|This God is bound neither by stricture nor scripture. It was not just by an oversight that Jesus did not have a stenographer. Jesus is the word made flesh, and that is not the Bible. All you legalistic, literalistic Pharisees out there, listen up. I may not feel disposed to repeat this. If you don't catch the spirit of what I say, you have caught nothing but hot air. You are not a computer to be programmed. Your only program is to become one with God. You will come to know God in the biblical sense, not in the literal sense. That is our eschaton, our rapture.
So whose God is this, anyway? I'm afraid I'm not enough of a scholar to provide you with a list of historical precedents, but I'm sure they're out there. My job is not to be original, it's just to be in the right place at the right time. [7/6 -- Oh, and also to keep my ear to the ground, I'm just not sure what ground....]
Clearly there is a healthy dose of pantheism and panentheism (q.v.). This goes with the immaterialist territory. You dualists will just have to lump it. But there is a much bigger dose of coherence. The coherence of God in not unlike the coherence of our own selves, there is just a lot more of it, a lot more than the sum of ours.
Neither is God a thing. God is a part of the living dialectic of love, or cosmic agape. God is the eternal cosmic potency of love. There is no other potency that is not totally dependent on this singularity. You and I have no existence outside of the ambience of that light.
One could go on. I have and will, but I trust you catch the drift.
Introduction to God (part 2) -->
Introduction to God (part 2)
Let us recall some of the previous metaphysical arguments, particularly the Antipodal ones. There and elsewhere a case is gradually being assembled: once the intellectual fortress of materialism is breached, it is a very slippery slope from there to a radically different worldview. Once we have established the reality of any one conceivable immaterial entity, the entire bulwark of materialism is vulnerable to being subverted, of actually being sublimated, by this other nascent, immaterial realm. That is according to the inherently unstable nature of the mind-matter duality. We, oh so knowledgeable moderns, are just living in a house of cards. There is a fundamental incoherence to that world of nothing but atoms swerving in the dark. A mustard seed of coherence, immaterial though it may be, threatens to turn that wasteland into a mustard jungle, or perhaps even into the Best Possible World.
In thousands of years, under the intense scrutiny of the best minds in the world, we have been unable to conceive of a logical link between matter and mind. It is almost the case of the immovable object and the irresistible force. One of these two notions has got to give. The mounting conundrums of quantum physics are surely pointing the finger at matter. Once we loosen our death grip on our absolutist conception of matter, we will have a difficult time imagining how we ever managed to fall under the thrall of materialism in the first place.
If there is an immaterial realm, relationalism will be its foundation. In contrast with atoms, we no longer have the convenient receptacle of space for storage and configuration. The closest equivalent is the mind, and we can hardly conceive of a mind that is unaccompanied by a perceiving agent, or simply a self. The self is the relational nexus or matrix of mind.
In the biological realm, the relational foci are the cell and organism. Certain primitive organisms of the fungal class have phases of cellular dispersal. The common underlying theme of mystical experience is that our ordinary individual minds are but the dispersal phase of a cosmic mind that may be experienced in those mystical states. And, again, even from a strictly biological perspective, are our own selves not the constructs of the neuronal colonies that constitute the human brain? Given any sort of mental realm, it would be more than a bit odd if our individuated selves represented the limit of its organizational capacity.
If there is any reality to the self, and what could be more real to us than our own selves, it would be difficult to conceive of a prohibition on the existence of a mental matrix that included a supra-self.
Given the logical polarities of atom and cosmic self, we cannot automatically assign a metaphysical priority to the atom. Indeed, does not the weight of reason push the logical priority in the other direction?
It is only by an almost incomprehensible fluke of intellectual history that we have come now to the threshold of this stark and dramatic choice of cosmic gestalts. I doubt that I am the only one who is being drawn by the portents and prospect of this drama. The rest of history already pales by comparison. Are we not already feeling the organizational force of the matrix of the supra-self?
<-- Introduction to God
Introducing the Metanarrative
Scientific cosmology is a great story in its own right. I just don't like the ending. I hope that you like this ending a little better, even though it may not be totally original. If it's not the best possible, however, please let me know.
Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy, that is pretty much the idea here. The Metanarrative was the original blueprint of the cosmos. We are the primary carriers of that blueprint. Our beings and its being are not really distinguishable. Is this predestination? Well, where this comes and we come from, there is no pre- and post-. The Alpha and the Omega are two sides of the coin of that realm. Its like our universe and its super-symmetric, m-brane twin, they may only be separated by a plank's length, and if you don't know how skinny a plank is, you probably don't want to know. But, see, I did learn a couple of things in grad school, both of them, schools that is. Go Terps, go Tigers, go Cards, too!
Up to this point I have been pretty vague about the logistics of the eschaton. Its not that I'm being coy about it, I just haven't sat down to work it out, yet. I guess I'd better get to work on it before I get scooped by the troops. Set that aside for the moment.
Come to think of it, the Alpha part is not in much better shape, either. Oh well, maybe there is still some job security here, after all. What other security do I have?
What you see in the topical and chronological lists are some thoughts on stratagem and messianism. The messianic part is a detail of the larger strategy, one, however, which may be closer to home. Messianism is the lazy person's road to salvation, of the world, that is. The only real question is who that lazy person will be. If you prefer a more difficult path, well, you are welcome to complain to the management. Me, I just keep on trucking.
I'm hoping that we can pretty much work things out on the Internet. If that doesn't work, I don't have a Plan B, unless we revert to the 'Aquarium' mode (q.v. via Google). I can't honestly recommend that at this point.
The Millennium is the wrapping up or rolling up of history almost like a carpet into the vortex of the eschaton. The stretched spiritual spring of our materialist sojourn is relaxed along with its frame that is Nature. Linear time turns back to cyclical time. We return to the dreamtime from whence we came. Its allotted thousand years may be shortened by the diligence of our preparations.
Once our respective tasks become clear to us, it will be relatively smooth sailing. There will be the inevitable initial jockeying as we revision our situation. Let no one fall into the easy trap of allowing cosmic ends to overwhelm human means. Let the role of the mini-messiah be an object lesson in the power of cosmic minimalism. Go with the flow of the spirit.
If there ever was a time for management by objective, as opposed to management by directive, this will be it. The metaphysical, extraordinary nature of the eschaton will simply be a challenge to everyone's imagination. Every one will rise to the challenge. We were born to boogey, as they say.
My poor imagination is being taxed in just these few pages and paragraphs. You all will be leaving my imagination in the dust, pronto. Just don't look back. And don't look down.
Let me just say a couple of words on logistics. As I look back, I do recall a concern with demographics, and not for naught. It may be that right about now is our demographic max. It does seem that we have, as suggested, gone forth an replenished the earth. Eschatology brings us to a new regime. We replenish heaven, but certainly not with anyone's blood. We redirect our fertility to the quickening and fruition of the spirit. Perhaps the sutras will play a role.
There are about 10^10 souls associated with earth history. There is no other history nearly as populated as ours. They may participate in that history by the sharing of lives and memories whenever and wherever they need or want. No problem. There will be ample opportunity to experience the Millennium. As they complete their desired experience they can become observers. There will be sufficient persons to complete the wrapping up drama. That is the end of linear experience. We will all have been there and done that.
I don't foresee any particularly difficult political problems that would require anything more than this sort of minimal, mini-messianic intervention. Even at the end of this pre-millennial regime, we are close to being able to muddle through. Once this gestalt switch begins to percolate through the world, the remaining obstacles will disappear. In other words, there is no big blueprint for this period. The spirit freed from the intellectual shackles of materialism will carry the day.
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Guess what happened on my vacation? I had a close encounter of a Rabbinical kind while hiking in the Northern Canadian Rockies. A member of our small hiking group (see The World Outdoors) turned out to be an almost rabidly anti-messianic Rabbi. Peter is a fulltime networker for a consortium of Reformed congregations around the country. For a messianic wannabe to be in close proximity with such a one for several days was something of a test for both of our composures. Let me hasten to say that this is nothing personal about Peter. A long-time friend of mine is a Methodist minister, who I imagine would have responded in a very similar fashion under similar circumstances. Nonetheless, I am still feeling the provocation of this encounter.
An acquaintance of Peter's studies messianic movements domestically. I inquired as to the attitude of this person toward such movements. Peter's response was that like any other rational person, he would be opposed to such movements as being irrational.
There are several presuppositions of modernism contained in this view. One is that a belief in God cannot be rationally supported. It must be a matter of faith alone, a faith that can only be supported subjectively or traditionally.
Another presupposition is that any messiah would have to fit into the historical mold of the prophet. The prophet hears the voice of God and reports it to her charismatically entrained following. Part of this charisma would necessarily include miraculous phenomena as evidence of supernatural involvement.
In short, modernism presupposes the oxymoronicity of rational theism. The postmodern theologians have been able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of many, that theism is no more irrational than any other existing belief system. The next step, that of proving the rational superiority of theism to any other belief system, would constitute an intellectual achievement of messianic proportions, would it not?
This final messianic step cannot occur in the context of our modern Cartesian dualism. You cannot embed reason in an irrational frame. The only alternative frame is a monistic immaterialism, i.e. idealism. Whoever can effectively initiate a global turning toward an idealist based rational theism should, by almost any account, fit the messianic profile. I certainly make no secret of my own aspirations in this regard. The best way to learn to recognize a potential messiah is in attempting to emulate such a one. A minimalist, rationalist, messianic event has the potential to appeal to both the secular and sectarian audience. And how else are we to avoid the clash of sects and civilizations?
Breaking the Barrier of Materialism
The main obstacle to a messianic initiative involving rational theism is the radical nature of the gestalt switch that is involved.
Most philosophers and even most people have been and always will be idealists at heart. Modernism and Cartesian dualism have had a long and ultimately futile struggle against that natural state. Most people, and that includes the philosophers, fail to be rational about their idealism, that is they fail to be thoroughly coherent about it. The simple reason is that coherence is so fundamental or radical that it could not occur other than in an eschatological and messianic context. Historically the person who came closest to realizing this potential for idealism was Hegel. His main fault may simply have been that he was too far ahead of his time. It was still a century before scientific materialism would be reaching its full potential, and even longer before the idealist implications of postmodernism would begin to be felt. In this context, Hegel has to be seen as a pre-modern thinker. Darwinism was barely at his doorstep and modern cosmology was still an apparition.
Most 'rational' folk may easily suppose that the combination of Darwinism and modern astronomy present an impossible barrier for a coherent, radical idealism to penetrate. Even for the theistic opponents of Darwinism, the idealist alternative is barely a blip on their radar screens. One and all, they underestimate the personal power of coherence.
The full power of coherence is something to be felt more than seen. It is even supra-rational. I was able to feel the force of it many years before I had any idea of its rational outline. This is the personal power of the Spirit of Truth. I can see the rationalists shaking their heads at this point. 'So much for rationality,' they will say. But this personal coherence is just the charism of truth. Without this charism, truth is a dead letter. Converting this charism into a spiritual movement will be the magic of the Messiah. This is how the barrier of materialism will be broken.
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On the Verge of God
The first rational step in breaking the barrier of materialism is the recognition of the actual creative potential of the mind. Creativity is an essential property of the mind.
What are the limits of this creativity? No one honestly knows, and thereby we can put the materialists in a bit of a bind. Materialism continues to have considerable sway over our minds simply because of its imagined potential for continued 'progress', i.e. for its creative potential. What are the limits for the creative potential of science and technology? If there were none, then we would be well on our way to becoming or producing god-like creators. This gives rise to the distinct possibility that we are the product of such a creator. Science fiction is rife with such possibility. And is this not also the thesis of every religion?
On the other hand, if there are perceived to be physical limits to the creative potential of our technology, then this fact in itself would substantially tarnish the luster of materialism. It is just this skepticism in regard to the future potential of materialism that accounts for much of the seeking of alternatives that we see in our postmodern world. Whether materialism is limited or unlimited, it ultimately leads us to reconsider the possibility of higher powers or cosmic intelligence.
The above considerations apply most poignantly to the technology of artificial intelligence. AI is either possible or not possible. If it is possible then all the ambitions of 'transhumanism' come to the fore including its almost religious sounding eschatology such as we have seen with Tipler's Omega.
On the other hand, if AI turns out to be infeasible, this would raise important issues. We are back then to Fodor's thesis on the irreducibility of reason. If this is the case, then the source of reason is not to be found in nature itself. We have to look for one of Dennett's 'skyhooks', i.e. God. Once again, we end up either with God or something very god-like.
This is all by way of saying that it borders on irrationality not to take seriously the God question. This is tantamount to the Creation question to which we now turn.
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If God had a choice about the method of creation, it should be fairly obvious that she would prefer an immaterial over a material creation. Why so?
1. An immaterial creation lends itself to coherence. There will be no mind body problem with which to deal.
2. The creation process will be much more natural. The creatures can and will directly participate in the process.
3. The eschatology process will also come about more naturally and continuously.
The difficult part is to understand how and why the prophetic tradition got itself off onto a materialist tangent, in contrast to the eastern traditions.
But let us back up. There may, nonetheless, be some advantages to a matter based creation. If God is clever, there is no reason why we creatures should not be treated to the best of both types of creation. After all, should this not rationally be the best of all possible worlds, involving the best of all possible creators and creations? In that case, the preferred creation would be an immaterial one, that would take on a material appearance to an optimal degree.
It might be easy to think that God must have outdone herself in regard to the material or natural appearance of our world. Was it really necessary for her to fool so many of us for so long? But again, this is not difficult to rationalize, particularly considering that given its immaterial basis and the participatory nature of its creation, it is mainly the case that we creatures were simply allowed to do a bang-up job of fooling ourselves. And did we ever!
Off the top, I can think of two forms of rationalization for the deceptively material appearance of our ideal, little dream world. Let's make that three...
1. Atomization and democratization are not accidentally linked. It has to do with the concept of the level spiritual playing field that is made possible by atomistic metabolism, and all that. We were going to have to be shuffling the spiritual deck many times in our sojourn from the Alpha to the Omega, and the genetic shuffling was no small part of that. It is a bit like the game of solitaire. We have to sort through the cards any number of times before they are aligned for the rapture where the last become the first, or did someone else already figure that out?
2. Homo Faber. That's us. Keeps us busy and out of trouble. It requires a lot of cooperation and raw matter. Talk about planned obsolescence. We are able to continue the process of creation, seemingly on our own. We can almost think of ourselves as self-made demi-gods. And we are able to set things up, communication-wise and otherwise, for the pre-millennial drama.
3. Drama! Can we imagine that God is not a dramatist? Are we not all suckers for the surprise ending, for the big finale? Will we be disappointed? I think not. Our self-deception around the concepts of materialism are a major part of setting up the grand finale.
And what I have just described may also be the easiest method of creation. Who said that God should not learn a trick or two from Tom Sawyer's method of fence painting? Nothing like cajoling your creatures into taking on the more onerous tasks of creation. Why should God have to do all that bean counting when she has so many willing volunteers such as us scientists, etc.? Just add a dollop of teleology, and presto, you're in the creation business, big time.
Why are we scientists so dense about the possibilities of our own self-deception? Why are we so naive? Well, if God didn't love fools she never would have made so many of us!
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Any sort initiative is eventually going to run into resistance. A messianic initiative is certainly no exception. The question is whether this one has gotten far enough along to encounter even a little friction. Just with respect to this second web site, the answer is no. It may be some additional time before this one even shows up on Google's sensitive radar, but, as I have hinted, there has been more water under this bridge than just what you see here. For instance there was an earlier version of this web site dating back to 1997. At some point I might resurrect a copy of it, but even though that site was covered by Google, I did not receive more than handful of inquiries.
Then there is the 'Aquarium'. What can I say? Isn't this more than a little fishy, or just a very small fish in the sea? That is hard even for me to know. Even Ron may only be able to guess. In connection with the Aquarium you will see his name bandied about. He is the closest thing that I have to a reality check, and, considering his reputation in the trickster department, that may not be saying much.
When I first came across him, just over ten years ago, one of his designations was the 'keeper of the weird' at a certain acronymous agency. He has also spoken of an informal 'phenomenology network' which deals with 'uncorrelated' phenomena. His real jobs tend toward the more conventional and analytical, through which he maintains an upper middle profile in the 'gummint'. He resides in an actual chain of command. But it was on the topic of 'crop circles' that we first crossed paths.
I won't try even to summarize what little material may still be available on the net, but let me try to give you an update. From its inception, the 'Ron & Dan show' seemed calculated to raise eyebrows among a rather select audience of insiders and knowledgeable outsiders. And that was about the extent of it. For instance, there are surely other 'phenomenologists' like Ron in friendly and not so friendly intelligence agencies around the world who have access to the internet. To suppose that they have not also raised their eyebrows at the Aquarium would be to vastly underestimate human curiosity and foreign intelligence. If Ron were to travel abroad he has said it would have to be incognito. I still travel naively and cognito. Which of us has their neck stuck out further is a more than academic question.
Messianics can be a touchy subject. Just ask a random person on the street. That anyone in the gummint would be playing with that sort of fire, especially in 'public', would naturally be of some interest. There came a point when Ron and I could no longer meet in public and when he had to deny publicly certain things he told me privately. This is the glass ceiling for the Aquarium version of messianics.
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In the context of Creation, I have spoken of our self-deception regarding materialism. It is as if God were hiding behind the veil of Nature. Now the self-concealing God is also bound to be self-revealing, but this can be problematic if one does not wish to give away the whole show inadvertently. In the breach between Creator and creation, there must be a hermetic messenger figure. This figure necessarily has many guises. One of those guises is the Trickster which also has many guises.