|This is just what I warned you about: an 'all or nothing' problem with meaning. But there is lurking here a much bigger problem: the all or nothing problem of organicism.
It appears that semantics, among all our fields of knowledge, is the one most obviously susceptible to an organic interpretation. It is the Achilles heel of epistemology relative to organicism. But once that organism gets its foot in the semantic door, how will we keep it out of all the other doors? Reductionism is looking more attractive all the time. Well, lots of luck to us! I have spoken of the crumbling of the foundations of the fortress of materialism, but perhaps that is the wrong analogy. Perhaps those foundations are being eaten away. It was bad enough when we discovered ourselves to be space-farers stranded on a desert island. What will we do if our little island begins to twitch?
But, wait, we are only talking about epistemology, right? So what if our brains are organic? What else is new? Well, sorry, it's not quite that simple. A major tenet of reductionism was just the epistemic/ontic divide. Without its reductionist support, that divide becomes ever so tenuous.
If semantics is organic rather than syntactic or analytic, then our erstwhile computer will not be able to compute it. Something substantial will have to be added to the machine. That something must itself be organic. Now we are talking about the ontology of the computer. The distinction between natural and artificial intelligence is then an ontic distinction. There is no longer a need or motivation to distinguish between the ontic and epistemic aspects of the organism that must exist as the ground of being. At best, this organism would have various microcosmic aspects.
We have long suspected that there was something more to life and mind than atoms swerving in the dark. This suspicion is the basis of our vitalistic, anti-reductive musings over the centuries. That vital something is finally coming home to us. Not, in the end, because we were out searching for it, but rather because we simply had to give up the constant battle of trying to avoid and ignore it.
What then is this subtle thing that has been living with us, presumably since day one? From whence did it come? But are we not thereby asking, from whence do we come? Where is Darwin when we need him? Can't we just say that this organic quality evolved along with life itself?
The point is that Darwinian evolution is just genetic evolution. Clearly we cannot ascribe genes to organicism. By definition it is something extra-genetic. It would then, in fact, be a precondition for evolution. The biggest puzzle of evolution is just the origin of the cellular-genetic processes. This has been considered a prime motivation for vitalism. Whatever this vital potency is, if it is anything at all, it is the source of life and mind.
We have, at the least, an eternal vital potency that is both biological and mental in scope. This sounds like our hypothesized Matrix. It ought to, because that is just what the Matrix was supposed to be. But what then of the dialectic and the archetypes? Here is where the metaphysics begins to get interesting.
Did all of this potency sit idly by just waiting on the off-chance of a Big Bang so that it could then begin to impregnate the otherwise inert matter? But is there not a blatant Cartesian bias to this question? Why posit this dichotomy in juxtaposition to that which is inherently organic? If anything is likely to be all or nothing, would that not especially apply to organicism itself. What is the sense of a cosmos that is half organic?
The Big Bang is the epitome of something inorganic. It is certainly the contingency to end all contingencies. The organically potent Matrix is the mother of all teleologies. If ever there were oil and water, this has got to be it.
This is the big metaphysical crunch. We have been trying to make sense of Cartesian dualism for over three centuries, and look where it has gotten us? Mainly it has brought us to this dead end of materialism. If we wish to move forward, nay, start thinking again, we will have to choose the other branch of that fork. Immaterialism, here we come. You are welcome to keep your head stuck in the materialists' sand box. That is just the 'slumber of materialism'. Otherwise, let's wake up and smell the organic cosmic coffee. Yes, to wake up, that is my final 'all or nothing' offer. Refuse it if you can!
So there we are. We have our immaterial organic potency, our Matrix. Then what? Perhaps now there must logically come the single biggest step in our gestalt switch. We must begin to focus fully on the Matrix. We have to put dualism behind us. We cannot do that without bracketing space, time and matter, and unless you completely missed out on modernism, it would be impossible to imagine a more severe blow to our metaphysical orientation. Are we not simply turning our backs on three centuries of science? Yes and no.
There are several ways to proceed at this point. Several major issues present themselves. But, perhaps, first I need to back up a step. We could use more justification and preparation for the big leap. A bit later I will be attempting to justify the move from Matrix to Creatrix. I don't think this will be terribly difficult, so permit me please to bring on that big gun. Heck, let's go all the way and just postulate an omnipotent creator wishing to create the best possible world, and assume further that we can reason effectively about what might be the basic form of the BPW.
The simple point I then wish to make is that the BPW would not be created by means of a Big Bang. The Big Bang has features that would eliminate it as a candidate for the best possible creation. However, and here is the real twist, those same features, along with some others, make the Big Bang a prime candidate for the best possible phenomenological background for the BPW. With a little help from God, we can have our ontological BPW cake, along with the phenomenological icing of the 'Big Bang', and that this combination, if it were possible, would, indeed, be the best of all worlds.
With the Creatrix in the picture, we can remake the ontology without disturbing the phenomenology, giving us creatures the best deal possible. What is being offered to us is our 'dream' world, in both senses of the word. This is, finally, the very simple point I am trying to make: the obvious, and perhaps only, way to create a 'dream' world is to just dream it up, if possible. Like I say, metaphysics does not have to be 'rocket science'.
So here is our problem now: what would our 'dream' world, i.e. our BPW, be; and would it not be possible, or perhaps even preferable, to create this world by means of dream power?
Consider the last part of the question first. If we wish to entertain the notion of co-creation and of a 'participatory universe', then using 'dream power' is virtually obligatory. Here is another way to look at it. Materialism tells us that we live in a dumb universe. It came about, more or less, as the result of an accidental collision of dumb atoms. Of course, if there are enough of these dumb universes being created all the time, then every once in while there might be one with the appearance of a masterpiece, like the proverbial monkey typing a Shakespearian sonnet. If God were lazy, you would think she would use the 'monkey method' of creation.
OK, here is the big secret, and don't tell anyone I told you: God IS lazy, but she is smart lazy. Instead of using just the monkey method, she also uses the people method of creation. Remember, we are the smart monkeys.
Evidently, consumers are willing, these days, to pay more for a 'smart house' than for a dumb house. God is just a little ahead of this curve. She figured she would go ahead and create a smart universe. However, to cut down on the costs and the work load, rather than relying on just one central processing unit, i.e. herself, she would use the very latest in computer technology, i.e. distributed/parallel processing, but she calls it 'creature power'.
If bootstrapping is illegal, then that is too bad, but if not, then it would be pretty dumb for the Creatrix not to exploit it in Creation. That we creatures would be the primary participants in any such bootstrap, ought to be a given. But if this were the case, why aren't we aware of it? Well, I believe it was Freud who first pointed out that there must be a great deal more going on under our bonnets than we could ever know. Bootstrapping could well be one of those things. But then why have we been kept out of the loop on this? Maybe the Creatrix just wanted to surprise us. Surprise!
There are many skills we have which are performed better when we don't stop to think about how we do them. This is probably one of those. However, to live is to learn. To fully realize our function of co-creation, we will need, eventually, to give it our full attention, but this is a tricky business. Think of the poor fellow who goes sleep walking out on the window ledge. You're gonna have to wake the guy up, but you had better do it very carefully. This pretty much explains the surprisingly (for many) subdued orchestration of the X2-event. If Gabriel blows his horn too loudly, we might just fall off of our cosmic perch. So, is my horn-blowing not loud enough? Call 1-800-GET-THE-WAX-OUT!
But why didn't the Creatrix even bother to give me the time of day? It's all part of the Prime Directive. If you disagree, then prove that it isn't.
Yes, we are all part of the big Dream Machine in the sky. The universe is just our folie a 10^10. It must be a heck of job keeping 10^10 sleeping musicians on score. How does she ever manage? Hmmmm, let me get back to you on that one. But if you think it's difficult now, just wait 'til they start waking up!
I think I'm supposed to explain how the dream machine works. This is embarrassing because I don't know. My job is to speculate, to make educated guesses. So here we go.
There are two things that need to be explained: substance and space. If this is a dream that we are having, how does it manage to seem so substantial, so consistent, so realistic, so participatory? We pretty much all agree on the nature of the phenomenon. What is up for grabs is the noumenon. The materialist says it is matter, the immaterialist says it is spirit that is supporting the phenomenal world. The dualist says that it is both.
What is substance? This is a trick question. No, the answer is the trick. Here is the issue: is substance something that is present or absent? The materialist claims that substance is present. I suggest it is absent. The materialist claims that substance is just what is present(ed) to the senses. No, I say. Substance is present to our 'memory', or more specifically to our collective unconscious. The infant has no conception of substance. The mother's breast may be the first experience or conception of substance.
The concept of substance is tied up in our memories, habits and concept of time. It is something logically derivative, it is not yet immediate. But then is substance in the past or the future? The materialist would say that substance is mainly in the past, I say future. Substance is that to which we awake. Substance now is a shadow of that telic substance.
I fall back in to poesy? No, I fall forward. The ultimate, teleological consistency, substantiality of the world is just poetic. Our collective, telic unconscious is what drives the world forward. That falling is normally just the task of the poet and musician. Here you see me attempting to routinize, systematize the poetic charism.
The materialist has, in fact, lost contact with substance. Matter and substance are no longer to be found in the texts of physics. What has replaced them? Quite candidly, it is the Monster Group. A Platonic conception of mathematics is the closest that physicists can now come to our traditional concept of substance.
These few words may serve just to temporarily bracket the problem of matter and substance. In the meantime we turn to space. Matter is nothing without space. Space is just an organized nothing. Organized by what? By matter? Do we not then have a vicious, or is it a logically vacuous, circle?
A time slice of the phenomenal world is presented to us optically in three dimensions. To explain its optical properties, physicists perform ray tracing; that is, they trace the rectilinear paths of photons. Well, if we can have substance without atoms, can we have vision without photons? And which will be more difficult to rationalize?
Space may be the greatest obstacle to immaterialism. The reason is not because of the coherence of space, but precisely because of its incoherence. Space is substantial because we cannot manipulate it. We cannot manipulate it because we cannot understand it. We cannot understand it because of its logical vacuity. Am I making myself clear? Space is logically vacuous because it is alleged to be elemental. Einstein's General Theory of relativity went some ways toward reducing the substantiality of space by reducing its elementality, by increasing its relationality.
Permit me to back up a step and try a different approach to the problem of space. Let us start with meaning and vision. Meaning derives from narrative which entails a temporal sequence of causes and effects. Vision entails a two-dimensional visual field. Meaning and vision then require at least a two-dimensional dynamics and perhaps even a rudimentary physics. But would this tell us anything about how space comes about?
My thought is that in a teleological system there is no clear distinction between why and how. This is an issue that we now take up.
In a dream environment, the only limit on intent should be logical and narrational consistency. Any further limitations would have to do with optimizing and coordinating that environment. Virtually all dreams have a strong visual content. However, the psychodynamics that we label as zodiacal would be one of the most primitive of dream sequences. Cycles would predominate. Direct perception of essences could predominate over any visual content. Nothing spatial or celestial is entailed in the first instance.
The trick that we seem to accomplish is to have both direct and indirect perception without undue interference. What is the advantage of this? What does spatial or representational perception buy us over direct perception? I would guess that spatial configurations provide combinatorial diversity, not otherwise possible. Without spatial relations and the perception of those distinctions, Leibniz' Identity of Indistinguishables would severely limit our possibilities.
If in the process of Creation it is deemed desirable to partition the cosmic self into some 10^10 entities, then spatial relations become a bare necessity. Thus do we magnify the creative possibilities with minimal interference or contrivance.
What we get with spatial relations is a parallel processing relative to the cosmic narrative. At least we have a loom in time rather than just a single strand. If our two-and-half dimensional mundane existence is good, why not go for more dimensions? Somewhere I heard it argued that four dimensional topology presented some possibly insurmountable metabolic problems (e.g. difficulty of containment?). 3-D may be biologically optimal. Someone should look into that.
Where there's a will, there's a way. Let us not underestimate the cosmic will. But what exactly is the way to space? How does the Matrix see her way into space? The endlessly cyclical zodiacal narrative may just bore her to death. She lets her potent imagination get off on the combinatorial possibilities, and voila! The metabolic cycles pick up on Z, and kick into action. Evidently, space is eminently imaginable and dreamable.
Space and time are a major source of possibility. Matricial potency is ramified thereby. Without time, there is no narrational drama, merely aesthetics. Even the notion of sequence fails without any dimension. Could there be non-dimensional patterns? Cosmos is akin to ornament in Greek. Dimensional arbitrariness seems essential to the ornamental essence. Dimensionality would also be essential to freedom. It is hard to imagine a creation without the allowance of this aesthetic freedom, despite or because of the exigencies of the BPW hypothesis. At this low level of understanding it is not even possible to determine if spatial relations should be deemed internal or external. Temporal relations would be most likely to be internal. We suspect that the answer to this and many other questions will be determined by considering how to enhance the creative bootstrap process. Its space-time structure also enhances the participatory nature of Creation. Aesthetic freedom is readily passed on to the creatures of such a manifold.
Each creature is ensured its own spatial sensorium. The greater problem may be to keep all the sensoria in alignment, without resorting to the physical objectivity of a single manifold. It may be that the zodiac plays a role in the alignment. The global nature of the celestial phenomenon makes it an ideal synchronizing agent. The global megalithic culture was very much attuned to this phenomenon, in what appears to have been a closely coordinated fashion. Materialists use matter to align the sensoria; we use the sky. It is ironic that the material atoms must then be 'aligned' by the sensings of the creatures, according to quantum theory, at least.
Our problem is to explain the 'heavenly' translation of the zodiac from cosmic psyche to starry sky. It is not entirely unanticipated that the collective psyche should find itself projected upon the heavens. Students of the mythos have noted the universality of the translation between sky and spirit. Each of the archetypes has its work cut out for it, but it must also flow along with the phenomenon that it is organizing. The more that the organizing intelligence can be distributed, the more plausible is the model; the more natural will it appear. The zodiac may turn out to be the hardest working of the archetypes. It will require some attention. When it comes down to displacing matter, the zodiac may have to carry most of the water, Aquarian style. It would be helpful if the task could be subdivided, but that may not be possible.
Materialists appeal to the alleged objectivity of the atoms to explain the objectivity of the world. Objectivity projects upward in scale. The higher level forms and patterns are more subjective, lacking as they are in any essential identity.
For immaterialists the objectivity of the world projects downward. This downward projection is facilitated by the microcosmic identity of the creatures. We could also call this the zoocosm. It here that the zodiac comes into play. The zodiac is the original pantheon emanating from the Matrix. It exists originally in ouroboric fashion, being the primordial psychic cycle. The christos element comes to dominate this cycle, partly by preempting, in alpha-omega fashion, the narrative that generates all meaning and history. The christos becomes the organizing principle of the zodiac.
But then we have the ouroboric zodiac projected downward to the gaian zoocosm and outward to ouranos in a prototypical earth-sky duality. Actually the zodiac becomes a quaternity: earth & sky, alpha & omega. I certainly see a reflection here of the traditional four elements of earth, air, fire and water. This identification is underscored by the tradition that identifies the beginning of the world in water and its ending in fire. Like I say, the zodiac will have to work overtime. We do need a rationalization of this subdivision. In this scheme the quintessence is then the christos.
The zodiac starts out as a (dialectical) mind game of the matrix. It then projects itself out to cosmic proportions in a process of continuing symmetry breaking. This sequence is even reminiscent of the big bang. Here is the present sequence: M -> M, D, Z -> A, O, (X), Earth, Sky -> AZ'O/X/QRP. This is still a very sketchy sequence, but it is better than nothing. Keep in mind that this is much more of a logical sequence than a temporal sequence. The linear time dimension grows out of the A/O asymmetry. The time frame for the zodiacal precession of the equinoxes (25,000 yr, see Hamlet's Mill for the mythic origins) is of the same order as that of the Creation. Also note the distinction now between the primal (psychic) and residual (celestial) zodiacs: Z/Z'.
Here's just a thought: the psychology of Z gradually develops into an ecology. The psychic cycle is replaced by a reproductive and predator-prey cycle. What are the 'evolutionary' steps in this process? The reproductive part will be the toughest to rationalize, that is why there is an archetype just for this.
In the attempt to rationalize Creation, Z is turning out to be the key element. I had not originally anticipated that Z would portend the Earth/Sky duality, but that now seems to be the most natural way to proceed. It is noteworthy that this step has been anticipated by significant versions of the Mythos. For now, the Earthly side of the duality is my focus. The principle obstacle is the transition from Z to R. We'll know we're in Kansas when we can make this transformation. Reproduction or bust! This is the buckle of the bootstrap.
The metabolic/reproduction cycle, R, is the most 'materialistic' of the archetypes. This is our biggest hump, so to speak. The ouroboric symbol itself has a strongly metabolic connotation. (In this connection, note also the yin-yang symbol.) It is alimental as well as elemental, but I don't see how to incorporate that into a narrative.
With these caveats out of the way I can only give it my best shot. The reproductive cycle is a microcosm of our singular cosmic circuit, with the reversal of the head and tail that form our 'buckle'. Now the Telos or Omega becomes the head while the Alpha is the tail. The eschatological resurrection is the final cause of the Creation. Thereby the cosmos becomes self-consuming. The self-sacrificing God comes into her own, so to speak. There are no loose ends. The microcosmic seedlings are taken back up into the cosmos. As for the mechanics of this spiritual metabolism, I'm drawing a blank; but any good narrative ought to provide spiritual sustenance. Our microcosm would be incomplete if we did not act out and reenact the cosmic circuit. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in more ways than one. Neoteny anticipates evolution. Perhaps this is where the zoocosmic nature of the zodiac is more relevant than its more usual pantheonic, or purely anthropic interpretations. Can we thereby save our Darwinian appearances? Don't ya think? With this rationale we do not have to explain away some arbitrary first appearance of R. It is latent in the essence of almost everything, as is Creation itself.
So much for the Earth, how about the Sky?
Given a 3-dimensional space and a zoocosm, the benefits of differentiating between horizontal and vertical dimensions should not be difficult to either conceive or implement, nor would the idea of a spherical Earth. A remote, evenly distributed metabolic energy source should easily follow suit. The starry version of the zodiac then becomes almost an afterthought. Having done so much work already, the zodiac is seemingly relegated to its happy hunting ground, while helpfully providing chronometric orientation to any wayfaring species. It is, however, our fascination with the heavens that finally empowers us to conquer the atom, transforming the Earth into our terrarium along the way. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the starry zodiac empowers us to empower the atom.
The effort now is to see how the individual archetypes can emerge and function in bootstrap fashion. This should go a long way toward establishing the plausibility of the BPW. In this instance, atomic physics is brought about by the refocusing of Z after its branching out. The atom is the ultimate microcosmic reflection of Z. It sits at the confluence of Q, R & P. Q and P have yet to be brought back into this narrative. Originally in these pages the Sun and Atom were both primary archetypes, but later they were given a derivative status.