The Primordial Self
The measure of all things

The self is the measure of all things.  It is the primordial thing.  The only conceivable rival for primacy is the mathematical Monster Group.  This contest for primacy can only occur in our imaginations.  The outcome is preordained.

I have been a bit slow in picking up on the self.  It looms too large and too close to easily notice.  My task is to bring the self to the attention of the physicists.  Physicists take too much pride, hubris really, in their ability to rise objectively above all things psychical, and then above all things, period.  This prideful, thoughtless ‘objectivity’ bodes ill for their entire enterprise.  Pride runneth before the fall.  The Monster will be my stealth weapon against hubris.

Physicists do not rise above the self.  They rationalize their ignorance of the self by consigning it to the dustbin of Darwinian evolution.  They build their beautiful theoretical castles upon the vague assertions of a woolly-minded botanist.  What do they expect?

The consolation prize for the physicists is the Monster Group, which turns out to be a peculiar variation on the Trojan horse.  And what is concealed inside this beast of Jovian proportions?  Nothing other than the self.  How so?  I do not pretend to have the complete answer.  My only task is to motivate a natural inclination toward higher truth.

The Monster Group is alleged to embody all the structure of mathematics and physics, i.e. all of reality as conceived by the modern mind.  The problem lies in the conceiving.  The Monster sleeps in its lair of logical circularity.  We will watch it swallow its own tail like its mythic progenitor, the Uroboros, the tail-eating cosmic alchemical dragon popularized by Jung, and thus revert to the cosmic self.

The recent ‘Sokal hoax’ shows how much we physicists detest any imputation of subjectivity in our discipline.  The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton recently attempted to purge its ranks of those investigating the cultural dimensions of science, threatening to ignite an intellectual Armageddon between feminists and scientists.

At the turn of the last century Edmund Husserl, an early proponent of psychologism, published a lengthy attack upon it.  Psychologism pits Aristotle, Locke, Kant, etc. against the Platonic school of absolute realists, particularly in regard to abstract mathematical entities.  This issue is far from being settled.  It is reinvigorated by the powerful role of mathematics in physicists’ dreams of a final theory, epitomized now in the emergence of the Monster Group.  We have epistemology vs. ontology.

How is it that the human mind is able to comprehend the mathematical Monster?  If the Monster had even a slightly different structure, anthropics strongly suggests there would be no minds to comprehend it.  Can there exist an abstract entity without abstraction?  Who breathes reality into these abstractions to produce the physics and the physicists?  Physicists are obviously reluctant to plumb these navel gazing depths where all thought necessarily circles back on itself in Uroboric and teleological fashion.

It is my claim that the self owns this circle -- is this circle.  Reality is necessarily a self-contained system.  The ultimate closure is complete and singular.  It is no wonder that our linear thinking is unable to comprehend the cosmic self, which is exactly orthogonal to our line of thought.  To paraphrase Jack Sarfatti, the real back-action is epistemology -><- ontology, instead of his mere Q -><- X, but one should note the similarities.  The Uroboros of this back-action is the vital, self-organizing principle.  The Monster Group will be our Rosetta Stone for translating between psychology and ontology.

From this perspective the dispute between the physicist and theist is over the relative weights to be given to the subject and object.  The pendulum still has a long way to swing back toward the alienated self.


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rev. 12/27/99