As my readers probably already know, I do not concede that time is actual, but rather is a product of man’s conceptualizing brain, by which he organizes his environment in service to the survival, comfort, and propagation of his SELF.
In light of that, I will tell you that the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is: it is an irrational question.
The meaning…the definition of TRUTH isn’t one of cause and effect; that is, it is not “Does existence cause consciousness or consciousness cause existence?”. We waste MUCH time arguing “truth” from the assumption that it must somehow be a direct function of ideas man pulls from the ethereal recesses of his brain in order to conceptually organize his universe. The idea that something which cannot be rationally argued to actually exist, like time, which cannot be observed apart from any material object, thereby requiring the existence of the object “first” as an abject requirement for time to have any rational meaning or purpose…yes, the idea that that which is not materially actual is somehow causal is ludicrous. Further, since man is required in order to create the concept of time it would appear that those of us–which is almost all of us on earth–who concede the causality of time must somehow explain how time can be a causal force of man’s existence retroactively. (NOTE: Forgive me…since language is abstract in and of itself, I am essentially forced to use temporal concepts in making my arguments.) Meaning, man must exist before time can be devised by his brain; and then once it is devised by man’s brain we then must explain how it could have had a hand in man’s material creation, such that “before” man existed, this this and this other thing must have happened “first” in order to effect man’s existence; again, as though creation of material reality functions according to an external temporal force which cannot be directly observed thereby making it (time) existentially exclusive to what is material, which precludes its ability to effect material reality…and yet, all things happen according to “cause and effect”, which is merely arguing that time is somehow causing the movement of what materially exists which in turn effects the manifestation of material objects we now observe in our universe, including ourselves. Meaning, what these objects are is a direct function of the interaction of material objects in a process that is absolutely dictated by time. The argument, boiled down to its logical premise is this: Time (not God, not leptons, fermions or bosons, not electromagnetism) allows, utterly and absolutely, for the manifestation of material reality.: This must happen first, and then this, then that, and eventually you arrive at that.
Seems logical, but the problem is that there is simply no way to rationally argue it. By cursory reason and appealing to simple, logically reconcilable assumptions and conclusions I can, I assure you, dismantle anyone’s argument for the actual existence and causal properties of time. I don’t care how man Ph.D.s you have or how great your calculus is or what seminary you attended. I’ll go right now. Anywhere, anytime. I defy…I double-dog-dare anyone to rationally argue for the existence of time apart from man’s conceptualizing brain. I’ll go anywhere, anytime at my own expense and debate you for free.
Since we cannot observe time directly, as I said, it is impossible to argue its causal power, let alone its existence. What is time absent the objects we observe? It has no rational definition. It is, well…”time”, and “time” is not a rational definition of “time”. That’s what’s known as a circular argument, or appealing to the idea as proof of its own efficacious meaning. That doesn’t work. It’s the same reason the “biblical inerrancy” crowd is so fucking scary and insane: they do not appeal to reason as the basis for their truth; rather, truth exists in the “talisman” properties (John Immel) of the Bible. It is inerrant because it is the Bible. It is true because it is the Bible. It’s truth is nothing more than its name. It’s relevancy is itself, nothing more. And you must try to fit yourself into its absolute fortress of inerrant truth. It’s true because it is itself, without you, and so what the fuck does the Bible need you for? It is insanity like this passing for “faith” which is why Christians are so scary to the rest of the country. They are becoming terrorists before our very eyes and the worst part is that they are utterly blind to it. They have conceded that their very existence is wrapped up in the causal power of some abstract “truth” which is utterly exclusive of man and thus needs nothing of his existence. The greatest moral good in such a case becomes human death. And bring on the Marxist slaughtering hoards (Khmer Rouge among others), the Nazi purveyors of cooked human flesh, Islamic terrorist shitheads, and the cult of death known as the American neo-Calvinist movement which IS protestantism in the country these days.
Try to explain time without a reference to the material universe. I assure you it is impossible. You cannot even make a mathematical argument. For as soon as YOU open your mouth or tap on your keyboard or pen your letter or pick up your can and string you have already conceded the contrary argument. YOU, a material agent, are required to explain time. YOU must exist first, before time can have any rational meaning. Thus, the material reality which we attempt to argue is caused by time is a prerequisite for the relevant meaning of the concept altogether.
Whatever…my point is that the simple concession of time as an abstraction resolves MANY “paradoxes” which Christians and others assume is part of the “mystery” of God/universe and therefore unexplainable by man, nor attainable by his intellect.
It is useless to make ANY truth utterly dependent on the actuality of human conceptual abstractions. As soon as we realize that human material presence is required for concepts to serve any efficacious purpose, we realize the futility of such ideas of “truth”. To argue that this philosophy is superior to that because it more closely adheres to human abstract conceptual thinking is, itself, a fatally flawed presumption. Since concepts are not REAL any philosophy which depends on them for its “truth” will never actually be true. Truth is NOT a function of which process or manifestation of reality must precede this, or succeed that, but is only a function of reason: an understanding of the nature of reality absent any inexorable, inseparable link between human cognitive concepts and what actually IS, tangibly so.
Reason, I submit, is not tethered to conceptual abstractions…on the contrary, if reason is a slave to man’s abstract, psychological notions of how he happens to cognitively organize his surroundings, then it cannot be reasonable at all. To argue that the universe is caused by a force (time) which MUST be existentially exclusive of it, which has NO observable manifestation whatsoever apart from material reality, and has no relevant definition nor purpose until AFTER what it supposedly caused is already in existence…people, this is not reasonable. Rather, it is inextricably ridiculous.
And this is why I hate the question I pose in the title of this article. Reality is NOT a function of cause and effect. The idea of cause and effect ultimately relegates all of reality to the power of time…an abstract concept which cannot be argued to possess any causal force over anything at all, but only retains relevance as a means by which man cognitively organizes his environment for the purpose of survival. It isn’t a debate then about whether existence causes consciousness or consciousness causes existence, or which comes first. There can be no rational debate because once we inject “cause” into the argument we have conceded a faulty determinist philosophy; that is, we and everything else are all a function of the unseen and unknowable force of time. Which makes anything we argue moot by definition. We are all a direct function of the absolute power of time nothing more. And then we all go home and watch TV, because life isn’t real anyway.
The real issue is getting the definitions of each right,consciousness and existence, and understanding the nature of each as a rational extension of a rational understanding of reality. The ability of man to materially exist and the ability of man to be conscious proceed from the IS of man’s infinite and absolute being. Consciousness and existence are both equal and direct functions of man’s material SELF. Existence isn’t a concept which is causal any more than the concept of time is. Material reality, that is the actual SELF of man is the direct source of BOTH consciousness and existence. Another way of arguing my point is to state it this way: man’s material SELF, the IS of his being, is his ability to be conscious, which is his ability to devise a rational and efficacious concept of existence in order to describe his relationship to other agents and objects.
SELF = existence because it also = consciousness.