|What then of idealism? Will there be a break or a new opportunity in this game of global dominoes? Will there be a new crack in the pall of materialist orthodoxy? I can't yet place it.
And why SARS?
Could there be symbiosis without parasitism? Could there be biology without symbiosis? This is what ecology is about.
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Creation vs. Evolution
It has only been a few months since the last foray into Creation. That last attempt turned out to be a two pronged attack on the subject. The first prong was an attempt to recruit pantheism to the cause of creation. Creation is hard put to find a point of repose within the pantheist schema, or lack thereof. Furthermore, the western shoe has a hard time connecting with the mayan tires. The fact that maya has no tires to kick, may exacerbate the problem, if you see what I mean. Think of one shoe tapping. Never mind.
Kickable tires were more available when we turned to the problem of emergence. Emergence is the evolutionists' answer to Creation. Strain though they do, nothing notable or non-biological has yet to emerge from the exertions of the emergentists. They simply cannot forego the skyhook of teleology and downward causation. Anytime that a physicalist departs from the Lucretian picture of atoms swerving in the dark, she is asking for metaphysical trouble. One trouble is that any emergentist ontology is bound to collide with epistemology. The epistemic/ontic divide is insufficiently robust to withstand the cross-currents of biosemiotics, the 'Ome explosion', and the like.
Failure of one's opponent is one matter, one's own success is another. How are we to ward off Samuel Johnson's fateful kicking of the stone, in refutation of immaterialism? A mere dream atom is altogether insufficient.
Sam is distracting me. This is not a stone kicking contest, this is about Creation. Ex nihilo is our problem. It would seem that a symphony can be created ex nihilo, but can a stone? Why should it seem so much more difficult to create a stone than a symphony. Mozart was a mere genius, while Sai Baba is a spiritualist for all his alleged siddhi. A symphony is created out of the mind, a stone out of atoms. With the 'dream atom', I wished to suggest that atoms had a similar provenance, but tell that to Sam. Sam never met the big Baba, and neither have I.
The emergentist would contend that given atoms, symphonies are bound to follow. I contend quite the opposite.
Here's the problem. Creation and evolution are two extremes. Many of us seek a golden mean, but that is not so easy if you are not a dualist or a deist, as are the Intelligent Designers, for instance. An IDer sees God as a literal micromanager. I beg to differ, but the IDers do have a point: where would Mozart be without a flagellum? And I'm sure that Sam would agree.
Why didn't God just commission Gabriel to create the 'Jupiter'? Who needs Amadeus with all his flagella? That is such a good question that I probably don't have an answer, but you know me, I'll give it the ol' messianic try. And I don't have to answer every question that comes down the pike. All I have to do is give the skeptics a run for their money.
God need not be a micromanager. Once she gave the BPW process a kick-start, she could kick back and watch us sweat the details. Serves us right, huh? I'm sure there is a hole in the heavenly fence for the angelic sidewalk superintendents. God did not create the parasites. God created creation. God created ecology. Nature has its cycles, we have our norms. Our norms complete the ouroboros.
Two details come spontaneously to mind: Amadeus' flagella and Sam's stone. I would blame both of them on 'ecology', rather than on either God or evolution. This is about relationalism and the manifold of (felt) meaning. And let me not forget cycles. That's what I was using my PDA to cogitate upon during this last intermission.
What's with a cycle? This goes back to the e/pi syzygy. Nowhere do epistemology and ontology become more conflated than in mathematics. I suggest that the lowly cycle is the inheritor and manifestor of this amalgam. In the game of reductionism, I replace atoms with cycles. The cycle is the common denominator of all emergence, from the ouroboric A&O cosmic cycle, down to the orbital atom and the spinning flagellum. There are many cycles, but only one cyclicity. There is an irreducibly vital, even panpsychic core to the phenomenon of cyclicity. There is no such thing as an objective cycle. There is a normative recursion and even self-identity at the core. Counting is one such vital cycle at the heart of mathematics.
Does not cyclicity obviate the whole problem of Creation? It would seem so, according to the pantheists. But then they hardly appreciate the singularity of the BPW. That is precisely where the theism is irrevocable.
Relationalism in a global context is a web of cycles contained in cycles. The space-time manifold is constructed of such a relational web in the style of Penrose' 'twistors' or 'spin-nets'. The cycles become aligned into a cosmos rather in the fashion that our neural nets are aligned into a conscious self. Is it magic? Yes, there is always a bit of that: enough to keep everything interesting. The world wide web is another manifestation in another space.
Flagella and stones are nothing if not ensconced in a relational web. 'Being kicked by Sam' bespeaks a web of startling proportions. No cycle is an island.
I would understand if you were to compare my authorship of these pages (un)favorably to that of a monkey supplied with an electric typewriter, knowing that no disrespect for our simian foremothers was thereby intended on your part. Nonetheless, watch out, as with the apocryphal conspiracy theorist, some day, some theory may turn out to have been correct.
What I wish to say about immaterialist creation is that we can have our immaterialist cake and eat it too. Both George Berkeley and Samuel Johnson will turn to have been correct. In keeping with the spirit of the BPW, we can have the best of both their worlds, and of all worlds, for that matter. Our dream atoms will turn out to be eminently kickable.
How do we arrange to have our BPW and eat it too? By using evolution, of course. But not exactly as the Darwinians are wont to understand it. It is notorious that some of my Christian sistren are down on Darwin, and I sympathize. It is no secret that Charles harbored the most serious reservations regarding his own theory. A monkey on a typewriter is capable of vastly more moral and aesthetic motivation than are the cosmic rays that are alleged to help rearrange our DNA codon letters.
Unlike the cosmic rays, God has a plan. That plan includes Amadeus' flagella, but not directly. God dreams up evolution, rather in broad outline, but then, using teleology to its utmost, is able to implement it mostly in reverse order. That's cheating! Well...., all's fair in love & Creation. But what if a Kim Jong Il, just as a for instance, were to come along and nuke it? Wouldn't that mess up the plan? Well, that's a pretty big 'if'. The way I reckon it, that's just not going to happen. Either a Bush, a Bubba or a Baba would intervene. But, hey, don't take my word for it. Let's just wait and see.
You question whether it would be possible to reverse engineer evolution, Kim Il or no Kim Il. I'm telling you that where there's a will, there's a way. If the reverse engineering of evolution would keep Samuel, George and maybe even Charles, happy, well, God would just outdo herself. The big payoff is that with the overarching evolutionary schema providing an enormously cohesive coherence, our dream atoms become, as I have earlier remarked, eminently, relationally, kickable and, yes, eatable, potable, and otherwise functionally promoting of cosmic intercourse. The only downside is that with all the kicking going on, we kickers are also wont to kick the bucket. But, hey, just how much of this lovely cake can one person possibly eat? You don't want to get a BPW stomachache, do you? And, besides, how many proms can a parent put up with?
The only thing that anyone of any metaphysical persuasion could find wrong with the idea of evolution is the materialism implied by it. What is right about it is its internal coherence. Who is to say that we cannot have the coherence of evolution without all its materiality? There is nothing wrong, and almost everything right with natural spontaneity. Why go through the labor of an arbitrarily imposed, top-down creation, when there exists a schemata for a 'natural' creation? Why should God not let 'nature' do what nature can do best?
It is my contention that the BPW entails an optimal balance between God and nature. I see absolutely no reason to believe that this optimal balance is not being achieved, considering especially that we now stand at the threshold of the Millennium.
The obvious way for God to empower her Creation is to exploit natural spontaneity to its utmost. An evolutionary style of coherence is the ideal agent of that spontaneity. Thus are we able to achieve an optimal balance between the creative push of spontaneous adaptation and a teleological pull. We and nature push, while God pulls. In the process we are also exploiting the positive powers of vitalism, panpsychism and pantheism, while avoiding the incoherence of dualism and deism. And who is to say that such a BPW is not possible? Why should we suppose that we are not its living testament?
The only problem with evolution is evolutionism, i.e. the granting of metaphysical exclusivity to matter and chance. The extraordinary properties of mind and consciousness ought to give lie to evolutionism, materialism and naturalism. All to obviously, there are more things than atoms under the Sun.
Outside of the 'fundamentalist' or 'hard core' ranks in both science and religion, almost everyone is willing to accept the compatibility of science and religion. Belief in a teleologically directed evolution provides the basis of the alleged compatibility. This is a minimalist teleology. It is a residual teleology that is left after granting everything else to scientific materialism.
I take strong exception to any minimalist teleology. There can't be a teleology without a telos, any more than there can be an expanding universe without a Big Bang. Teleology entails an Omega. Teleologists don't deny the Omega, but they take pains to postpone, downplay and ignore it. Gradualism and a strong distaste for any millenarian enthusiasm are the benchmarks.
Appending an Omega or Telos to the Big Bang cosmology borders on the incoherent. It becomes a deus ex machina. Yes, one can imagine a universally convergent evolution, but converging on what? Surely not just on a Tiplerian or Transhumanist computer in the sky. At some point there would have to be a Teilhardian spiritualization of matter or at least a separation of the two. The cosmic logistics of the Teilhardian Omega would be prodigious and unseemly, at best. The main problem would the unreasonableness of of any temporal coordination. Would every potentially life bearing planet have to wait for upwards of billions of years for the very last planet to reach its Omega, or would each planet just go popping off on its own Omega like so many spiritual supernovas?
If each planet were to converge on essentially the same Omega, this would seem to transform a spiritual process into a virtual assembly-line. The planetary redundancy would then serve no qualitative purpose, unlike the multifarious communion of souls within a given world. With a virtual infinity of worlds, no world is essential. Any given world is spiritually expendable.
One might try to imagine that there are more than the apparent four levels of being, i.e. atom, cell, self, God. We might be to our planetary god as she is to a cosmic being, and so on. This (unlimited?) polytheism has no conceivable rationale. It would remain logically incoherent to us. There would be no coherent end of the possible levels. Salvation would ever only be partial and provisional. The story would have no conclusion. We would feel just as lost and disoriented in that spiritual infinity as we feel now in our spatial infinity. Even the concept of the BPW would become incoherent. Without an overarching rationale, every conceivable world exists, and there is no longer any essential meaning for creator or creature.
Polytheism, pantheism and atheism become indistinguishable, according to our non-prophetic sisters and brothers. An essential God is a singular God with a singular salvational economy. Only that one God ultimately speaks to us, and only to that one God do we ultimately answer. That Being is our Creator and the Creator of our one best world. That is the Alpha and Omega of coherence. That is the one light. All else is merely a shadow.
A personal and loving Creator is necessarily self-containing and all-containing. Such is the best possible Being. If you can conceive of a more sublime being, this would be an auspicious time to reveal it to the world.
Thus may the Telos and the Logos be identified. The evolutionary schema that we call nature exists to serve the Telos. Nature can be fully comprehended and appreciated only in its teleological, eschatological context. In that sense, nature is a pure creation. We are the creatures who increasingly identify with the Creator. The evolutionary schema underlies the coherence of the world. God is the author/conceiver of that and all other schema and rationales.
Much of the above has been a roundabout rationalizing of what most, even semi-educated, people would consider a giant leap backward, reverting to a pre-Copernican worldview. There is no point in trying to soft-peddle this mind-boggling conclusion.
Regarding the impending immaterialist implosion and inversion of the scientific worldview, atoms and evolution come off relatively unscathed, but the stars....well, they've gotta go. Isn't that a bit like the dentist telling her patient that his teeth are OK, but the gums have to go? Sorry, about that....about the bad joke, but not about the stars. I've been warning NASA all along that they're going to have to do some serious retooling. Ultimately we have to choose between inner space and outer space. Metaphysics cannot treat them as equal without succumbing to a complete incoherence. Even the most rabid Creationists would hardly contemplate such a radical inversion of the modern worldview. I am simply following the path of immaterialism to its logical conclusion. I can do no other, without doing violence to the power of reason.
Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to pick up the pieces of the shattered materialist cosmology, and begin the reconstruction of its immaterialist successor. I will not be offering anything like a finished product, rather I will apply some very broad, preliminary brush strokes to a work that is going to be in progress for the duration of the Millennium.
But what are the pieces that are pickupable? A ubiquitous feature of the scientific world are its cycles, yet cycles lack a definite ontological status. The inference is that they might serve as a bridge between materialism and idealism. It's worth investigating.
Very often the notion of cycle and process are interchangeable, and I would commend to you Whitehead's Process Philosophy. Even several years ago, when I attempted to study PP, much of it was beyond my ken. Do not blame Alfie for any significant part of what may follow.
I contend that non-trivial cycles, and almost all are, are irreducibly phenomenological. Even the swinging of a simple pendulum can be far from trivial if it is not grossly abstracted. I have already attempted to rhapsodize on the metaphysical depth of cyclic phenomena. The organic world is composed almost entirely of such processes, and the inorganic world is hardly innocent of same. Organic cycles cannot be identified without consideration of their functional context. The biological cycle is the basis of biological holism and, yes, vitalism. Let the reproductive cycle be a case in point, and then recalling how ontogeny tends to recapitulate phylogeny helps to underscore the unbounded scope of even the most basic of cycles.
Quite simply, biology is not a science of objects, it is a science of processes. There is an unbounded, relational network that is truly cosmic in scope. Given this relational, process oriented perspective, even physics gives up the ghost of its abstracted linearity. Causality and functionality can hardly be disentangled on any level. That entanglement, mathematically formalized in the quantum domain, is pervasive. Organic and inorganic, epistemic and ontic are distinctions that lose their thrall under the aegis of any pragmatic concern.
The otherwise mind-boggling move from materialism to immaterialism may be greatly facilitated by focusing on the lowly cycle as a point of reflective equilibrium, while the rest of our world is stood upon its head.
Let us shift our gaze back to the stars. Recall poor Ptolemy. His epicycles have become the icons of an obsolescent worldview, the objects of our sophisticated derision. Yet, our literally exploding cosmological models seem on the verge of self-deconstruction. No longer do we have to contend with mere epicycles, now we confront epi-cosmoses. The only way to avoid the functional implication of the Anthropic Principle is to multiply our Big Bang hypothesis ad infinitum. 'Many Worlds' are breaking out all over: in modal theory, particle theory, in astrophysics, quantum physics, etc. It would seem that we have leapt from the Ptolemaic play pen, into a seething cauldron of exploding, inflating, laminating cosmoi. Goodbye Cosmos, hello Apeiron.
With 20/20 hindsight, perhaps Cardinal Bellarmine should be attributed more than a bit of metaphysical prescience. I am not suggesting that we renounce the history of science. I am merely suggesting that science has its own internal agenda and Aparat. Consider the possibility that human destiny may transcend those and any other particular strictures, including especially any implicit ones of my own.
The bio-cycles could, without great difficulty, subsume the epicycles, in so far as we can lend ontological credence to Anthropics. Your basic terrarium with 24x7 fluorescent lighting might be a nice place to visit, but who would want to live there? Your more sophisticated models will have built-in light, tidal, climatological and even astroidal impact cycles, etc., etc. Everyone of these cycles may add enormously to a dynamic, hierarchical network of ecological niches. The Terrestrial, multi-cyclic model of terrarium is world class, is it not? Perhaps it may turn out to be the best possible terrarium.
Perhaps God did dream up the Sun, but how do we explain sunburn? An Eskimo could dream of the Sun all winter long and still turn out peaked in the spring. Sunburn is a process. It is a spin-off of a plethora of much more functional processes, most of them cyclic in nature. Heliotropism is observable throughout nature, not just on Pompano Beach. So which came first, Helios or the Heliotrope? For the immaterialist, that is just another chicken-and-egg type problem with, I would submit, a similar, and even quasi-evolutionary answer. It's just cycles all the way down, ma'am!
In the beginning there was just the Alpha and the Omega, and before that there was just the Om. The cosmic, phenomenological symmetry breaking is virtually all cyclic in nature. Call it cycle inflation, if you will. Cycles beget sub-cycles. Species beget subspecies. The more sub-cycles you cram into the Krebs cycle, the more metabolic bang you get for your citric or photosynthetic buck. That is just thermodynamics if you are into physics, and it is also information explosion if you are into metaphysics. Information multiplies and mutates in the dissipative economy.
At least to a first approximation, the linking of cycles into a network requires nodes of intersection and interaction. At that point the network takes on the appearance of an extended Feynman diagram: the points of interaction are connected by 'propagators' into a lattice structure. If the interactions are strictly binary, as in the Feynman case, the lattice will be two dimensional, but that is not the case biologically.
Reminiscent of projective geometry, there is an approximate duality in networks between the loops and their intersections. This partial duality helps us to avoid an unnecessary ontological commitment to the particles in lieu of the loops. Materialist, analytic thought reifies the particles at the expense of the process. Relational thought focuses on the network. On the relational view, the particle nodes serve as accounting tokens for the vital, underlying processes they represent. The processes are teleological and subjective. The particles are purely objective, or so our thinking has gone. Quantum theory forces us to consider the interactive cycles as being essential to the observational protocol of QM. A chemical cycle is a minimal self-measuring and recording system. As such, it is the minimal building block of a quantum world. Quantum theory and ecology are gradually nudging us toward a more relation view of the world.
The logic and raison d'etre of particles is just their atomicity: their supposed independent, objective existence. A persistent cycle, however, must be part of a dissipative system which must include an energy source, ultimately of a solar variety. This brings us back to helios and heliotrope. The heliotrope is a node in a vast ecosystem. That entire ecosystem, including helios, could be logically reconstructed in holographic fashion from the information that is explicit and implicit in that one organism. The same is not true of the Sun. In an atomic world, the Sun is the ultimate atom. In a relational world, the heliotrope is a paradigmatic node.
In a cycle based, panpsychic world, heliotrope holds sway over helios. In the great thought that is the universe, the phenomenological ecosystem is virtually self-spawning, self-reifying and ramifying. The solar logos emerges as a coordinating nexus of the various metabolic nets. This evolution is circular and teleological. Its linear chronogram lends only one, highly abstracted, distorted, perspective, which is not representative of the cosmic system taken as a whole. Or understandable bias toward the prophetic breaking of temporal symmetry leaves us mesmerized by a singular arrow of time. As we approach the apparent Alpha/Omega ouroboric discontinuity, we will become more cognizant of the non-linear dimensions of time. We too easily view time as just another objective fixture of the world, brushing over its paradoxical and subjective nature. Only in the fullness of time does its supposed linearity become less imposing.
Sun and atom, S&A, are the very useful cognitive spin-offs of our cosmic cycle. In as much as those abstractions serve the larger order, we attend to them. When they threaten to subvert that order, it is time to rebalance our thinking and restore them to the larger context. That process is just beginning. It has no conclusion short of the eschaton itself.
Sun & Atom are two primary nodes in our relational network. They define our spatial manifold in the way that A&O define the temporal. S&A/A&O are the anchors of our space-time physical reality. Every microcosm, every cycle reflects these four nodes. The Sun is the organizing nexus for the sky, as is the Atom for the earth. A&O organize history.
Who is the Atlas who holds up the sky and Sun? And how is it so held? God, as the author of our BPW terrarium, has scripted the four anchors of our reality in broad outline. We creatures work out the details that will necessarily reflect the Anthropic Principle. Our habit formation, our memories gradually flesh out the broad outline given to us. The principles of object oriented programming, OOP, may be reflected in the process.
Coherence is necessarily maintained throughout. Logic cum mathematics provides the analytical skeleton of the coherence. Logic and math are flexible to a degree, and they too become optimized in and through the process of habituation. The mathematical structures such as the Monster Group are upheld in our collective memory.
I have not given much emphasis to the role of memory. This is not an oversight. It reflects the trepidation I have in tackling such an enormous, convoluted issue. Suffice it to say that I conscientiously abstain from all materialist rationales for memory. Show me where the laws of physics are stored and I'll show you where your memories are stored. Even the physicalists throw up their hands in despair.
As a teleologist, I contend that memory and anticipation are two sides of the same coin. Creation, to an optimal degree, works backward as the reification and final cause of our memories. As a direct perceptionist, I don't make any hard distinction between the world and our collective comprehension of it. That object/subject amalgam is the basis of coherence. Creator and creatures are the partners in the amalgamated coherence. The S&A/A&O/MG (monster group) are the cornerstones of our coherence. Exactly how that works, the cosmic 'mechanics' of it..., my guess is about as good as yours. Relationalism is the fact of cosmic existence. Which fact strongly implies that nothing more nor less than the BPW can logically exist. It exists in the eternal potency of its self-organizing logic and, yes, its love. Nothing else can compete. Everything else is a mere shadow. As the Sun is the organizing nexus of the sky, so is God of love. God writes the book of love. The Sun is a significant prop. How much more than this will we need to know in preparation for the eschaton? Our need to know is part of the coherence, and curiosity is, of course, a legitimate need.
On further thought, I suggest as a sixth anchor the reproduction cycle. Thus we have:
A&O/Repro/S&A/MG as the Big Six.
This may seem a mixed bag of tricks, but such is our diversity. A would-be creator must pay special attention to the interaction and integration of these primary components. As for the seventh component, I haven't a clue at this point.
With just these six components, one is well on the way to the creation of the BPW. Is this too easy? It's not rocket science or even brain surgery, but it is a very extended exercise in staying focused.
I have been on the lookout for a Creation scheme from the beginning of this metaphysical quest. The individual six items listed above have been prominent in my mind for much of that time. The Monster Group is the most recent addition, and that has been a focus for a year or more. The A&O scheme coincides with my shift to eschatology some fifteen years ago. Atoms are a holdover from my years in physics. The Sun is the granddaddy of cyclical phenomena. Reproduction is, well, inescapable.
The six items segregate conceptually into groups of three, perhaps as two interlocking triangles in the fashion of a star of David. The two triangles are logically connected mainly between the reproductive and atomic vertices. One may consider reproduction as the primary biological cycle, and, as such, it represents all metabolic phenomena. Metabolism, in its turn, provides the primary rationale for the existence of atoms.
The atom may be depicted as a miniature solar system, and thus may it partner with the Sun as the twin organizers of the large and small. Deciphering the mechanics of the solar system has been the primary impetus behind mathematical progress since the beginning of recorded history, up until the last century when its role in that regard was supplanted by the atom. The solar and atomic mathematics is essentially represented in the singular structure of the Monster Group.
The above six aspects of creation are the ones which demand the greatest attention on the part of the creator. If these can be implemented, somehow, by hook or by crook, the rest can be filled in, to a larger extent, by us creatures. You might well object that the above list ignores the most important part of creation: the creatures. If there is a special creation on the part of the human, it would be mainly as in the image of God. That then would not qualify as a separate creation as in the other six items above. The imago Dei is more to be seen as part of God's self-creation, a matter that I have alluded to from time to times in these pages.
Besides any special human spirit or consciousness, there is the question of speciation. I am suggesting that speciation can best be subsumed under the category of reproduction, and I will attempt to justify that logical dependence in what follows.
From the perspective of the creator there is a six-point plan of creation. Let us attempt to divine how this plan might best be implemented.
Please allow me to recapitulate some basic points:
Lest there be any doubt as to what I'm doing here, let me remind you that it is speculative philosophy, with the indicated emphasis. There is a widely held opinion that the materialist worldview is due, at the least, for serious revision. I am among those who are skeptical of the prospects of any mere revision. I am reasonably convinced that the mind-body problem is sufficiently severe for materialism so as to warrant the adoption of an immaterialist system. That is the work in progress on these pages.
Obviously the human mind has a capacity for reasoning and rationalizing. Every cultural system including the modern and postmodern ones provide frameworks for the deployment of our reasoning abilities. Down through the ages it has been the myriad versions of rational theism and/or gnosticism which have provided the widest latitude to the reasoning impulse. I propose the immaterialist BPW scheme as the logical culmination of this tradition.
I believe that the materialist tradition has been a necessary and useful phase in the evolution of human thought. The problem of the mind, however, presents not just another puzzle for science to solve. It appears to be presenting an ontological challenge of the highest order. We have to ask ourselves, which is the cart and which is the horse. I am suggesting that materialism has put the cart before the horse. I proceed here to restore the horse to its proper position, and examine the consequences. If immaterialism is to be more than an exercise in mysticism, it must make a strong appeal to rational theism. The concept of the BPW provides, I submit, the necessary foundation for any rational scheme of Creation.
Evolution is a powerful ordering principle, indeed, it is the primary rationale behind the entire modern worldview. Postmodernism, for all its sound and fury, has hardly dared to even ruffle the feathers of evolutionism. What I propose here is an immaterialist, idealist version of evolution. The world is a great thought rather than a great machine. Let us see how that thought evolves. Let us see how the phenomenology of evolution may be explained and exploited from an idealist, theistic perspective. And that is what we have been doing. I am not here to challenge evolution, I am here to repossess the phenomenality of it on behalf of the Creator.
That rational theism is a minimalist theism can hardly be overemphasized. This is not going to be the Hollywood, special effects version of Creation. This is the Tom Sawyer version. This is the Anthropic version. God sets the minimal stage and then lets the actors run the show. We are the mainly unwitting actors.
The minimalist 'props' or organizing principles for Creation might consist of the six items I suggested yesterday. This is simply a first approximation. It is a very rough sketch meant only to stimulate further thought. Let us proceed in that spirit.
How might these 'props' be deployed? The primary organizing principle for Creation is simply the historical narrative. God is responsible for the A&O as well as for the significant prophetic events. To the extent possible, we actors are then left to our own devices. The extent of our freewill is a factor to be balanced in accord with the BPW concept. The creation of the narrative proceeds in a manner not unlike the creation of an author setting out to write the Greatest Story Ever Told.
A reproductive cycle serves multiple purposes. Each life history is a partial reflection of the cosmic history. The parent-child relation reflects the relation between Creator and creature. Sexual reproduction and mutation ensures maximum diversity and novelty, with minimal divine intervention. A universal genetic schema maximizes the continuity of 'nature'. How is the reproductive cycle implemented? I submit that it is implemented in the process of creating even the first creature. Creation and Creator are a reflection of each other that comes about through a (deliberate?) cosmic symmetry breaking between primordial (cosmic) self and other self. This same symmetry breaking is partially manifested in the distinction between Alpha and Omega. Time is a product of the symmetry breaking as manifested in the ouroboric, A/O cycle. There is a reciprocal temporality between Creator and Creation. The existence of one complements the other. God pours herself, even sacrifices herself, into the Creation which then completes the cosmic reality. Sub specie aeternitas, there is but one singular spirit. To put it most succinctly, the reproductive cycle is but the logical spin-off ouroboric cycle.
Given a reproductive, genetic schema, the existence of an evolutionary tree could almost be an afterthought. It would be a waste not to exploit the logic and rationale of evolution to flesh out nature in as spontaneous a manner as possible. That does not mean than evolution is to be taken as a literal fact, but rather as a narrative device. I would suggest that dinosaurs, for instance, existed in a parallel 'prehistoric' virtual sub-world unto itself, a kind of Jurassic Park if you will, whose logical overlap with Creation proper is witnessed in the fossil 'record'. Thus permit me to suggest that the quasi-linear phenomenological time as we now experience it covers a period not much greater than that of recorded history. We're talking something on the order of the time frame of the mythologically crucial equinoctial cycle of ~ 25K yr. The details of nature are filled out by us creatures in teleological, Anthropic fashion, somewhat in the reverse order of history. Creation can then operate on the assumption that all's well that ends well. According to one well-known theory of dream psychology, our dreams are created in a similar retroactive fashion in the process of awaking under a particular stimulus. Dream time is purely subjective in that case. The eschaton is simply the awakening of us into God. Like I say, this is nothing more than the roughest of sketches. If you are hereby provoked to compose a more credible rationale, my mission will have been accomplished.
Notice that here and throughout, I am not drawing a hard distinction between the why and the how of creation. Given a primordial cosmic will, no prior constraints on the operation of this creative will need be, or even can be, posited beyond the internal ones of self-consistency. And perhaps the alleged optimization scheme is best regarded as but a part of the internal consistency. Logically Creation has no seconds, and so the matter of choice is moot.
To my way of thinking, the most difficult thing to create, setting aside God's self-creation, would be the Sun. This is the most objectively physical item on our list of six. The Sun is our source of light and energy. It cannot be conceived as just another component of the ecosystem. It is clearly a dominating object.
Conceptually, light and energy are very different things, and it is not at all obvious that they should be combined electromagnetically. Our dreams are illuminated, evidently without benefit of the Sun or any other particular source. Why should our waking illumination have such a specific source, and how is that source put in place, etc.? And how about all that photoelectric and thermodynamic stuff?
The idea of a Sun would take the Creator rather far into the realm of physics. Solar dynamics just about covers the physical waterfront. This is a major deal. Heliotrope is one thing, Helios is quite another. That is a very asymmetric relation. Where does one start?
We're modeling creation as something of a divinely organized lucid dream that is being shared with various proto-creatures, which participate in it on various levels. God has to get the ball rolling and then arrange for the creatures to pick up the slack and fill in the details. Availing ourselves of teleology, this is a push and pull exercise.
Illumination is a funny thing. Think of the light bulb over the head of the cartoon character, or the halo on the religious icon. They represent a deep mystery about thought, consciousness and their distinction from the unconscious. Can we think without any audio-visual-tactile imagery? Consciousness is phenomenal, or it is nothing. That phenomenality can only involve the known sensory modalities: the ones engaged by the external world. Can we entertain abstractions without phenomenality? I have been partial to felt meaning over pure meaning, although I would be at a loss to describe the feeling of 'constitutional government'.
Where do thoughts and memories go when they are not being thought or remembered? There are many thoughts that we hash over, put aside, and then take up again. Then there are those occasional thoughts that seem to spring to mind, unbidden and almost fully formed. There must be mental processing that is unaccompanied by phenomenality.
Panpsychism is the notion that the mind pervades the world, I submit it is the world the pervades the mind. I am not a fan of representationalism where there are two worlds, the real one and the mental one. An idealist has no need to posit two worlds. There can be different perspective without there being different worlds. The world is a great idea which exists in the collective consciousness and unconsciousness. On the day side of the Earth the Sun is conscious, on the night side it is unconscious, more or less. My train of thought is usually precariously balanced between the literal and metaphorical, and don't ask me to tell which is which. .
Given a three dimensional world, there is bound to be something like optics. Surfaces will convey or broadcast information in a more or less lineal fashion. This is true even for sonar. But why and how do we have independent sources? If everything is already in the mind why bother with optics and all the rest. Why not just have a memory like access to the whole world: kind of like remote viewing, but all the time? There would be no communication or transportation problems. Things might work like this in heaven, if there is such a place, but, evidently, not down here. I would suggest it has something to do with metabolism, i.e. with reproduction and the like. There must be a connection between the Sun and reproduction. Did I mention Pompano beach?
Metabolism demands the conservation and sequestration of energy, which in turn require that there be discrete sources of energy. Furthermore, consideration of communication bandwidth calls for an optical-visual type of channel. And so does the consideration of discretionary communication, as opposed to a more intrusive or telepathic mode.
Optics, however, is not feasible without there also being a distinction between sources and sinks. Otherwise there could be no flow of information. Consider, for instance, the structure of the eye and the camera obscura. With optics as with energy, there is a logical requirement for discrete sources. In as much as optics involves the flow of information, it must also entail a flow of energy. Given then, two disparate requirements for energy sources, we might wonder about their possible relationship.
Here is a further consideration: in order to minimize the number of sources and maximize the area of dispersion, it behooves us to employ remote sources, very remote. Thus do we come to embrace a single, combined and remotely placed optical-energetic source. Furthermore, we need a 2 + 1 dimensional configuration to maintain separation of source and sinks. For a dynamical system there will have to be a constant force field to maintain a vertical segregation. If we then wish to avoid external supports, we are on the brink of reinventing a planetary system, and along with it a Newtonian dynamics. Furthermore, photo-energetics will require a rationale for balancing the two. There will have to be photo-metabolic pathways and reactions. This entails a photo-electric effect of some kind, which, in its turn entails a Planck relation between the energy and the cyclicity or frequency. These considerations put us on the verge of reinventing the Bohr model of the atom with its planetary electrons, solar nucleus and discrete energy states.
What we have witnessed in the last several paragraphs, and in previous pages, is a redeployment of the Anthropic Principle in a more fundamental fashion than how it was originally introduced. Originally, the anthropic principle was intended to start with the physical world as a given, and then see to what extent this world is constrained by the consideration of biology. Here, in keeping with our immaterialist bias, we deploy the anthropic principle in a more phenomenological and thoroughgoing fashion.
Coherence becomes a primary consideration. Given a phenomenal ambience, how would that ambience be structured or organized to optimize its coherence. And why coherence? Coherence, Creation and Cosmos are all of the same stamp. They imply a subject/object polarity, but not a dichotomy. To avoid the dichotomy, the polarity is conveniently made circular or reciprocal. The creator/creation polarity is made reciprocal in some kind of Alpha/Omega schema. There must also be a macro/micro reciprocity as between creator and creature.
Reciprocity is impossible without coherence and vice-versa. Reciprocity and coherence imply mutual and universal comprehension. But reciprocity also entails a dynamic cyclicity of comprehension. Coherence is not a stasis. There need be a dialectic circuit in the broadest sense. A dialectical, evolutionary, reciprocal scheme is what the doctor ordered. The optimal such would be a singular 'recycling' of the spirit. Gnosis and agnosis are thus complementary and dialectically dependent. Continuity must also be juxtaposed with discontinuity on all levels, and thus do we come to the consideration of an eschatological/salvational/revelational scheme that invokes the Alpha/Omega discontinuity of the ouroboric sort.
The prophetic tradition incorporates these dialectical structures in a relatively pure fashion. Pantheism falls rather short in taking advantage of any spiritual dialectic. It is a reflection of a gratuitous cosmic pessimism and even despair. Any step beyond materialism will entail theism or pantheism. Why settle for the inferior product, when its complement is freely offered? In the end, can there really be a choice?
How do we sit now with the Sun? I show that the Sun is the minimal logical nexus of various considerations. Further, it is my contention that in an idealist system, logical necessity is tantamount to ontological prescription. It stands to reason that the how and why will not be disparate questions as they are in a dualist system. It is not just that the Heliotrope begets Helios, but rather that heliotropism, it its widest possible sense, begets and maintains Helios. And I certainly include the Pompano sunbathers and the Egyptian solar worshipers as significant elements in the phenomenology of heliotropism. God is responsible to load the dice of nature in a heliotropic fashion. Then the anthropically stabilizing, concretizing elements kick in. I have no doubt that more than a few of the actual exigencies of this bootstrapped creation process my be found recorded amongst our various creation myths.
The BPW does not have to be the most difficult world to create. To the contrary, considering the great reciprocity of the bootstrap model we employ, it may even be the easiest, if not the only world that may be created. This is not to deny anything of Creator or Creation, but rather to keep them in the proper relational, reciprocal, dialectical context.
Have we solved the creation problem? Indications are that we are headed in the right direction, and that is what counts. Once we take off our materialist blinders, new vistas open up. In short order we will have moved to take up intellectual and spiritual residence in these wide open spaces. Breaking down the artificial mental barriers is all that is required. All we have to do is break the ice of materialism, then we discover the ocean of the spirit, which is our rightful home, our promised land.
What finally can we say of the Monster Group, our remaining sixth element of Creation? The MG is to math as the Sun is to metabolism. It is an organizational nexus. I have already indicated that the MG should not be treated as something independently given. Mathematics is no more immune to relationalism than is anything else in our relational world.
Do the axioms determine the MG or vice-versa? I submit the latter. Teleology can operate in mathematics as elsewhere. We are told that there exist only 26 sporadic groups, of which the Monster is the largest. I suggest that we will discover an infinity of virtual sporadic groups. We will find logical spaces in which there are infinite analogs of the sporadic family. Furthermore, we will discover among the 15,000 pages of proof of the 'classification theorem' that there are hidden assumptions which speak to the admixture of simple axiomatics along with much more subtle anthropic-style biases. Am I needlessly sticking out my neck on this seemingly esoteric matter? Is this just another example of a postmodernist-style of critique run amok? Rather, I submit that an anthropo-theocentric idealism will turn out to be the one vital justification of the entire postmodern endeavor.
The above matter has to do with the 'unreasonable' effectiveness of mathematics in the 'real', physical world. Members of the sporadic family play a very significant role particle theory. No, I mean to say it is the exceptional groups that play this role. And guess what? I don't know the difference. I must have missed that class. It's back to the drawing board, sports fans.
OK, Richard Borcherds points out in his moonshine lecture that there are indeed intimate relations between the sporadic and exceptional groups, having to do with the geometry and string-theory physics of 26-dimensional spaces. He also points to the syzygy problem, which he says may not necessarily be related to the moonshine, but I would be willing to speculate that it rather points to some super-moonshine. The point of moonshine is the unreasonable coherence of mathematics. It is more organic than anyone could have supposed naively. The MG turns out to be a core feature, or a nexus of a significant part of the organicity. The unreasonable effectiveness of math indicates that the coherences of mathematics and the rest of the world, are, in some manner, mutually supportive. It would be hard to imagine that this mutuality could be accidental, even if we were not idealistically biased.
It is also difficult to think of math in vitalistic terms. There must be another dimension of mathematical 'time' in which the organism can live. The math we know is just one optimized slice of that organism. In that larger dimension of mathematical gnosis there could be an infinity of sporadic groups.
There must be many undiscovered relationships between the sporadic groups. Some of those relations must be extensible to a continuing sporadicity in some significant sense.
I invite you to inspect the Proceedings of the Organic Mathematics Workshop, as well as Complex Zeros. Also recall the Ramanujan phenomenon. What these considerations point to is that panpsychism is likely to entail a panmathism, which is just the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics along with our ability to ascertain and entertain same.
We think of panpsychism as being a touchy-feely phenomenon comprising a manifold of vital felt meanings. But now we suspect that this same manifold includes a vital, organic panmathism. The touchy-feelies and the mathematics complement each other in a fashion that escapes our present understanding. Undoubtedly, the comprehension of this super-coherence will entail a whole new understanding of understanding.
Consider the discoveries of Neptune and the Omega particle. How does our enhanced panpsychism help to explain such developments? The Omega, per se, is fairly straight forward in that it completed a fairly obvious grouping of the elementary particles based on their quark composition. The quarks, however, bring us to the threshold of the MG. That particle accelerators should be able to tap into our Ramanujan style collective unconscious is a bit more esoteric. Particles have to have properties, and those properties will cohere in an optimal anthropic fashion. Particles push reality beyond the limits of feeling and meaning. Beyond those limits, the only source of coherence is math and the MG. Relationalism demands that any available source of coherence be used to the utmost in any phenomenal setting. Quantitative organicity is a logically necessary offshoot of the qualitative, panpsychic manifold. Panmathism might be viewed as being the exoskeleton of the qualitative manifold. It couldn't not exist and be accessible in instrumental and psychological fashion.
Neptune presents a somewhat different picture. Telescopes are a logical off-shoot of our energy-optical system. We were bound to turn them on the starry, planet filled sky. From a purely metabolic point of view, only the Sun and Moon play a role. All the rest is gratuitous. The fossils are a direct product of the evolutionary logic lying behind the ecological context of biology. There is nothing so anthropic for the stars. They are window dressing in a rather pure sense.
Suppose there were no stars. It would be, well, quite unnatural. Nature abhors a vacuum. A blank sky would be a psychic vacuum. Evolution would be incoherent without a cosmic context.
What could that context be? The cosmic background could either be a steady state or not. The Big Bang phenomenology lends itself to considerably more coherence than does the steady state. Well, all of its incoherence may be ascribed to a single singularity. It is tidy that way.
That is the why of the stars, what about the how? The Sun, in all its glory, as we discussed earlier, is closely tied to the heliotropism that pervades nature. Given a fair nudge in the heliotropic direction, the ecological web ought to be able to snare itself a Helios, rather like our own phenomenological Sun, without undue difficulty. The Pompano sunbathers would hardly constitute a critical component of the nearly universal heliotropism.
Such is not the case for the stars. The logically prior presence of the Sun and Moon will certainly help to prime our ontological star pump, but we may need some additional input of the Pompanic variety. What I am groping for here is an astro-archeo-mythological system. This astro-tropic system will be a substitute for the less anthropocentric heliotropism employed above. Star worship may not be quite as gratuitous as Sun worship. The fact that the entire megalithic culture was laid out on a foundation of astro-geodesy is noteworthy. Sacred geometry, calendri, feng shui, etc. were all a part of the ancient, high cultural wisdom. The ancient hierarchy, with divine collusion, did hold the stars and planets to their appointed rounds, using every psychic, projective power at their disposal.
The enchanted, vital, zodiacal, mythopoeic sky, was gradually devitalized, perhaps in a metamorphic-pupal fashion. Yes, that original sky was our psychic cocoon, shielding us from all the other things that might have gone bump in the night. Our psychic boundaries were ever so much thinner and more fluid back then. Now we may be seeing a bit of a reversal. Is not the Hubble now helping to revitalize the sky, awakening us to a more organic worldview?
All of this just to set the stage for Neptune? Did Neptune not arise out of that same ocean of unconsciousness? But first things first. Among the first things seen as the telescope was pointed heavenward were the four Galilean Moons of Jupiter. Surprise?
Those moons didn't have to be there. There might have been only three. How did they get there if the Big Bang didn't put them there? As I've said before, it was magic. Idealism is no foe to magic, so you may as well get over that scruple. And on the same subject, how 'bout those Saturnine rings? God truly outdid herself.
The Jovian moons and Saturnine rings I would chalk up to a Jurassic Park type phenomenon. Somewhere God has a creation park or virtual alchemical laboratory, if you will, in the dim recesses of her mind. Genetic and fluidic experiments abound. Randomness is given a freer reign. Whenever a sapient creature stumbles upon a blank stretch of Creation, Creation Park is accessed in an alchemical fashion that will maximize the aesthetics and minimize the incoherence. Novelty will be a factor. A bit of Xerox Parc will add to the flavor. Add in a strong dose of teleology, pop it in the oven for a few minutes and presto-kazzam, you've got yourself a world class Creation system.
Is any of this less credible than a Big Bang cum Darwin? That is a very subjective judgment, I would submit. You pays your money and you takes your choice. I say that a little cosmic intelligence might go a lot further than a Big Bang. I don't expect any hard core materialists to be persuaded. But there are people sitting on many different ontological fences, and if even a few of them feel the sweet breeze of cosmic reason, my mission is accomplished. And then even God gets to rest sometime.
Some progress has been made, but each bit of progress points up the distance remaining. There are still significant gaps in the coherence. There is also the need to find a way to balance upward and downward causation. Idealism should not be forced to take the opposite extreme from materialism in this regard. The emphasis on cycles was meant partly to offset this tendency. Besides the reproduction cycle in the Big Six, there are also included the Sun and atom as a means of facilitating upward causation.