AuthorTopic: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism  (Read 20579 times)

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2013, 04:34:21 PM »
OK, here is a Christian critique of Ka's view (it is a critique of Ken Wilber's "A Brief History of Everything", which I assume is an accurate representative?)

I will admit that it's not very thorough, but I respect the author (Douglas Groothuis) and he raises good points IMO. The first part mostly explains Wilber's view, I have only posted the critique here. Your response?

http://www.equip.org/articles/a-brief-history-of-everything/

"An impersonal, amoral, and nondual Emptiness, however, cannot explain “the history of everything.” Fundamental weaknesses appear when one considers the problem of the one and the many (how unity and diversity are understood as components of reality), the problem of personality, the problem of good and evil, the problem of communication, and the problem of salvation (how we can find spiritual liberation).

Wilber insists that the final reality is nondual — an all-encompassing and absolute oneness (see 226-32). Yet this nonduality supposedly integrates and transcends all the lower realms of being — including the idea that God is an independent personal being. Tapping into this ever-present state of nonduality, “You are not in the Kosmos, the Kosmos is in you, and you are purest Emptiness. The entire universe is a transparent shimmering of the Divine” (229). However, Wilber claims that this absolute, nondual Emptiness is one with all the manifested forms of the physical universe (the many). Nonduality is the absolute reality, and the manifestations of everyday life, which involve subject-object relationships, are relative realities (231-32).

But Wilber cannot have it both ways. If nonduality/oneness is the absolute, ultimate, and comprehensive reality, this logically excludes any of the dualisms we find in our everyday experience. There cannot be many people, rocks, trees, or birds if the supreme reality is one without duality; they would have to be dismissed as illusions. If nonduality is the comprehensive reality, as Wilber claims, this destroys all duality; formlessness is incompatible with form. Nevertheless, Wilber illogically asserts that both dual and nondual states are somehow real.

The Christian has no such problem with the relationship of the one to the many. God is a unity in diversity — one God in three persons.3 God’s creation is one uni-verse, but it consists of a great diversity of objects, events, and relationships. Neither God nor His creation will dissolve into a faceless oneness.

Wilber’s god is not a being who creates, knows, plans, loves, judges, and feels. These activities require the distinction of subject and object and a personal agent who engages in them. Wilber’s Spirit is beyond personality. Nevertheless, Wilber, undaunted by contradiction, often smuggles in personal language concerning the impersonal Spirit. He speaks of seeing our original “face” and hearing the “whispers” of Spirit (120, 339). These references are blatant anthropomorphisms, since Spirit is impersonal all the way down. The impersonal has no face and can utter nothing. One cannot have a personal relationship with Emptiness. If all is one, there can be no relationships, for a relationship involves at least two entities. Wilber says that “the twoness of experience is the fundamental lie, the primordial untruthfulness” (233). If so, Spirit cannot be “compassionate” as Wilber claims (338), since his god is not a separate moral agent who acts in love. Wilber’s use of personal language for the impersonal absolute is a classic case of what Francis Schaeffer called “semantic mysticism” — terms that have no philosophical application within a world view are invoked for a deceptive emotional effect.4

Wilber asserts, “The radical secret of the supreme identity is that there is only God” (305). When the Spirit recognizes itself “there is no one anywhere to watch it, or even sing its praises” (247). Christians, quite to the contrary, worship and enjoy their Creator and Redeemer; Wilber embraces only Emptiness.

The problem of good and evil also plagues Wilber. Since Spirit is nondual, it is beyond ethical categories. Meaningful moral distinctions require an objective difference between the dualities of good and evil. Wilber is in two minds about this (which is not good for a nondualist). He is happy that evolution has taken us beyond human sacrifice, slavery, and the subjection of women, all of which he rejects as wrong. He also views the KKK and Nazism as evil and admits there are “pathological states [of consciousness] of what can only be Kosmic terror, Kosmic evil, Kosmic horror” (211). However, he speaks positively of the mystical practices of Tantric yoga that “don’t abandon defiled states” but rather “enter them with enthusiasm, and play with them” because “there is only God” (239). He quickly adds that these practices occur within ethical frameworks! Yet the possibility of an ethical framework demands an ethical reality that allows for differentiation between good and evil. Nonduality is not up to the job. Wilber asserts morality without any theological foundation for it. There is an irresolvable tension between his God-given conscience and his defective world view.

Elton Trueblood observed that evil is a philosophical problem for Christian theism; yet evil is a philosophical disaster for pantheism.5 The pantheist must either say that evil is illusory because nondualism dissolves moral distinctions or claim that God is both good and evil, in which case God would not be a being of supreme and perfect value. Wilber is trapped within this theological prison.

He is also incarcerated in the silence of unknowing. Wilber affirms that the ultimate reality is “unqualifiable” (137, 225). If so, then no one can logically affirm anything about it. What cannot be described cannot serve as an explanation for anything. Nevertheless, Wilber does qualify the Emptiness by saying it is the ground and goal of evolution, the source of all historical manifestations, the highest state of consciousness, and so forth. This is contradictory; he should remain silent (along with Emptiness). The Christian, on the other hand, is not abandoned to a speechless prison. God has spoken; we must listen. Emptiness, however, is mute.

Lastly, Wilber cannot escape the problem of salvation. Although everybody is already one with the nondual divine, most people are somehow ignorant of their identity and so become narcissistic and selfish (333). Therefore, we must meditate to attain ever higher levels of consciousness (217-18) until we reach the nondual, which is, paradoxically, already our state of being. Christians avoid these hopeless paradoxes by admitting their moral failings before a holy God and by calling out to God for forgiveness and new life through the atoning death of Jesus Christ and the cosmic victory of His resurrection from the dead."
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 04:37:46 PM by Ashvin »

Offline agelbert

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2013, 08:08:56 PM »
Good explanation, Ashvin.  :emthup:

I'd add just one thing. I think the entire construct of oneness and reaching for oneness, connectivity, reality, truly knowing or the Buddha state is an EXCELLENT DODGE of immorality, sin, error, guilt, remorse, etc. Never mind restitution.

All those perceptions of (all aspects of dualism) are FALSE for a Buddhist in the final analysis of true connectivity. There IS NO EVIL because GOOD, the other pole of that particular dualistic MIRAGE, does not really exist either.

That sure is convenient to KNOW, that no matter what you DO, karma is going to take care of all the messy details.

I'm done with this Buddhism discussion. It's THE most circular, dial a definition word game I have ever had the misfortune to be subjected to and I'm rather tired of it.

God bless you, brother. Buddhism makes sure there are no anchors that you can use to pin somebody down in an argument and start a chain for logical reasoning from premise to premise.

The BOTTOM LINE for me is that Buddhism REJECTS GUILT, even if hey say they do admit people can do bad things, but you do bad because you are connected to your senses so you need to be disconnected so you can be CONNECTED - SANE -WAKE UP - KNOWING REALITY. If you aren't connected, you are in need of connection but NOT in need of a savior or guilt feelings for doing WRONG, because, you see, doing wrong is all part of the silly perception we have when we are disconnected by having our senses connected so we have to meditate more to disconnect the senses so we can get connected to REALITY.

But STILL NO GUILT. No wonder so many people like Buddhism!
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2013, 08:15:28 PM »
OK, here is a Christian critique of Ka's view (it is a critique of Ken Wilber's "A Brief History of Everything", which I assume is an accurate representative?)

Not really. You might say that I take off from where Groothius finds his objections. I haven't read Wilber in a long time, so I can't say if he (Wilber) handled them the way I do, if at all.

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I will admit that it's not very thorough, but I respect the author (Douglas Groothuis) and he raises good points IMO. The first part mostly explains Wilber's view, I have only posted the critique here. Your response?

I don't respect this. It is about the same level of critique that one finds in those who say "The existence of evil refutes the existence of God". As if theologians haven't wrestled with the problem of evil six ways to Sunday. So when he says...

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But Wilber cannot have it both ways. If nonduality/oneness is the absolute, ultimate, and comprehensive reality, this logically excludes any of the dualisms we find in our everyday experience. There cannot be many people, rocks, trees, or birds if the supreme reality is one without duality; they would have to be dismissed as illusions. If nonduality is the comprehensive reality, as Wilber claims, this destroys all duality; formlessness is incompatible with form. Nevertheless, Wilber illogically asserts that both dual and nondual states are somehow real.

...my reaction is -- does he think Wilber isn't aware of that apparent contradiction? What I don't recall is if or how Wilber dealt with it. I do know how I do, though, and which I tried to explain in my first comment in this thread. Another example is the question of what is Emptiness. The ink spilled by Buddhists in trying to answer this question may be greater than that spilled by Christians in trying to answer how God can be one, yet three. Which, by the way, makes this comment of Groothius disingenuous:

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The Christian has no such problem with the relationship of the one to the many. God is a unity in diversity — one God in three persons.

Christians have had an enormous problem with this, as with the problem of how Jesus could be 100% divine and 100% human. These problems have divided the church and spawned a dozen heresies. They are mysteries, beyond human understanding.

As is the question of how absolute reality can be nondual yet here we are in the midst of plurality. These are mysteries, so it is to mystics that one should look for answers. But of course, there are no discursive answers, and so (Wilber would say, and I agree) if you really want an answer, get thee to a Zen center (or whatever).

Where, maybe, I differ from Wilber, is not to say that I have discursive answers, but that with polar logic one can get a better feel for the problems. With it, one realizes that it is not just with the nature of God or Emptiness that one finds the problem, but with the nature of our own everyday consciousness. Conventional logic doesn't work, neither in Christianity nor in Buddhism nor in understanding consciousness, so when Groothius attacks Wilber for violating conventional logic, my reaction is to think Groothius is not even a player. It is true that one can't have it both ways. But is is also true that one can't have it one way, or the other way, or neither way. Once one gets to this point (aporia) then one can get down to business.


Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2013, 11:36:52 PM »
I'd add just one thing. I think the entire construct of oneness and reaching for oneness, connectivity, reality, truly knowing or the Buddha state is an EXCELLENT DODGE of immorality, sin, error, guilt, remorse, etc. Never mind restitution.

All those perceptions of (all aspects of dualism) are FALSE for a Buddhist in the final analysis of true connectivity. There IS NO EVIL because GOOD, the other pole of that particular dualistic MIRAGE, does not really exist either.

If Buddhists think there is no evil, then why is the first Noble Truth "Life is suffering", and the rest are about how to stop suffering?

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That sure is convenient to KNOW, that no matter what you DO, karma is going to take care of all the messy details.

The Buddha did not say "Here's what you need to do to get saved, but don't worry about, karma will take care of it." What he said (his last words) was "Work out your salvation with diligence."

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I'm done with this Buddhism discussion.

That's probably a good idea. One shouldn't discuss that about which one has such a poor understanding.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2013, 05:20:47 AM »
I don't respect this. It is about the same level of critique that one finds in those who say "The existence of evil refutes the existence of God". As if theologians haven't wrestled with the problem of evil six ways to Sunday. So when he says...

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But Wilber cannot have it both ways. If nonduality/oneness is the absolute, ultimate, and comprehensive reality, this logically excludes any of the dualisms we find in our everyday experience. There cannot be many people, rocks, trees, or birds if the supreme reality is one without duality; they would have to be dismissed as illusions. If nonduality is the comprehensive reality, as Wilber claims, this destroys all duality; formlessness is incompatible with form. Nevertheless, Wilber illogically asserts that both dual and nondual states are somehow real.

...my reaction is -- does he think Wilber isn't aware of that apparent contradiction? What I don't recall is if or how Wilber dealt with it. I do know how I do, though, and which I tried to explain in my first comment in this thread. Another example is the question of what is Emptiness. The ink spilled by Buddhists in trying to answer this question may be greater than that spilled by Christians in trying to answer how God can be one, yet three. Which, by the way, makes this comment of Groothius disingenuous:

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The Christian has no such problem with the relationship of the one to the many. God is a unity in diversity — one God in three persons.

Christians have had an enormous problem with this, as with the problem of how Jesus could be 100% divine and 100% human. These problems have divided the church and spawned a dozen heresies. They are mysteries, beyond human understanding.

As is the question of how absolute reality can be nondual yet here we are in the midst of plurality. These are mysteries, so it is to mystics that one should look for answers. But of course, there are no discursive answers, and so (Wilber would say, and I agree) if you really want an answer, get thee to a Zen center (or whatever).

I think you are missing the point here. Christians do not claim one is equal to three or that divinity is equal to humanity, while Wilber claims one is equal to many, form is equal to formlessness, etc.

I'm sure Groothuis has no problem admitting Christians have encountered problems describing the trinity and Jesus' dual nature, BECAUSE we also claim that one cannot logically equal three.

The explanation I have seen from you on this objection is that it assumes conventional logic, while reality consists of "polar-logic". However, this just goes back to the question of initial faith... the willingness to accept a dualism between "conventional reality" and "absolute reality".

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Where, maybe, I differ from Wilber, is not to say that I have discursive answers, but that with polar logic one can get a better feel for the problems. With it, one realizes that it is not just with the nature of God or Emptiness that one finds the problem, but with the nature of our own everyday consciousness. Conventional logic doesn't work, neither in Christianity nor in Buddhism nor in understanding consciousness, so when Groothius attacks Wilber for violating conventional logic, my reaction is to think Groothius is not even a player. It is true that one can't have it both ways. But is is also true that one can't have it one way, or the other way, or neither way. Once one gets to this point (aporia) then one can get down to business.

Christianity [and Groothuis] asserts that its God and its doctrines ARE conventionally logical. Groothuis is also asserting that a worldview MUST be conventionally logical (granted, he just assumes readers will accept that, but as you say, that's probably because Wilber doesn't raise the issue of polar logic).

You say that conventional logic "doesn't work", but the argument here is that it DOES work, especially in our everyday experiences with reality. I imagine Groothuis would agree with AG and I that resorting to polar logic for "absolute reality" is an extra and unnecessary step. A lack of comprehension of the "conventional" logic behind all concepts in reality does not necessarily (or even preferably) require an abandonment of such logic as a necessary premise.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 05:24:37 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2013, 02:32:04 PM »
This is good. I think we can home in on our differences with the question raised here, that is, whether or not conventional logic is sufficient for formulating a world view.


I think you are missing the point here. Christians do not claim one is equal to three or that divinity is equal to humanity, while Wilber claims one is equal to many, form is equal to formlessness, etc.

But they do say that God is one, yet three, and that Jesus is fully human, yet fully divine, both of which violate the law of non-contradiction. Please note the different way I phrased that. For Wilber's (and my) claims, I would say that all is one, and yet many, that form is not formlessness, and yet is formlessness. If I wanted to say it with conventional logic, I would  say "if you say all is one, you get a contradiction, and if you say that all is many, you get a contradiction." That is, when one leaves the conventional world and want to say something about the spiritual world, or about "the all", you get into trouble if you try to stick to conventional logic. Further, you get into the same trouble when you try to understand the conscious self.

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I'm sure Groothuis has no problem admitting Christians have encountered problems describing the trinity and Jesus' dual nature, BECAUSE we also claim that one cannot logically equal three.

But that's just what I am saying. We run into trouble IF WE STICK WITH CONVENTIONAL LOGIC when trying to deal with the divine, or with consciousness.

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The explanation I have seen from you on this objection is that it assumes conventional logic, while reality consists of "polar-logic". However, this just goes back to the question of initial faith... the willingness to accept a dualism between "conventional reality" and "absolute reality".

But I don't accept a dualism between conventional reality and absolute reality. First of all, it is my conclusion, not my "initial faith", that absolute reality requires polar logic. Recall that my assumptions are that there is a physical world, and I am aware of it. As long as I ignore the second assumption, conventional logic works just fine, but when I take into account my awareness of the physical world, it breaks down. Secondly, I would NOT say that there are two realities, rather I say that the whole of reality requires polar logic, but there is a projection of the whole -- physical reality -- for which conventional logic suffices.

Thirdly, and this is why it is important, our fallenness is to mistake the projection for the whole of reality, or at least to assume that the laws of the projection apply to the whole.

There are things I take on faith, notably that the whole is fundamentally Good. But what you are calling "initial faith" is the conclusion of reason. On the other hand, as long as you are rejecting that conclusion, without showing where my reasoning is faulty, it is you who are taking a leap of faith.

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Christianity [and Groothuis] asserts that its God and its doctrines ARE conventionally logical.

Your Christiaity might say that, but that is out of step with traditional theology, in particular the necessity of negative theology: that the actual nature of God is ineffable, only approachable in our understanding through analogies. Even the word 'exists' in the phrase "God exists" must be taken analogically (according to Aquinas -- others, like Duns Scotus, disagreed).

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Groothuis is also asserting that a worldview MUST be conventionally logical (granted, he just assumes readers will accept that, but as you say, that's probably because Wilber doesn't raise the issue of polar logic).

If so, then no worldview can include consciousness.  Conventional logic is basically the logic for spatiotemporal reality. It doesn't work if one wants to come to grips with that which is aware of spatiotemporal reality.

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You say that conventional logic "doesn't work", but the argument here is that it DOES work, especially in our everyday experiences with reality.

Not "especially in our everyday experiences with reality", but "only in our experiences of physical reality (and mathematics)". (More specifically of the macrophysical. It also doesn't work in trying to make sense of quantum reality -- in conventional logic you can't have one thing in two contradictory states.)

 
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I imagine Groothuis would agree with AG and I that resorting to polar logic for "absolute reality" is an extra and unnecessary step. A lack of comprehension of the "conventional" logic behind all concepts in reality does not necessarily (or even preferably) require an abandonment of such logic as a necessary premise.

As soon as you can show me how a spatiotemporal mechanism can become aware of itself, I might reconsider my view that it is necessary. Or you can provide something that isn't a big leap of faith like "God makes it happen". Or you can show me where my logic is faulty -- and here I mean my use of conventional logic. That is, I use conventional logic and experience to come to the conclusion that conventional logic has limits.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2013, 05:47:40 PM »
But they do say that God is one, yet three, and that Jesus is fully human, yet fully divine, both of which violate the law of non-contradiction.

They say that God is one essence or substance, and three persons. The question here is whether "essence" and personhood are basically the same thing. If so, there is a contradiction, but if not, there isn't one. It is hardly something that is easy to comprehend and I haven't read any scholar who says otherwise. However, we can try...

Tertullian is the early Christian theologian who most thoroughly attacked modalism in Against Praxeas. First I want to mention that I don't think the Bible leaves this "up for grabs". As Tertullian says,

“If you want me to believe Him to be both the Father and the Son, show me some other passage where it is declared, ‘The Lord said unto Himself, I am my own Son, today I have begotten myself’” (referencing Psalm 110)

We can debate that point more if you want, but I assume its OK for you as a stipulation. So Tertullian explained the Trinity as follows:

the mystery of the economy . . . distributes the unity into a Trinity, placing in their order the three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; yet of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

So we have three personal centers of self-consciousness, but one shared universal nature. A [very] simple analogy could be three human beings - they are different persons, but they all share the nature of being human (in Christianity, this nature could be equated with the imago dei). Augustine and Augustine would add that they are also three in relational status to one another (i.e. paternal vs. filial relation), but I do not believe that is adequate to establish their distinct personhood by itself.

However, with the Godhead, each person does not have the full God nature as a separate being, but only as a whole.

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Please note the different way I phrased that. For Wilber's (and my) claims, I would say that all is one, and yet many, that form is not formlessness, and yet is formlessness. If I wanted to say it with conventional logic, I would  say "if you say all is one, you get a contradiction, and if you say that all is many, you get a contradiction." That is, when one leaves the conventional world and want to say something about the spiritual world, or about "the all", you get into trouble if you try to stick to conventional logic. Further, you get into the same trouble when you try to understand the conscious self.

...

But that's just what I am saying. We run into trouble IF WE STICK WITH CONVENTIONAL LOGIC when trying to deal with the divine, or with consciousness.

I don't understand why "getting intro trouble" necessitates abandoning conventional logic. We get into trouble when trying to understand all sorts of things in the physical world, especially personal relationships. Christianity, more than most other religions, emphasizes that physical and mental "troubles" are a part of life and serve a purpose in God's redemptive scheme.

And while the Bible tells us God's word can be relied upon to explain many things, it also implies some things will be beyond comprehension (certainly in this lifetime) and we should be satisfied with that.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!" (Romans 11:33)



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But I don't accept a dualism between conventional reality and absolute reality. First of all, it is my conclusion, not my "initial faith", that absolute reality requires polar logic. Recall that my assumptions are that there is a physical world, and I am aware of it. As long as I ignore the second assumption, conventional logic works just fine, but when I take into account my awareness of the physical world, it breaks down. Secondly, I would NOT say that there are two realities, rather I say that the whole of reality requires polar logic, but there is a projection of the whole -- physical reality -- for which conventional logic suffices.

Thirdly, and this is why it is important, our fallenness is to mistake the projection for the whole of reality, or at least to assume that the laws of the projection apply to the whole.

There are things I take on faith, notably that the whole is fundamentally Good. But what you are calling "initial faith" is the conclusion of reason. On the other hand, as long as you are rejecting that conclusion, without showing where my reasoning is faulty, it is you who are taking a leap of faith.

OK, but for there is no real logical problem when integrating the physical world with my awareness of it. So it takes a leap of faith for me to assume that there is a problem and we must avoid it using a broader polar logic.

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Your Christiaity might say that, but that is out of step with traditional theology, in particular the necessity of negative theology: that the actual nature of God is ineffable, only approachable in our understanding through analogies. Even the word 'exists' in the phrase "God exists" must be taken analogically (according to Aquinas -- others, like Duns Scotus, disagreed).

Right, Aquinas' doctrine of "divine simplicity" seems to lead to logical problems with his conception of the Trinity. From what I have read, it seems that Aquinas went too far back towards modalism when trying to rationalize the doctrine of Trinity.

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If so, then no worldview can include consciousness.  Conventional logic is basically the logic for spatiotemporal reality. It doesn't work if one wants to come to grips with that which is aware of spatiotemporal reality.

That is your assertion, but I am not at all clear on why.

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Not "especially in our everyday experiences with reality", but "only in our experiences of physical reality (and mathematics)". (More specifically of the macrophysical. It also doesn't work in trying to make sense of quantum reality -- in conventional logic you can't have one thing in two contradictory states.)

I have seen no good evidence that quantum reality consists of things existing in contradictory states. If anything, the language used in quantum physics, especially popular representations, play up that idea of "contradictory" realities (like "wave-particle duality"), but those theoretically convenient descriptions do not necessarily imply logical contradictions that have resulted from scientific experimentation.

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As soon as you can show me how a spatiotemporal mechanism can become aware of itself, I might reconsider my view that it is necessary. Or you can provide something that isn't a big leap of faith like "God makes it happen". Or you can show me where my logic is faulty -- and here I mean my use of conventional logic. That is, I use conventional logic and experience to come to the conclusion that conventional logic has limits.

I'm not exactly sure what you are asking here, so I need clarification.

In the meantime, this thought experiment may help elucidate the necessity of Trinity, albeit not the logic of it (that was explained above).

"God is by definition the greatest conceivable being. As the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being. Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be any created person, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God’s very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist. So created persons cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Moreover, contemporary. cosmology makes it plausible that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So again created persons alone are insufficient to account for God’s being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself."

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2013, 12:52:09 AM »

They say that God is one essence or substance, and three persons. The question here is whether "essence" and personhood are basically the same thing. If so, there is a contradiction, but if not, there isn't one. It is hardly something that is easy to comprehend and I haven't read any scholar who says otherwise. However, we can try...

That's pretty much the point -- we can only try. The problem is that conventional logic doesn't have a way to handle a "something" that is three, yet one. It only knows threesomes that can be grouped (like the Roman Triumvirate, or father-mother-child) or a unit that has three aspects. The former, if applied to the Trinity, is tritheism, the latter is modalism, both heretical. Now I have no real stake in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, so as far as I am concerned, its relevance to this discussion -- which is about whether an adequate worldview requires going beyond conventional logic -- is tangential. In fact, all I really have to say about it is that IF a Christian were to see the value of polar logic, THEN they could apply it to the Trinity. With the caveat that, as with all applications of polar logic, it doesn't provide understanding, just that it approaches the difficulty better than other devices, like analogy.

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But that's just what I am saying. We run into trouble IF WE STICK WITH CONVENTIONAL LOGIC when trying to deal with the divine, or with consciousness.

I don't understand why "getting intro trouble" necessitates abandoning conventional logic. We get into trouble when trying to understand all sorts of things in the physical world, especially personal relationships. Christianity, more than most other religions, emphasizes that physical and mental "troubles" are a part of life and serve a purpose in God's redemptive scheme.

Getting into trouble does not necessarily mean abandoning conventional logic, sometimes it just means we should try harder. However, we can also ask, in a particular case, if conventional logic is the proper tool. We agree that it works just fine in describing objective reality, but to provide a complete worldview we also need to include the subject that is aware of objective reality. Now whatever the subject may be, it is certainly not an object (well, there are naturalist neuroscientists who are trying real hard to treat it as one, but they will fail). There is no a priori reason to think that conventional logic should be applicable to dealing with the subject, and there is a good reason to think it isn't. That reason is that conventional logic has always and only dealt with objects.

What this means is that if you believe that conventional logic is the only tool one should use in developing a worldview, then your worldview is going to be incomplete, as it will have to leave out the subject, or be wrong, because it treats the subject as an object.

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And while the Bible tells us God's word can be relied upon to explain many things, it also implies some things will be beyond comprehension (certainly in this lifetime) and we should be satisfied with that.

Many mystics say the same thing. And in one sense I agree, that understanding has its limits. But then, as I have said frequently, polar logic does not provide "understanding". Rather, it gives a sharper understanding of the limits of understanding. And that is valuable, namely in providing a better understanding of our fallenness.



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OK, but for there is no real logical problem when integrating the physical world with my awareness of it. So it takes a leap of faith for me to assume that there is a problem and we must avoid it using a broader polar logic.

Then, I would guess, you haven't had to consider if a computer can be conscious, and if not, why not. I did, which eventually led me to all this.

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If so, then no worldview can include consciousness.  Conventional logic is basically the logic for spatiotemporal reality. It doesn't work if one wants to come to grips with that which is aware of spatiotemporal reality.

That is your assertion, but I am not at all clear on why.

Well, that is what I have here and there argued, for example in my "withoutness" argument to RE, or in my saying that we can only be aware of time's passing by being outside of time. To at least some degree we are eternal beings, and conventional logic just can't deal with eternity.

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As soon as you can show me how a spatiotemporal mechanism can become aware of itself, I might reconsider my view that it is necessary. Or you can provide something that isn't a big leap of faith like "God makes it happen". Or you can show me where my logic is faulty -- and here I mean my use of conventional logic. That is, I use conventional logic and experience to come to the conclusion that conventional logic has limits.

I'm not exactly sure what you are asking here, so I need clarification.

You said that you and AG and Groothuis do not see a need to "abandon" conventional logic to formulate a world view. I say there is (though I would change that to "go beyond", not "abandon"). Specifically, I say that the subject is not an object, and is in some sense eternal (outside of spacetime) and therefore cannot be dealt with in conventional logic. You can rebut this by showing that it is a spatiotemporal object -- by showing how a spatiotemporal mechanism can be aware of itself (e.g., by building a conscious computer), or by showing an error in my reasoning. Or you can wave away any problems in dealing with the subject by ascribing all its non-objective/eternal workings to God.


Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2013, 05:53:24 AM »
That's pretty much the point -- we can only try. The problem is that conventional logic doesn't have a way to handle a "something" that is three, yet one. It only knows threesomes that can be grouped (like the Roman Triumvirate, or father-mother-child) or a unit that has three aspects. The former, if applied to the Trinity, is tritheism, the latter is modalism, both heretical. Now I have no real stake in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, so as far as I am concerned, its relevance to this discussion -- which is about whether an adequate worldview requires going beyond conventional logic -- is tangential. In fact, all I really have to say about it is that IF a Christian were to see the value of polar logic, THEN they could apply it to the Trinity. With the caveat that, as with all applications of polar logic, it doesn't provide understanding, just that it approaches the difficulty better than other devices, like analogy.

The relevance for me is that, if we can approach the difficulty with conventional logic and make some measurable progress, then there is no need for polar logic. Although you would probably cite the early and ongoing debates and heresies spawned by this doctrine as lack of progress, I would cite the fact that one view was adopted over the others (by orthodox, catholic and protestant denominations) and also that the existence of ongoing debate does not mean an intellectual resolution is impossible or unlikely.

A "resolution" in this sense would not be full comprehension, but a general recognition that the doctrine of Trinity does not violate the law of non-contradiction.

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Getting into trouble does not necessarily mean abandoning conventional logic, sometimes it just means we should try harder. However, we can also ask, in a particular case, if conventional logic is the proper tool. We agree that it works just fine in describing objective reality, but to provide a complete worldview we also need to include the subject that is aware of objective reality. Now whatever the subject may be, it is certainly not an object (well, there are naturalist neuroscientists who are trying real hard to treat it as one, but they will fail). There is no a priori reason to think that conventional logic should be applicable to dealing with the subject, and there is a good reason to think it isn't. That reason is that conventional logic has always and only dealt with objects.

What this means is that if you believe that conventional logic is the only tool one should use in developing a worldview, then your worldview is going to be incomplete, as it will have to leave out the subject, or be wrong, because it treats the subject as an object.

We both agree that mind and intelligence can only be the product of mind and intelligence. Is that assertion conventionally illogical?

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Many mystics say the same thing. And in one sense I agree, that understanding has its limits. But then, as I have said frequently, polar logic does not provide "understanding". Rather, it gives a sharper understanding of the limits of understanding. And that is valuable, namely in providing a better understanding of our fallenness.

Yeah but that is obviously the point at issue (whether it gives us a sharper understanding of anything). The Bible and Jesus promoted conventional logic as means of understanding God (and our limits to understanding God), while mystics say we must uncover hidden meanings within revelation. See

Quote from: John18
19Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

(and other such similar statements)

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Then, I would guess, you haven't had to consider if a computer can be conscious, and if not, why not. I did, which eventually led me to all this.

Well the problem here is that you refuse to accept any version of "only God can create soul or spirit (self-consciousness)" as an argument, i.e. humans bare the image of God but we cannot replicate it, or the soul of animal for that matter.

I say that the burden is on you to show that conventional logic is absolutely inadequate to explain consciousness. Therefore, while "God did it" type arguments are not adequate when debating knowledge gaps in naturalism, I think it is adequate to explain why conventional logic itself shouldn't be thrown out (or "moved beyond") when trying to explain why a computer cannot be self-conscious.

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Well, that is what I have here and there argued, for example in my "withoutness" argument to RE, or in my saying that we can only be aware of time's passing by being outside of time. To at least some degree we are eternal beings, and conventional logic just can't deal with eternity.

I need more clarification here. Why can't a being in time be aware of time passing?

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You said that you and AG and Groothuis do not see a need to "abandon" conventional logic to formulate a world view. I say there is (though I would change that to "go beyond", not "abandon"). Specifically, I say that the subject is not an object, and is in some sense eternal (outside of spacetime) and therefore cannot be dealt with in conventional logic. You can rebut this by showing that it is a spatiotemporal object -- by showing how a spatiotemporal mechanism can be aware of itself (e.g., by building a conscious computer), or by showing an error in my reasoning. Or you can wave away any problems in dealing with the subject by ascribing all its non-objective/eternal workings to God.

Like I said above, the burden should be on you to show that there is NO WAY to deal with these issues without violating the law of non-contradiction. If there is any possibility that conventional logic can adequately handle them (i.e. by resorting to the Creator), then I think the burden shifts back to you to show why that is either illogical or COMPLETELY inadequate.

On that latter point, I also don't see how ascribing the subject's workings to God is a whole lot different than ascribing them to your monistic conception of God, in terms of "waving away any problems in dealing with the subject".
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 05:55:06 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2013, 12:20:14 AM »

The relevance for me is that, if we can approach the difficulty with conventional logic and make some measurable progress, then there is no need for polar logic. Although you would probably cite the early and ongoing debates and heresies spawned by this doctrine as lack of progress, I would cite the fact that one view was adopted over the others (by orthodox, catholic and protestant denominations) and also that the existence of ongoing debate does not mean an intellectual resolution is impossible or unlikely.

A "resolution" in this sense would not be full comprehension, but a general recognition that the doctrine of Trinity does not violate the law of non-contradiction.

I should not have said that the doctrine of the Trinity violates the law of non-contradiction. First, the doctrine simply leaves it open (as it should). The question is whether the reality of the Trinity is such that conventional logic is inapplicable, and more generally, whether there is any reality to which it is inapplicable. Merrell-Wolff says there is:
Quote from: Wolff
While in the State [of High Indifference, as he called it], I was particularly impressed with the fact that the logical principle of contradiction had no relevancy. It would not be correct to say that this principle was violated, but rather, that it had no application. For to isolate any phase of the State was to be immediately aware of the opposite phase as the necessary complementary part of the first. Thus the attempt of self-conscious thought to isolate anything resulted in the immediate initiation of a sort of flow in the very essence of consciousness itself, so that the nascent isolation was transformed into its opposite as co-partner in a timeless reality....It seemed to be the real underlying fact of all consciousness of all creatures. [Experience and Philosophy, p.286]

Quote from: Ashvin
We both agree that mind and intelligence can only be the product of mind and intelligence. Is that assertion conventionally illogical?

No, but it is just an assertion. Where logic, conventional or otherwise, comes in is why we think that, and what are its implications.

Quote from: Ashvin
Quote from: Ka
Many mystics say the same thing. And in one sense I agree, that understanding has its limits. But then, as I have said frequently, polar logic does not provide "understanding". Rather, it gives a sharper understanding of the limits of understanding. And that is valuable, namely in providing a better understanding of our fallenness.

Yeah but that is obviously the point at issue (whether it gives us a sharper understanding of anything). The Bible and Jesus promoted conventional logic as means of understanding God (and our limits to understanding God), while mystics say we must uncover hidden meanings within revelation.

No, mystics (first-class ones, anyway, like Merrell-Wolff) say we must acquire our own revelation.

Quote from: Ashvin
Quote from: John18
19Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

(and other such similar statements)

So has Merrell-Wolff spoken and written openly to the world, and used conventional logic to show that the conscious mind is eternal:
Quote from: Wolff
[Experience and Philosophy, p. 371-2]
Although consciousness-as-experience is time bound, Consciousness, as such, is superior to time. That this is so is revealed in the fact that intellectual consciousness has been able to isolate and cognize time, and then, in turn, analyze it into its component parts as past, present, and future. This is further evidenced in analytic mechanics wherein time appears as a contained conception. It is impossible to analyze that which is superior to the level on which, in a given case at a given time, the consciousness-principle is operating. The roots of any mode or form of consciousness are dark with respect to that mode or form. If, at any time, consciousness becomes aware of those roots and succeeds in analyzing them, it is of necessity implied that the principle of consciousness has risen to a perspective superior to the mode of consciousness in question. Thus, while consciousness-as-experience is time bound, yet, as thought, it has risen to a level where it can apprehend the time-binding roots. In this instance, we do not have to call on the deeper mystic states of consciousness to reach to the necessary superiority of level. It is to be found in philosophy and theoretical mechanics. This is enough to show that Consciousness, as such, is not time bound, but only consciousness-as-experience.

Time is thus to be regarded as a form under which certain modes of consciousness operate, but not as an external existence, outside of consciousness in every sense. This idea is sufficiently familiar since the time of Kant not to require extensive elaboration. In the terms of Kant, time is a transcendental form imposed upon phenomena. But, it follows, consciousness, in so far as it is not concerned with phenomena, is not so bound.

Quote from: Ashvin
Quote from: Ka
Then, I would guess, you haven't had to consider if a computer can be conscious, and if not, why not. I did, which eventually led me to all this.

Well the problem here is that you refuse to accept any version of "only God can create soul or spirit (self-consciousness)" as an argument, i.e. humans bare the image of God but we cannot replicate it, or the soul of animal for that matter.

Where's the argument? All I see is an assertion, which must be taken on faith.

Quote from: Ashvin
I say that the burden is on you to show that conventional logic is absolutely inadequate to explain consciousness. Therefore, while "God did it" type arguments are not adequate when debating knowledge gaps in naturalism, I think it is adequate to explain why conventional logic itself shouldn't be thrown out (or "moved beyond") when trying to explain why a computer cannot be self-conscious.

I address the burden issue below. As for the rest, first, I am using conventional logic to explain why a computer cannot be self-conscious (see my argument in the quote box below, but change 'synapse' to 'logic gate'). But what gets implied is that what does allow self-consciousness is that consciousness is eternal. But it is also temporal. How does that work? That is where conventional logic can't be applied. On the other hand, polar logic can, once one sees that the eternal and the temporal are polar opposites, not just simple opposites. (Please note that I do not consider what I just wrote an adequate explanation -- more of a teaser for one, unfortunately.)

Quote from: Ashvin
I need more clarification here. Why can't a being in time be aware of time passing?

In addition to Wolff's argument above, here is another, more general argument that I made to AG earlier in this thread:

Quote from: Ka to AG earlier in thread
If you assume that space and time exist independently of sense perception, and that all that contributes to sense perception is spatiotemporal activity, then each synaptic event is separated by space and/or time from every other one. There is nothing spatiotemporal that can unify these events into anything larger. If there is something that you think can, it too consists of tiny pieces, each one separated by space and/or time from all the other pieces.  So something other than spatiotemporal activity is required for there to be data larger than a synaptic event.

Quote from: Ashvin
Like I said above, the burden should be on you to show that there is NO WAY to deal with these issues without violating the law of non-contradiction. If there is any possibility that conventional logic can adequately handle them (i.e. by resorting to the Creator), then I think the burden shifts back to you to show why that is either illogical or COMPLETELY inadequate.

The burden that is on me is not to show there is no way to deal with these issues within conventional logic (which would be proving a negative), but to show that there are reasons to accept the idea that there are areas of reality which are accessible to consciousness (since it is consciousness) where any description of its workings is better served with language that, from the point of view of conventional logic, is contradictory. I think I have done that, albeit in a scattered way over all these comments.

Take my argument above. It says that no spatiotemporal activity can be aware of anything larger than a synaptic event. So the workings of consciousness are not spatiotemporal, and yet they are experienced as temporal. But consciousness just is experiencing, so we have in the language a contradiction: temporal experiencing is non-temporal experiencing.

Or (same thing said differently) consider the sense we all have that our consciousness is continuous. However, the sense that our consciousness is continuous only arises because it is constantly changing (with no change, one would not be aware of anything, since awareness of something requires contrast). But in conventional language, that which is continuous is that which doesn't change, so conventional logic does not apply to our sense of continuity. Conventional logic, when it considers consciousness, must take either the position that it is continuous, which doesn't allow for change, or that it is just change, which doesn't allow for continuity. (If you say that part of it changes while most remains the same, then the part that doesn't change cannot have experienced the part that does change -- and you've got an infinite regress.)

Ok, that's hard to follow, but then I'm trying to put into a comment a  tricky thing to grasp. But I think, between Wollf's argument and experience, and at least the short argument above (about synapses), there is enough to say that there is an argument, and some evidence to back it up. And that means that the burden now shifts to you. Now you must either refute the argument and explain away the evidence, or ignore both and accept that your worldview is taken on faith.

Let me put it this way. The "faith" (better: assumptions) that I am saying you need to admit to is one that was acquired unconsciously -- we naturally are subject/object dualists who regard conventional logic as sufficient to describe reality. Now I am giving reasons to reject this as indicative of fundamental reality. Further, there is the Barfieldian argument that shows how these unconscious assumptions came about. So there is this alternative view out there. Maybe you don't have the time or inclination to explore this alternative view well enough to refute it -- that's understandable, as there are many alternative views, and no one has time to explore them all. But if you don't, then you are not entitled to say that I have taken a bigger leap of faith than you have.

Quote from: Ashvin
On that latter point, I also don't see how ascribing the subject's workings to God is a whole lot different than ascribing them to your monistic conception of God, in terms of "waving away any problems in dealing with the subject".

Well, in the first place, I have a trinitarian, not a monistic conception of God. But mainly I am saying that this trinitarian conception is the way the whole of reality works, and one node of the trinity is the subject. (More precisely, the "pure" subject, which I haven't talked about as yet.) So in my worldview, the role of the subject is an integral part of "how things are", as opposed to the naturalist view which tries to treat it as an illusion, or to your view which requires an appeal to God.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2013, 05:28:16 AM »
I should not have said that the doctrine of the Trinity violates the law of non-contradiction. First, the doctrine simply leaves it open (as it should). The question is whether the reality of the Trinity is such that conventional logic is inapplicable, and more generally, whether there is any reality to which it is inapplicable.

Yes, I understood you to mean that the traditional doctrine of Trinity (implying subject/object dualism) violates the law of non-contradiction.

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No, mystics (first-class ones, anyway, like Merrell-Wolff) say we must acquire our own revelation.

Whether it's the second-rate New Age mystic talking about decoding hidden meanings in revelation or your first-class ones talking about acquiring our own revelation, the practical result is the same - it becomes an entirely subjective process.

That's not a problem if reality only consists of subject, but is a huge problem with subject/object duality. The big difference (among others) I see (and appreciate) between your mystics and the popular ones is that the former are willing to admit they are contravening the intended meaning of scripture at the time it was formulated.

For ex, you agree that Jesus did not instruct his followers to engage in mystical practices or intend they somehow discern this from what he said to them, correct?

Quote from: Ashvin
So has Merrell-Wolff spoken and written openly to the world, and used conventional logic to show that the conscious mind is eternal:

I know, my point was simply what I said above, i.e. that Jesus used conventional logic but did not reach the conclusions Merrell-Wolff has reached, and all indications suggest he and his immediate followers reached opposite conclusions (notwithstanding early debates about the nature of the Trinity and Jesus' divinity).

Quote
Where's the argument? All I see is an assertion, which must be taken on faith.

The argument is that we have sufficient reason to trust the Biblical model of life's origins. This model suggests that animal consciousness and self-consciousness was imparted during God's creative process. Therefore, humans can be bound by space and time while also having self-consciousness, but computers cannot ever gain the latter capacity.

Quote
I address the burden issue below. As for the rest, first, I am using conventional logic to explain why a computer cannot be self-conscious (see my argument in the quote box below, but change 'synapse' to 'logic gate'). But what gets implied is that what does allow self-consciousness is that consciousness is eternal. But it is also temporal. How does that work? That is where conventional logic can't be applied. On the other hand, polar logic can, once one sees that the eternal and the temporal are polar opposites, not just simple opposites. (Please note that I do not consider what I just wrote an adequate explanation -- more of a teaser for one, unfortunately.)

All of this seems like a variation of the mind-body interaction problem. How can a spatiotemporal physical reality interact with a non-spatiotemporal spiritual reality? Biblical theism would say because God has designed it that way (obviously there is more to be fleshed out there).

Quote from: Ashvin
The burden that is on me is not to show there is no way to deal with these issues within conventional logic (which would be proving a negative), but to show that there are reasons to accept the idea that there are areas of reality which are accessible to consciousness (since it is consciousness) where any description of its workings is better served with language that, from the point of view of conventional logic, is contradictory. I think I have done that, albeit in a scattered way over all these comments.

Take my argument above. It says that no spatiotemporal activity can be aware of anything larger than a synaptic event. So the workings of consciousness are not spatiotemporal, and yet they are experienced as temporal. But consciousness just is experiencing, so we have in the language a contradiction: temporal experiencing is non-temporal experiencing.

Or (same thing said differently) consider the sense we all have that our consciousness is continuous. However, the sense that our consciousness is continuous only arises because it is constantly changing (with no change, one would not be aware of anything, since awareness of something requires contrast). But in conventional language, that which is continuous is that which doesn't change, so conventional logic does not apply to our sense of continuity. Conventional logic, when it considers consciousness, must take either the position that it is continuous, which doesn't allow for change, or that it is just change, which doesn't allow for continuity. (If you say that part of it changes while most remains the same, then the part that doesn't change cannot have experienced the part that does change -- and you've got an infinite regress.)

Ok, that's hard to follow, but then I'm trying to put into a comment a  tricky thing to grasp. But I think, between Wollf's argument and experience, and at least the short argument above (about synapses), there is enough to say that there is an argument, and some evidence to back it up. And that means that the burden now shifts to you. Now you must either refute the argument and explain away the evidence, or ignore both and accept that your worldview is taken on faith.

I don't think the burdens have been stated accurately here.

In a court room, if one witness takes the stand and says vehicle A was black, and another takes the stand and says vehicle B was white, must we automatically assume that one witness' testimony is unreliable? No, because in doing so, that witness' testimony will be rendered useless for purposes of all further arguments. Instead, the burden is on the person impeaching the witness to show that there is no possible way that the vehicle could have been perceived as both black and white (perhaps some parts were black and some were white, or the light reflecting at a certain angle would have made some black parts look white, or whatever).

You are claiming the traditional doctrine of Trinity is contradictory, or, more generally, our temporal experience of continuing consciousness involves a contradiction as well. The burden is on you to show there is no reasonable way that these phenomenon can be explained without a using a conventional contradiction. "Reasonable" here does not mean likely, probable, well-established, sufficiently proven, etc., but is a much lesser burden, since the implication of contradiction in this basic matter renders all my arguments about the nature of reality useless.

Quote
Let me put it this way. The "faith" (better: assumptions) that I am saying you need to admit to is one that was acquired unconsciously -- we naturally are subject/object dualists who regard conventional logic as sufficient to describe reality. Now I am giving reasons to reject this as indicative of fundamental reality. Further, there is the Barfieldian argument that shows how these unconscious assumptions came about. So there is this alternative view out there. Maybe you don't have the time or inclination to explore this alternative view well enough to refute it -- that's understandable, as there are many alternative views, and no one has time to explore them all. But if you don't, then you are not entitled to say that I have taken a bigger leap of faith than you have.

I can also give you plenty of reasons why subject/object duality is indicative of fundamental reality. You have already admitted that it works just fine in the what you call the "physical projection" of reality. I am saying you are taking a leap of faith in assuming it is a physical projection and we are living in some sort of self-directed, evolved Matrix. Your are basing that assumption on only a very few areas of reality that seem difficult to explain or understand in terms of subject/object duality.



Quote from: Ashvin
Well, in the first place, I have a trinitarian, not a monistic conception of God. But mainly I am saying that this trinitarian conception is the way the whole of reality works, and one node of the trinity is the subject. (More precisely, the "pure" subject, which I haven't talked about as yet.) So in my worldview, the role of the subject is an integral part of "how things are", as opposed to the naturalist view which tries to treat it as an illusion, or to your view which requires an appeal to God.

That's what I say as well - that the subjective node of the trinity is present in all of reality. It is just as real and meaningful as the objective node, and reality is only adequately described by the interaction between the two.

But there are actually two kinds of things in my view of reality (within the Godhead and without), whereas I have understood you to claim there is only one kind of thing, which is why I call yours a monist conception.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 05:30:43 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2013, 12:08:08 AM »

Whether it's the second-rate New Age mystic talking about decoding hidden meanings in revelation or your first-class ones talking about acquiring our own revelation, the practical result is the same - it becomes an entirely subjective process.

That's not a problem if reality only consists of subject, but is a huge problem with subject/object duality. The big difference (among others) I see (and appreciate) between your mystics and the popular ones is that the former are willing to admit they are contravening the intended meaning of scripture at the time it was formulated.

For ex, you agree that Jesus did not instruct his followers to engage in mystical practices or intend they somehow discern this from what he said to them, correct?

No, I don't agree. First, there is the whole issue of whether the NT records all that Jesus taught to everybody, with the "aggregated by winners" question. But even sticking to what's in the NT, I would argue that the instruction to obey God's will and not one's own makes no sense unless one learns to transcend one's subjectivity. So mystical practice is not a subjective process. It is, rather, allowing the subject to die, so that the "true self" may be born. Mystical instruction is about learning to detach oneself from objects, because attachment gives rise to subjective evils like anger, fear, and greed, and that is what Jesus preached. No one can live up to the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount without having transcended his subjectivity.

Quote
Quote
So has Merrell-Wolff spoken and written openly to the world, and used conventional logic to show that the conscious mind is eternal:

I know, my point was simply what I said above, i.e. that Jesus used conventional logic but did not reach the conclusions Merrell-Wolff has reached, and all indications suggest he and his immediate followers reached opposite conclusions (notwithstanding early debates about the nature of the Trinity and Jesus' divinity).

As above, and for the same reason, I do not agree. In any case, it is not about conclusions reached, but about trying to reveal a state of consciousness to those who have no experience of it. I do not see any significant difference between the two that can't be accounted for in that they addressed very different audiences.

Quote
The argument is that we have sufficient reason to trust the Biblical model of life's origins. This model suggests that animal consciousness and self-consciousness was imparted during God's creative process. Therefore, humans can be bound by space and time while also having self-consciousness, but computers cannot ever gain the latter capacity.

Ok, then we're back to arguing over whether Genesis is myth or history. Which in my case means bringing in Barfield.

Quote
All of this seems like a variation of the mind-body interaction problem. How can a spatiotemporal physical reality interact with a non-spatiotemporal spiritual reality? Biblical theism would say because God has designed it that way (obviously there is more to be fleshed out there).

It's a rejection of the mind-body interaction problem, on the grounds that spatiotemporal reality does not act. All action is undertaken in non-spatiotemporal reality, which we only perceive in its 5-D form.

Quote
I don't think the burdens have been stated accurately here.

In a court room, if one witness takes the stand and says vehicle A was black, and another takes the stand and says vehicle B was white, must we automatically assume that one witness' testimony is unreliable? No, because in doing so, that witness' testimony will be rendered useless for purposes of all further arguments. Instead, the burden is on the person impeaching the witness to show that there is no possible way that the vehicle could have been perceived as both black and white (perhaps some parts were black and some were white, or the light reflecting at a certain angle would have made some black parts look white, or whatever).

You are claiming the traditional doctrine of Trinity is contradictory, or, more generally, our temporal experience of continuing consciousness involves a contradiction as well.

Not quite. I am saying all attempts to think about consciousness end up in language that is contradictory. And this, I observe, is a consequence of consciousness not being an object, while conventional logic is only applicable to objects.

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The burden is on you to show there is no reasonable way that these phenomenon can be explained without a using a conventional contradiction. "Reasonable" here does not mean likely, probable, well-established, sufficiently proven, etc., but is a much lesser burden, since the implication of contradiction in this basic matter renders all my arguments about the nature of reality useless.

Likewise, consciousness is not a phenomenon. It is that which is aware of phenomena -- which is why it is a radically different situation from witnesses disagreeing about phenomena.

As for rendering all your arguments useless, well, yes, that is the point of a metaphysical debate.

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I can also give you plenty of reasons why subject/object duality is indicative of fundamental reality.

And I can dispose of them to my satisfaction, in part by bringing in Barfield.

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You have already admitted that it works just fine in the what you call the "physical projection" of reality. I am saying you are taking a leap of faith in assuming it is a physical projection and we are living in some sort of self-directed, evolved Matrix.

And I say there is no leap of faith, because the assumption that physical reality has a reality independent of perception has logical difficulties that my position doesn't have, while my saying physical reality is a projection is a conclusion reached through observation and reason, not an assumption.

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Your are basing that assumption on only a very few areas of reality that seem difficult to explain or understand in terms of subject/object duality.

I make no assumption, unless you call "there is consciousness" an assumption. To assume there is reality outside of consciousness is to take a leap of faith.

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But there are actually two kinds of things in my view of reality (within the Godhead and without), whereas I have understood you to claim there is only one kind of thing, which is why I call yours a monist conception.

You said I have a monistic concept of God -- that is what I disagreed with, taking 'God' to mean the fundamental source of all that exists. But yes, I am a monist in the other sense -- that there is only one kind of thing, and that "one kind" is trinitarian.

Online Eddie

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2013, 07:02:07 AM »
I'm taking the Barfield to the beach to see if I can finish it. I will return with questions.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2013, 06:08:50 AM »
No, I don't agree. First, there is the whole issue of whether the NT records all that Jesus taught to everybody, with the "aggregated by winners" question.

This issue is easily resolved, and is simply a convenient way to duck Jesus' teachings rather than a legitimate historical argument (i.e. it allows us to always claim something or another was "left out" of his teachings, depending on what we already believe to be true)

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But even sticking to what's in the NT, I would argue that the instruction to obey God's will and not one's own makes no sense unless one learns to transcend one's subjectivity. So mystical practice is not a subjective process. It is, rather, allowing the subject to die, so that the "true self" may be born. Mystical instruction is about learning to detach oneself from objects, because attachment gives rise to subjective evils like anger, fear, and greed, and that is what Jesus preached. No one can live up to the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount without having transcended his subjectivity.

Where does Jesus preach a "detachment" from objective reality? Why does he preach against theft, deceit, sexual immorality, etc.? Why does he tell us to bare our crosses and follow him? Why does he bless those who bare suffering and persecution in the pursuit of justice and in the name of God? None of that comports with detachment in the sense you are using it.


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Ok, then we're back to arguing over whether Genesis is myth or history. Which in my case means bringing in Barfield.

Well, we would be arguing whether it is possible for Genesis to be history, so that we may have a potential logical explanation for consciousness in living beings and varying degrees of consciousness.

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All of this seems like a variation of the mind-body interaction problem. How can a spatiotemporal physical reality interact with a non-spatiotemporal spiritual reality? Biblical theism would say because God has designed it that way (obviously there is more to be fleshed out there).

It's a rejection of the mind-body interaction problem, on the grounds that spatiotemporal reality does not act. All action is undertaken in non-spatiotemporal reality, which we only perceive in its 5-D form.[/quote]

I know, I'm saying your major objection here is that my view leads to the mind-body interaction problem, which I don't see as that big of a problem.

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Not quite. I am saying all attempts to think about consciousness end up in language that is contradictory. And this, I observe, is a consequence of consciousness not being an object, while conventional logic is only applicable to objects.

...

Likewise, consciousness is not a phenomenon. It is that which is aware of phenomena -- which is why it is a radically different situation from witnesses disagreeing about phenomena.

As for rendering all your arguments useless, well, yes, that is the point of a metaphysical debate.

The point of my analogy was to explain the burden of persuasion, not to equate describing consciousness with describing a car. Another way to think about it is the reason why we must prove every element of a crime "beyond a reasonable doubt", i.e. we want to make absolutely sure we are not risking the error of leading others to the wrong conclusion.

I believe this burden is on you when claiming "all attempts to think about consciousness end up in language that is contradictory", because once we accept that single claim as true we are forced to a certain conclusion regarding the ultimate "guilt" of all deistic and theistic worldviews (and atheistic, but who cares about that??)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 06:14:02 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2013, 12:56:23 AM »
No, I don't agree. First, there is the whole issue of whether the NT records all that Jesus taught to everybody, with the "aggregated by winners" question.

This issue is easily resolved, and is simply a convenient way to duck Jesus' teachings rather than a legitimate historical argument (i.e. it allows us to always claim something or another was "left out" of his teachings, depending on what we already believe to be true)

No it is not easily resolved. Scholars have been and will be debating this sort of thing endlessly. And everyone, including the literalist, has an agenda.

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Where does Jesus preach a "detachment" from objective reality? Why does he preach against theft, deceit, sexual immorality, etc.? Why does he tell us to bare our crosses and follow him? Why does he bless those who bare suffering and persecution in the pursuit of justice and in the name of God? None of that comports with detachment in the sense you are using it.

Quote from: Mt 6:23-26
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Most anyone familiar with the role of detachment in salvation will recognize it in this passage. By the way, Buddhism also preaches "against theft, deceit, sexual immorality, etc.". The two are hardly antithetical. And also by the way, verse 25 looks like a contradiction.


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The point of my analogy was to explain the burden of persuasion, not to equate describing consciousness with describing a car. Another way to think about it is the reason why we must prove every element of a crime "beyond a reasonable doubt", i.e. we want to make absolutely sure we are not risking the error of leading others to the wrong conclusion.

Then the task is hopeless, because absolute certainty is not available in metaphysics. But that applies to your worldview as well.

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I believe this burden is on you when claiming "all attempts to think about consciousness end up in language that is contradictory", because once we accept that single claim as true we are forced to a certain conclusion regarding the ultimate "guilt" of all deistic and theistic worldviews (and atheistic, but who cares about that??)

Not all. Coleridge was a Christian, as of course were the pseudo-Dionysius, Aquinas, Eckhart, and many others, all of whom would say that God cannot be described/explained in conventional terms. True, those named (except Coleridge) didn't talk about consciousness -- that had to wait for subject/object duality to evolve into its modern form. But the point is that it is common to be a theist (though perhaps not a deist) and accept that there is reality that cannot be described in conventional terms.

As for burden, I can turn it around and place it on you. That is, I note that all the conventional logic I have encountered deals with objects. Consciousness, however, does not seem to be an object -- being that which is aware of objects, one cannot turn that awareness around to focus on itself. (One cannot perceive perceiving.) So if you claim that there is no reality that is not in principle explicable in terms of conventional logic, I ask you to show how that is done with consciousness.

 

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