|The ouroboros is used above as a symbol of semantic closure. What is the simplest system exhibiting this property? According to Godel, it is just the arithmetic system. This is not quite accurate.
According to Alexei Sharov:
Biologists may ask why to use semiotic terminology in simple population models? In particular, why to talk about semantic closure instead of self-reproduction? "Self-reproduction" seems to be a convenient term that does not have uncertainties associated with signs or semantics. But this simplicity is illusive; self-reproduction includes the word "self" which comes from the field of semiotics rather than physics or biology. In the process of self-reproduction, an organism defines itself; in other words, self is what is preserved in the process of self-reproduction. Self-reproduction is simultaneously a process of self-measurement, self-interpretation, and communication from parents to offspring.
Semantic closure entails the big R, as in AZO/X/QRP. The minimally complex system exhibiting self-referential symmetry in a metabolic context would entail QRP.
But what is communication and what are signs? We are used to these terms because we use signs in our everyday life. But is it possible to define a sign without referencing to humans? I am going to show that this is possible using the conception of semantic closure (Pattee 1995).
I demur: thus X. The simplest 'autonomous' system would include X/QRP. And why metabolism? The quick answer invoked symmetry. The only way to go much beyond the complexity of Z is to use the ordering principles of space-time. Relationalism in this context is enforced through metabolic constraints, as in R. The aesthetics of naturalism quickly lead to anthropics and then to MG and so back to Pi. I am just reminding myself of the BPW aspects of complexity. There would be no need for greater complexity unless we wanted to go beyond our allotted 10^10 souls. There are ample aesthetic reasons to restrain ourselves in this respect.
Back to mind and matter. Does complexity entail mind, or is it spontaneously emergent? As Alexei proposes, might we have semantic closure without X? Even the most radical biosemioticians, at best, seem only to invoke a diluted panpsychism, not unlike the quantum mind crowd. I must show that panpsychism is incoherent. Of course, I have been arguing this all along.
Let's see what Howard Pattee has to say, Artificial life needs a real epistemology (1995): :
Life is peculiar, said Jeremy. As compared with what? asked the spider.
When a problem persists, unresolved, for centuries in spite of enormous increases in our knowledge, it is a good bet that the problem entails the nature of knowledge itself. The nature of life is one of these problems. Life depends on matter, but life is not an inherent property of matter. Life is peculiar, obviously, because it is so different from nonliving matter. It is different, not so obviously, because it realizes an intrinsic epistemic cut between the genotype and phenotype. Our knowledge of physics, chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, development, and evolution is enormous, but the question persists: Do we really understand how meaning arises from matter? Is it clear why nonliving matter following inexorable universal laws should acquire symbolic genes that construct, control, and evolve new functions and meanings without apparent limit? In spite of all this knowledge, most of us still agree with Jeremy.
A good statement of the problem.
Metaphysical questions, like whether reality is material, formal, or mental, are empirically undecidable, but nevertheless, discussion of these concepts are an important part of scientific discovery. Historically we have seen concepts of reality shifting ground and new horizons discovered, especially with the advent of quantum theory, computation theory, and cosmology. The question is: Can artificial life add some new ideas to the problem of knowledge and the epistemic cut or will it only increase the confusion?
Ditto. My quarrel with the biosemioticians is that they do not take relations and holism with sufficient seriousness. My contention is that the minimal semantic (ouroboric) closure is just AZO/X/QRP. Attend to the singularity of the BPW. There can be no lesser worlds than the BPW. Even I had been wondering if God would need to intervene to abort lesser (spontaneous?) creations. I think not. They would be self-abortive. Relationally, they could exist only as appendages to the BPW. Their only identity would be in their functional relevance to the BPW, e.g. certain angelic orders. Otherwise any contingently incorporated selves are welcome to join the big metabolic party. Such subsystems exist mainly in the cosmic imagination, e.g. Jurassic Parc. The BPW is unanalyzable. Our AZO/X/QRP mnemonic is just that, a mnemonic.
Occasionally Pi threatens to detach itself from our metabolic party, in some Platonic fashion. Not to worry, God keeps Pi on a short leash, or, at least, in a small boat. In short, the BPW is its own relational tar baby. You can't live without it. It would be like taking a fish out of water, or a materialist out of a space-time manifold.
It seems as if the world could fall apart at any minute. The more realistic concern is that it might fall together. But neither is truly possible. All things in due course, i.e. according to script. If you wish to see an atomized God, just look in the mirror.
Speaking of atoms, perhaps I should reiterate the graviton problem. How does it differ from the photon problem? What is the difference between seeing stars and being gravitationally attracted to them, from a purely (fictitious!) physical perspective? The retina can do a sum over photons to allow perception of the dimmest stars. Not too big a deal. Photonic emission and absorption are strictly a surface phenomena, and they involve putatively real photons. Gravity is a volume phenomenon involving putatively virtual gravitons. There is no emission to speak of, or even to think about. The gravitons hang in the air, probabilistically. Who calculates the probabilities? That's my problem. Strictly, this is not different for photons, but it underlines the problem in the most emphatic manner possible.
One can do the mathematical physics of a sand pile, without seemingly having to invoke any notion of micro-computation on the part of the individual grains. They just do their physical stuff. But in speaking of quarks and virtual gravitons, we must appeal to much more abstract symmetries. Each potential interaction necessarily invokes the whole of the Monster Group, which, recall, is quite as bulky as Jupiter. The number of potential types of interaction at any instant is then the bulk of Jupiter times the bulk of the Super Cluster emission volume, measured also in quarks. If you think that Times Square is busy, well, think about what is going on in the micro space of every single quark in your body, 24x7. This is panpsychism with a terrible vengeance. Imagine trying to describe this to a child. Would she not think you were pulling her leg? By God, somebody around here is doing a lot of leg pulling, and if you think it's me, well, better check again! Can no one else see that this King is naked? Here endeth the graviton story.
But we must go beyond panpsychism. Three centuries of science have been expended in removing the psyche from nature. Its success remains controversial. The psyche is slippery. It keeps slipping back in. It seems to haunt every dark corner, and some corners that aren't so dark. It keeps being swept under the rug, but soon it piles up, for all but the doggedly oblivious.
Nature has been carved into myriad specialized fields. None of the fields logically overlaps. On every boundary accumulate the leavings of the psyche. The apparent messiness of the academic situation is simply an artifact of the analytic process, pushed well beyond its design limits. We proceed to trace the leavings of the psyche, attempting to track it into its lair.
The fact of the matter is that we can define neither complexity nor computation objectively. They are ineluctably functional and normative. Thus the biosemiotic loop must include the subject. Panpsychism does not fit this bill. It is not sufficiently relational or holistic. The Telos may not be deconstructed. It is an all or nothing proposition. We cannot look our gifted, ouroboric Telos in the mouth. All cycles are a spin-off of Z. Every one is functional and contextual; none can exist beyond the orbit of the Big Seven. That is truly beyond the pale.
The biosemioticians would like to take their holism in measured doses. Someone will finally convince them that immaterialism is not a twelve-step program. There is an emphatic gestalt switch here which may not be avoided. You either get it or you don't. When it comes to breaking the habit of materialism, you just have to go cold-turkey.
Why does our millenarian script have to include this quantum jump of the mind? Frankly it makes for a better story, IMO. We have to turn over a new leaf. This was meant to be a dramatic cosmos. And it is. Even the most refined of equilibria must be punctuated on occasion. This is one of those. This will be our paradigmatic asteroid, out of the blue.
Will this trauma be too much for the collective psyche? It will push the envelope of our 'sanity' to its limits. That is just how it was designed from the git go. We are given the opportunity to clear the pipes of our psyches. This is an opportunity we will not wish to refuse. Waking up from the slumber of materialism will require more than a gentle tap. But we must be confident that the only violence will be to our misconceiving egos. There will be no call for, or tolerance of, any other duress.
What about the more colloquial or mundane adjuncts of materialism? I would like to have more to say about the cultural aspects of the Millennium, but I am not feeling disposed to transgress my metaphysical calling, for whatever it may be worth. Once we see the general direction we're headed, the path will be relatively easy to discern.
In the terminology of Howard Pattee, if the epistemic cut is arbitrary, then we have no business making it at all. The incoherence of the epistemic cut is simply the incoherence of Cartesian dualism. The further we push that cut into matter, the more we must appeal to a unifying cosmic psyche. There is no such thing as half a psyche. Even the dimmest of psyches must partake of that logical whole. Only its access is limited.
Semantic closure must finally be all inclusive. The many sub-loops can convey only partial or tentative meaning and information. The further that any loop becomes detached from the totality, the less becomes its coherence. This all inclusiveness is just the hallmark of natural intelligence as opposed to its artificial interlopers. Accept no substitutes.
Howard Pattee, Evolving self-reference: matter, symbols, and semantic closure (1993):
A theory of emergent or open-ended evolution that is consistent with the epistemological foundations of physical theory and the logic of self-reference requires complementary descriptions of the material and symbolic aspects of events. The matter-symbol complementarity is explained in terms of the logic of self-replication, and physical distinction of laws and initial conditions. Physical laws and natural selection are complementary models of events. Physical laws describe those invariant events over which organisms have no control. Evolution by natural selection is a theory of how organisms increase their control over events. A necessary semantic closure relation is defined relating the material and symbolic aspects of organisms capable of open-ended evolution.
Howard was considered courageous among biologists just for attempting to delve into these murky issues. I now have to refute his bold effort.
[...] self-reference that has open-ended evolutionary potential is an autonomous closure between the dynamics (physical laws) of the material aspects and the constraints (syntactic rules) of the symbolic aspects of a physical organization. I have called this self-referent relation semantic closure (Pattee, 1982) because only by virtue of the freely selected symbolic aspects of matter do the law-determined physical aspects of matter become functional (i.e., have survival value, goals, significance, meaning, self-awareness, etc.).
I have emphasized in many papers (e.g., Pattee, 1969, 1972, 1982) that the matter-symbol distinction is not only an objective basis for defining life but a necessity condition for open-ended evolution.
Like all dualisms, this must be incoherent. Is not a symbol just about the least objective thing in the world?
Biologists call this matter-symbol distinction the phenotype and genotype. Computationalists call this the hardware-software distinction. Philosophers elevate this distinction to the brain-mind problem. What is not as well known is that even in the formulation of physical theories a form of matter-symbol distinction is necessary to separate laws and initial conditions.
Nice try, Howard.
For my argument here, I will mean by matter and energy those aspects of our experience that are normally associated with physical laws. These laws describe those events that are as independent of the observer as possible, i.e., independent of initial conditions. The laws themselves are moot until we provide the initial conditions by a process of measurement. Laws and measurements are necessarily distinct categories. Laws do not make measurements, individuals make measurements. Measurement is an intentional act that has local significance and hence involves symbolic aspects usually in the form of a numerical record. This is the physical basis of the matter-symbol distinction.
You have just begged the whole issue, Howard. Since when is a measurement physical? In that sense, initial conditions are not physical, they are normative. Laws are also symbolic and normative. Where is the distinction? Where is the physics? If there is any physics, which I doubt, it must be a Kantian noumenon. Everything you speak of is phenomenal. The initial condition for the cosmos must be something like our AZO/X/QRP. Nothing less will ever fly. Nothing less could have semantic closure. There is no epistemic cut. Everything is episteme. The only substance to the world is its relational coherence. That coherence is the present noumenon and then the ultimate phenomenon, as it is finally, eschatologically revealed.
From the origin of life and evolutionary perspective the most difficult problem is how material structures following physical laws with no function or significance were gradually harnessed by syntactical rules to provide function and significance as symbols (e.g., Pattee, 1969; 1992). I will not say much more about the origin problem here. For several reasons, one of which is its difficulty, the origin of symbols is not considered one of the central problems in any area of philosophy or science. Another reason is that for most scientific models it is not necessary to know the nature or origin of symbols. Natural language, logic, mathematical symbol systems, and computers are most commonly treated simply as well-developed tools, and for most models there is no need to ask how they originated.
Thank you for your honesty, Howard. But is this not throwing in the towel? Are you not then whistling in the dark? How will you know if you are looking at the problem backwards, upside down and inside out? You are ripping out some of the scraps, treating them entirely out of context, all in the name of scientific progress. Why not just give coherence a chance?
[...] Material reductions are certainly one necessary type of model for understanding symbol systems.
However, I am not a reductionist in the sense of those who claim that symbols are "nothing but" matter. "Nothing but" implies that the only model that is required to understand symbols is a complete materialist or physical law model. Reductionists are generally happy when they have discovered the material correlates of higher level behavior. My position is that no complete physical description of these material structures, although correct in all details, will tell us all we need to know about their symbolic function.
[...] I will only elaborates on the well-established value of using complementary models without entering into the undecidable metaphysical issue of which model represents reality. Complementary models are well- known in physics. Particle and wave, microscopic and macroscopic, deterministic and stochastic, coarse and fine grained, reversible and irreversible models are necessary for fully understanding any complex system. Rosen (1977) has usefully defined a measure of system complexity by the number of models that we require to adequately under stand its behavior.
Well, somebody will eventually have to address the metaphysics. To assume that you can do the physics without the metaphysics is to presuppose a non-contextuality. This is just to prejudge the whole ball game.
Symbols are difficult to define in any simple way because symbols are functional, and function cannot be ascribed to local structures in isolation. The concept of symbol, like the more general concept of function, has no intrinsic meaning outside the context of an entire symbol system [...]
The concepts of closure and entirety are virtually synonymous. Gnosis and coherence are all or nothing. We are able to survive on scraps of knowledge only because the noumenal coherence acts as our invisible hand, on all levels of our existence. We put up with ignorance only because we can imagine no alternative.
The reason that laws cannot describe symbol function, or any function, is because we specifically restrict physical laws to describe only those properties of matter that are, by principles of invariance and symmetry, as independent of observers and individual measurements as possible, as I stated in Sec. 2. This is necessary to achieve the characteristic universality of laws. Symbols, by contrast, are generated with few physical restrictions but are eventually selected for their contribution to the survival of individual units in a local environment.
Is the contradiction in these two sequential definitions of symbol not perfectly stark? For Howard, contextuality seems entirely fungible. Survival is sometimes a local issue. Evolution, by definition, cannot be. By not paying attention to the metaphysics, Howard loses the thread of any logic. Without a compass, you are bound to walk in circles.
Of course if one believes that everything is a computation, or that by improving simulations they will eventually become realizations then one sees no matter-symbol problem (Pattee, 1988). At the other extreme there are physical reductionists who see symbols only as an illusion, like phlogiston and the ether, that will be unnecessary when an adequate material description of symbolic behavior is found (e.g., Churchland, 1981; Crick, 1993).
From Complexity to Simplicity: Nature and Symbols, Arantza Etxeberria & Alvaro Moreno (1999):
The question is: do control constraints arise spontaneously? Many researchers expect that the science of the future will explain the evolutionary transition leading to closed organizations solely by means of physical, dynamical theories, such as self-organization. Although this may seem to be the ideal kind of explanation, Pattee’s work, in fact, aims to show that such explanation is not possible, because there are in principle problems to reconstruct the causal sequence leading to the production of a control hierarchy and its typical interactions.
I'd like to see someone pick up on this point. It is not clear from this statement whether the problem is only epistemological or is actually ontological. Is Pattee alleging that the origin of constraints is a case of 'strong emergence'?
Once again I find that biosemioticians are masters in the avoidance of metaphysical commitment. The state of the art of this avoidance may be witnessed in a collection of essays noted just one year ago. This avoidance is in the venerable tradition of the 'linguistic turn' in philosophy where the strategy is to talk every problem to death. Is this not what semantics is for: Rhetoric?
Organicism, functionalism and biosemiotics are non-reductive in a similar fashion. They take emergent properties seriously, while downplaying their ontological commitments. They must all, however, deal with with the problem of closure. It is here that they stumble. Howard Pattee emphasizes closure more than the others, and yet he fails to do it justice. Closure is a more emphatic instance of holism. It embraces coherence.
The bone I must pick is with the notion of partial or local closure. There is the local pluralism of Pattee & Co., or there is the global monism of the BPW sort. When Quine introduced semantic holism to the philosophical community, it was not of the partial or local variety. Anything less than a complete holism ought to verge on the oxymoronic, one would think. Yet, somehow, the problem of completeness has eluded the biosemioticians. The reason must be that they remain committed to evolution. They see biological holism or organicism as an emergent property. It is something that can reemerge and operate in a local context.
More directly put, the biosemioticians remain anti-teleological. In like manner, they eschew vitalism. To do otherwise would be to invite a confrontation with the biological establishment, a development that this already fringe group could ill-afford. Into their silence, we must venture.
Naturalism is the defining term here:
Naturalism, as a larger category than materialism, can give a more credible account for moral realism than the narrower thesis of materialism. Naturalists that allow for essences and teleology can account for morality as part of human flourishing and natural properties of the universe, but this requires a pluralist ontology. Naturalism in a classic sense of this word (ala Aristotle) is a "thick" naturalism that holds that things have natures and essences. Value is irreducible to physical properties. Value, such as moral properties, can be found in natures; fact and value are linked, and morality flows from this view. It is metaphysically and normatively rich.
The teleology (a) mentioned here must be highly restricted: a minimalist teleology. This 'thick' naturalism is what the biosemioticians are attempting to reintroduce, as a pluralistic counter to reductive, monistic materialism, or simply physicalism. That there is a slippery slope from naturalism to supernaturalism is evidenced by the wariness with which the materialists treat these back-sliding neo-naturalists.
Let us reconsider Quine's language model. Natural language is the model of a complete, holistic system, and, yet, supposedly, it did evolve ex nihilo. It is an entirely emergent system. Or is it? Once again, I must demur.
I submit that natural language could have evolved only in the context of a organismic or holistic natural intelligence, only in a society of conscious agents. I apply the same model to the 'emergence' of biology. I do not accept the notion that language and thought are synonymous. There must exist archetypes of the form of AZO/X/QRP well beyond the confines of space and time, as the necessarily anthropic context of Creation.
Jaegwon Kim's critique of non-reductive physicalism still stands, but his 1989 'Myth of Non-reductive Materialism' is not available online. Instead, we may examine William Hasker's How Not To Be A Reductivist, (2003):
"Non-reductive" accounts of mentality are relatively common these days; it is widely recognized that certain kinds of reductivism should be avoided. However, on closer examination it often turns out that these accounts are reductive after all in a way that undermines the significance of mentality - and, it will be argued, results in a position that is in the end simply untenable. Not being a reductivist requires going further in the other direction than a great many philosophers are willing to go.
Bill has an interesting thesis, but first I must apologize for missing an important book: The Last Word by Thomas Nagel (1997). Check out the last chapter, "Evolutionary Naturalism and the Fear of Religion," by searching on 'religion':
My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world. (p. 131)
And this coming from a staunch anti-theist. Then referring to Charles Peirce's fervent naturalism:
The reason I call this view alarming is that it is hard to know what world picture to associate it with, and difficult to avoid the suspicion that the picture will be religious, or quasi-religious. . . . Even without God, the idea of a natural sympathy between the deepest truths of nature and the deepest layers of the human mind, which can be exploited to allow gradual development of a truer and truer conception of reality, makes us more at home in the universe than is secularly comfortable. (pp. 129-30)
[...] I suspect there is a deep seated aversion in the modern "disenchanted" Weltanschauung to any ultimate principles that are not dead -- that is, devoid of any reference to the possibility of life or consciousness. (p. 133)
But as Mark Johnson has said to me, if one asks, ‘Why is the natural order such as to make the appearance of rational beings likely?’ it is very difficult to imagine any answer to the question that is not teleological" (p. 138 n.).
Thomas is not pulling any punches here. Certainly there is a refreshing honesty coming from the academic heartland, a turn that I had almost discounted.
As effectively as anyone, William Hasker and Thomas Nagel have described the awkwardness of academia's attempt to disentangle itself from the centuries of its deconstructive reductionism. The slipperiness of the reconstructive slope is what makes this incipient back-sliding so problematic for the otherwise thoroughly secular mind. Once you let the teleological genie out of its bottle, God only knows what havoc may be wrought.
In grappling with teleology you are, very simply, grappling with a tar-baby. My entire thesis is just that there can be no teleology without a singular Telos, which, quite logically, is precisely the BPW. It is not particularly controversial to point out that virtually any form of non-reductionism is latently, if not patently, teleological. Thus it is impossible for the materialists to retreat into a 'thick' naturalism without finding themselves falling under the influence of the Great Attractor that is the Telos. Kim and Nagel acknowledge this fact reluctantly, Hasker enthusiastically. The rest of the intelligentsia? They remain stoically silent. Something will break their silence, and not long hence.
We ought to wonder where are William's theological colleagues. The paper to which I have referred has been published by ISCID &ff., ironically an organization with which I recently interacted. Perhaps we can trace Bill's theological connections through it. Two of his books were previously published by IVP, and two others by Cornell. This is hardly a low profile theologian. Here is a critique of his 'emergent dualism'. Let me examine the ISCID journal for any other traces of the Great Attractor.
The first paper in the same issue as William's is Timothy O'Connor's Groundwork for an Emergentist Account of the Mental. He defends an ontological account of emergence in place of the more prevalent epistemological accounts. As for the reason for the disparity:
(I have the impression in discussing this matter with other philosophers that many think that if there were emergent properties, they would be ubiquitous in nature, appearing at many or all importantly unified levels of natural organization. This strikes me as a groundless judgment.) More generally, the commitment to micro-reducibility, particularly among philosophers, is partly an overreaction to the now falsified crude conception of levels of nature propounded by early emergentists, one based in a much simpler picture of higher-level phenomena than we have at present.
Well, pardon my 'false crudeness'. So much for coherence! On the last two pages of the paper, Tim grapples with the emergence of selves:
Taking the phenomena of freedom of choice seriously brings yet further difficulties. It appears to involve the idea of a fundamentally personal causal capacity to initiate behavior for the sake of reasons. If there is such a capacity in normally-functioning, mature human beings, one should be able to determine the precise underlying properties on which this distinctive capacity depends. Conversely, what structural transformations in the human nervous system would result in long-standing (or permanent) loss of this capacity?
Is there to be a recognizable personal self in Tim's ontology? If so, is that not a folksy or 'crude' kind of emergence? He seems to waffle on this point. If one admits a unified human self, have not the worst fears of the materialists and secularists very nearly been realized?
In the third paper in this issue, Functionalism Without Physicalism: Outline of an Emergentist Program, Robert Koons defends his own 'neo-functionalism':
There are two critical differences between Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism. First, as I have said above, Neo-Functionalism rejects the causal closure of the domain of first-order physical states. Neo-Functionalism embraces genuine, emergent downward causation, causation that makes an ineliminable difference to the objective chance of physical events. Second, unlike Functionalism, Neo- Functionalism is not committed to denying that mental states lack any intrinsic character. For Neo-Functionalism, higher-order, mental and other teleological states are first-class citizens of the ontology, not an ontological free lunch. These higher-order properties have instances in their own right -- they are not merely instantiated by virtue of the instantiation of other, first-order properties.
It would be hard to be more ontologically committed than this.
In fact, in Realism Regained, I gave several arguments for thinking that it is effect-tropes that necessitate their causes, and not vice versa.
Can anyone be more blatantly teleological? Robert goes on to employ the Principle of Least Action (LAP) in physics as a model for mentally mediated teleology. This is his TPE, Teleological Propensity Enhancement, model. Darn, why didn't I think of that? Indeed, our BPW may be viewed as a ramified LAP/TPE on the cosmic level. I had better flesh this out, in due course. I do speak only semi-facetiously of God's laziness, or, more accurately, her minimalist proclivity w.r.t. Creation. This is just the Tom (Becky?) Sawyer model of Creation.
I'm getting a clearer picture now of why my rear end got canned over at the ISCID forum back when. There is some pretty direct competition going down here. They promote a piecemeal paradigm shift. I'm holding out for a piece of prophetic drama, i.e. millenarian revelation. You takes your choice and you places your bet. Where's Jimmy the Greek when we need him? Les jeux sont fait?
Robert may just be my most formidable competition in this moderate crowd. But where does he sit w.r.t. the BPW? His evolutionary ontogeny ('emergent dualism'?) is pretty much in the mold of the moderate ASA. When the IDers latch onto this Neo-functionalism and TPE business, they are more likely to make a federal (cosmic, cosmogonic) case out of it. They're not going to like the BPW metaphysics, but it won't be so easy for them to avoid it, especially not if I have anything to say about it. Are they not already out sniffing in these precincts?
The ones who are missing in action are the Christian idealists, i.e. Jack & Co. at Oxford, not to mention Owen. Have they left no remnant? Even the Christian Science immaterialists have fallen on hard times. The closest to such a remnant, outside of the pantheist tradition, may be the New Thought Movement of 'religious idealists'. It now seems to include some process theology as well. Actually I'm impressed with this NTM home page. What's going on here? Has the action picked up since their Bicentennial conference? I notice, however, that Alan's featured New Thought Alliance links (Clearwater, Scientology??) are inactive. At present, the NTM seems to exist mainly in Alan's mind. It would take some sleuthing to find another focus. And while on the subject of Christian idealism, consider this review of a critique of Jacob Böhme. It may be that transcendentalism remains the primary refuge of theistic idealism. My hometown of Concord, MA, was once its radical source on these shores. However, transcendentalism seems to have devolved into a diffuse literary movement whose main successor was theistic existentialism.
Consider, however, American idealism (3,700 hits). Here is an excellent set of reviews (August 2003) (mostly from the British perspective) of this Anglo-American tradition. The roster is impressive, and one can catch a sense of excitement in many of the abstracts. Clearly there is a sense of movement and anticipation. Let us not disappoint. We need to get hold of these papers. It almost seems to have been a revival meeting! Leslie Armour is a contemporary (Canadian) idealist of note. The dearth of U.S. participation here or the lack of an equivalent domestic collection may be significant.
I will need to review McTaggart:
J. M. E. McTaggart would readily qualify as a personalist on the grounds that he held that ultimate reality consists of a society of persons. But his personalism is deflationary since he does not recognise the necessity for one controlling Person. He recognises the Absolute, but this Absolute is not a person. It is a unity of persons but not a personal unity. Second, an attempts is made to point out that J. M. E. McTaggart is negative on the idea of a personal , creative God. To affirm the reality of a creative God would mean to affirm the reality of time - and this is something that he rejects.
One can see why evangelicals are wary of idealism. My effort to resolve these potential contradictions remains to be tested. My absolute is the Matrix, a proto-person. Now there's an ugly expression!
In the meantime, and in parallel, I am reexamining Thoughts on Thinking Matter by James Barham, the self-same paper that got me into trouble on the ISCID forum. Is the gap between biosemiotics and idealism conceptual or just professional in nature?
The Anglo-American version was the last refuge of the continental Idealism that focused on Hegel. This refuge, however, was wasted by the World Wars. It seems that the fates of Idealism and idealism are closely related. Can the former be revived in the midst our anti-idealist zeitgeist. That is the trick. And you must see Thomas Friedman's American Idol on this latter.
A connection between Robert Koons and the IDers is Robert's lengthy review of William Dembski's book, No Free Lunch (2001):
As new data about the specified complexity pours in, especially from computer-driven analyses of the functional regions in the configurational space of proteins, the informational challenge to Darwinism should soon reach a critical level. At that point, even the best efforts by the biological establishment to squash this challenge through name-calling, bullying, and stonewalling (which have already been so much in evidence) will be doomed to failure.
There is no doubt of Robert's creationist sympathies. His espousal of their cause is not reciprocated, however. The IDers and creationists pay scant attention to the more subtle philosophical issues being raised by Koons & Co. The IDers posture themselves as hard-nosed scientists and wish to engage in a direct confrontation with their materialist colleagues. From their perspective, philosophy just muddies the waters. I have noted on previous occasions that the creationists are emphatic Cartesian dualists. Their God is the big Mechanic in the sky. The Matrix is the very last thing they want to hear about. So, no, I don't think we should hold our breath waiting for the creationists to become born again immaterialists or non-dualists. We'll have to look elsewhere for co-conspirators.
We might wonder whether there are any other non-dualistic creationists on the Internet:
non-dualistic creationist OR non-dualistic theist OR non-dualistic theism OR non-dualistic creationism (0 hits).
Not yet, evidently. What will it take to turn this situation around?
It is one of the great, if not the greatest, historical ironies that (Western) rationalism bases itself on the irrationality of dualism, while it is the 'mystics' who have adopted the coherence of non-dualism as the basis of their mysticism. It is as if there were an historical conspiracy to avoid, until the propitious time, the only possible foundation for coherence and rationality: non-dualistic theism. It must be part of the script of our self-concealing, self-revealing, dramaturgical God.
The Hindu creation story comes closest to what I have in mind. Here is a quote from Joseph Campbell:
Vishnu is pictured as the divine dreamer of the world dream. Vishnu sleeps on a great serpent, whose name is Ananta [ouroboros, no doubt], which means “Endless.” The serpent floats on the universal ocean, called the Milky Ocean. But this Milky Ocean and the Serpent and the sleeping God: these are all the same thing. They are three inflections of the same thing, and that thing can be thought of also as the subtle substance that the wind of the mind stirs into action when the universe of all these shifting forms is brought into being. Vishnu, the God, sleeps, and the activity of his mind stuff creates dreams, and we are all his dream: the world is Vishnu’s dream. And just as, in your dreams, all the images that you behold and all the people who appear are really manifestations of your own dreaming power, so are we all manifestations of Vishnu’s dreaming power. We are no more independent entities than the dream figures in our own dreams.
Howard Abrams then appends his own thoughts:
Do I really think we are nothing more than God’s dream? Perhaps. There are plenty of rabbinical and mythological references to God who dreams, thinks, or speaks, and the things come to be. Not much different, I suppose. I know, that is not the unsettling question here- Do I think we are not substantial, like a dream? Perhaps. Would explain a bit, don’t you agree?
But I like to put this myth on its sleepy head… is this world just an expression of our own dreams? A figment of our imagination. Clearly, our perception and interpretation is nothing more than cerebral projections on the stimulation of our senses. But this idea doesn’t diminish their worth!
I’ve always been a big fan of science fiction that alters our perception of reality. And it is nice that movies are trying to render those ideas, like that Truman Show or The Matrix. Does questioning reality, make it any less real? Perhaps. But it certainly makes it richer.
I agree. The only problem with the mystical tradition is that it eschews the obvious logic of the BPW. Only the prophetic tradition posits a unique Creation, which by implication must be the best possible world. The only problem with creationism is that it has become the exclusive domain, simply by intellectual default, of the very literal minded fundamentalists. Their literalism forces them into a dualistic, almost mechanistic interpretation of Creation. Theirs is the 'watchmaker' God. It will be a struggle to wrest Creation from their very tight grip. No, it will be a stealth operation, carried out right under their noses, here on the Internet. I know that I cannot be the only one in the world who is willing to gamble everything on coherence. I just keep blogging away here until that someone else shows up. Then I can retire. Right?
Vishnu & dream & world (17,000 hits). This is hardly an obscure idea on the Internet. So why does no one else in the prophetic tradition see this as the ticket to avoid our three-century-long struggle with the antinomies of Cartesian dualism? Does not everyone agree that the mind-brain problem is the unparalleled conundrum of modernism? There must be some great psychological barrier standing between us and coherence. Is it an unconscious fear of the eschatological implications concerning a final cosmic revelation? Anything less could hardly account for the magnitude of our aversion to what would otherwise be the most obvious of ideas.
I'm thinking further about the historical irony concerning monism, dualism, mysticism and rationalism, and especially about the choreography thereof.
Of all the spiritual luminaries in history, two personalities stand out: Buddha and Jesus. Have I not forgotten many other outstanding spiritual leaders: Mohammed, Moses, Lao Tse, Zoroaster, etc., etc.? Yes, and no. I'm just looking at the body count, or, more specifically at the effigy count. After Buddha and Jesus, who has the most effigies? I frankly have no idea. But this is unfair, you say. An Islamic effigy is a sacrilege. We could say that Mohammed was a modest being, but then perhaps, to paraphrase Winston, he had much reason for modesty. What were his reasons? Really just one reason: he was, by his own repeated admonition, just the messenger. Such was not the case with our dynamic duo. In both instances the medium emphatically was the message.
Reconsider our 'lazy', or least-action principled, optimizing Matrix. The dramaturgical nature of M is manifested in Z, the zodiacal cycle of psyches. We, along with our feathered and furry friends, are the incarnation of Z. Is that not enough drama? No. There has to be a plot line, a story, a metanarrative, a beginning, middle and end, if there is to be coherence. What then is the story, and who has the speaking parts? To a first approximation there is just the Hero. Between X and B, that figure is clearly X. What then of B and Mo, etc.? They have the supporting, conflicting roles. They provide the romantic-gothic twists and turns and flourishes.
What then is our hero? That depends on the optimal story-line. Can there be a better line than the soteriological one? We're still open to suggestions, anyone? Lacking such: hero = savior. This is not brain surgery, now is it?
And where do we place our protagonist: beginning, middle or end? Should X not have been at the end? Admittedly, this does get a bit tricky, but, to make a long story short, X goes in the middle, with the caveat of a another, final appearance. X is then bracketed mainly with B and Mo. To understand the convolutions of history, we had best start with this peculiar seeming bracketing.
The bracketing is mainly in the furtherance of diversity. With only this one BPW, we will need to work overtime to squeeze every last drop of diversity out of it. Does this not contradict the LAP? Yes, and no. Consider the gothicity of the Mandelbrot (z' = z^2 + C). Our mandel-braided world optimizes diversity and simplicity at the same time, using the generating formula of AZO/X/QRP. Ma(tricks) does not have to worry her pretty little head with the details, if she just gets the generating formula right. And Ma does give herself a cameo, that is just B, as I propose for the sake of argument. And Mo? Mo, dialectically would be the antithesis of B, in order, at least, not be be the antithesis of X. After that, history can pretty much take care of itself. In fact, that is what you and I are doing right here, just taking care of business, just wrapping things up, or is it just rapping?
I look toward the optimal reappearance of the hero. In the style of dialectics, this would be, finally, the antihero, or the anti-X. Perusers of these pages will know that my rap does not quite end there. I am an observer in the postmodern, quantum tradition. I know that mere observation is impossible. It is with no small relish that I attempt to make that point. The rest will just have to be history, or the end thereof.
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By now both of us realize that the titles of these longer pages are not meant to be either descriptive or prescriptive, but are more for the benefit of Google than for anything else. This site has become, in this last year, primarily a philosophical diary or 'blog'. Instead of titles, I just use markers. The markers tend to reflect whatever was the last subject on the previous page. Nonetheless, permit me a very brief embellishment.
I owe more to Hegel than I know. What I do know of his work comes third hand, mainly from people with very different agendas from my own. I'll wager that much of my substance will find its precedence therein. My dialectical predilections certainly will.
The dialectic is the primordial cycle or bootstrap. It is the original breaking of the Matrical symmetry. It is also the Tao, with its yin and yang. Hegel was rather less the personalist than myself. I am more into the I-Thou dialectic of Martin Buber. The I-Thou precedes the I-It. Georg was more the absolutist, but I don't know that his absolute was any more or less objectifiable than my Matrix. Martin's dialectic was more relational than Georg's.
Moses and Mohammed are the antithesis of the Matrix. Jesus (X) is the synthesis. Then there is the Alpha and Omega. History is their dialog. X is the dialectical nexus or cross-roads of the cosmos and of history. The Matrix is the dialectical source.
I attempt to synthesize the prophetic and pantheist traditions. Previous syntheses, e.g. Hegel's, have tended to be weighted toward the pantheist, impersonal side. This leans heavily the other way.
The dialectical juxtaposition of thesis and antithesis will help to maximize diversity. It is our job here to leave no stones unturned. We exercise every option.
Now that was short and sweet.
[This topic is continued below, and is taken up again on 1/3/04.]
Not to change the subject or anything, but how 'bout that there intentionalism? As I scanned the previous topics, this one seemed most in need of a review, and hopefully a brief one.
A mental monist has no perception problem, and, to a first approximation, no problems of any kind. Well, the only problem is to create problems. Somebody must have done a good job of manufacturing problems, since we seem to have no lack in that department. Problems are created by conflict. A conflict is an obstacle between me and my desire. It is a separation of subject and desired object. Or it may be that one desire gets in the way of another. The BPW thesis is that our problems are optimal.
The materialist looks at our limited forms of separation and surmises that atomism is the natural state of affairs, and that relations are epiphenomenal. Holding the world together is the main problem. For the mentalist it is just the reverse.
The materialist is gradually being coaxed into the perspective of the mentalist. Now we are both faced with the problem of explaining symmetry breaking, which is not unrelated to the separation problem.
Dialectical materialism is another example. The thesis creates its antithesis. This is a symmetry breaking separation. How does this happen? The formation of the thesis, or a distinct idea, would be the hard part. The BPW thesis may be the first and last. God thinks to herself, 'If we are going to do anything at all, let's do it right.' But there must be a prior self to have the thought, then the BPW becomes the antithesis of the primal self. Logically prior to the self is the toti-potentiality of the Matrix. The realizing self is it's antithesis. The primal self could be X. 'Why hast thou forsaken me?' This is the primal separation. M & X come 'before' the AZO/QRP. X then is the prototype of Z, and it is X that gets pulled into the spark gap, or head-tail, A/O (history) gap of the ouroboros or primal Zoo-cycle. That is the dynamic of the incarnation. Every time I do genesis, it will be a variation on the theme. Self-realization is the A&O of Creation. X is that. We are the preamble to X. History is its parturition.
All of this is in the one gnostic presence. There is no agnosis, no knowledge problem, until there is absence. Absence is local. Holism is global. All systems are maximally entangled. Freedom derives from the symmetry of 'redundancy'. Metabolism/atomism is the measure of our removal from the boundary conditions of optimality.
I am enjoying the Music of the Primes by Marcus du Sautoy (2003). It gives a good account of the prime politics, but I must reiterate my objection to Platonism. Plato gives a bad name to idealism. His is a non-relational idealism. His forms just seem to float free in the void, unattached. This is not how it works. Sautoy quotes Hardy:
"317 is a prime, not because we think so, or because our minds are shaped in one way rather than another, but because it is so, because mathematical reality is built that way." (G. H. Hardy, A Mathematicians Apology, 1940)
This is just silly. Great minds can and do so easily talk themselves into absurd corners. What is 317? It is scratches on a paper, in the first instance. It also refers to a place in an abstract sequence. The most important point is that no members of that sequence can exist outside of that sequence. A number is the epitome of contextuality. Where does that sequence exist? That sequence exists only in the context of its normative usage.
Objection? A computer may be programmed to test for primality. It will usually print out '317' in the appropriate context. But what is a computer? Yes, I have one sitting in front of me, which could instantiate a universal Turing machine, albeit with finite memory. However, it is still just an artifact existing only in a normative context. If it began to fail, only a teleologically motivated, socially embedded agent could ultimately determine its lack of propriety.
Objection: physical processes instantiate many mathematical forms, including, arguably, primality. We would never have evolved if primality had not previously been physically manifested. But does this not beg the question of Creation? Mathematical physics is just one necessary part of the greater coherence of the world. It is a manifestation of the inherent relationalism of reality. The relationalism may only be grounded in the mind-like ambience of the Matrix. The relations are internal and, as such, may exist only in a larger teleological context.
Marcus draws our attention to two species of cicadas, often found together in the woods, having life cycles of 13 and 17 years, respectively. He points out that the relative primality of their cycles has selective advantages. We are left to infer the usual reductive explanation: numbers & atoms (i.e. selected DNA) are all we need to understand. It does seem rather straight forward, but I must not succumb to such blandishments. Permit me then to object.
Is this natural phenomenon not reducible to mathematical physics, at least in theory? I'll be the naysayer. I detect teleology. What I see happening in those woods is a microcosm that cannot be isolated from the macrocosm, and I'm not talking ecology. I'm talking ontology.
But here, possibly, is an additional piece of evidence for the Platonists: predator-prey dynamics readily generates prime numbers. Thus do we have a natural prime number calculator. However, the notion of a 'natural calculator' is illegitimate. To speak of cicadas as calculating would be to anthropomorphize them.
Suppose, instead, that one of our physical constants turned out to be a prime number, for reasons comparable to those given here. Would this not vindicate a Platonic interpretation of mathematics? Or would this attribution be another form of anthropomorphism? I could rather argue for the evident unnaturalness of physics. It might well constitute further evidence for panpsychism.
Neither quantity nor quality may be adequately naturalized. That leaves the very concept of nature without proper reference. Numbers are the individuation of quantity. They are our attempt to anthropomorphize quantity. But where would quantity be without numbers? It would seem that natural intelligence must come before nature. Ironically, physics, imbued as it is with mathematics, is turning out to be the least natural aspect of nature.
The crux of the unnaturalness of physics lies in the centrality of the e^i*pi = -1 syzygy. This coincidence remains our exhibit A for panpsychism. The problem of primality is an off-shoot of this. All of this, in turn, lies in the archetype of Pi, which relates significantly to all of the abstract structures and symmetries of the world. It is Pi that holds together the ouroboric dialectic of the cosmos. Pi and X are the seeds of cosmic intelligence and the BPW within the Matrix. We have already considered the dialectics (and here) of the Archetypes. Such dualities play a fundamental role in every religious and spiritual tradition. Pi is the ultimately abstract distillation of the Matrical potency. Abstract, yes, but an abstraction that also happens to provide the foundation for physics, in an elegantly holographic fashion.
This brings us back to the Music of the Primes. Is it proper to refer to the primes as the 'atoms of arithmetic'? It is this reductionism which causes us to be surprised at every new manifestation of the organicism of mathematics, the Riemann Hypothesis being the case in point. To understand the primes, we must first understand pi, and to understand Pi, we must understand the Archetypes. One may stare all day at the printed notes without hearing the symphony. Ramanujan could hear the symphony, but could not rationalize it. We attempt the rationalization, in dialectical fashion. Mathematics exists only in a cosmic context. We attempt to describe the context.
I originally got mixed up with numbers on these pages in an attempt to rationalize the Monster Group. I counter the alleged Platonic or mind independent nature of the Monster with the organicity of mathematics. The organicity of mathematics is evidenced particularly in the ubiquity of Pi and the centrality of Riemann's Hypothesis concerning his zeta function. It should be noted that Pi, along with 'e' and 'i', plays a critical role in the zeta function.
Previously I have contrasted (and here) Platonism and Pythagoreanism. Scientists favor Pythagoras' monism while philosophers favor Plato's dualism. I see Pythagoras as a stepping stone first to immaterialism and then to the BPW. Plato and Spinoza are obstacles. They both discount the coherence of the world: Plato because of his dualism, Spinoza because of his mystical atheism. Both would probably subscribe to Kant's impenetrable, mind independent Noumenon. In the cosmic Presence of the Eschaton, I would suggest that the residual noumenon is absorbed into the phenomenal, eternal Present. This is gnosis with a vengeance.
Return now to Hardy's alleged independent reality of '317', but that is not quite what he claims. He says that 317 is a prime, regardless of what anyone else might think. Or, as we noted previously, some cicadas are likely to have prime numbered life cycles, human conventions notwithstanding. Both true. But wait. Wherever 317 exists, it will be a prime, but that does not entail that 317, per se, is mind independent. One might even imagine a cicada with a 317 year life cycle. Would that not prove Hardy's point? I will argue no.
We simply return to the notion of a cycle. A cycle is irreducibly normative. The counting of them is necessarily conventional. This is the whole point of positing R & Pi to be Archetypes of Creation. The normativity of logic and math is inescapable. Does this entail that mathematical truth is relative to human convention? No, but it does entail that mathematical and human normativity have the same source. Thus are we unable to avoid the posit of a cosmic normativity, which is logically ascribed to a self-reflecting cosmic intelligence. Morality stands to reason only to the degree that it may reflect this self-same Source. Are we hereby conflating mathematics and morality? Yes and no. They differ only in the type of logic involved, but not in their desired universal teleology.
The 'Pythagorean' scientists pull a cheap shot, even if it is usually unwitting. They are much too quick to justify their mysticism vis a vis scientific materialism by a usually gratuitous appeal to a Spinoza style of atheism, thereby departing from the more coherent gnosis of the Pythagorean and neo-Platonic tradition. It would appear that Pythagoras stands to be rescued from these neo-Pythagoreans, but we need not divert to historical ad hominems.
Math and morality are equally grounded in the Matrix. Their full realization is mediated only through the teleology of history. '317's' claim to existence is, along with everything else, relative to that Telos. The telic 317 may only be barely recognizable relative to Hardy's 317. Only time can tell. The personality of every number and every human is subject to teleological revision.
The singular existence of mathematics is just a shadow of the singularity of the BPW.
The Monster Group need be no more or less teleological than a biological cell. As in the case of the cell, I do not have to point to any particular part of the MG in order to argue cogently for its global functionality.
The problem for the materialists might now be to point to something that is not normative. I'm not presently aware that they are able to do this. This becomes a big problem. Should we feel sorry for them in their logical predicament? No, I think the rest of us should take this opportunity to move ahead with our lives. We should feel much less restricted by their obsolete absolutism. Our argument then must focus on the incoherence of the postmodern pluralists. We must ask them to justify their incoherence in light of the modern pandemic of alienation and nihilism. Should we not give meaning a chance? For how long must must we refuse to ask ultimate questions?
It was James Barham who first impressed upon me the normativity of the reproduction cycle. This is a simple but profound observation. Is there any observation that points more clearly to the logical necessity of panpsychism? Is any other observation more crucial to the inevitable ascendancy of immaterialism? If there be such, then consider the case closed. All we need now is to find an articulate materialist with whom to discuss this point. Are there any left? Where is Jaegwon (and here, etc.) when we need him? Pragmatically, I doubt that he would want to be entangled in the politics of the BPW, but there don't seem to be any other physicalists of his evident ability.
Fear of the political ascendancy of fundamentalism (and here, here, here, here, etc.) greatly inhibits the long overdue intellectual debate between materialists and anti-materialists. The fundamentalists have managed to reduce this discussion to its lowest denomination. Vociferous bad thinking and narrow thinking drives out the rest. However, when this inhibition is finally overcome, as someday it must, it is likely then to burst forth in a more dramatic fashion than it would have otherwise. This drama will surely play into the prophetic type of scenario being outlined here. In that case, we need not wax impatient with the historical choreography. A good drama is always worth the wait, even when the wait may be longer than a lifetime.
I have been reading Robert Brandom's Modality, Normativity, and Intentionality (c. 2000). It is an excellent overview and modern history of these topics going back to Kant. From Robert's list of publications, we may surmise more than a passing interest in idealism. Any idealism, however, is well covered here by his attention to linguistic detail. His point is, nonetheless, that M, N & I are inescapable in any type or level of discourse. Early in the last century there were attempts to reduce M, N & I to the purely descriptive and extensional language of logical empiricism. But Kant had already demonstrated the illegitimacy of any such attempt at 'naturalism' even, and especially, in scientific discourse. It seems that if our philosophical colleagues had properly done their Kantian homework we might have been spared a century of analysis. Robert certainly underscores James Barham's thesis. I trust, however, that we managed to learn a thing or two on our analytical junket.
May we then infer idealism from Robert's rendition of Kant, or are we merely reestablishing the rules of our language game? We return, yet again, to the allegation of an Epistemic-Ontic Divide. There is such a divide just in the case of a robust intrusion of Kant's noumenal realm. Only thus did Kant attempt to shield us from what is about to transpire by way of a radical, and probably BPW style of, immaterialism. Well, Manny, you gave it the old college try.
The uncovering of the noumenal is just the task of any final revelation. The physicists were pinning their hopes on a final TOE, but they appear to have succumbed to the non-trivial blandishments of the Monster Group. They have failed to appreciate the esoteric, holistic and intensional potency of Pi. We step into this breach by picking up on Pi along with AZO/X/QRP, and thereby attempt to steal the show from under their noses. All the while we remain in stealth mode, under the academic radar, protected by the Fundamentalist/Creationist cloud of chaff, reinforced, perhaps, by a bit of acronymously (qv) and anonymously generated fog. Never discount the cosmic choreography.
Am I rushing things just a bit? Is my impatience showing? It must be that time of year.
A correspondent picks up on Mere Words:
Your thinking on words caused me to combine your thoughts with some of mine. You may be amused, or perhaps some new thought may occur. Who knows
A word is a sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning.
Words have context, dictionaries list definitions along with examples of actual usage. These definitions and examples demonstrate the external relations or contexts in which a word may be properly used.
But, what about the words content? Words contain information, but where is it? The only information explicitly contained in a word is in its letters or its sound pattern.
We are subject to the impression that words have an intrinsic individual content or essence or something intrinsic that we refer to as their meaning. But we cannot point to a meaning, the same way that we point to a definition.
What seems intrinsic to words is their ability to refer to or direct our attention to other things.
Referring is not a physical process, referring is an act rather than a process. Action, as opposed to process, requires an acting agent. It is the agent which determines the act of reference.
The agent is our attention or our soul current.
Words meanings are used to associate -- to connect or join together.
The mantra words are used out of context.
Thus the mantras are simply used to associate the disciple’s attention with a particular inner region and to the ruler of that region the Master who gave him those words.
Any word would do, provided that it was given by the Master, that is the key.
Thus the process of meditation is one of associating or connecting our attention (our soul current) with that of the Master. Thus we are intrinsically connected to him.
But, by the same reasoning words are used to connect our attention to objects of the world. So going inside is just a matter of letting go of one connection?
This is where the Wing-Walker’s Law comes in: Never leave hold of what you've got until you've got hold of something else.
And I respond with my own version of free association:
Master/mantra/disciple is a microcosm. In the macrocosm it would be Matrix/logos/humanity. The logos is also the primordial set of archetypes, possibly AZO/X/QRP . With John, the logos is identified more specifically with X. X is the anthropos, Adam/Kadmon, or Christ. Christ is the Christian mantra binding us back to the Matrix, which is the Source of being and substance, or the Tao.
The logos is also the Zim-zum , the Om, the ouroboros, and the ten thunders of creation. It is the initiator of the cosmic dialectic of the I-Thou, yin-yang. And it would also, in the end, be closely related to the Telos.
With the Omega, there is a letting go, going to the Christ or cosmic soul within. Immaterialism is the intellectualization of this mainly spiritual process of turning ourselves and the cosmos inside-out. Christ just seems to be the easiest handle for the most people, very convenient, and something very personal, tangible and user friendly.
In such a fashion must we reinitiate the creative dialog. In our analytic sojourn, we have lost all sense of context. That context must now be reestablished in a concerted oracular fashion as we prepare for the Millennium.
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I had three days of discussion with Jack in San Francisco, which were helpful. I have a better idea of the central role of the strong anthropic principle vis a vis science. This is where Jack has shown the greatest flexibility. It is a point of leverage.
In a few days there will be a meeting with CF and two others on the topic of the briefings. I will press the point that the fact of the briefings presents a major counterintelligence vulnerability, which must have already been resolved, and so let's move on to the discuss the most likely resolution, i.e. that there is an unresolved problem about the visitors, probably relating to the 'disturbing' message. CF will strongly resist this shortcut. I hope there is not a stalemate. I speak of 9/11/08 as a deadline for disclosure. D-day could come this winter if we put our minds to it. We just have to arrange that the eschaton cart is firmly harnessed to the disclosure horse before the barn door is opened. That should be fairly easy if CF & BJ are the prime sources. They just don't want to have there necks out too far.
If the CI vulnerability could not be closed, each side of the cold war would have been exploiting it. Probably they did. The paranormal exists as a black hole in any intel organization. What would be the covert function of a ufo hoax? It is just a game of bored people like dungeons and dragons. No one can obtain the authority to stop it. Someone would have to enforce the rules. And what about the lights in the sky? Why would we now be abetting the game by extension? This would not end it. How much money might it consume? Some serious people would have to be seriously involved. I would like to see the analysis of these scenarios. Would CF have permission to dabble without some real motive?
While in SF I discussed with some folks about getting professional assistance with this website. It is much needed, and will not be cheap.
Back to the atoms. How do we get from the zodiac to atoms? Atoms are the end point of a long process of objectification.
Atoms are a logical necessity given disparate substances that are able to interact in a logical fashion. They are particularly important in biological processes. The question arises as to the mutuality of substantiality and atomism. From a relational and functional perspective, there must be interactions of many kinds. Atoms render these interactions local and reduce the need for programming.
Substantiality comes from the habituation of cycles. There is a mutuality of cycles and time. Linear time comes from the breaking of cycles. Atoms and the zodiac are the limit cycles. The problem of normativity is inherent in cyclic phenomena. Does this prove that the phases of the moon are mental? There is the problem of identity in difference.
The identity problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are no exact cycles even in the physical realm due to the linearity of time and other peripheral changes. The cycle has to be distinguished from the background, and this calls for normativity. It is this collective normativity that is integral to the anthropic principle. Counterfactuality is another form of normativity. This relates to the functional directness of our perceptions. The perception of absence points to the pleromic quality of reality. Even absence is functional. The manifest image is not gratuitous. The perceived and the perceiver cannot be finally distinguished, and this is made clear in the quantum atom. Atoms may not be ontologically distinct from letters. Note that we can see a sentence without seeing each letter.
Is electronic equivalence normative? It may be when we consider its purely mathematical basis. Mathematics is unavoidably normative. The relation between spin and statistics is part of the Anthropic Principle. This goes along with the Monster and the Mandelbrot. These are the essence of atoms.
We have the network of being. Now we are asking a question about the internal structure of that network. How are some of its nodes connected? The AZO/X/QRP archetypes are supposed to provide the overall structure. X is the nexus and the atom and zodiac/ouroboros have to reflect each other. Not sure how the math and zodiac connect.
I recall that Monstrous Moonshine was related to the Golay code and the Leech lattice. Coding theory might provide another connection between mind and atoms. Perhaps Godel's coding comes in here. I may have to read up on combinatorics.
I'm looking at the stability of atoms and the world and how that might arise from anthropics. It is not apparent that coding theory has any special philosophical significance. There is also the distinction between discrete and continuous mathematics. The twentieth century saw the ascendancy of discreteness in math and physics. The discreteness of the mind is hardly a given.
Meanwhile the meeting is shaping up. Will there be an innocuous reason given for starting an investigation so late in the game? Is it not too little and to late to impact the mythos? If it were a Soviet or a money making plot, it would have caved long ago. All the initial plotters would be long dead. If it was anti-Soviet, same deal. There are many people still keeping oaths. Is it to protect the technology? That is weak. What will CF say? How much will BJ cooperate. This cannot just be a history exercise. It does not look like damage control. What does the Schnabel book tell us? His Dark White is recommended. This is a skeptical view of abductions. Same as BJ. Jim states it is not an ET phenomenon. I can agree with that.
Dark White focuses on Bud Hopkins and Linda Napolitano. Jim Schnabel's debunking technique for crop-circles and abductions, for whatever it was worth, would not be effective against the core story. The main issue is going to be BJ's cooperation. How could it be obtained? How forthcoming will be CF on his investigation of the other briefings? How was he tasked or motivated? Are we beating a dead horse? Response to Collins' book? How is that justified?
I would argue that this is the government's first official step toward disclosure. How would CF know that the story was a hoax? If there were not already certainty about this, the the proposed investigation would be sufficiently risky to require a high level of sanction. What could account for that certainty, and why did it take this long to arrive? If not certainty, then the establishment would want to leave bad enough alone. There does not seem to be any new degree of public concern about this issue.
Recall that it was alleged that BJ did not make much of a case for UFOs in the earlier meeting. It was mainly a personal account. What could he have been his intent? A second version makes more sense, and a third makes even more. It would be very difficult to prove a negative at this late date, especially w/o the aviary being aware.
The first order of business would be for SG and MP to question me, but before that I should question P. We do not have our signals straight for this meeting. Should I make an issue of that? I'll go through the motions only if we have a definite plan. His naiveté will have to be challenged early on. We both knew this day would come. Why pretend to fool each other? I don't think it is useful to spend time lending weight to the N&B version of the core story. How many times has P told me that satisfying curiosity has no place here? That is not in the job description of Intel. This can only be a public relations effort. To which end? Can I in good faith be a party to any such? The whole point of my being here is to cut through the fog. I cannot suddenly suspend that trait. Can I afford to opt out of this political process? Who then will hold my coat? Can I be cut loose this late? Perhaps this is a test. If I'm expendable here, then I'm in the wrong place. I should have put my foot down sooner, but better late than never.
He would have to have some educated guesses about my place in the larger scheme. I sat through too many tiger meetings to be able to carry on in that mode. Keep silent as a protest. This feels to me like another tiger meeting. I see too clearly that we are going though the motions. I am nothing without my candor and my insights. This hits too close to home, for me to sit still. He's got my number. He'll call if he needs me. I don't need any more tigers. My tiger is dead. If and when it become necessary to address the eschaton, I'll be available. Seek ye the message. That will not drop out unbidden.
A note was sent this am to two participants, and this may allow me a bit of an opening tomorrow, i.e. let's drop the charade.
I find Maldecena's article 'The Illusion of Gravity' in this month's Sci Am to be provocative. This is the first I have seen of this principle as an 'explanation' of gravity, how did I get so far out of this loop? These ideas are definitely evocative of some thing I am trying to say about the illusion of space and time coming from Stan Tennen's bounding singularity. I'll be giving it some thought.
I'm waiting now for the interlocutor to come up with a list of briefees. Not sure if SR will be available next week. There were protestations from TF who had surveillance at the meeting. He complained about noisy and nosey fish.
What I wish to say to Jack is that he is the poster boy for Aspergers. In the age where we can push a button to blow up the world, why can't we save it the same way, or a least save ourselves?
Jack wants to build an escape machine, a transcendence machine that will solve all our problems with the push of a button. The Magi tell us that it will involve the whole person. It will require total commitment. It will require a new level of interpersonal communication and trust.
So why am I preaching to the Aspergers? Initially they/we are the most vulnerable. The problem of modernism lies with the scientists. Does this mean that we turn against technology? I am against transhumanism where technology is transformed from a means to an end in itself. There is a place for technology, but for to many of us it has become an idol. Time is running out for the ascendancy of the technicians and technocrats. My background in physics is not incidental to my migration into metaphysics. There underlying discipline is similar.
In this still premillennial regime there is a tendency to revert to tribalism in the forms of fascism and fanaticism. The main shift will be from Gesellschaft to Gemeinschaft, or from society to community. These communities need not be geographic. Each community will have an organic function within the whole. The early Christian eschatological communities are a good model. Ours will now be apokatastatic communities, which would be more oriented to the universalism of the latter.
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Physics & the BPW
Café Trieste, here we come!
Synthesis of physics and metaphysics
• If Jack and I were to collaborate on a book, what would be its
- How will I wag the dog?
• This presentation is a preliminary outline for my part of it.
- As with Aristotle, the metaphysics comes after the physics.
• In his case, ‘meta’ meant ‘after’..
• The BPW is a resonance phenomenon in the mind of X.
- It is ‘self’ exciting as long as the Self includes the primal X.
• I weigh in with the eschaton.
- ‘Eschat’ is the ‘tail’ in Greek that here wags the dog.
- Or what about the