The Universe

Taking another stab at the metaphysical question.

In the beginning there was nothing. Something began to exist; this we know, because here we are. But what came to exist?

Materialists say that it was “matter:” some sort of unconscious substance whose behavior follows mathematical laws. But if we reject materialism, this cannot be our answer, and we need to approach the problem afresh.

Some of the problems we have with materialism are that it describes a universe with no ethical purpose, and that it does not have an adequate solution to the problem of consciousness. So our metaphysics must solve these problems.

We can solve these problems by saying that what came to exist was a consciousness. We say that everything that exists is conscious experience; and this solves the problem of consciousness. By saying that that consciousness has an ethical purpose, we resolve the problem of an amoral universe.

If everything that exists is conscious experience, it follows that atoms, stars, rocks, etc. are forms of experience. The whole universe is alive.

The first consciousness was pure consciousness, infinite energy, pure light and ecstasy. It was God.

God is a being which is infinitely free. It has the power to create/become any other being. The manner of its action has the character of becoming, because it transforms itself in order to create, but it has the character of creation, because it does not destroy or diminish its original form in the course of its becoming.

God has not only freedom, but will or purpose. God’s will/purpose is to experience Its infinite possibilities, because these possibilities are good.

Here we run into the “Euthyphro paradox.” Are the possibilities good because God wills them, or does God will them because they are good? We dissolve the paradox by saying that God willing something, and the thing being good, are two ways of stating the same thing.

There are two general intuitions about ethics: ethics as preference, and ethics as given. The intuition of ethics as preference says that goodness consists of fulfillment of desires. The intuition of ethics as given says that goodness is an objective thing imposed from outside, which need not align with our desires.

These intuitions correspond to the two alternatives of the Euthyphro paradox. Ethics as preference would say that things are good because God wants them. Ethics as given would say that God wants things because they are good. But we can dissolve the paradox by saying that God’s desires are the objective good.

So God creates/becomes an infinite panoply of beings, including the universe that we experience. All of these beings are God; but they are different forms of God, made less free and more articulated. This process of creation continues up to this moment, and will continue infinitely, because God’s possibilities are infinite and Its purpose is to explore them.

The first beings are what we call “laws.” (A synonym for law is “archetype.”) A law is a being which is particularly simple and creative. Elementary examples of laws are the laws of logic and the laws of physics. God creates the laws, and the laws create the more complex, articulated beings.

But the laws are not all logical laws. Logic is one side of the logic/intuition duality, which can also be called thinking/feeling. Thus there are laws of an emotional character as well as of a logical character: laws such as love, fear, anger, joy, etc.

The most fundamental laws come in pairs of opposites: active/passive, logic/intuition, true/false, light/dark, male/female, positive/negative, wisdom/love, etc. We can see similarities between all of these dualities; and we can infer that they are all derived from a single primal duality, though it is hard to pinpoint the precise nature of that duality.

God is the first law; and the second and third laws are the primal duality. All subsequent laws come from the primal duality.

How many laws are there? There are infinite laws. What degree of infinity? For every degree of infinity we can describe, there are more laws than that. But some of the laws have not yet been discovered; God will never discover all of the laws.

The laws are related to each other in a parsimonious way. Though infinitely complex, it is not a messy system; it is the most elegant system conceivable.

Logically speaking, the concepts of free will and randomness are indistinguishable. The distinction is that free will includes the concept of desire or purpose. Free will obeys no laws other than itself; thus, logically speaking, we can call it random.

So God’s will results in a random outpouring of laws. These laws organize themselves into patterns, and create additional laws. This dance becomes progressively less chaotic and more articulated, and gives rise to a process of evolution.

Consider an infinitely large cellular automaton which starts empty, but has the property that occasionally a cell randomly activates or deactivates. In such a cellular automaton, patterns would occasionally arise. Those patterns which were best at persisting and replicating themselves would eventually become more common.

So this is what happens as a result of the random creative force of God. Progressively more complex beings evolve which are better at persisting and replicating. These are not yet the physical organisms we know; they are abstract, archetypal beings.

As these beings evolve, they become progressively more intelligent. So there arise cosmic intelligences, whose purpose is the same as God’s: to create. Each of these intelligences creates a world, and that world contains other intelligences.

We, and the universe we know, are the creations of a cosmic intelligence. We are like subroutines in a grand algorithm.

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