AuthorTopic: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism  (Read 20580 times)

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2013, 06:45:28 AM »
Ok let me try this again.

Describing the ultimate reality as a Trinity only makes sense to me if all three aspects form-formless-self-consciousness or Father-Son-HolySpirit, are integral to human perception. There may be better ways of percieving within this triumvirate but this is still the ground of perception.

I agree with WHD, it has the characteristics of a fractal. Self similarity at infinite scales. Hence the trinity must be in us in a fundamental structual way. And all three essences (whatever they are) must be present in time and space at all scales.
Let's look at the first concept:

The formless. You say this is the non-thing from which our consciousness of the world emerges. Correct? If so we have our own personal connection to the formless. I really like your idea of descrete events in time needing a consciousness outside of time to assemble them into a percieved reality. And the implication that when a person experiences something (thought feeling action intention) the source of this is consciousness (outside of time) in an eternal now. If one were a Christian one might say this is our connection to the FATHER. Pure Subject.

However as Ashvin has aluded to in part of this exchange Dad is busy with self love. He really isn't available for chit chat. As Stucky pointed out, we at best get to kiss his ass. For goodly reason: who are we to question the formless? Us with our plans, and our constant expectations of God to fight our battles for us. HE is BUSY, and he is fed up with our lack of respect and constant attempts to take his place.

Then there is the world of Forms. And GOD is in these as well. Being made in the image of god, we are also forms. The forms live in Time and are here on a temporary basis.
The forms are actually there, they are simply constantly changing. Meaning our formal self will die, end and go back to nothing. While our casual self will wear what ever he/she wants on fridays for all eternity.

So we are both eternal and finite. And if God is in everything then so is god both eternal and finite. Meaning he is always present and he also 'shows up' in forms.

Now we come to the issue of Self Consciousness. All the other animals are OK with the arrangements by GOD thus far. They are finite and they are infinite. They live in paradise and do their best with the level of physical and mental acuity they've been allowed. Humans make a big deal about how much more intelligent we are than animals. How great we are at seeing the elephant. But it must be dawning on a few of us that we are pretty fucking stupid.  How is the animal world not intelligent? There are creatures for every niche of life, giving and taking and not complaining about it.

Our problem is that we are in our heads and we think that that's the place our solutions lie. Up ahead we see with dread and doom our eventual death.  In our place: nothing. We are no longer. It is very difficult to comprehend nothing. Everything around us informs of the presence of Something. Even our thoughts are full of something. Nothing gives us nothing to work with.

But people don't really know 'who' they are anyway. The issue comes down to Simultaneity or the Law of Non-contradiction. No single thing can be two things at the same time. Now this begins a very difficult problem because we start to break things down from an assembled whole into smaller and smaller parts in order to find the thing that is not two things at the same time. Are you your liver? Are you the pimple on your ass? Are you your desire for icecream at 3 in the morning?

Take the recent discovery that a person can have more than one DNA:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/science/dna-double-take.html?pagewanted=all

And who is making the decisions? This becomes the central issue.

You can imagine that you have free will but what parts of you are simply programs making choices for you: when to eat, when to pee, when to run for your life, when to start an on-line flaming war.

We explain these as free will, but in order to have a choice we have to be able to watch ourselves making the choice and then decide if that's the choice we want.
I have a friend who uses a simple decision-making program: If he needs to do something he flips a coin. If the coin lands for doing it, or against doing it, he checks how he FEELS about the decision. If he is happy with the toss, he goes with it.  If he is disappointed, he goes against the coin toss result. The coin toss forces the intelligence of his CFS to the front. And he doesn't have to make excuses for his action.

Some people do this with logic and reason, like Ashvin. However if Ashvin is basing his reasoning on the research of Biblical scientists then his faith isn't in GOD it's in biblical scientists - Though biblical scientists might have an integrity edge on Corporate scientists.

Regardless, at a certain point we have to take it on faith that we are making the right choice and move on, otherwise paralysis. Because that's what self consciousness is, paralysis. In theatre we call it 'freezing or 'drying'. One moment you know the person you are playing and then suddenly you stop functioning because you see all the people looking at you and the fake set and the plastic props and you don't know what is real anymore. I'm guessing this doesn't happen to dancers because they are communicating with their bodies and if they freeze, they just keep moving.

So self consciousness requires a STORY we tell ourselves in order to keep moving.

If we are made in the infinite's image then the stories of the bible or of the Buddha have the same patterns built in. And what are these stories? The buddah came back from nirvana to tell us about it. Jesus came down from his perch to tell us about it. If nirvana is so great then why did the Buddha not just stay there? If heaven (the formless) is so great then why does GOD not just enjoy the relatively good times in heaven and stop bothering humans? Fuck Off.

But NO the Buddha and Jesus had to come down to tell us about how great it is over there in nirvana/heaven.

Why? Because GOD needs to RELATE. Stories allow us to place ourselves in another's shoes. They function through empathy. This is the close up in film of the protagonists face where we see what she/he is feeling and we FEEL it too. When we see Jesus on the cross we see Jesus experiencing Our pain, the pain of the formed. When we see this we know that God is suffering too.

So in this structure we have formlessness experienced as the self (the father), the  things that emerge, the formed (the temporary world of decay and death) and the conscious 'correct' relation that we should have to both.

Jesus and the Buddah are showing us the way we should percieve of this suffering. Which leads to me to conclude that you are right: Our perception is what needs adjusting, not the world of forms.

Thus the attempt to commodify life and turn everything into an object with monitary 'value' is the Evil in the world.

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #61 on: September 25, 2013, 11:18:50 AM »
The formless. You say this is the non-thing from which our consciousness of the world emerges. Correct?

Not quite. I said that self-consciousness is the contrafaction of formlessness and form.

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If so we have our own personal connection to the formless.

I would say that we, like everything real, are the contrafaction of formlessness and form. That we only know ourselves as form is a symptom of our fallen nature.

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I really like your idea of descrete events in time needing a consciousness outside of time to assemble them into a percieved reality. And the implication that when a person experiences something (thought feeling action intention) the source of this is consciousness (outside of time) in an eternal now. If one were a Christian one might say this is our connection to the FATHER. Pure Subject.

However as Ashvin has aluded to in part of this exchange Dad is busy with self love. He really isn't available for chit chat. As Stucky pointed out, we at best get to kiss his ass. For goodly reason: who are we to question the formless? Us with our plans, and our constant expectations of God to fight our battles for us. HE is BUSY, and he is fed up with our lack of respect and constant attempts to take his place.

I fail to see the point of this anthropomorphism.

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Then there is the world of Forms. And GOD is in these as well. Being made in the image of god, we are also forms. The forms live in Time and are here on a temporary basis.
The forms are actually there, they are simply constantly changing. Meaning our formal self will die, end and go back to nothing. While our casual self will wear what ever he/she wants on fridays for all eternity.

I disagree. All true forms are eternal. What we perceive as finite and temporal are projections of true forms into spacetime. As such they are unreal fragments. Assuming they are substantial is another symptom of our fallen nature. This does not mean they are illusions. Rather they are partial representations of the true forms. But we currently lack the ability to experience them as representations, so it is as if we were looking at pictograms of a language we don't know, that we aren't even aware that there is a language behind the pictograms.

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So we are both eternal and finite. And if God is in everything then so is god both eternal and finite. Meaning he is always present and he also 'shows up' in forms.

Finiteness is illusory.

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Now we come to the issue of Self Consciousness. All the other animals are OK with the arrangements by GOD thus far. They are finite and they are infinite. They live in paradise and do their best with the level of physical and mental acuity they've been allowed. Humans make a big deal about how much more intelligent we are than animals. How great we are at seeing the elephant. But it must be dawning on a few of us that we are pretty fucking stupid.  How is the animal world not intelligent? There are creatures for every niche of life, giving and taking and not complaining about it.

The individual animals are not intelligent, or self-conscious. Those qualities lie in the species. So, ontologically speaking, one human is roughly equivalent to a species of non-human animal. (By "one human" here, I am referring to the eternal human, which incarnates in spacetime form many times.)

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Our problem is that we are in our heads and we think that that's the place our solutions lie. Up ahead we see with dread and doom our eventual death.  In our place: nothing. We are no longer. It is very difficult to comprehend nothing. Everything around us informs of the presence of Something. Even our thoughts are full of something. Nothing gives us nothing to work with.

Only if we are in denial about our fallen nature.

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Regardless, at a certain point we have to take it on faith that we are making the right choice and move on, otherwise paralysis. Because that's what self consciousness is, paralysis. In theatre we call it 'freezing or 'drying'. One moment you know the person you are playing and then suddenly you stop functioning because you see all the people looking at you and the fake set and the plastic props and you don't know what is real anymore. I'm guessing this doesn't happen to dancers because they are communicating with their bodies and if they freeze, they just keep moving.

So self consciousness requires a STORY we tell ourselves in order to keep moving.

What does this different meaning of 'self-consciousness' have to do with anything?

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If we are made in the infinite's image then the stories of the bible or of the Buddha have the same patterns built in. And what are these stories? The buddah came back from nirvana to tell us about it. Jesus came down from his perch to tell us about it. If nirvana is so great then why did the Buddha not just stay there? If heaven (the formless) is so great then why does GOD not just enjoy the relatively good times in heaven and stop bothering humans? Fuck Off.

But NO the Buddha and Jesus had to come down to tell us about how great it is over there in nirvana/heaven.

Why? Because GOD needs to RELATE. Stories allow us to place ourselves in another's shoes. They function through empathy. This is the close up in film of the protagonists face where we see what she/he is feeling and we FEEL it too. When we see Jesus on the cross we see Jesus experiencing Our pain, the pain of the formed. When we see this we know that God is suffering too.

More needless anthropomorphisms. True, such stories were the only way to reveal the Divine to earlier human incarnations. But now they cause more confusion than clarity.

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So in this structure we have formlessness experienced as the self (the father), the  things that emerge, the formed (the temporary world of decay and death) and the conscious 'correct' relation that we should have to both.

No. Formlessness by itself (an impossibility) would not experience anything. It would be chaos. Form by itself (also an impossibility) would be completely sterile. We have no "relation" to either. Rather we are the contrafaction of the two.

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Jesus and the Buddah are showing us the way we should percieve of this suffering. Which leads to me to conclude that you are right: Our perception is what needs adjusting, not the world of forms.

I would say they show the way we should think about this suffering. It is our thinking that needs adjusting.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #62 on: September 25, 2013, 02:41:01 PM »
I think you guys would find this paper by NT Wright very interesting, dealing mostly with soul/spirit and body "dualism" (or lack of it) in the Bible and specifically Paul's epistles. I have selected an excerpt from the middle to post here, but I recommend reading the full thing at the link below. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it... the paper contains a lot of philosophy so Ka can probably elucidate...



‘Mind, Spirit, Soul and Body: All for One and One for All
Reflections on Paul’s Anthropology in his Complex Contexts'


I have four questions or challenges; the third one subdivides.
 
My first question is to wish that we would locate our modern debates more explicitly within the strongly prevailing Epicurean climate of the post-enlightenment world. Lucretius would, I think, be delighted at his late victory, with the gods banished to a distant heaven and the world doing its own thing, developing by its own inner processes. That view, of course, has allowed all kinds of political as well as scientific developments. But whereas most westerners today suppose that we have discovered self-perpetuating secular democracy as the ultimate form of government and a self-caused evolution as the ultimate form of the development of life, thus setting ourselves apart from lesser superstitious mortals who still believe otherwise, what has in fact happened is simply the triumph of one ancient worldview at the expense of others. And the trouble is that we have allowed our debates to take place within that framework, so that we have accepted the terms, for instance, of ‘nature and supernature’ and have done our best to hold out for the two rather than the one, for ‘supernaturalism’ rather than just ‘naturalism’.
 
This has conditioned, for instance, debates about causation: does a putative God ‘intervene’ in the world or doesn’t he, and does a putative soul cause events in the body or doesn’t it? It is, basically, the same question: and just as I believe that we are wrong to look for a god-of-the-gaps, hiding somewhere in the unexplored reaches of quantum physics like a rare mammal lurking deep in the unexplored Amazon jungle, so I believe we are wrong to look for a soul-of-the-gaps, hiding in the bits that neuroscience hasn’t yet managed to explain. What Descartes and others tried to do to the person, then, has the same shape to what Enlightenment Epicureanism did to the world; and I regard both as highly dubious projects. The points which have to be made against naturalism, physicalism and reductionism will need to be made without accepting that framework of debate. (Even at the level of ancient philosophy, it would make a huge difference to assume, as perhaps we should, a Stoic worldview as Paul’s principal conversation partner: see below.)
 
My second question has to do with the word ‘dualism’ itself. This is one of those terms that I wish we could put out to grass for a long time. In The New Testament and the People of God I listed no fewer than ten significantly different uses to which the word ‘dualism’ was being put within biblical studies, and I pointed out the muddle which this linguistic and conceptual slipperiness has occasioned. (I should say that Philo of Alexandria is a special case in all this, representing a Platonic face of ancient Judaism which seems to me a major turn away from not only the Old Testament but most of his Jewish contemporaries.)
 
So let’s run through these types of dualism or duality, beginning with four types that would be comfortably at home within ancient Jewish thought:
 
a.      a heavenly duality: not only God exists, but also angels and perhaps other heavenly beings;
b.      a theological or cosmological duality between God and the world, the creator and the creature;
c.       a moral duality between good and evil;
d.      an eschatological duality between the present age and the age to come.
 
All of these dualities a first-century Jew would take for granted. But none of them constitutes a dualism in the any of the following three senses:
 
e.      a theological or moral dualism in which a good god or gods are ranged, equal and opposite, against a bad god or gods;
f.        a cosmological dualism, a la Plato, in which the world of space, time and matter is radically inferior to the noumenal world; this would include, perhaps, dualisms of form and matter, essence and appearance, spiritual and material, and (in a Platonic sense) heavenly/earthly (something like this would be characteristic of Philo);
g.      an anthropological dualism which postulates a radical twofoldness of soul and body or spirit and body (this, too, would be familiar in Philo).
 
Then there are three more which might be possible within ancient Judaism:
 
h.      epistemological duality as between reason and revelation – though this may be problematic, since it’s really the epistemological face of the cosmological dualism which I suggest ancient Jews would mostly reject;
i.        sectarian duality in which the sons of light are ranged against the sons of darkness, as in Qumran;
j.        psychological duality in which the good inclination and the evil inclination seem to be locked in perpetual struggle, as in Rabbinic thought.
 
As I say, faced with this range of possible referent it seems to me hopeless simply to say ‘dualism’ and leave it at that. That is why, to try to bring some order into the chaos, I have used ‘duality’ for bifocal conceptions which fit comfortably within ancient Judaism, and ‘dualism’ for those which don’t. The radical rejection by most ancient Jews, in particular, of what we find in Plato and in much oriental religion, and the radical embrace of space, time and matter as the good gifts of a good creator God, the place where this God is known and the means by which he is to be worshipped – all this remains foundational, and is firmly restated and underlined in the New Testament. Creational, providential and covenantal monotheism simply leave no room for those four dualisms in the middle. In particular, I argued that such dualisms tend to ontologize evil itself, whereas in first-century Judaism evil is not an essential part of the creation, but is the result of a radical distortion within a basically good created order.
 
Now of course you might say that within contemporary philosophical discourse you all know that you are using the word ‘dualism’ in a very restricted and specialised technical sense which, in context, carries none of these confusions. I take that point, but I submit that it isn’t really good enough. As in Keith Ward’s sparkling new book, More than Matter, Christian philosophers seeking to re-establish a non-reductive anthropology are turning back to a kind of Kantian idealism, and I know I am not alone in finding this very suspicious territory if we’re trying to be loyal to the New Testament in its original Jewish context and setting.
 
You might then say that the NT itself demonstrates a turn away from Judaism and towards the wider world of Hellenistic philosophy. Well, many have argued that. My view remains that the engagement with the Hellenistic world comes under Paul’s rubric in 2 Corinthians 10.5 of ‘taking every thought captive to obey the Messiah’. He knows very well the worlds of the Stoics, the Epicureans and the Academic, perhaps particularly the first, but though he’s engaging with them he is doing so in confrontation, not derivation. It simply won’t do to demonstrate that the NT shows awareness of aspects of human life which appear to be non-material and to conclude from that that some kind of ‘dualism’ is therefore envisaged, or the ‘soul’ thereby proved. In particular, as I shall shortly show, it seems to be almost ridiculously arbitrary to lump together such things as soul, mind, consciousness, sensation as though they are all part of the same second, non-physical reality. Why ‘dualism’? Why not five, ten, twenty different ‘parts’? And – a key question – is ‘parts’ really the right image in the first place?

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #63 on: September 25, 2013, 11:55:48 PM »
NT's wrights proposed "anthropology" from the paper above:



I now wish to propose a kind of thought-experiment, in line with the experiment I offered in After You Believe. There I suggested that we should take Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia and replaced it with the biblical vision of resurrection into the newly integrated new-heaven-and-new-earth reality. If we did that, I argued, we would find that Aristotle’s notion of virtue, the character-strengths you need in order to work towards that telos, would be transformed into the more specific, and in some ways significantly different, Christian virtues, not only of faith, hope and love but also of such surprising innovations as patience, humility and chastity. Now, in line with this, I want to suggest that the way to discern and articulate a genuinely biblical anthropology is not to start where we are and try to tease out a soul-of-the-gaps, but to start at the promised end and work backwards.
 
We begin with the obvious telos. Paul, the author of Revelation, and other early Christian writers point to the final goal of an immortal physicality, an emphatically bodily body (if I can put it like that) beyond the reach of sin, pain, corruption or death. The body of the Christian is already a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and as God had promised in Jeremiah, Ezekiel and elsewhere that the Temple would be rebuilt after its destruction, so Paul envisages the rebuilding of the body-Temple after its bodily death (Romans 8.5-11; the language of ‘indwelling’ is Temple-language). This body, as we have seen, will no longer be merely psychikos, soulish; it will be pneumatikos, spirit-ish, animated by and indwelt by God’s spirit. The fact of fluidity in Paul between the human spirit and the divine spirit ought to alert us, I think, not to a confusing linguistic accident but to the possibility that Paul may envisage the human spirit in terms of the human as open to God – but, within his essentially biblical mindset, as the whole human open to God, not the human with one ‘part’ only available to divine influence or transformation.
 
What we see in Paul, I propose, is the anthropological equivalent of what he says about the cosmos itself. In Ephesians 1.10, he envisages all things in heaven and earth united in the Messiah. This is realized in advance in Ephesians 2.11-21 in the coming together of Jew and Gentile within the single new Temple, the new body; and then in Ephesians 4 in the many gifts which contribute not to the fragmentation of the church but to its unity and maturity. This is then worked out in Ephesians 5 in the differentiated unity of male and female in monogamous marriage. What I propose is that just as in all these ways there is a present reality which anticipates and points towards the eschatological unity of all things, so within the human being itself we find something similar. The ‘new creation’ of 2 Corinthians 5.17 and Galatians 6.15 means what it says, and in Ephesians 4 and elsewhere we can see it being worked out. And, let me stress, this is not primarily a matter of analysis but of vocation. We discern this differentiated unity not by inspection, particularly not by introspection, but by paying attention to God’s call to humans to worship him and to reflect his glory and power and love into the world. This is what is meant by humans being made in God’s image: not that we simply are like God in this or that respect, but that as angled mirrors we are called to sum up the praises of creation, on the one hand, and to rule as wise stewards over the world, on the other. This is the vocation known as the ‘royal priesthood’, kings and priests. (I have spelled all this out in much more detail in After You Believe.)

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2013, 12:17:26 AM »
Oh, and a FANTASTIC video lecture on "After You Believe", the intersection of eschatology and ethics (cannot embed):

http://youtu.be/ukyNU51OcnA
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 12:20:20 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #65 on: September 26, 2013, 01:00:42 AM »
NT's wrights proposed "anthropology" from the paper above:
...

Well, it is an interesting paper on what Paul believed, but I see no reason to accept his philosophy of mind and body over others that are consistent with other revelations. Given the multiplicity of revelations, only reason can be our guide in evaluating them.  In any case, I see nothing particularly good about physical immortality, or for that matter, any kind of final perfection. The belief in resurrection of the physical body was just the common Pharisaical belief at that time and place. What Wright is doing is making it sound philosophically respectable, which is not a bad thing to do, but that doesn't provide a reason for taking it as true.

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #66 on: September 26, 2013, 06:00:27 AM »
NT's wrights proposed "anthropology" from the paper above:
...

Well, it is an interesting paper on what Paul believed, but I see no reason to accept his philosophy of mind and body over others that are consistent with other revelations. Given the multiplicity of revelations, only reason can be our guide in evaluating them.  In any case, I see nothing particularly good about physical immortality, or for that matter, any kind of final perfection. The belief in resurrection of the physical body was just the common Pharisaical belief at that time and place. What Wright is doing is making it sound philosophically respectable, which is not a bad thing to do, but that doesn't provide a reason for taking it as true.

True, but the response would be that our reason can lead us to accept the reality of Jesus' physical Resurrection and therefore rule out other revelations. That is why Paul, for ex, would stake the entire Christian faith on the historicity of the Resurrection.

It then becomes an example of God himself taking on the constraints of physical human immortality so that it could be a reality for all. The Jews of that time and place obviously had no concept of this happening and would not have invented something that contradicted their own beliefs about resurrection. Only after it happened could some of them understand it and work it into their Jewish philosophy/theology, i.e. Paul.

Regarding "final perfection", if that's not the endgame of spiritual evolution in your view, then what is?

I'm also curious, though, whether you think Wright's understanding of the Biblical philosophy is less "idolatrous" than the historical understanding that has also become most common within evangelical Christianity now (assuming it's possible to have degrees of idolatry in Barfield's view)? I particularly found his discussion of pnuema (spirit) and psyche (soul) in the NT to be relatively well-aligned with the Barfieldian analysis.

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #67 on: September 26, 2013, 08:54:22 AM »
The formless. You say this is the non-thing from which our consciousness of the world emerges. Correct?

Not quite. I said that self-consciousness is the contrafaction of formlessness and form.

You'll have to define 'contrafaction'. This concept has zero meaning to me. Against the facts? Is this a process? Is this a state? How does this relate? And no one word definitions.  ;-)

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If so we have our own personal connection to the formless.

I would say that we, like everything real, are the contrafaction of formlessness and form. That we only know ourselves as form is a symptom of our fallen nature.

Who is we? You?

I say 'we' know ourselves as more than form. Why do we experience music, art and stories as more than the sound waves, the canvas with paint, and the pages of a book?

When one reaches nirvana, this non-place place, is one still only knowledgeable of oneself as form?

You are speaking of this 'fallen nature' as if this is a static thing. But if we have 'free will' we can discover that our fallen nature is not fate and that our bodily incarnation is not our true nature.

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I really like your idea of discrete events in time needing a consciousness outside of time to assemble them into a perceived reality. And the implication that when a person experiences something (thought feeling action intention) the source of this is consciousness (outside of time) in an eternal now. If one were a Christian one might say this is our connection to the FATHER. Pure Subject.

However as Ashvin has alluded to in part of this exchange Dad is busy with self love. He really isn't available for chit chat. As Stucky pointed out, we at best get to kiss his ass. For goodly reason: who are we to question the formless? Us with our plans, and our constant expectations of God to fight our battles for us. HE is BUSY, and he is fed up with our lack of respect and constant attempts to take his place.

I fail to see the point of this anthropomorphism.


I'm attempting to conjoin the concept of the Christian Trinity with your concept of Form Formlessness and self-consciousness. The Bible is built on a narrative of the human condition. I believe that the formless (or God) is a 'by-any-means-necessary' kind of non-being. If anthropomorphism works, then so be it. Though the Bible is a story centred on theomorphism. Divine qualities attributed to a human. And that is what I am referring to in relation to the self. We have this divine essence too.


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Then there is the world of Forms. And GOD is in these as well. Being made in the image of god, we are also forms. The forms live in Time and are here on a temporary basis.
The forms are actually there, they are simply constantly changing. Meaning our formal self will die, end and go back to nothing. While our casual self will wear what ever he/she wants on fridays for all eternity.

I disagree. All true forms are eternal. What we perceive as finite and temporal are projections of true forms into spacetime. As such they are unreal fragments. Assuming they are substantial is another symptom of our fallen nature. This does not mean they are illusions. Rather they are partial representations of the true forms. But we currently lack the ability to experience them as representations, so it is as if we were looking at pictograms of a language we don't know, that we aren't even aware that there is a language behind the pictograms.

Ok I dig this. And I agree. But you're engaging in a kind of dissociation that pushes these forms out of your/our reach. I believe we do see them. They simply are not seen as being important. Like eating broccoli or looking at a cloud. The true forms are there, speaking to us.

And so what? If they aren't speaking the language of money what's the point?

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So we are both eternal and finite. And if God is in everything then so is god both eternal and finite. Meaning he is always present and he also 'shows up' in forms.

Finiteness is illusory.

Tell that to my bank account.

I just simply don't agree. I can agree with you in the concept of reincarnation all I want. I still can't see back past my original Bot-blogging plummet or forward past the great curtain. Truth is I can only see through a 3 second window of consciousness of the present moment. And there is a hard limit to the number of things that can fill my awareness.

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Now we come to the issue of Self Consciousness. All the other animals are OK with the arrangements by GOD thus far. They are finite and they are infinite. They live in paradise and do their best with the level of physical and mental acuity they've been allowed. Humans make a big deal about how much more intelligent we are than animals. How great we are at seeing the elephant. But it must be dawning on a few of us that we are pretty fucking stupid.  How is the animal world not intelligent? There are creatures for every niche of life, giving and taking and not complaining about it.

The individual animals are not intelligent, or self-conscious. Those qualities lie in the species. So, ontologically speaking, one human is roughly equivalent to a species of non-human animal. (By "one human" here, I am referring to the eternal human, which incarnates in spacetime form many times.)


I like the risk you are taking here. I don't really understand what you are basing this on, but I dig the idea.

However I'm not sure about your units of measure: one human is the equivalent of an entire species. Hmmmm. So some idiot working for the NSA, (i.e.. one who gathers 'intelligence') eating donuts and spilling coffee as he reads the latest reports from his blog bots is the equivalent of all flocks of swans or Algebert's Duckweed: "the plant that may save mankind by enabling our species to live symbiotically, instead of parasitically, with the biosphere"

All I am saying is that human intelligence is not intelligent if we insist on using the differential we have over animals to destroy the planet. And the greater our intelligence the faster we are able to do it.

BTW, I didn't say that animals are self-conscious I said they were intelligent. And to the degree that they are autonomous within their special unity, individual animals are also intelligent:

Raccoon Walking on the Phone Wire


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Our problem is that we are in our heads and we think that that's the place our solutions lie. Up ahead we see with dread and doom our eventual death.  In our place: nothing. We are no longer. It is very difficult to comprehend nothing. Everything around us informs of the presence of Something. Even our thoughts are full of something. Nothing gives us nothing to work with.

Only if we are in denial about our fallen nature.

Agreed.

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Regardless, at a certain point we have to take it on faith that we are making the right choice and move on, otherwise paralysis. Because that's what self consciousness is, paralysis. In theatre we call it 'freezing or 'drying'. One moment you know the person you are playing and then suddenly you stop functioning because you see all the people looking at you and the fake set and the plastic props and you don't know what is real anymore. I'm guessing this doesn't happen to dancers because they are communicating with their bodies and if they freeze, they just keep moving.

So self consciousness requires a STORY we tell ourselves in order to keep moving.

What does this different meaning of 'self-consciousness' have to do with anything?

You have yet to define self-consciousness, so my 'different meaning' is simply me taking a stab. Go ahead and light the way KA.

In the mean time I'll keep stabbing at the dark:

Because the chief differentiation of our fallen nature vs that of animals is that we are self-conscious. Meaning we are aware of TIME. Which means we have an awareness of cause and effect, and the possibility of change. This appears to us initially as a narrative. That the narrative of the bible points us back at the formless doesn't change the fact that it is a narrative. That narrative leads us to an understanding of cause and effect and logic and then on to more subtle variations of our involvement with the world.

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If we are made in the infinite's image then the stories of the bible or of the Buddha have the same patterns built in. And what are these stories? The Buddha came back from nirvana to tell us about it. Jesus came down from his perch to tell us about it. If nirvana is so great then why did the Buddha not just stay there? If heaven (the formless) is so great then why does GOD not just enjoy the relatively good times in heaven and stop bothering humans? Fuck Off.

But NO the Buddha and Jesus had to come down to tell us about how great it is over there in nirvana/heaven.

Why? Because GOD needs to RELATE. Stories allow us to place ourselves in another's shoes. They function through empathy. This is the close up in film of the protagonists face where we see what she/he is feeling and we FEEL it too. When we see Jesus on the cross we see Jesus experiencing Our pain, the pain of the formed. When we see this we know that God is suffering too.

More needless anthropomorphisms. True, such stories were the only way to reveal the Divine to earlier human incarnations. But now they cause more confusion than clarity.

Ahh, I've got you now. Needless but necessary. Perfect.

I think you over-estimate the degree to which people have advanced past earlier human incarnations. If this were so, the film industry would be the philosophy-and-deep-thoughts industry.

Besides, narrative and other more base forms can support more than one level of perception. How else to explain the enjoyment that kids and adults can get from cartoons with different messages to both.

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So in this structure we have formlessness experienced as the self (the father), the  things that emerge, the formed (the temporary world of decay and death) and the conscious 'correct' relation that we should have to both.

No. Formlessness by itself (an impossibility) would not experience anything. It would be chaos. Form by itself (also an impossibility) would be completely sterile. We have no "relation" to either. Rather we are the contrafaction of the two.

There's THAT word again.


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Jesus and the Buddha are showing us the way we should perceive of this suffering. Which leads to me to conclude that you are right: Our perception is what needs adjusting, not the world of forms.

I would say they show the way we should think about this suffering. It is our thinking that needs adjusting.

Well, victory! Now we are just quibbling over terminology! You say potato I say potato. (you have to imagine the difference)

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2013, 01:25:32 PM »
True, but the response would be that our reason can lead us to accept the reality of Jesus' physical Resurrection and therefore rule out other revelations. That is why Paul, for ex, would stake the entire Christian faith on the historicity of the Resurrection.

It is a faulty reasoning that ignores other things does that leading. All that we can reasonably conclude from the NT is that the disciples believed in Jesus' physical Resurrection. This could have happened without there being an actual physical death/resurrection (eg, a shared dream), but even assuming there was a physical Resurrection, this does not rule out other revelations. It happened in a cultural setting that believed in a single source of miraculous events, namely the OT God, and so they naturally assumed that the cause of the Resurrection must be that God.

What the reasoning ignores is all that I have argued about space and time being created in the act of perception. (Which, I should point out, you have not rebutted.) Since this is the case, the miraculous is within the ability of any sufficiently advanced spiritual entity. This is confirmed in other revelations. It is quite arbitrary to ignore other revelations that agree with what reason can confirm on its own, and instead accept one -- or rather the interpretations of one -- that are in various ways philosophically dubious. (I'm thinking here of the doctrines of penal substitution, and of physical immortality.)

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It then becomes an example of God himself taking on the constraints of physical human immortality so that it could be a reality for all. The Jews of that time and place obviously had no concept of this happening and would not have invented something that contradicted their own beliefs about resurrection. Only after it happened could some of them understand it and work it into their Jewish philosophy/theology, i.e. Paul.

True, the whole Christ event was intended to bring something new into our spiritual understanding, and one has to credit Paul and others with recognizing it. But to assume that that's the end of spiritual intentions in bringing us out of our fallen state is faulty reasoning, as I pointed out way back when. It is also not sufficient to accept without question Pauline anthropology, and other interpretations he made out of the Christ event.

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Regarding "final perfection", if that's not the endgame of spiritual evolution in your view, then what is?

That there is no endgame, rather there is endless creativity. "God became Man so that men could become gods" as Athanasius put it. The essence of God is creativity, and what He creates are creators.

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I'm also curious, though, whether you think Wright's understanding of the Biblical philosophy is less "idolatrous" than the historical understanding that has also become most common within evangelical Christianity now (assuming it's possible to have degrees of idolatry in Barfield's view)? I particularly found his discussion of pnuema (spirit) and psyche (soul) in the NT to be relatively well-aligned with the Barfieldian analysis.

Yes, his understanding is less idolatrous. And yes, his discussion of pneuma and psyche is well-aligned with Barfield. Like modern Thomists, he recognizes the huge wrong turn made by Descartes et al, with its descent into materialism. But he makes the same mistake in thinking we can go back. What Wright rejects is the role of Kant in starting to correct the mistake, though Kant's scheme itself wasn't enough. Coleridge's, on the other hand, does the job.  Wright is ignoring the reason that Cartesian anthropology took hold, and that was the change in anthropos that occurred between Paul's time and modern times, namely the loss of original participation resulting in the thorough division into subject and object. Pauline anthropology, obviously, couldn't take this into account. But we can. Wright doesn't.

Offline Ka

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2013, 03:35:31 PM »
You'll have to define 'contrafaction'. This concept has zero meaning to me. Against the facts? Is this a process? Is this a state? How does this relate? And no one word definitions.  ;-)

It is used to deal with the Buddhist doctrine that formlessness is not other than form. As words, 'formlessness is form' is a contradiction ("saying against"). Contrafaction (a neologism suggested by Barfield in his book Speaker's Meaning) is, then, "making against". Its intent is to indicate that there is a real production in the "contra" of formlessness and form. This is what is indicated in the following quote from the mystic Merrell-Wolff:

Quote from: Merrell-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]


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I would say that we, like everything real, are the contrafaction of formlessness and form. That we only know ourselves as form is a symptom of our fallen nature.

Who is we? You?

All spiritual entities.

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I say 'we' know ourselves as more than form. Why do we experience music, art and stories as more than the sound waves, the canvas with paint, and the pages of a book?

From this we can infer that we are more than form, but we do not Realize ourselves as formlessness

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When one reaches nirvana, this non-place place, is one still only knowledgeable of oneself as form?

Reaching Nirvana is Realizing oneself as formlessness.

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You are speaking of this 'fallen nature' as if this is a static thing. But if we have 'free will' we can discover that our fallen nature is not fate and that our bodily incarnation is not our true nature.

When have I said it is a static thing? Haven't I said repeatedly that it is only a stage in the evolution of consciousness?

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I'm attempting to conjoin the concept of the Christian Trinity with your concept of Form Formlessness and self-consciousness. The Bible is built on a narrative of the human condition. I believe that the formless (or God) is a 'by-any-means-necessary' kind of non-being. If anthropomorphism works, then so be it. Though the Bible is a story centred on theomorphism. Divine qualities attributed to a human. And that is what I am referring to in relation to the self. We have this divine essence too.

Well, in the first place, I would have said "the formless (or the Father)", not "(or God)", but as we already discussed, the matchup of form and self-consciousness with Son/Spirit or Spirit/Son doesn't work very well.


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Ok I dig this. And I agree. But you're engaging in a kind of dissociation that pushes these forms out of your/our reach. I believe we do see them. They simply are not seen as being important. Like eating broccoli or looking at a cloud. The true forms are there, speaking to us.

I don't know what you mean by saying I'm engaging in a "kind of dissociation".

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So we are both eternal and finite. And if God is in everything then so is god both eternal and finite. Meaning he is always present and he also 'shows up' in forms.

Finiteness is illusory.

Tell that to my bank account.

I just simply don't agree. I can agree with you in the concept of reincarnation all I want. I still can't see back past my original Bot-blogging plummet or forward past the great curtain. Truth is I can only see through a 3 second window of consciousness of the present moment. And there is a hard limit to the number of things that can fill my awareness.

What are you disagreeing with? What you are doing here is complaining about being in a fallen state, where one has to deal with money, and pollution and wars and so on. Well, right, all these things are bad and limiting. But the purpose of this philosophical investigation is to uncover the root of all this evil, and so come to understand what to do about it besides just complaining, or hoping for institutional fixes. And that is to take responsibility for our further spiritual development.

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However I'm not sure about your units of measure: one human is the equivalent of an entire species. Hmmmm. So some idiot working for the NSA, (i.e.. one who gathers 'intelligence') eating donuts and spilling coffee as he reads the latest reports from his blog bots is the equivalent of all flocks of swans or Algebert's Duckweed: "the plant that may save mankind by enabling our species to live symbiotically, instead of parasitically, with the biosphere"

I said roughly equivalent and in an ontological sense. That is, the NSA idiot is self-conscious, and I am granting that capability to the duckweed species, but not to an individual duckweed plant. As for what I base it on, it is that in earlier cultures, the human could, in some manner, communicate with nature. But note that in the stories, the human interacts with Coyote, not a coyote. (See below, about Barfield, for why we should take this seriously.)

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All I am saying is that human intelligence is not intelligent if we insist on using the differential we have over animals to destroy the planet. And the greater our intelligence the faster we are able to do it.

BTW, I didn't say that animals are self-conscious I said they were intelligent. And to the degree that they are autonomous within their special unity, individual animals are also intelligent:

You're mixing up two meanings of 'intelligence'. One meaning is the plain capability (to reason, use language, etc.), the other is as used in IQ tests. So again, your complaints about stupid people have no bearing on the philosophical questions.

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You have yet to define self-consciousness, so my 'different meaning' is simply me taking a stab. Go ahead and light the way KA.

A self-conscious entity is able to think "I am".

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More needless anthropomorphisms. True, such stories were the only way to reveal the Divine to earlier human incarnations. But now they cause more confusion than clarity.

Ahh, I've got you now. Needless but necessary. Perfect.

Was necessary. No longer is. What's the problem?

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I think you over-estimate the degree to which people have advanced past earlier human incarnations. If this were so, the film industry would be the philosophy-and-deep-thoughts industry.

Here's where I have to bring up Barfield, but I don't know how much you've picked up on him in earlier discussions. Anyway, here is my first post on him, with a couple of links to give an idea of what he is about.
http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php?topic=127.msg4218;topicseen#msg4218

So, no, I am not over-estimating. Just think about the difference between the people who originally heard Homer, and those who hear Monty Python.


Online RE

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #70 on: September 26, 2013, 03:59:01 PM »

You'll have to define 'contrafaction'.

Contrafaction (n)

1-  A word used to demonstrate the breadth of a lawyer or philosopher's vocabulary
2-  Bullshit used to confuse an argument

ety:  From the Sanskrit अनर्थक    (pron:kunt-fac-shun) -    bullshit
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #71 on: September 26, 2013, 04:27:38 PM »
It is a faulty reasoning that ignores other things does that leading. All that we can reasonably conclude from the NT is that the disciples believed in Jesus' physical Resurrection. This could have happened without there being an actual physical death/resurrection (eg, a shared dream), but even assuming there was a physical Resurrection, this does not rule out other revelations. It happened in a cultural setting that believed in a single source of miraculous events, namely the OT God, and so they naturally assumed that the cause of the Resurrection must be that God.

What the reasoning ignores is all that I have argued about space and time being created in the act of perception. (Which, I should point out, you have not rebutted.) Since this is the case, the miraculous is within the ability of any sufficiently advanced spiritual entity. This is confirmed in other revelations. It is quite arbitrary to ignore other revelations that agree with what reason can confirm on its own, and instead accept one -- or rather the interpretations of one -- that are in various ways philosophically dubious. (I'm thinking here of the doctrines of penal substitution, and of physical immortality.)

I find the above to be the essence of faulty reasoning, namely circular reasoning. You are claiming that the reasoning is faulty because it doesn't assume the truth of your conclusion about space and time (which, IMO, are much more assumptive themselves than conclusive). So, basically, you are claiming the reasoning is faulty because it doesn't reach your conclusion, irregardless of anything else.

In most fields of inquiry, reasoning is applied to some sort of evidence to form conclusions. There is solid historical evidence that Jesus predicted both his death and Resurrection by the "OT God", and then that these predictions were substantiated. There is no similar evidence that any other "sufficiently advanced spiritual entity" (human being) before or since, in any other religious tradition, has either made such claims/prediction or has had them substantiated.

You need to provide more than "space and time are created in the act of perception" to dispel the Pauline interpretation of the Gospel revelation as being beyond the pale of any reasonable conclusion.

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It then becomes an example of God himself taking on the constraints of physical human immortality so that it could be a reality for all. The Jews of that time and place obviously had no concept of this happening and would not have invented something that contradicted their own beliefs about resurrection. Only after it happened could some of them understand it and work it into their Jewish philosophy/theology, i.e. Paul.

True, the whole Christ event was intended to bring something new into our spiritual understanding, and one has to credit Paul and others with recognizing it. But to assume that that's the end of spiritual intentions in bringing us out of our fallen state is faulty reasoning, as I pointed out way back when. It is also not sufficient to accept without question Pauline anthropology, and other interpretations he made out of the Christ event.

I'm not claiming that we should accept the Pauline anthropology without question, especially since Paul himself said to "test everything". I don't think you have sufficiently demonstrated why his reasoning is faulty, though.

You keep insisting that I have not "rebutted" your assertions about space-time, and I have admitted as much. However, I have made rebuttals to many of your other reasons for dispelling the early Christian interpretation of Christ's revelation (the interpretations of the people closest in proximity and time to the events). 

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That there is no endgame, rather there is endless creativity. "God became Man so that men could become gods" as Athanasius put it. The essence of God is creativity, and what He creates are creators.

I agree to the extent that the eternal state described in the Bible (the New Heaven and New Earth) will not be a static reality. "Endgame" is not the right word. All I'm saying is that every religious tradition envisions some sort of final unity between God and saved humans.

[quoteYes, his understanding is less idolatrous. And yes, his discussion of pneuma and psyche is well-aligned with Barfield. Like modern Thomists, he recognizes the huge wrong turn made by Descartes et al, with its descent into materialism. But he makes the same mistake in thinking we can go back. What Wright rejects is the role of Kant in starting to correct the mistake, though Kant's scheme itself wasn't enough. Coleridge's, on the other hand, does the job.  Wright is ignoring the reason that Cartesian anthropology took hold, and that was the change in anthropos that occurred between Paul's time and modern times, namely the loss of original participation resulting in the thorough division into subject and object. Pauline anthropology, obviously, couldn't take this into account. But we can. Wright doesn't.
[/quote]

So are you claiming that Wright's analysis is inconsistent with the early Christian anthropology? If they are not inconsistent, then I don't understand how this is an issue of him "going back" instead of forward, because the early Christian anthropology existed before any of that other stuff took hold.

I have not really decided whether I agree with Wright or not. It's interesting to note that Wright is much more focused on what the Bible does NOT say about human "composition" rather than what it does say. He then spends a more brief section talking about what he concludes is a proper anthropology, assuming Biblical revelation is inspired (which we all agree there are plenty of reasons why it is), by starting at the "final unity" envisioned in the Bible and working backwards.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 04:29:50 PM by Ashvin »

Offline Ashvin

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Re: 3 Theories of Everything - Monism, Dualism and Trinitarianism
« Reply #72 on: August 03, 2017, 11:39:28 PM »
As I said previously, I agree on the first two points, but I think most theologians would disagree on that last bit. What most theologians that I have read say is that within the bounds of discursive reason we cannot understand his nature. For example, with discursive reason we can reason that there is a First Cause, but what creating from nothing is like, that we cannot understand.

This to me is like saying "we cannot understand what it's like to not use reasoning". Obviously there are boundless ways in which we cannot understand what it's like to BE God. Yet we still can understand some ways in which God stands in relation to his creation. 

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I have never claimed that physical reality misleads us about divine nature. What misleads us is the second fall -- a false metaphysical understanding of physical reality, namely, taking the surface aspect of nature as the whole. Coleridge was a careful observer of nature, whose observations led him to reject the Cartesian view of nature, seeing instead that it is the same "two forces of one power (free life and confining form)" by which polarity plants grow and evolve, and  how our minds work. And since we are made in God's image, this tells us something of the nature of God.

The "second fall" is what has allowed us to study physical reality in great detail, from the tiny to the astronomical. Did Coleridge really have a better understanding of how plants "grow and evolve" than modern scientists? He didn't have even a fraction of the evidence in nature that is available to people today, so it's hard to see how that's possible.

Once again, I say it takes more faith to believe that true metaphysical understanding will come from a polar reversal of our current reasoning about physical reality, than to believe that we are gaining more and more ways of understanding God's purposes and his glory through such reasoning (although not when the reasoning is flawed, as with materialists), as evangelical Christian scientists (and historians) would claim.

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Again with this "more initial faith". Mostly you are misunderstanding what I am saying (as in the above). Regardless, my worldview is what, through reason and experience, I consider most plausible, without making any unusual "initial" assumptions.  My reasoning may be faulty, but telling me I have made a leap of faith to accept its conclusions is saying that the reasoning doesn't exist.

I'm not really misunderstanding. The basic criticism remains the same, regardless of whether you claim physical reality misleads us or, instead, our PERVASIVE and ever-growing modern understanding of physical reality misleads us. A "second fall" is simply unlikely from the get go if you believe in a God who desires that all return to him from the first fall.

I do see a way in which your underlying reasoning is faulty, though. You claim that objective reasoning cannot deal with absolute metaphysical reality, but your premise of evolving consciousness relies on objective reasoning, i.e. studying the objective differences in language, poetry, artifacts etc. over time.

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If we abstract away mental objects, we are still left with self-consciousness. And my example shows that we can logically deduce varying levels of self-consciousness in nature, between different "things".

Are we left with self-consciousness? If it were so, then it would be consciousness of the self as nothingness, which, by the way, is what Buddhism teaches. Though how you plan to explicate that within the bounds of conventional logic is beyond me.

By the way, I've never heard anyone, scientist or otherwise, claim that any non-human animal is capable of reflecting on itself. So I'm curious as to what your example is referring to as "self-conscious", rather than just conscious.
[/quote]

 

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