledge, achieve goals, and, reverence the Divinity that makes it all possible.

End Of Life Story Redemption Chapter 2

December 26, 2009

My end of life conversation with the devil continues here with more dialogue about consciousness, freedom, God, religion, and intelligibility. At the end of this story post and all subsequent posts, I refer to some of my written work that compliments my conversation with the devil. I will not include, for the most part, the referenced work in this story. Instead, I will skip to my next redemption conversation with the devil. However, a lot of the work referenced (for instance, at the end of this post I am referring to my description of God’s footprint) is posted under a different title. If already posted, I will ID the referenced work.

Redemption—Freedom/Consciousness And Content/Form Interdependence

Future Time Nine Continued

“Stop whining. It doesn’t become you,” replied MV.

“I’m not whining, you’re the whiner,” I said. “Or if you’re not then you should be! But, hey, I’m willing to give the Devil his do. I can not compete with the enabler of creation, so tell me about God. Obviously, you are in the knowing position. After all we’ve been through, the least you can do is share a little of that knowledge with me. Come on, what do you say?”

“You already know God,” replied MV. “Err let me rephrase that. Because of our metaphysic, you know as much as you need to know about God. But, you’re right, we have been through a lot and I’m feeling a bit generous, so tell you what, I’ll tell you what you already know, but coming from me, any doubt you might be entertaining concerning the One On High, ought to be put to rest.”

“Great! You begin and I’ll follow.”

“As you know, God is all about communication,” said MV, “communication and structure. Remember the ‘affirmative ideal’, the underlying principle of structuralism? Well God is It, and from the ‘affirmative ideal’ communication follows. I’m sure you’ve heard these words before: “(1) In The Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God; (3) all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it….” [Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version. Gospel According to John, 1952] Well, we’re all talking about the same thing here!”

“What are you’re telling me, that the God of Christianity is the God On High?”

“Well I am the Devil aren’t I? Oh, forgive me,” said MV, “I’m saying that there are many people, just like you, who have come to know the one true God. Besides, God does not discriminate! I’m the one that discriminates. Through me, religions thrive. God simply makes my job possible. If God plays favorites, it’s not found in icon worship; rather, it’s found in the discovery and application of universals, in the logical structure of all things reasonable,—in language, freedom, goodness, and in all heavenly gifts that rain down upon humanity. Do you remember these words? They are your words not mine: ‘In the negation of God, God becomes immanent and free. God’s immanence is important to us because this immanence is what we call physical reality.’”

“Your right, I don’t remember,” I replied, “but it sounds like something I should or could have said. When things start to go, they really go. Old age– can’t live with it, can’t live without it, but hey, if it gets too bad just stick around because you’ll forget about it eventually.”

“Do you remember your concept of reciprocal movement?

“Of course,” I replied. “As the source of all things physical, biological and divine, reciprocal movement weaves its way up the synchronic ladder producing identity, language, and free thought. Need I say more?”

“Very good,” said MV. “Then you also remember the interdependence between content and form. I believe you first discovered that relationship in the work of Piaget, more specifically; it was the driving concept in his constructionist theory. Am I right?”

“As I recall, yeah, in biological terminology,” I replied, “in addition to natural selection, Piaget believed something more was going on in an organism’s adaptation to its environment. For him, the life process proceeded along two developmental lines. First there was the assimilation of objects to individual activity, and second, the accommodation of organisms to their environment, and these two processes didn’t necessarily operate in equilibrium. It was in this ‘content/form interdependence’ where Piaget located biological development.”

“That’s not exactly what I’m talking about, but it works,” said MV. “Actually it works well because it demonstrates how ‘content/form interdependence’ moves all creation forward. You see, the open ended relationship between content and form not only drives life, it drives knowledge as well. In fact, Piaget described the nature of knowledge as being ‘a spiral the radius of whose turns increases as the spiral rises…This means, in effect, that the idea of structure as a system of transformations becomes continuous with that of construction as continual formation.’ Piaget further elaborates on the idea that knowledge, as a system of transformations, is always undergoing reconstruction when he says:

“Since Godel,…the idea of a formal system of abstract structures is thereby transformed into that of the construction of a never completed whole, the limits of formalization constituting the grounds for incompleteness, or, as we put it earlier, incompleteness being a necessary consequence of the fact that there is no “terminal” or “absolute” form because any content is form relative to some inferior content and any form the content for some higher form.” [Piaget, Structuralism, 1970 p. 140]

“You lost me,” I replied. “Where’s God in all of this?”

“My, my, you have slipped in your old age, haven’t you,” responded MV, “for every time there is a season and yours, perhaps, has come and gone?”

“Stop that! I know all about Piaget,” I replied, “but you’re supposed to be clarifying God, not obscuring the issue, so I repeat myself what does all this have to do with God?

“You’re right, I’ll try and be more clear,” responded MV, “but it had to be this way because from here on out it’s mostly logic; that is, the logic behind the ‘structure of transformations.’ But let me answer your question: God is found in the ‘continuous construction of system transformations.’ Or, to put this idea in your own words, the words that you have so earnestly developed over the course of your life: Freedom is form. Consciousness is content. Freedom expands consciousness. Form restricts freedom. God is free in the continuous construction of system transformations that result in more freedom, more consciousness.

Redemption—The Story Continues

Future Time Nine Continued

“The story of God,” said MV, “is the story of the rise and fall of freedom and consciousness. Does that help?”

“I think so, but I think also that I will better understand if we stay with my vocabulary when we talk about God.”

“No problem,” replied MV. “How’s this: Where consciousness is most restricted, where the form of freedom is reduced to the condition of ‘neither this, nor that,’ you find all the ‘strangeness of the quasi-real world of quantum mechanics.’ But, after a sufficient complexity arises in the universe, after freedom and consciousness go through a sufficient number of transformations, consciousness breaks out of the condition of ‘neither this nor that,’ and becomes more free in an environment that both sustains and propagates life, albeit an environment which limits longevity and the possibilities of adaptation. This process continues, though, and once again, upon achieving a level of sufficient complexity, consciousness becomes conscious of identity and reason. At this level of transformation, consciousness becomes free to confront obstacles and ask why! Of course, it is still limited by its environment and mortality, but, in terms of liberation, consciousness experiences an exponential rise in possibilities! There; are we on familiar ground yet?”

“You bet!” I replied. “But how about slowing down so I can get a better handle on form, content, and the God connection.”

“As you wish,” said MV. “We’ll start over. It all begins with the diachronic movement of physical events through time. These events—the charged particles, masses, forces, fields, etc. of nature, are embedded in the laws of nature. However, these events are also embedded in synchronic structure–the reciprocal movement of form and content, which also is bound by law, the law of intelligibility. 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.’ As you already know, the whole of synchronic movement is framed by the double negative, ~(~b), and, as is the logical case with double negatives, affirmation is implied. This double negative encapsulates all diachronic movement. In other words, all phenomena takes place between the negative poles of the ‘affirmative ideal’ and, you and I call this ‘affirmative ideal’ God.” God’s freedom expands through synchronic transformations, and within this process, the horizon of consciousness expands also.”

“How come I never learned about the law of intelligibility in logic class?” I interrupted.

“You did,” MV replied. “In order to know anything at all you start with what’s given and whatever that is, it is not compatible with its negation. We’re talking about the principle of non-contradiction my friend, but in this particular case, I’m talking about the negation of an already negative condition, thus an implied affirmation is the result.

“If this wasn’t already my religion, I’m not to sure I could follow what you are saying,” I said. “But what about content and form movement, does it have to be that difficult to comprehend?”

“Well, here it is in a nutshell,” responded MV. “Try to remember it, okay. “Content is form relative to some inferior content and any form the content for some higher form.” Take, for instance, the form we’ve been discussing, the ~~b form. Content encapsulated in this form is all there is; that is, no other content can be identified outside ~~b. Diachronically speaking, this content evolved into the universe that we experience today. But, synchronically speaking, our knowledge of that universe is more about the liberating transformations of freedom and consciousness; the transformations that occur when ~~b becomes ~bb, and when ~bb becomes b~b~bb. And, in terms of the “contents of these forms,” mass/energy evolves into living energy that exists far from equilibrium, which, in turn, evolves into the electrical synapseing that produces human intelligence. In the “affirmative ideal of human intelligence,” form and content merge to create an environment of physical events (facts). You know this experience as the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self embedded in a physical event, but everybody else knows this experience as the beginning of the culture produced by the species Homo sapiens. In the end, this experience is the effect of the ongoing evolution of how “content is form relative to some inferior content and form the content for some higher form.” Death is important here for not only does it conserve the law of intelligibility that allows for the comprehensibility of the universe, it also moves life forward into expanded realms of freedom and consciousness.

“And that’s where we are at right now,” I replied, “here, where the bell tolls and it tolls for me and, as the great equalizer, for all others eventually.”

“Yes,” replied MV, “I’m glad you worked through those cobwebs, but there’s still a bit more to say on this subject. Things get more complicated at the next level of transformation. Perhaps you’d like to move this conversation in that direction?

“Now you’re talking,” I replied, “why don’t we take a closer look at freedom and consciousness; we can’t really go too far without that exploration. God knows, I spent a lot of time struggling with those two topics.”

“Certainly we will get to freedom and consciousness,” responded MV, “but first we should refresh your memory concerning the physical consequences that make possible the expansion of freedom and consciousness. We can refer to work already done, your work. That will make it easy for both of us.”

“Of course,” I replied, “let’s do it!”

We, Unlike The Rest Of Nature, Stand As A Problem To Ourselves

October 22, 2009

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Similarities, dissimilarities, categorization, and particularization emerge from logi with their negations. Embedded in the set of differences out of which a particular arises, we find negation. Billig describes this condition, in the context of the rhetoric of argumentation, when he says: “Since the loci of arguments (the claim to essential set of differences) represent basic forms of thought, negation is a basic, even essential, characteristic of the thinking.” Nowhere is this clearer than in the agency of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self. If it were not for the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self we would lack the capacity to: 1) become an “object” to ourselves, 2) access reflexive thought processes and self-narratives, and 3) make manifest the reflections that are most characteristically human.

The Structure Of Thinking-Inner Deliberations Or Silent Arguments Conducted Within A Single Self

The Interdependent Nature Of Logoi And Negation-The Paradox Is That These Two Processes Seem To Pull In Opposite Cognitive Directions: The One Pulls Towards The Aggregation Of Things And The Other Towards The Uniqueness Of Things

Billig argues that people in the real world are confronted by infinitely different stimuli and in order to keep from being overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of stimuli we mentally categorize these stimuli. In the management of our everyday affairs we apply these categories to our common sense knowledge of the world so that we can reasonably proceed with our daily affairs.

In Billig’s critique, he takes exception to the cognitive social psychological focus on categorical and inflexible aspects of thought processes. These one-sided theories see human thought “as aspiring to little more than the utility of an efficient computer” (Billig, 1987: 118). Concentrating on the categorical aspect of thinking ignores, according to Billig, the “inner deliberations [or] silent arguments conducted within a single self” (Billig. 1987: 5). Cognitive psychologists emphasize the inflexible aspects of thought processes because they practice what Billig calls the psychology of logos as they ignore the psychology of anti-logos. In order to avoid this failing, psychologists should see the basic psychological units of thoughts as pairs of conflicting processes. “If thinking is seen to be built upon conflicting tendencies,” according to Billig, “then there will be less danger of pushing the conflict between logos and anti-logos to a neglected siding. Instead, this conflict will be rooted in the psychological structure of thinking itself” (Billig, 1987: 119).

Billig argues that the structure of thinking is centered on categorization and particularization interdependence. It is just as important to see the specialness or uniqueness of a stimulus, as it is to see similarities among stimuli. In so far as one can identify an infinite amount of similarities among objects, one can also identify an infinite amount of dissimilarities among objects. For every good argument for the role played by categorization in cognition, there is an equally good argument for the role played by particularization in cognition. But, and this is Billig’s point, if we look too long or too hard at the details we risk wasting our energy and time, therefore, an examination of cognition must neither concentrate on the particularization component of cognition nor on the categorization component of cognition. According to Billig, what we end up with is the interdependent nature of two opposing processes: categorization and particularization. Billig states (1987: 134):

“Categorization and particularization, inasmuch as they refer to human thought processes, are not to be considered as two distinct capabilities, as separate, for example, as the olfactory and visual senses. The two processes are interrelated, at least as far as linguistic categories and particularities are concerned. In order to use categories, we must be able to particularize and vice versa. The paradox is that these two processes seem to pull in opposite cognitive directions: the one pulls towards the aggregation of things and the other towards the uniqueness of things. The result is that the human mind is equipped with the two contrary skills of being able to put things into categories and to treat them as special. Thus, our thought processes are not held in the thrall of a single process, which inevitably leads to a distorting narrow-mindedness. Nor do our basic cognitive processes merely function to provide psychological stability and order. They also provide the seeds of argumentation and deliberation, as our logoi of categorization are always liable to be opposed by our anti-logoi of particularization. However, in order to see how this might operate, we need to move from the perceptual metaphor, used in much cognitive psychology, to consider directly logoi and their negations.”

The Cognitive Dimension Of Ambivalence From Which Psyche And Self Follow

Embedded In The Set Of Differences Out Of Which A Particular Arises We Find Negation-It Is An Essential Characteristic Of Thinking

Billig’s critique of the interdependent nature of cognition may be unusual but it is not totally unfamiliar. Simmel’s identification of a person as a sociological category and as a stranger, and, Thom’s identification of ambivalence as the ground for human nature (the opposition between the modes of difference and no difference) are not all that different from Billig’s categorization/particularization interdependence that simultaneously pulls toward the aggregation of things, and, towards the uniqueness of things. It appears that Billig, with his concept of categorization/particularization interdependence, has, so to speak, put his finger on the cognitive dimension of ambivalence that, as Thom points out, “reproduce(s) its basic structure in every form it creates or observes”…and from which ”psyche and self follow” (Thom, 1984: xi).

But Billig’s description of thinking as that which takes place in terms of conflicting yet interdependent processes does more than just resonate similarities with Simmel’s and Thom’s views concerning a person, it also brings into focus the necessary role negation plays in the processing of thoughts.

The ability to categorize, according to Billig, presupposes the ability to particularize. The categorization of thoughts depends upon the opposing process of particularization because information must be “selected” before it can be categorized. There is, however, a requisite condition permitting the particularization of a particular and that is the essential set of differences out of which a particular arises. Embedded in the set of differences, out of which a particular arises, we find negation. Billig describes this condition, in the context of the rhetoric of argumentation, when he says: “[S]ince the loci of arguments [the claim to essential set of differences] represent basic forms of thought, negation is a basic, even essential, characteristic of thinking (Billig, 1987 : 139). We may conclude from Billig’s analysis of categorization/particularization interdependence that negation is an essential constituent of thinking conscious thoughts.

If, in the processing of thoughts we exercise negation, then negation is a necessary constituent in the project of self as it “constitutes itself,” according to Giddens (1991: 244), “through the reflexive ordering of self-narratives.” Nowhere is this clearer than in the agency of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self. Just as Billig argued when he said that people must categorize stimuli to keep from being overwhelmed by a constant bombardment of stimuli, it is argued here that the agency of self, the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self, requires an affirmation of self to keep from being overwhelmed by a constant bombardment of stimuli (the not-me-self stimuli). Without this affirmation a person risks disenfranchisement, dislocation and self-image, self-esteem problems.

Beyond self-affirmation, however, there are additional efficacies in the negative facet of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self. If it were not for the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self we would lack the capacity to; 1) become an “object” to ourselves, 2) access reflexive thought processes and self-narratives, and 3) make manifest the reflections that are most characteristically human. L.C. Simpson (1995: 29), in his reflections on the nature of self-understanding, states: “We, unlike the rest of nature, stand as a problem to ourselves. How are we to make sense of our lives? How are we to comport ourselves? What stories are we enacting and ought we to enact?”