Philosophical Meditations on the Nature of God
11.III.15 Suddenly I am re-thinking the whole Gaia hypothesis. The problem is that all of the life energies of the planet do not show a level of integration comparable to the single organism of a person, animal, or plant. It is true that a human being contains millions of smaller organisms that are hostile to the person, and sometimes these hostile organisms destroy the integrity of the person, leading to death. But in this case, those hostile organisms are opposed to the person, not an integral part. I would speculate that the person’s consciousness would not include these organisms but would maintain distinction from it. In the same way, a human body sometimes rejects a transplant; the ego (i.e., the center of consciousness) refuses to incorporate the alien part. So, in the case of planet earth, I cannot see the analogy of a single organism with a single consciousness. As I try to make sense of it all, I try to follow the consciousness. I have always had a pagan “many gods” attitude (whether or not there is One overall God) – that every family, school, city, state, tribe, language group, biker group, street gang, or interest group (not to mention every river and forest) may have a shared consciousness, so perhaps our world is just a jungle of such “gods,” all struggling for dominance. Perhaps the God of the Hebrews was just that – a parochial god for one tribe of people, not a God who would include other alien tribes (this may be the root cause of much anti-Semitism).
So, if this more accurately represents the spiritual state of the planet, what are the implications for consciousness and/or theology? Of course, I am treading upon unknowable ground, but I am a philosopher, not a scientist. A scientist does not speculate beyond the data, whereas the speculations of philosophers begin where those of the scientists leave off.
My first thought is that I cannot decisively rule out a single consciousness that encompasses all of life. But in view of the jungle of mutually hostile life forms, such a consciousness would not necessarily favor mankind. Perhaps such a consciousness would favor Man’s destruction by fire (nuclear war) comparable to an earlier destruction by flood. Once the failed experiment of human life were cleared from the earth, the evolution of life might proceed again, over here, with a fresh opportunity. As to theology, this view of the nature of the consciousness of God does not offer much comfort (to human beings).
But, whether or not there is some sort of overall consciousness, I consider the status of the next level of consciousness down – is there a single consciousness for the human race as a whole, or is the jungle of warring peoples, races, tribes, religions, and lawgivers in an endless struggle for survival or dominance? And what are the implications for the survival of life on earth? Well, as to that, I return to a very old idea of mine, which has been shared by many others over the years – there can be no hope for any positive evolution of the human race until or unless the entire planet be unified under a single political entity. This might be accomplished after devastation by war and conquest, or by political evolution of negotiation and compromise. One idea which I have had from the beginning of my theological speculations about Gaia is that God is just as much a work in progress as any of the life forms which contribute to His consciousness. If the human race and the planet can be unified under a single political structure, then our God could grow commensurately.
So, after all of this speculation, I am left with a world in chaos, beset by warring factions all over the globe with no end in sight. One idea seems clear enough – a gradual and evolutionary movement toward union (COAGULA) is better (i.e., more conducive to the possibility of the survival of life on earth) than a cataclysmic or expanding conflict leading to destruction and chaos (SOLVE).
So, the conclusion of my morning’s meditation is to suggest passing out free LSD to all the warring factions all over the world to promote an elevation of spiritual consciousness leading finally to an ultimate union and the triumph of the love of God over the confusion, chaos, and darkness of the Devil.
The lesson for Gaia, the consciousness of our planetary god, is the same as that for every person on the planet – in order to accomplish a positive elevation of spiritual growth, the life energies on our planet, just as with each individual soul, must come together towards a center of clarity, peace, harmony, joy, and love. The alternative, for each person as for our planet, is confusion, destruction, chaos, darkness, and death. “Therefore, choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
13.III.15 Primum Mobile
I may, of course, be wrong in any of my speculations, but at least I have clear ideas about almost every aspect of philosophy and metaphysics. There is really only one point that is not entirely clear – the very first point, the primum mobile. As I have mentioned before, science really has no better explanation for this point than theology. Science can describe the expansion of the Big Bang from the first few millionths of a second after the Big Bang itself, but by that time all of the really interesting stuff is already ancient history. I want to know exactly how and why that Big Bang actually happened in the first place! So, that is my problem of metaphysics, and there is also my problem of theology and consciousness – is there a whole planetary consciousness or is the consciousness limited to lower levels? This is unknowable, but my current thinking is that there is some sort of planetary-wide Gaia consciousness, even if the parts are in conflict.
It may sound funny to put it in this way, but, as a God, Gaia is way down on the scale of spiritual evolution (about on the level of the Old Testament God). When the life energies of the planet resemble the fully realized saint of “Buddha Nature” or “Christ Consciousness,” then we will be entering a Golden Age or the Kingdom of God on Earth. We have a long way to go (understatement alert). So, to clarify my ideas about a personal God Who might hear our prayers or facilitate other psychic phenomena, this might refer to levels of super-consciousness below the planetary level, and these spheres of consciousness may be intermingled in any complex way beyond our comprehension.
But it is the first and most abstract metaphysics that I want to consider now: the primum mobile itself. So, to review, there is the First Arcanum, as that point of perfection at the center of our virtual sphere (which doesn’t exist until the Second Arcanum brings it into being). Then the Second Arcanum causes the Universe to split apart and come into being with a Quest for Novelty which moves away from the perfection of God at the center outward into “error” in any of an infinite number of directions. Does the First Arcanum have any existence or reality “before” the Second Arcanum brings it all into being? The First Arcanum makes sense to me as a senior concept (from which the Second Arcanum breaks away) even in the absence of the Second Arcanum. In the same sense that the concept of Number may have an a priori reality apart from any manifestation in the physical world, so, also, in the same way that we imagine infinity as an approach to a limit, I can imagine an ultimate ain soph, total nothingness, as the Original antecedent of the birth of God, which I call the First Arcanum. We might call that ain soph the Zero Arcanum, analogous to The Fool of the Tarot.
But it is this Second Arcanum which holds the greater part of my interest! There is something natural and original about the First Arcanum, but the Second Arcanum is really the trigger (or its consequence) which initiates the Big Bang. [The First Arcanum and the Second Arcanum are different; The Change which happens occurs at a point between the two Arcana, in the same way that the First Arcanum already expresses the point in process as it changes from ain soph to the first singularity.]
So what is this Quest for Novelty, and whence does it come? It doesn’t seem to be as obvious a given as the serenity and perfection of the First Arcanum. The Quest for Novelty exists because without it there would be nothing to disturb the serenity of God’s infinite Perfection. But why does it exist? It is, obviously, the origin and source of life, as well as all existence, personified as Eros. In spite of the fact that it is clearly a “junior” concept to the seniority and perfection of the First Arcanum, it seems to be responsible for most of the interest. The movement inward, back to the center and perfection of God, seems to be more like a resolution of the error implied by the movement away from the center (this would be gravity – time and/or space is “the measure of error”) but the movement outward, in any of an infinite number of directions in search of novelty, seems to bear all of the dynamic potential of the cosmos and of life. (It also offers a theoretical explanation for the significance of “devil worship.”)
So this Quest for Novelty is the final and irreducible primum mobile, after all. It defies speculation as to where It might come from – all we can say is that without It there never would have been any universe to disturb the Perfection of God.
Nothing in these speculations is contrary to any of the findings of science – all I have done is to restore the name of God to the Creation. Until any scientist or theologian can explain the how or why of the Big Bang at the moment of Creation itself, I will prefer my solution, as it showcases the very focal point of the Mystery Itself instead of trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist.
16.XII.16 Another explanation for the primum mobile might claim that the quest for novelty is inherent in the metaphysics. By analogy, we claim that the numbers of mathematics may be entirely derived a priori and ex nihilo. The concept and meaning of the numbers of mathematics do not depend upon any external realities. In the same way, it may be possible to claim that the metaphysics of the sequence of the primary mysteries of nature is also inherent in the fundamental nature of reality. The metaphysical expansion of the ideas of Number have been there all along, as much a part of the attributes of Number as their use as simple counting markers. Specifically, as the Second Arcanum reaches Outward into Novelty it is nothing more nor less than the inevitable expression of the Second Arcanum. In the same way, the Mystery of the Number Three is just as inevitable: once the process of expansion into complexity through the operation of the Quest for Novelty has begun (SOLVE ET COAGULA), it will inevitably generate Life, and, finally, Consciousness. You can call this God, or just call it the natural world doing its thing.
A very interesting idea from Taoism is enantiodromia: reversal in extremis, the idea that as everything makes its round of cyclical progression, at the end of every extremity of yang or yin there is a turning around to go the other way. This is the same as the Quest for Novelty and the Return to the Center, or the Solve et Coagula of the alchemists. According to this view, the universe had to pop into existence sooner or later, and, as time is meaningless in the absence of existence, it just had to happen. Now, of course, the universe is winding back down to Nothingness once again. This cycle of a universe popping into and out of existence may be analogous to the popping into and out of existence of sub-atomic particles of quantum physics.
On the other hand, it is possible to imagine that this is all Natural and inevitable, and doesn’t require any “God” to put it into motion. Or, you could say that the bursting apart of Original Perfection into the endless Quest for Novelty and the Return to the Center, is God’s little Joke, and it is His Laughter that we know as the unfolding Universe. This would be God’s way of existing forever without getting bored.
10.I.17 Deus fecit
Looking over these meditations, I can see that I have narrowed it down to two possibilities – either we accept the premise that the metaphysical extensions of the concept of Number are, in fact, as inherent in the numbers themselves as are their qualities as simple counting units, so that the whole progression of metaphysics is inevitable – that the universe just had to pop into existence “sooner or later,” and that the evolution to life and consciousness was also inevitable; or one could deny the associations of metaphysics to the qualities of Number. In fact, one might even reject the claim that Number itself could be derived a priori and ex nihilo. My metaphysics falters on the same rock that stumps the scientist. Certainly, given One, Two must follow, and then Three, and then All Things. But who says the One is given? If even the abstractions of Number be not allowed as given (or as axioms), then the Original Source of the initial One is just as unknown as the hypothetical Big Bang of science.
But that is all good – if the claim that the metaphysics is inherent in the concept of Number be not considered sufficient to say that the universe made itself, then Whatever or Whoever brought it into being, we might as well call God.
The concept of enantiodromia is the foundation of Taoism. It is even a definition of the Tao, as in “From Tao there comes One . . .” [I], which started off the whole chain of events. The dichotomy and alternation of All and Nothing, Infinity and Zero [II], is inevitable, and the alternation between the two sets up a field of energy between them [III] which, in turn, creates the manifest cosmos [IV]. Zero and Infinity may be equivalent at the limit, but in the hypothetical movement between the two a whole potential field of energy comes into being, reaching out into Novelty, hence the ensuing evolution into the cosmos as we know it.
So we can trace the origin of the cosmos back to the Tao. But, of course, whence comes this Tao? I think it is irreducible. Either we accept the Tao as original and fundamental, out of which the cosmos created itself, or we append the name of a causal agent: Deus fecit. It’s all one.
The fundamental axiom of Western Logic is that “A Proposition is either True or False.” From this axiom, the whole system of mathematics, philosophy, and science is deduced analytically. In the binary logic of computers, each bit in the string is either On or Off. This may seem straightforward enough, and, like Newtonian physics, it generally suffices for most of the tasks to which Western logic is put.
But, just as Western logic and mathematics prove inadequate when dealing with sub-atomic or quantum levels of reality, they are also inadequate when dealing with macrocosmic questions such as the creation or origin of the universe. No, for those questions we must employ the more comprehensive potential of Eastern logic and philosophy.
Where the Western philosopher or scientist takes as his starting axiom that a proposition is either true or false, the Eastern philosopher allows for a proposition to be either “True,” “Not True,” “both True and Not True,” or “neither True nor Not True.”
Careful analysis of the last two possibilities reveals that they are essentially the same, but from the point of view of opposite perspectives. Thus, we can simplify the Eastern position by suggesting that there is a “Third Way” in addition to the two values recognized by Western logic, philosophy, and science.
This “third way” throws an enormous monkey wrench into any effort to get a grasp on reality. To begin with, we must regretfully give up the concept of “certainty.” We can never be certain of anything, at all. To get an idea of what it might mean in terms of our efforts to understand the cosmos, I want to combine the ideas of Heraclitus and Lao Tzu. From Heraclitus we get the idea that nothing can exist without the simultaneous existence of its opposite. From Lao Tzu and the concepts of Taoism we get the idea that Yang and Yin succeed each other in turn. So we might evolve a new idea, that, to start with the binary logic of computers, each bit is either “predominantly On,” “predominantly Off,” or “fluctuating so rapidly between On and Off that its state is indeterminate.”
In the ordinary reality of daily life, these fluctuations mostly balance each other out, but on the level of quantum mechanics or macro-cosmology, the indeterminate nature of reality is inescapable. This is the loophole that “lets the magic in,” allowing our cosmos to exist at all, with the possibility of expanding towards limitless complexity in search of endless novelty.
So, sit back and watch the show, or sit up and participate in the unfolding of our astonishing universe.
Question – is Enantiodromia (reversal in extremis, the Tao) sufficient to explain the Quest for Novelty? Or is the Quest for Novelty the elder idea, which requires the utilization of the principle of Enantiodromia, the Tao, to implement its intention?
It seems to me that I have failed to find a First Cause sufficient to create the universe ex nihilo. My candidate, the Tao, is silent when asked whence he comes. So if we say that the Quest for Novelty utilizes the Tao to obtain its effects, the position of this Quest for Novelty is sounding more and more theological all the time. But I can’t think of any other way to account for it. Otherwise, if we say that the Quest for Novelty is derived from the Tao, it is the same situation, just calling the First Cause by a different name. Deus fecit.
My problem has always been the Primum Mobile – how did it all begin?
I have a metaphysics which explains the endless expansion into complexity that is our universe, but I feel like the scientist who describes the original expansion of the cosmos from the Big Bang, beginning ten millionths of a second after the big bang happened – who cares about those minor details? I want to know how it all began.
The sequence of the Arcana are as fundamental and a priori as the numbers of mathematics. The Primary Mysteries, illuminating the unfolding evolution from God to Man, are inherent in the Numbers, as Pythagoras so famously figured out so long ago. And the sequence of the first four comprise the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, and the Name of God, the Tetragrammaton. Why, it is enough to make one give up eating beans (as required by followers of the school of Pythagoras).
So far, all of this is the answer to the question, “Where do all of these ideas come from?” So we are only really left with one problem – why did the Big Bang happen to have happened when it did? Actually, this is the easier question – obviously “time” has no more meaning than anything else prior to the moment of creation.
As to these unfolding Mysteries, starting from Arcanum 0, the ain soph, then all three of the primary Arcana come into being at once – I, II, and III. Then comes IV, the manifestation of our cosmos springing to life ex nihilo, as the consequence of the metaphysics set up by the first three, followed by the endless expansion into complexity, which is still going on. (“This trip is going on.”)
The sequence of the Primary Arcana are a description and illumination of the unfolding evolution from God to Man, just as the sequence of primary numbers expresses the same thing more abstractly. The Tetractys of Pythagoras, the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, and the four letters of the Hebrew Name of God (Tetragrammaton), are all expressions of the first four primary mysteries.
Contemporary binary logic suggests a linear sequence of points, each of which is On or Off, just as Western Logic assumes that a Proposition is either True or False.
Suppose, as an alternative logic, a non-linear succession of points, each of which is either On, Off, or Indeterminate (True, False, or neither/both). Thence proceeds a triangular logic of great complexity, leading to a whole new world of logical possibility.
What non-binary logic might look like as applied to our own world –
Binary: On, Off, On, Off, On, Off, Non-Binary: at random intervals, a point might be Indeterminate, which would then be followed by either On or Off, or both.
. . . On, Off, Ind. --> On, Off, On, Off . . . --> Off, On, Off, On . . .
This is the flaw in Perfection that “lets the magic in,” and perhaps allows our Cosmos to come into being at all. If, at any point, a link in an energy stream becomes indeterminate, it can be followed by going in either direction, on or off, true or false. The possibility of this happening can be entirely random, or there may be an average “cosmological constant novelty factor.”
The first bifurcation of Reality, from infinite Perfection to the endless interplay of Yang and Yin, All or Nothing, was the spontaneous Creation of the Cosmos. Since then, this potential for novelty has kept our world expanding outward into endless unfolding complexity and further growth.
The Evanescent Press