Consciousness cannot be a consequence, or an effect, of material existence. Why? Because this makes consciousness a direct function of unconsciousness. That is, you cannot take unconscious material and produce from it consciousness. This is an attempt to reconcile mutually exclusive existential states. In the same way that I argue all material is rooted in infinite existence, so is consciousness. In fact, it is precisely WHY I argue for the sake of rational metaphysics and epistemology that the physical material which comprises all that exists is ultimately infinite at its root. For if indeed all of reality is comprised of little fundamental particles which exist inside their own specific bubble of spacetime, then the interaction of them with other particles is exclusive of any meaning, being utterly relative. At the root of every material object is a collection of stand-alone particles which interact, again, purely relatively to the exclusion of any larger meaning or purpose, each one unconscious of its interaction with any other particle by necessity, as it is utterly separated from its fellow particles, completely and categorically, by its own insurmountable chasm of spacetime (or, just space, for the sake of simplicity), in which it exists alone and infinitely.
Thus, there is no real meaning to any object we might observe. At the root of the material object are independent particles which cannot recognize the existence of any other particle, much less the greater object which we claim they comprise. They are trapped inside a boundary of spacetime where they exist infinitely and alone, unconscious and thus without observation of anything else. Therefore what I am arguing is that there is no actual difference or change in existential states between a particle which is not interacting with others and a particle which is. Functionally the outcome is the same: meaninglessness. Nihilism. Material reality is an illusion of relevance. All things are parsed ultimately down to infinite nothingness in the form of a-toms which cannot recognize anything other than themselves–and being infinite and thus infinitely alone they cannot even recognize themselves–because they are separated from everything else, again, by an impenetrable chasm of space.
Now, we may attempt to argue that objects have relevance in the eyes of an observer, like man, for instance. But the problem is that since man himself is a material object, then at his root are the same blind, mindless, and infinite particles which do not produce any meaningful difference by interaction with other particles versus not interacting with other particles. This is the endemic fallacy of the notion that the Standard Model of physics has some final, end particle. The end of material, terminating in particles surrounded by bubbles of space is the idea that empty space, which is NOTHING, is the “bond” which allows material reality to coagulate into…er, something. This of course makes no sense at all. For if the existential roots of everything are bounded by areas of nothingness, then there can be no such thing as interaction, let alone meaningful interaction.
In the comments thread of part one of this series (the article one before last) commenter Anthony made this exact case in defense of the legitimacy of the mind/soul dichotomy. Neverminding for the moment that this splits man’s metaphysic into two mutually exclusive existential states, which destroys man and his epistemology (but what the fuck else is new with the emissaries of all-too-typical and predictable orthodoxy), he claimed that a soul was necessary for precisely the reason I just outlined: man is a collection of unconscious a-toms, interacting, somehow, with other a-toms via conduits of space, which is really again just nothing (a big hole in material existence). He fully accepts the explanation of our resident physicists, who remain fully philosophically defunct in their assumptions: man must be determined because man cannot be conscious because the catalyst for every human being evolving into a material self is the NOTHINGNESS which somehow compels particles to interact with each other. In that nothingness goes the laws of physics/nature, they argue, even though these laws are only ever and always indirectly observed. Which is to say that they are never observed at all. Which means that if you take away the particles, there are no laws of physics…the laws of physics have NO meaning and NO definition, resulting in oblivion, because they cannot be claimed to even indirectly exist since it is not possible to observe their consequences absent the material particles. Which…how can that which is a prerequisite for the relevance, definition, and existence of something (the laws of physics) be a consequence of that something? It defines logic, I tell you. Which is to say that it defies truth. Thanks for nothing, Dr. Hawkings. Well, thanks for getting truth all wrong. Your black hole stuff was pretty awesome.
But even if you concede that the laws of nature exist in the space between particles, that still doesn’t remove the determinist assumptions from the entire construct. A. you still concede the existence of space, which means there is still ultimately a boundary of nothing between the particle and the laws of nature, and other particles; and B. the laws determine what the particles do and how they do it, and so determinism, absolutely, becomes the sum and substance of all reality. For if the laws determine the particles, even unto their very ability to exist, then what determines the laws? Obviously the laws cannot freely determine, for that is a complete contradiction in terms. Determinism cannot be a direct function of NON-determinism…in the same way that it is irrational to claim that God can freely choose to determine man’s life. Just think about it for a while. It makes literally zero sense.
Anthony answers this madness by appealing to equal amounts of nonsense: a mutually exclusive “spirit world” which somehow interacts with the physical body as the existential arm of consciousness.
To this I say, nice try.
If there is indeed a distinction between the “spirit world” and the physical then we are still talking about a separation of space, which is again a separation of nothingness, which precludes interaction by definition. Things cannot interact via a boundary of nothing, because nothing cannot exist, and what does not exist cannot by definition be an avenue or vehicle for, well…anything at all. By definition…and by definition, again. Man cannot be a function of both what he IS and what he is NOT. In appealing to the distinction of the spirit from the physical body Anthony is really making this metaphysically insane argument. Man can be physical and NOT physical at the same time; man can be spirit and NOT spirit at the same time. Man is BOTH a function of the absolute spirit and the absolute physical at the same time, and insofar as you accept that statement, you must accept the statement that man is likewise a function of absolutely NOT spirit and absolutely NOT physical at the same time.
Confused? Think about it. Contrary to what orthodoxy tells you, you are not in fact too stupid to understand…too blind, too depraved, too flawed, and in need of “special” enlightenment (whatever the fuck that is) to understand. Again, I say, think! You are both spirit and physical, you are told. These two are distinct. Exclusive. That means your physical essence is NOT acting according to your spiritual, and vice versa. You’re both ARE and NOT at the same time. You are physical, but not spiritual; you are spiritual, but not physical, BOTH at any given moment. You are a constant function of IS and IS NOT. People, this makes no sense at all. If you are indeed a “singularity” of mutually exclusive essences, then you cancel yourself out. The metaphysical equation always arrives at zero.
Too bad. Sucks to be you. Or, er…to not be you, as it were.
Anthony thinks he is making some bold argument here…some super spiritual point that so “clearly” trumps both the conclusions of science and my own remedial (according to him) philosophy. But all he is really doing is appealing to the same old, tired and worn out argument of human epistemological insufficiency to explain away his contradictions. Man cannot apprehend physically his spirit, and so man attempts to use reason to explain it. But since reason is a function of his fleshly body, which is only half of his metaphysical reality, it is inadequate to grasp the reality of the spirit, which is the other, opposite half. Therefore, man is at an epistemological impasse. He must wait until some special revelation comes to him and then, and only then, can man “know” the truth of the spirit, and that it is the spirit which allows consciousness to defy the empty and blind determinism of “careless” (according to him) a-toms that science so “clearly” “proves”. Since man’s metaphysic is irreconcilably split in two he must wait for God’s revelatory grace to fill the infinite gap. Then we can all be as smart and enlightened and philosophically accomplished as Anthony.
In short: you just have to agree with Anthony. Period. That’s all he is saying, and its the same thing they all say. We’ve heard this argument a thousand times. There is no way for him to really explain it to you. It’s all “faith”, you see. You are, and you are not. How it comes together for the “good of all who love the Lord Jesus” is just another mystery. Punt!
The reason I have this blog in the first place is precisely because of that kind of rational larceny and philosophical violence passing for truth. No argument is THE argument. And there aren’t words to describe the depth of my loathing for such presumption. Only THEY get to say what’s true. You have to agree with them before you believe them. What a bunch of horseshit.
So, mutually exclusive existential states, unconsciousness and consciousness, cannot form the root of man’s metaphysic. Consciousness and existence must then be corollaries. Otherwise, we are talking about a fundamental schism in the nature of reality. Reality cannot be a function of two diametrically opposed states. If we are truly conscious, then that consciousness cannot be contrived from unconsciousness. It simply doesn’t work. Unconsciousness is an absolute state, and as such it can only produce that which is a direct function of its root metaphysic: unconsciousness. And the same logic applies to consciousness.
This argument (that consciousness is merely one of multiple states of existence) is simply another variation on the classic separation of mind/soul/spirit and body, which Christians have perfected now, going on two thousand years of Augustinian gnosticism as the interpretive diving board for their doctrinal cannonballs. And they continue to make a BIG splash in the oceans of blood this thinking produces. The fact is that spirit/body dichotomies are always in figurative terms, never literal, in the Bible. Not that I appeal to the “authority” of Scripture for my argument. For since Scripture demands interpretation, “authority” is merely a demand that someone accept someone else’s specific interpretation of the text. We don’t do that bullshit here. We do reason. But nevertheless “spirit”, “soul” and “flesh” are never biblically spoken of in terms of literal, exclusive metaphysical distinctions. Man is always ONE just as God is ONE. How Jesus conceptualized existence in order to get His point across doesn’t change the fact that He is speaking to individuals, and that He refers to the life of man, not the lives of man.