SCIENCE AND METAPHYSICS

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HAS SCIENCE MADE HUMANITY BETTER?

Thinking through historical processes in order to develop a positivist philosophy from which he could develop a secular religion for humanity, Auguste Comte saw three intellectual stages through which human thought had passed: A) the theological stage, with its belief that supernatural characters are at the root of all things; B) the metaphysical stage (occurring between 1300 and 1800) in which abstract forces like ‘nature’, rather than personalized gods, explain everything, and C) the positivistic stage, characterized by a belief in science.[1]

Comte has identified a real progression, but the problem with this evolution is that in fact there is no real progress, at least not between B and C, because science is really nothing more than an analysis and explanation of nature. So, rather than being a great leap forward for humanity, our scientific era is more accurately a period in which nature is better explained than it had been before. Yes, this is a good thing. It is always good to know things better. But, from the positivist point of view that Comte was expressing, and with the advantage of the hindsight of two centuries that Comte himself did not possess, we must ask ourselves: How has our understanding of nature made humanity a better kind of human being? Comte saw science as a progress away from nature. Yet, while science seems to explain everything, it just explains nature, which explains everything – and in Comte’s simplification, that was already happening in the metaphysical period before.

The illusion created by ideas such as Comte’s of positivistic progress away from nature, has in fact had deeply scarring results. The most obvious wound being that which has necessitated the creation of the science of ecology. The irony of ecology is that it is a science created out of the necessity to put nature back on track, because of the damage done to it by the application other scientific developments of contaminating technologies. Through the understanding of nature that ecology gives us, we now understand the urgency to put nature back into the metaphysical space it had before scientific revelations tampered with it. The scientific period that Comte labelled as positivistic has, in fact, been dangerously nihilistic, precisely because it uprooted itself from the metaphysics of nature and lost all respect for the nature that sustained it. The most positivist action we could take now, would be to put all the technology sciences under the umbrella of ecology. In a sense, this would mean embracing the wisdom of the metaphysical age again in which everything is connected, a connection needs to be respected above all else.

The environmental damage we have wreaked on the planet has been far from positivistic, and the only positivism remaining in our nihilistic world is the perverse, suicidal cult of growth and expansion.

In order to continue viewing science as a positive element for human progress, we need to project all sciences through the microcosmical lens of ecology and the macrocosmic eye of cosmology, for it is through these two lenses that metaphysical notions are starting to once again filter into the intellectual mesh of our present age.

THE NEW METAPHYSICAL AGE: COSMOLOGY, ECOLOGY AND SAPIENS-CENTRISM

Perhaps the most important scientific theory for any new-age positivism, is the idea of the cosmological constant, the tiny force of dark matter that is so necessary for existence and is, numerically, so precise that it emboldens existence with deterministic meanings. The Big Bang may have been an accidental phenomenon, but from it developed a physical nature which now works deliberately in the direction of producing conditions to allow the evolution of life forms and the creation of self-conscious Being. The Universe is a physical process geared toward positive evolution, and human beings, as sapiens organisms capable of understanding things, are a central part of Being.

Armed with cosmological and ecological arguments, it is time to swing the pendulum back to the metaphysical age. Cosmology and ecology refuel a human positivism, but to drive the positivistic wagon we need a philosophical pilot. A pilot that is motivated by a belief in the necessity of humanity as a purpose for his or her own mission. The philosophical pilot of the positivistic wagon has to see beyond our nihilistic notions of humanity and put our consciousness and awareness back in the centre again: a sapiens-centrism in which humanity becomes the subject of the universe again (just as in Comte’s metaphysical age).

Sapiens exist in order for the macrocosm and microcosm to be perceived. We stand at the centre of the Universe. Being can only Be whilst sapiens organisms exist. Being is enriched when Sapiens develops its knowledge and creativity to the full.

DETERMINISM

If the observance of natural laws indicates a determinism that is positive for humanity in that it gives a meaningful answer to the question why we are here, then such a determinism must be considered desirable and worth promoting. If this determinism also indicates ecological values, then this gives us further reasons for embracing the concept. Our survival in a world that is suffering daily deterioration under the impact of our non-ecological behaviour, may depend on it. The problems facing humanity in our relationship with our planet cannot be resolved in a nihilistic system driven by the ethics of growth and sadly lacking in the spirit of real sustainability. For humanity to survive, it needs a positive reason why humanity is here. It needs a sapiens-meaning, rather than squabbling individual reasons.

A METAPHYSICS BIRTHED FROM SCIENCE

But Comte was right enough in seeing that where the three stages of his history cohabitated in the same society, the metaphysical state enacted a kind of deontological mediating role within the antagonistic space between theology and rationality.[2]

What Comte could never dream of, however, was the possibility of a science driven and fuelled by a metaphysics. Metaphysics for Comte was always an ingredient buried in the theological notion and therefore something that science had to eradicate in order for culture to make positive progress. But what happens when the metaphysics is birthed out of science (ecology and cosmology) rather than God? How can theological myths stand up to so much truth?

Likewise, science is equally troublesome if by science we refer to those individuals and their corporations who use the technologies created by science to accumulate power and turn themselves into a race of oligarchical technocrats. When we talk about a science-based metaphysics we are talking about a new relationship with science, undermining the ethical relativity of our present, nihilistic civilisation suffocated by its philosophy of perpetual growth. A ecological-cosmological science-metaphysics demands an equality with nature: Sapiens is in the world, and the world is in Sapiens.

SCIENCE-BASED METAPHYSICS

Rather than being a mediator, the science-based metaphysics will probably find itself being attacked from both sides (from both the science-technology world and the world of religion), for it must certainly be seen as a threat to both sides. Between the emperors of accumulation and the dogmas of monotheisms, the only weapon available to science-based metaphysics is the shield of truth. The same shields the monotheisms wielded when they erected their own theological revolutions. But this truth is stamped not with the vague ambiguity of scriptures, but with the authoritative seal of scientific evidence itself. In this way, it is not a threat to the antagonistic systems of science and religion, it is a fusion of the two. And what a powerful new peace-maker this is.

Ecology and the inherent metaphysics embedded in all ecological thought which is that we are all in the world and the world must be protected from our own mad, degradation of the world, is a nascent, antagonistic force against the System. Antagonistic but necessary. Its attack on the system has to be directed more and more forcefully as solutions to the ecological-problem are constantly thwarted. While ecology may be a threat to the System, our System is presently a threat to existence and must therefore be transformed or eliminated. A positive logic that accepts Being over Non-being tells us irrefutably that, despite its present lack of real power, a science-based metaphysics must triumph over the nihilists, technocrats and theologians. Science-based metaphysics is a logical necessity.

 

[1] Ritzer, 1996:14, quoted in Mike Gane, AUGUSTE COMTE, Routledge, New York, 2006, p.23

[2] Ibid

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From Khaos to Being, via Sapiens

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The original Greek χάος comes from the verb to gape and is therefore the dark emptiness, the black abyss in the yawning mouth of the Universe.

In Greek cosmology this was the word used to describe the state of non-being prior to creation. Our modern cosmology could use the term to describe the state of non-being before the Big Bang, but it doesn’t – probably because the concept is hardly a very scientific assumption; the void of Khaos would imply that there was space before the Big Bang, rather than the more generally held notion of space and time being created by the Big Bang. What’s more, chaos, as it is usually spelt, has come to mean other things, which is why we write it as khaos.

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For us, our interest in Khaos lies in the idea of a moment when non-being became the process of becoming that leads to Being, and an affirmation that such a moment was not the Big Bang. In fact, it took place millions of years after the Big Bang. The shift from a state of non-being to the process of becoming Being was a very quiet development, more like an unheard oozing than any noisy leap or an explosion of light.

Being has always been a slow process of becoming, an evolutionary unfolding, rooted in perception. It began with the first bleeps of perception from the first perceiving micro-organisms, and has developed into those complex life-forms capable of understanding and communicating their awareness, self-consciousness etc., that we call Sapiens.

In the beginning was the word …” The process to Being started with the naming of things. Being is the product of an unveiling. The Creation is not a creation as such, but a discovery or reaffirmation of the existence that would otherwise be pointlessly trapped in the yawning mouth of Khaos.

From the original notion of Khaos came the cosmological notion of a primordial state in which our cosmos in potentia is waiting to be formed in the yawning mouth. From this notion came the erroneous assumption that such a formation could only be managed by a Demiurge, the Creator, while in fact that creator is Sapiens. The Creator is all of us. Creation occurred when the yawning mouth of humanity spat out the first word.

The creator is Sapiens, and humanity (homo sapiens) is a part of that Sapiens entanglement with Being itself. Each time we utter or think a word we are taking part in the divine process of becoming that is embedded in all Being. The difference between the Universe and the Void, flows through us.

This placing of Being in the language of Sapiens, means that being is not just what is observed, understood and perceived, it also exists in the language of potential and conditionals. Being is what is, what has been, and what it could and will be. Being rejoices in us: not just in itself reflected in our perception of it, but also in our vision of its own potentials.

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Let us not be mean with Being. Give it all our love – our appreciation, understanding and preservation – and all our desire for the unleashing of its most incredible potentials, guided by our own unlimited imaginations.

REALITY AS A PURPOSEFUL LIE

The mystic philosophers were right when they told us that reality is elsewhere, but they were wrong in claiming that our ultimate delusion came from a lack of spiritual insight; our alienation from reality is a psychological and social delusion created by our tendency to perceive reality in lies.

In essence, however, even this delusional tendency to believe things that cannot be proven, may be a necessary element for any positive human view of reality.

Science gives us a view of reality that goes beyond the narrow confines of the world that we perceive. In this way, science is an attempt to uncover the delusional nature of our lying perceptions. The real is not really what we see and feel.

Nevertheless, scientific objectivity clashes with our attempts to forge a positive view of our place in the cosmos. Ultimately, scientific truth is nihilistic. Vanity of vanities. Everything is headed to an inescapable thermal death. All things will come to an end. There is no ultimate purpose to the Universe.

But does an acceptance of this ultimately pointless reality do humanity as a whole any good? Science tells us how insignificant and ultimately pointless we are in the Universe. The result is nihilism and a depression that bleeds down through the entire fabric of contemporary, nihilistic civilisation. Live the moment. Reality is ephemeral. And so, religion has to be saved or even restored. We need hope, don’t we? Even if that hope is a blatant lie.

But even religions are essentially nihilistic as far as humanity goes. For religions, reality is elsewhere, in the Paradise after death. And so we ask: Why is reality so negative? Why is truth so grim?

A positive view of historical human reality can only be truly comprehensible to human beings from the point of view of humanity itself. However, this statement implies an anthropocentric view, which most scientists now reject as biased; and because of that consider it to be unrealistic.

But, does this mean that in order to be realistic we have to forfeit any positive view of humanity?

In actual fact, science itself gives us a way out here; for there is cosmological data that points to a sentient-life purpose evolution of the Universe. Data exists that explains how the self-organising of the Universe was able to create conditions for organisms so complex that they can comprehend that same organisation.[i]

In order to determine reality without deluding ourselves in lies we need to look at the debate that scientists are having on the idea of a purposefully determined cosmos. In this argument the science that has to be allowed the most authority is cosmology. So, what do cosmologists and other physicists really think about the idea of a deterministic Universe; one that implies that we are evolving purposefully towards an ultimate goal?

Some scientists, like cosmologist Martin Rees and the physicist Paul Davies, are in favour of the idea of purposefully orientated evolution, whilst almost any quantum physicist would argue against the anthropocentric view, in favour of indeterminism. Nevertheless, arguments can be found, that take a middle ground. And perhaps it is here that we can resolve the debate.

We think this middle ground has been nicely described by Dan Pipono:

“There is no meaningful difference (between determinism and indeterminism). Suppose at some moment there is some kind of undetermined probabilistic event and the universe forks in one of two ways. Then mathematically we can describe the situation in two distinct ways A and B: (1) we could say that after the fork, the universe is either in state A or state B. The universe is non-deterministic because we don’t know which of A and B it is going to be before the fork. OR (2) the universe is in a state that consists of two pieces, A and B, each of which contains a copy of us. The universe is deterministic but appears non-deterministic because we don’t know which of A and B is the one that contains us. Some people will use Occam’s razor in this situation. Some will use it to argue for (1) because a universe with just A or B is simpler than a universe with both A and B. Some will use it to argue for (2) because often (2) is mathematically simpler than (1). I can’t see any way of distinguishing (1) and (2). In practice I’d use whichever is more convenient for whatever I’m trying to do.”[ii]

Like Pipono and Occam, we argue that reality needs to be viewed according to what is most convenient to what needs to be done with that reality. And what we, as humans, need to question is what is the most convenient reality for humanity; a purposeful state or a nihilistic one? If we still cannot, with true scientific certainty, resolve the debate in favour of either purpose or nihilism, which view of reality is ultimately more convenient for us; for our survival and progress?

 

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

[ii] See Dan Pipono https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-evidence-for-and-against-determinism

THE WILL TO REPRESENTATION

Porträt des Philosphen Arthur Schopenhauer, 1852

Die Aufnahme wurde vermutlich am 3. Sept. 1852 gemacht. Die Daguerreotypie hat eine Größe von 9,5 x 7,3 cm. Durck auch in: Silber und Salz, S. 61.

The driving will of the Universe is toward its Being, which can only come about via its Representation.

Schopenhauer saw this, but reached a pessimistic conclusion for humanity instead of seeing the tremendous, and joyous, implications behind it. Once Schopenhauer had inserted the conjunction “and” between the concepts to come up with the title of his work as The World as Will AND Representation, he removed himself from finding the positive element applied to universal destiny by inserting the preposition “to” and thus getting The World as Will TO Representation.

Heidegger did see these positive implications. He expressed it as the destiny of humanity for the en-framing of the Universe. Nevertheless, he seemed to be embarrassed by it, lacking any hard scientific data to support the idea.

But now, with new astronomical ideas springing directly from science, through the discovery of Cosmological Fine Tuning, the Universe can be said to be imbued with wilful purpose to Being through Representation.

Idealism becomes purposeful again – and by seeing reality this way, everything becomes purposeful again, with or without God. Cosmological Fine Tuning reveals a plan, a natural plan to create life, and the Universe itself, through fine tuning itself, has created its own conditions for allowing life to come about. The Universe, that is nothing until it can be perceived, and which is everything once it is completely framed, produces Sapiens – the entity that can perceive and learn; that can learn and know; that can make Being a reality, and its true fulfilment can only come through carrying out that duty.

Human Purpose in our Unconscious Universe

Collage of human head, molecules and various abstract elements on the subject of modern science, chemistry, physics, human and artificial minds

The Universe is either blind or not. A belief in God is a belief in a universe that knows itself because it can perceive itself. The difficulty with the idea of God is primarily the problem of conceiving how this omniscience could possibly be. If we manage to do this we believe we face an even greater difficulty – if the Universe can perceive itself, what is the purpose of life in such a universe? For a conscious universe, life, and its own perception of the universe could only be a distraction for the universe and its own perception of itself. In a conscious universe, life would be undesirable as it would distort the same, pure consciousness of the Universe itself.

As such, we believe that the presence of life in the Universe proves that the Universe cannot be self-conscious.

The Universe is blind. It is an eye which cannot see itself, and it has nothing to see outside itself. Nevertheless, the evolution of the Universe and its cosmological fine tuning indicates that it intuits itself in an unconscious way. At some time in its blind creation it came to intuit its own possibility of Being. It even seems possessed of a primitive determinism that has been capable of organising itself into its present complex form with complex organisms like human beings.

However, in order to be sure of its own existence, the blind Universe must create a way of seeing itself for what it is. How can this be done if it can only operate within itself? It only has power inside its own limits of space and time.

The Universe can only operate according to its own laws of physics, within its own material reality. To see itself, the eye that does not see must create a perceiving entity within itself. A kind of mind’s eye. An imagination for itself. To perceive itself, the Universe had to create something that could perceive within itself. It needed to create life.

The Universe is either blind or not. A belief in God is a belief in a universe that knows itself because it can perceive itself. The difficulty with the idea of God is primarily the problem of conceiving how this omniscience could possibly be. If we manage to do this we believe we face an even greater difficulty – if the Universe can perceive itself, what is the purpose of life in such a universe? For a conscious universe, life, and its own perception of the universe could only be a distraction for the universe and its own perception of itself. In a conscious universe, life would be undesirable as it would distort the same, pure consciousness of the Universe itself.

As such, we believe that the presence of life in the Universe proves that the Universe cannot be self-conscious.

The Universe is blind. It is an eye which cannot see itself, and it has nothing to see outside itself. Nevertheless, the evolution of the Universe and its cosmological fine tuning indicates that it intuits itself in an unconscious way. At some time in its blind creation it came to intuit its own possibility of Being. It even seems possessed of a primitive determinism that has been capable of organising itself into its present complex form with complex organisms like human beings.

However, in order to be sure of its own existence, the blind Universe must create a way of seeing itself for what it is. How can this be done if it can only operate within itself? It only has power inside its own limits of space and time.

The Universe can only operate according to its own laws of physics, within its own material reality. To see itself, the eye that does not see must create a perceiving entity within itself. A kind of mind’s eye. An imagination for itself. To perceive itself, the Universe had to create something that could perceive within itself. It needed to create life.

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The Universe is the subject that does not know itself. It is substance evolving toward subject. But how can such an evolution take place? What we are talking about is an evolution of consciousness, evolving from perception into knowing. It’s an evolution we have seen in our own world. The evolution of our own species: the process that transformed the protozoa into a Da Vinci or an Einstein. Human purpose is to know the Universe, both without and within – to invent and create according to our knowledge and sculpt from the material that is to create an even better Universe, the Universe that ought to be.

The Universe is the subject that does not know itself. It is substance evolving toward subject. But how can such an evolution take place? What we are talking about is an evolution of consciousness, evolving from perception into knowing. It’s an evolution we have seen in our own world. The evolution of our own species: the process that transformed the protozoa into a Da Vinci or an Einstein. Human purpose is to know the Universe, both without and within – to invent and create according to our knowledge and sculpt from the material that is to create an even better Universe, the Universe that ought to be.

Binary Metaphysics and the World Will

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If the Information Age is to be remembered, it may very well be for its affirmation of the binary nature of the cosmos – that the essence of everything is a 0I0II0 process of information accumulation. The forms that have grown out of this amazingly simple, Either/Or, quantum reality are perceived by us as the immensely complex thing that is the universe, and from the perspective of the Information Age we are able to understand the mechanics involved in this process. It is a mechanics that had been deemed metaphysical or esoteric and spiritual by earlier ages, but now we see reality very differently. So much of our new perception is reflected in our computers and the other digital apparatus that have become so important to our daily lives – virtual realities exist on our desktop and in our pockets and they point to the virtual reality that is our own. Like the microcosm so is the macrocosm. Our computers operate with the most basic language possible, and so does the cosmos.

From the void comes form, from the inanimate comes life – and by sharing information these forms, inanimate or otherwise, are able to reproduce themselves. The foundation of the universe is a process of reading and interpreting information. It is an enormous factory of evolution and creativity.

SCIENCE’S ESCHATOLOGICAL APOCALYPSE

According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, not only humanity but also the entire universe is destined to suffer an unconditional final mega death when it reaches a state of high entropy. Nevertheless, whilst entropy pushes everything towards chaos, the tendency of life is to become less and less chaotic and more ordered.[i]  Here there are two dynamic forces at work – a dialectic of physics between nothing and anything, life and death, the positive and the negative, the yin and the yang. For life to win this battle, it needs to do more than just go on living and propagating more life as it always has done – it needs to understand the universe in a complete way. Only by understanding the fundamental error in its own system of creation, propagation and self-reproduction, will the universe be able to reprogram itself and tilt its evolution away from finality and a return to the void, unto eternity and perpetual creation.

THE WORLD WILL

It is in life’s nature to have a drive for continual creation and permanence. The same drive is inherent in the very building blocks of the physical world. We call this drive the World Will.

If it can be conceived that, through knowledge and technology, a conscious entity will be able to act like God and redesign the universe, pushing it away from finality towards the direction of eternity, then should that not be adopted as a primary motivation for such an entity. As humanity, homo sapiens, is a conscious entity, should it not become our priority to work toward the fulfilment of guaranteeing an eternal universe.

THE ETERNAL UNIVERSE AS A POINT OF INSPIRATION

Of course, there are more pressing problems, and to become God would take thousands of millennia to achieve. So why bother?

Cosmological reality is our reality. Life and death is our reality. Our motivations, what gets us up in the morning as well as that which inspires us to work, are driven by our perception of the purposefulness or purposelessness of life. The cosmological lesson derived from the second law of thermodynamics and the promise of the mega death is “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!” Our cosmological reality is pessimistic and in order to be able to truly think positively, without sliding into the trap of religious nihilisms and their promise of something better beyond this world, we need to have an antidote to the poison of cosmological pessimisms.

What we are proposing is the consumption of positive, purposive vitamins and their immediate effect is a positive enhancing of our perception of humanity itself, with all its positive ramifications. Its secondary effects will be in the solving of so many of our dire ecological problems. This is why we should bother about eternity.

[i] See Vlatko Vedral, DECODING REALITY, OUP, New York, 2010, p.67

Our Dependence and Significance

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DEPENDENCE

We might or might not be free, but we are most certainly dependent.

Our existence depends on the air we breathe and on the space and the atmosphere that provides the kind of area in which breathable air can exist. We are dependent on atmosphere to protect us from harmful, cosmic radiation and to help stop us freezing in the frozen wasteland of the cosmos. We are dependent also on the fire within the core of our planet as well as the light that reaches us from the sun in order to provide conditions warm enough for human life to exist. Likewise, we are also dependent on the molecular structure of our body and especially our DNA to allow us to exist, be knowledgeable, reproduce ourselves and think we are free.

These are only a fraction of the things we depend on for our survival. If any one of them fails, our existence will stop. We are held together by forces and enclosed within other forces, and without these powers that ensure our physical construction and make the benevolent environment in which to move, we would not exist at all. But existence also depends on awareness, light, consciousness. Without a consciousness of existence, there is no real existence. Without life there can be no consciousness. If intelligent, conscious life only exists on Earth, then the planet Earth is the most significant point in the universe. We are necessary for the fulfilment of the universe.Everything we are dependent on depends on us for its Being.

SIGNIFICANCE

Cosmologists today talk of a finely tuned cosmos. Finely tuned to create life, as if life were a cosmic ambition. However, if that is so, why would it be? What can life give to the cosmos? But, of course, we have already answered that question – life, especially conscious life, enriches the universe with Being.

This idea implies a kind of anthropocentrism. In a numerical sense we are positioned in the very centre of the cosmos, between the macrocosm (1025) and the microcosm (10-25)[i]. However, this is a different kind of anthropocentrism to the traditional arrogant view of man as the most privileged of all creatures, in which the world is a thing put here by God for humankind to freely exploit. This new anthropocentrism doesn’t say that the universe was created for humanity, but rather that humanity was created for the universe. We are significant but also dependent. We are not the owners of the universe but rather the eyes and mind of it.

POSITIVISM

The idea of a humanity, significant in the universe and fundamental to the creation of Being in the universe, is a deeply positive one. It is also a profoundly humanistic one. We are not talking about races or nations, we are talking about humanity: humanity as a species, the homo sapiens. Thinking positively about the role of humanity in the universe is itself a form of self-preservation. And, in a world with a biosphere that is perilously close to becoming irreparably damaged by ruthlessly selfish human activity, positive thinking is vital in order to change that destructive, human behaviour.

Even the seemingly pessimistic idea that we are alone in the universe, has to be, in reality, a deeply positive incentive to ensure the preservation and good health of our biosphere, and of humanity within that biosphere.

VERSUS NIHILISM

Nihilism is constantly dragging humanity down into pessimistic fantasies of apocalyptic end days, prophesised with some degree of desire – as if our extinction would be doing the universe a favour.

Historically, pessimistic cultures have crumbled. The Aztecs and Incas both believed their time was up. Prophecy had ordained it. The Spanish conquest was pretty much assured even before it began.

Nihilism is a decadence, and nihilism and decadence provoke a cultural sense of being unworthy, and a lasses-faire attitude to any Armageddon.

[i] See Martin Rees, JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000, pp. 6 & 7.

THE MEANING OF THE UNIVERSE IS THE MEANING OF LIFE

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For a scientific understanding of life on Earth (or all life as we know it) we need only study its double helix, DNA. The DNA is an archive, a library and an operating system. Life, as such, is dependent on information that is stored, read and followed. The individual is subject to the complexity and limitations of this information. What’s more, it is this double helix which also determines our individuality as much as our similarities. We are biological computers based on a binary system of base pairs: a combination of adenine and cytosine; cytosine and guanine; guanine and thymine; thymine and cytosine, etcetera … This is our four element, binary combination language – the language of life.

But the question why does life exist is a profound one, as is the question of why does anything exist. Fundamental questions that the scientific understanding of life can only satisfy up to a point. In order to find deep answers to the deepest questions we need to go beyond fact to reasons and purpose; we have to bring science back into the fold of philosophical speculation from which science originated from sometime around the 5th century BCE.

This is not to say by any means that we should abolish or even diminish the science, but, on the contrary allow speculation to fuel a science-based philosophy concerned with meaning that will pull science back into the realm of metaphysics. A future science with pre-Socratic intentions if you like.

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Nothing can come from nothing, says reason, but science demonstrates that a particle can emerge from the void and vanish again. From nothing you came and to nothing you will return. The will to have what we lack. Nothing lacks everything, but let’s start with something. From the void there came a particle. That was enough. A thing, generated by lack of everything and motivated by a possibility of anything, aggregated into a singular complexity of that everything that needed to explode and allow such potential to become forms, perhaps even become everything in an infinite, multi-dimensional way. An everything that needs time and space in order to understand it. But within that time and space it also needs something capable of perceiving it. It needs an objective observer, something fashioned with sensors. Of course if everything exists there will not only be an abundance of these organisms, and an abundance of intelligent forms of these creatures, but also, an absolute lack of them … but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Or perhaps it does …

In order for everything and nothing to exist, time and space must exist, for it is time and space which provides the separation allowing for diversity to be possible. Everything is One thing, a mass that needs to be broken apart in order to be able to perceive the real potential of everything, but included in the One is also an Absolute Zero as well as a never truly achieved Infinity. This breaking apart of the Infinite singularity is managed through the manifestation of time and space.

But what has this got to do with the meaning of life?…

Life: a double-helix DNA executive commanding its single-strand RNA clerk. Our primary communication, which is at the same time the executive communication. Constant, but silent and secretive. The secret Genetic Code. A linear codex as of the steps of a ladder. Letters in a sentence, a punctuated sentence. Life is a language, dictated by DNA. We are built on carbon foundations building other complex language systems on silicon foundations.

The goal of evolution is to produce the perfect brain that will be able to achieve the most complex understanding of the world and the universe it is a tiny part of. The universe is a universe of information transmitted through language but mainly devoid of objects capable of understanding that language and acting accordingly. But by analysing the physical form of the universe it becomes clear that it has an aim. Time and space and DNA exist because the principal aim of the universe is to understand itself; to be able to exist in a conscious and self-conscious, self-fulfilled way. This can only take place through the agent of intelligent life.

Tinctur

Uroboric Will, Hegel’s Spirit & The Godless, Purposeful Universe

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We have already mentioned the Uroboros and the Uroboric Drive or Will on numerous occasions in these blog entries and it is an important concept for us. In our article “Ecology as Ideology and the Uroboric Drive” we stated:

“A vicious circle is already unravelling itself, only to take hold of its own tail again in order to swallow itself. But perhaps this most ancient image of the Uroboros, the tail-swallowing serpent, is the final revelation: that our drives are magnetic ones, folding us back toward the Uroboric state of an autarchic relationship with the world which is the perpetual result, if only in a perverted way, of any attempts to revaluate or reinvent our circumstances. Capitalism’s final end is to become a Uroboros, even if this is not its conscious eschatology. The System, whatever form it has, is manipulated subconsciously towards the Uroboric, autarchic paradise which we lost so long ago. But while for capitalism the Uroboric autarchy is a Utopian dream that can only end in a complete annihilation of the tail swallowing serpent, the ecological Uroboros has to be imagined perfectly intact and healthy.

The Uroboric drive is in Eros as much as in Thanatos. It is the ultimate unity, representing where we have come from – the autarchy of the foetus in the womb – and where we are going – our final conversion into dust or gas. At either end of the unity the condition is an ecological one. A return to the Uroboric state of being is the Being of the Great Mother, the planet Earth. As an Eros-driven force, our will to freedom is an autarchic will, as is our will for love; our sex drive; our will for community and our desire for isolation; our will to communicate; our creative drives; our willingness to share; and also our need to be protective and cautious. The essence of all of this is in autarchy.”[i]

Hegel_portrait_by_Schlesinger_1831

We think Hegel was describing this Uroboric Will when he described the Spirit as “that which has being in itself,”[ii] or “that which relates itself to itself and is determinate,”[iii] or “it is other-being and being-for-itself and in this determinateness, or in its self-externality, abides within itself; or in other words, it is in and for itself.”[iv]

But this Uroboric nature of Hegel’s Spirit is only one side of its total substance. It must also be “the knowledge of the spiritual, and the knowledge of itself as Spirit, i.e. it must be an object to itself… a sublated object, reflected into itself.”[v] Which means, in our terms, it must be in possession of an intelligence.

A need for intelligence is, in the Uroboric universe, an instinctive drive, coming from an instinct for Being and a sense of the most necessary potential. Even though the matter being driven is blind, deaf and senseless. The Uroboric Universe wants to be perceived and known, even though it has no idea that it does. Nature wants to know, but does not know that it wants it.

It has to be blind and ignorant, if not there would be much more intelligent life in the Universe. If the Universe were driven consciously by a conscious Creator, there would have to be more success stories; more stars with inhabitable planets. Likewise, if Consciousness has existed from the beginning, then there is no pressing need for intelligence. That is the narrative of most religions: humanity is not at all necessary. In fact most of the time, despite Christ’s attempt to fill us with hope and self-esteem, we are a despicable species in the eyes of God, a failed mutation of something which should have been much better. But none of this makes any sense if the Creation was planned from the outset.

So, there is no Creator, there is no God, but…  there is most certainly a purposefulness in the Universe.

Our cosmologists tell us that the Universe is finely tuned and that it has to be tuned exactly this way in order for life to be even feasible. In a numerical sense we are positioned in the centre of the Universe, between the ultimate macrocosm at 1025 and the microcosm at 10-25, in a centre that we have to be in.[vi]This anthropocentricism is not an anti-nature one of human dominance and superiority. But it does imply purpose. We are here for a reason, and that reason has been determined, not by a God, but by the Universe. It implies a partnership, the partnership between the Object of Reality and the Subject that can perceive that reality, and make reality Being. It is a partnership between Sapiens creatures that know that they know things, and the Universe that allows a space for these knowing creatures to know It.

The fine tuning of the Cosmological Constant[vii] is so precise it could hardly have been accidental. But this does not mean that the fine tuning needed a Creator. Science does not need to embrace God on this issue, and nor should it – the idea of the Absolute has been a nihilistic, anti-life pessimism that has flagellated humanity for millennia. We know from thousands of years of experiences that the Idea of God does not make us better human beings, and that in fact it has been responsible for some of the darkest periods of history and some of the most violent, cruel acts that mankind has committed. If God exists, we’d do better just let It be and ignore all the power-driven dogmas that have been born out of the idea of the One.

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[ii] Hegel, PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Preface, §25)

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid

[v] Ibid

[vi] SEE Martin Rees JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000, pp. 6 + 7 )

THE FOUR-CORNERED TRUTH

an-allegory-of-truth-and-time-1585

“What is truth?” said Pilate, and washed his hands.

What the Roman Prefect understood was the enormous relativity of the concept. Even if Christ says “I am Truth” it still remains ambiguous. What does this Truth actually mean? Well, it can mean whatever you want, and that is what Christ became… whatever his promoters wanted him to be. Nevertheless the concept of Truth itself does have a meaning and a function. It is the anti-lie. If truth is relative then Truth is that which discerns the lies embedded in all relativity. For relativity can be used for honest and dishonest purposes. We have uncovered “truths” embedded in paradoxes, but we’ve also seen how the paradox is a powerful tool for covering lies[i].

Yet despite its ambiguity and elusiveness, Truth has to concern us. It is a synonym of reality and authenticity and will believe that an understanding of the triptych Truth-Reality-Authenticity is necessary for any real progress on a human level to take place. It is what really is, and this makes it the prime subject valid for humanity in the world. Truth is in the Subject and the Subject is that which encloses us. We can call it the Universe or the World. But Truth seen as the subject-world becomes a duality in which Truth has to be shared between the world and that which perceives it and brings it into true Being, and this is Intelligence. In this way we get a four-cornered truth of the World-Intelligence as Subject-Object. The world is the Subject to Intelligence because it only becomes Being if Intelligence perceives it. Likewise Intelligence is Subject to the World by perceiving and knowing and reflecting it in its brain before projecting it forward. In the same way it is also the Object of the World as it is equally dependent on the world for its own being.

Real Truth is therefore not just the Subject but the Subject-Object Uroboros. The reality of existence is that its Being depends on a Uroboric vicious circle – a paradox.  This idea, that the truth is a nasty paradox, may seem like a terrible nightmare or a liberation, but in any case it is a necessity.

The idea is not new: quite possibly, if depth-psychology theory is correct, it is the oldest idea. But though we still know it from the alchemical Uroboros and the oriental Yin-Yang, its profound relevance is not relevant to or even consciously realised by most people or their cultures.

 

That which is  not perceived does not exist. Perception illuminates that which is not and makes it that which is. Perceiving intelligence exalts that being with its knowledge. The Big Bang did not exist until intelligence made it real.  The ultimate purpose of the Big Bang, the desire behind the movement, was to create an intelligence that would evolve into something that could discover itself. Is this such a wild notion? How can a non-intelligence have desires? How could it conceive something without consciousness? Must we talk about Will or Spirit? Can we talk about these things?

Science is divided, but there are cosmologists who would have to say yes. In cosmology they now talk of the Cosmological  Constant and the Fine Tuning of the Universe. The Universe seems constructed in a deliberate way to allow life to form, and evolution on our planet would indicate that the culmination of the life forming process is “intelligence”. The intelligence that knows that it knows. If this is the truth then immediate ethical consequences can be drawn from it, the first being that our historical process of the segregation of humanity has been a totally equivocal one. From the simple idea that the Universe has a purpose rooted in the creation of and the subsequent existential partnership with Intelligence allows us to find new authenticities: a new purposefulness, a new meaning.

Our relevant beginning, our Genesis, is the beginning of the creation of the life-support system of our planet Earth. The concept of Truth as Subject-Object is a World-Humanity concept. Quality of Being depends on being perceived and “understood”. The key to our purpose is our responsibility as cognitive entities to the World-Universe that needs us for its own quality of Being.

The Big-Other narrative that we currently live in is a non-authentic one: it is a lie. The Truth is still to be discovered, but it is necessary for us to start looking for it “truthfully”, via our greatest tool for truth – science.


[i] See our article “Lacan, Poe, and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories” published in the Australian journal Going Down Swinging, #33 http://goingdownswinging.org.au/site/showcase/going-down-swinging-33/