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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal

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P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   ISSN 2043-0728
http://www.philosophypathways.com/newsletter/

Issue number 80
21st March 2004

CONTENTS

I. 'Monologue on Art' by Vikram Singh

II. 'The Rational and Trans-Rational: Response to D.R. Khashaba' by Tom
Albertsson

III. 'God's Knowledge of "I": Rejoinder to Geoffrey Klempner' by Anthony Flood

-=-

EDITOR'S NOTE

As has happened so often in the past, serendipity has contrived to bring
together three pieces of writing which, although coming from very different
directions, share connecting themes.

Vikram Singh addresses what he terms the 'Beethoven-Newton problem'. If Newton
had never been born, someone else was bound to make his epoch-making
discoveries. But if Beethoven had never been born, the 7th Symphony would never
have been written. What does this show us about the nature of thought,
consciousness and creativity?

Tom Albertsson focuses on the downside of the Enlightenment, the excessive
emphasis placed on discursive reason, with the consequences we see today in the
hegemony of the scientistic view, and the downgrading of non-discursive
knowledge to the category of 'mere mysticism'.

Anthony Flood takes me to task for failing to appreciate fully Whitehead's
conception of the creative advance of the universe, which he believes has led
me wrongly to conclude that there could be an endless succession of Geoffrey
Klempners, all with identical properties from the objective standpoint. -- I am
sure the readers of the newsletter will be much relieved to hear that.

The macunlimited.net address for the Glass House Philosopher web site is
closing down. For some time, the old web page will remain visible but no
further changes will be possible. Fortunately, there is an alternative address.
Please adjust your bookmarks to the new Glass House Philosopher site:

     http://sophist.co.uk/glasshouse/

Geoffrey Klempner

-=-

I.'MONOLOGUE ON ART' BY VIKRAM SINGH

My heart and mind longed for resolution and communication. Hence I write. I
must admit that this is for the first time. I have more inclination to share
than impose. Also I am on brink of a precipice, which makes it imperative that
I reach out before being pushed.

For what reason DO I write? I do not know. One I have already made clear. But
there should be many, with equal goals. The intensity could not be submitted
but it can be subdued for purpose of forging, so I do. The mere fulfillment of
goals shall not be the only aim, I hope I can win friends and fraternity. I
could have expressed it in a much shorter form and could have used a more
advanced (oops, ambiguous) form of language. But one of the first things I had
learnt in language was not only to produce my ideas in it but also to make
others understand it easily. I feel at times philosophy being plagued by people
who by their language want to make an idea appear deeper than it is. That's the
worst form of pedantry. I want the reader not to be mislead by my simple use of
language for the ideas are deeper than they might appear at first and most of
all -- enjoy! and pardon grammatical and spelling mistakes. 

The problem of Reproduction. Art has travelled a long way, but I do not
know the distance that is has covered. I can only calculate the time. Often, I
see a painting's abstract representation of something that cannot be
'visualized'. I have always wondered about the role of consciousness. That of
its projection in 'entity' and out of it. I read about the Beethoven-Newton
problem. i.e. If there was no Isaac Newton then somebody else would have
discovered his laws regarding mechanics. We all know Leibnitz came very close
to be the first to do same for calculus before Newton. But If there were no
Beethoven then no one could had written the great C minor Symphony (his 5th).
If we scatter similar universes about 1770, how many times will Beethoven end
up writing the same Symphony? The fact is that the time it was composed
represents a unique point in not only time but objectively in the sociological
environment of man. To put it in layman's terms, the time was ripe for it. But
it would also be a mistake to refer Beethoven as only Beethoven. If we for the
purpose of deduction imagine Beethoven at another sociological point then we
are not talking about the same artist. So even if there was Beethoven still we
cannot say that there would be a C minor symphony. It represents a singular
state of events to end up where we are. A point in sociological phase space is
not only influenced by the time before it but also time after it. Although I
cannot talk about mechanics in similar terms. 

To recall a thought is a meaningless proposition. Let me assume that a
friend of mine is an painter. I pay a visit to him in the evening and he
gleefully shows me one of his paintings that he painted in the morning. When I
see it I feel lost for ideas. He tells me that it is a piece of abstract art.
It represents emotional state of his mind at that time. But I wonder if any
time in the future he is in similar 'emotional state' would he paint same
picture down to each stroke? To see it objectively, How many times he would end
up with same picture if he goes for all the changes possible in state of his
chemical and quantum mind? If I calculate all possible states by applying
Permutation and combination equations then I am bound to stumble upon a
configuration he was in the morning. Now If I ask him to draw for all of them
(remember we are in future of that point) what are the chances that one of his
paintings would be similar? But also we must admit that to be 'in the future'
of that point it would be impossible to circulate configurations. How? To
recall an ideological state of mind is a pointless idea. There are problems of
'authentic reproduction'. As soon as I 'think' to recall an idea it gets
manipulated. To put it in concrete terms, Similar sociological/ideological
points could not be authentically reproduced 'in the future'. Or No two
ideological points could be same if separated by measurable time. We can use
this as reference for future arguments, but I would like to generalize this
point further. 

Let me assume that I have a hot iron box. I would like to measure its
temperature. Thankfully I have a thermometer. So what should be the best idea?
Go to the box, and touch the bulb with the surface of the box, right? So what
happens when I touch the bulb? A basic understanding of thermodynamics tells us
that when two bodies come in contact they tend to come in equilibrium until they
both have the same temperature. So what do I get? The wrong temperature. As the
box when in contact with the bulb would get little bit colder. Another device
would be a nice pyrometer, for higher temperatures. Another snag comes in this
time because of the time lapse, (x/c)+radiation loss. Though it is very simple.

But we shall not go into physics that soon. Come back to my friend. Assume his
mind is a closed system akin to that of thermodynamics. No real ideas could get
'in' to influence. Then can I assume to reproduce configurations? Probably no.
Because mind is conscious. It can manipulate itself. For such purpose I would
think of it as not a body but an 'entity'. Now here I should make clear what I
mean. Things are either decomposable or not (we owe much to this property of
nature for advances in quantum physics. ) I will call a composite thing as an
entity. I think it would not be a very wrong assumption that consciousness
cannot be decomposed into simpler entities. Although the materialistic brain
can be. Further nature consists of many things but we decompose it into smaller
entities. For sake of ease we talk nature only at quantum level. Secondly
consciousness has a property of intelligence. I must make it clear once more.
In they heyday of quantum physics there was an experiment known as the ERP
experiment (E=Einstein, R=Rosen, P=Podolsky, if I remember well). It showed
that quantum particles could manipulate themselves to measurements of the
conscious mind. Further experiments in the 80s proved it. So anything that can
measure perimeters can be said to pose intelligence. I do not use its meaning
in the colloquial sense. This strikes out the possibility of insects
interacting with 'decomposed' nature as humans do.

So the human mind is an intelligent entity. An intelligent entity can
participate in manipulating other entities as well as itself. So I have to
define nature in terms of one entity to proceed. Let us assume it to be generic
and call it 'N', it can be defined as discovered or undiscovered indestructible
intelligent entity. And we shall call consciousness as C.
 
Let me assume that you want to know me. So what you can do is to come as close
to me in phase space that  overlaps . In non-entity universe there
are many ways to accomplish this. One of them is language. You can ask as many
questions to me as you would like. But remember the thermometer problem? With
every question  gets manipulated. So I no longer remain what I was before
your question. I think it is a simple enough problem to be recognize, but
somehow artists always have missed it. What should be an artistic idea? Let me
assume that I am in C1 state at a given time. At this moment I want to draw a
painting to represent what I would call a beautiful thought in my mind. Now
remember I said that in ideological space a point is as much influenced by past
as by future. It is time to show what I meant. After drawing I come to state C2
in which I think that it was not so beautiful an idea. After which I come to a
state C3 and a friend of mine comes and asks me about my painting, This
question instantly leads me in to manipulated C4 state.

Now it is reasonable to think that C1-C2-C3-C4 are in linear sequence. It would
be absurd to introduce exponential equations in such space. Now how would I
describe this painting to my friend? Should I be marred by my logical
inconsistency? Or Imagine my friend was a buye... and I needed money. This
throws us with a third kind of entity I shall call sociological entity. In any
case it becomes impossible for me to maintain my ideas over a consistent scale.
It would be quite easier if I always think same about my painting: beautiful.
But will the word beautiful would have same meaning for me in entire life? Or
in social ideology? There seems to be a glaring defect in our language. So I
resort back to my art to find a solution. Every time I think of that painting I
draw another one stating my feelings towards it. If in the end of my life all
the paintings drawn upon it look similar I would think that my idea was
consistently logical/ But what are the chances that all resulting paintings
would look alike? I think I have answered it already. 

So it means that every piece of art, whatever field it may belong to, occupies
a unique point in in Sociological order which could not be replicated. What
this tells me is that creation of art is a singular process and it is not even
in hands of the artist to remanipulate an authentic reproduction. The only
testimony of his state C at the point of creation is his creation but we should
not get into error by thinking that it is a proof too. If the artist tells that
a certain creation is an image of his emotional state he may as well lie
and there exist no method to verify him or to falsify him. The fact that I am
trying to state is that it is easier to take a piece of art for purpose of
analysis as an image, shadow or reduction at any point S rather
than  where it should exist only as an image. And secondly
and more importantly, A piece of art is a statement and its value lies only
in itself; although we can not deny that consciousness of the creator plays a
very vital role in its creation but it should not be taken as an elevating
factor, for neither he himself nor others could prove the piece to be mirror
image of his consciousness or otherwise. It remains a metaphysical curiosity
and not something which can readily used for analytical purpose.

Let me give an example. Assume I have two very good friends, Mr. Smith and Mr.
Wessels. Mr. Smith is a fine painter and Mr. Wessels a very good composer. On
the same day Mr. Smith invites me to display his new painting and Mr. Wessels
to listen his new piano sonata. On contemplating both, I feel that the painting
and sonata induces in myself similar feelings. Here I should caution reader
about that there is not proper way to establish the contrariness of a feeling.
I would rather be more satisfied with saying in terms of similarity or
dissimilarity. Certainly both of them should be having their own meaning in
musical and artistic terms respectively. These two cannot be superimposed. That
is their angle lies in 90 degrees to each other. This I call a dimensional
factor. So what I mean is that their shadows are similar. Not necessarily their
images.
 
Let me go to another point. Let me describe the happiness induced by a piece of
art in terms of endorphins secreted by the brain of an audience. Certainly
effect would be different. Certainly of interest to a neurologist. But the idea
is the same. every time I comprehend (or at least try to) a piece of endorphin
secretion would be different. It is as much a mathematical preposition. So how
could I ever pass a verdict over it. One abstract solution could be to
comprehend it infinite time and pull out a mathematical mean of the endorphin
secretion. It is a pure mathematical solution, as I have tried to prove this is
enough to go in opposite direction in philosophical sense. To pass a judgement
over anything we need to know it as much as we can but the moment we try to
know it our judgement gets contaminated.
 
Now I try another thing. I try to explain Mozart's G minor symphony to my dog.
What does it means for someone who has read the aforesaid sentence. One can say
'impossible', 'I am a fool.' But then you missed the whole point of
consciousness and its dimensions as I have spoken of before. In pure
philosophical sense why is it impossible. There is a matter of intelligence of
course but in what sense? Both me and my dog are conscious enough. Let me put
it this way. I am a cube and I have a friend who is a square. I try one day to
tell him all about something called 'volume'. I wonder why I was unable to do
it as he always talked in terms of area. Now you get my point about arts. The
measurement of intelligence is actually order of sociological dimensions which
is not a property of consciousness. So what should be consciousness
objectively? What should be non-consciousness?
 
We all know that the natural tendency of things are disorder i.e. I talk of
entropy. And thought process comprises of intake of energy which means it is a
non-spontaneous process in thermodynamical terms. I understand that is how
philosophers would feel when someone talks of conscious mind as bunch of
molecules. But there is more to it. It follows that the natural tendency of
thoughts should be disorganization. I again want to iterate that thought is
used in deeper sense of the word. Something which could not be broken into
simpler entities. So I take thought as the smallest entity and first order of
consciousness. An Idea is an organisation of thought. Again thought is a
property of consciousness but an Idea shouldn't necessarily be so. If I take
thought as smallest entity logic demands, I should begin to describe a
non-conscious state with this parameter only. I take a non-conscious state to
be an infinite disorganization of thoughts. It should follow from the second
law of thermodynamics that this should be the natural order.

An Idea can be expressed in many forms. Art form is one of the fundamental.
Language has many problems as I have discussed. But I must say that one of the
objectives of art should be to attain a more proper order of thoughts and a
finer organisation of the same. I should state that the motion of music towards
a more dissonant form actually is more natural then a consonant form and
similarly natural to achieve, that's why Mozart was great.

(c) Vikram Singh 2004

E-mail: vikram@bhaskarmail.com

-=-

II. 'THE RATIONAL AND TRANS-RATIONAL: RESPONSE TO D.R. KHASHABA' BY TOM
ALBERTSSON

Dear Geoffrey,

Units 1 of both programs A and F arrived a week or so ago in good order, as did
Philosophy Pathways Issue 79. It was the latter that led me to writing this
letter which, as you suggest, I write as if I'm addressing a good friend who
knows even less about academic philosophy then I do. Furthermore, and also in
accord with your suggestion, I'm to write with an attitude of "bloody
mindedness."

This issue, as you will recall, contained an essay by D.R. Khashaba titled
'Kant and the Enlightenment Promise'. Now the word "enlightenment" (in coming
from a rational-scientific philosopher and not a spiritual sage) triggered my
interest and unleashed a mini-quest of my own. I love to work like this,
following external stimuli to internal hunches to bookshelves to an Internet
search of Kant's original German essay to thoughts, jottings and conclusions
that often surprise me. In this case, however, the consequences of my
mini-search are rather drastic [...]. I trust we will still be friends at the
end of the day, though. So, off I go, with your permission, fully prepared to
be picked apart, yet fearless in searching for and expressing what I believe
are glimpses of noble albeit partial truths.

1. Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklaerung? is of course the title of
Kant's original essay published in December 1784, as the Pathways essay quoted,
and as I dug up on http://gutenberg.spiegel.de . It is my good fortune to be a
native Dutch speaker and have a decent reading ability in German. My spoken and
written German shall remain unexamined, however, but my life is still worth
living. So, my first task was to check the meaning of "Aufklaerung", because to
my mind it smacked more of "resolution" or "explanation" than "enlightenment" as
such. The German-Icelandic dictionary I consulted (and I had no other, so now
we're up to four languages, what an extravaganza) indeed translated
"Aufklaerung" (ueber etwas) as "explanation", and then listed the phrase das
Zeitalter der Aufklaerung, which of course is nothing other than our classic
Age of Enlightenment. Further, in verb form, aufklaeren was "explain something
(to someone)", "shed light upon" (a-ha), educate. And aufgeklaert as an
adjective was, roughly, "learned", or "educated."

2. Enlightenment from what? was the next question. Out with the next
dictionary, this time an English-English one, The Wordsworth Concise.
Enlighten: to impart knowledge to or information; to elevate by
knowledge, to free from prejudice and superstition. A-ha again, and
therefore my emphasis. Enlightenment [the spiritual kind goes unmentioned]:
belief in reason and human progress and a questioning of [myths,]
traditions and authority. Enlightenment from what? As we all know, it was away
with the myths! out with mythical absolutisms, superstitions and the
stranglehold of church and dogma! Hail the new god of science and the
all-supreme power of the human mind and its ability to reason! For the
first time in human history, the three main spheres of human endeavour, art,
morals, and science, were able to differentiate from God's Absolute Authority
and develop under their own steam (thank you, Mr Watt). Soon, of course, and
because science deals with the principles of nature so fundamental to
basic life itself, science would turn into scientism, materialism,
reductionism, and start to dominate and oppress the other spheres...but that's
another discussion.

3. Which leads us to reason and rational. I consulted the
Wordsworth again. Reason: the mind's power of drawing conclusions and
determining right and truth; the exercise of this power; to deduce inferences
from premises. Then, rational: of the reason; endowed with reason; agreeable to
reason. Also, seeking reasonable reasons for one's decisions and views. Here
reasonable is both adjective and verb. That one is from US philosopher-sage Ken
Wilber, a scholar and visionary some people call the long-awaited "Einstein of
consciousness studies". Wilber is an all-inclusive integrator of East and West,
North and South, Heaven and Earth, man's body, mind and spirit. We'll
hear more from Wilber later.

4. Vernunft transcends and includes Verstand. Just as the Inuit
have many words for snow but the English language only one, so the German
language somewhat more modestly has two words for reason against again the
English language only one. Kant uses both words in his essay: Vernunft and
Verstand. English texts reduce this to reason only, and so reduce a richer
stereo sound to mere mono. The Dutch language has the same word for Verstand,
verstand! In Dutch, we might say: "Man, gebruik toch je verstand -- come on,
use your common sense, get real!" So, Verstand in this sense would be your
everyday, logical thinking ability, to deliver you from Unmuendigkeit, which is
the same in Dutch, onmondigheit. In Dutch, we refer to a child as being
onmondig, literally, unable to use its mouth to stand up for itself, without
the guidance of an adult. Which is exactly what Kant describes with his opening
sentences: Aufklaerung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst
verschuldeten Unmuendigkeit. Unmuendigkeit ist das Unvermoegen, sich seines
Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Later in the essay, Kant
variously uses the words Verstand or Vernunft, apparently without
distinguishing between the two.

5. Wilber, however, has this to say about Vernunft and Verstand in his
blockbuster work Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (Collected
Works, volume six, second, revised edition, Shambhala, 2000). SES is the first
volume in a series of three in Wilber's Kosmos Trilogy, a first attempt at
formulating a truly integral world philosophy. Integral in this context means
"inclusive, balanced, comprehensive". See
http://www.integralinstitute.org/approach.htm for a quick overview of the
integral approach, which describes some of exciting contours of humanity's next
Renaissance. Volumes two and three of the Trilogy are still to be published.
Discussing the Idealist system (p. 533 of SES), Wilber suggests: "As
vision-logic, it was a developmental evolution beyond simple formal
operational rationality (Verstand) into dialogical, dialectical,
intersubjective reason (Vernunft), carrying with it a unifying of opposites and
a reconciliation of fragments" (my emphasis). Thus we have, Verstand = ordinary
reason, and Vernunft = Mature Reason.

6. This developmental evolution points to man's (men's and women's)
growth process in terms of levels of consciousness, from something like
noble but ignorant savage to magic nature animator to mythic Unmuendigkeit
to rational Aufklaerung (modernism) to pluralistic sensitivity
(postmodernism) to integral big-picture thinking (the coming Integral Age) and
beyond to levels of spiritual awakening (in an uncertain future). Wilber
explains all of this in exquisite detail in his many books. What we here can
say, is that man contains at the very least, and as all the world's major
religions and spiritual traditions agree, body, mind and spirit, in that
order, in a hierarchical growth process that "transcends and includes."

Let me illustrate the hierarchical, developmental, "transcend and include"
nature of man's growth with an example we have all struggled through. First we
crawl. Then we learn how to walk. Then some of us continue to develop this
physical faculty into dancing a masterful tango. Walking transcends yet
includes crawling, but not vice-versa. Having gained the ability to walk, when
we look for our diamond ring on the floor, we get down on knees and still know
how to crawl (but not vice-versa). Similarly, dancing the tango embraces
walking (and crawling), but not vice versa: it is an expanded capacity
that transcends yet includes its necessary predecessors. Let us now take
standing up straight, erecting our spine and walking with dignity as the
equivalent of rational thought and the use of reason. After all, we must
make good our promise as homo erectus who becomes home sapiens, and delivers
himself from throwing bones to launching spacecraft (remember Stanley Kubrick's
famous scene in his rendition of 2001: A Space Odyssey). Then, crawling is
pre-walking, and dancing is trans-walking. Thus, crawling to walking
is as Unmuendigkeit (belief in Myths and surrender to Outer Authority) is to
Verstand.

7. Which delivers us straight into an extremely important insight: Wilber's
pre/trans fallacy. Now the Age of Enlightenment did away with the
stranglehold of myths, and rightly so. But it was not a "transcend and
include", healthy growth process, it was "transcend and repress" unhealthy
process. Mind transcends body (because mind can behold body as an object of
attention), became mind is all-supreme and represses body, and as an extension
exploits the common body (and hated ancestral goddess): Mother Earth. All of
this under the new supreme authority of the god of science. "And so it goes",
as our friend Kurt Vonnegut, is apt to say, with a glint in his weary eye. Our
ancestors lived more in and from their bodies (the body-self, or body-ego) and
from that level of consciousness produced first magical thinking then myths and
absolutisms. Small wonder the era of rational science, and
scientific-rationalism, wanted to do away with all that absolutistic nonsense
and replace it with another absolutistic power, that of human reason.

Along comes Kant, using his powers of mind, and deals a death-blow to
"mere metaphysics", and rightly so, as we shall see. Rational scientism killed
the mythical. Kant attempted to kill the mystical. But whereas the mythical
is pre-rational, mystical is trans-rational, just as orthodox,
exoteric religion is pre-rational, and authentic, esoteric spiritual
transformation (not spiritualism or psychic abilities) is trans-rational. In
its double-whammy up-down death blow, human reason wins the match, or so it
thinks (because that's all it can do). Only walking is left. No crawling, no
tango. And right there Kant, and thousands of followers since, in spite of
their constructive impact, made (and to this day perpetuate), a serious
mistake. What mistake? Well, since both mythical and mystical are
non-rational, they are both rejected as irrational, and
therefore anathema to the supreme power of human reason.

This is the pre/trans fallacy, which shows up in many, many other guises, as
Wilber never ceases to teach. The seemingly irrational and paradoxical
utterings of a Zen master and the cute gurglings of a baby are both
non-rational, but they do not belong to the same category. Tango and
crawling are both non-walking, but we would hardly confuse the two. We
could ask a tango master to show us how to crawl, but we couldn't ask a baby to
show us a few cool tango moves. Similarly, the baby just gurgles when we ask him
about world peace, but the Zen master, or Christian mystic, or Hindu sage, or
Tao sage, or Plato, or Plotinus..., might have something worthwhile to
contribute. These sages all "experienced" the trans-rational domains of the
Kosmos, and attempted to reconstruct it for us mortals in rational terms. But
merely words are not enough, thanks Mr Kant, just as the actual experience of
walking on the moon (rather than doing the moonwalk) cannot be captured in
words. Neither can making love. You must do the actual walking, and you
must do the actual love-making, to know. Just as you must
complete the necessary contemplative or meditative practice to open your eye of
spirit and so know for yourself whereof philosopher-sages like Plotinus
for the West or Nagarjuna for the East speak. So, again, the time-honoured way
to experience the trans-rational domains sages and saints have spoken so
eloquently of for thousands of years, is of course nothing other than
meditation or contemplation. What does Western scientism make of this?
Easy! Trans-rational doesn't fit into its world-model, so all sages are
deluded, and must immediately check into Western psychiatric wards and receive
a proper Western diagnosis and medication. Under the brutal diagnostic
gaze of Western reductionism, meditation is thus summarily reduced to
medication. At worst all sages as well as millions of meditators are paranoid,
deluded, schizophrenic, psychotic, or perhaps just mildly neurotic like Woody
Allen, and should phone their analyst.

8. So, is man "all mind," as Hegel would have it? Is that true or false? True,
but partial, and therefore less comprehensive, inclusive and balanced
than it could be (cf. the integral approach above). Man is also body and
spirit, not just mind. That, at the very least, is a more inclusive possibility
the integral approach keeps in mind! Therefore, it is a serious limitation,
which leads to partial and warped interpretations of the Kosmos (the
Pythagorean term), to claim that all truth is the ultimate domain of
mind. Where that same mind just happens to be the tool of preference
the rational philosopher uses to express this "truth." Just as life is more than
mind grown out of selfish genes, so the Kosmos is something intangibly more than
the mere "wrigglings and jigglings of atoms" of physicist Richard Feynman. Any
qualified quantum physicist will tell you that subatomic particles behave in
strange, non-logical, non-rational ways. Any qualified Zen master will tell you
that absolute truth cannot either be explained in neat, rational sentences.
Which is why their utterings are often as strange as the jumpings-around of
quantum particles. But that doesn't imply that you can explain Zen in terms of
quantum physics, or God or free will in terms of quantum uncertainty, as many
popular New Age books would have it. Claiming such is one of the most horrible,
dreadful, confused reductionisms one can possibly make. From dust to deity, it's
all about the wrigglings and jigglings of atoms! Yikes, what a nightmare! As if
quantum physics will ever explain the meaning of Shakespeare, compose a divine
poem, or explain the magic of dancing the tango.

Fortunately, that will never happen, just as HAL will never take over a mission
to Jupiter. HAL is ultimately about atomic wriggling and jiggling, but
HAL doesn't have a sense of humor, and so will never become human. Man's growth
trajectory has been succinctly summarised as proceeding from "identification
with the self, to Realisation of the Self." In this vision, evolving,
developing and using our rational mind is half way up the mountain, not the
mountain top. Paraphrasing Plotinus, (I think it was Plotinus), we can say
that: "Evolving from beast to god, man with his rational-egoic mind has come
half way." To claim that mind is the ultimate human potential, thus claiming a
full stop for human evolution at precisely the half-way resting place of
philosophers, is just another absolutism. As an absolutism, it is just as
partial as those myths the same philosophers dismissed as pre-rational. By the
way, these myths still have a valid and necessary element in overall human
development, as the integral approach reminds us.

9. Our three eyes. St. Bonaventure, the thirteenth Century theologian
and scholar, taught that we have three modes of attaining knowledge, or "three
eyes" of knowledge, corresponding to our body, mind and spirit. As explained
on  http://www.narop.edu, the "eye of flesh" is the objective perception of the
external world. The second is the "eye of reason" or "eye of mind", which uses
reason, logic, philosophy and the mind itself to know. The third is the "eye of
contemplation" or "eye of spirit" and refers to knowledge of transcendent
realities which cannot be known empirically and which defies logic
and rational analysis (emphasis again mine). We know we have a body. We
know we have a mind. And the yearning as well as realisation of men and women
of all ages and all times toward "something higher", hints at a truth that
resides beyond the grasp of mind. For practical purposes, we call the
corresponding human potential the "eye of spirit." Now Kant was correct in
dismissing as "mere metaphysics" the construction of mental truths about
the higher. For he correctly intuited that we must not confuse
categories. We cannot theorise about a higher domain and posit its
existence based on the explanatory premises of a lower category! But
this doesn't mean the higher doesn't exist! Only that it doesn't exist
for the rational mind!!

Here is Ken Wilber, writing about the fall of the Idealists (who had a solid
intuition about the higher, the something more, but lacked a sustained
contemplative practice to sufficiently open their eye of spirit and so pass
their insights on to others):

     "Particularly with Hegel, the transpersonal and
     transrational Spirit becomes wholly identified with
     vision-logic or mature Reason, which condemns Reason to
     collapsing under a weight it could never carry. In 1796,
     Hegel wrote a poem for Holderlin, which says in part: 'For
     thought cannot grasp the soul which forgetting itself
     plunges out of space and time into a presentiment of
     infinity, and now reawakens. Whoever wanted to speak of
     this to others, though he spoke with the tongues of angels,
     would feel the poverty of words.' Would that Hegel had
     remained in poverty (with Plato: 'No treatise by me
     concerning it exists or ever will exist'). But Hegel
     decided...that Reason could and should develop the tongues
     of angels. [...] Their insights, not easily reproducible
     [they had no methodology like meditation or contemplation
     to open the eye of spirit], and thus not fallibilistic,
     were dismissed as 'mere metaphysics', and gone was a
     priceless opportunity..."

     SES, pp. 536-537

10. Integral post-metaphysics. Just as physics has progressed
irreversibly from a Newtonian to an Einsteinian framework, so metaphysics is
now moving on to integral post-metaphysics, as pioneered by Ken Wilber. In his
formulations, Wilber avoids the Kant knock-out, whilst honouring the best of
premodern, modern and postmodern (partial) truths. This is once again the
inclusive, balanced and comprehensive integral approach. Excerpts of this
approach, which has no historical precedents, are available at 
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/habermas/index.cfm/ and Excerpts A, B, C
and D given at http://wilber.shambhala.com .

Now, browsing your book, Naive Metaphysics, I found this sentence in the
introduction: "At such a moment, the very attitude of certainty seems a
distortion of reality; the world is and will always remain something absolutely
other than I, it is not mine to take for granted." To rational man, this
statement indeed appears absolutely true. To spiritual man, it does not. This
gap between subjective worlds "in here" and objective worlds "out there", can
it be resolved? Again, at the level of mind, and with the eye of mind, NO. At
the level of spirit, using the eye of spirit, YES. The solution cannot
be found, analysed, or logically deduced at the level of mind, period. The
solution can be experienced (not quite the right word) at the level of
spirit, it is called the nondual worldview, where apparent distinctions
between self and other are dissolved and resolved. According to Wilber, Western
geniuses like William James and Bertrand Russell dabbled in the nondual, but
failed to follow through.

11. The futile search. To look for absolute transcendent truths at the
level of mind is therefore a futile activity. At the very least, it is partial.
And Truth demands an Integral Approach. It will not settle for less. Metaphysics
is moving on, and the human mind must move on to its higher potentials. But
right there is the sticking point. Most philosophers (thus in fact refusing to
follow the lead of such giants as Plotinus) refuse to acknowledge let alone
open their "eye of spirit". That would be hard work [...].

Be blessed, as we say in Iceland,

Tom Albertsson

(c) Tom Albertsson 2004

E-mail: TAlb@mmedia.is

-=-

III. 'GOD'S KNOWLEDGE OF "I": REJOINDER TO GEOFFREY KLEMPNER' BY ANTONY FLOOD

Geoffrey Klempner entitled his recent notebook entry a "reply" to something I
had written. The latter may have occasioned further reflections on God's
knowledge, but I fail to see their roots in what I was commenting on. My
careless reading, which Dr. Klempner was too gracious to note, is perhaps to
blame for that failure. I appreciate his sharpening of my focus.

     It follows [he writes]... that what an omniscient deity
     knows, in knowing the actual subject GK [Geoffrey Klempner]
     that exists now, is what GK has in common with any GK that
     has appeared or will appear in the endless creative advance
     of the universe.

     http://sophist.co.uk/glasshouse/notebook2/page2.html

To the extent that I understand this sentence, I disagree with it. God knows
more about Geoffrey Klempner than an abstract common denominator of the
personal series we name "Geoffrey Klempner." God rather knows each concrete
member of the series.

To be actual is to act, to exercise causal power. Actuality differs according
to temporal mode. In the present, to exercise causal power is to decide among
concrete alternatives; in the past, it is to influence the present[1]; and in
the future (if Lewis Ford is correct), it is to provide creativity and aim to
the present. Only to the extent that discrete members of the series can
exercise causal power, depending on temporal mode, are they actual.

The series exercises no such power and is therefore not actual. It is an
abstraction. The phrase "the actual subject GK" applies neither to only one
entity nor to the series. It applies to every concrete member of the series.
God knows them individually and exhaustively (perceiving the perfect "snapshot"
of each upon its completion, as I had put it), but only up to the one just past.

An answer to the question, "What is it to be knowable?," helps determine an
answer to, "What is something that God cannot know?" In my emerging,
imperfectly Whiteheadian philosophy, the actual things that comprise a personal
series are "drops of experience," more formally called "occasions." They are not
continuously enduring substances. As I see it, the common presupposition that
they are fatally blocks understanding how one entity can know another. And to
entertain the notion that a continuum can be actual is to disturb Zeno's ghost.

Occasions of experience are momentary subjects. Subjects that have
self-consciousness and self-referential linguistic power may use the first
person singular pronoun, i.e., "I" or its equivalents in other languages. As
occasions succeed one another, so do the referents of that pronoun.

(If anything other than the standpoint of such a subject-coming-to-be can
determine the meaning of now, I have no idea what that might be. Since I regard
temporal passage as a function of subjective succession, "eternal now" makes no
sense to me.)

These subjects, these occasions of experience, these "feelers," feel the
entire, preceding universe of occasions. Whitehead's technical term for that
feeling that characterizes becoming is "prehension." It denotes the becoming
occasion's taking into account of past actualities before deciding how it will
issue in a new, concrete actuality, object, or being (or, as I had phrased it,
"a new denizen of the past, a complete, objective fact, available for
integration by later subjects").

Whitehead also availed himself of the term "concrescing" (concrescere, "to grow
together") to denote this feeling-process. The present, concrescing subject is a
discrete event of prehension. Now, events are unrepeatable. I can eat a steak
again, for example, but not that first steak again. Eating the latter was a
once-and-for-all event.

The non-substantial subject is identical with prehension, not a substance that
"performs" it. The subject is therefore, strictly speaking, an unrepeatable
event, numerically distinct from every other, even as it receives and re-enacts
its predecessors' characters (notes of definiteness) into itself.

While this process is underway and has not yet issued in a concretum, there is
nothing yet to prehend, and therefore nothing yet to know. Therefore, since the
still-indeterminate concrescing subject is not complete, it falls outside the
range of the knowable.

Knowledge is a high-grade species of prehension in this universe. Prehension is
a causal process, and contemporary events are mutually causally independent.
Since prehension, the heart of a concrescing subject, is not a possible object
of prehension, it is not a possible object of knowledge. It may be on its way
to being one, but it will not be one until it is past. Again, subjects
concresce, what is concrescing is imprehensible, and what is imprehensible is
unknowable. The ever-concrescing God, who is contemporary with every other
concrescing subject, can no more prehend the imprehensible than God can square
a circle.

"Geoffrey Klempner" refers to each nonrepeatable member of a certain, personal
series of events bound to each other by internal relations of memory and
anticipation. The characters of definiteness of an earlier member are repeated
in later members, which are later events. The event itself, however, is not
repeated.[2] God exhaustively knows every concrete Geoffrey Klempner, that is,
every past member of the series, including the just past. God can anticipate,
but cannot know, any contemporary subject that is about to be (but not yet)
added to the "Geoffrey Klempner" series. That is, God does not know "the actual
subject GK that exists now," for it is now simply unknowable.

As I suspect that Dr. Klempner's point still eluded me, I hope he can show me
my error, whether or not in doing so he chooses to subject his readers to more
of my confusion.

FOOTNOTES

[1] In Dr. Klempner's fair citation of me I do not make it clear that I hold
that the past is the realm of efficient and not just material causation. The
creative presence of Aristotle's taxonomy of causes in Whitehead's thought
appears to be cogent evidence of that.

[2] Commenting on Nietzsche's notion of "eternal recurrence," Dr. Klempner
asks: "But will it be me next time around, or only someone exactly like me?"
The answer is that it won't even be the same you, i.e., the same member of the
series, even a second from now. What will be is a future member of a series of
selves succeeding one another along a personal route of character-inheritance
and self-determination. "Eternal recurrence" seems to me simply incoherent: it
implies that for any two nonsimultaneous events, x and y, x is both before and
after y.

(c) Anthony Flood 2004

E-mail: anarchristian@juno.com

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