Best Possible World: Gateway to the Millennium and Eschaton



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You and I differ mainly in the tail vs. dog department. In the natural, primordial state there is a great mixture of the mental and physical, or subjective and objective. The mental dimension is able to exercise active voluntary coordination and thus is able to overpower the more passive 'physical' dimension. However, when it comes to creation, the mental-physical tables must be turned so that our creaturely egos have a relatively stable and level playing field on which to freely and individually interact. This is ensured by a strictly enforced physics based on the Anthropic principle.
Only as we work out our interpersonal relations, and communication technology, are we able to coordinate our minds on a global scale sufficient to where we can help inaugurate a Millennium devoted to 'tikkun' or cosmic repair, leading to the hierogamos of creation and creator, closing the teleological loop that is history.
Nothing here is particularly original, nor even deep. If I can bring anything to the messianic table it is perhaps a peculiar post-modern bed-side manner that may go with the territory, at the same time as being able to attend to certain academic subtleties, when not hounded by security guards. Also, being able to defer most moral and spiritual issues to an illustrious predecessor is a major leg up on the prophetic incline.
>>The problem is to avoid the creation of new UFO Death Cults like Heaven's Gate. I saw that possibility in Joe which is why I reacted so strongly to try to leash him in. His phrase that he was ready to die for his cause raised my alarm.
Well, I may have managed to involve myself in that mini-eschaton by passing a potentially incendiary piece of info from Rick Doty to Richard Boylan who then broadcast it. Live and learn.
>> It's important you read Stephen's book "The Two Faces of Islam". I need to connect up again with Robert Dickson Crane. His trip is similar to Steve's. I did not know he had been a personal advisor to Richard Nixon when I dated his daughter Maiti 20 years ago.
>>[Later] Read Stephen Schwartz's "The Two Faces of Islam" for some deep enlightening connections on the broader cultural stage that is your main interest beyond the physics
>>Basil Hiley on his webpage http://www.bbk.ac.uk/tpru/BasilHiley.html discusses the "non-mechanical" in depth. Stephen Schwartz and I are relating this to Sufi Metaphysics.
Osama & Co., bless their hearts, are giving us a 'crash' course in postmodern ecumenism. The saber rattling and fence building can go just so far -- at some point we will have to learn to talk to these folks. The Sufi connection will have to be the primary channel. The Christians and Jews will need to demonstrate more than lip service to Allah. It is difficult to believe that 9/11 did not have some cosmic significance. The shouting and shooting will wind down. The cosmology will heat up. Some of them, 'the other face of Islam', are more serious about cosmic matters than we are. We will get more serious, or else....
>>This is beyond ordinary micro-QM and corresponds to Antony Valentini's "avoidance of sub-quantal heat death". Brian Josephson first pointed this out in his "Biological Utilization of Nonlocality" with Fotini Pallikari. Bierman's teleological "presponse" is built in. See also Colonel Robert Hickson's piece in my "Destiny Matrix".
(I'm impressed that you got on with Robert. He did not like my presentation last time -- I may have had more than my share of the wine bottle, but I might still get another chance.) The "philosfawzers" are just beginning to wake up and smell the non-local, 'emergent', irreducible, teleological properties. The general acceptance of just one such property at the biological or psychological level might well do as much harm to the scientific cosmology as a fleet of ufos, IMHO. We may differ on this point.
But, one way or the other, the sky is going to fall on the heads of some intelligent folks. This, especially under the gun of 9/11, is likely to set off a significant intellectual panic. You and I, and just a few others perhaps, have most of their options covered. Coming to us would be like one stop shopping. We would be making it easy for them and us. All we have to do is act naturally.
Dan
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Aren't I a busy little correspondent!

[1/16]
And more of same...............


Jack,
I may be wrong or you may be wrong, but we cannot both be wrong! That is the beauty and the 'spirit' of the Jack-Daniels Show.
You have a lot of self-organizing being referenced in your message below [not presently supplied], but I don't see any selves, except after the fact, as a finished product. The Self is Johnny Walker (Wheeler?) come lately.
I would suggest to you and Bohm, and quite a few others that there can be, and logically must be, primordial, virtual, potential selves, wherein resides all the discretionary cosmic potency, because were else could that potency reside?
Your flow of information goes mainly from the objective to the subjective. This may be fairly accurate in our present situation as creatures in the pre-Millennial, pre-Tikkun phase of History. BUT, with the Creator and and with us creatures in the Millennial, Tikkun, psychokinetic, cosmic restitutional phase, that flow of informational bits is increasingly going to be reversed and be flowing from the Subjective to the 'Objective'. That reversal accelerates us beyond the event horizon of the Eschaton. That is one model for the Hierogamos.
If you attempt to work out an eschatology without appealing to an informational ebb and flow as just described, then there is no closure, no cosmic bootstrap. Some such loop is embedded in every mythos known to us. Without some self-containment and self-consistency there can be no cosmic significance. You are left with the Apeiron, dreaded by the Greeks. I am suggesting a basis for the Logos. The transcendental infinities and potencies lie in the subjective-qualitative dimension, not in the objective-quantitative dimension.
Again it comes back to the primordial dog and tail, or chicken and egg problem. I am suggesting to my former physics colleagues that Anthropics and the 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics are a sure sign that our physics is at least one big step removed from the true primordial, chaotic Apeiron. What comes between us and the Apeiron is the potency of a virtual Logos or cosmic Self. Creation, thus, is the self-realization of the virtual Logos. The eschaton is the completion of the creation and the restitution of creation to Creator.
Like I say, we can't both be wrong!
Dan

[1/21]
This email exchange with Jack Sarfatti continued for several days:


Jack, [1/19]
I'll grant you that one of us is confused. Let's see who it is.
You say that I make a category confusion. Well, the game of metaphysics is all about categories. I challenge your categorizing, particularly in regard to mind and self:
I believe I have explained consciousness as a physical phenomenon within the laws of nature in the paradigm of modern science better than any of my peers in the field (Stapp, Penrose et-al).
I challenge your categorization of the mind as a natural phenomenon. That is the whole point of our discussion, Jack.
The theory of emergence bottom->up is given by PW Anderson. The theory of Bohmian downward causation is given by Basil Hiley.
This is where your 'naturalism' crashes on the rocks...:::
There is on Basil's website just one online paper that references the mind: . It nowhere contains the word 'causation', let alone the phrase 'downward causation'.
In your two books, 'causation' appears just three times, each time in reference to 'future causation'. The word 'emergence appears only once in a quote from Anderson.
It would appear, Jack, that you have not been doing your homework. If you would like to begin understanding the issue of emergence and downward causation I would suggest that you start with my page on Creation and follow the hyperlinks therein. What is still the most frequently cited paper on the topic is by Jaegwon Kim, a philosopher of physics at MIT. Here is a review of his paper: PHYSICALISM, EMERGENCE AND DOWNWARD CAUSATION -- Richard J. Campbell and Mark H. Bickhard. Jeagwon has demonstrated that the idea of emergence and downward causation is incompatible with any scientific notion of law-like behavior.
You should also check Google: "downward causation" (1,200 hits) and "emergent properties" (16,000 hits). Together these now constitute the single biggest topic in the philosophy of science. Much of the substance of the Sokal 'Science Wars' concerned this issue.
If you have something useful to say on this topic, you are guaranteed a large and attentive audience. I would suggest, however, that you first put your ideas down on paper, and be sure to include the appropriate references and footnotes.
But let me see if I can save you and others some time by providing a synopsis: this is not meant to excuse your own study. The major issue here is scientific realism. What is real? That is the basis of my challenge to you, to name just one real thing.
You claim to be physicalist: the only real things in the world for you are just those things are necessarily referenced in the laws and theories of physics. This is to say that all of the other sciences and all the rest of human discourse makes reference only to entities of social convenience. For instance, if I speak of a 'heartache', well, there is nothing real being referred to, nothing objective. But even if a surgeon speaks of a 'heart', that too exists only according to the arbitrary functional conventions of anatomical discourse. The heart does not exist as a thing in itself, i.e. it is not an independent causal entity. The heart may be reduced to and explained entirely in terms of physics. There are no vitalistic or downward causal forces pertaining specifically to an objectifiable 'heart' entity. Such is your system of belief. Correct me if wrong.
The developing consensus among philosophers and many scientists is that physicalism is simply wrong, and possibly even incoherent. Atheistic philosophers no longer refer to themselves as materialists or physicalists, but rather as 'naturalists'. They believe in irreducible, spontaneously emergent properties.
The rest of us question this notion of 'spontaneity', especially as it applies to the mind. Spontaneous is simply defined as unlawful. There is no rhyme or reason to the emergence, it is all accidental. Once having emerged, Darwinism presumably takes over. Naturalists, however, have to spend much of their time defending themselves against the charge of 'vitalism'. How else can they explain the downward causation that constitutes real emergence? They point out, in their defense, that Darwin was also a vitalist just because natural selection could not function unless there were real, downwardly causal biological traits upon which natural selection could operate. In other words, the phenotype has to be just as ontologically real as the genotype, in order for genetics to make sense.
In claiming to explain the mind, Jack shares the ontological problem of the naturalists. There must be special (ad hoc?) biological laws and forces in addition to the laws and forces pertaining to the inorganic realm. Where do these laws and forces come from? If they don't come from 'below' then they must come from 'above'. And where is this 'above'?
However, if we are to consider ourselves responsible moral agents, then you and I are partaking of this vital downward causation, every time we act. This is just the emergent, causal reality of the human self or soul or spirit.
What Jack and many others fail to comprehend is the necessary unity of any truly emergent phenomenon. He fails to comprehend the staggeringly obvious idea that consciousness does not and cannot occur in an ontological vacuum. There is no floating consciousness. There is no unattached mind. Jack supposes that consciousness is just another thing, like electrons and muons, independently, objectively existing. Jack egregiously ignores the most basic fact that consciousness exists only for someone. There is nothing in the realm of physics that has this peculiar attribute of existing only for something else.
Jack has totally neglected to address the dual problem of intentionality. The one distinctive feature of all mental phenomena is that they exist only for someone and only about something else. Nowhere in the realm of physics can Jack point to anything that has these basic attributes. Failing to explain what is the very essence of the mind is failing to explain the mind, period.
Jack, you have mesmerized yourself with your formulas. It is time for you to think about what you are doing. If you just want to be a saucer mechanic, fine. But if you want to explain to us the meaning of life and mind, well, that involves categories like intentionality, of which you do not yet appear to have any knowledge or interest.
Dan
---------------------------------
Jack, [1/20]
Here's the funny thing, though. You may turn out to be right about Bohmian-style physics, but for all the wrong reasons. The Copenhagen Interpretation looks about right for someone who is a either a latent or a blatant Cartesian dualist about mind and matter. But for us monists, however, be we physicalist like you or metaphysicalist like me, the Quantum leaps and collapses, and all the dice rolling, just don't wash. This may be the only thing about which we can agree.
Bohm, and you too, are visionaries after your own fashion. You look at the envelope of physics and figure just how far you can push it without being considered clinically whacko. And that is just about how far you push it. And me? Well, that's another story.
I look at the preponderance of the evidence, and I notice something peculiar about it. I notice that it is a movable target. I notice that how one sees the evidence and how one weighs and balances it, depends almost entirely on what sort of worldview one brings to the table. This is pretty much the observation that Thomas Kuhn made almost forty years ago when he wrote about the incommensurability of paradigms.
You are the revisionist, I am the revolutionary. The revisionist may attract more scorn from her colleagues, simply because she shows up on their radar screen. I'm practically invisible. I plant my banner right in the middle of no-man's land, at the empty intersection of every previous worldview. Everything is off of every chart. Messianism?? Well, ho hum, what else is new?
My premise is that every significant worldview must contain some element of truth. But all of them thus far have failed to find the Whole Truth. Everyone so far has been looking for truth in all the wrong places. Then I notice that there exists a logical intersection of all the previous worldviews, an intersection that, almost miraculously, has been totally overlooked. It is the only remaining possibility, and darned if it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Then I see you. You're looking at approximately the same piece of logical real estate, but you're looking at it through the wrong end of the telescope. I am struggling to get you to see this simple fact, or actually feel it, but it keeps slipping off your peripheral field of vision. It remains subliminal relative to your physicalist instincts. If I had a better grasp of it myself, there would not be this problem. I need one of those interstitial, connecting ideas, but it is hard to pin down. [Or maybe not!]
Amazingly, we both agree that there are emergent properties that may exert 'downward causation' on the 'physical' substrate. And furthermore that you and I as humans individually instantiate just such an emergent property, exerting downward causation as for instance when we act as deliberate moral agents.
So far so good. This is saying quite a lot, really. But where's the 'but'?
The 'but' comes with the question of design. I am suggesting that downward causation does not end with us. I am looking at your teleological 'future causation', which, yes, again(!), is a form of downward causation. This is the 'quantum computer in the sky' that once spoke to you. Do you realize that you are not the only one with a computer in the sky? Frank Tipler, a student of John Wheeler, has his Omega Computer as the cosmic endpoint of a Transhumanist evolution. His Omega operates in something of a quantum bootstrap (shades of Geoffrey Chew) fashion. It is teleologically responsible, at least in part, for the apparent Anthropic elements of physics. It is almost literally our Transhumanist God of the Future.
Evidently the Godelian (shades of Douglas Hofstadter) Omega Device (G.O.D.) can exert no inconsiderable influence over our direction of evolution, almost surely including genetic manipulation. Thus do we secure both G.O.D.'s future and our own. This fulfills much of Wheeler's vision of a participatory cosmogony.
So, when it comes to downward causation, is it not logically possible, and perhaps even logically necessary to include G.O.D. in our cosmic creation bootstrap?
The view that I have just presented to you should fit well within your cosmological specifications. It it not quite up to my expectations; however, it may be good enough for government work!
My emendations would focus more on the Anthropically inspired manipulations of the emergent properties, as compared with genetics. I am suggesting to you that the possible and actual emergent properties are not randomly arrayed within physical phase space. There is a pattern to their alignment that particularly impacts the mental aspect. For instance, G.O.D. would be able to influence our consciences in ways that promote our social and future well-being. G.O.D. probably also makes possible or enhances the emergent properties that pertain to technology, both present and future.
And don't you say that your 'cosmic consciousness' does indeed shape the primordial gravitational fields??
This is about as far as your physics may allow you to travel. G.O.D. conveniently provides the connecting vision referred to above. Having gotten this far, it should be much less difficult to then turn your ontological telescope around. That would be the next course.
Dan
P.S.
I should have noted in this previous message that the notion of G.O.D. described herein, is at least functionally similar to Bohm's idea of the downwardly causal Super Implicate Order. Is it not?
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Jack, [Later yesterday]
Well, gosh! What then do we disagree about? Perhaps I was not giving you enough credit!
What then about the BPW? With all this possibility of a G.O.Dly design & guidance shouldn't we expect that this world, if not yet perfect, is, at least, perfectible, and mainly by us. We simply combine our previous knowledge of upward causation with our new knowledge of downward causation. Thus could we complete our cosmic sojourn from the Alpha to the Omega, fulfilling our part of the cosmic bootstrap bargain in this BPW.
You and I might disagree on the timing of the Omega point. What time do you prefer?
And then we just have the small matter of the messianic logistics to work out. We simply see about getting a better mesh between your mathematical formulations and my verbal formulations.
Anything else? We need to see if we can sell any of this to the Sufi's. That would be helpful in the short run. We ought to run this by R. H. again. And check with A. P. in the meantime.
Dan
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And there it stands. I don't know to how big a list Jack was copying his replies, but typically it is several dozen.
A lukewarm response from Jack.
I have suggested that he, Alan and I work on a proposal to Robert H., Stephen S., Ron P. and Kit G. I expect to have to do most of the arm twisting.
I might as well put it together here. Need to finesse a couple of things, starting with the physics.

[1/26]
Here are the rest of my messages to Jack:


Jack, [1/23]
Sorry for being a little slow on the uptake here. I'm just collecting my thoughts.
Here is my very modest proposal, along with some background.
Among your physics colleagues you have demonstrated an unusual degree of willingness to not only talk about things that touch on the spirit, but also to do something about them, from within a Physics context. This rare trait is something worth encouraging by those of us who are more metaphysically inclined, particularly if we do not subscribe to the notion of the Cartesian or Quantum dualism of mind and matter that is espoused by those many folk of the Copenhagen persuasion with whom you do frequent battle, as well as by most theologians.
[---] and I are not the only ones in these environs, it seems, who share this interest. So perhaps we can widen this conversation, hopefully on a more permanent basis than what we have experienced in the past.
The three of us seem to agree that the events subsequent to 9/11 do lend some greater urgency to deliberations of this nature. The clash of cultures is upon us. Whatever science may offer, directly or indirectly, to promoting reasoned discussions between folk of differing spiritual outlooks is to be commended and actively pursued.
There are many discussion topics that come to mind. Comparing and contrasting the spiritual and technological perspectives on our future would certainly be germane.
But, no, I don't see this as being a debating club. The urgent need is for something more proactive and visionary. That is what we need to be working on.
I suggest a preliminary round of discussion between the three of us, as we hammer out our similarities and differences. We maintain a very informal, evolving position statement, or perhaps just talking points, that we then use to foment a wider discussion. It will be important to maintain a sense of progress throughout, and to keep people on, at least, a parallel set of tracks.
Before this interlude, you and I were discussing 'upward' and 'downward' causation. This may well be where the spiritual rubber meets the physical road. This might be as good a point of departure as any.
You are the main mail-list person amongst us. It will be mainly up to you to manipulate the lists, if you are so inclined.
At an early point we should approach Hickson and Schwartz. I'll be happy to enlist Ron to further facilitate our interaction with Robert.
I look forward to replies and rejoinders from both of you.
Dan
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Jack, [1/24]
This is a good start.
In my mind there is a collaboration here between the physicist and the metaphysicist. The implied duality is no longer between mind and matter (a la Descartes), or between observer and observed (a la Bohr). Now the duality is between downward causation and upward causation, also between the explicate and implicate orders, and this is thanks mainly to your buddy, Bohm.
So now, since there is no longer a logical discontinuity between the two realms, there can be a real collaboration between the upward and downward perspectives. This is where you and I come in. We may, if we so choose, be the originating collaborators. If this collaboration is instrumental in bringing about the final paradigm shift, i.e. introducing the gnostic saving knowledge, then we would be playing a messianic role. Or we are the original participators in a universally participatory messianic denouement to history. Someone has to get this show on the road, or on the net, as the case may be.
We are the Laurel and Hardy of messianiacs (sic). This will not be a difficult act to follow, because everyone will be able and invited to do so.
We just need to try it out in various focus groups to get it down pat. For right now we are privileged to have Alan as our focus group. Why don't we see how he likes our act so far. Where are we weak, where are we questionable. If we can pass muster with Alan, then we're half way to the moon. Next we ask Robert and Stephen to join our little focus group.
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