Monthly Archives: February 2015

Does Reality Include Man and His Mind, or is it “Outside” of Him?

“There is an objective reality in that the chair I’m sitting on really exists whether I will admit its existence or whether I’ll philosophize that maybe its only a form that exists in a Platonic world of ideas. Is admitting the actual existence of this chair somehow embracing a causal universe?”

This quote is an excerpt from a comment left by David Brainerd (for the record, I don’t think David is a brain nerd at all, even though he admits to working with computers for a living); you can view his entire comment in the comments section of the previous essay.

The specific question “Is admitting the actual existence of this chair somehow embracing a causal universe?” is what I would like to address in this essay…because it’s a good question and I understand that the previous essay was fairly “semantics” heavy, so to speak.  It’s important that I clear this up, otherwise it becomes too easy and convenient to categorize my ideas as Primacy of Consciousness, in the John Immel philosophical universe where Primacy of Consciousness and Primacy of Existence metaphysics are the only two gangs in town.  Like the old Crips versus Bloods wars.  In other words, you either concede the existential power of cause and effect in the form of Nature’s Laws which govern, or you are a mystic who is holding open the door for Armageddon.  However, I unabashedly claim that to concede the power of man’s ability to conceptualize his environment with himself as the only rational standard in order to organize what is a material universe which is entirely relative in its existence and interactions (and I submit that this is an axiom) is merely conceding the obvious.  For I defy anyone to name a singular, constant, material reference by which one can objectively define and quantify object interaction and existence in the Universe OUTSIDE of their own SELF; for YOU are the only constant in the entire Universe, and that cannot be denied, because in order to do so one would HAVE to deny it from the context of SELF, which automatically nullifies their argument and renders it impossible, thus proving my point instantaneously and categorically.

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Without man’s ability to conceptualize himself and his surroundings, there can be no actual, efficacious, measurable, or valuable reality.  And the only way to argue contrary to this is to identify a singular frame of reference for reality OUTSIDE of man…that is, in the Universe.  Since this cannot be done, I must rest on reason to guide truth; and so–if I may be so bold–should you.  You cannot claim truth if you cannot define a standard by which you can say what is true or not…or rather, better said, why what is true or not.  And advocates of a causal Universe (a Universe wholly determined by the Laws of Physics) can have no such standard; and so I must insist that it is they who declare such a Universe who destroy human cognition, and not those of use who declare man’s ability to know himself and–from that frame of reference–to define his reality so that it serves and confirms his comfort, promotion, and inherent moral worth.  For those who laud a causal Universe are those who write man out of the existential equation with every abstract, mathematical or philosophical proof they scribble.  And their inability to identify an objective material standard by which to proclaim their proofs TRUE, and therefore GOOD, is why they insist that the Laws of Physics, though in and of themselves entirely unobservable to and beyond the reach of man in any capacity, are in fact actual…that is, exist in their absolute and imitable realm; the wizard behind the curtain of Oz, governing all things behind galaxy-sized swathes of dark matter, even unto our very root existence.

And you might argue that, no, that’s not what they believe.  And I would fire back that it matters not what they THINK they think; the imitable logical conclusions of the the very notion of cosmic Laws demands that they are nevertheless on the moral and intellectual hook for their irrational metaphysics.  And I don’t need to understand the equations, nor do I need to have studied in the John Immel School of Enough Time Devoted to the Topic (Which Apparently Neither He nor Anyone Else Possesses) Leads to the Reconciliation of That Which is a Rank Logical Fallacy to rationalize the conclusion. If the conclusion is a rank contradiction, I already know that the equation must be inherently flawed.  I am not obligated to study nor understand nor concede anything beyond this. You cannot rationalize that which defies the very idea by its conclusion.  That is an axiom, period.  To suggest I must spend time learning to arrive at a conclusion upon which can never be arrived is purely obfuscation.

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“Is admitting the existence of this chair somehow embracing a causal universe?”

The real answer to this question is:  It depends.  Notice how, in my last essay, I did not say that admitting something exists is necessarily believing in a causal Universe.  I didn’t even say that believing in an objective reality means one must necessarily accept the determinism of a causal Universe.  I said that faulty and irrational determinism is a function of an “objective reality outside of man”, which is precisely the causal Universe that people like John Immel and his objectivist comrades demand.  In other words, a reality governed by Laws of Nature…a reality conceded to the forces which act to cause the existence and actions and interactions of all things, including man. Even though man cannot empirically or rationally vouch for the tangible, visceral existence of such forces.  Which…is pretty ironic.  The very people who demand empirical verification of all opposing ideas–ideas from those like me, who do not distinguish between reason and evidence–are the very people who cannot observe the forces which are said to create the objective reality they insist everyone else obey or be deemed a fool (thus resorting to rank pretension and insults as a means to intimidate their detractors).

Anyway…

So the question is not whether we rationally accept an objective reality (or rather, simply “reality”…for “objective reality” seems rather redundant), but how we define that reality.

When we consider how to do that…when we consider reality, there are really only two ways to frame it.  Either things “outside” of man exist “to themselves”, so to speak–meaning they have inherent meaningful, definable, qualifiable and quantifiable value in and of themselves in accordance with some organized, non-relative, non-random, purposeful, causal force which acts upon them absolutely, independent of man’s mind–that is, man’s ability to conceptually organize his environment in order to manipulate it for his own ends and for the sake of himself–or things exist “to man”.  Which means that they have no inherent, non-relative, organized value or meaning or efficacy unless man observes them and bestows upon them such value via his conceptual definitions.  It is by man’s ability to conceptualize his environment (which is, in fact, the whole Universe) that we get “chairs” and “cars” and “curvature of spacetime” and “trees” and “galaxy clusters”.  They are a product of man’s mind, meaning that mans’ ability to conceptualize his environment is what gives any relevant meaning to what are “chairs” and “galaxies” and “orbits”, etc., which means that it is by man that these things can be said to be real…to exist.  Reality has nothing relevant to do with the material substance of these things–which I do NOT deny–which is infinite (to be further discussed in an upcoming essay) and therefore infinitely relative and valueless in and of itself.  But rather it has everything to do with how they are standardized TO man’s life.  It is man’s ability to organize what he observes TO a reference point…TO a constant, himself, which is what creates “reality” in any relevant, valuable, or moral sense.  Without such a Constant/Standard, as I have said, all material existence and object interaction is purely relative, which means it can have no actual, singular, definable, relevant, meaningful reality.  Things simply are what they relatively are, relatively existing with all other objects, having no measurable singularity whatsoever; and thus it becomes impossible to describe them as even “existing”.  Because…existing to what?  To what reference? To what standard? To what end?  To what purpose?  In what context?

Without man and his ability to make SELF the infinite, singular reference point and Standard of reality, these questions can have no answer.  And anything which has no relevant, definable end or purpose because it has no ascertainable context or reference cannot rationally be said to “objectively exist”.  On the contrary, there is nothing objective about it.  By definition a relative existence of a pointless material substance which is infinitely relative and lacking any singular reference and standard is not an objective existence, period.  Full stop.  An utterly relative existence is no existence at all, because what it is that is said to “exist” cannot have a any meaningful definition.  And without such a definition there can be no meaningful reality.  Which means there can be no reality at all because a reality which lacks any definition is not, by definition, reality.

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The idea of an “objective reality” rooted in a “causal universe” (that is, a universe governed by the interminable cause and effect determinism of Natural Law) defines man in such a way that he becomes existentially and metaphysically OUTSIDE of “reality” (hence the constant reference to an “objective reality outside of man” demanded by objectivism, Marxism, Fascism, scientific determinism and its psuedo-intellectual worker bees, the evangelical Atheists).  Man is a determined product of the causal forces of nature which act utterly beyond his senses (because man’s senses are a product of these causal forces…an effect, and therefore they cannot, by definition, be turned around to observe their own absolute and absolutely determinative  source).

Now, what is never explained by these emissaries of “rational” determinism and scientific “evidence”, is that man, of course, cannot possibly exist in a “reality” such as this.  For since man is a determined and thus absolute effect, he is an absolute function of the reality “outside” of himself…which means–if you can wrap your head around this–there is no “him”…no singular distinct SELF, to speak of.  And therefore, most ironically, this makes the reality smugly demanded by these people a complete oxymoron.  Since man is, again, a direct and absolute function of the laws of physics, man has no essence to call his own.  Therefore, nothing is real to him by definition because he is, in fact, nothing.  Which–one more time, again–makes appeals to “objective reality” even that much more absurd and hilarious.

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If we say that a “chair”, or “car” or “galaxy” or a “tree” or a “micro brewery” exists as such, regardless of man and OUTSIDE of him, making his existence entirely irrelevant to these things, we are saying that man does not define his own reality, but rather, “reality”–the “external” environment–defines him.  Man isn’t the one who decides that a chair is a chair…he is not the one who gets to say that the relative existence of the material substance he observes to act and move and be in a certain way in order that it can in fact relevantly and efficaciously be a chair (because it serves to promote an objective standard, that is man’s own SELF).  No, somehow, on the contrary something outside of man defines and values his reality for him.  God, or the the cosmic Laws of Nature, or some other all pervasive, unobservable, infinite and inexorable force–which by definition holds man and his ideas in no esteem or regard whatsoever, because it doesn’t recognize him in the first place–gets to declare that the chair is a chair.  It becomes irrational and thus entirely immoral for man to have a say in how his environment is defined and organized.  Because the chair, as a chair, is defined not by man but by the very concept of “chairness”which is somehow a product of the cosmos…the Laws of Nature (because man’s ability to conceptualize is irrelevant according to the metaphysics of a “causal universe”).  And thus, I submit that John Immel’s point, and the point of Aristotelian philosophy (of which some is good and some is not) is that “chairness” exists regardless of what man observes or thinks.  So, quite naturally, we assume that this must mean that reality has some kind of efficacious and valuable and objective definition and purpose utterly in spite of man’s own life and self and mind and context and existence.  And so what is inevitably argued is that the very ideas man uses and creates out of his own mind and his own inherent ability to conceptually define and organize his environment to serve his own existence are somehow manifest in reality without him. That all of man’s thoughts and ideas and beliefs are not OF him, but are bestowed upon him by the “external” reality which categorically caused him.  Which really means that there is no way for man to discern between his own mind and thoughts–which includes the most salient concept of the SELF by which he defines his own body as distinct from his environment–and his environment and the requisite causal forces which determine and govern and create everything from outside of him and thus which, by logical extension, inexorably become him.  Therefore an appeal to the “objective reality outside of man” is really nothing more than a destruction of the distinction entirely.

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Since man is not that which defines his own environment with himself as the supreme and singular reference point, the only conclusion to be logically arrived upon is this…and it is a conclusion which, in my experience, ultimately, sooner or later, be it John Immel, or the inestimable Paul Dohse (whom I adore), or any venerable libertarian thinker of our day, must and do concede:  man is NOT and CANNOT be the root cause of his own life; and thus he cannot be the reason for his own existence.  Yes, at the end of the day, even Ayn Rand is little more than a rank hypocrite.  Because “reality” is a function of a reality beyond man’s own self, man cannot possibly claim the right to define himself.  Man is wholly and ineluctably defined by what is NOT man.  Man thus becomes a big, fat contradiction in terms.  Man is no longer the source and purpose of himself…his own end (for if man is his own end, he must be his own beginning), rather he is a determined product of something entirely beyond him.

It is easy to see how this must lead to the exploitation and ultimately the destruction of humanity on shockingly large scales…and routinely does.

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If man is at the mercy of and is the direct function of the forces of the causal universe–the “objective reality outside himself”–then man cannot possibly understand reality, by the very empirical definition of reality given to us. Man is OUTSIDE of reality.  Which can only mean that man is not real.  Again, by definition.  Thus, man is not himself.  Any beliefs or ideas as a function of man’s senses can only be considered illegitimate markers and definitions of reality; including his definitions and “discoveries” of the causal Laws of Nature which govern the Universe and everything in it.  Man is illusory; he is false.  Man cannot actually know anything himself, because he is no autonomous agent.  He does not, by nature, possess the epistemological ability to make a distinction between what he is (himself…his body) and what he is NOT (his environment), which is the epistemological prerequisite to any actual knowledge man may possess.  Because according to the very definition of a causal Universe, there is no distinction.  ALL things are direct and determined functions of the actions of all objects which have come “before”; and the root material essence and existence of these objects is a direct function the unobservable forces of nature–the Laws of Physics.

You see, when someone preaches to you about the governing power of the Laws of Physics, the logical question begged is where does that governance end?  The only rational answer is:  it doesn’t.  The Laws of Physics are the absolute and infinite cause of the causal Universe.  They ARE then, the Universe.  Which means to define the Universe as a function of the forces of the Laws of Nature is to relegate “reality” to an utterly unobservable, unknowable infinite CAUSE, which has NO effect, because everything is merely an absolute and direct function of itself, which eliminates the distinction entirely.  The power of the Laws which govern does not end, and therefore, it can have no beginning.  And to attempt to define reality this way is nothing more than the futile and pointless exercise of trying to parse infinity.  And this is rank madness beyond all the heady language and “intellectual” equivocation and appeals to educational and cognitive pedigree.  Whatever is the absolute function of a governing force IS and MUST BE that governing force, period, full stop.  There is no difference between the Absolute Causal Force and that which it causes.  And further, there simply is no way to make this not so.  There. Is. No. Way.  Not by Aristotle; not by Voltaire; not by Newton: not by Einstein; not by Hawking; not by Hitchens; not by years and years and years of study;  not by anyone or anything.  The Laws of Physics it must be conceded when we argue the notion of a causal Universe do not simply govern the movement of objects, but the existence of objects. And this includes the most salient of all objects, man.

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It is important to understand that when we speak of “objective reality” we specify how we define it; meaning, how we rationally explain just what makes reality REAL.  Is man a product of “reality”, or is man the standard by which “reality” can be defined as such, and therefore given efficacy and and value and purpose?

How we decide to answer this question is, as history has shown, quite literally the difference between life and death.

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The Unholy Determinism of a Causal Universe

It is important to understand that when someone refers to the Universe we live in as “causal”, what they mean by “causal” is “cause and effect”.  That is, specific causes result in specific outcomes, which can be empirically verified by both observation and experiment.  The broad category of “cause and effect” is formally broken down into subcategories of the Laws of Physics, such as the Law of Gravity, the Law of Wave Mechanics, the Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Energy Conservation, and so on and so forth.  These Laws are specifically called “Laws” because they are understood to be..well, causal, and exist utterly independent of man’s observation or thinking.  Hence, a “causal” universe.  So in this sense then the various cause and effect Laws are said to govern our Universe.  Which means they are not inventions of man’s conceptualizing mind, they are “discovered”.  They are not descriptive, they are determinative.  They have an actualizing power which is realized in the non-random, specific, determined manifestation of object interaction, which includes the development and evolution of human beings.  So, again, when someone speaks of a “causal” Universe, they are speaking of the Laws of Physics which create an “objective” reality governed by very real, very actual, very determinative forces that are to be credited with giving everything that exists its specific identity, even man and his mind.

This is important to understand because when you speak to people who hold to the view of an objective reality OUTSIDE of man, it is precisely the idea of a causal Universe to which they are referring (atheists are famous for invoking the “causal” Universe theme…this allows them to claim creation can occur without God…which, it really doesn’t, but then they aren’t the deep thinkers they’d like you to believe they are).  Now, they will seldom define this the way that I have here, wherein all things in the Universe exist and move as a direct function not of themselves, but of the Laws of Physics which govern them from beyond (outside).  And when you point out the inherent and necessary determinism this perspective implies, they get very creative in how they equivocate their message.  Because obviously if all things are truly determined, then nothing can really can exist at all.  For all things are a direct consequence–an absolute consequence–of the Laws of Physics.  And since nothing can exist of its own accord, there can be no man to observe the Laws of Physics which govern, because “man” is merely, like everything else, a complete function of the Laws themselves.  This necessarily dampens the message of individual free will and self-ownership, and creates a contradiction which they cannot rationally overcome.  Thus, the cavalcade of perfunctory “rebuttals” wherein they invoke all manner of arguments, but no consistent thinking.

So, when someone like John Immel speaks to you of a “causal” universe, know that what he is really saying is that the universe is determined by Laws of Physics, and yet, somehow, man can exist utterly independent of this determined Universe to obtain an identity of his own (hence the endless appeals to Aristotle and his Law of Identity (another “law”…sigh) as though only a truly bloodthirsty Kantian, Marxist monster would ever dare to question Aristotle), and to observe these laws, to function by them, and by this claim himself a “rational” being.

An “objective reality OUTSIDE of man” is a determined reality, by definition.  And this reality then is, also by definition, beyond the reach of man’s powers of observation and understanding, because it directly governs his existence from a place he cannot go.  Hence the untenable contradiction John must contend with.  It is of little wonder that he resorts to monologues heralding the intricacies and enigmas and ocean-like depths of the philosophical arts, of which, he says, no one really has the time to fully understand.  And if they did, so the refrain implies, they’d see that one can’t really call into question the consistency of his ideas without enslaving mankind to the Workers Utopia.

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Causal = Cause and Effect.  Now, in order to have a “cause” and an “effect” the specific distinction between the two must be known.  However, if we use our brains to ponder the definition of such a model of universal interaction, not suspending disbelief and applying some consistency to our thinking, we quickly realize that, since action is cyclical according to Newton’s mechanical laws (e.g. every action has an equal and opposite reaction), all causes are also effects, and all effects thus are also causes, which means that it is categorically impossible to specify between what is a cause and what is an effect without making relative distinctions.  And these distinctions require a self-aware observer to serve as the reference point.

And this is a big–and likely the biggest–problem for advocates of a “causal” Universe.  They cannot claim to define a specific cause from a  specific effect because by their own definition of “objective reality” they make irrelevant man’s observation, because he is a product of an OUTSIDE “Universe”. 

“Causes” and “effects” are relative, subjective terms, only knowable in a given context, which man alone can define.  But within the broad scope of Universal interaction and Universal existence, beyond man and his mind, “cause and effect” notions of how our “objective” reality works become impossible and irrational.  So “cause and effect” then, ceases to be a real force, with any actualizing powers, capable of determining outcomes or relevant universal interaction and instead becomes precisely what people like John Immel have been skewering me for rationally conceding: a purely  human concept, meant to organize man’s environment on a cognitive level to his own ends, and is not a “discoverable” force which has some sort of autonomous existence in its own right by which it exhorts absolute determinative force over man and his life.  Therefore, it logically follows that Laws of Physics then likewise must be conceptual, not actual, given that they are wholly predicated upon the belief in the power of “cause and effect”.

Now, riddle me this.  How does one who specifically denies that concepts and conceptual paradigms have any actual power to effect the material universe and therefore are not to be credited with the functioning of man’s brain and thinking and will, and thus cannot effect his ability to be aware of himSELF and thus his infinite right to claim himself alone as that which gives value and meaning and relevancy to his environment; which therefore makes rational the claim that the individual is the sole owner and purveyor of himself and that his senses exist as the vehicle by which his self-actualization can be pursued and validated by his own body and by others…yes, please explain how someone like that can be rationally labeled a “conceptualist/nominalist” leading to the full-destruction of human cognition, culminating in the bloody atrocities of “peak” Soviet Russia?

Because that’s exactly what Immel thinks.  He thinks you either accept the rank determinative power of the Laws of Physics and concede a reality OUTSIDE of yourself and kneel before the corpulence of the mighty Causal Universe, or you are the philosophical corollary of one Joseph V. Stalin.

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All causes must also be effects when we apply consistent thinking to the concept of “cause and effect”.  For the cause begets the effect, which then becomes its own cause which begets another effect and so on and so forth.  In order to make sense of cause and effect, then, one must define them relatively, that is conceptually…that is, within a specific context qualified/quantified by a self-aware observer, as I mentioned earlier in this article.

For example:  You crack the egg and the yolk escapes.  Cracking the egg is the cause, the yolk running out is the effect.  Because unless you specify the cause and the effect distinctly in this relative context, you are left with a scenario of a series of infinite causes and, on the other hand (because what’s the difference, anyway) a series of infinite effects.  This, to anyone even slightly awake, renders the entire cause and effect equation utterly moot.  The the cause is the egg cracks, causing the yolk to escape, causing the egg to cook on the pan, causing the pan to burn, causing the pan to need soaking, causing the water to be run in the sink, causing the sink to overflow, causing the house to flood, causing a prohibitively expensive repair bill, causing the couple to fight, causing a divorce, causing them to marry other people, causing other children to be born, causing more eggs to crack, causing more yolks to run, causing the egg to cook on the pan, causing the pan to burn…and so on.  Or, simply replace the word “causing” with “the effect is”.  The effect is the egg cracks, the effect is running yolk, the effect is the egg cooking on the pan, the effect is the pan burning, etcetera.  The point is that there isn’t any difference between cause and effect in this scenario.  Both terms lose their meaning entirely because no relative relationship has been defined by an observer who is able to specify a context whereby cause and effect can be seen to have any efficacious value.

When concepts such as “cause” and “effect” are not contextualized by a self-aware agent, like a human being, they become their own absolutes, in a sense.  Unattached to a specific material context, they become infinite.  What is “black” absent something, some material objected defined by a self-aware agent?  Well, black is black…is black is black and on and on.  What is a “cause” absent a specific object or action identified by a self-aware agent as the cause?  The cause its the cause is the cause and…you get the idea.  In the example of the cracked egg, unless you specify a particular component of the endless chain of events when attempting to apply “cause and effect”,  ALL events become a direct function of absolute cause, which can then beget only other causes; or ALL events become a direct function of absolute effect, which can then beget only other effects.  But of course if you are going to apply “cause and effect” to reality, then both cause and effect must be represented in their meaningful, reciprocal relationship.  For how can you define something as a cause if there is no observed effect?  And how can you define the effect if there is no observed cause? Therefore a specific, contextual circumstance must be made by an agent capable of making the relative (which ultimately means “conceptual”) distinction.

And this is, interestingly enough, the whole problem with the theory of an “un-caused first cause”; whether that first cause is God, or gods, or the Big Bang, or the Laws of Physics.  An un-caused first cause–where “cause” is not considered merely a conceptual description but a fundamental existential actualizing force inherent to the agent or entity– is an absolute cause, which, being absolute, can only beget extensions of itself.  Only causes can proceed from an absolute cause.  It doesn’t create any effects, it merely begets extensions of itself…which allows for no discernible difference between the cause and any effect, because there can be no effects from an absolute, infinite cause.  So, what this really means is that if there is indeed an un-caused first cause, nothing else beside this “cause” can logically be said to exist.

A universe which is “causal” then, means either there is an un-caused first cause, which precludes the rational existence of anything else but the cause itself; or there is no such first cause but reality is instead an infinite sea of causes and effects, which makes it impossible to define one from the other.  And both of these ideas are fundamentally deterministic.  In the first instance, “man” as a distinct and autonomous agent cannot actually exist, and therefore anything we may observe ourselves or others doing (or thinking, or believing)  is not really us or them doing it, but the Cause which absolutely defines us–and therefore controls us.  And the second instance is just like it.  If man is simply a product of an endless sea of causes and effects, but man cannot actually know which is which, then he is by his very nature unable to rationally organize his existence and environment on any level, which precludes him from any ability to define himself, nor to claim that he can in fact know anything at all.  Man is utterly at the mercy of the cause and effect “reality OUTSIDE” himself…where “self” cannot even be defined in the first place.  In both cases, man is nothing…obliterated by “objective” reality.

This is the fundamental conclusion of determinism, and only ever determinism.  I submit that even nihilism is fundamentally deterministic.  Whatever we do or think, or whatever anything else does, is meaningless, because everything winds up the same, which is exactly how it began.  As nothing.  The functional nothingness of existence determines the conclusive nothingness of observed universal behavior.

Now, with all of that in mind, consider this comment from John Immel of Spiritualtyranny.com.  Note that the comments in brackets are mine.

“My point is that the crux of the argument is tied to the Problem of Universals within Argo’s nominalist/conceptualist formulation [which doesn’t even remotely describe my ideas, but it helps John’s argument for him to think so].  Without first addressing the crucial issue within the field of Philosophy [I have pledged no allegiance to such a field, because doing so almost certainly prohibits new and better ideas] it is impossible to understand why a causal universe does not render man a helpless lump in a sea of cosmic “Laws”.”

I will admit that, in a sense, John is right.  Man, strictly speaking, is not a “helpless” lump.  But this is because John’s idea of a causal Universe renders man’s existence impossible; any definition of himself superfluous.  Man, because he is wholly determined by the “objective reality OUTSIDE himself”, is nothing at all.  His mind and thoughts an illusion.  His body merely a drop in an infinite blackness of governing cause and effect Laws of Nature/Physics.  And this is why John can, with a straight face, write that last sentence.  Since there isn’t actually any such thing as “man”, then truly ,”a causal universe does not render [him] a helpless lump in a sea of cosmic “Laws””.  For there isn’t even a lump to speak of.

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A Universe wherein cause and effect runs amok beyond any conceptual framework created by man is a universe where the Laws of Nature determine all things.  Which is precisely why scientists such as Hawking, Einstein, Sagan, and Lederman all conceded that these Laws govern, not describe; that they are discovered, not invented.  But when I argue that man needs a conceptual framework to define and value his environment, this is hardly me arguing that only concepts exist (the actual existence of concepts I have denied literally from day one of this blog) in the vein of conceptualism/nominalism of which John accuses me.  On the contrary, it is the purveyors of a causal Universe who give actualizing, determinative power to man’s concepts, like the Laws of Physics.  It is John’s philosophy, not mine, that makes gods out of human cognitive concepts and subordinates material existence, including man and his body, to an utterly conceptual one. 

Either man is he who gives value and truth and purpose to the infinite amount of relative material distinctions he observes in his environment–which is a natural product of the SELF/NOT SELF (or SELF/OTHER) dichotomy–via a conceptual paradigm he alone creates by his mind, or he cannot be a SELF by definition.  If man’s SELF has all of its value bestowed upon it by an absolutely causal Universe, then there is no dichotomy possible. And thus, there is no man.

Greater Than the Sum

The eye alone cannot make the distinction between what it sees and what it does not see; the brain alone cannot make the distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness.  Put them together and you have neither strictly sight nor strictly consciousness.  You have something much greater than the sum of the parts.