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Hegel as Sorcerer: The "Science" of Second Realities and the "Death" of God
Self | November 10, 2008 | Jean F. Drew

Posted on 11/10/2008 11:37:17 AM PST by betty boop

Hegel as Sorcerer:
The “Science” of Second Realities and the “Death” of God


by Jean F. Drew




A friend asked for an explanation of a remark I recently made on a public forum that the great German philosospher, Hegel, was a “sorcerer.” I’m glad for this opportunity to respond. For the spirit of Hegel is alive and well today in the construction of any Second Reality, of which I regard the recent Obama Campaign to have been a splendid example.


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was a world-class philosopher — a master of classical philosophy, and a master system-builder. He is usually associated with the period of German Idealism in the decades following Immanuel Kant. The most systematic of the post-Kantian idealists, Hegel attempted to elaborate a comprehensive systematic ontology, or “science of being,” from a “logical” or “rational” starting point. He is perhaps most well-known for his teleological, “goal-directed,” even eschatological, account of human history — a model which was later appropriated by his notable follower Karl Marx, who developed Hegel’s “dialectical science” into his own theory of historical development (“dialectical materialism”), which by “historical necessity” culminates in communism.


Sorcery, or magic, is a conceptual system that asserts the human ability to control the natural world (including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena) through mystical, paranormal, or supernatural means — through, for example, magic words, or an ability to present compelling appearances of fictitious reality.


A Second Reality is such an ersatz reality. The term was coined by Robert Musil to denote a fictitious world imagined to be true by the person creating it, who will then use his construction to mask and thereby “eclipse” genuine, or First Reality.


In 1807, Hegel published his grimoirei.e., a magician’s book of spells and incantations — the Phänomenologie, which takes as its main goal the transformation of philosophy, the “love of knowledge,” into the final, complete possession of “real knowledge,” by means of his system of “absolute science.” Of his accomplishment the great German-American philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901–1985) would write, “No modern propaganda minister could have devised a more harmless-sounding, persuasively progressivist phrase as a screen for the enormity transacted behind it.”


For Hegel, “‘Absolute knowledge’ was to be the form ‘in which the pure consciousness of the infinite is possible without the determinateness of an individual, independent life.’” In short, the Phänomenologie “admits no reality but consciousness…. [Yet] since consciousness must be somebody’s consciousness of something, and neither God nor man is admitted as somebody or something, the consciousness must be consciousness of itself. Its absolute reality is, therefore, properly identified as ‘the identity of identity and nonidentity.’ The substance becomes the subject, and the subject the substance, in the process of a consciousness that is immanent to itself…. The reader would justly ask what a consciousness that is nobody’s consciousness could possibly be?”[1]


And with that question, noetically astute observers realize we must be dealing with a Second Reality: It appears that “Hegel the sorcerer” wants to eclipse our image of reality by a counterimage conjured up to furnish a plausible basis for the action he calls for.


As Vöegelin notes, “in order to be effective as a magic opus,” Hegel’s system of absolute science had to satisfy two conditions:


(1)  The operation in Second Reality has to look as if it were an operation in First Reality.

(2)  The operation in Second Reality has to escape critical control and judgment by the criteria of First Reality. (I have noticed that President-Elect Obama excels in conducting both types of operations.)[2]


So, what is First Reality? In effect, it is the classical Greek (and Judeo-Christian) description of the context in which human existence is actually experienced and lived. That is to say, the human condition is specified by man’s participation in a Great Hierarchy of Being that extends beyond, encompasses, and shapes his existence as a man.


Being is a philosophical term referring to the fundamental structure or order of the world. Vöegelin, following the classical Greeks, defines being as “not an object, but a context of order in which are placed all experienced complexes of reality….” Thus the Great Hierarchy of Being consists of four partners: God, Man, World, and Society. The individual man, as “part” of this “whole,” finds his own humanity in his participatory experiences and relations with the other partners of the hierarchy, and most especially in his relation to God.


Strangely, given his “revolt” against God and man and the world, Hegel was a man who not only insisted on his Christian orthodoxy up to his dying day; but as already mentioned, he was a master of classical Greek philosophy. So clearly he was aware of First Reality in the above sense. His “magical opus” is motivated fundamentally by a desire to overturn and supplant it with a plausible Second Reality of his own imaginative construction.


The first “partner” of the Great Hierarchy that had to go was God. This was necessary in order to make room for Hegel as the “new Christ” who would usher in the “third religion” of his System of Absolute Science, so to be the Messiah, the New Christ, of the new age a-borning. The point here is that with God “gone,” man himself becomes a pure abstraction and, as such, an ideologically manipulatable entity and nothing more.


As far as I know, it was Voegelin who first drew attention to the element of sorcery in Hegel’s work — even though the language Hegel had been using from the first was the language of the “magic word” and the “magic force” (Zauberworte and Zauberkraft respectively). Vöegelin indeed identified the Phänomenologie as a sorcerer’s grimoire. My sense is if Vöegelin was joking here, he was only half-joking: Something very serious is going on. So we need first of all to understand what Hegel intended by evoking such language. As for instance, here:


“Every single man is but a blind link in the chain of absolute necessity by which the world builds itself forth. The single man can elevate himself to dominance over an appreciable length of this chain only if he knows the direction in which the great necessity [i.e., the Geist of history] wants to move and if he learns from this knowledge to pronounce the magic words (die Zauberworte) that will evoke its shape (Gestalt).”[3]


We need to define our terms here: Geist can be translated from the German as either “mind” or “spirit”; but the latter, allowing for a more cultural sense, as in the phrase “spirit of the age” (“Zeitgeist”), seems a more suitable rendering for Hegel’s use of the term. Gestalt (plural: Gestalten) means the present historical configuration of events as the Geist inexorably moves or evolves in time towards the fulfillment of its final  “absolute necessity,” at which point — in its final Gestalt, which in Hegel’s system is identified with the consciousness of Hegel expressing as the complete identity of absolute Self and absolute Idea — world history ends; and a “new age” of Man, “standing alone,” begins. Because man is now “alone,” Hegel teaches that now he has arrived at the point in history where he can grant “grace to himself,” to “save himself,” to perfect the human condition, without the salvific Grace of God.


And Hegel’s enormously influential student Karl Marx (1818–1883) took the lesson to heart:


“Philosophy makes no secret of it. The confession of Prometheus, ‘In a word, I hate all the gods,’ is its own confession, its own verdict against all gods heavenly and earthly who do not acknowledge human self-consciousness as the supreme deity. There shall be none beside it.”[4]


“A being regards itself as independent only when it stands in its own feet; and it stands on its feet only when it owes its existence to itself alone. A man who lives by the grace of another [including God] considers himself a dependent being. But I live by the grace of another completely if I owe him not only the maintenance of my life but also its creation: if he is the source of my life; and my life necessarily has such a cause outside itself if it is not my own creation.”[5]


And so the “outside cause” — God — must “die” in order for man to be “liberated” for self-sanctification and self-salvation.


In light of such expectations, first of all, we need to remember that a “magic word” in itself does not evoke an actual creative act. Rather, it is the invocation of appearances, of illusions. “Magic words” do not have the power actually to change the structure of being, of reality; but only the way the sorcerer wants us to see it. If he is successful, then we are grievously misled.


Hegel’s famous epigone Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) had a field day with Hegel’s insights. He not only declared God “dead,” but claimed that “we” had “murdered” Him. Mankind, on this view, has finally gained the existential status not only to be in a position to “kill God,” but also to grant itself “grace” and “salvation” via human reason alone. Of course, these are the maunderings of a person who sadly died in an insane asylum. Nonetheless, Nietzsche is splendidly honored by the “progressives” among us to this day….


It’s interesting to note that many students of the Phänomenologie consistently over time have reported that to be drawn into the “magic circle” of this enterprise is to enter into a perfectly logically self-consistent construction — so long as one does not use the criteria of First Reality to judge it. But finally, all criticism by appeal to reality itself, i.e., as actually experienced by human beings in contrast with being merely cogitated or thought, is foreclosed by Hegel’s rule that his construction need justify itself through nothing but “the presentation of the system itself.” Thus we have the case of the magically disappearing world.


And so not only God is booted out of Hegel’s system; but also any sense of “objective reality.” The “world” is drawn into the sorcerer’s consciousness as conceptualizations only, as Gestalten, “shapes.” Once the sorcerer possesses the historical “shapes” in his consciousness, he has no further need of “the world,” of evidence from the side of actual experience of the world. Thus he intends to “eclipse” such experience by the force of reason alone, dispensing with human existential experience altogether through the power of “magical” imagination — which of course altogether destroys any avenue of critical judgment from the side of First Reality, which happily satisfies criterion (2) above.


Second of all, we need to appreciate the worldview implicit in Hegel’s remarks. Voegelin thinks the above-quoted passage — i.e., “Every single man is but a blind link in the chain of absolute necessity….” — reveals Hegel’s intense resentment of the human condition as well as its cause. Further, it is a key passage for understanding the diremption — meaning the tearing apart, or violent separation from all former historical notions of the human condition so characteristic of modern existence — at the foundation of Hegel’s enterprise:


“Man has become a nothing; he has no reality of his own; he is a blind particle in a process of the world which has the monopoly of real reality and real meaning. [Note it is not the world that has meaning; only its process has meaning.] In order to raise himself from nothing to something, the blind particle must become a seeing particle. But even if the particle has gained sight, it sees nothing but the direction in which the process is moving…. And yet, to Hegel something important has been gained: the nothing that has raised itself to a something has become, if not a man, at least a sorcerer who can evoke, if not the reality of history, at least its shape. I almost hesitate to continue — the spectacle of a nihilist stripping himself to the nude is embarrassing. For Hegel betrays in so many words that being a man is not enough for him; and as he cannot be the divine Lord of history himself, he is going to achieve Herrschaft [i.e., dominion, lordship, mastery, rule, reign] as the sorcerer who will conjure up an image of history — a shape, a ghost — that is meant to eclipse the history of God’s making. The imaginative project of history falls in its place in the pattern of modern existence as the conjurer’s instrument of power”….


Since the conjurer’s instrument of power is in this case to be obtained by the “perfection” of philosophy into a system of absolute knowledge, we need to define what philosophy is. The etymology of the word tells you the meaning of philosophy is “love of wisdom”: In the original Greek, philo refers to “love” or “lover”; sophia to “wisdom.”


Hegel’s main project, as it turns out, was to transform philosophy, the love of wisdom, into an instrument of Absolute Science, whereby “wisdom,” and all knowledge, are found to consist, not in the loving search or quest for divine truth, the complete possession of which is denied to mortal men in this lifetime; but in the  “final possession” of absolute truth once and for all — the “absolute science” that can make men “immortal” in this world. In short, Hegel would like to transform philosophy into an exact science.


But if this were possible, then philosophy would instantly cease to be philosophy.


For although the insights of philosophy can advance, it cannot advance beyond its structure as “love of wisdom.” In the great tradition of the classical Greeks, eminently Plato and Aristotle (which Hegel had thoroughly mastered), philosophy denotes the loving tension of man “toward the divine ground of his existence. God alone has sophia, ‘real knowledge’; man finds the truth about God and the world, as well as of his own existence, by becoming philosophos, the lover of God and his wisdom. The philosopher’s eroticism implies the humanity of man and the divinity of God as the poles of his existential tension. The practice of philosophy in the Socratic–Platonic sense is the equivalent of the Christian sanctification of man; it is the growth of the image of God in man. Hegel’s harmless-sounding phrase [ i.e., philosophy must at last “give up its name of a love of wisdom and become real knowledge”] thus covers the program of abolishing the humanity of man; the sophia of God can be brought into the orbit of man only by transforming man into God. The Ziel [goal] of the Phänomenologie is the creation of the man-god….” — commencing with Hegel’s own self-deification as the redeemer of mankind now that the history of mankind, and notably his spiritual history, has been abolished by Hegel’s system of absolute science.[6]


In this, Hegel reveals his profound alienation from the idea of an established order of the universe. Indeed, he outright rejects any idea of order that has an origin other than in human consciousness, which he hypostasizes as “reason” or at least a facsimile thereof that the sorcerer can put over on his audience.


Voegelin provides some helpful insights into the consciousness of the sorcerer and his project:


“…Hegel experiences his state of alienation as an acute loss of reality, and even as death. But he cannot, or will not, initiate the movement of return; the epistrophe, the periagoge, is impossible. The despair or lostness, then, turns into the mood of revolt. Hegel closes his existence in on himself; he develops a false self; and lets his false self engage in an act of self-salvation that is meant to substitute for the periagoge of which his true self proves incapable. The alienation which, as long as it remains a state of lostness in open existence, can be healed through the return [to God], now hardens into the acheronta movebo of the sorcerer who, through magic operations, forces salvation from the non-reality of his lostness. Since, however, nonreality has no power of salvation, and Hegel’s true self knows this quite well, the false self must take the next step and, by ‘the energy of thinking,’ transform the reality of God into the dialectics of his consciousness: the divine power accrues to the Subjeckt that is engaged in self-salvation through reaching the state of reflective self-consciousness. If the soul cannot return to God, God must be alienated from himself and drawn into the human state of alienation. And finally, since none of these operations in Second Reality would change anything in the surrounding First Reality, but result only in the isolation of the sorcerer from the rest of society, the whole world must be drawn into the imaginary Second Reality. The sorcerer becomes the savior of the ‘age’ by imposing his System of Science as the new revelation on mankind at large. All mankind must join the sorcerer in the hell of his damnation.”[7]


In classical Greek philosophy, and especially in Plato, the epistrophe or periagoge in the above passage refers to the “turning around” to God (the transcendent Beyond of the cosmos) in open existence, in loving response to His call. The terms are analogous to the Christian “born again” experience. The term acheronta movebo means “If I cannot bend the Higher Powers, I will move the Infernal Regions.” It is the satanic declaration of the sorcerer who chooses to close all of reality in on himself, the Subjekt. Given the classical experience, this can only be a system of anti-philosophy.


In [Plato’s] Republic, the Beyond is imagined as the ultimate creative ground, the Agathon, from whom all being things receive their existence, their form, and their truth; and since by its presence it is the origin of reality and the sunlike luminosity of its structure, the Agathon-Beyond is something more beautiful and higher in rank of dignity and power that the reality that we symbolize by such terms as being, existence, essence, form, intelligibility, and knowledge. In the myth of the Phaedrus, then, the Beyond is the truly immortal divinity from whose presence in contemplative action the Olympian gods derive their divine and men their human immortality. In the puppet myth of the Laws, finally, ‘the god’ becomes the divine force that pulls the golden cord of the Nous that is meant to move man toward the immortalizing, noetic order of his existence. In this last image of the noetic “pull” (helkein) Plato comes so close to the helkein of the Gospel of John (6:44) that it is difficult to discern the difference.[8]


It appears that Hegel’s “revolt” is above all finally a revolt against, a rejection of the human condition, of the fact that a human being is never consulted about the terms of his coming into the world, nor of his departure from it. It is the essence of the human condition that a man is neither the origin nor the “end” of himself — “end” in the sense of telos, meaning purpose, or goal. Meanwhile, in between birth and death, there is a litany of evils to which mortal human nature is subject. “The life of man is really burdened,” as Voegelin put it, “with the well-known miseries enumerated by Hesoid. We remember his list of hunger, hard work, disease, early death, and the fear of the injustices to be suffered by the weaker man at the hands of the more powerful — not to mention the problem of Pandora.”[9]


Notwithstanding, Voegelin reminds us that “as long as our existence is undeformed by phantasies, these miseries are not experienced as senseless. We understand them as the lot of man, mysterious it is true, but as the lot he has to cope with in the organization and conduct of his life, in the fight for survival, the protection of his dependents, and the resistance to injustice, and in his spiritual and intellectual response to the mystery of existence.”[10]


Now the “lot of man” as just given is a description of the condicio humana, the human condition. It is the very basis for the idea of a universal, common humanity, of the brotherhood of mankind. It is my conjecture that it is possible for a person to take great umbrage at this condicio humana, to deplore and reject it, to see it as a grievous insult to one’s own assumed personal autonomy; and so to take flight in an alternative reality that can be structured more according to one’s own wishes, tastes, and desires. And thus, a Second Reality is born.


As for me, all things considered, I’ll take First Reality, the Great Hierarchy of Being — God–Man–World–Society — any day, any time. I believe that human beings were put in this world to be creative actors, even if they never get to design the stage on which the acting is being done, nor to control the writing of the script by which the play unfolds. And meanwhile they not only act, but suffer the actions of other actors or forces — personal, natural, social — from outside themselves.


Yet to recognize all this is to recognize the very basis of one’s own existential humanity. And to realize that the lot of any other man is no different. To be part and participant of this divinely constituted, dynamic “sub-whole” of a yet greater Whole is a glorious privilege. To go hole up in a Second Reality, to me, would be to lose one’s reason and probably one’s soul as well….


Indeed, that appears to be the conclusion reached by Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), the great French poet, a noetically and spiritually sensitive person who understood himself to be living in an age of great noetic and spiritual disorder:


“A man who does not accept the conditions of life, sells his soul.”


And he penned these lines that make it crystal-clear to whom our soul is to be sold:


Sur l’oreiller du mal c’est Satan Trismégiste

Qui berce longuement notre esprit enchanté,

Et le riche metal de notre volonté

Est tout vaporiseé par ce savant chimiste


C'est le Diable qui tient les fils qui nous remuent.[11]



[“On the pillow of evil is Satan Trismegistus

Who long lulls our minds delighted,

And the rich metal of our will

Everything is vaporized by the scientist chemist.


“It is the devil who holds the son who we move.”]




[1] Eric Vöegelin, “On Hegel: A Study in Sorcery,” Collected Works Vol. 12, 1990.

[2] Ibid.

[3] G. W. F. Hegel, MS, Fortsetzung des “Systems der Sittlichkeit,” c. 1804–06.

[4] Karl Marx, Doctoral Dissertation, 1840–41 (quoting a passage from Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound).

[5] Karl Marx, “National Ökonomie und Philosophy,” Der Historische Materialismus: Die Früschriften.

[6] Eric Vöegelin, “On Hegel,” op. cit.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Eric Vöegelin, “Wisdom and the Magic of the Extreme,” Collected Works, Vol. 12, 1990.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Charles Baudelaire, “Au lecteur,” introducing the Fleurs du Mal, 1857.

©2008 Jean F. Drew

TOPICS: History; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: atheism; hegel; obama; secondrealities
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To: PasorBob; betty boop
If de Broglie is right and everything is a wave, then wave mechanics controls everything.

One should always watch a movie from the beginning.

In the absence of space, things cannot exist.

In the absence of time, events cannot occur.

Space/time - not wave mechanics - is at the root of the physical realm. The dynamics of space/time gives rise to wave mechanics.

Or to put it another way, space and time do not pre-exist, they are created as the universe expands.

If you believe that wave mechanics is at the root, then you must also have some explanation for the origin of inertia, space and time - and of course, physical causality.

Do you accept natural selection on any level?

LOLOL! This strikes me as humorous because it is tantamount to asking whether I accept that accidents (or unintended consequences) happen.

The scene of the Dodo birds in the animated film "Ice Age" comes to mind. It was hilarious, the point of the scene being that they were too stupid to survive.

141 posted on 11/17/2008 8:56:43 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop
Thank you oh so very much for your encouragements, dearest sister in Christ - and thank you for your outstanding essays and essay-posts!

Truly, as you suggest, physical causality is a presupposition of the scientific method. Theories which render time as a plane or volume are particularly troubling to many.

Penrose was especially interested in the issue raised by quantum entanglement, where the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to one another regardless of the extent to which they may be spatially separated. He speculated about what would happen if both of two entangled photons were simultaneously measured, e.g. one on the moon, one on earth.

Truly, we are merely observers "in" space/time - we cannot stand outside of it and see "all that there is" all at once. But God can and He does.

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: - Isaiah 46:10

To God be the glory!

142 posted on 11/17/2008 9:19:25 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop; Alamo-Girl; PasorBob
I get some encouragement for such speculations from Plato. For he it was who first noticed that man lives “at the intersection of time and timelessness” (as T. S. Eliot so eloquently put it) of that which ever changes, and that which never does.

Now of course I must contend that this was exactly where Plato was wrong.

This is the problem with all apostate philosophies be it Platonism, Kantianism, etc.

Whether it be the Form, the Ideal, Freedom, or even timelessness they are all set above both God and man.

The apostate philosophy de jour will start out with a rationalist process to discover the Ideal and after a time when the immanent approach is unable to reach it the next generation then turns to the irrationalist approach of mystical discovery. The process is always the same.

But we already know the intersection of time and timelessness and his name is Jesus Christ.

143 posted on 11/17/2008 10:16:59 PM PST by the_conscience
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To: Alamo-Girl
Or to put it another way, space and time do not pre-exist, they are created as the universe expands.

If you say so. Is the universe expanding? Does time and space depend on an expanding universe? I don't know.

What is is. If we are waves, and selection events like asteroids or gamma ray bursts are waves too, then evolution reduces to destructive or constructive interference between waveforms. Reality becomes the inevitable consequence of an initial asymetry in the birth or rebirth of the universe. We are then simply the result of anti-entropic local forces in a universal sea of entropy.

144 posted on 11/18/2008 12:53:21 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: betty boop
I hope you won’t mind if I weigh in with my two cents worth here, but it seems to me that Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is the fundamental presupposition of science, and needfully so because science’s entire methodology is based on the law of cause and effect.

To keep this on the "Second Reality" plane, however, we often see cases where "science" decides that cause and effect are related, to the point where other hypotheses stating different causes for the same effect are not tolerated.

We see this, for example, in the Global Warming debate; or in in discussions about whether or not Intelligent Design is (or can be) a "scientific" hypothesis; or about what constitutes "conditions for life to exist."

Of course, "science" in this context is primarily identical with "scientists" and what they believe about reality. The scientific method does, of course, provide a wide array of tools against which to test that reality -- but tools can always be misused. One sees a tendency among scientists to latch on to "single cause" theories.

145 posted on 11/18/2008 2:03:10 PM PST by r9etb
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To: PasorBob; betty boop
Is the universe expanding?

Yes, the universe is expanding.

Does time and space depend on an expanding universe?

The universe isn't expanding "into" anything. Space/time is created as the universe expands. Space/time does not pre-exist.

Cosmic microwave background radiation measurements since the 1960's consistently agree that the universe is expanding - which also means there was a beginning of real space and real time.

Jastrow pointed to that observation as the most theological statement ever to come out of modern science. The first phrase of Scripture is "In the beginning, God created ..."

In the absence of space, things cannot exist.

In the absence of time, events cannot occur.

Without space/time there is no physical causation. And without space/time there are no quantum fields, waves, physical laws, constants etc.

Reality becomes the inevitable consequence of an initial asymetry in the birth or rebirth of the universe.

Are you arguing for strong determinism, i.e. predestination?

146 posted on 11/18/2008 10:08:18 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
You birds are a faithful lot. I envy you. I accept anything as possible except the self-contradictory.

You accept the existence of the infinite and for causation outside of time and space in terms of your religion but deny them to science.

Either they are possible or they or not.

If you like Tegmark, then you must admit to transformations. Many worlds transforms into wave function collapse (in terms of perception). Superposition transforms into classical results (again in terms of perception). And yet you believe that the universe is “expanding” even though the way you seem to use the term is meaningless. You say that in the absence of space things cannot exist and yet you base your intellectual life on their existence. You say that in the absence of time, events cannot occur. And yet your world-view depends on the opposite.

Dear grasshopper, snatch the pebble from my hand :)

147 posted on 11/19/2008 7:27:07 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: PasorBob; betty boop
To the contrary, God is not "in" time or space. Time and space are not properties of God.

Neither therefore can the term "physical causation" or any other physical terms, e.g. physical laws, operate as restrictions on God.

God is the only possible candidate for the uncaused cause (first cause) of causation.

All physical cosmologies rely on space/time for physical causation (e.g. multi-verse, multi-world, cyclic, ekpyrotic, imaginary time.) They cannot have an infinite past (plentitude argument, everything that can happen did) because there was a beginning of real space and real time. All they do is move the goal post to prior space/time which also had a beginning, i.e. a finite chain of prior physical causation.

Truly, the only closed cosmology known to me is Max Tegmark's Level IV Parallel universe which is closed precisely because it is radical Platonism. In his view, the perceptible physical world (the frog view) is a manifestation of the real mathematical structures which actually exist outside of space and time.

“A mathematical structure is an abstract, immutable entity existing outside of space and time. If history were a movie, the structure would correspond not to a single frame of it but to the entire videotape. Consider, for example, a world made up of pointlike particles moving around in three-dimensional space. In four-dimensional spacetime — the bird perspective — these particle trajectories resemble a tangle of spaghetti. If the frog sees a particle moving with constant velocity, the bird sees a straight strand of uncooked spaghetti. If the frog sees a pair of orbiting particles, the bird sees two spaghetti strands intertwined like a double helix. To the frog, the world is described by Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation. To the bird, it is described by the geometry of the pasta — a mathematical structure. The frog itself is merely a thick bundle of pasta, whose highly complex intertwining corresponds to a cluster of particles that store and process information. Our universe is far more complicated than this example, and scientists do not yet know to what, if any, mathematical structure it corresponds.

“The Platonic paradigm raises the question of why the universe is the way it is. To an Aristotelian, this is a meaningless question: The universe just is. But a Platonist cannot help but wonder why it could not have been different. If the universe is inherently mathematical, then why was only one of the many mathematical structures singled out to describe a universe? A fundamental asymmetry appears to be built into the very heart of reality.”

Tegmark, Max, “Parallel Universes,” Scientific American, May, 2003

His cosmology is closed precisely because mathematical structures - Platonic forms - are not "in" space or time.

We began with a scientific image of the world that was held by many in opposition to a religious view built upon unverifiable beliefs and intuitions about the ultimate nature of things. But we have found that at the roots of the scientific image of the world lies a mathematical foundation that is itself ultimately religious. All our surest statements about the nature of the world are mathematical statements, yet we do not know what mathematics "is" ... and so we find that we have adapted a religion strikingly similar to many traditional faiths. Change "mathematics" to "God" and little else might seem to change. The problem of human contact with some spiritual realm, of timelessness, of our inability to capture all with language and symbol -- all have their counterparts in the quest for the nature of Platonic mathematics.

Barrow, Pi in the Sky, pg. 296-297

And even under Tegmark's model, there must be an uncaused cause of the mathematical structures themselves.

But the frog cannot discern this because he relies first on his sensory perception for knowledge. He is a natural man. To him, the particle is in an orbit, the wave is continuous. He cannot perceive by sensory perception alone the beginning and end of it.

The bird whose perspective is Platonist - the "beyond" - discerns this. Sensory perception is not his most certain source of knowledge. Reasoning to the Platonist would trump sensory perception.

More importantly, the Christian discerns the "beyond" directly, Spiritually - even if he does not have the terms of mathematics, physics and philosophy to describe it to others.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. – I Corinthians 2:11-14

For this reason, the Freeper survey on how we know what we know and how certain we are that we know it was quite helpful. Oftentimes, the correspondents are not speaking the same language.

To God be the glory!

148 posted on 11/19/2008 9:29:52 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop; the_conscience; Alamo-Girl; marron; hosepipe; Mad Dawg; xzins; YHAOS; metmom

Prior to the coming of Jesus Christ,the manner in which men suffered can be catagorized by two broad categories: Stoicism and Dionysionism. Although the ancients knew nothing of free will, Stoics nevertheless exercised it, for their way of dealing with suffering might be summed up as, “Not thinking about it.” The reverse is true for the Dionysions. In their way of suffering, strong, dark impulses were ascribed to Dionysius. If they did not ‘give into’ those impulses, it was thought that they would go insane. Thus for the Stoics, whose suffering must surely have been greatly increased by the Dionysions, salvation from suffering came by ‘not thinking about it,’ while salvation for the Dionysions came by ‘giving into’ their base impulses.

In that Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Gluttony, Hate, and Envy are the fuel driving all base impulses, it becomes understandable why Nimrod—a Dionysion—declared himself ‘2 parts god, 1 part man” and tyrannized the people. Notice that by ‘giving into’ his strong impulses, Nimrod perforce, escaped into a ‘second reality,’ or a fantasy realm. In short, Nimrod’s impulses drove him to seek salvation by escaping reality. In effect, Nimrod was playing a ‘pretend game’ in which everyone else was forced into playing in order that his fantasy seem real. Salvation by escape from reality (very simply defined as God, moral conscience,guilt, and free will) is the ultimate cause of tyranny, mind-control, brainwashing, hate crime laws, speech codes, etc.

Dostoevsky tells us that we need to understand these two natures if we are to correctly diagnose the utopian irreligions-—Marxist Communism, Nat’l Socialism, Progressive Liberalism-—and their derivatives.

It is primarily the Dionysions, or the ‘terrible-willed’ as Dostoevsky calls them, who are the ones who freely ‘close their souls’ to God. For it is they who seek ‘salvation’ by usurping the throne of God. From Nimrod to Hegel, Comte, Marx, and Nietzsche, all were ‘terrible-willed’ men who sought salvation by escaping reality, empowering their will-to-power with hate, and usurping the power of the great I AM.

149 posted on 11/19/2008 10:05:47 AM PST by spirited irish
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To: spirited irish
Thank you so much for sharing your insights, dear spirited irish!
150 posted on 11/19/2008 10:14:19 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
To the contrary, God is not "in" time or space. Time and space are not properties of God. Neither therefore can the term "physical causation" or any other physical terms, e.g. physical laws, operate as restrictions on God.

Just because aspects of God are outside of time and space doesn't mean that others are not in time and space. Certainly the Son and the Holy Ghost have physical and temporal qualities, but I digress. I agree that your concept of God is eternal and uncaused and outside of time and space. This is a theological statement and a belief based on faith. It cannot therefore be argued.

Philosophically and scientifically, however, it is encumbent upon you to show why one class of object, let's call it the "supernatural" can exist outside of space-time and cause events inside of space-time, but other classes of objects may not.

Tegmark and Plato may be right or they may be wrong about mathematical constructs existing outside of space-time. Clearly this is another form of the koan: "tree falling in forest with no one to hear".

It is also the core of my cosmology. Interestingly, in "Timothy" you birdies mention Dawkins repeatedly, but I have yet to see references to the memes that he invented. (I'm only half way through (I read Gatsby in 2 hours which says something about Timothy)).

There is no doubt thgat Bethoven's fifth exists in space-time. It was created in space-time by a creature of space-time. And yet it doesn't exist anymore than the Pythagorean theorem absent some medium. It moved from a mind to written music to another mind to a wax disc to vinyl to tape to cd and it will exist as long as some form of memory exists.

If you listen carefully, you will learn that you too are just a signal in the fabric of space-time. All that exists is space-time and unique peices of information contained in discrete wave packets of space-time. That includes you and me and God and Satan and ducks and pencils and all other nouns and pronouns. I forget the word used for a discrete wave packet that behaves like a wave. It was discovered in Edinburgh in the 19th century near Heriot Watt University.

Dawkins didn't get it with his memes. He thought they were physical structures in brains, but they are your theoretical information outside (but really inside) of space-time.

151 posted on 11/19/2008 11:17:25 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: PasorBob

John Scott Russell and the solitary wave
Over one hundred and fifty years ago, while conducting experiments to determine the most efficient design for canal boats, a young Scottish engineer named John Scott Russell (1808-1882) made a remarkable scientific discovery. As he described it in his “Report on Waves”: (Report of the fourteenth meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, York, September 1844 (London 1845), pp 311-390, Plates XLVII-LVII).

``I was observing the motion of a boat which was rapidly drawn along a narrow channel by a pair of horses, when the boat suddenly stopped - not so the mass of water in the channel which it had put in motion; it accumulated round the prow of the vessel in a state of violent agitation, then suddenly leaving it behind, rolled forward with great velocity, assuming the form of a large solitary elevation, a rounded, smooth and well-defined heap of water, which continued its course along the channel apparently without change of form or diminution of speed. I followed it on horseback, and overtook it still rolling on at a rate of some eight or nine miles an hour, preserving its original figure some thirty feet long and a foot to a foot and a half in height. Its height gradually diminished, and after a chase of one or two miles I lost it in the windings of the channel. Such, in the month of August 1834, was my first chance interview with that singular and beautiful phenomenon which I have called the Wave of Translation’’.
(Cet passage en francais)
This event took place on the Union Canal at Hermiston, very close to the Riccarton campus of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
For a more detailed and technical account of the solitary wave, see for example R K Bullough, “The Wave” “par excellence”, the solitary, progressive great wave of equilibrium of the fluid - an early history of the solitary wave, in Solitons, ed. M Lakshmanan, Springer Series in Nonlinear Dynamics, 1988, 150-281

152 posted on 11/19/2008 11:24:44 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: Alamo-Girl
And even under Tegmark's model, there must be an uncaused cause of the mathematical structures themselves. No. Tegmark pretty much says they ARE God.
153 posted on 11/19/2008 11:33:53 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: betty boop

Did you know that to the Pythagoreans, soul was equivalent to breath?

This makes sense because they were trying to determine the difference between what it meant to be alive or dead. Clearly dead people didn’t breath. More interesting is the story that they believed that bean plants were repositories for the soul. That’s why they forbade eating beans.

Now why would they draw these conclusions?

154 posted on 11/19/2008 11:43:17 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: weston
Because God is outside of time, He sees all of time at once. This is why God can foreknow and yet be moved to action by my prayers. It is why I can make bad choices and yet in the future God can make these choices work together for my good. It is why freewill and predestination can both be true. All time is equal to God.

Same path of thought for me too. We can only see through a glass darkly . . . but I think you are right.

155 posted on 11/19/2008 7:31:03 PM PST by Woebama
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To: betty boop
Thanks, betty, for remembering me. I value and appreciate everyone’s contribution to this fascinating discussion, but I am particularly thankful for your initiative in raising this subject.

It’s not difficult to believe Marx’s affinity for Hegel, given his (Hegel’s) collectivist understanding of freedom and of Man (the individual). To propose that for Man to be left alone to make his own choices without interference by others is not to be free, but that Man is only free if his duty and his self-interest coincide, leaves me bereft of any defining word save one; that being ‘Orwellian’ (freedom is slavery).

But I wonder how much does Obama contemplate the mind-cracking dialectics of Marx and Hegel (William Ayers notwithstanding), or does he simply view their meanderings as a vehicle to exercise control of all our lives, our energies, and our wealth. I rather think the latter, but I’m open to persuasion.

156 posted on 11/19/2008 10:06:51 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: PasorBob; betty boop
I'm glad to hear you are about halfway through "Timothy!"

If you listen carefully, you will learn that you too are just a signal in the fabric of space-time. All that exists is space-time and unique peices of information contained in discrete wave packets of space-time.

When you get into the "What is Life?" section around page 91, you may find yourself on familiar ground (information theory and molecular biology.)

Even so, since you self-identify as a frog and define reality as finite or more specifically, that which is contained within the boundaries of space/time (which is finite) - and betty boop and I self-identify as birds, there is no way we can "make" you see what we see.

The frog view is that mathematical structures exist "in" space/time. The mathematician invents the geometry like the composer invents the music, etc.

The bird view is that mathematical structures confirm Platonic forms by the mere presence of variables in the equations. For instance, pi is the same regardless of the size of the circle or its location anywhere in space/time. The mathematician doesn't invent the geometry, he discovers it.

In my view, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics is like God's copyright notice on the cosmos.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. - Psalms 19:1-3

Indeed, wave phenomena are part of that creative speech. Interestingly, the sound or pressure waves at the moment photons decoupled from electrons, protons and neutrons are recorded in the cosmic microwave background radiation.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. – Genesis 1:3

But to the frog, God must exist "in" space/time because that is the boundary of his reality In the frog view, God must be finite because space/time is finite, physically existing, physically caused, subject to physical laws, e.g. entropy, etc.

In other words, there can be no God in frog-world, only an anthropomorphism of God, a “god” the frog can comprehend in his reality.

All that exists is space-time and unique peices of information contained in discrete wave packets of space-time. That includes you and me and God and Satan and ducks and pencils and all other nouns and pronouns.

Our irreconcilable differences notwithstading, we may find some agreement with reference to quantum field theory. To me, a particle is like a placemarker in a wave. Indeed, apparent mass may be merely a shadow of extra-dimensional dynamics.

And as you will see on page 91 forward in “Timothy” – we assert that the difference between life v. non-life/death in nature is the presence verse absence of information (successful communication) - not the message (e.g. DNA) but the successful communication of the message.

157 posted on 11/19/2008 10:18:37 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
The bird view is that mathematical structures confirm Platonic forms by the mere presence of variables in the equations. For instance, pi is the same regardless of the size of the circle or its location anywhere in space/time. The mathematician doesn't invent the geometry, he discovers it.

I am not communicating very effectively. I am apparently neither frog nor bird. I did not mean to imply that Pi was "invented" anymore than space-time was invented. (Although you apparently do believe it was invented by God). I see the universe as an ocean and everything that exists as waves in that ocean. Pi is a feature of the ocean itself. We are now in the realm of zen where we cannot explain, but only lead. I am reading your book which gives me insight into your thinking. If you are interested, here are two books I would recommend: The Tao of Physics

and The Matter Myth

I am trying to follow your implied definition of "God". It is confusing to me in that you seem to be denying that aspects of God are temporal. This would invalidate Jesus as God. Do you birds have an explicit definition of God that includes the Trinity?

I have most of Plato's works in my library. I read everything before it goes on the shelf. I am having trouble reconciling what I know of Plato with your writings citing him.

Birds can learn as well as teach??

BTW, Tegmark was Shapiro. He chose to be Tegmark, but of course he is Shapiro too (superposition). Tegmark sits on the mountain of wisdom but is also up to his neck in saṃsāra.

158 posted on 11/20/2008 4:57:42 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: PasorBob

saṃsÄ = samsara

159 posted on 11/20/2008 4:58:50 AM PST by PasorBob
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To: PasorBob; betty boop
Thank you for the book recommendations.

I am apparently neither frog nor bird.

That’s what I gathered early on in our discussion. I said that you remind me of Einstein who argued like a frog – indeed he self-identified as a frog (Aristotle) – but had the instinct of a bird (Plato.) His dream was to transmute the base wood of matter to the pure marble of geometry.

I see the universe as an ocean and everything that exists as waves in that ocean. Pi is a feature of the ocean itself.

I also gathered the wave worldview from your earlier remarks. That is why I said it is better to watch a movie from the beginning.

You are taking space/time, inertia and information as “given.” There is no origin in your cosmology. That’s very Aristotlean, very frog-like.

Einstein was so disturbed by the Hubble discovery, that there was a beginning of real space and real time (later affirmed by measurements of the CMB in the 1960’s) – that he “kluged” a cosmological constant. He later called that his biggest mistake. His personal, Aristotlean, cosmology required infinity past and he let that influence his reasoning.

And just like Einstein’s frog view was threatened by the beginning of real space and real time, your view also cannot appeal to an infinity past, aka the plentitude argument to justify the existence of space/time, information and inertia – i.e. wave mechanics.

I am trying to follow your implied definition of "God". It is confusing to me in that you seem to be denying that aspects of God are temporal. This would invalidate Jesus as God. Do you birds have an explicit definition of God that includes the Trinity?

Space/time, causality, information, inertia, life, consciousness, conscience etc. are all part of the Creation – they do not operate as restrictions on the Creator. Jewish mystics use the term Ayn Sof to describe God the Creator. It means “no thing” or “One without end from which all being emerges and into which all being dissolves.”

Jesus is God. His life did not begin when He was enfleshed. It was His will to become incarnate. Nor can His life end.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence. For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.– Colossians 1:15-20

Who Jesus is can only be Spiritually discerned. The ones Jesus is addressing below were physically hearing Him (pressure or sound waves) but they could not spiritually hear Him:

Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word. – John 8:43

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. – 1 Corinthians 12:3

Jesus Christ is the living Word of God. And the words of God are spirit and life, the words of men are neither spirit nor life.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. - John 6:63

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. - Matt 4:3-4

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. – John 1:1-3

If you have – or if you receive in the future – “ears to hear” then that divine revelation will give you pause because of your wave cosmology. The Greek word Logos is translated to Word - it is also the root of the word “logic.”

Everything that was made was made by Jesus and for Jesus. His Creation is logical by His own will. If it were not, we could not understand any of it. That is why I see the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" as His copyright notice on the cosmos.

And He spoke “all that there is” into existence – hence, the wave phenomena.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. – Psalms 19:1-3

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. – Psalms 33:6

A thing is true because He says it.

God’s Name is I AM and Alpha and Omega. He is not time-bound.

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. – Exodus 3:14

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. – John 8:58

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. – Revelation 1:8

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. – Revelation 22:13

My favorite metaphor for the Trinity is an ancient one. The Father is like the sun and the Son is like the light of the sun and the Holy Spirit is like the heat of the sun. The light and the heat cannot be separated from each other and both of them emanate from the sun. And if the sun had no beginning or end - as God has no beginning or end – both the light and the heat would share in that attribute as well.

Scripture speaks of the Trinity here (Spirit, Spirit of Christ, Spirit of God:)

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. – Romans 8:9

The doctrine of the Trinity was subtle in the Torah – but it was there. El means mighty one, singular, as in El Shaddai which means “God Almighty” (Gen 17:1) Elohim means mighty ones, plural, as in Ruach Elohim which means “Spirit of God” (Gen 1:2). One God, three "Persons."

To God be the glory!

160 posted on 11/20/2008 7:47:45 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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