Archive for category Metaphysics
Consider the three-concept archetype system sensation/cognition/emotion. Sensation refers to the body and physicality; cognition to the intellect; and emotion to the feelings, in a more mental sense, as distinct from bodily sensations.
Now consider the two-concept archetype system love/wisdom. We can see a relationship between love and feelings, and between wisdom and cognition. With respect to the love/wisdom duality, we could consider sensation a neutralizing force, in that sensation can be wise (concentrated thought consists of visualization), but sensation can also be loving.
Is cognition equal to wisdom? I’m inclined to say no, because this conception leaves out (as I myself so often leave out!) the idea that wisdom can also be intuitive, as opposed to intellectual. We could better model the situation by turning our three-concept system into a four-concept system, sensation/cognition/emotion/intuition. (This becomes the basis for Jung’s system of personality typology.)
With our new system, we can map cognition and intuition onto wisdom, and sensation and emotion onto love. This removes some of the strain from having sensation as neutral between love and wisdom, because sensation feels to me more loving than wise. And this further illustrates the flexible, flowing nature of these correspondences. The ideas are not rigid and fixed like the ideas of science.
Now let’s throw the chakras into the mix. We can easily say that the rays orange and green are loving, whereas the rays yellow and blue are wise. The correspondences play out, in that yellow and blue both correlate nicely with cognition, and orange and green correlate nicely with emotion.
What I’ve been trying to illustrate is that it seems like all of the archetype systems map onto each other. They don’t always overlap perfectly, but they always seem to be mapping the same territory. Each system puts a slightly different angle on things, puts a slightly different emphasis, and probably each system leaves some things out. But it seems like each of them is expressing the same basic set of qualities.
Now let’s make a math analogy. If I have a polynomial function, I can describe it as an equation, as a graph, as a set of roots, etc. In each case I give the same information, but in a slightly different way, which may be good for slightly different things.
A closer analogy. I’ve been searching for an ideal metamathematical theory: a mathematical theory which best expresses the nature of mathematics itself. The main candidates are category theory, model theory/universal algebra, and set theory. Each of these theories looks very similar to all of the others, and you can map them onto each other, though the pieces don’t quite fit perfectly. They seem tantalizingly easy to unify, so that all of a sudden we’d have just one theory instead of three, but you can’t actually do that.
What a perfect analogy to the archetype systems! They’re almost the same, all of them, but not quite. The differences turn out to be just important enough that you can’t blur them out. So you’re left with a whole pocketful of archetype systems, rather than just one. And which lens you pick up and use at a given moment is a matter of expedience.
In math, sometimes what is most convenient is a category theoretic analysis; sometimes a set theoretic analysis; sometimes a model theoretic analysis. Similarly, in spiritual work, sometimes you require a chakral analysis; sometimes a Tarotic analysis; sometimes a Qabalistic analysis. It’s whichever tool most neatly fits the problem at hand.
But all the same, all these systems are describing one Self, and after a while the descriptions should sound about the same. The Self is love and wisdom. The Self is male and female. The Self is thought, feeling, sensation, and intuition. Aren’t I repeating myself? I hope it seems that way!
What does it mean for something to behave lawfully?
Roughly, we ought to be able to discover some mathematics which correctly predict the thing’s behavior.
An example of something with lawful behavior is the position over time of a rock dropped from the top of a building. If the rock has mass m, and its initial position is i, then its position at time t is p = i + 0.5G * t^2.
It is clear that pretty much and for the most part, physical things have lawful behavior.
What does it mean for something to behave randomly?
Roughly, it has no discernible pattern in its behavior. It has an even probability distribution over all possible outcomes. An example of something with random behavior is a toss of a fair six-sided die.
Some things have behavior which involves a mixture of lawfulness and randomness. For instance, suppose we toss the six-sided die several times, producing a series of numbers d1, d2, d3, …, and then define a function f(n) whose value is the square of d1 + d2 + … + dn. f(n)’s behavior involves a mixture of lawfulness and randomness.
Could there be a kind of behavior which is neither lawful nor random, nor a mixture of the two? What would that look like?
Such a thing would have behavior which was not evenly distributed over all possible outcomes. But it would also have the property that we could not discover any mathematics which would correctly predict its behavior.
Can we imagine an example of this? Well, let’s suppose that we have a black box, which constantly outputs a string of ones and zeroes. It can read our thoughts, and so it knows everything that we think about it.
The black box’s output always follows some rule. But, every time we figure out what the rule is, it changes the rule.
Suppose that we discover that the black box changes the rule according to some meta-rule. Then it would have to be the case that, when we figure out the meta-rule, the meta-rule changes.
We would need to say the same thing about any meta-meta-rule, meta-meta-meta-rule, etc.
So this black either has an infinite series of rules, or at some point the series of rules stops. Let us return to the simple case where there is no meta-rule.
In this case, there is simply a Creative Void which can come up with arbitrary mathematical rules. The rules of the black box look like this:
1. Output ones and zeroes according to the current rule.
2. If the humans have figured out the rule, ask the Void for a new rule.
So we can imagine our black box in two ways. It could have an infinitely complex rule set; or, it could have a finitely complex rule set, and a Creative Void which changes the rules sometimes.
It is an important point that we could not distinguish empirically between these two cases.
Whether or not such a box could exist in our universe, we can imagine, in thought experiment, what it would be like to interact with such a box. We have the simple empirical observation that this box never does what we expect it to.
We have clarified the idea of something whose behavior is neither lawful nor random. Let us call it “magical.”
The black box in the thought experiment is magical. But is there anything magical in our universe? It is possible that humans are such a thing. What observations would make us think this?
Suppose we that construct a mathematical model of human psychology which correctly predicts everybody’s behavior in every case we have observed so far. Then we tell somebody, “our model predicts that you will do x.” Out of sheer capriciousness, they decide to do y instead. If humans are magical, then we would expect that this could happen.
I said previously that objective reality is not a mathematical structure. The question arises, what then is the objective reality?
Rather than answering this question, I prefer to dissolve it. The subjective/objective distinction is a confusing one; so I prefer to say that it is a confusion.
By “objective reality,” we mean something which is forever beyond our experience. But we also mean something which, through our experience, we can know everything about. Appearances are all subjective; and objective reality is not an appearance. To take this perspective to the peak of its absurdity, we may consider the final appearance — the appearance which contains all possible knowledge of objective reality, which unites all possible appearances into one. We have to say that the final appearance is distinct from the objective reality. But what is the difference? We have, on the one hand, the experience of everything, and, on the other hand, everything. The two contain the same information; they are isomorphic; but one is visible and unreal, and the other is invisible and real. Why is the visible unreal, and the real invisible, if there is nothing about the real which cannot be rendered visible?
Let us dissolve the subjective/objective confusion. At a given moment, we see some things, and we do not see others. Right now I see a table; but if I turn my head to the left, I will no longer see a table. The table is still there, but I am not looking at it.
What about the distinction between the table and the appearance of the table? What about the fact that the table is made of molecules, whereas this fact isn’t expressed in my visual impression of the table? We resolve the problem in the same way. The molecules are there, but I can’t see them, in the same that way that when I look at a beach from inside an airplane, I can’t see the individual grains of sand.
We have no need for a distinction between subjective and objective. Reductionists need to postulate such a distinction in order to make sense of their philosophy that mathematical structure is all that really exists. They need to say that, for instance, the qualitative “redness” of red is a subjective illusion. But we do not say anything like this; for us, all of the features of our experience are equally real. The appearances are the reality.
The rationalist has become fascinated by a particular aspect of their experience: its mathematical structure. They have become so enamored with it that they want to say that it is everything. It is quite true that mathematical structure is everywhere; but it is not true that it is everything.
What about the lawfulness of the universe? Is it true that everything follows the laws of physics, without ever deviating from them to the slightest degree? It is imaginable that the world could fail to be a mathematical structure, and yet never violate the laws of physics.
Only there is some discomfort in saying this. It feels more right to say either that the world is a mathematical structure, or that it sometimes violates the laws of physics. The middle position feels awkward. And yet, it also feels awkward to say that the world does not follow the laws of physics; because it is clear that usually and for the most part, it does follow the laws of physics. What are we to do about this?
Let us recall that quantum physics is probabilistic. We cannot say, in a quantum physics experiment, exactly what we will observe in a given instant. We can only give statistical patterns that our observations follow. So at the lowest level, the universe does not strictly follow its laws. The “laws of physics” are more accurately called “trends of physics.”
We can expect this quality to propagate up to the larger levels of reality. We can expect atoms and molecules not to strictly follow the laws of chemistry, and organisms not to strictly follow the laws of biology.
As far as I know, this is consistent with experimental observations. As far as I know, experiments in chemistry are usually done with large numbers of atoms and molecules, and the observations are observations of the aggregate behavior of the substances involved. And, as far as I know, every experiment has some degree of experimental error. The usual assumption is that if the experiment were “perfectly performed,” there would be no experimental error; but what if this is wrong? What if the experimental error is a feature of reality?
As for biology, we don’t even have a set of rules which can predict in general the behavior of biological organisms. We don’t understand life.
We can re-interpret the laws of nature as trends of nature. They are not absolute rules, but patterns that things tend to conform to. But it makes little sense to say that there is a single, fixed set of laws, and things always randomly deviate a little bit from those laws without ever deviating radically from them.
Supernatural phenomena (telepathy, telekinesis, etc.) would be an example of this. We can also say that the behavior of the higher levels of reality is not reducible to the behavior of the lower levels: it follows additional laws. In particular we want to say this with living organisms: that living organisms follow laws that atoms do not follow.
We want to say this because of our intuition that living organisms are special: that they are somehow different from dead matter. Scientists have installed a bias against this intuition; but we want to take down this bias, and notice the obvious, that living organisms seem special.
We also want to say that humans follow laws that other living organisms do not follow. The same line of thinking justifies this. It is intuitively obvious that humans are special.
Many sets of laws can co-exist, because they fit within each others’ margins of error. Since every set of laws is fuzzy, they can avoid coming into conflict with each other. Note that not every possible combination of law-sets would do this; but we want to say that the laws of our universe do this.
For our view to be complete, we need to offer an answer to the question, why have rationalists not interpreted reality in this way? If reality is not really sharp and rigid, why have rationalists interpreted reality as being sharp and rigid?
I think that some people have an aesthetic taste for simple, precise, and rigid rules, and when they look at the universe, they are interested in finding this. I think that it is not the way the universe is, but the taste for simplicity, precision, and rigidity, that has led rationalists to see the universe’s laws as simple, precise, and rigid.
My ponderings on reductionism have led me to think that reductionism is mostly correct, and partially a confusion.
Reductionists think that there is an objective reality, which is a mathematical structure. We have subjective impressions (qualia) which give a sense of this objective reality. Consider, for instance, a table. I can see the table from various angles; I can touch it; and so forth. Each of these subjective impressions gives me partial information about the table. The table itself, on the other hand, is something that I will never experience. The appearance of the table is not the table; the table is not an experience.
The table is a mathematical structure. But if I think of the table’s mathematical structure, that thought once again is not the table. A thought of a mathematical structure is not the mathematical structure itself.
To solidify this conclusion, think of the number two. You may have spoken the word “two” in your mind; you may have imagined two dots next to each other; you may have visualized the printed character “2;” you may have thought something more abstract. All of these are thoughts of two; but none of them are two.
What is two itself? This depends on whether or not we think that two objectively exists. In the first case, where two objectively exists, two is beyond all appearances of two, in the same way that the table is beyond all appearances of the table. Two is not an experience. We can, so to speak, see two from different angles (the word, the two dots, etc.), but we cannot see the whole of two.
In the second case, if two does not objectively exist, then it is only a formality of our language, a concept with no tidy correspondence to reality. It is a confusion to ask what two is, in the same way that it is a confusion to ask what a hipster is, or what rudeness is.
Under reductionism, some set of mathematical structures has an objective existence. These structures are something that we will never experience, just as in the first case we never experience two.
So under reductionism, there is an objective reality of mathematical structure, and we have subjective experiences which are themselves unreal. Through these experiences we can know everything that there is to know about the objective reality; but we can never experience the objective reality itself.
That said, we can imagine a mind which was able to think a thought that contained all possible knowledge of reality. We cannot ourselves see a table from every angle simultaneously; but it is possible to imagine a mind which can see three-dimensional objects in an instant, in the same way that we can see two-dimensional objects in an instant. Similarly, we cannot ourselves think of the whole mathematical structure of a table in an instant; it is too large and complex. But we can imagine a mind which can do this.
So we can imagine a mind which can think everything at once, and perceive the entire structure of reality in an instant. Let us refer to this instantaneous perception of the whole of reality as the “final appearance.” Our metaphysics will give us a sense of what the final appearance would look like. For instance, under reductionism, the final appearance would be a thought of a vast and complicated mathematical structure.
Our concept of the final appearance is an inference based on all of the knowledge we have. We arrive at our concept of a table by looking at it, touching it, thinking about it, etc. By synthesizing these different experiences we conceptualize the “final appearance of the table,” which is our idea of what the table is. And we construct our idea of the final appearance of reality in the same way.
But reductionists throw out some of the information in constructing their final appearance. To see how, empty your mind of all thoughts and look at your hand. Here we have an appearance of a hand, which is just as valid as the appearance which is a thought of the hand’s mathematical structure.
Why should the final appearance of the hand be an appearance of a mathematical structure, and omit the purely qualitative visual impression of the hand? Why do we want to say that the mathematical structure has reality, while the visual impression does not?
Why do we want to say that the objective reality is a mathematical structure? We gain our concept of objective reality by aggregating appearances; but our appearances are not only appearances of mathematical structure, but also entirely different appearances. Why do we throw out the non-mathematical appearances in constructing our picture of reality, in constructing our final appearance?
If reductionism means simply that mathematical structure is everywhere, then reductionism is perfectly correct. But if reductionism means that mathematical structure is the only real thing, then I see no reason to believe that it is correct.
If we do not die with our bodies, then it must be true that there is some part of a person which survives their clinical death, which is distinct from the brain and body. This non-bodily part will be an objectively existing entity, much like the body or any other physical thing. What sort of entity is it? What can we say about it?
We will start by tabooing the word “physical,” and its complement “non-physical.” Intuitively we want to say that the brain and body are physical, whereas this non-bodily part is non-physical. But what does this imply? What is the difference between a physical entity and a non-physical entity? Rather than flopping around attempting to define “physical,” let us just throw this word out entirely. We can say whatever needs to be said using other words.
How are we to get a handle on this question of the non-bodily part? Perhaps in this case the simple approach is the most informative. Imagine having no body. What is left? We no longer see, hear, smell, touch, or taste. But we can still think, feel emotions, and imagine. So, using our simple approach, we will say that all of these are things that the non-bodily part can do.
Under this view, a thought is something happening in the non-bodily part. What is a thought like? The simplest thing would be to say that a thought has the same general characteristics as a physical thing (a table, a chair, etc.). The thought has an objective existence, and its properties include the sort of logical orderliness that physical things have.
It seems simplest to say that there is one kind of existence, which is possessed both by thoughts and chairs. Under this view, a thought is just as real and tangible as a chair. This is a plausible idea. Consider, for instance, the fact that one can imagine something so vividly that it is quite indistinguishable from, “feels just as real as,” one’s bodily sensorum. (You have never done this? Give it a try!) Consider also the fact that some philosophers and mathematicians are inclined to believe that mathematical objects have an objective existence.
Under this view, everything that is imagined is real. There is no intrinsic difference between imagination and physical reality (by which I mean the world which our bodily sensorum shows us). And yet it is obvious that there is something special about physical reality.
Physical reality has a solidity to it. Thoughts are all vague and fleeting, always spinning away into nothingness. One can’t get a grip on them. Physical reality, on the other hand, stays put. We can all see it very well, whereas our thoughts are rather mysterious unto us.
I can imagine a foreign scene so vividly that it feels just as real as physical reality. I can lose myself in that scene momentarily. But I am always pulled back to physical reality. Physical reality has a magnetism to it. Even if all of these experiences are equally real, physical reality seems to be privileged as the experience which I keep being pulled back to.
What accounts for physical reality’s privileged status? Clearly this privileged status is part of the architecture of our experience. It is how the software is written, as it were. Why is the software written this way?
Let us recall that, under our view, the “software” was “written” by God, to help us become enlightened in the most efficient way. It follows that the privileged status of physical reality helps us to become enlightened.
This is easy to believe. Imagine if all possibilities were open to us; imagine if we were totally free to create our reality with our own imagination. We would have a lot of fun; but we would rarely be challenged.
On the other hand, if a person is taken partially out of control of their experience, if they are subjected to the harsh demands of physical existence, if they cannot simply think a happier thought when faced with difficulty, then they will be much more challenged, and they will learn much faster.
Let us retrace the ground we have covered. Postulating life after death requires that we postulate the existence of a part of a person which is distinct from their brain and body. It makes sense to say that this non-bodily part is a thing which can think, feel emotions, and imagine. It has an objective existence which is like the objective existence of a physical thing such as a table or chair.
It follows that thoughts also have such an objective existence, and that everything that is imagined has the same kind of existence as the existence of physical reality. But physical reality is clearly privileged as the experience which we are continually pulled back to. This feature of our experience must have been designed by God to help us learn more quickly. It is easy to see how this is so, because existence in physical reality is much more challenging than an existence in which all possibilities are open and we can choose our experiences with total freedom.
I’ve been puzzling over the paradox of absolutism and relativism. These are two philosophical meta-views. Absolutism is the view that there is a single correct philosophical view. Relativism is the view that there is no single correct philosophical view; there are multifarious perspectives and beliefs, but none of them are privileged as the one reality.
Both of these meta-views have problems. The problem with absolutism is that whenever we identify one view as the single correct one, we exclude all of the other views. If we pick materialism, or Eastern mysticism, or Christianity, as the correct view, then we exclude all the others.
We end up either ignoring everybody who disagrees with us, or getting into interminable arguments. What’s more, we miss out on a lot this way, though we don’t necessarily realize it. If a lot of people hold a view, it probably has a lot of truth and profundity to it; otherwise, why would people believe it? Surely there is a lot of widely believed garbage; but can we really maintain that everything outside of our favorite paradigm is garbage? So this is the problem with absolutism.
The problem with relativism is that it seems fairly obvious that there are truths about reality. If three people look at a table, all of them see a different table. We have a massive possibility space, and each of us experiences only a minute fraction of it. There are infinite possible perspectives on the table, and all of them are different tables. But, even so, there is clearly a single table underlying all of these perspectives!
We never know all of the details of the table; we never analyze it fully and exhaust everything that can be thought about it. The table transcends every possible perspective on the table; it lies beyond them and is the unattainable limit of all of the perspectives. It is an objective reality which we will never fully know.
Relativists must go through the most difficult contortions to explain away this objective reality and justify why there is in fact no table, why there are only different points of view which postulate slightly different subjective tables.
I look at this situation and feel that a synthesis is needed. We have two meta-views, both of which have a lot of merit and both of which are inadequate. How can we reconcile absolutism and relativism?
I think that people tend towards absolutism for a lot of reasons. We want to know what’s going on. And when we find a perspective that resonates with us, it can be very easy to be sucked into it. It exerts such power over us that we know it to be correct. The absolutist has a spiritual sort of power supporting their view; it magnetizes their being and brings all things under its sway.
And again, there are a lot of reasons that people tend towards relativism. The relativist is certainly one who grasps diverse views with ease, and who has a deep-set egalitarian virtue which does not wish to leave anything out. They can see a multifaceted quality of existence which is not available to the absolutist. There is an inspiring sense of infinity in their relativism, where no word is final, where there is always something to be added.
So, what will our synthesis look like? First, let us remember that we do not know everything. Our theories have truth to them; but they are not the final truth. There is always a theory which surpasses our existing knowledge, which accounts for the data we have not accounted for and resolves the problems we have not resolved.
Every paradigm (materialism, Eastern mysticism, Christianity, etc.) has noticed some facets of reality which the others have not noticed. Each has things that it treats very well; and each has things that it accounts for poorly. Each has holes and shortcomings. Each is biased. There are no unbiased thinkers on philosophy, just as there no unbiased thinkers on ethics or politics.
We can always arrive at a superior theory; and we can always synthesize the theories that we have to create new theories which aggregate their insights. (The process of synthesis is not a simple lumping together; it is an exquisitely delicate and artful process.)
I think that the incompleteness of all theories is a metaphysical fact. The universe consists of points of view, and the universe is infinite. It is a possibility space; not a random, chaotic possibility space, but a profoundly organized and parsimonious possibility space.
Disorganized data can always be transformed into organized understanding. The universe isn’t confused; we are the ones who are confused.
Remember Godel’s incompleteness theorem. Mathematics is infinite. But mathematics is still elegant and parsimonious, both in the parts we know and in the parts we do not know.
There are only perspectives. But some perspectives are super-perspectives. They are perspectives that are so grand, so massive, so powerful and full of truth that they are capable of swaying the masses and creating whole universes within themselves.
I refer not only to the major philosophical paradigms, but also to the moments on LSD when one understands more deeply than one has ever understood; to the people who have a mission in life; to enlightenment. The fact that none of these are final does not diminish their value. Surely a super-perspective is something worth having.
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.
Here is everything I have figured out about my existence prior to this incarnation.
I am under the impression that I am a Wanderer from Ra. This is mostly an inference.
I began to believe that I was a Wanderer because this seemed like the best explanation for why I am spiritually powerful, and why I feel so different from everybody else, and why I feel so dissociated from the opinions, norms, and values of this species.
The question arises of which density I am from. Fourth density is out of the question, because I am not sufficiently loving, and too wise, to be of that origin. That leaves fifth or sixth density. Both seem like distinct possibilities, but sixth density seems more likely, for two reasons. First, a great proportion of my lessons of this incarnation have had to do with balancing love and wisdom, which is the work of sixth density. Second, Ra states that the great majority of Wanderers on Earth right now are from sixth density.
So I think that I am a sixth density Wanderer. This is probably a very common identity among spiritual seekers right now.
I began to suspect that my origin was the social memory complex Ra because this seemed like the best explanation for why I felt such an intense metaphysical pull to Ra’s philosophy. I had some telepathic experiences which corroborated the hypothesis.
A Wanderer from Ra is probably also a fairly common thing to be. Since Ra belongs to this solar system, there are probably a significant number of Wanderers from Ra on Earth.
So originally I did my third density work on Venus, and I progressed through the fourth and fifth densities, and into the sixth.
I hypothesize that I am a specialist in wandering, having cultivated the skill of penetrating the third-density forgetting to a high degree. So I find it likely that I have wandered to planets other than Earth in the past.
I know that I have been on Earth for more than one incarnation. I do not know how many.
I remember some details about my last incarnation. I was an occultist living somewhere in Europe, or perhaps in America. I was very unhappy, and a bit of a misanthrope.
My lessons were defined by a duality between my tendency to get overly lost in my intellect, and my neuroses surrounding romance. In my intellectual inquiries I would detach myself from my emotions, and eventually they would painfully catch up with me.
I worked with John Dee’s system of occultism. I practiced perceiving and understanding archetypes — an ability which I easily remembered in this incarnation. I was often frustrated with my intellectual inquiries, because I felt that they were leading me nowhere.
I also played the piano — an activity which I picked up again for a few years in this incarnation. In both cases it served the same function: to balance my detachment from my emotions.
I died on a respirator, with pain in my right hand.
A great many patterns continued from that incarnation into this one. Most of the problems I have now are problems that I had in my last life. But, I’ve made a lot of progress on those problems, and I’ve found my way into a place more filled with hope.
Besides my memories of my last incarnation, I have a memory of being in an Indian body and meditating on a mountain. This is presumably from an incarnation before my last one.
I used to think of my body as a useless receptacle in which I found my mind and spirit trapped. Recently I realized that the body is a profoundly important tool for spiritual evolution. I have seen that it has an intelligence of its own, and that the intelligence of the mind and body working in unison is far greater than the intelligence of the mind alone. I saw the truth of Nietzsche’s statement, “there is more wisdom contained in your body than in your most profound philosophy.”
Yet we know that our body is destroyed when we die. This seems somewhat problematic. If the universe is ethical, it follows that nothing of value can be destroyed. So, if the body is of value, how can it be destroyed? When it is destroyed, what happens to all of the wisdom which it contains?
We can find a solution to this problem by turning to the Tarot archetypes. I suggest that only the matrix of the body, and possibility the potentiator of the body, are destroyed upon death, and the other archetypes are preserved.
We know that after death, there is a process of life review in which all of the catalyst and experience produced during incarnation is examined and re-examined to fully absorb the lessons contained into the significator.
It is natural to say, then, that the catalyst and experience of the body survive physical death, since they are involved in post-incarnational processes. The significator must also be preserved, since it is also involved; and it becomes natural at that point to preserve the transformation and great way as well.
The only things that might die upon clinical death, then, are the matrix and the potentiator of the body.
Outside of incarnation there is no interaction between the matrix and the potentiator producing new catalyst. Thus we can think of these archetypes as destroyed; but we can also think of them as temporarily dormant or deactivated.
To expand upon this idea, consider the fact that a person’s body is almost entirely identical to every other person’s body. Human genes differ only minutely from ape genes; and the differences between individual humans are even more minute. So when one’s body dies, almost the same thing still exists in countless copies. So deactivation is a better image than destruction.
I think that we can extend these conclusions to the mind and the spirit cycle. Upon physical death, the matrices and potentiators are deactivated; they are no longer interacting to produce catalyst. Meanwhile, all of the other archetypes are preserved intact.
Having answered the question of what passes into death, we may now ask what passes into the next incarnation.
Ra says that the significators pass into the next incarnation. Meanwhile, the matrices and potentiators are reactivated and begin to produce catalyst. However, the catalysts and experiences must not pass into the next incarnation; otherwise we should be born with full memory of our previous incarnation and in possession of all of the knowledge, skills, biases, etc. that we held in that incarnation. It also makes little sense to say that the transformations and great ways pass into the next incarnation; otherwise we should be born with all of the mystical cultivation that we possessed in previous incarnations.
So, we conclude that the process is as follows. Upon death the matrices and potentiators are deactivated, and the ranks of catalyst and above pass intact into death. The significators are what pass into the next incarnation, and all of the other archetypes are supplied in a clean, unbiased, and “emptied” state to the newly born mind/body/spirit complex.
In On the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena I argued that phenomena occur which violate the known laws of physics.
A friend pointed out to me that the phenomena which we call “paranormal” do not always violate the known laws of physics; for instance, UFOs do not do this. Also, phenomena that violate the laws of physics are not always what we call “paranormal;” e.g., perpetual motion machines. So let us instead use the term “supernatural phenomena.”
What is a supernatural phenomenon? Firstly, it violates the known laws of physics. Secondly, it is explained according to an appeal to mental or spiritual forces: e.g., the power of human intention, or an act of God. So these are cases where people think that mind or spirit is causing changes in the physical world, in a way that would not be possible under the known laws of physics.
If we postulate that supernatural phenomena occur, we are led to the rather uncomfortable conclusion that the laws of physics are sometimes violated. I present a hypothesis which allows us to escape this conclusion. It allows for supernatural phenomena to occur without violating the laws of physics.
Quantum events involve nondeterminism. Every event has a set of possible outcomes, and a probability distribution over those outcomes.
I am given to understand that, due to quantum nondeterminism, it is theoretically possible for anything to occur. For instance, a car could appear out of nowhere and then disappear, due to quantum nondeterminism. I am given to understand that this is possible, but so outrageously unlikely that it would not occur in a hundred million universes.
We can explain supernatural phenomena by postulating that mind and spirit have the ability to control quantum nondeterminism. Thus, for instance, a person could turn water into wine by directing the quantum events in the water in such a way that it became wine. We have to posit an extremely detailed and extensive control over quantum events which results in things occurring that would otherwise be extraordinarily improbable.
When we postulate intelligent control, it is not unreasonable to say that extraordinarily improbable things can become probable. It would be extraordinarily improbable, for instance, for a car to come into existence as a result of the random behavior of matter. But when human intelligence sets out to build a car, this configuration of matter becomes quite likely. So if we postulate that mind and spirit can control quantum nondeterminism, we can reasonably expect events of any level of prior probability to become probable.
This is not a scientific hypothesis, nor would most scientists accept it. I am also somewhat hesitant to enter myself into the group of people giving mystical interpretations of quantum physics, because this group has a fairly bad reputation.
That said, I believe that this is a sound hypothesis given the starting assumption that supernatural phenomena occur. Of all possible explanations of supernatural phenomena, this one has the significant advantage that it does not require violating the known laws of physics.
An intuitive problem with this hypothesis is that it seems implausible, for instance, that Jesus was able to observe and consciously manipulate the individual subatomic particles in water in the complex fashion that would be required to turn it into wine. The human mind is not capable of processing that volume of information; and furthermore, Jesus certainly did not know physics or chemistry. We require a more intelligible account of the manner in which these phenomena occur.
To do this, let us invoke the metaphysical idea that all things are alive and intelligent. (Not all things are equally intelligent; a goat is intelligent, but not as intelligent as a human. Similarly, a rock is intelligent, but not as intelligent as a goat.)
Now we may postulate that Jesus spoke to the water, and bid it to turn into wine. The water, by its own intelligence, obeyed Jesus and reconfigured itself appropriately. It is not that Jesus manipulated the water on a subatomic level; he simply gave it instructions.
Similarly, if I instruct another person to do something, I do not manipulate their subatomic particles to cause them to do that thing; I simply instruct them, and they use their own intelligence to move as a united whole towards the configuration of doing that thing.
Nor do we need to think of the reconfiguration only in terms of quantum events. If I move my arm, this involves many muscle cells contracting, which in turn involves many quantum events. We can indeed think of the motion as a set of quantum events; but we can also more simply think of it as me moving my arm. Similarly, the water might think of its own transformation into wine in terms simpler than the actual quantum physics involved.
Now we can formulate a complete hypothesis explaining supernatural phenomena. Supernatural phenomena occur when mind or spirit instructs some physical thing to change. The thing changes by the use of its own intelligence. These changes are within the laws of physics, and involve quantum events which would be extraordinarily improbable under ordinary circumstances.
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