Tag Archives: metaphysics

Time Requires Time

Flowing Data

Philosophy of Time:

A great many other “flowings” or “fluxes” or “relations” acquire
their privileged directionality (their asymmetry) from the arrow of
time. How then does time acquire its direction? This seems to be a
very puzzling question. (C.G. Weaver)

Lecture One handout – Debates About Time Oliver Pooley [pdf]

What is the extent of reality? Putnam (1967) suggests that the ‘man on the street’s’
view of the nature of time involves a commitment to the claim that “All (and
only) things that exist now are real”. This is presentism: all that exists is what
exists now. An alternative view is eternalism: all events, whether past, present
or future, are on the same ontological footing; they are all equally real. A third
possibility is that the past and present are real, while the future is not. This third
option is a component in a dynamic view of time championed by Broad (1923)
and Tooley (1997), often called the ‘growing block universe view’.

Metaphysics:

The A-Theory of Time, The B-Theory of Time, and ‘Taking Tense Seriously’ Dean W. Zimmerman [pdf]

Presentism and Eternalism in Perspective Steven F. Savitt [pdf]

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The Direction of the Horizon


Whether there is or is not an absolute thought and an absolute evaluation in each practical problem, my own opinions, which remain capable of error no matter how rigorously I examine them, are still my only equipment for judging. It remains just as hard to reach agreement with myself and with others, and for all my belief that it is in principle always attainable, I have no other reason to affirm this principle than my experience of certain concordances, so that in the end whatever solidity there is in my belief in the absolute is nothing but my experience of agreement with myself and others. Recourse to an absolute foundation-when it is not useless-destroys the very thing it is supposed to support. As a matter of fact, if I believe that I can rejoin the absolute principle of all thought and all evaluation on the basis of evidence, then I have the right to withdraw my judgments from the control of others on the condition that I have my consciousness for myself; my judgments take on a sacred character; in particular-in the realm of the practical-I have at my disposal a plan of escape in which my actions become transfigured: the suffering I create turns into happiness, ruse becomes reason, and I piously cause my adversaries to perish.

Thus, when I place the ground of truth or morality outside ongoing experience, either I continue to hold to the probabilities it offers me (merely devalued by the ideal of absolute knowledge), or I disguise these probabilities as absolute certainties-and then I am letting go of the verifiable for the sake of truth, which is to say I drop the p to catch its shadow. I waver between uncertainty and presumptuousness without ever finding the precise point of human resolution. If, on the other hand, I have understood that truth and value can be for us nothing but the result of the verifications or evaluations which we make in contact with the world, before other people and in given situations of knowledge and action, that even these notions lose al meaning outside of human perspectives, then the world recovers its texture, the particular acts of verification and evaluation through which I grasp a dispersed experience resume their decisive importance, and knowledge and action, true and false, good and evil have something unquestionable about them precisely because I do not claim to find in them al>solute evidence. Metaphysical and moral consciousness dies upon contact with the absolute because, beyond the dull world of habitual or dormant consciousness, this consciousness is itself the living connection between myself and me and myself and others. Maurice Merleau-Ponty; Sense & Nonsense (p95)

One of my projects over the next few weeks is to try to wrap up a half year’s worth of wandering and exploration. Ironically, this will allow me to pick up some dangling threads. The main subjects I’ve been kicking around ‘inside’ are right now in an odd flux. After all, these subjects, folk psychology, metaphysical foundationalism, (what I term) supranatural solipsism, and, the social (constructionist) organization of heirophanies*, seem to me mixed up in something together I need to compress, wrap up and send away.

There’s a class of schema I have in mind’s eye, of vertical forms. My regard so depicted–or soon to be–is about verticality.

Noting this, in this post is the move into the, or maybe toward, the horizontal form. I’ve got the model set, but it will need to come at the end. Why? Because nothing I’ve been investigating has converted me away from the primariness of, (if you will,) the creative horizon.


*Breakthroughs into consciousness of the archetype of the Self; versioning here Eliade in terms of Analytic Psychology.

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Do Particles Bounce?

Deepak Chopra, the new age maven, regularly contributes to the Huffington Post. Today, he starts out with this:

I.

This year, the world celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. But now that all the backslapping is nearing an end, it may be time to reflect on where things really stand. When Darwin finished writing “Origin of Species” in the fall of 1859 — exactly 150 years ago — the theory of evolution became part of the Newtonian world picture. However, since that time, major puzzles of mainstream science have forced a re-evaluation of the nature of the universe that goes far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.

I’m trying to fathom Chopra writing his opening paragraph and not feeling as if he is about to fling into the Huffington winds something both patronizing to Darwin, and, something idiotic. Alas, to the tune of cash registers ringing, Chopra takes his insights seriously. No, this spiritual advisor to Oprah is onto to something with his colleague, Robert Lanza: the spiritualization of solipsism! Via quantum mechanics!!!

Science obviously investigates what it is able to investigate. There’s no move to re-evaluate the nature of the universe, when nature is posed as a lumpen “nature” in the way that Chopra means, and has meant in the past. Still, Chopra is playing a deceptive word game here too. He actually believes science is quite incapable when it comes to the re-evaluation he’s on about.

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BANG BEFORE

The Integral Spiritual Center lands a come-on in my email box every week. Yesterday’s gave me a whack on the side of the head.

Modern science has given us a compelling picture of the evolution of our universe, from its first moments: quantum fluctuations—i.e. the “Big Bang”—led to a massive inflation, followed by “the dark ages,” then the formation of the first stars, at about t+400 million years. But science has been largely unable to explain what happened before—indeed, what brought about—the Big Bang. Scientific explanations have tended to end up sounding somewhat like traditional Eastern cosmology: the Earth stands upon the back of an elephant, which stands upon the back of a turtle, and from there, it’s turtles all the way down…. The world’s great spiritual traditions have long sought answers to this question, and have theorized a process reciprocal to the one that science has investigated so thoroughly: prior to evolution, there was involution.

Truth be told, I’m not aware of any spiritual tradition that has pondered what happened before the Big Bang. (This is the case if one discounts secular science enough to make of it not a spiritual tradition.) But the main thing is: the traditions didn’t know of the Big Bang.

Not so curiously, creation myths tend to be very relational and story-like! These stories have a beginning but don’t usually pose a beginning prior to their starting point. But the Big Bang doesn’t begin with the Big Bang. It’s a just-so story in the sense of ‘as far as we know’ and ‘to the degree that we know.’

The turtles all the way down trope certainly aligns with one of Ken Wilber’s oldest (surviving!) propositions, The Great Chain of Being. I’m not sure which scientific explanation was to the ISC’s blurb writer, “sounding somewhat like traditional Eastern cosmology.” (And this was stated after the same writer wrote: “science has been largely unable to explain what happened before.”)

The blurb seems to change the subject and goes on after raising Involution:

Essentially, says Ken, we begin every moment in a state of nondual Suchness. But if we have yet to stabilize that state into a state-stage, that state will be pre-conscious to us, and we will undergo the first contraction, into the causal realm of the Witness and all that is witnessed. If we have yet to stabilize that state, we will contract into the subtle realm of the soul. And if we have yet to stabilize that state, we will contract into the gross realm of the ego and our conventional self. So with every moment, we “fall down the stairs,” cascading down from suchness until the point of our state realization. Here, we recognize ourselves, in a dynamic similar to what the Tibetan Book of the Dead teaches about the Bardo and our experience after death. And this world (and with it, all “lower” worlds) arises in our experience.

Reminds me of Ibn al-Arabi, ra, and an encapsulation I wrote in 1991.

Henri Corbin commenting on the fact of ascension
(as described by Ibn’ Arabi, r.a.)

Look upon our own existance. Is it continuous ?

Or is it incessantly renewing on every breath ?

Does not being cease then come into being
with every breath, and upon His sigh of compassion?

Hexities, themselves pure possibles do not demand concrete existence.
recurrent creation manifests infinitely, essentially, divinely.

Divine being descends, is epiphanized in our individuality
such being thus ascends to return to the source.

Every being ascends with the instant
to see this is to see the multiple existing in the one.

And so the man who knows that is his “soul”,
such a man knows his Lord.

Richard Grossinger, from his superb new book, The Bardo of Waking Life:

The 9.5 years that it will take a spacecraft to bust out of Earth’s gravity well and be slingshot by gas giants to Pluto, out at the edge of the Kuiper Belt, must be measured against an event barely the size of a ball-bearing out of which the entire universe detonated once into a state so protracted and sticky it continues to fulminate and distend.

Involution? This reminds me of quaint and romantic notions from the hydraulic 19th century. Of course we’ve moved through the hyper-hydraulic 20th century. And past the cusp of the 21st century it seems contemporaneously quaint to suppose involution tended to reveal (Wilber’s) suchness is another turtle. We’re all enslaved for hundred thousand story-making years to this mechanical conceit.

“Before,” then, is only a mechanical necessity. What happens before you and your dear one decide to go out and dance? What is caused to morph?

Grossinger:

Our basis is completely mysterious. . .

Completely. It’s not that involution makes clear the origin, it’s that “pure possibles do not demand concrete existence” may require any origin to be essentially not knowable and, perhaps, origin exists beyond mere mechanics, beyond mechanical concretization of (even) original possibility.

Granted, Wilber is moved to try to explain everything. What a romantic!

Alternately:

What we call music in our everyday language is only a miniature, which our intelligence has grasped from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind everything, and which is the source and origin of nature. It is because of this that the wise of all ages have considered music to be a sacred art. For in music the seer can see the picture of the whole universe; and the wise can interpret the secret and the nature of the working of the whole universe in the realm of music. Inayat Khan

Grossinger:

We are only possibility, and God is no one but the background agaisnt which possibility rests.

For me, ‘completely’ and ‘only’ tear involution and sunder suchness. Mystery cannot be the ground of mechanics and also itself mechanical. Before involution and evolution? Only God knows.

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PLURALISM = MONISM

“With univocity, however, it is not the differences which are and must be: it is being which is Difference, in the sense that it is said of difference. Moreover, it is not we who are univocal in a Being which is not; it is we and our individuality which remains equivocal in and for a univocal Being.” –Gilles DeLeuze

Hat tip to wikipedia Gilles_DeLeuze I think of–okay–imagine DeLeuze to be the rich man’s Ken Wilber. I have just made a serious joke. The reverse isn’t true.

Rhizomes is a favorite of mine among the abundant web resources on DeLeuze.

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BIG FUN AT DANCING EDGES

A long excerpt from a book-length Ph.D. dissertation evokes the scope of Robert Stuart Houghton’s theorizing about education. A Chaotic Paradigm: An Alternative World View of the Foundations of Educational Inquiry. It’s gist is this: there is an implicit potential able to emerge and realize substantial effects were learning to be concerned with the actual nature of an ‘implicitly able’ human system. This is my language, (one can tell, it’s oblique!) and way of highlighting the idea that interesting innovations are products of unstability and discontinuity.

Certain curriculum scholars have also identified and discussed the value of these concepts of holism and self-organization (Doll, 1986; Romberg, 1984; Romberg et al, 1987; Sawada and Caley, 1985) for building a new educational paradigm. These scholars in turn were following the tracks laid out by general system theorists (Ackoff, 1974; Bertalanffy, 1968) and later the nonlinear system theory of Prigogine (1977, 1980, 1984).

They have used the concepts of self-organizationist writers like Prigogine in a variety of ways. They make their points about holism and self-organization clearly and in detail. However, the concept of unpredictability receives much less explanation and emphasis. Just how this unpredictability comes about is not clear and curious linkages indicate a need for further thought. For example, integrating holism and self-organization with a multi-causal model that is to be judged by its “predictive power” (Romberg et al, 1987) takes a stand that chaos theory would open to question.

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THROUGH OUR UNDERSTANDING

The world before it is perceived is an infinite collection of qualities. It is up to the perceiver to use some of these qualities to differentiate one event from another. This process of differentiation is driven by desire (relevance, need, meaning…). Note that the perceiver does not “construct” reality itself; rather the perceiver constructs an understanding of reality, a model or theory which guides perception and behavior. Neither does reality alone determine perceptions and behaviors, but rather reality as experienced “through” our understanding.

PERSPECTIVES THEORY C. George Boeree Perspectives web Seven Perspectives

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EXCLUDED KNOWLEDGE

While I was working on the links page on the SQ1 web site, I revisited many sites I look toward when I want to appraise or roll around in the vast tracks of outsider or excluded knowledge; what one isn’t supposed to know, in short. If the WWW could be said to have a portal for this kind of tea party, it is certainly found @disinformation. I couldn’t include every such outsider site on the links page because I didn’t want to tip the balance. After all, I am basically a severe skeptic and rigorous trickster. LOL Still, if you wish to go there, here are some of my favorite locales on the edge. Robert Anton Wilson Home Page; RAW of the wild and a recent failed gubernatorial run in Cali.

Then there is the self skeptical free zone of Traditionalism

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LOST IN SPACE

The web site is an old school vertical sprawl, the subjects under consideration endless in number and magnitude, the format dialectical, yet, it’s the darn pragmatic mission I wish to highlight:

As you may realise from reading this website, my partner (philosopher Geoff Haselhurst) and I are building a large philosophy website which is the source (and inspiration) for most of the Philosophy, (and some Vintage Erotica and Fine Art) images and quotes in The Philosophy Shop.

For custom products and gifts that are a little different, we have a unique range of Philosophy Prints, Clothes and Apparel with quotes and portraits of Famous Philosophers (from Ancient Greek Philosophy and Metaphysics, Eastern Philosophy and Mysticism, to Modern Western Philosophy and Science).

SpaceAndMotion and erotica.

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FROM THE HERMETICA

Having conceived that nothing is impossible to you, consider yourself immortal and able to understand everything, all art, all learning, the temper of every living thing. . . . Collect in yourself all the sensations of what has been made, of fire and water, dry and wet; and be everywhere at once, on land, in the sea, in heaven; be not yet born, be in the womb, be young, old, dead, beyond death. And when you have understood all these at once – times, places, things, qualities, quantities – then you can understand God. (Hermetica, trans. Brian P. Copenhaver, Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Mynga Futrell starts a little journey in today’s entry, Worldview Diversity. From there, check out the research results summarized in George Bishop’s paper, What American Really Believe, at secularhumanism.org. From the same site, biologist Richard dawkins weighs in on The Improbability of God. Perhaps belief is more complicated? Step next to Anil Mitra’s Intriguing, Being, Mind, and the Absolute. (This long paper is an example of a class of speculations on what underlies a worldview; the class: “Knowledge has an aspect as relationship… and another aspect as being”.)

(more…)

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