Category Archives: Physics and Metaphysics

How Christians and Secularists Both Define You as Nothing (Part TWO)

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.

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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.

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”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.

END

Memory Implants: Another impossible sci-fi trope

Implanting memories on some unsuspecting, or suspecting, victim or person…make them believe that they have done or said this or that by giving them a memory, from OUTSIDE of them. They thus accept it was derived FROM (or within) them. We’ve seen it more than once in fiction…and fiction is where it shall remain, I’m afraid.

Think about it…think about how this idea contradicts all rational consistency, and thus must contradict all practical utility. Before a memory implant could actually induce a memory one would need to implant, as a necessary corollary to the memory, a sense of SELF…an “I” to serve as the constant…that is, the existential frame of reference for the memory. For without this reference, there can be no memory. There may be an image—like a mental picture—but not a memory, which is a very, very different thing. A memory is a personal experience; and an experience, to be personal, needs one’s singular existential frame of reference. The memory is ACTIVELY manifest by the personal and singular experience of the ACTOR, not DICTATED to him by another…this is why it’s a memory and not merely a mental image. I can think of a green car, but the memory of the green car I saw parked at the store yesterday is a memory because it is in my mind not as an abstraction, but as an OBJECT which I physically ACTED upon to and of and from my SELF…I SAW it. The memory requires me to be an active participant/observer; the mere mental image does not. And for one to be an active (conscious) observer requires an “I”—a Self—and that can only come from within, not from without. MY singular sense of MY SELF, which is the crux of memory, cannot be implanted into me from outside of me. It is not dictated TO me, it IS me, and “me” (me qua me) is absolute, and absolutely necessary to make a memory a memory. The metaphysical ME is the foundation of all memory.  Memory is grounded in the ontological singular frame of reference, which acts upon the physical (through the senses) to create one’s wholly unique existential experience.

So, no, memories cannot be implanted from one to another. One, from THEIR singular ontological frame of reference, cannot experience FOR another, and thus cannot GIVE them a memory. There is no way to do this since by definition one cannot BE another FOR them. The idea of a “memory implant” is a fundamental violation of rational human identity, in which case, there is no “one” to whom a memory can be given. The idea of a memory implant collapses upon the very logical fallacy, making the whole endeavor a categorical waste of time. We can psychologically manipulate another person, control them by deception and suggestion, but we cannot BE them FOR them. An implant may one day control the mind of another through manipulation of the brain, but this is only euphemistically called a “memory implant”. You may be convinced that you experienced something you did not actually experience, but you cannot ACTUALLY experience what you did NOT ACTUALLY experience.  And this is the subtle, but profound, difference. One is psychological manipulation, the other is memory.

And this topic relates to why I have asserted, and continue to assert, that it is impossible for consciousness to be created OUTSIDE of itself…this is one of the great rational and philosophical paradoxes.  Consciousness, for a human, for a computer, for an android, artificial or organic (not that I accept that consciousness has been achieved “artificially”, or that it will or can be achieved) may involve the actions of humanity or nature or God, but it will never be CAUSED or CREATED by them, fundamentally. Consciousness represents a wholly singular ontological perspective…it is absolute, period, and thus is only and can only be a product of Itself. The root of man is his identity of SELF, and this is utter—absolute. There is no before it which can be claimed by it except FROM it; there is likewise no after. In order to speak of “before I was”, I must BE; in order to speak of “after I am”, I must BE. The ontological constant is the Self…and the Self is, was, and shall ever be.  It is infinite. And this is the mark of God upon man.

“I” cannot be function of “NOT I”; consciousness has no frame of reference for a cause outside of Itself. If it could be created or caused from outside itself it could not exist. To say “my memories were given to me”, or “my Self came from another”, is like saying “there is no such thing as absolute truth” or “it is impossible to know ultimate truth”. The claim completely nullifies its assertion. It’s rational madness; dead on arrival. Mouth noise.

For the same reason that “you” cannot also be “me”, and “me” cannot also be “you”, “I” cannot cause “you”, and “you” cannot cause “I”. This metaphysic may be paradoxical, yet it IS rationally consistent and, I would submit, even consistent with empirical reality. The very reason why man is able to exist and thrive is because the natural root of his powers of conceptualization and language is that meaning NEEDS a reference, and that MUST then imply “I”. “I am” must be BEFORE meaning can be determined.  “I” is not dictated, IT does the dictating. “I” is not created, IT is the creator.

END

The Redundancy, Errors, and Philosophical Implications of Time Travel Theory (PART 2)

The first problem with time travel theory is one which I have already obliquely addressed: the fact that time does not exist except as an abstract, mathematical construct. In other words, time is not a medium; it’s not a thing we exist in; we cannot travel through time because it isn’t there. Further, the admitted relativity of time according to General Relativity should make this clear to us. If time is relative to the observer, then it is utterly dependent upon the position of the observer AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT. That is, the observer’s CONSTANT frame of reference is “the moment”, or we might say the “perpetual present”—the constancy or perpetuity of his position. This “moment” or “perpetual present” is given temporal meaning by the observer’s CONSTANT frame of reference (and this is the Self-Aware Self…that is, it’s a metaphysical, not physical, reference) RELATIVE to other objects. If the observer and other objects share the same moment—the same “present”—then the relativity of time is purely theoretical. If the moment between the observer and other objects is different due to differences in acceleration, then the relativity of time becomes PRACTICAL..that is, the “time change” can be observed.

Of course the changes have nothing to do with time—time qua time—but I submit are a function of the relative difference in what I call the “direction of existence” (DOE) due to the acceleration of objects relative each other. And to briefly explicate my theory, it works something like this:

Existence is active, and therefore all objects move, or travel, in a root, “baseline”, or constant DOE. This is the source of gravity, I hypothesize, and is why objects with more mass have more gravity…they travel upon a larger or “wider” pathway of existence (POE) relative to less massive objects (this is also why light appears to bend around massive objects…light is moving past the POE, which looks like bending to an observer). When one object, A, accelerates (linearly, for example) relative to another, B, its “existence”, through an alteration along its DOE relative to B, “decrease”, which manifest measurably as “slowing” along the temporal continuum. In other words. because of the change in DOE as a function of acceleration in a new direction relative to B, A’s “time” when compared to B, using B’s time as reference, appears to decrease.

I understand that this is a very arcane and complex physical/philosophical theory, and the provided explication is by no means comprehensive nor is it intended to be. But I included it because I feel obligated to do so. It resolves all of the rational inconsistencies of time travel theory whilst remaining consistent with the scientifically verified empirical data. It shows how the “temporal” descrepancies in objects in different states of acceleration can exist without having to concede the causal, practical, physical existence of time.

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The next problem with the time travel theory is that time always sums to ONE when measured against itself in comparisons of relative temporal frames of reference. Now, I know that this may seem obvious, as time, being a continuum, is, of itself, in possession of no temporal value (that is, time is, itself, necessarily TIMELESS), and therefore is, of itself, infinite. And of course when you divide time’s infinity into RELATIVE values, these values must always sum (return) to the infinite ONE of time’s own “temporal” value. So relative comparisons of temporal frames of reference between objects don’t actually imply ANY changes to time, itself. And if time itself doesn’t change with changes in temporal frames of reference between objects accelerating at different rates, because these changes are relative, then the temporal differences measured between them don’t actually have ANYTHING TO DO WITH TIME. Traveling through time doesn’t produce any changes in the timeline, itself. So how do we assert that time has changed for each object relative to one another if time hasn’t actually changed at all? As soon as we attempt to measure temporal changes utterly independent of the timeline we have contradicted ourselves. Time is exactly the same for all objects ALL the time, because time cannot change. All temporal “changes” are, by the theory’s OWN ADMISSION, a function NOT of time but of the relative position of the reference. There are only “temporal” changes when we make time RELATIVE TO AN OBJECT said to be “in time”. Thus, time travel has nothing to do with time and everything to do with how we humans ABSTRACTLY define a relative difference between objects. That ABSTRACTION is called “time”; time is not a thing, itself. Like “speed”, or “direction”, or “weight”, etc. etc. it’s a concept humans use to cognitively organize their environment.

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Person A travels away at light speed from planet X on which remains person B. He returns after five years to discover that person B has aged 20 years.  But let’s not focus on person A. Let’s shift our attention to B. Is it possible that he, like A, can be said to have “time traveled”? Why yes it is. With respect to the relativity of time, the temporal comparison between A and B is likewise relative. Which means that to the same degree A has “time traveled” to the past with respect to B, B has “time traveled” to the FUTURE with respect to A. If time is our plumbline, and time is relative, then this must be the case. It cannot be any other way.

Let’s speak non-relatively for a second. From the point of view of A and B independent of each other, time has passed equally. That is, from their own independent frame of reference nothing has changed…time has passed the same as it always has. They are comfortably ensconced in their “perpetual present”. It is only when the relative comparison is made are there any temporal differences noted. So, this being the case…that is, the fact that time is only RELATIVELY different and not FUNDAMENTALLY different means that if person A has traveled to the future, and the change in time is INEXORABLY attached to the position of B, then person B must have traveled to the past in equal measure. The temporal relationship is proportionally inverse and fundamentally related. As one travels to the future the other travels equally to the past. Person A has gained time relative to person B, and B has lost time relative to A. Thus, despite the fact that A is the one who traveled at the speed of light, BOTH A and B have “time traveled”.

So the only way to “prove” time travel is to make a relative comparison, but as soon as we do that we must accept that both A and B have traveled in equal but inverse degrees, which means that time, on the whole, itself, hasn’t changed at all. Time is absolute. It, of itself, just IS. IT is constant; the change is purely the observer’s perception. Like an hour glass, the sand can shift from one side to the other, but the amount of sand remains constant. Any “change” is purely an abstraction. There is no OBJECTIVE change in how much sand is in the hour glass at any given moment. The sand itself just IS.

Time travel theory doesn’t prove the existence of time, time’s existence being implicit in the assertion that time can be traveled. Time is simply an abstract, mathematical construct spawned from man’s mind, as a function of the mind’s unique and extraordinary powers of conceptualization.

END

 

The Redundancy, Errors, and Philosophical Implications of Time Travel Theory (Part ONE)

Undoubtedly, we all have heard of Einstein’s time travel thought experiment, which is made according to his principles of General Relativity. Without going into the small details, we understand that this theory is predicated upon the idea that movement through space-time is relative between observers. Now, if you are familiar with my blog you likely have been exposed to the rational inconsistencies which undermine the assertion that space and time (space-time) are existent. That is, that they are things which have existence in “objective, ontic reality” rather than abstract cognitive constructs; that they are THINGS, not simply ideas, as it were. I will briefly summarize these inconsistencies now:

First, space.

Space, being a vacuum, is by very definition the ABSENCE of things; it is not a thing itself—for this would invalidate its very purpose, that is, to serve as the CONTEXT for physical distinction, precisely because it is, itself, NOT physical. As soon as it becomes “objectively existent”, then it is no longer the distinction between things but a thing itself, which therefore leaves the distinction between objects in space, physically and empirically, undefined. In other words, if space is a thing. then what is the space between space and the things which are said to exist in it?

And time.

Time is similar to space in its rational inconsistency (as an object, existent) in that if we attempt to give it some kind of implied or explicit physical boundaries, then its meaning and efficacy collapse into the circular logic. Often we here the phrase “the beginning, or the end, of time”. But time can have no beginning nor end because by definition it IS the beginning and the end. Further, if we give time some kind of implied spatial boundary by appealing to objects as being “in time” or passing “through time”, then we admit that objects in themselves are fundametally timeless. This presents us with an unfortunate contradiction in that what is timeless at root cannot also be utterly obliged to time. And as far as I can deduce, once time becomes part of “objective reality” there can be no possible frame of reference for anyone or anything being OUTSIDE of it, so, as with space, attempting to make a distinction between time and that which exists “in it” becomes a fruitless pursuit.

Also, past, present, and future are mutually exclusive temporal contexts; from the observer’s frame of reference, the present is INFINITELY the present. He exists in the perpetual NOW of his SINGULAR conscious perspective (the “I” of human existence). And this infinite position of the Present is bookended, INFINITELY (absolutely), by the future and the past. People will counter my criticism by declaring time a continuum. And indeed it is. It is a continuum with no beginning and no end and thus it is infinite, and thus any values derive from it (e.g. past, present, future, specified in numerical/mathematical degrees, like minutes, hours, years, etc.) are degrees of infinity, which must necessarily be purely abstract. For there is no such existent THING as a “portion of infinity”. In other words, past, present, and future are components of that which has no beginning nor end, which makes them components of the infinite. Which of course is a meaningless contradiction in terms, practically/ontologically speaking.

*

The root of the problem with assuming that space-time is anything other than a convenient, entirely abstract, mathematical concept and context (called a “coordinate system” in physics, I think) is that it invariably descends into an abyss of infinity, and this makes it ontically irrelevant. In other words, without the objects said to exist in space-time, space-time has no relevance, meaning, or efficacy to physical reality.

Space-time can only exist as a function of the objects in it. Which is to say it then must be purely a function of man’s powers of abstract conceptualization. Man makes purely cognitive, conceptual distinctions between the objects which he observes, including himself (his body)…and one of these distinctions is “space-time”.

Scientists should be extremely wary of straying too far from the mathematics which are the bedrock of their school of thought. Their intellectual milieu is not the philosophical, as much as they seem to insist that it is. But philosophy does not deal in the abstract…at all. It does not deal in “degrees of infinity” as I like to refer to mathematics. It deals with rational consistency…it has corners, boundaries of conceptual compatibility and congruency (or it should, anyway, if it is proper and not madness). In philosophy, an Is Not (e.g. space) cannot also be an Is (e.g. that which physically interacts with the physical). In philosophy, the divine cannot be rationalized away by simply labeling  it “Laws of Nature”. In philosophy, there must be a well-defined distinction between the Observer and the Observed. In philosophy, human consciousness plays a key role in the explication of truth, it is not punted into the cosmic abyss of “epiphenomenon”.

I suck at physics and math…always have, so I don’t pretend to be an expert in the fields, even to the point of calling THEIR scholars fatuous or pseudo-intellectuals, as is often the reverse case. In my experience, the better one is at science/mathematics the worse he is at philosophy, though I do admit that this observation is mostly anecdotal. But as a general rule I don’t need my theoretical physicist to be my philosopher any more than I need my accountant to be my plumber.

*

So, you are familiar with the time travel theory, and it goes something like this: Persons A and B are on planet X. Person A travels away from planet X at the speed of light and then returns after five years from his observational frame of reference, which turns out to be 20 years from the frame of reference of person B. Now, as I said, math is not my strong suit, so I’m adlibbing the numbers here, but you get the idea. Time passes much more slowly for person A relative to person B.

It is important to mention that this theory is supported by a sufficient amount of empirical evidence, particularly those experiments, done in various contexts, which employ atomic clocks as temporal gauges. The “temporal distinction”—which is the alteration in the relative function of atoms in test subjects measured against a temporal reference, with acceleration/speed being the only functional difference—is measurable and repeatable. And so it is clear that there ARE indeed what I would call ACTUAL existential differences based upon relative distinctions in acceleration and speed. This is not hypothetical. It is real. Existence is indeed different, and fundamentally so, between objects that that travel at different speeds.

So what’s the problem then with the time travel theory? Experiments seem to show that it checks out. Well, it is not so much that it’s wrong but that it’s misleading. Now, I’m not suggesting that Einstein himself  intended the theory to mean anything beyond its mathematical parameters and implications (I’m not actually sure), but I do believe that since Einstein the time travel theory has implied some philosophically profound ideas that are now erroneously throught proven true. Like “time is real”, and that we all “exist in it”, and thus we do and can “travel through it”. ALL of these assertion are utterly false, and THIS is what the time travel experiments ACTUALLY prove.

END PART ONE

 

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

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.