Category Archives: Physics and Metaphysics

The Cognitive Dissonance of “Easy Contradiction”: Why I am accused of being too rigid and abstruse (PART TWO)

I am a “black and white” absolutist philosopher simply because I deny that black can also be white at the same time…that A is also B, that the square is also the circle, that what IS simultaneously IS NOT.  The fact that I reject rank contradiction, which is the bane and the intellectual, moral, and rational failure of pretty much ALL world philosophies, makes me much too petulant and pedantic and confusing to pass for a serious thinker.  I boil down to a thin, simmering layer of arcane (at best) ideology, selfishly demanding that 2+2 not equal both 4 AND 5, and throwing a temper tantrum when this childish demand is not met.

Hmm…

I must say I find it both ironic and hypocritical that so often this criticism comes from some of the most rigid ideologues the world has ever spawned:  Christians.  Usually of the orthodox pedigree.

Hmm…

If you are a church member today in good standing, I dare you to try espousing the virtue, or even the mere possibility of virtue, of any other doctrine or theology, be it from another religion altogether or merely a deviation from orthodox Biblical interpretation.  Suggest even a mild stray from traditional thinking, like, say, questioning the moral necessity and efficacy of abstaining from profanity, and watch what happens nine times out of ten.  You’ll be met with polite but utterly categorical disregard, and tacitly denounced as nurturing abject wickedness.  You’ll soon be tagged as a likely insurrectionist…one to watch out for, and there will be a hyper-vigilant monitoring of your presence and influence.  Now, dare stray from a truly cornerstone doctrinal issue, like the Trinity or Pedestination or Penal Substitution, and all but the very slimmest pretense of civility goes right out the stained-glass window.  You will be explicitly denounced as an emissary of Satan…an apostate of the worst kind.  Overnight those “Christians” who were once so emphatically and eternally devoted to you and your family become, effectively, total strangers.  You may retain a smattering of “rebels” who are willing to risk eternal damnation to send you an email now and again, or to get together for coffee, but make no mistake, the vast majority of your “church family” will have held court without you, denounced you as a traitor and a wolf, and will divorce you from their reality entirely.  You are dead to them.  No, worse than that.  You are never-born to them.

Don’t believe me?  Go ahead and try.  See what happens.  I dare you.  Walk up to your nearest member of the church leadership next Sunday and tell them that you have rejected the doctrine of Original Sin, Total Depravity, the Fall of Man, and/or the Trinity, as irrational and unbiblical.  When the leadership and its sycophants eventually engage you for the purposes of “gentle correction”, explain to them that none of those terms appear in Scripture, ever, anywhere.  When they mellifluously tell you that the spirt of scripture clearly implies that such doctrines be absolutely true, ask them when “clearly implies” stopped being an oxymoron, and where scripture implies that one also means three, God controls all things yet doesn’t control them because man is still responsible for his sin and sin nature, or that punishing the innocent for the sake of the guilty is a moral duty (with respect to Penal Substitution).

Watch what happens. After a merely ceremonious appeal to divine enlightenment followed by some rational equivocation, they’ll pull the “God’s chosen Authority” card and you’ll be banished as an imposter and interloper.  And then you will feel the stress of yet another completely irrational and unbiblical doctrine oft employed by Christians:  Excommunication.

So, yes, I find it just a little bit precious when I AM the one called “absolutist” and “unforgiving” for merely refusing to accept that “tree” also means “mailbox”.  In psychology, I believe they call that kind of thing “projection”.

*

I find it insulting and intellectually lazy when my ideas are labeled too abstruse or confusing…too full of enigmatic, circumspect rationalizations; too unwieldy for any practical use.  Just too damn hard to understand.

Okay.  Here’s a list of ideas that apparently are not too hard to understand, if you’ll indulge me.  And in this list you will see arguments and ideas I have encountered from not just Christian circles, but political and scientific as well.  And this is just a mere fraction of the conflicted ideas I have stumbled across in my attempts to get at a rationally consistent interpretation of reality.  And make no mistake, these ideas are taken very seriously by the most accomplished and prodigious intellectuals in the world, and are often also accepted wholesale as axiomatic by the vast majority of laypersons.

-Government exists to protect private property, and it obtains the resources to do so through the tax code, which takes one’s private property by force.  This is thought to be not only completely rational but many times a moral necessity!

-Libertarians want to reduce the size of government by running for office.  In other words, they intend to use the power of the government to reduce the power of government.

-God is infinite and man is finite.  This means hat the finite and the infinite co-exist.  In other words, what is infinite stops where finite begins.  In other words, “limited infinity” is a thing.

-Time and space were created at the Big Bang. In other words, the Big Bang never actually happened, since it has neither a location nor an instant.

-Space is a vacuum.  Wormholes are holes in space.  In other words, there are physicists seriously considering the reality of holes inside another hole.

-We often hear the phrase “beginning of time”.  Of course, time is the beginning.  In other words, there is such a thing as the beginning of the beginning.

-Atheists don’t believe in God, and assert that the concept of God is completely irrational whilst simultaneously appealing to omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite, untouchable, transcendent powers called the “Laws of Physics” which are invisible as distinct from the objects they supposedly control and create.  In other words, atheism is polytheism, soon to be monotheism once the geniuses at MIT and Cambridge get around to discovering the “answer to everything.”

-Scientists claim that the observer is a function of what he observers.  In other words, the observer observes himself from outside himself.

-Consciousness is a direct function of unconsciousness (categorically unconscious natural law).  In other words, consciousness is an “illusion”…which in this case is a euphemism for “doesn’t actually exist”.  So what exactly is it an illusion of?

-It is true to claim that absolute truth cannot be known, and that the inability of man to truly know anything absolutely is intellectually and morally meaningful to him.  In other words, its very important to know that you can’t know.

-Einstein’s theory of time travel implies that such travel is both to the future and the past,  depending ENTIRELY on the observer, making time travel so completely relative that it becomes functionally meaningless.  In other words, time travel is both possible and ABSOLUTELY irrelevant…which is to say, possible and impossible.

Now, this is what I have gleaned from that short list.  Apparently, for my philosophy to be sufficiently digested by the masses and made fit for practical employment, I must somehow find a compromise—in gentler terms…what is meant is actually a synthesis—between mutually exclusive concepts.  This will make me warm and fuzzy and comfortable and relatable and rational.

And here it seems I’ve stumbled upon yet another contradiction to add to the list.  It never seems to end.

*

All right, let us finally put away the rabbit and hat and reveal just how the logical magic trick of contradiction (often mislabeled, either deliberately or unknowingly, as “paradox”) is performed.  Humanity has for too long accepted that contradiction is a legitimately rational means of reconciling extremely complex or seemingly unresolvable concepts, or explaining observations (e.g. the wave-particle duality of light) that are not easily integrated into linguistic paradigms.  In other words, humanity has consistently revealed itself to be, in unfortunately typical fashion, intellectually lazy on the whole.  Or at least, too willing to accept intellectual insufficiency as the apogee of man’s mind.  The reason why it’s easier to “understand” contradiction as “truth” is simple:  because there’s NOTHING to understand.  And I mean literally.  To declare that A is also B makes both A and B…well, nothing.  A is also Not A; and B is also Not B.  By this methodology we get a complete vacuum of meaning…a hole in one’s consciousness instead of a truth.  The assertion that the square is also the circle is to admit that you cannot actually say which is which, and this, ultimately, only means that you have thrown up your hands and surrendered reality to…well, who knows?  You cannot say, because you’ve rejected the means by which anything is said at all.  And if you have surrendered your grip on reality by accepting even a tincture of contradiction as somehow commensurate with truth, then you have spoiled the entirety of understanding.  A pinch of leaven leavens the whole batch, so it is said, and this is true likewise of contradiction.  To claim even one contradiction as truth is to render the entirety of reality ITSELF a contradiction.

If you find my ideas too arcane and rigid, and too aggrandizing of human reason, then I humbly submit that this has nothing to do with the actual substance of my ideas and everything to do with the fact that you have become shamefully complacent in your thinking, and have compounded this error with ignorance.  That one who asserts that mutually exclusive concepts can be synthesized to form truth, or that truth is a measure of degrees, or that the key to understanding is realizing that humanity lacks sufficiency for fundamental understanding…yes, that the one who peddles this mystical, ethereal, esoteric, senseless, pseudo-spiritual bromide should suggest that I am the one whose ideas are much too far beyond the boundaries of human sensibility is exceedingly facile.  I might even say amatuerish.  If you struggle to comprehend the axiom that there can be no such thing as a square circle, then might I suggest you glance in a mirror to discover just which one of us is the real rational grifter.

And look, I get your oblique point.  Unraveling contradictions that have been accepted as axiomatic of reality and truth for often hundreds of years or more can seem exceedingly tedious, complex, full of ostensible random minutia, and just plain nonsensical.  But that this is MY fault is an accusation I refuse to accept.  I am not the one who built whole civilizations out of bullshit.  Civilization and all of its bullshit—from the Church to the State and all of the the little religious and scientific determinism bullshit in between—was already here when I got here.  And this is precisely my point.  It’s not okay to fault me, intellectually or morally, for a problem I did not create; nor is it okay to condemn me for the mess a fully ensconced contradiction makes when it is finally extracted.  Don’t blame the paramedic because the bandages get hella bloody.

END

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Man’s Identity is Not a Matter of Science (PART 2)

The previous article understandably warrants an explanation of the observer’s physical form, and how it can be rendered rationally distinct from the Self of the observer (i.e. Man qua Man/the Individual qua the Individual—the state of singular consciousness).

[Note:  Assume that a reference to the observer is a reference to man…as opposed to God, who indeed may be considered an observer, but who possesses his own unique metaphysical characteristics which aren’t particularly relevant to this article.]

The body, though I submit is corollary to the Self, is not ostensibly absolute, but rather empirical…that is, observable, where the Self is not, because nothing absolute can be observed, only reasoned.  (The Self certainly can be proven to exist, but not by using an empirical standard, but rather a philosophical one.). The observer’s body clearly exists, but is not absolute; it is relative to other bodies and objects.  The Self, however, being absolute, is not relative.  It is constant.  And thus, here I have already asserted some of the differences between the Self and the body which belongs to and empirically represents the Self in the environment (i.e. the universe on the whole).

Again, the Self is absolute, having no empirical form…no physical beginning or end.  The human body we can observe as being born and dying—as beginning in a specifically and empirically defined form and likewise ending.  Though we may speak of “ourselves” as one and the same with our bodies in common parlance, and as being born and later dying; as coming into existence and leaving it; as not being, then being, then not being, again, the philosophical truth is that the Self—that absolute essence of man BY WHICH the distinction between “I” and “other/everything else”  can be made in order that the universe and the reality therein may be referenced TO a CONSTANT—contains NO frame of reference for a beginning and/or an end; a birth and a death; not being, being, and then being again.  And further, we must include one’s body as part of the “everything else” which is distinct from the absolute singularity of the Self.  To me, the proof of the spirit/body, or consciousness/body, or mind/body dichotomy is the empirical reality of the body as an object which is relative to other bodies and other objects, and the necessity of a Constant so that those objects, including the body, which absent the Self are utterly relative, can be referenced and therefore defined.  That is, be given their own specific reality and existence by being NAMED according to the observer, whose essence is the Self.

*

Neither one’s birth nor one’s death can be experienced, because one who IS, according to his essential absolute Self, possesses no frame of reference for NOT IS.  BEING, itself, at its root, cannot experience NOT BEING.  What IS cannot transition to or from an IS NOT.  We claim that we are born and therefore must die (where “we”,  or “I”, is most commonly made the equivalent of the body instead of the Self) because these things are observed empirically, as though empiricism is the plumb line for truth, instead of reason.  Yet none of us can know birth or death—that is, BEING as a function of the ABSENCE of BEING—except by second hand observation, and cannot EVER experience the absence of being because we simply have no frame of reference for it.  It is infinitely beyond our existential capacity to know.  Ironically to some degree, birth and death do not technically meet the definition of “empirical” because there can be no DIRECT observation nor experience of them; they cannot physically/experientially EXIST to us.  And yet we speak of them as though they are indisputably a matter of fact, even though they cannot be proven true by any rationally consistent STANDARD of fact.  They are neither empirical nor are they essentially rational. They are abstract notions that are useful in some superficial contexts, but they are not in any way absolute truth.

Man simply cannot claim the reality of his existence in an unaware state, because it is only by awareness that he can make any claim at all. There is no such thing as pre or post conscious man.  “Man”  by any rational physical or philosophical definition, even using the “objective empiricism” of science, implies OBSERVATION, period.  Man is categorically the observer in his essence, never the observed.  He is therefore not a thing of science, but the author of it.

*

Unconscious natural laws cannot beget man’s mind…his consciousness, for the simple reason that they do have any frame of reference for it.  Consciousness has no meaning to that which is entirely unconscious—these laws cannot create what is mutually exclusive of them.  Further, in such a case, where man’s mind is a function of natural law, man could never devise any notions like “birth” or “death” because he, being a function of the absolute and INFINITE process of natural law, could not concieve of anything like an ENDING to what IS—that is, his own essence….his Self.  Perpetual natural law must create only that which possesses its own perpetual frame of reference.  For man to thus even THINK (his thinking a product natural law according to science) about a beginning or an end to himself contradicts the very root of the INFINITE and ABSOLUTE processes of natural law.

However, the Consciousness, or the conscious Self, CAN create the ABSTRACTION of natural law, because it—that is, the Self, that is, the observer—serves as the reference for the otherwise utterly relative objects in the environment which he observes.  And by his infinite conscious reference, he can create any concept he likes to describe this environment, even a “beginning” or an “ending”, because this is precisely what the Self, being the source of conceptualization and consciousness, DOES.  It abstracts, giving meaning and purpose to the otherwise purposeless, meaningless, and utterly RELATIVE environment in which its body resides.

The meaning and purpose of all things is a product of conceptualization…indeed, the declaration that a thing IS is a product of conceptualization.  This ability of man, unique to him amongst all living things, is why he claims consciousness.  The ability to conceptualize, which I submit is the fundamental essence of man’s identity, declares what IS, and thus declares what IS DOES, including “being unconscious”.

Consciousness implies the ability to conceptualize (and vice versa), and conceptualization, in order to be relevant and meaningful, implies reason, which is simply the non-contradictory integration and combination of concepts in order to form TRULY meaningful ideas.  And it is from reason then that we get truth, which is the rational definition of what IS and what IT DOES.  From truth we get ethics.  Ethics is simply the designation of what IS and what IS DOES in terms of meaning—meaning at root implying morality, which is the purview of ethics.  Another way of saying this is that ethics describes the essential MEANING of what IS and what IS DOES.

Which begs the question:  Means to whom?

And thus what we are really asking is:  What is the MEANINGFUL reference for the TRUTH of those things which are said to exist?  In other words, who makes truth true and meaningful?  Moreover, assuming that science declares objective truths regarding nature, to whom does it owe its objectivity and its truthfulness?  By what reference is the reality it describes rationally and meaningfully real?

The answer is the observer.  And the observer is I.  It is You and Me.  It is the Self.  Man qua man.

END.

 

 

Man’s Identity is Not a Matter of Science (Part One)

Obviously science is useful…clearly its efficacy is there for all to see, for thousands of years. But science can only describe that which is observed, it cannot describe the observer.

The importance of this cannnot be overstated.

Without the observer, there is no frame of reference by which to describe reality scientifically. That is, absent the observer qua observer (i.e. the observer not described and defined by the very scientific processes he is observing) the question begged is: to what or to whom can we reference the machinations of the universe which are said to be governed and defined according to the processes of natural law? Absent the observer, how are all object actions and interactions not infinitely relative? For example, does the earth really revolve around the sun in a universe which has no fixed boundary unless there exists an observer to say it is so, with respect to the needs and the expediencies of HIS vantage point?

The answer is no, it does not.

And neither does the sun revolve around the earth.  The relationship between sun and earth is infinitely relative. Absent the observer, there is no fixed location of ANY object in a universe which possesses no fixed boundary.

I submit that the only non-relative entity in existence which thus can serve as the reference for the (otherwise) infinitely relative movements (action/interaction) of objects in the universe is “I”.  That is, the sense of one’s utter Self…the IS of You and Me…the Root of one’s being. Self. This is the only immovable, fully absolute existing Plumb Line to which all scientific laws can be referenced, and thus it is the Self of the observer by which these laws receive every ounce of their relevance. Absent the Self-aware observer, it is impossible that scientific truths can be known, and therefore impossible that they be called true. That which is not known cannot be declared true—for it cannot be true if it is not true TO a CONSCIOUS reference; if it is not true TO ANYONE, then such a “truth” is wholly irrelvant…which, “irrelevant truth” is a contradiction in terms. A truth which can never be shown nor proven nor applied TO ANYONE is simply a truth which is not true.

And it is the observer, and only the observer, who knows and declares and applies. Truth is Knowledge and Application (relevance), and both of these are a function of the observer, period.

Science, then, if it is indeed true and also contains truths, is thus necessarily a function of the observer, and not the other way around. It is not a matter of discovery, but description. That is, scientific law is not found, it is created…by the observer. The conscious observer, by his powers of conceptualization and therefore language, rooted in the “I” of Individual existence, creates scientific truths from reason. He defines, in rationally consistent ways, to and from himself, that which promotes himself…that which is for himself, so that he may promote his own existence and his own root existential Truth, and absolutely so, according to the (utterly reasonable) metaphysics which demand him. A law of nature, then, devoid of the reference of the observer, is not discovered, as though an ethereal and transcendent natural “process” which resides in some utterly theoretical inky black nothingness beyond and ironically exclusive of man and his universe creates some kind of meaningful relationship between the completely relative existent objects in that universe. The observer, by the reference point of Self and by his powers of conceptualization and language, percieves his environment and gives definition and meaning to the relative relationships between and amongst his body and all other objects which act and interact with each other in that environment. Because of the observer and his absolute and immovable frame of reference of Self, the relationship between objects and all of their infinite parts is utterly relative no more, and thus can now be named, defined, and given purpose. The observer makes nature true, not the other way around. Indeed, the observer creates like God, or as God, perhaps…he by his nature brings into being a universe which otherwise cannot exist, because it can possess no Truth apart from him. And that which has no Truth can likewise have no existence; to say that something IS, which is the sole convention and prerogative of the observer, is the most fundamental truth claim of them all.

Don’t Let Them Fool You: Mystery vs Paradox vs Contradiction

The staggering degree to which these terms are conflated, either out of ignorance or a desire to manipulate, is shocking.  As I have mentioned many times on this blog, I was a reformed orthodox Christian for about 35 years, including 15 in the “soft” cult of Sovereign Grace Ministires.  At SGM, when they weren’t busy covering up first degree felonies, like the sexual abuse of minors, they liked to refer to themselves as “reformed charismatic”.  And this I suppose was the first time I became conscious of the great orthodox bugaboo: contradiction as Truth.  Some years after, when I began to ardently examine the doctrinal claims of orthodox Christianity through the lens of rational consistency, I started seeing this sophist tactic all over the place.  I mean, once you learn to find the contradictions, it becomes harder to discern what ISN’T a contradiction than what is.  I mean, name the doctrinal premise—double imputation, penal substitution, Original Sin/Fall of Man, biblical inerrancy and authority, faith alone, pervasive depravity and sin nature, forgiveness, salvific belief, the Holy Spirit and divine enlightenment, Total Depravity; Uncontitional Election; Limited Atonement; Irresistible Grace; Perserverence of the Saints (the five pillars of Calvinism, T.U.L.I.P.), complimentarianism, etcetera, etcetera—and you will find little more than a bubbling witches brew of contradiction and self-defeating arguments.  Once you know what to look for, let me tell you, the circus of Christian orthodoxy is quite a show.

And how does the Christain Ecclesiastic Authority, in whatever Catholic or Protestant form it may take, get away with this?  How do they convince masses upon masses of ostensibly intelligent and successful lay memebers to part with their hard earned resources and make Orthodox Christianity a billions-of-dollars-a-year-racket?  By intellectual make-believe.  Take a contradiction, put it into the transcendent context of “divine enlightenment” and, as Philospher John Immel oft says, “Alakazaam…poof!!”, we get God’s Mystery…the Holy Paradox.  The Holy Paradox being, incidentally, the fifth member of the Trinity, just after “Bible”.

In this article, I’m going to explain the real difference between these three concepts…contradiction, mystery, and paradox.  Understand the distinctions, and I can promise that you will avoid the intellectual, philosophical, and theological miasma that will permanently stunt your spiritual growth.  Contradiction-as-truth is the hard drug of Christian theology.  Break the habit and you will save your soul.

Just a quick note…I’m not going to quote dictionary definitions.  This tired and formulaic approach to academic discourse is, to me, a mark of the untalented and/or uninspired.  I will define these concepts in my own terms within the context at hand—specifically, but perhap not exclusively, the church—in the interest of keeping things more punchy and less clinical.  It’s more fun this way, trust me.

Contradiction:

A contradiction is merely the assertion that two or more mutually exclusive concepts are, in fact, compatible.  When we are speaking of ideas, doctrine, theology, philosophy, and so on, you will note a contradiction in some form or fashion this way:

A claim to know that something is true, yet that thing necessarily and/or by definition incorporates two or more mutually exclusive concepts, and predicates its “truth” upon the idea that these incompatible concepts are somehow entirely compatible.  It assumes and expects you to also assume that what are overtly and objectively opposite notions are somehow corollary.  Up is also down; black is also white; the square is also the circle.

Example:

  1. Total Depravity:  Man is responsible for his own practical moral failures and yet is born depraved in his nature.  (Incidentally, the oft-responded notion that Total Depravity doesn’t mean that we are as bad as we could be is also a rank contradiction in terms, by definition…”total” does not mean “partly”, but intellectual license is cheap and easy when you can appeal to “divine enlightenment” instead of reason.  Any old dope can claim to “know” things if he doesn’t actually have to explain them.  Telling people that they will understand once they “believe” (meaning when God reveals it to them by magic) is merely saying that they will understand once they agree.  Which is, again, a contradiction in terms.  Like I said…it just never ends.)  That man is BORN depraved is saying that man, existentially, IS evil, and thus in his natural, absolute Self, cannot do any good thing.  This is PRECISELY the argument for why all men need Jesus—-because all men have sinned because why?  Because they MUST sin!  Because of their nature.  Because they are born sinners.  All Good is a function of God’s divine power and enlightenment upon man who is existentially unworthy and, of himself, alone, unable to receive it.  And yet man is morally responsible for his evil as though he can know the difference between good and evil and can choose the latter over the former.  The contraction is this, in a nutshell:  Man IS totally evil, and yet man also responsible for his evil as though he had a choice, which is why God judges him.
  2. God’s Divine Will:  All which happens is a product of God’s omnipotence.  Yet man’s consciousness is somehow real and relevant, and that man can know something, like God’s saving grace and his own natural sinfulness.  This is a contradiction in terms because if God possesses ominipotence then all which occurs in reality is either a function of God’s direct causal power or his “allowing” something to occur, which…means the same thing.  Nothing happens that God doesn’t directly control either via “action” or “inaction”.  In this context, man cannot develop an independent self-identity.  All man does is in reality a function of God’s doing, in which case, there is no point to nor possibility of man actually BEING himself.  For “being” is an action, which is not of himself, but of God, because of omnipotence. If man does not possess his own self, then he certainly cannot be self-aware.

Mystery:

A mystery is simply that which is unknown.  It is not, as Christian orthodoxy implies or outright asserts, that which is UNKNOWABLE.  The idea that God controls all things, yet man is morally responsible for his natural depravity and INEVITABLE evil actions; that God is in control of all things and yet simultaneously abhors the evil actions of men and demands sacrificial recompense…these things are not mysteries! These things are contradictions.  Christian orthodoxy labels its contradictions as “mysteries” because appealing to divine mystery is the most convenient way to conflate ideological folderol with God’s infinite wisdom, which, when presented in the context of soaring-if-not-insipid worship music, the histrionics and emotional blackmail of the pulpit, and the navel-gazing desperation of the congregation, can seem quite profound.  In reality, however, it is no more than pedestrian intellectual error of the kind found in the most nascent of human minds.  That is, in children.  It’s pretty sad.  And yet there it is, Sunday after Sunday, and making big money and casting a wide net of social and political influence.  So…perhaps it’s not so much sad as it is scary.

Example (of Mystery):

  1. How did the lion escape from the zoo when the cage was closed and locked? (A simple hypothetical mystery.)
  2. Why does the sun rise and set? (A historical mystery, henceforth solved.)
  3. How does an experienced hunter, tracker, and survival expert get lost and starve to death in terrain with which he is intimately familiar? (A hypothetical mystery which may never be solved.)

A mystery can be that which we do not yet know, which we did not know but now do, or that which only one man or a few men once knew and have taken the knowledge with them to the grave.  None of these things are “unknowable”…that is, the answers to the questions do not exceed the existential and epistemological boundaries of man’s identity.  Man’s identiy as “man”, and all that this naturally implies about his consciousness and cognitive capabilities, are the only frame of reference necessary to de-mystify the mystery.  The answers to the questions may rationally exist within man’s reality and will be defined according to reason.

Paradox:

This is, I submit, the most misunderstood and misused of the three concepts addressed in this article.  “Paradox” is not a synonym for “contradiction”…and yet this mistake has become so common that you find it almost as often as you find someone using the term “literally” to mean “figuratively”.  It’s become part of the common vernacular, and we don’t even bat an eye at the massive distortion in meaning it creates.  Paradox shares absolutely nothing in common with contradiction with respect to its own particular meaning, though it is true that one can be confused with the other based on incorrect assumptions or a lack of or misunderstanding about some amount of empirical evidence.

A paradox is something which can as of yet only be described by combining two or more mutually exclusive concepts, but which nevertheless MUST be true based on empirical evidence.  We might also say that a paradox is observably true, but conceptually false.  We cannot describe what we are seeing in terms that do not conflict.  Paradox, then, is only temporary…for any observed phenomenon can and must only be described in conceptual terms that are consistent.  To leave a paradox to a contradictory definition is, I submit, to divorce man from his own reality.  A reality which does not conform to man’s conceptualizing faculties (his reason) inevitably makes man irrelevant to reality.  The consequences of this are disastrous.  To claim that man can observe something he CANNOT and CAN NEVER describe is to drive a wedge between cognition/conceptualization and perception.  Man then, in the metaphysical sense, as a singular Self—the conscious Self, you you might say—becomes divorced from the determinative  cause and effect of “objective reality”.  Man qua man then becomes an imposter to reality, or at best an illusion…his awareness of Self—that by which he describes and defines “objective reality”  becomes, ironically, a paradox of nature—some determined cause of a determined effect prescribed by the blind and unthinking laws of nature.  The “I” of man—the individuality of the individual—is reduced to an ultimately irrelevant epiphenomenon of the utterly determined universe.  Man becomes a paradox which can have no conceptual solution because he doesn’t really, or at best, relevantly, exist.

And it doesn’t take a clairvoyant to see where this goes.

At any rate, a paradox, in summary, is that which is observed, and thus is real, but as of yet has not been explained in rationally consistent terms.

Example:

  1. The wave/particle duality of light.  That light is both a particle and a wave.  For light can be observed in both states, and thus is said to BE both, simultaneously.  As this is a contradiction in terms, we must assume that how light is observed probably has to do with the location of the observer and not with the idea that light both is and is not a wave and a particle at any given moment.
  2. That objects exist, an distinctly so, and yet all objects are comprised of a collection of parts, and thus no objects exist, because all objects are comprised of other objects, infinitely so.

END

Relativity: A very interesting philosophical paradox

Absolute relativity—that is, relativity absent a reference from which to observe it and organize the implicit relationships—actually precludes relative distinctions between objects, which precludes relativity itself. In other words, unreferenced to a non-relative observational constant, relativity is not relative, it’s infinite.  But of course infinity is purely a concept, because what is infinite cannot exist because it cannot be given a place or a time and thus cannot be defined.  And yet if relativity is referenced to an observational constant, then it’s not actually relative.  Meaning that there is no relativity qua relativity.  Relativity becomes, itself, relative TO the observer.  Meaning that the observer decides what relativity is, and absolutely so, at any given moment, depending on how he chooses to define it according to himself.

In other words, relativity, like infinity, is a concept.  Neither of these things are actual.  And yet if the relative relationships between the objects the observer conceptualizes are not actual, and if the observer possesses a body which is likewise a relative object with a relative relationship to other objects which is not actual, then how does the observer actually observe anything in order to conceptualize it? And if relativity is not a thing, and thus everything is infinite, but infinity cannot exist except conceptually, then what is anything? What exists? How is reality even possible?

So here is where we leave it, the paradox only to be unraveled by throwing out the metaphysics that the giants of history have given us, replacing them with much better, more rational metaphysics that we who stand on their shoulders might devise.  For those who stand on the shoulders of a giant may see things that the giant cannot see, and because of that knowledge build him a step stool.

Infinity cannot be infinite and relativity cannot be relative without the observer.  But they cannot be “infinity” and “relativity”, respectively, with the observer, either.  And yet, they are both necessary to the definition of the observer, himself, and to his purpose.  Thus we know that relativity, infinity, and observer are symbiotic…are corollary.  But how? And What?

The answer is Ability.

Why Death is Irrational

I shall define death this way:  The end of consciousness; the cessation of self-awareness; the nullification of the distinction of “I”.  This is a fitting description of death qua death, or “proper death”, as it is more aptly described.  What I mean is death unqualified by either science or religion…qualifications like “spiritual death”, or “death” as merely a biological pattern…of “life” scientifically reconfigured.  In both cases, consciousness—the awareness of the Self—has nothing to do with death…death is merely one aspect of a perfunctory reality.  Death is existant; and it is not an end of anything.  And in this case, death is not existentially relevant to man, and so it is not relevant to philosophical truth, and thus is not relevant to ROOT truth.  For philosophy deals with the observer—you and I as our singular Selves—where science deals with the observed, and religion deals with the observer as a mere function of divine will.  Spiritual death refers to the irreversible debauchery of one’s character and the experience of divine punishment, and consiounsess in this case never ceases, and so there is no death as an ending, which means death is purely abstract, merely describing a different version of life.  Biological death, being rooted in the mathematics of science, doesn’t concede the fundamental legitimacy or efficacy of consciousness, and this is because science posing as philosophy is inexorably determinist.  And therefore death has nothing to do with the individual, who has no frame of reference for anything at all absent his consciousness.  Scientific determinism precludes consciousness entirely.

My argument for the irrationality of death is fairly simply, and it is this:  It is a self-nullifying and contradictory act to incorporate into reality, be it via divine power or purpose, or scientific processes, the destruction/subtraction/expiration of that by which creation and the powers and processes which cause it have any frame of reference whatsoever.  The eradication of the reference by which God or nature (physics) and creation can be known as such, and thus given any value, is impossible because it necessarily amounts to a plenary invalidation of both.  And once the Cause and the Caused are invalidated they cannot be, because they can have no meaning.  Their being is entirely dependent upon their meaning, purpose, relevancy, and efficacy, all of which can only be functions of that which is the practical reference for all of these things.  The Truth of all which is said to exist is the sum of meaning, purpose, relevancy, and efficacy.  But without that TO which the Truth of the Cause and the Caused can, in fact, be True, then they cannot be Cause or Caused in the first place.  In which case they could not have caused or be caused at all.  Without the conscious reference, who is there to say what is, and what is is is to be called, and what is actually does, and where it is, and where it’s been and where it’s going?  There is no one.

For a simple example, take “chocolate”.  “Chocolate” which is not referenced to he who can apply it to his single, constant, unchanging and thus objective reference of himSELF, which thus necessarily implies consciousness, or awareness of Self, is not and cannot in fact be chocolate.  Without this reference, chocolate is not “chocolate”—the thing has no meaning.  It has no purpose, no relevancy,  no efficacy…it has no Truth, and therefore is not a thing at all.  It is neither chocolate nor “chocolate”.  And therefore if the reference dies…if “I” qua “I” dies then so must everything else.  If “I” goes blank, then all of reality, all of existence, likewise goes blank.  And if it goes blank then it never existed at all, because blankness, nothingness, is infinite.  And this is why death is impossible.  If we concede the absolute end of the Self then there is no reason why anything referenced to the Self should ever have begun in the first place.  None at all.  Unreferenced reality cannot be real, and could never have been real because a relevant past suggests a relevant present, which is not there.  What is not real now, never was.

It may seem the height of arrogance to suggest that without “I”—without the Self, the individual conscious frame of reference for all of reality—that existence itself is null.  We are bred, I submit, by the implicit humility of western thought and culture to accept that “I” is purely an extension of “other”, and that what is good for the Self is only that which is good for the collective…for the “greater good”.  From this, at least in part, we implicitly concede that “I” is at root transient, and alone is insignificant to the overall ontological and spiritual landscape.  We, individually, are small…mere blips in the vast expanse of time and space and the universe…that reality is reality and existence is existence whether the individual is conscious of it or not.  To suggest otherwise, as I myself have personally experienced more than once, is to be branded a solipsist, a subjectivist, a mystic, and/or a peddler of Kantian collectivist metaphysics.  But whether or not these labels are fitting or rational (they aren’t) is nothing but a distraction.  Conjecture about my motives or my ideas in this context is besides the point.  All I am doing is asking an obvious question with an obvious answer.

How would I know?

I am told that reality objectively exists and is true and will continue to be true despite my consciousness of it, but how would I know?  Absent my Self…that is, my awareness of my Self, I have no frame of reference for such an assertion.  So, when I am told that reality is objective and existant outside of me what I’m being asked to do, ironically, is to accept the claim by blind faith.  I am being asked to believe in a thing absent any objective evidence that I can be aware of, because, as I am told, reality is entirely outside of my awareness.  My awareness is irrelevant to reality, because when it’s gone, reality is still entirely real.

This is a problem.

If my consciousness is integrated into reality then reality cannot be utterly real without it; and if it’s not integrated, and reality is outside of it, then my consciousness is entirely irrelevant to it, distinct from it, and therefore is a complete lie.  I cannot be conscious of reality because my consciousness is irrelevant to reality qua reality.  It’s a figment…an illusion.  Thus, I am being asked to accept an objective reality without any objective evidence.  And this, dear readers, by some means of rational extortion and contortion passes for objective truth in many philosophical circles.

And it may further be argued that there is evidence for an objective reality outside of my consciousness that I can be shown now, and that is why I should accept the notion, as if what I accept by consciousness now has any bearing upon a state of absolute unconsciousness.  Whatever I know as a Self ceases to be known when I am no longer that Self.  The Self ceases, and thus any evidence I gather from the frame of reference of Self also ceases.  Such evidence is not really evidence in that case.  And further, to make this argument, that evidence now from consciousness is meaningful, is really just a concession that consciousness is utterly necessary to truth, which nullifies the entire argument that truth is still true and reality still real absent consciousness.

I must say that I find it specious at best to assert that one who accepts the obvious fact that without one’s conscious frame of reference there can be no such thing as reality means that he is a sollipsist, or that morality becomes merely a function of one’s subjective whim.  That is, to be blunt, bad logic.  Given that before any concepts can mean anything they must be consistently applied to the reality which the conscious observer perceives and defines necessarily to himself, the subjectivity of truth and morality is, from this premise, quite impossible.  Because individual consciousness is the frame of reference, morality and truth can be objective.  Individual consciousness allows ideas to have a reference point…a constant for what would otherwise be purely relative.  It allows “me” to ACTUALLY be me and “you” to ACTUALLY be you, and from this we can derive a consistent epistemology and ethics.  It allows reason to be reasonable, and thus ethics to be ethical.  Reason, being anchored in a constant reference, has a consistent meaning, no matter who is using it…me or you or he or she.  Because reason is shared, it is NOT subjective.  There is no subjectivity implicit to the singular Self who communicates…that is, who shares concepts and conceptual consistency.  The same reason that defines MY Self as the reference for all of reality TO ME also applies to YOUR Self as an equal reference TO YOU, because we share the concepts and thus share reason.  The fact that reason must be referenced to the Self doesn’t make it unreasonable, but reasonable, because now it has a reference.  The only time morality and truth become subjective is when one no longer SHARES in the rational truth of the Self as the singular objective reference.  The only time truth becomes a lie and good becomes evil is when people reject the idea that their consciousness—their singular awareness of Self— is the only absolute reference for reality.  And thus, the only time there is “death” is when the Self rejects its own infinite existence.  The only time death is “real” so to speak is when one assumes that their consciousness is transient, or tertiary, or fundamentally irrelevant to reality.

So take heart, and know that because You must always be You, you cannot die and you will not die. You may travel, but you will not end.  You may be out of sight, but you cannot be out of existence.

The Critical Difference Between Science and Philosophy

What is it to which properties attach themselves? What is a thing absent its properties? What is “essence”? What is the IS of a thing? What is a thing without its roundness, or its blueness, or its coarseness or smoothness; its weight or shape, position, location, or speed for example? And where is the distinction between a thing and its properties…the abstract, you might say, and the material? Take away properties and what is left? And if there is no distinction then how do you describe a thing at all? And what and where is the distinction between the properties? Where does a thing’s texture end and its color begin, for example?

Is a thing merely a sum of its parts? Is there a distinction between its parts and itself? If so, then where does the thing end and the parts begin? And if there is no distinction then by what means can we say the thing or its parts exist at all? Parts that are not part of anything are not actually parts. And a thing without parts cannot be distinct because it has no distinctions within itself, and therefore not being distinct it isn’t really a thing. But if it’s not a thing how can we define it? And if it’s not distinct how can we give it a location so that we can compare it to something else in order to say what it is not, as corollary to what it is? In other words, comparison is essential to definition, is it not?

Comparison is essential to definition.

Hmm…

If we give a thing a location…for example, if we say that A exists HERE and B exists THERE and so can compare A to B and thus define A, do we not then admit that A must be A ALREADY and intrinsically and thus is independent of B, and therefore doesn’t need to be compared to B in order for it to be A? And how can this paradox be resolved unless we relegate the objects in question to the realm of pure abstraction, which is the realm of the observer and his concepts? That is, if the paradox can be resolved by making things and their distinctions a function of the observer and his powers of conceptualization, should we not reference all truth and efficacy and meaning to the observer? And if we do that then we cannot obligate the observer to the concepts he uses to describe reality, can we? But then how do we determine any absolute truth FOR the observer if truth is a function of reality which is a function of the observer’s ability to conceptualize? The observer is the source of truth so then can he not decide for himself arbitrarily what is true or not? How can objective truth be both FROM him and TO him?

If the observer defines all things conceptually then he must define HIMSELF conceptually. So is the observer just another concept? What is materialism and is there any such thing?  What is matter? Are these merely concepts, too, or are they outside of conceptualization somehow? But if we accept that we as humans sense, then conceptualize, and therefore are observers and conceptualize all of reality, how would we know?

Are there perhaps answers to be found at the level of quantum physics? But does this not beg the question: Where do a thing’s quantum properties end and its Newtonian properties begin? And if one is a function of the other how can there be any distinction, and thus how can each one actually exist? And if a thing has distinct quantum properties and distinct Newtonian properties then are we dealing with one thing or two?

And are the edges of a thing its beginning or end? Or both, or neither? And if neither then where is it? And if both, and the beginning and end of a thing are constantly folding back in on themselves, then isn’t the thing infinite? And if it’s infinite then it cannot have a location and thus cannot exist anywhere. And if it doesn’t exist anywhere then it doesn’t exist at all, right?

And this, my friends? Is the difference between science and philosophy.

Reason, Not Physics: Why miracles are possible

Say we have a medical issue…an injury, for example. If we accept the Laws of Physics as the arbiter of what is possible or impossible, and accept that these laws are the determinative mechanisms which govern all of reality (which is implicit in the laws themselves), then we must concede that we can only correct our injury according to the same rules which caused it.

So far so good…ostensibly.

The problem, however, is that in such a case, while it may seem a perfectly natural, logical, and efficacious assumption—intuitive even—we cannot make an OBJECTIVE moral value judgement between the injury and its remediation. Since they are both created, caused, and manifest by the exact same determinative rules, which, due to their necessary corollary relationship are at root a singularity, the only value judgement which can be rendered is entirely subjective—arbitrary—and therefore fundamentally meaningless.  For it is not possible to claim that one manifestation of the absolute governing mechanisms which define and compose reality is better or worse than another. Different manifestations of natural law observed by the individual are, fundamentally, morally indistinguishable, and thus any value judgements are completely subjective.  And if value judgements are subjective, then any epistemological (meaning/definitions) judgements are irrelevant, because morality and truth are corollary…for if one cannot morally value distinctions, then the definitions of those distinctions are ultimately useless to the individual. And this being the case, no actual distinctions—like “injury” or “healing”—can really be said to exist at all.

To summarize: Once moral distinctions can no longer be made, because all events are products of the same absolute, determinative natural laws, then no distinctions of any kind can be made. And if no distinctions of any kind can be made, then nothing can be said to exist, because it has become impossible to tell the difference between what something is and what something is not.  Natural law, thus, is entirely inadquate as an apologetic for objective existence, and thus it cannot rationally be said to serve as the plumbline for determining what is truly possible or impossible.

You see, once the perspective of the individaul has been rendered moot by subordinating his powers of perception and conceptualization to the absolute determinative forces of natural law, then the very thing which gives natural law any meaning and relevance at all—the observer—is pointless. And without the observer, there is no one to claim that natural law is actually true, or actually exists in the first place.  Natural law, itself, serves no purpose, because it wrecks the observer, who is the ONLY reference—the only constant—by which natural law can be said to have meaning and thus have value.  Purpose, value, and meaning are not a function of natural law, they’re a function of the observer.  That means MAN.  And that means you and me.  And that means we are NOT products of natural law…because the observer cannot be a function of what he observes.  This is a contradiction in terms, and is objectively impossible.  An observer who is a function of what he is observing is by definition NOT OBSERVING.

The very fact that the laws of physics can be defined at all is proof that they are not the root of objective reality.  They are a tool that man, the individual, the observer, uses to organize the distinction(s) between himself qua himself, and his environment (which also includes his body…but man’s body is not himself qua himself, but is ultimately and rationally a part of his environment…but this is quite a complex subject and is best left to its own article). The very fact that man can and MUST make a moral distinction between injury and healing is proof that the laws of physics cannot be the true arbiter of reality and thus are not the arbiter of possibility and impossibility.

I submit then that only that which violates the identity of the individual (the self qua the self) is impossible.  And since identity is a matter of reason—where reason is defined as rational consistency…the non-contradictory combination of concepts (X cannot simultaneously be Y, for example)—we can generalize this assertion to say that a violation of reason is the only impossibility, because contradiction cannot be made rational; and what cannot be made rational cannot ACTUALLY be defined, which means it cannot actually  exist.

So…you want proof that miracles are possible?

I give you the apologetics of reason.

 

There Can Be No Such Thing as Gravity Qua Gravity, So What is it?

The following argument is based upon these assumptions, which I aver are all rationally defensible:

1. All that exists must be able to exist, which then supplants Existence with Ability as the metaphysical primary.

2. Gravity cannot possess any distinct existence. That is, there can be no such thing as gravity distinct or separate from the objects upon which it acts. Apart from these objects it has no relevance, which means it has no meaning, which means it cannot be defined as gravity.

3. There is no such thing as space qua space, because the distinction between objects cannot itself be a thing from which objects are also distinct. Therefore, there must be a different manifestation of distinction. I submit that gravity is this distinction.

In light of these, I submit the following about gravity:

Existence is ability to exist. Existence then is action, because ability must find rational expression as action. Action is always observed as relative movement. I therefore propose that gravity is, specifically, the expression of the ability to exist. Or perhaps better said, it is the action of existing…of existence observed  necessarily as an action.

(Part Two: Why UPB Self-Nullifies) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

[I apologize in advance for the tedious and highly technical nature of the following article. Bear with me. There really isn’t an easy way to do this. Thanks.]

1. If UPB is simply a set of possible choices, but does NOT reference an absolute moral Standard which makes compliance with UPB not simply preferable, but necessary in order to avoid some kind of irreparable existential contradiction, which thus implies and necessitates some irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all), then UPB cannot claim to be either universal nor preferable, since there is no fundamental existential difference between compliance and non-compliance. In which case, UPB self-nullifies.

2. If UPB IS considered an inexorable natural law–referencing itself as its own absolute moral Standard–to which the individual is obligated or face some form of irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all) then UPB is not preferable, but necessary, and perfunctory, and it self-nullifies.

3. If UPB is a legal (as opposed to ethical or moral) Standard–that is, Law as defined by a legal Authority, like the State–then by definition the individual is legally obligated to comply, and non-compliance results in punishment which, though legal, is, for all practical purposes, existential in its effect, since the manifestation of the ownership of oneself–i.e. free will/choice–while under State sanction is impossible. And therefore, UPB is not preferable and therefore self-nullifies.

Now, to expand upon point number two; and the reason is because this argument is, as I observe, the primary argument utilized by apologists for secular ethics:

If UPB is considered merely a de facto parameter of (one’s) Existence–that is, the perfunctory behavior of (one’s) Existence which affirms that (one’s) Existence actually exists, then UPB is nullified. Meaning, if we use the argument that because we observe that species or the individuals of that species behave in ways which are consistent with survival and reproduction and then claim that this behavior is actually preferable…we’ve contradicted ourselves and shown that such behavior cannot possibly be preferable, let alone ethical, and is only universal in that it is simply a de facto function of Existence qua Existence. In other words, if we remove choice–moral agency–from ethics entirely, or make it purely a function of the laws of nature, then a choice is never actually chosen. However, removing choice contradict ethics as meaningful in any rational or practical way, because amoral ethics imply behavior which doesn’t make a distinction between good behavior or bad behavior. So…why would any given behavior be preferable? It wouldn’t.

Also, notice how in scientific terms, which are the secularist’s terms of epistemology, ALL action is merely “behavior”…”choice” as a vehicle is sophistically smuggled in later–a bromide meant for and used by the small minority of non-communist atheists as a nod to the non-aggression principle; but UPB pairs with the NAP like salad pairs with Guinness.

If we accept Existence as the Metaphysical Primary, and therefore objective (empirical) reality and natural law as its practical Ethical and Epistemological derivatives , then we must admit that one cannot act via his Existencee in a way which contradicts his Existence…so regardless of what one does, and therefore what one chooses, one must necessarily always be acting ethically. To claim that one can somehow violate the terms of his or someone else’s (absolute) Existence by Existence, itself, is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, if UPB is said to be an Ethic derived from Existence, it is impossible for one to violate it, since one cannot violate the very thing that makes all behavior–like the “violation” itself– ultimately possible.

On the other hand, if we were to place UPB outside of (one’s) Existence and then argue that, as an Ethic outside of Existence (which is its own giant fallacy, given that Existence is the Metaphysical Primary for all apologists for UPB, I think), failure to follow UPB somehow amounts to an Ethical, and therefore moral, violation, and therefore is evil, and therefore obliges men to “prefer” UPB,  then the individual–as a rank existant–could neither be the source nor the reference for UPB, which makes whatever the individual prefers, and thus ultimately chooses, entirely besides the point…since his choice and preference are a function of himself. This again, as I asserted above in point 3., relegates UPB to the status of a Legal Code–the Legal Law–which means that coercion by a legal Authority, not preference, is the only legitimate and rational means of fulfilling the Law.

Now, if we claim that (one’s) existence is not in fact absolute, but somehow transient–an effect and not a cause, as it were, or a function of some Absolute Cause outside of (one’s) existence, then we would have no logical reason to conclude that behavior which promotes one’s existence is preferable to behavior which does not. For (one’s) existence, being non-absolute, is no more valid a state of nature than is his non-existence. Non-existence, because existence is not absolute, does not violate the Absolute Cause (that of which (one’s) existence AND non-existence is a direct effect), and therefore it can be no more rationally nor morally preferable to behave in ways that promote existence–of either oneself or others–than to behave in ways that do not. And therefore by what basis can we argue that UPB is actually preferable at all? No basis.

Interestingly, I have noticed that those who promote Existence as the Metaphysical Primarily DO, irrationally, make the distinction between Existence, the Primary, and one’s individual existence–because they understand that individual existence necessarily incorporates consciousness, and therefore they reject it as having anything to do with Existence qua Existence, because consciousness they assert is not objective, because it’s not empirical. But you see as soon as one makes the distinction between conscious existence (consciousness) and Existence the Primary, then whatever the individual consciously prefers--and all preference is conscious by definition–is beside the point. When you reject consciousness as fundamental to Existence you necessarily reject choice. Which means that you reject choice as fundamentally meaningful, which not only wrecks UPB but wrecks morality entirely, and makes any discussion of Ethics pointless.  I submit, however, that if we oblige consciousness to rational consistency, which is entirely logical (and a separate article), then reason alone serves as a perfect and categorical guide to Ethical behavior, because it makes Truth actually and objectively possible.

Part three very soon.