Best Possible World: Gateway to the Millennium and Eschaton



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It's that simple, Gaston.
Dan
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Jack, [1/24]
Before there is a workshop, you and I would need to agree on a protocol. I see dialog between interested parties, as the starting point, and perhaps even the end point. This is more of a participatory scheme. This is tied to the envisioned scheme of salvation. It is also well suited to the Internet.
If you and I are serious about our messi-mania, then we must bring a sense of urgency to the timing. The end of this year is a long time away. We have our dialog and Internet work cut out for us here and now. Who needs to stand on ceremony?
Besides, you already have your physics books. This is something quite different, certainly less didactic.
Dan
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There has been no response from Jack since this last message.
I'm thinking about what will be the next topic: Destiny (another look at eschatology), Downward Causation, ...?
Downward causation and reduction are still the biggest topics vis a vis the naturalists. No one other than Jaegwon Kim has made a major issue of the evident conflict between naturalism and non-reductionism. Since Kim, naturalism should be considered incoherent. Kim simply pointed out that a non-reductionist could not be a physicalist. The next logical step would have been to point out that non-reductionism is inherently unnatural. Thus, even the phrase 'natural kind' is a virtual oxymoron if the phrase is meant to have any ontological significance.
Maybe it is time for some more Google. Note that essence carries some of ontological significance of natural kind or irreducible property. 'Psychological essentialism' is an interesting subset. 'Theory of categorization' is a related subset.
What I have found nowhere is the observation that a single irreducible property will cause the sky to fall on materialism and naturalism. If people believe otherwise, then there ought to exist arguments to the contrary, which I have not seen. Jaegwon has barely touched on this larger issue.
There is the epistemic-ontic issue of water as a natural kind, whose essence is sometimes alleged to be H2O, or as something more observable. Here essence might be conflated with substance, but then is water reducible in the usual chemical sense? An idealist, of course, cannot be a substantialist, or can she? No, because an idealist does not respect the epistemic-ontic divide. The concept and substance may not radically differ.
Griffiths, Paul (2002) Is Emotion a Natural Kind?:
[...] natural kinds are categories about which we can make scientific discoveries.
Does this definition imply irreducibility or downward causation?
Fortunately, it is easy to generalize the idea of a law of nature to the broader idea that statements are to varying degrees ‘law-like’ (have counterfactual force). This broader conception of a law-like generalization allows a broader definition of a natural kind.
Many law-like statements apply generally and exclusively to humans, for instance. Does counterfactuality have any sort of ontological implication? 'If I drop a glass, it will break.' Does this say anything about the ontology of glassware, or about the property of fragility? This question also, obviously, involves issues of mereology.
The communicability of concepts must speak to their compositionality, or rather their lack thereof. (Collections vs. sets?) With mere resemblance, then everything can resemble everything else. A manifold of meaning need not subvert the real particularity of meanings. How do we deal with the interstices? Meanings tend toward the analog rather than the digital. So what? Is Plato the subverter of analogical ideas? This is just a restatement of semantic holism.

[1/27]
[---],


Jack has not responded to this request just to continue the present conversation. Instead, as you have seen, he is holding out for an advanced payment on some vague idea for a workshop.
I am focusing back on my website and recollecting my thoughts. It is my contention that the materialists, and naturalists have dug themselves into a conceptual hole in regard to the issue of irreducible properties, emergence and downward causation. Once the implied teleology is confronted, the evident coherence of phenomena is no longer amenable to naturalistic explanation.
I am in the process of fleshing out this basic idea on the website, and in a few days I may be ready to confront Jack. In order to do this over Jack's evident non-cooperation I may need to put together an independent cc. list.
Jack is sufficiently perceptive to see that once this conversation comes around to theological issues, most of his alien technology shtick will go by the boards.
I'll let you know when I think have an appropriate 'manifesto'.
Dan
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Rather than atomic meanings, as prior to Quine, there is a manifold of meaning. How that manifold is verbally dissected is arbitrary. There is a spectrum of meaning. The primary colors are arbitrary. We do not have meaning perceptors per se, except, perhaps, in the case of some 'felt meanings'. There are some instinctive emotions, no doubt. Certain instinctive felt meanings provide the psychic anchors for a multidimensional spectrum of verbalizable, abstracted meaning.
It is this manifold of meaning that is the basis of epistemic and ontic coherence. This manifold must logically have a primordial potency. It is the life force, if you will. And, as Jack might say, it is our 'destiny matrix', looking at it historically, teleologically and eschatologically.
It is this manifold that is the basis of idealism and which is missing from all materialist accounts.
Mathematics has the character of a logical manifold, and is thus a sub-manifold which may provide structure to the larger space of meaning, and provides the symmetries of the spatial dynamics, i.e. physics. The logic manifold provides filler for the numerous gaps or blind spots in the space of meaning, as occur particularly under the 'alchemical' aegis of science. Logic has much to do with the process of abstraction.
There is scant room for epistemic or ontic dualisms in this space of coherence. But is there not the duality of internal and external relative to the psyche: a duality of micro and macrocosm? This could be handled in some holographic fashion. It might, at most, indicate a doubly connected cosmos as is often signified with the gnostic ouroboros.

[1/28]
Using the list: "natural kinds" (5,300 hits):


Commentary on Tom Radcliffe and Carolyn Ray's "A Conceptualist Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" by David V. Ward. This is a worthwhile essay.
But let's get back to the 'manifold of meaning' concept. What I see now is a functional segmentation of this manifold, as in a jointed skeletal structure. There is an increasing refinement of this structure up toward the end, until there is a total and vital plasticity, with a merging of the macro-micro-cosms, which are the ontic and epistemic domains, respectively.
If this is mostly correct, then what? We need to work out the connections between micro-macro-cosms. This is tough to visualize. How does the feedback work, and how do we minimize the implied duality?
The manifold takes on the shape of an ouroboric Adam-Kadmon (4,600 hits), which is also a projection of the primordial human onto the tree of life.
Adam Kadmon- Primordial Man:
The symbol of Primordial Man, the first being to emerge with the creation of the cosmos is common to a number of religious and philosophical traditions. The Upanishads describe a primal man composed of the very elements which were to become the world. According to the Upanishads this "gigantic divine being" is both infinitely far and deposited near the innermost recesses of the human heart. Indeed, in the Hindu tradition, the Primordial Man is identified both with the entire Universe and the soul or essence of all things.
In the Nag Hammadi text, the Apocryphon of John, we learn that this anthropos is the first creation of "knowledge and Perfect Intellect" and the first luminary of the heavens. This Anthropos becomes the heavenly model through which the demiurge forges an earthly Adam. Other Gnostic sources relate how the "archons" (conceived of as female demigods corresponding to each of the seven planets) formed an earthly Adam to fulfill their sexual desire for the heavenly anthropos who was beyond their spiritual reach.
Now we need to give A-K a holographic & toric or ouroboric twist. Still not sure how to divide & connect the noumenal and phenomenal parts of the semiotic manifold.

[1/29]
Articulation ought to be a useful word in the above context. Cosmogony involves the articulation of a semantic, thought-like manifold. The genesis of language and of the cosmos are thus interrelated. In this regard I have spoken previously of the cosmogonic/apocalyptic role of the 'thunderwords' of Joyce in Finnegans Wake. This is a modern version of the logos (also see Zim-zum, syzygy, etc.).

[1/30]
I'm getting set to start a new page. I have mainly been taking notes off-line. I want to address the metaphysical problem of mereology & the articulation of manifolds, and the connections between the semantic and the spatial.
My only mention of a primordial chaos on this website was here. It appears that we may have to 'bother' ourselves with it, after all. This chaos played a major role in the cosmology described on my previous website, but now, in the context of the BPW and of coherence, its role has been diminished. However, its presence on the fringes of reality cannot be neglected.
The stricture of relationalism as applied to the semantic manifold, or mind field, demands coherence. Random sense data or percepts do not exist in isolation. There must be a perceiving self, and there must be a coherent context or background. Also, Leibniz' Identity of Indistinguishables works to minimize random, isolated sensa. And, as with colors, there may be only a finite number of primary sensa.
'Before' Creation there is a primal manifold, Ain Soph Aur, 'divine light' or cosmic potency. Creation is the process of analysis and re-synthesis of this manifold. We articulate the cosmic potency. We realize the Adam-Kadmon, or Anthropos. This is done through a prism-like analysis or decomposition of the pure light into every conceivable combination of primary sensa which we then reconstruct in a teleological fashion into the tapestry of the Metanarrative. Our individual dreaming is the private phenomenal part of this process. Our waking lives are the public part.
The creatures are the articulation of the cosmic self. Atoms are the limit of the articulation. The spatial manifold is logically necessary to support this articulation. That is the raison d'etre of space and time. Physics is the rationalization or habituation of the space-time articulation. It is the semantic manifold that is the locus of coherence and which predominates in the proximity of the Alpha and Omega.
I am reminded of the Ichneumonidae wasp. It lays its egg on an orb weaver spider. While living off of the vital fluids of the spider, the wasp larva instructs the spider to weave a cocoon where it will take up residence when the spider is depleted. I suspect that our relation to God is not unlike that of the larva to the orb weaver. Our dreams are the flesh of God -- this much has been imputed to certain fungi. The world is our cocoon. The omega is our metamorphosis. And so on. The more we understand, the more we will see nature as metaphor. The role of weaver may be reversed. It may be God who instructs us. There is also a greater mutuality in the dependencies. Since this is not a repeated cycle, all the mutuality must be present in a bootstrap manner. Analogies are meant to stretch the mind, not limit it.

[1/31]
I need a way to bring together the macro and micro-cosms. Functionality is the key connecting factor. On the smallest scales we have bio-functionality. On the largest scales we have anthropics and teleo-history. This functionalism is the basis of coherence. This is the basis of the upward and downward causation.


The point to get across is that functionality exists only in a cosmic context. This is its one rationale. There cannot be partial functions. Functions can exist only within a rational telos. This is the basis of the cosmic self. The epistemic meets the ontic at the function. Downward causation exists only if the irreducible property is intelligible. These properties must comprise a coherent network. Has this not been the assumption all along? Perhaps it was not sufficiently explicit.
The epistemic and ontic meet in the coherent network. This argues against spontaneous emergence. This is where the 'skyhook' comes in, and there can only be one hook. This is what Kim argues against. He sees that downward causation implies coherence. How do we argue this against the naturalists? Whitehead's processes may speak to this issue. Can the above material on articulation help? Articulation is the substitute for evolution.
You just cannot escape meaning. This is how Aristotle tried to correct Plato's disjointed forms. Ari looked to the manifold of life. This is what panpsychism is about.
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Topical Index
1/14/03

The Force is with Us

The secret is out: I'm an optimist. This is not a great day for an optimist. Yes, we are about to go to war for umpteenth time in the last century, but this is not the real problem. This is about as close to the problem as I can see right now:
'Conflicts rage across the globe' by Christy Oglesby, CNN, Friday, January 31, 2003
(CNN) -- Iraq and North Korea have dominated the world's attention in recent months, yet in countries and regions around the globe, strife smolders with sporadic notice.
Civil war. Mutilations. Threat of nuclear deployment. Human trafficking. Starving babies. Those are some of the seeds and harvest of conflicts in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
And, no, I don't think we are going to muddle through this one, but it won't be for lack of trying. We are, after all, the paragon muddlers. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but we won't see it until we see it. I claim to see it. More than that, I claim to be able to point to it. There are not many people on the Internet today who are making such a claim. Let's see if I can back it up.
The point is that we are not here by accident, and we will not depart this scene until we have finished our business here. We have much unfinished business, just now. Don't you agree?
The light at the end of this tunnel is not a 'smoking gun', fortunately. The force that is with us is something all-pervasive. It is sometimes referred to by economists as the 'invisible hand'. They just don't realize how invisible it actually is, to them. They speak of subtle 'market forces', as if they had their finger on that pulse. They are won't to give themselves Nobel prizes for writing the formulas for market stability, etc. They had better think again.
The tiniest tip of this 'iceberg' is the Anthropic Principle, and how many economists ever worried their pretty little heads about that? They have not the foggiest notion of what makes this world tick. And ditto for almost every other intellectual presently pontificating. These same ones speak so knowingly of the 'dark ages', as if they could see the light! It has never, and will never be darker than it is today. That is my promise to whomever can read these words.
The invisible hand is far from idle. It has no time for the Devil's work. It is God who is in these details. Life is the one monument to the life force, as if that were not sufficient!
Exhibit A, which just recently came across my screen: "Protein Interaction Networks" (975 hits).
It is almost amusing to peruse this pages. The scientists speak so confidently of their understanding of these 'PINs'. Give it a name and it belongs to us! Who was the last person who got a grant of money from any source for professing ignorance? Not in our lifetime!
Just one little caveat. ............
---------------------------
[Shuttle and crew lost -- terrible.......]

[2/2/03]


I sense a contest today between my chutzpah and NASA's hubris. I will win. We will all win this one for the Gipper.
Yesterday was the end of the space age. Yesterday, true to my words, was the darkest day of that our darkest age, launched by the one who may have been our darkest President. The words above were written just before Debbie called me with the news, upon leaving the gym at 9:45 am.
Unless my orbital physics and armchair psychology is all wet, those astronauts would have been saved were it not for NASA's hubris, and its last ditch effort to save the space shuttle program.
The administrators could probably guess that an inspection of the shuttle from the space station would have resulted in its permanent docking (tethering, this one had no dock) right there. The crew would had to have been off-loaded with shared suits and brought back to Earth in the embarrassingly (to NASA) trustworthy Soyuz. That would have been the end of the Shuttle anyway. Deep in the communal subconscious of the Agency was just one thought: Let's go out with a bang!
Yes, this was the day of infamy. It will be the turning point which we have all been expecting.
This marks our very dramatic turn to inner space, where our attention finally belongs.
The Space Shuttle Must Be Stopped -- the only thing left to fly at NASA will be recriminations. Never again will Texans have to awaken to retrieve body parts from their front lawns.
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My attention turns back to complexity. It is in complexity that we will discover the force that is with us, and, yes, within us.
The limit of natural complexity is our own brain. The limit of artificial complexity is this net. The materialist minded complexity theorists run their spontaneous self-organizing principle up against the primordial human self. I will prove them wrong, ultimately, by replacing Google on the Internet with the authority of a cosmically inspired sense of coherence. That is the long and short of it. Against this chutzpa, NASA's hubris will hardly hold a candle.
Now, back to my 'caveat'. I was about to say that 'proteomics' (270,000 hits) is perhaps the newest science; it was not in the ms-dictionary. It is not easy to trace the history of proteomics before 2000, when so much attention was being focused on genomics. The decoding of the human genome in 2001 was the last hurrah of materialism. It was a brief swan song. After that it is complexity all the way down. 'Proteomics' is a convenient label for this unending vista of complexity. The only way out will be upward -- all the way up. There will be no half-way point. A few of us are pointing to the telos. One of us will break through the noise.
Yes, there is limit to how much complexity materialism can carry before its back is broken. I'll bet that proteomics is the final straw. It is just a question of when will come this break. I'm thinking two years, just off the top. One of us will be ready.
With proteomics there is so much to be organized. What is the organizing principle? Where does it reside? To what could it possibly be reduced? The known complexity of cells has been doubling on the average of about once a year since when? Since 1665? Just about! Our ability to explain the coordination of this complexity has been falling further behind for these last three centuries. At some point we will invoke a coordinator. The necessary ultimate singularity of this coordinating agency will not be difficult to appreciate, once we start thinking about it. When will we start? Will we have to wait another three centuries before we get off our reductionistic kick? I'm doubting it.
Yes, there are subtle forces. But they are not all that subtle when we confront them in the deepest recesses of our being. Sometimes our conscience can be every bit as subtle as a brick bat! Wake up, people! The only thing we have to lose is our incoherence.
It could well be the Columbia that starts this snowball rolling. At some point it will find its direction, and that cannot happen spontaneously, or even naturally. We'll know very well when and how it happens. We will also know who. What greater monument to the seven heroes?
For now, we just need to find those who are questioning the spontaneity of all this complexity. These days, with everyone questioning authority, who is questioning the alleged non-authority of the complexity? Who dares question its 'naturalness'. Yes, there are the 'irreducible complexity' folks, but they only question its origination, not its coordination. A small difference in emphasis, but a gaping chasm in perspective. 'Vitalism' is not in their dualist lexicon. Vitalism smacks of animism and paganism in their mechanistic view. They care only for the 'watchmaker', while the nature of the watch eludes them.
Biological complexity (4,900 hits).
SYSTEM-LEVEL GENETIC CODES: AN EXPLANATION FOR BIOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY by John F. McGowan.

[2/3]
I have been perusing the above list. Here is the bottom line on biological complexity: there is no bottom line.


What I mean to say is that with complexity of any kind we confront our now almost familiar friend: the epistemic-ontic divide, or, rather, the lack thereof.
With the early completion of the genome project, complexity theory is coming into its own, with a vengeance. The only problem is that there is no theory. There is an expanding plethora of theories, yes, but there is no encompassing theory to integrate the field. Thus there is no single measure of complexity in general or of biological complexity in particular.
Bottom line: complexity is complicated, and no one is in a position to say just how complicated it is.
After genomics (788,000 hits) comes proteomics (272,000 hits), metabonomics (1,080 hits), metabolomics (3,600 hits), transcriptomics (2,600 hits), etc...??? And, yes, it gets even better: Omes Table. This table lists a number of 'Omes' (and see 'Ome Sweet 'Omics-- A Genealogical Treasury of Words by Joshua Lederberg and Alexa T. McCray) along with their Google and Pubmed counts, and the first year in Pubmed. Twenty-four Omes are listed, including the Secretome, Pseudome and Unknome. I kid you not. Are they kidding? I'm afraid to ask right now: 'To add new and innovative Omes to the list email: dov.greenbaum@yale.edu.'
Is my point taken? What is my point? What is their point? Biologists are able to poke fun at themselves, but there may be a more serious issue behind this professional humor.
The genomic reductionism apparently contained the seeds (sic) of its own deconstruction. Before the final, dramatic decoding of the human genome, biological complexity was a theoretical abstraction best left to those Santa Fe odd-balls. But now this complexity is exploding in all of our faces. Biologists and mathematicians are just beginning to try to pick up the pieces. We don't wish to rush to judgment do we? Yes and no.
I believe that I may be under some possibly 'cosmic' pressure to look ahead, to look at certain kinds of contingencies, as is pretty well covered here.
The 'Ome explosion' may be an omen. It may signal a public and consensual breakdown of the very traditional epistemic-ontic divide. This straw, nay, this haystack will break the back of materialism. Am I shifting from my contingency voice to my prophetic voice? I, personally, don't see how it can fail to have this effect in the almost foreseeable future. By that, I mean within this decade, and that is being optimistic relative to the half-life of materialism. More realistically, as speculated above, I give materialism a half-life of about two years from Columbia day. Its breakup will be even more spectacular, and will be carried live.
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