The Purpose of the Universe

BOSS-BAO

DO WE REALLY NEED RELIGIONS?

All religions have their basis in the question: What is the purpose of this existence in this Universe?

There are two basic answers to this question: either no, there is no purpose; or yes, everything is meaningful.

Taking the latter point of view has its psychological advantages, because it creates an underlying meaningfulness to everything and makes us feel that our own lives are part of a bigger purposeful picture as well. We may think we are mere specks of star-dust, but, in fact, something marvellous is really happening in the world (and the cosmos) around us.

God, or the gods, is a simple way of saying why the Universe is purposeful. But in practice, the God-idea evolved into something sinister and perverse – dogma.

Religions as such, have taken a patent out on the concept of the Universe’s meaningfulness, and we have suffered millennia of human conflict and strife because of the defenders of the God copyright.

However, God is not a necessary component of a meaningful Universe. The Universe can be just meaningful in itself.

MEANINGFULNESS

Of course, “meaning” is just a human-made concept, and the English-language version of that concept. Without self-conscious, rational beings, there can be no meaning as such, because meaning implies an entity capable of understanding that meaning.

Hence the assumption that God is necessary for a purposeful Universe. However, homo sapiens and other self-conscious life forms exist in this Universe whether God exists or not. Life has evolved, in a non-deterministic way, through trial and error. There is no need for God in understanding the purposeful Universe. In fact, if we do feel it to be necessary to throw in a Creator, then it would make more sense to imagine that creator being blind. Existence itself is a desiring, intentional thing. Existence wants to exist and humanity, as a sapiens organism, is an integral factor in that existence.

Berkeley was right when he argued that, in a practical sense, nothing would exist if there were no consciousness. But he most probably was wrong in assuming that the Universe itself is conscious. The Universe probably created consciousness, unconsciously. However, if we affirm that the Universe is purposeful, then there must be an unconscious desire in the unconscious-Universe for the evolution of consciousness within it. This desire resides in the need to exist. The motivating current of our Universe is “To be, or not to be”, affirming the first part.

EXISTENCE AND MEANING

A desire for existence implies a desire for the preservation of that existence and ultimately an eternal existence. Eternity only makes sense if the Universe itself makes sense by being meaningful.

Meaning therefore is embodied in the existential reality of the Universe; in the meaning in the act of becoming involved in the eternal-process of knowing and being known that is the Universe’s relationship to itself and to the life it has created. Life that is the centre and purpose of its creation.

This point of view is atheistic, but anti-nihilistic. The important thing is universal achievement and the fulfilment of our essence which is always in life itself.

The nature of life then, is to exist, which means, live and rejoice in living. Its striving is to overcome the non-existence implicit in death. It is here where the authentic human nature lies – in our shared purpose with the Universe.

SEE ALSO: THE IMPORTANCE OF METAPHYSICS https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/the-importance-of-metaphysics/

THE GREAT CIRCLE OF ANTI-PROGRESS

ouroboros-pergamino

THE UROBOROS

Universalism forms the foundation of all monotheisms. Yet it is a foundation badly rooted, for it is constructed on the sediments of separation.

All the separatisms – subject/object; man/God; man/nature; man/woman; man/world; Earth/Universe; Heaven/Hell; master/slave; European/Asian; Christian/Muslim; Muslim/Jew; nation A/nation B – pervert the universalism, rendering it hypocritical.

Monotheism is an intuition for the One. But for the impossible One, for it is the One that is affirmed from a segregation. Only the enlightened can know the one. Hence there arises a new segregation between the enlightened and the ignorant. Even the most universal of religious philosophies, the Tao, makes the separation of Yin and Yang a basis of its whole. To understand the One, we have to understand how it is separated. The pure aspect of the Yin and Yang is not the black and white, or black and red, antagonisms, but the circle around them.

The circle, in the form of the Uroboros, is the oldest symbol of the universal: the cycle is its first limitation. Once the circle is interpreted as a constant, ever-changing form of mobility, it immediately assumes a conservative dogma of anti-progress and a negation of becoming. Inside the cycle, the One is not an expansion but an illusion of progress that merely returns us, through different seasons, to that which is, which always has been, and always will be.

The function of separation, seen through the spectrum of the cycle, is to regenerate and reconfirm the machinery of the One without changing the One itself. In its basic concept, spiritualism is therefore this sense of being in this magnificent, pure, self-generating machinery.

But this sense of being part of the whole is the first thing that monotheisms attack. With the fabrication of God, the Universe itself becomes subordinate to a Master, and spiritualism is relegated to a sense of submission before the All Powerful; a bowing and kowtowing under the omnipotence of the Creator.

What we witness, in this process of hypocritical universalism, is the implementation of all the dogmas of power.

For social progress and individual freedom to be possible and authentic, therefore, the psychological dogma of the circle has to be broken. The tail must be pulled away from the Uroboric serpent’s mouth and turned into a rail that we can drive ourselves forward on. The Earth may be spinning around, but the Universe is expanding.

Where does our Conception of God come from?

Image result for eternityYayoi Kusama: Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009

We didn’t conceive and refine the Judaeo-Christian concept of God out of natural phenomenon or even logical deduction – apart from a First Cause, there is no logical need for God. Instead, it was formed out of a mainly intuitive comprehension of Humanity’s own potential. The image we have of God is a reflection of what our own collective intellect could be capable of being and producing, and of the incredible power that a highly advanced and evolved humanity could be capable of achieving if it survives, and manages to develop in a progressive way, for millions of years to come.

At the moment we have to be considered very poor candidates for the Master of the Universe. Nevertheless, we stand at a crossroads that demands that we must now take an optimistic evolution into consideration or perish. It is time to shake off our tremendous nihilism and pessimism and admit that an anthropogenesis into a God-like species is an idea that ultimately reflects our own collective potential – albeit in a far, far distant future. Of course, the entire history of our civilisation has been a process of turning our backs on that potential; God was created in our own image to mitigate the obligation to become godly ourselves. The responsibility is awesome, but sooner or later we will have to embrace it or disappear: that is the ultimate choice between purposiveness and nihilism.

Cosmic Will (science versus religion)

The growing process, from the single fertilised cell to the adult form of a biological entity with all its necessary parts, internal organs and external limbs and sensors, is developed with such incredible attention to detail and accuracy that one cannot help but feel such a process is being directed: that is seems to have been willed.

“Willed by God,” insist the religious. But what would God will such a thing for? “Ah, the Lord works in mysterious ways that we are capable of understanding.” Yet, that conclusion only turns the problem back to the start again. If we want to escape nihilism we have to understand purposiveness, and to appreciate authentic and universal purpose we must tackle the purposiveness inherent in the Universe itself.

If we surrender to a belief that we live in a Universe that has a purpose, but one that we are incapable of ever understanding, then that is just as nihilistic an attitude as the belief in a Universe that has no purpose at all.

Fortunately, for understanding purposiveness, life displays purposeful organisation. In fact, everything about life seems to be directed toward some purpose. Not only that, the inanimate universe has its own purposeful direction as well, the extremely complicated process of the creation of life and its evolution into sentient beings; beings that are capable of asking what the ultimate purpose of the creation of intelligent life can possibly be.

This is the key question of all metaphysics – and subsequently it is inherent in all philosophy and science as well; and all religions, of course. Nevertheless, in the case of religion, once God with a capital G has been found, it gives up the chase and sinks into the nihilism buried in the idea of “God’s mysterious will”. An end-point to all argument that protects its power through unquestionable dogmas. Religious power depends on maintaining its mystery.

THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE COSMIC WILL

However, if a cosmic will exists, where is it? If something is organising the Universe, where is it?

Once candidate could be gravity. Gravity has a very peculiar way of organising things: it makes things clump together, although that same homogenising process also enhances chaotic perturbations and creates another ordered kind of heterogeneity. Gravity is also a correcting agent against the destructive laws of thermodynamics; instead of disintegrating matter it creates structures that grow with time. While most hot objects become cooler if they lose energy, self-gravitating systems grow hotter. So, without gravity the Universe could never have created conditions for intelligence life in the Universe, but does that mean that it itself is the force that actually directs its own purposiveness?

If we were to mythologise this, we could resurrect the old concepts of the good and evil forces that rule over us and determine our lives: Thermodynamics is therefore a kind of Loki, bent on the nihilistic disintegration of his unloved father’s creation; whilst Gravity is like Thor, trying to preserve it. In this Asgard of cosmic will, Electro-magnetism becomes a kind of demi-god. Its power is short-ranged and local whilst Gravity has an influence on astronomical dimensions.

Gravity is the great organiser of the Cosmos: and to create life and subsequently sentient, sapiens beings, the Universe needs to be organised.

THE SEARCH FOR PURPOSE: SCIENCE VERSUS RELIGION

The deeper we go in our scientific understanding of the Universe’s creation and self-organisation, the closer science and mythology, and even religion, seem to be. But there is an enormous difference. Science takes nothing for granted, whereas religion takes everything for granted. Science, like philosophy, insists on a need for constant questioning, whereas in religion the questioning is retarded and manipulated in order to suit its own dictatorial needs and desires.

In other words: if we truly desire to understand God or the Cosmic Will, then it is imperative that one does so through scientific or philosophical processes rather than religious ones. Through experiment and calculus rather than prayer. The Alchemists were, and the cosmologists and sub-atomic physicists are, much closer to knowing God than any Pope.

Information (2): Vs Religion

In our previous entry (Information 1), we proposed the idea that information is a metaphysical concept that bridges the divide between the material and the spiritual. We argued that information is omnipresent and that it is part of the subatomic fabric of the Universe. Subsequently, information is in everything and that everything is basically information; and, because the end result of information is ‘knowing’, this also makes information (in its complete form as the Universe) omniscient.

Of course, this is all sounds like a description of God, so perhaps we could create a new religion from it … A religion? Another religion? Oh, please, God forbid!

No, we don’t want another religion; but perhaps if we consider information as God and try, in a post-Leibnizian way, to imagine what an Information-worshipping religion might be like, then we may also get an insight into the way religions work as well.

So, if God was Information then how would the Church of Information be different to other religions:

FIRSTLY: There would be an absence of the mysteries that other religions are shrouded in. There is nothing mysterious about Information. The religion would operate without any occult pretensions; its followers would be awestruck and inspired by its magnitude and by its infinite possibilities in the same way that the arts and sciences can be awe-inspiring once one embraces them.

SECONDLY: Information in its pure form is not usually dogmatic, whilst religions are dogmatic. We have shown, in the previous post, that Information can be ethical because the uses we have for Information can be good or bad. Yet, while there is a kid of sin involved, if we use Information in a way that could be fatal to Information itself, there is no divine retribution.

THIRDLY: Information is not ceremonious: the celebration is inherent in the concept itself. Life as a conscious deciphering of information, is itself the celebration.

FOURTHLY: Religions are traditionally based on the idea that there is a better world beyond this one, and hence, this place and life is a mere transition to the other world. In an Information based religion there would be no Apocalypse or Final Judgement, no Paradise or Hell beyond this Universe. Leibniz was right in saying this is the most perfect of Universes, but not because it was created by God, but because it is the only Universe. There is Existence (through conscious, information deciphering entities that, through the objectifying consciousness of their collective subjectivities, allow existence itself to come about) or non-Existence. The final purpose of Information is to ensure that conscious, sapiens organisms can exist permanently in the Universe, and, by doing so, ensure the Permanence of the Universe itself as well. It is through the idea of idea of Permanence that a new optimism arises, that will bury the old nihilisms and point us in a positive direction with deep will for survival.

 

Without mysticism, dogma, ceremony, an Apocalyptic eschatology or any Heaven or Hell, our religion of Information can hardly be considered a religion at all. The real question that arises here is: Can a positive principle be expected to motivate large groups of people, and create positive revolution, without the vulgar trappings of mysticism, dogmas and promises of Paradise?

But, in order to answer that question, we need to examine the organisations that make religions work. We need to look at Ideology.

INFORMATION (Part 1)

Image result for information

Is information intellectual or physical; material or spiritual? The power of understanding information is certainly an intellectual one, but what is the essence of the information itself that our minds are deciphering? Information is a good reason for having a mind, but it doesn’t fully depend on the mind to be communicated and deciphered: there are other kinds of information – biological information, for example – that are unravelled and understood by all living organisms without any minds taking part in the mechanics of communication and deciphering at all.

If we consider the information shared by subatomic particles, which are the basis of everything, then we might be able affirm that information is everything and everything is information. We can certainly say that information is in everything and that everything carries information. And from this, we can see how information in fact transcends the spiritual/material divide; it makes the physical something omnipresent and God-like and turns the spiritual into a material thing that is part of the essence of the matter that makes up the universe. Information is the triumphant champion in the spiritual vs. material dialectic struggle: everything finds its unity in information.

Since in this light, the process of thinking turns into an almost holy ritual. It becomes a conscious celebration of the deciphering and communication of information. As conscious organisms, our human, homo sapiens, experience is therefore in constant homage to, and a celebration of, information. So, if we have to start a new Church, erect it on a rock of Information. We already have the word for it, so there’s no need to call it God, and we celebrate it every time we open our eyes or ears; every time we touch or taste something; each time we utter a word or statement; whenever we read anything or watch anything; or even each time we dream – our entire sensory, intellectual existence is a great celebration of Information.

Image result for subatomic information

THE ETHICS OF INFORMATION

At first glance, little else can be said; all conscious unravelling of information, good or bad, is involved in this great act of celebration. However, given the nature of celebrations and rituals, we must consider the fact that there can be a “good” and “bad” way of celebrating.

Let’s assume that the Good Celebration is that which is Consciously Deciphering Information. From this we can come to ethical conclusions and deduce that a Bad Celebration would be one which would be a threat to the Celebration of Information itself. Or, in other words, all thought, which is a conscious deciphering of information, is good, except when it threatens the destruction of the capability of thinking itself. Through its restrictions on creative thought, dogma is therefore an evil process. At a greater degree of evil lie the thoughts that would endanger the existence of conscious organisms by creating conditions that would threaten their existence. The destruction of sapiens life-forms, through environmental degradation of internecine conflicts, has to be regarded as bad. In fact, any thought processes that create the destruction of sentient beings (wilful or accidental) should be regarded as Absolute Evil.

If we assume that consciousness is most highly developed in humanity, any threat to humanity is evil. As humanity depends on the Earth’s atmosphere to survive, any threat to the Earth’s atmosphere is evil; etcetera.

Likewise, good is embodied in life-affirming ideas. Life allows deciphering; it allows consciousness; it is the first great imperative. Good can also be seen in attempts to reach new and deeper decipherings and in developing the potential inherent in Information through the sciences: both pure and applied. Always, of course, if those discoveries are not applied in a negative, “evil” way.

The mere awareness itself of taking part in the Celebration, should have an animating influence on the individual. Through this celebration we are placing ourselves back in the centre of the Universe, investing ourselves with the purposefulness of it and emphasising the importance of our permanence and, obviously, our survival.

GOD IS DEAD or THE END OF THE SUPRASENSORY

According to Heidegger, Nietzsche’s statement that God is dead is referring not just to the Christian God but to the general suprasensory world, or the realm of Ideas and ideals.[i] Its death is a loss of power.[ii] The human ideal, through a suprasensory or metaphysical partnership with God, has been replaced with squabbling idealisms that are rooted in nationalisms or warring monotheisms that take on a political or economic significance, in the service of Wealth. Through separation the original metaphysical partnership loses its vitality and the great unifier degenerates into a chaos of warring factions struggling for power. However, it is a power which is already degenerate, for the God of the monotheisms has demanded too much. The needs of the Wealth-driven-Power look to liberate through an enslaving of the others rather than by establishing a partnership with the human. In this way, as Heidegger says, metaphysics is “cut off from its essence, (and) is never able to think its own essence.[iii]

Or, as we interpret it, humanity is cut off from its origin and authentic purpose as Sapiens, and is made unable to think purposively beyond the great distractions of God, or Economics and/or Nationalism or the Family. The metaphysical charges into historical progress, evolving into economic progress, and now the Measure of Man is based on how much money one has managed to obtain and what image of oneself one has been able to fashion because of that money. For Heidegger, Nietzsche pronouncement was an affirmation that we are “straying through an infinite nothing,”[iv] cut off from our essence. There is no longer anything left to cling on to and orient ourselves with.[v] “Nihilism, the most uncanny of all guests, is standing at the door.”[vi]

Within this environment technology has become an adornment to human life. It has not effectively liberated humanity from any drudgery as much as it has given us a reason to endure the drudgery. We work to acquire more knick-knacks, which in turn seduce us and draw us away from any meaningful or fulfilling reasons for living, and pulls us apart from the authenticity of our human condition. Our authenticity as Sapiens.

[i] Martin Heidegger, THE QUESTION CONCERNING TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER ESSAYS, Garland, New York & London, 1977, p.61

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid

[v] Ibid

[vi] Ibid, p.62

Descartes’ Perfect Being

Descartes

Descartes argued that a perfect being cannot be created out of something less perfect. Common sense immediately refutes this: we merely have to imagine any great artist and consider his or her development. Let’s take Beethoven as an example, and imagine his first lesson before the piano. A first lesson that was the first spark of a process that eventually produced the 9th Symphony.

What we take for God can also be created out of something much baser, even something as flawed as humanity.

Certain it is that Beethoven could never have arrived at our Beethoven without being prepared to work at it. Perfection doesn’t come about by accident. Likewise, for humanity to achieve its great destiny and become the God it alone can imagine, then it must get to work.

POLITICS, GOD OR ART?

God politics or art

Politics is dying and God is making a comeback. Could it be that the religions will save capitalism? As the impossibility of the consumer society becomes clearer and clearer, doesn’t it make more sense to reach out toward a purposeful impossibility rather than a nihilistic one? Or perhaps there is a more positive, creative alternative to both politics and God. Could the saviour of humanity be something like Art?

*    *    *

Humanity has been tormented by eternity ever since it was able to conceive it. The great and magnificent eternal fantasy versus our own petty ephemeral natures. Eternity is the fundamental reason for all religions and all art. We can believe that God is dead or never existed, and we can tell ourselves that Picasso is shit and Da Vinci overrated, but we cannot escape the eternal void that envelopes our own existence.

Religion and art, and hence technology, politics and the economy, all come from the same anxiety: they are ways of dealing with ephemerality. Nevertheless, each of them has a completely different way of operating, with completely different aims. Religion is constantly grasping after another reality – one which is eternal. Within the eternal paradise of the religious lies everything that is good, having filtered out the evil components of this reality. Art, on the other hand, is a yearning to create the eternal in this world. It is an anxious struggle to uncover and preserve: a building process; a concept of eternity as a becoming rather than an enveloping reality that we eventually move into when we die. Religions try to remain eternal themselves – although this has been proven to be impractical and so it has adopted a politic of becoming.

Politics has a circular moving dynamic, dependent on separation and ideological dialectics to keep itself alive and seemingly evolving. But the circular implies a process of devolution as well as evolution. The economy is a layering distraction, placing us firmly in the present with a yearning towards the void of the immediate future.

Our capitalist economy, however, is completely devoid of the eternal. In fact, it could be considered an anti-eternity, which is why some have associated it with the devil’s work. It uses money to flow through reality in a way that makes it seem the blood of reality. Its great force of exchange and communication works in a meshing, netting way over our lives, entrapping us all.

But despite this entrapment, we cannot escape the eternity that envelops everything. It haunts us with its enormity, with an idea of tremendous possibility and great purpose – that the reason and purpose that fades away in the ephemeral world has to exist out there in the infinite void. The great empty void – if only we could fill it. In the beyond is the purpose that the economic mesh lacks. But we are likewise trapped by the ephemerality of our own reality. The spiritual and religious are impossibilities that can only be embraced via faith. To make the eternal seem practical we need another force, another way of stepping over – the practical results of our intellectual and spiritual creativity that we call art.

Binary Metaphysics and the World Will

Beautiful-images-of-the-universe-astrophyiscs-and-cosmology-31264132-1280-6881

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