The question of “you” (or me or anyone) is an all or nothing proposition. The question of “what are you?” can only be answered in terms of Absoluteness or Absolute Nothingness. That is, you are, at the most fundamental root, either you, absolutely (Absolute You), or you are utterly NOT you (Absolute Absence of You). You either are or you are not. Period. No matter how science, religion, or philosophy, of all and any kind, attempt to equivocate, or make allowances for “mystery”, or the “unknowable” (a conceptual contradiction if there ever was one), or “epiphenomenon”, or even “magic”, there is no way to get around this simple bifurcation of the root existential question: To be or not to be.
Are you, or are you not?
So which is it? Only one answer is correct. And that correct answer is the only possible answer. Thus, we must choose wisely. The answer may seem obvious, or at least intuitive, of course…at least it should. But after thousands of years of the mass acceptance and integration of reasonless and impossible ideologies on the matter, underwriting and permeating every human endeavor and institution from here to the Great Wall of China on both sides, from the State to Society, Religion, Science, Arts and Entertainment and on and on, it seems that rational blindness is solidly ensconced as the undisputed conveyance of human philosophical wisdom to the point where ascertaining the existentially obvious, at least as the foundation for epistemology and ethics, is as improbable for the average man as winning a gold medal in the Olympics.
From part one in this article series we already know how Christians fundamentally define you—as null. A zero. A cegorical non-entity. A non-agent…despite their unwillingness to plainly admit as much. “You” are merely a placeholder…or rather, a character in a play, having no substance until God fleshes out your role with his all-determining will. In other words, you are an arrant projection of God’s infinite foreknowledge; an agency-less character in his cosmic production. His “gospel narrative” drops you in, with lines, actions, consequences, and destiny all decided for you, outside of you, and thus (and ironically) having nothing actually to do with you at all. Because there is no “you” in Christain metaphysics. No self. No cognition nor agency nor conceptualization of any fundamental substance. You are made from “nothing”…spoken into existence; materializing into reality from a place that not even God can define (if you follow the logic) because it is nowhere and at no time…like the Big Bang. You are not of God, himself, because that would make you a part of God, and yet you are not from a substance which co-existed eternally with God because only God is eternal. You were birthed somehow from an infinite vacuum. You are something which is beget from nothing (ex nihilo). You are thus a contradiction—a lie. An unsolvable, indecipherable enigma…a lock with no key nor combination. You are, but what you are is absolute nothingness. Indeed, “you are nothing” is the rank metaphysical contradiction which forms the fulcrum upon which your liar’s existence pivots, points, and from which it proceeds, only to utterly return to itself inexorably and infinitely.
And that, my friend, is not hyperbole…it is theology. It is the sum and substance of your meaning and worth to God. it is the metaphysics of Christian canon. Your value as an individual is null because your individual self is the illusion in which only the unsaved reprobate indulges. To be saved is to recognize that there IS NOTHING of you worth saving in the first place, and this is because you don’t actually exist at all.
So what do you do with this cold slap of Christian doctrine? Well, you might do what many others have done when they realize that all hope must be abandoned once they cross the threshold of the institutional church. They flee to the ostensible “safe haven” of the stoic, cold, unflinchingly certain, emotionless arena of “objective” and “empirical” science, and embrace the metaphysics of scientific determinism (which is the practice of science as a philosophy). Its arms are not warm or loving; its embrace is not meant to comfort or sooth; its wings are not going to transport you to the safety of the eternal afterlife and lay you gently down in a diamond city with gilded streets. But what it does offer is the hard, rigid truth, so at least you always know where you stand. It doesn’t get your hopes up, but then there are no hopes to be dashed when the empiricism of reality inevitably comes crashing down upon you, grinding your life back into dust.
Scientific determinism is closed to bribery. It has no use for dreams or wishes, nor does it offer any. There is no Grand Consciousness to which one may nor must make supplication; it pretends no miracles…no defiance of reality does it promise. And despite the fact that its determinist metaphysics are indeed philosophical, it implies that philosophy is for fools—the opium of the masses because it’s really nothing more than religion, anyway. Metaphysics is psuedo-science and psuedo-rational, like alchemy or phrenology as far as science is concerned. Science explains “what is” in terms that can be measured, and thus in the only terms that can be trusted to be truly meaningful.
So…what of all of this?
Is it true?
No. All of this is a lie, of course, and thus what actually happens to erstwhile Christains when they flee the rational madness of Christian metaphysics for the nuthouse of the metaphysics of science—by becoming atheists or some other iteration of secular determinism—is that they become even more preachy and insufferable than before. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they say. The labels change…the vocab, the ribbons and bows. But the metaphysics—and the pretension—remain the same. If you want to know how the scientific determinist defines the nature of existence, and specifically man’s existence, you need look no further than the mysticism from which they ostensibly fled.
The reason, you see, why so many Christians turn to the scientific determinism of secular ideologies after their disillusionment with the church is because they are lazy. Atheism provides them with all the trappings of Christain metaphysics in new clothes…they FEEL better without actually having to do the work to GET better. Scientific determinism provides them with remedial and superficial change, and relieves them of the time and trouble and loss and hurt which accompanies real, substantive change.
Real change, you see, is humbling, not empowering. It proceeds along years and years of uncertainty, it does not gift wrap instant truth in the form of formulas and equations. It is not simply tearing off a red jersey and donning a blue one. It is not simply switching to another team that is still playing the same game. It puts you OUTSIDE of “cause and effect” and makes you an observer of it. Which is what you truly are.
The scientific determinist rejects “God” in favor of physics. They forsake an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Diety for an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Natural Law. But of course both mean the exact same thing. Both determine all things; both know what was, is, and shall be, forever and ever; both are everywhere and in everything to the point where it is impossible to know just where they begin and that which they govern ends, and vice versa. And both interpret man, his existence and his consciousness, in the same way: you are a function of that which is absolutely outside yourself, and so there is no “you” in the deep, foundational, and primary sense. “You”, in other words, are a direct function of “NOT you”…and thus You qua You is a lie. “You” do not, in fact, exist at all.
Christianity, and scientific determinism—which is the philosophy of secularism—are metaphysically identical; and this means that they interpret the PHYSICAL universe in indentical ways as well; only the terminology is different. Whether theology (God) or mathematics (Natural Law), both are notions of some kind of Infinite Causal Absolute, which is of course a contradiction in terms. The infinite cannot create anything outside of itself, by definition. At any rate, God or Natural Law are merely broken up into abstract units, organized into various categories of “reality”, and presumed (somehow…the logic is very loose at this point) to be creative…causal. But then beyond that, “God” and “mathematics” as Christianity and Science define them respectively in their spurious philosophical terms, by absolutely causing everything, must necessarily BE everything. In other words, outside of God and Natural Law there is no thing which they did not create ABSOLUTELY. In this sense then, there can be no distinction between what is created and that which creates it. In truth, then, “God” and “Natural Law” do not really explain reality so much as they eradicate the distinction between it and them.
Now, certainly theology and mathematics provide humanity some practical efficacy and utility, which lends them their veneer of philosophical sensibility. Christianity is good at listing rules for man to follow in order to promote some desired, and even perhaps remedially ethical, outcome…an ostensible moral existence: do not kill, do not covet, do not steal, and so on. Mathematics is a fine blueprint for the organization of what is observed in order to provide an a reliable abstract foundation for society’s infrastructure: here’s how you build X to do Y; here is how A can be measured and formulated in order to produce B, and so on. But when we take this rote practical utility and attempt to construct from it a full-on existential paradigm which INCLUDES man, the Observer, we go way astray. The practical utility of “God” and “math” is NOT philosophy…it’s not even a premise…of any kind. It is a tool of cognition…as hammer is a tool of the hand. You cannot reverse engineer “God” or “math” to a metaphysical primary (e.g. man is X, or man is Y) anymore than you can reverse engineer a screwdriver to determine what the user IS. Perhaps you can determine what he does, but not what he is. You do not derive existential meaning from mere practical application. But this axiom is lost on the world, it seems.
When it comes to our existence, the old idiom tells us that we have no control over the cards we are dealt. Some of us, we are told, win the “genetic lottery”. Others don’t beat the odds. They are unattractive, ignorant, awkward, disabled, in poor health…any, all, or some combination thereof. You’re either a “winner” or a “loser” as Nature has dictated. That we are born to rich parents or poor, nurturing or abusive; we are servant or ruling class; tall and handsome; short, fat, and ugly…all is determined for us upon our birth. True we may escape some of these circumstances, but the intrinsic characteristics which allow us to do so—our intelligence, toughness, resilience, diligence—these are all dictated to us by nature.
All of this is merely an appeal to the same fundamental metaphysical premise as that of the Christian who describes your “talents” and “time” and all other characteristics as “God’s gifts”. All of that which makes you you is nature’s gamble, nothing more—the cause and effect of the all-determining Law of Nature. And of course this premise carries with it the same rational failure of imagining that a distinction can be made between you and all of the characteristics endemic to your birth; that your eye color, for example, hair and skin color, height, intelligence, parents, the socioeconomic class into which you are born…all of these exist in a cosmic closet outside of your Self, and Nature costumes you with them upon your birth.
Well, except it is a little more complicated…or perhaps, more manipulative. If you examine the metaphysics which inform this idea, to say that you may somehow be defined as distinct from your inherent and endemic characteristics is at root to remove you from yourself, and THIS ultimately and necessarily renders You qua You an existential contradiction. All the things which make you, you, are not actually OF you, but outside of you, which makes “you” a false premise. Science and Christianity are truly the bedfellows of determinist metaphysics (which, by the by—because I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet—are simply a remedial version of Collectivist metaphysics). Ironic perhaps, but on the other hand, not really ironic at all. All variations of determinism are GOING to be based on mysticism—appeals to the Unseen, the Unknowable, the Infinite Cause, which create all things ex nihilo. Whether we call the the Creator “God” or “Natural Law”; whether the beginning is the Bible’s “In the beginning God created…” or the Big Bang, the definition of reality is the same. Reality is a place where “you”, at best, is entirely imaginary.
Think about it…science decreees that there is no “you” until the moment of your birth, or your conception, or of any given number of gestational weeks…it really doesn’t matter with respect to the metaphysics. Yet it simultaneously asserts that the child born to rich parents, and/or with abundant intellectual or athletic ability, for example, has simply won the genetic lottery. And this means that he has been birthed as a function of random cosmic occurrence. He is a child as much of probability as he is of his parents. Of course the question that is either unknown, ignored, or forgotten is: how can one win the genetic/cosmic lottery if one does not exist until AFTER the lucky number has been drawn? Or perhaps better said: how can one win the lottery if he is a FUNCTION of that lottery? The lottery—meaning the determined cause and effect of all object interaction as a function of Natural Law—is what CREATES the one who is said to have won it. The “lottery” generates the winner out of itself. The one who is said to have won (or lost) the “lottery’ is created DIRECTLY out of it…it doesn’t select a winner it produces him. The “winner” is nothing but a direct function of the very probabilistic mechanisms which are also said to have given him his winnings. This is a contradiction. What I’m trying to say is that there is NO ONE to “win” the “genetic lottery”…the “winner” doesn’t submit the lucky numbers, the winner IS the lucky numbers.
The “lottery” isn’t actually a lottery at all, then. The “lottery” is only random manifestations of the Infinite Determining Cause. There is no “you” who upon his birth wins or loses some cosmic game of chance. “You” is an illusion. You can make no claim to Self because the Self is a lie.
The question which follows then is: If there is no Self then how can be conscious of yourself?
The answer is that you aren’t, according to the deterministic metaphysics of science. The spurious assertion that there is a “you” somewhere behind all that genetic code and foreordained cause and effect is a bromide given to the masses to placate any possible protest. Behind that bromide however is the truth…and the facade is very thin indeed. Behind it is the truth that scientific determinism is an ideology which is fundamentally anti-human and pro-Authoritarian.
The insidious nature and consequence of both the Christian and Scientific determinist metaphysical premise of the fundamental non-existence of the Individual Self is that man shall therefore not be ALLOWED to exist AS an individual. Since all men are a function of the exact same determinist force (“God” or “Natural Law”) there is no possible individual distinctions to be made among them. Mankind is thus collectivized under the auspices of some fatuous, subjective, abstract ideal and then ruled by an Authority, usually the State, which acts as a surrogate—the physical incarnation of that ideal which exists to eradicate all expressions of individuality, as these are considered an imposter to reality.
Which it is…IF we concede the false metaphysical premise that the Self (You qua You) cannot exist. And by the authority of THIS foundational belief comes every and all manner of moral violation…everything from petty crime to the Holocaust. The idea that man is not in fact himself is the ideological root back to which all violence and violations of humanity can be traced.
Think about it. Man does not actually exist as himself. Thus he does not earn himself. His existence stems from a birth that provides him with ALL of his attributes—all that he IS—by mere accident; infinitely determined outcomes by the Infinite Determining Force, which is the infinite essence of all of reality and everything in it. Your existence has nothing to do with you…it’s not work; it’s not an action of you, and thus you cannot rightfully claim ownership of yourself and thus you cannot claim ownership of anything that proceeds from your existence. Your life is not your own because YOU are a lie. Your time, talent, property, family, business, labor…these are things over which you can claim no just ownership because you don’t even own yourself. You didn’t earn YOU, so you cannot claim to own anything that is a consequence of you.
We can sum all of that up with this simple maxim: You’re existence is a function of forces outside of you; you do not earn yourself and therefore you do not own yourself, and therefore you do not own anything you produce.
Of course it is hard to avoid the glaring contradiction in this determinist argument. In order to assert that you do not earn and thus do not own yourself, YOU must be assumed as de facto. In other words, the essence of the claim that “you do not earn yourself because you are a product of forces outside of you” is this: YOU do NOT (de facto) exist. However, the claim “you do not exist” is self-nullifying—a contradiction in terms, like “false truth” or “unknowable knowledge” or “infinite time”. In order to make any claim about “you” you must have an existential reference for “you”, and to have that reference “you” must by definition exist. In other words, you must exist in order to claim that “you do not exist”. The very notion itself is utterly dependent upon the presumed existence of “you”.
To be clear, the claim that “you do not exist” is not the same thing as saying something like “unicorns do not exist”. This is because the “you do not exist” is a metaphysical argument based upon “you”, which is a metaphysical premise, not merely a distinction between what is physically present verses what is only imaginary, cognitive or abstract. In other words, “you do not exist” more precisely means “you CANNOT exist”. That is, “you” are impossible to reality itself in all its forms…physical, cognitive, object, abstract, etc.. “Unicorns do not exist” can never mean “unicorns cannot exist” simply because unicorns qua unicorns are NOT contrary to reality itself because they are not a metaphysical premise. Unicorns may exist in reality, though they may be limited to the imagination; the Self, or You qua You CANNOT exist in reality AT ALL, even in the imagination, because it is a metaphysical concept which is categorically contrary to determinist metaphysics.
”You” is an all or nothing proposition. You either absolutely are or you absolutely are NOT. But only one of these propositions is correct; only one does not self-nullify due to rational inconsistency. I submit that you ARE, period. “You” as a metaphysical premise cannot be parsed, divided, or distilled. “You” is irreducible. Your essence…your Self is a root metaphysical premise, and the proof is that you speak forth the pronoun “I” via an apprehension of its greater meaning in language in general and in communication. The very fact that this is a concept that can be meanginfully and efficaciously formed and communicated is proof that you ARE. “I” would be infinitely impossible as a concept were it a metaphysical fallacy and thus anathema to existence and reality. “I” is either devoid of all context within reality or it IS the context for reality, itself, and irreducibly so. And as you have no other reference, and will NEVER and can NEVER have any other reference for reality, this statement MUST be true: You are you; You qua You is, in fact, a thing.
And by your ability to be you, you EARN you and all of the characteristics which make you YOU in the practical sense; and therefore you own you and thus own all which exists as a willful consequence of you.