The Pathos of Distance

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The Pathos of Distance

- Agile Minds in Perpetuum -


    An Attempt at an Immanent God

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    Zoot Allures

    Posts : 525
    Join date : 2018-02-07
    Age : 500

    An Attempt at an Immanent God

    Post by Zoot Allures on Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:04 am

    this essay or manuscript or whatever you want to call it, is still under construction. i've never written anything this long in MY LIFE, and it takes everything i've got to muster the patience to do so. i'm posting it before it is completed because... well, it can never really be completed. for every bit that i add, i realize i should rightfully add more, and then more to that, etc. and when you understand that i am highly critical of metaphysics in general (my positivist leanings), you'll understand why i don't take this seriously enough to wait until i feel it is complete before posting it. i am improvising, i enjoy it (when i take interest in working on it), and i like to believe, despite my skepticism, that others might find it interesting as well. excuse any bad grammar and punctuation if you see it. i'm less concerned with that stuff these days.

    This is old stuff that i've got on my hard-drive. i've just now decided to put it on the forum and mess around with it.

    ...

    *ties headband*

    My mission, should I choose to accept it, will be:

    1. Briefly define what 'God' would be if there could be such a thing.

    2. Briefly define a dialectical process of intelligible change through which this God could have the characteristics of Being and Becoming and feel the full range of human experience (I take for granted the final anthropic principle here).

    3. Briefly describe how the dialectical process manifests itself through intelligent life, and utilize a metaphor (the Apollonian and Dionysian archetypes) with which to describe how this God is aware of itself in the form of intelligent, human life.

    4. Convince you that you might be immortal. (See we're already off to a bad start. Number 4 is a test, and you failed it. I just committed what is called a probability fallacy and it went right over your head. When someone formulates a theory that something might be the case, such a statement has no meaning. Either you are immortal or you are not. The fact that we don't know has no effect on this dichotomy. You cannot might be immortal, silly.

    Moving right along....

    - Use of the Dionysian/Apollonian Metaphors -

    Relevant song by Rush; Hemispheres, Book 2, explicating such metaphors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uXCfDRddC0

    Commentary and outline of the song can be found here: http://pathos-of-distance.forumotion.com/t13-rush-progressive-rock-band

    (notice the album cover: naked dancer as Dionysus, gentleman as Apollo)

    ...

    There has been use of Apollo and Dionysus by various philosophers and psychologists to symbolize two prominent parts of the human psyche- the rational side and the passionate side.... the intellectual and the emotional. Camille Paglia described the metaphor of the quarrel between Apollo and Dionysus as symbolizing the quarrel between the higher cortex and the older limbic and reptilian brain. This isn't a bad way to describe it, because the aspects of the human mind that the greeks were referencing when they personified these dieties, are really reducible to these parts; dionysus possesses the older brain, apollo, the newer brain. The older brain (think of language-less, primitive man) functioned much like a lower animal brain; instincts like 'fight or flight' and sexual lust produced very strong emotions... emotions not yet understood linguistically, and as such to be thought of as a kind of irrational bombardment of intense states and feelings. these could be representations of the dionysian states, the presence of the dionysian impulse and the inability to resist by rationalizing one's feelings. Alternatively, after some degree of evolution, man began using language and thinking rationally about their circumstances. Enter the Apollonian stage; logical calculation, predicting outcomes, benefits and losses (the first game theory evolves), consequences for actions, being able to plan, to judge 'morally', and any other cognitive capacities that resulted from the change in brain structure and form.  

    Other cultures and religions have similar 'personified deities' which symbolize the similar psychical aspects of human nature. So what is important, really, is the examination of the psychical apparatus of human beings, not necessarily the actual symbols that are used. Dionysus and Apollo are being used here because they are far cooler than the others, and because for those familar with Nietzsche's work, such people with already have a grasp on the idea (The Birth of Tragedy, especially).

    For the purposes of this post, 'God' will be called the 'Primordial One'. That's a phrase Saully used which I think he borrowed from Nietzsche. I want to interpret this Primordial One as both Nietzsche and Sauwelios do- an eternal and infinite form or 'being' which has expressed itself through the interactions and activities (or modes) of time, space and energy.

    a relevant video made by saully: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=89&v=ThGrp-DAp_w

    ...

    The idea of a transcendent God has to be dismissed for what follows. These ideas are working exclusively with a pantheistic, immanent model of God.  

    One particular mode of being, the human being, is the subject of this post- the primordial being will be described anthropomorphically as both the cause and the manifestation, or incarnation, of nature, man, his activity, and the dualistic aspects of his psychical nature; the opposing rational and irrational parts of man's psyche. We will hope to catch a glimpse of this Primordial One by examining the form it has taken, the form of man, then learn to understand this Primordial One as being human like (hence, the anthropomorphic interpretation), or conversely, man being God-like.

    Nature was for the pre-socratic greeks, the designed result of chaos, logos and various gods interacting. Nature was not happenstance or arbitrary; it was the result of a kind of cosmic order which pervades all that exists. Even for the atomists, Democritus and Leucippus for instance, who were the precursors for modern materialists, there was some kind of 'order' in the form of 'law' for the 'indivisible units of being swirling around in the void', as they put it. The pre-Socratic greeks called this the Logos. The Pythagorean schools developed this further, founding what would later lead to Gnosticism with some contribution by Plotinus, the neoplatonist. But it wasn't until much later, after the reign of the pre-Socratic philosophers, that this Logos took on an anthropomorphic element once the Platonists began connecting this divine element directly to human affairs; Plato's realm of absolutes, which were divine, was accessible, and human beings could gain knowledge of it. In fact, Plato seems to have reduced God's role to that of a demiurge who only mediated between the two worlds; the Platonic world of Ideas, and the material world of Forms.  

    It was perhaps the influence of Socartes that persuaded Plato to become more skeptical about the notion that the Homeric Gods actually existed. One such dialogue involving Socrates questioning the existence of the Gods might look like this:

    Socrates: So you think that the gods know everything?

    Sucker: Yes, because they are gods.

    Socrates: Do some gods disagree with others?

    Sucker: Yes, of course they do. They are always fighting.

    Socrates: So gods disagree about what is true and right?

    Sucker: I suppose they do.

    Socrates: So some gods can be wrong sometimes?

    Sucker: I suppose that is true.

    Socrates: Then the gods cannot know everything!

    Post-Socratic philosophers spent their time in debates like this, and though pre-Socratic philosophers like Protagoras the Sophist already refused to entertain such silly notions as the Gods, the idea of God remained.

    This Logos (mentioned above) superseded the mythical gods, who had to answer to it, were ordered by it, and suffered fates (like humans) determined by it. That being the case, the Logos was the grand authority that ruled everything (Heraclitus). Another popular theory of God provided by the post-Socratic greeks was the Aristotelean concept of the Prime Mover, an emotionless, unconscious 'deity' which governed the universe but was not involved with it, 'cared' nothing about it. This idea evolved into the concept of deism centuries later (which probably received its first thorough cosmological and physical definition by Newton). God was believed to be the designer of the universe but didn't participate in it- analogous to a watch maker who builds a watch, winds it up, then walks away. Meanwhile, the beginnings of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) were taking shape, becomming more formal, as Jewish and Arabic scholars became influenced by the work of the Platonists and Aristotle. So you see the world and its greatest thinkers feeling around for a new kind of interpretation of 'God'. The older religious forms like animism, for instance, were practiced by more primitive human beings who had not experienced an 'intellectual revolution' like the early Greeks and Persians. With the advance of philosophy, the concept of 'God' became far more sophisticated than ever before.

    Disposing of the idea of a transcendent God necessarily follows from the refutations of the arguments that support this kind of model; the ontological and cosmological arguments, specifically. So insofar as God might be understood as an immanent, intelligent and creative being, it would be fair to describe this God in the same way we would describe a being which had the intellectual and emotional faculties of man, i.e., as experiencing the full range of human intellect and emotion. We are putting the concept of God somewhere between the monotheistic and deistic conceptions of God- this God is not some loving, caregiver in the sky who rules by divine providence, but neither is this God an inactive, disinterested law maker which remains isolated from creation. It isn't that this God has all the characteristics of human intelligence and capacity for passion- since this is an anthropomorphic fallacy- but because intelligent life has demonstrated these capacities, and intelligent life is an expression of nature, and therefore God.

    Supposing God, this Primordial One, has these faculties, we should observe their forms as dialectical, as opposite polarities which are in conflict but also absolve/resolve one another, since this reflects man's condition. So for example we would say that man's joy is an opposite of his despair, his melancholy the opposite of his enthusiasm, his love the opposite of his hate, and so on. The God must also possess a personality something like this...or rather, the God possesses man who possesses this personality, so possesses this personality vis-à-vis man. Again, I am granting the anthropic principle to do this.

    The greeks arranged these aspects of human nature into a two part system of artistic interpretation, through metaphor and allegory, to encompass human nature in its entirety. There were of course other gods and demigods who played roles as mediators, but it was Dionysus and Apollo that incorporated the personificiation of human nature more than any others. Just about any possible kind of human drama was portrayed at some point in the Greek plays- mystery, intrigue, betrayal, heroicism, suspense, tragedy, comedy, irony, etc.

    Because the Greeks, in their newly developing and increasingly complex social contexts and institutions, began to exhibit more sophisticated kinds of behaviors and relationships with each other, new facets of human nature were appearing and became the subject of philosophers and playwrights. Modern evolutionary psychologists would explain these as human behaviors which evolved through natural selection- man's capacity to both love and hate, envy and admire, create and destroy, etc., increased his fitness and reproductive success, so that the behavior was inheritable both genetically and mimetically. In any case, the use of the Apollonian and Dionysian archetypes to describe the dualistic nature of man and God is the point of interest here, not modern, evolutionary explanations for such drives and instincts (which is no fun). Besides, the Greeks, excepting Empedocles and Anaximander who were pointing in the right direction, had no knowledge of the theory of Darwinian natural selection or genetics. For the Greeks, human nature was something mysterious and divine, not something reducible to the blunt, mechanistic forces of gene mutation and biological evolution.

    So the antithetical sides are defined as the Apollonian and the Dionysian; each encompasses and manifests opposed and yet complimentary aspects of human nature which interact during the contemplation and unification of art, music, states of intoxication, feelings of ecstasy, sexuality/sensuality, and the carnal pleasures, with rational thought- through this the rational, analytical Apollonian forms a union with the spontaneous, passionate and emotional Dionysus. Only through the Apollonian rationality can this side of man be understood- man's 'godlike' state occurs when he melds these two extremes into one state.  

    Metaphysically, nature and man must first take a 'plastic' form as individual entities existing in space and time, then experience itself as 'lack' and 'woe'- the broken, becoming struggle for absolution and union with everything else (many pioneers of modern psychology agree that the original emotional state of the newborn and child is alienation and fear, which precipitate throughout the phases of life). The Dionysian, in its purest form, might be defined as a kind metaphysical reductionism in which the illusion of individuality, multiplicity, fragmentation, is abolished. The veil of the Maya is removed. Only under extraordinary, intellectually intuitive (the calm meditative state of deep thought), and even 'distorted', states of mind and body, is this achieved.

    "The condition of pleasure called intoxication is precisely an exalted feeling of power- the sensations of space and time are altered: tremendous distances are surveyed and, as it were, for the first time apprehended; the extension of vision over greater masses and expanses; the refinement of the organs for the apprehension of much that is extremely small and fleeting; divination, the power of understanding with only the least assistance..."- Nietzsche, WTP #800, (Kaufmann translation)

    The intellect which grasps the Dionysian singularity of time, space and energy in the human form is Apollonian, but it is the Apollonian form of individual beings which is overcome through the Dionysian state. Without the rational power of Apollo, the Dionysian experience remains ubiquitous. But without the power of Dionysus, the illusion of individuality cannot be overcome. Now the polarities are united: man is both terrified and serene, anxious and content, joyful and in agony because of this new, profound knowledge he has gained in his enlightened state of mind. He now perceives his existence through the eyes of eternity, is no longer ashamed or afraid of himself or others, and accepts all things as necessary creative and destructive forces, ephemeral, fleeting moments in infinite time. In this state he is purely liberated and no longer suffers the alienation and estrangement of his individuality. (See the Dionysian mysteries/revelries).

    We could also describe nature as the expression of the same conflict/unity- things in nature are conceived as individual parts or fragments of one thing which struggle and overpower each other, or bond together to overpower other things. The laws (or statistical regularities, rather) of physics direct the laws of chemistry which govern molecular and cellular activity- at an atomic and molecular level we see a microcosm of conflict, struggle, assimilation, overpowering and subordination. Consider the atom that 'steals' an electron from another atom, or the paramecium, which moves around blindly until it makes contact with a foreign body, which it then seizes and incorporates by digesting it.

    To say it once more, the fragmentation of these individual things we experience as the Apollonian world, as principium individuationis, as illusion. The Dionysian, in turn, is the opposite of this, and it is achieved through mystical union, ecstatic states induced through the contemplation of art, dance, music, intoxication, sexuality/sensuality, carnal and corporeal joy. In these extraordinary states, human beings experience the Apollonian as an illusion, feel a sense of 'togetherness', and transcend their individuality as they participate. This transfinguration for the human being is the highest, most enlightened state possible. You've heard eastern philosophers, hippies, new age mystics and Ace Ventura refer to this tranfigured state as something like 'super-galactic omnipresent oneness'. They all mean the same thing, but in most cases the idea is lost in translation between cultures, religions, and spiritualism.

    "Under the charm of the Dionysian not only is the union between man and man reaffirmed, but nature which has become alienated, hostile, or subjugated, celebrates once more her reconciliation with her lost son, man. Freely, earth proffers her gifts, and peacefully the beasts of prey of the rocks and desert approach..."- Nietzsche, BOT section 1 (Kaufmann translation)

    --------------------

    Some garage ontology. (Being qua Becoming)

    There must be a singular, essential being which is the fundamental unity in activity of these dualistic parts in an immanent way- the totality of all existence is conceived of as a 'solid block of time' (Parmenidean changelessness), in which the various modes of being take form and change. Seen from beyond, all this life and activity would appear static and changeless, but busy with activity. The antagonistic activity of the Apollonian and Dionysian, then, reduces itself to a basic, singular form seen from the aspect of eternity. The Primordial One watches the two brothers Apollo and Dionysus quarreling, as if looking at itself in a mirror. The cyclic process of fragmentation and resolution (the fight) is eternal and repetitious, and takes the form of a single, dynamic will to power (the only teleological form nature can have- it cannot be moving toward a final state or end, but it can be functioning in a closed, systemic way). The 'Will to Power' can be understood as being similar to Bergson's concept of 'elan vital', a creative and organizing force intrinsic to the physical and biological world.

    So to summarize what has been suggested so far: a God/Primordial One exists. Through and by the extraordinary states achieved by intelligent human beings while they are subjected to the agonies and ecstasies of the Apollonian and Dionysian experiences, this God/Primordial One becomes aware of itself as a Being which has been torn apart and fragmented in space/time, and yet conceives of itself as Becoming unified once again after the pure contemplation of the illusion of individuality which it suffers.

    Now the proof of such a being is simple (understatement of the year). Because there cannot be 'nothing', God and the Primordial One are in the same way a substance which cannot be contingent, cannot depend upon anything else to define its being, cannot be the 'effect' of another cause, something wholly existent and self-determined, something that cannot not exist, something that has nothing outside of it. In Spinoza's Ethics this ontological proof is defined clearly. Here are the first seven propositions (which will suffice at the moment):

    Proposition 1: A substance is prior in nature to its affections.

    A thing must exist before it can have qualities. If we try to contradict this assertion by saying that a quality is a thing and can exist without being a characteristic of something else, we merely start over and designate the quality as the thing in question. Then we would be caught in a infinite regress, as we would have to concede that we only know the quality by the qualities it has, and so on. Because of this difficulty we can only understand qualities as contingent, or accidental, as they do not pertain to the essence of a thing and could be subtracted without affecting the essence of the thing. Substance (if you want to call it that), then, is prior to the modifications it has.

    Proposition 2: Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another. (In other words, if two substances differ in nature, then they have nothing in common).

    If we had two substances, each having two different sets of attributes, these substances could not interact. Therefore there can only be one substance with many attributes, or two substances, but only one with attributes. If that is the case, the second substance without attributes could not be known and would be as good as nonexistent.

    Proposition 3: If things have nothing in common with one another, one of them cannot be the cause of the other.

    Suppose we see two events occur which are contiguous. While we cannot say, for instance, that billiard ball A causes billiard ball B to move when it hits it (since there is no logical connection between events, only coincidence and correlation), we could say that the two events could not even occur contiguously unless they were of the same substance- since if each event (each ball) was of a different substance, there would be two different natural laws operating to bring these events into a contiguous relationship. This is a line of reasoning to get around Hume's denial of the logical connection between events that follow one another.

    Proposition 4: Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by a difference in the attributes [i.e., the natures or essences] of the substances or by a difference in their affections [i.e., their accidental properties].

    We've ruled out the possibility of two substances, so what distinguishes a thing from another thing are the qualities, properties, and characteristics (not the essence). These can be called accidental only because they do not pertain to the nature or existence of substance itself.

    Proposition 5: In nature, there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.

    Proposition 6: One substance cannot be produced by another substance.

    Proposition 7: It pertains to the nature of a substance to exist.

    There must be a 'substantial' prima causa, and it cannot be a prima causa which is separate from the universe but can cause effects in the universe while at the same time being transcendent from it, as a different substance, since this idea would result in confusion and logical impossibility. One such confusion will be demonstrated by the 'Natural Law' argument below.

    So this Primordial One is an immanent, but appears in the form of transcendent phenomena, as different attributes, and is the essence of all individual, existing things- it begins to move and changes itself because it is over-full (Zizek once called the universe a cosmic catastrophe in which things exists by mistake). The Prime Mover does not set a universe in motion; a Prime Mover sets itself in motion. It shatters, creating and entering space/time. As a transcendent thing, this Primordial One, aware and unsatisfied with itself, modifies itself, works upon itself as a god works upon a creation, and yet is not separate from the material which is worked. Now the universe becomes intelligent. The Primordial One is aware of itself, but also aware of that awareness, and it is this that constitutes intelligence.

    --------------------

    Some garage Epistemology. (Primordial One, the cosmic Pragmatist)

    Now an extraordinary event occurs; what is 'true' becomes dependent on both the external world independent of the perception the universe has of itself and the sense made of the world by the faculties of the mind of intelligent creatures. Neither by extension (matter) or mind alone can what is 'true' be formed, but only by both. We hear an echo of this in Spinoza, Kant and Nietzsche. For Kant and Nietzsche, our perception can only address what is apparent, and this appearance is conditioned by the particular physiology of the perceiver. But because sensory organs (of any animal that has them) cannot be the cause of the apparent phenomena as it is perceived, knowledge must be the result of an impression of sense data. Until this sense data is ordered and arranged by the mind, it cannot be distinguished from any other sense data and so cannot be knowable. If a part of the world is unknowable to mind, it cannot be 'true'. Even if there is only partial knowledge about the nature of a thing, the perception of it is an active, defining feature in the process of it becoming true. Now consider this excerpt from an article on Spinoza's theory:

    "The human mind, like God, contains ideas. Some of these ideas—sensory images, qualitative “feels” (like pains and pleasures), perceptual data—are imprecise qualitative phenomena, being the expression in thought of states of the body as it is affected by the bodies surrounding it. Such ideas do not convey adequate and true knowledge of the world, but only a relative, partial and subjective picture of how things presently seem to be to the perceiver. There is no systematic order to these perceptions, nor any critical oversight by reason: “As long as the human Mind perceives things from the common order of nature, it does not have an adequate, but only a confused and mutilated knowledge of itself, of its own Body, and of external bodies." (The Ethics, IIp29c)."

    Confused and mutilated, yes, but sufficient for its purpose, the formation of intentional action. Again, if the Primordial One is the body, the awareness of the body, and the awareness of being aware, the formative circumstances of its activity do not involve what is actually true but what is taken to be true- the apparent experience and the use, the action which this experience solicits. Nature makes truth through its active becoming, it does not discover it.

    Because neither a pure empiricism or rationalism can account for knowledge (via Kant), we are forced to concede that the structure and substance of knowledge must be a combination of both, must require both. Pragmatists like James once claimed that we 'make' things true by how we use them. It is intentionality that sanctions the truth.

    The Primordial One achieves self-awareness though human 'intentionality' because human beings are one kind of particular mode of the Primordial One's being. By this I don't just mean the human being's capacity to have knowledge, or the human being's capacity to act-toward-ends, but the unification of both things in the form of intention. Mind and matter struggle against each other and the conflict of this interaction produces the activity of 'becoming'- a vitalistic aspect (the animating force) of intelligent beings which is both determined but self-motivating as if by a deterministic 'loop' is a universe being and becoming and changing itself, knowing itself anthropocentrically. God is, knows itself, but actively defines itself through time and space by intentional action.

    This intentional action is the intelligent human being where mind and matter, as if two attributes or modes of existence, form a union. The human body, just as a collection of organized materials, is inert in the Parmenidean sense and merely exists. Without mind, which again is the awareness of the Primoridal One of its own body, the inertness of the body does not change or become in time. Because change and becoming operates under the form of natural law, it is teleologically organized and directed. We are not saying that a particular human mind gives direction and structure to this becoming, but that the Primordial One does so as and in the form of the human body. So the human mind is a reflection of the Primordial mind, is intentional, and as such it gives form and structure to natural law .

    Intentional act, an act which is taken as a means toward an end, is a 'choice', and cannot be understood in purely deterministic or compatibilist terms. To explain how this functions a division must first be made between mind and body, but not in a Cartesian sense; not as two substances in a causal relationship to each other. Rather the mind, being determined to will this or that, does not function in this compulsion to will as a body functions in its compulsion to exist. The mind, in its willing, is in a Heraclitean state of flux, not an inert Parmenidean state of being. The Primodial mind which is aware of its body and acts to change the body's state, through operating natural law, is in the same instance the particular mind of the body of man deciding to act intentionally. Because nothing compels the Primodial One to act (since nothing is outside it), nothing compels the human body to act either. This makes sense when we understand that there is no division between the external and internal regarding the natural world; there is no a separate, external environment that influences and determines the internal parts of the body to function and act. The body, seen from the perspective of the Primordial One, is the entirety of all things that exist, and this entirety is fundamentally one closed, correlative system of being. There are not different compulsions-to-act operating throughout nature, but one compulsion to act, however this remains under the guise of the illusion of principium individuationis.

    Explaining our actions by giving recourse to determinism would then be a circular argument: if one were to say "my decision to physically stand up is caused by other physical forces which I have no decision over", one would be implying, erroneously, that their mind was not of the same substance as the Primordial mind, and that when they act, the decision which precedes the act is the compulsion of another 'mental' substance, while the forces which operate to cause us to decide to act are of material substance. See the difference? This cannot be.

    And we certainly don't act as if our actions are determined (pragmatists emphasize this point). Whether they are or not is incidental- the Primordial One cannot explain why it exists, why it acts, why it becomes. It simply acts and we are that action. Perhaps we can settle at a kind of indeterminism since we cannot use determinism or agent causation to explain action. The former is senseless because there is no 'determiner' beyond the Primordial One, and the latter is senseless because it begs the question: what is the difference between the body and the agent that occupies the body and directs its actions. This is the fatal flaw of Cartesian substance dualism.

    The Primordial One, then, in the particular form of the human being, has a certain kind of freedom (I did not say free will) since nothing outside of itself compels it to act, and nothing could be known about such compulsion even if there was such compulsion. To say that human beings are a particular mode of the Primordial One, but are determined by the Primordial One, is circular and redundant. If human beings are determined, the Primordial One must also be determined.....but by what. It is inconceivable that there should be a causal law which compels nature to change. We cannot know the operations of nature to be the result of an interaction between causes and effects. These notions are falsifications which we use to make things calculable. They are fictions, useful errors, which are necessary for us to make sense of the apparent world we perceive.

    "Critique of the concept 'cause'- We have absolutely no experience of a cause; psychologically considered, we derive the entire concept from the subjective conviction that we are causes, namely, that the arm moves- But that is an error. We separate ourselves, the doers, from the deed, and we make use of this pattern everywhere- we seek a doer for every event...- Causa efficiens and causa finalis are fundamentally one."- Nietzsche, WTP #551, (Kaufmann translation)

    So the concept of 'freewill' and 'determinism' (or causality) is erroneous and inadequate only because there is no fundamental separation between the bodies in nature and how they act. There is no 'arm' and 'arm movement'- there is only the 'movement that is arm', 'arm that is movement'. No individual thing in nature is a 'subject' which 'does' its act. The action and the body which acts is simply two ways in which we perceive force- we call one the thing-that-does and the other, the activity that it does. It is an error that we cannot get passed, but we know it is an error, nonetheless, which is derived from another error; that there is more than one substance in nature, and that these individual substances each possess the capacity to be effected by the others. This, too, is impossible.

    "Spinoza argues that substances are conceptually, and hence causally, isolated from one another (Ip2 – Ip5). He infers from this that substances cannot be caused to exist or be prevented from existing by any other substance (Ip6). But since all existing substances must nonetheless have causes and reasons for their existence, the fact that a substance exists must be explained entirely by the substance itself. That is, all existing substances must be self-caused and hence self-explained (Ip7)."

    --------------------

    Some garage cosmology. (The oscillating Primordial One)

    The Primordial One (God) can be defined as the totality of time, space, energy, and all possible kinds of activity generated by the relationships between these three things, and the forces which give order to this activity. So, the physical laws which govern the universe are the form of such activity. This deceptively simple definition is applicable to the nature and essence of any possible universe; whether an inflationary model or a steady-state model (which characterize the ontological possibilities for the universe- either eternal and infinite or temporary and finite), the differences in the physical description of these models are irrelevant when we comprehend the universe in the only form in which it can be conceived, can exist. This is to say that regardless of the trivial differences in the nature of the universe, put forth by each special theory which attempts to describe the history, present state, and future state of the universe, the characteristics of the universe remain the same: it is a continuum of space and time and energy. So, regardless of the unique nature of our universe, we know that any possible universe must have such characteristics.

    The actual origin and fate of the universe is a curious and interesting thing, but also irrelevant. If we ask what difference it would make if we were to discover that an inflationary or steady-state model were actually incorrect, we would find that there would be no difference concerning the form and substance of the universe. We would merely find that our explanation for the aforementioned things and activity was inaccurate- but isn't an 'explanation' impossible insofar as we would be caught in a reductio ad infinitum? If we were to explain phenomena B by calling it the effect of phenomena A, we would be pressed to ask the same about phenomena A, and so on, forever. We cannot explain it in causal terms. We find that a 'primum movens' is unintelligible as an explanation for the existence of the universe. Therefore, there is a fundamental difference between a description and an explanation (which would involve positing causes and regress infinitely) of the universe- so explanations are incomplete, circular or impossible. Only a description is possible, and as such, the only form with which this description can be made involves the perception and description of the only three categories that are possible for a thing which has either- a static, Parmenidean form of being or the eternal Heraclitean form of becoming- and which can be perceived by intelligent beings. Our universe must have both forms, and so for the purposes of our idea here we give the name of 'Primordial One' to the combination of these two forms, Being and Becoming, and the three phenomena, time, space and energy. We see that in either case the same categories, the same forms, the same essential kind of activity must exist. This Primordial One, this Substance, under which all things have being and become, must be, ipso facto, and can be nothing else.

    This idea replaces a few philosophically outdated notions of the definition of 'god' (the classical, scholastic proofs for a transcendent God as First Cause). Now we have a kind of pantheistic theory which posits that 'god' is not a transcendent entity existing outside and beyond the three categories, but instead is a form of immanent activity, a process of creation and destruction which governs all the ways in which this time, space and energy can interact, and must do so with eventual repetition since eternal novelty is impossible. Nietzsche caricatures the expectations of the old, deistic god:

    "The world, even if it is no longer a god, is still supposed to be capable of the divine power of creation, the power of infinite transformations; it is supposed to consciously prevent itself from returning to any of its old forms; is supposed to possess not only the intention but the means of avoiding any repetition; to that end, it is supposed to control every one of its movements at every moment so as to escape goals, final states, repetitions..."- Nietzsche, WTP #1062, (Kaufmann translation)

    Now, for the sake of argument, imagine for a moment that this God is a self-aware, intelligent being of some kind that can pull material from outside space and time to create new things (where does he get his construction materials). Suppose we were to ask, as Russell once did, if this god was the creator of the laws which conduct the activity of time, space and energy, or if this god were, himself, subject to the laws which conduct such activity. If the former, than the laws are contingent (meaning that god didn't have to choose these specific laws), and the form and activity of time, space and energy could be other than it is perceived by intelligent beings. But this notion is absurd since we cannot imagine a universe, and the nature of its content, being other than it is; there must be time, space and energy in any logically possible universe- these can be considered 'a priori' categories which must exist independently of perception (Kant clearly settled this). But if the latter, then god is not god in the sense that this god would not be omnipotent and would not possess freewill (by being subject to the laws). But we cannot imagine a god without such attributes. Therein lies a paradox; if there is a god, and this god could have created the universe differently, there is the logical possibility of a universe in which there is no time, space and energy. On the other hand, if there is a god, and this god is subject to the laws (activities) which govern the universe, then it means nothing to call it 'god'; one adds nothing to nature by calling it 'god'.

    It is really immaterial that I should use the title 'Primordial One' for this new notion of 'god'. What matters is the line of reasoning which leads inescapably to the conclusion that a transcendent god is impossible, or, a transcendent god is possible but would, by virtue of the logical impossibility of its interaction with the universe via the paradox demonstrated above, exist in an absolutely vacuous and inconsequential way in relation to the universe.

    If we were to go further, could we not suggest that to the extent that the universe has teleological purpose (direction, intent, design, goals and ends), the intelligent being would be the very realization of this dynamic simply because it is only by the intelligent being that this truth is conceived? That is, the teleology of the universe has no life without time, space and energy, and in turn these things have no life, no meaning, no protocol without teleological interpretation. Remember that while a human being might be wrong about its description of the universe (as per competing cosmological theories), the very act of interpreting, making sense and meaning is a creative force. Because creative activity is arbitrary without comprehension, and comprehension is meaningless without an object of conception, both form a complete union. This union is the Primordial One knowing itself. And, like human beings, it cannot know how much of the world is a holograph of the mind and how much actually exists independently of perception. Teleology proves the universe is anthropocentric. Anthropocentrism proves there is teleology.

    ---------------------------

    The excerpt from Russell's essay 'Why I Am Not A Theist' that I referenced in the above post:

    First he distinguishes between the statistical averages we observe in nature- what we then call 'laws' in a scientific and theoretical sense- and the actual way the universe works without recourse to the inductive inferences we make about it.

    In the part titled 'The Natural-Law Argument' he writes:

    "...but natural laws are a description of how things do in fact behave, and being a mere description of what they in fact do, you cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to do that, because even supposing that they were, you are now faced with the question "Why did God issue just those natural laws and not others?" If you say that he did it simply from his own good pleasure, and without any reason, you then find that there is something which is not subject to law, and so your chain of natural law is interrupted. If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving these laws rather than others- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe- if there were a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You have really a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law giver. In short, this whole argument about natural law no longer has the strength that it used to have."

    http://reidblackman.com/pdf/reidBlackman.russelOutline.pdf

    The natural law argument:

    1. The universe obeys laws.
    2. If there are laws there must be a lawgiver.
    3. Therefore, there is a lawgiver.

    Objection #1:

    1. The laws humans create are about what someone should do, not about what they in fact do.
    2. The laws of nature are not recommendations or commands, but rather descriptions of the way the
    world works.
    3. If a law is about something someone should do, there must be a lawgiver.
    4. If a law is just a description of the way the world works, it does not need a lawgiver.
    5. The natural law argument is talking about how the world works.
    6. Thus, there is no need to infer a lawgiver.

    Objection #2: Let us ask, why God created the laws he did and not some others?

    Possible response #1: God “had a reason for giving those laws rather than others – the reason, of course,
    being to create the best universe.”

    Reply: If there was a reason he created these rather than those laws, then God himself was following laws
    in creating the universe. But then, there are laws that are independent of God, and hence laws without a
    lawgiver.

    Possible response #2: “He did it simply from his own good pleasure, and without any reason”.

    Reply: “If you say that he did it simply from his own good pleasure, and without any reason, you then find
    that there is something which is not subject to law, and so your train of natural law is interrupted”

    Some might see that this line of reasoning was also used in Plato's Euthyphro, though the subject of debate is not the laws of nature, but what is morally 'good'', and why. This post obviously isn't about 'morals', but the dilemma is important here because it demonstrates the same problem that exists for the natural law argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma

    Essentially in both cases the dilemma is arrived at when we are forced to the contradiction that both the laws of nature and moral goodness cannot be 'objective' in an absolute sense (in which case God himself would not be free to change them) if at the same time they are merely by God's fiat. But in that case, neither the laws of nature or moral goodness would be necessary since God could have made them otherwise.

    This line of reasoning is logical, and a God cannot violate the rules of logic any sooner than he could create a circular triangle. A transcendent God would be caught by a kind of tautological trap of his own design. So it must be that the concept of a transcendent God is illogical. What is left once we economize the concept of God are the characteristics an eternal, omnipotent and deterministic God would have, minus the essential separation of God from creation. That is to say, God is what exists, and the highest mode of existence is the thing that exists and knows it exists. Two modes of existence, 'mind' and 'extension' (or, the material world) are both present in the intelligent being. Then the intelligent being is both a cause and effect, creator and destroyer, law maker and law follower; the most sophisticated form of the Will to Power perceived in this universe.

    A basic outline/summary:

    1. All that exists is enclosed by nothing. There is nothing beyond the universe. There is no 'edge' of the universe, and if we conceive of some beyond, rather than proving the existence of something more than the universe, we have only expanded the space of the universe. In other words, we would be wrong if we defined the universe as 'all that exists', because there would be something beyond the space which the universe occupies. Therefore, a discovery of something more than the conventional forms of space and time and energy would be only a redefining of the universe as we previously knew it before such discovery. We would simply renew our physical definition of the universe. All this means that even if we are unaware of the exact nature of the universe (if we were lacking a grand unified theory), whatever is the nature of all that exists is all that exists, and would be called the same.

    2. The anthropomorphic personification of such a concept is inescapable. We cannot conceive of the universe as a thing which would accidentally produce intelligence. The deterministic processes which have produced intelligence are the work of the laws of nature, so it is inconsequential whether or not the universe has a purpose for this development. The fact that intelligence has evolved in the universe proves that the universe must be a thing which, at some point, becomes a rational process. Since intelligent creatures are the product of the laws of nature, the laws of nature must be intelligible- the universe now not only exists, but knows it exists. If no intelligence developed in the universe, the universe would remain an undifferentiated being, a gratuitous space of matter without direction and creative potential. It would simply be, and the only becoming it would be capable of would be quantitative reformation. Things would just move around and would assemble in no way that resulted in intelligence. If, on the other hand, nothing material developed in the universe, and existence was only a 'thought' of God (think Berkeley's radical empiricism), sensory experience would not be possible and nothing would become or have being. Remember the whole reason for the existence of the universe is the over-fullness of the Primordial One which, in the form of mind is awareness of this condition, and in the form of body is a disintegration and reintegration of individual parts.

    3. The anthropomorphic interpretation of this process must give to the universe the qualities and characteristics of the intelligent life it has produced. The universe is not just a meaningless existence of things, but a system that changes according to a scheme, according to the teleological intentions of intelligent life, which are expressions of a vitality- the will to power. The universe has a form and content that directly reflects the modes (mind and body) of that intelligent life. And, just like that intelligent life, God experiences the full range of emotion, passion and intellect (symbolic of the Apollonian and/or Dionysian) that this form of life experiences simply because God is the incarnation of this form of life. God knows itself as the thesis/antithesis of Apollo and Dionysus, which takes the human form to first suffer, then resolve itself through the contemplation of its eternal oneness.

    --------------------

    Grand Finale: Immortality as an Eternal Recurrence

    The universe and its activities as I've described is indeed an eternal, cyclic process that repeats itself ad infinitum, or ad nauseam for those who find this prospect disturbing and have not learned to amor their fati. Eternal novelty wouldn't make sense for a substratum of definite powers and forces working in an infinite duration of time. At most, perhaps such phenomena as quantum entanglement, non-local causality, superposition, and quantum indeterminacy might somehow stretch the possible combinations of particular configurations of energy in space and time. Maybe, for instance, the next time you exist somewhere in the multiverse you will buy a nissan instead of a ford.

    I was drawn to this after reading Nietzsche. It was one of Nietzsche's last great ideas, which he did not fully cultivate or complete; that of the Eternal Recurrence.

    "Time is infinite, but the things in time, the concrete bodies, are finite. They may indeed disperse into the smallest particles; but these particles, the atoms, have their determinate numbers, and the numbers of the configurations which, all of themselves, are formed out of them is also determinate. Now, however long a time may pass, according to the eternal laws governing the combinations of this eternal play of repetition, all configurations which have previously existed on this earth must yet meet, attract, repulse, kiss, and corrupt each other again...And thus it will happen one day that a man will be born again, just like me, and a woman will be born, just like Mary."- Heinrich Heine

    Now notice how Nietzsche does not use the term 'particle' or 'atom', but describes the same irreducible components as being quantities and centers of force. He had called materialistic atomism one of the best refuted theories there is after coming under the influence of the ideas of Roger Boscovich. In any case, be they indivisible units of being or some kind of incorporeal centers of power, they must forever repeat all their possible combinations.

    "If the world may be thought of as a certain definite quantity of force and as a certain definite number of centers of force -- and every other representation remains indefinite and therefore useless -- it follows that, in the great dice game of existence, it must pass through a calculable number of combinations. In infinite time, every possible combination would at some time or another be realized; more: it would be realized an infinite number of times. And since between every combination and its next recurrence all other possible combinations would have to take place, and each of these combinations conditions the entire sequence of combinations in the same series, a circular movement of absolutely identical series is thus demonstrated: the world as a circular movement that has already repeated itself infinitely often and plays its game ad infinitum." - Nietzsche, WTP #1066, (Kaufmann translation)


    Last edited by Zoot Allures on Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:47 am; edited 7 times in total
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    encode_decode

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    Re: An Attempt at an Immanent God

    Post by encode_decode on Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:33 pm

    Awesome reading, thanks.

    Zoot Allures

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    Re: An Attempt at an Immanent God

    Post by Zoot Allures on Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:27 am

    minor additions made to introduction... end of first paragraph in - Use of Dionysian/Apollonian Metaphors -.

    inclusion of Rush's album Hemispheres, Book 2, as well as a video by saully.

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    Re: An Attempt at an Immanent God

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