Saving the Appearances
(In tribute to Owen Barfield)
I have only read this one book, and that was years ago, but his influence has been considerable. In particular, he has written on the history of consciousness. He is a key figure in the small world of Christian idealists, along with C.S. Lewis.
I recommend to you Owen's concept of Final Participation. This is his Kingdom Come, his Eschaton. He sees it in the distant future. I respectfully disagree.
Barfield hastens to remind us that up until the time of the Copernican Revolution, a hypothesis was widely understood to mean a "proposition, the truth or untruth of which is irrelevant"--one intended, that is, to "save the appearances." "All that mattered was, which was the simplest and the most convenient for practical purposes" (SA 49).
A true saving of the appearances, Barfield tentatively predicts, may come with the advent of final participation......
The appearances will be 'saved' only if, as men approach nearer and nearer to conscious figuration and realize that it is something which may be affected by their choices, the final participation which is thus being thrust upon them is exorcised with the profoundest sense of responsibility, with the deepest thankfulness and piety towards the world as it was originally given to them in original participation, and with a fuller understanding of the momentous process of history, as it brings about the emergence of the one from the other. (SA 147)
This way of understanding science is almost impossible to covey to the modern, objectively minded person.
The modern worldview is based on science. The essential fact about science is that it is necessarily reductionistic. Science is necessarily objective. The quest for objectivity necessarily entails analysis and reductionism. The logical and historical end of that process in the physical sciences came with the discovery of atoms and elementary particles. In the life sciences, the logical end was the discovery of the genetic code.
And let us not forget information science. Information science was invented by Claude Shannon who showed how to measure information objectively, by reducing it to binary bits.
These three landmark discoveries came near the middle of the last century. Since then, science has become much messier, as it attempts to grapple with whatever is the residue of the great success of its reductionistic quest.
That residue is addressed, in its most general form, by a hodge-podge of competing Complexity and Systems theories.
Complexity theory runs headlong into the expanding philosophical debate around the issue of reductionism vs. holism.
Is there an objective or analytic explanation for complexity? Is complexity merely a subjective appearance that can be 'saved' by science?
Religionists have taken on this issue, in no small way: Irreducible Complexity, but they take a very unphilosophical slant on it. They, the advocates of Intelligent Design, look only at specific biological mechanisms that appear to defy any evolutionary explanation, and so require the postulation of a Deus ex machina. Theirs is a 'God of the Gaps' argument. They see divine intervention as something exceptional. In marked contrast, the BPWH takes a panentheistic view of the matter.
We come back to Owen and the evolution of consciousness. Mind is a natural unity. The unit of mind is referred to as a self. But can there exist an isolated self? Owen and others argue that the ego has evolved out of a social Self or the tribal mind. Julian Jaynes and Owen Barfield both reference a 'breakdown of the bi-cameral mind', from tribalism to individualism, at the dawn of recorded history.
Before rushing to the rescue of the appearances, it would behoove us to decide which ones needed our special attention. To a considerable degree, this is an exercise in aesthetics. Scientists would prefer us to think that it is an exercise in objectivity. More accurately, theirs is a quest for reification. Whether the scientific and technological imperatives may have unduly influenced and biased this process is a matter of growing philosophical concern. That a few stalwarts may have prematurely declared a victory for science, is hardly debatable.
The issue is simple. If there be an ultimate explanation, will it be bottom-up or top-down? Will reductionism or holism prevail? The jury is still out, but the BPWH is an extended exploration of the radical possibilities/consequences of holism.
Holism strongly implies the influence of a teleological or vital force. In the future lies a Great Attractor. Does this attractor operate mainly in the biological or psychological realm? On the one hand we have a 'directed' evolution (toward what?), while on the other hand there is projected an omega point, or singularity of consciousness.
Transhumanism is something of a middle ground, but strongly leaning toward the Omega solution, especially when we factor in the Simulation Hypothesis of Nick Bostrom. Frank Tipler's transhuman omega is a projection of the Anthropic Principle, also lying in the distant future. But keep in mind Ray Kurzweil's Technological Singularity, projected to occur c. 2045. Nor let us forget the doomsday argument of Carter and Leslie.
We then must reexamine the ETH vs. UTH, in the light of these Omega theories. The OH (omega hypothesis) very strongly argues in favor of the UTH over the ETH. If there were going to be an Omega, it would have been triggered long ago and far away. So either there is no omega, or it is geo-anthropo-theo-centric. This latter case is the central hypothesis of the BPWH, which includes the UTH as a corollary.
Everyone can see the information/intelligence explosion. What they fail to see is the I/I implosion, I^3. This is just a projection of the Unity of Consciousness hypothesis, with an eye toward the Omega. Do note that Tipler is now moving toward a Christo(?)-centric Omega: The Physics of Christianity (2007). Is my poor little SoT act about to be blown out of the water by the Big Boys?
Just from looking at the reviews, it seems that Frank, like Jake@OM, wants to retain the ETH along with the UTH. Sorry, guys, but it is a logical dead-end. However, the SoT will have to keep on his toes. It can't be long before the fringe physicists start seeing the connections between the Simulation hypothesis and something like the BPWH.
The greatest mystery, besides existence itself, is the coherence of the experiential world. Yet, it is seldom remarked, outside of the sparse field of the philosophy of coherentism:
As an illustration of the principle, if people lived in a virtual reality universe, they could see birds in the trees that aren't really there. Not only are the birds not really there, but the trees aren't really there either. The people know that the bird and the tree are there, because it coheres with the rest of their experiences in the virtual reality. Talking about coherence is an abstract way of talking about the things that the people really know, without regard for whether they are in a virtual reality or not.
The most often noted aspects of coherentism are the unity of consciousness, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics and the evolutionary and ecological coherence of the biosphere.
In the first instance we have a subjective unity, and in the second instance we have an objective unity of the world. The skeptics argue that the first two instances of coherence are largely the illusory product of the third. However, the overarching coherence implied by the Anthropic Principle ought to give pause even to the most hardened skeptic.
Then there is the problem of emergence. Emergent phenomena are just those that defy a reductionist explanation. The skeptics chime in once again by arguing that emergence is only apparent, and is just the measure of our ignorance of the underlying physical mechanisms. This skepticism finds its greatest challenge in its attempts to explain how, even in principle, mental phenomena might be reducible to physics. And this brings us back to the unity of consciousness.
It is the basic premise of the BPWH that the every form of coherence is grounded in teleology in general, and in the Telos/Omega in particular. This simple premise is just the result of applying Occam's Razor to these seemingly diverse phenomena, once again with an eye to the Anthropic Principle.
At work here is the Holographic Principle. We have a panentheism relative to the Omega/Telos: as above, so below. The macrocosm is reflected in every microcosm. We are created in the image of the Creator.
All of this is just to show how the BPWH proposes to Save the Appearances. In doing so, it envisions the Saving of the World.
BTW, while googling, I have hit upon the ISCID with some interesting forums:
The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) is a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism.
What I must continue to stress is the incompatibility of teleology and the ETH. Teleology, as seen in the evolution of life on the Earth, is very difficult to translate into a many-worlds context. This is especially true when we look at the projection of evolution onto the notion of progress, or technological progress in particular.
When we look at the historical trajectory of life on Earth, the most remarkable feature in the secular acceleration of the quantitative measures of life and its artifacts. The emergence of the Internet is just the latest and most egregious example. It is this principle of accelerated 'evolution' that is the most difficult to project onto an ETH. We are confronted by Fermi's Paradox in all its starkness: Where are they?
The accelerated evolution observed on the Earth is just what we would expect to see as we come increasingly under the influence of a Telos. If this acceleration were a universal phenomenon, then we would expect to have become an integral part of the universal phenomenon, long before the present time. But we see virtually no evidence of such external influence. Our isolation is stunning!
Instead, what we see looming ever larger ahead are the limits to our accelerated growth. The teleology of our evolution is not computing. Should we join with the skeptics in assuming that our progress is just an illusory flash in the cosmic pan?
The only alternative to the cosmic pessimism is the BPWH. It is the scientific reductionistic attempt to save the appearances that is misguided. The only alternative mandates a fundamental shift in our understanding of the nature of reality. Only then may coherence be regained and extended to include its logical Telos. Only thus may the appearances and the world be saved together.
Time to reiterate........
The Latter Days
Let's try for a post-R&D-show update. Revelation without Disclosure: R(w/o)D.
The Prime Directive suggests that we let (human) Nature take its course. We let the currently visible trends work themselves out:
- Materialism, scientific and otherwise, is on its last, shaky legs.
- Increasingly we understand the limits of science and technology.
- Post-modernism is on the rise.
- Reductionism gives way to the increasing coherence and holism of our knowledge.
- The all pervading/invading Internet presages I^3 = I/I*I = Information/Intelligence Implosion = Cosmic Coherence = Final Participation = Telos/Omega = Apokatastasis.
- The scriptural literalists of all stripes and sects are increasingly challenged on their own turf, hoisted on their own petard.
- The BPWH, or something rather similar, becomes a benefactor/instigator of I^3.
- We enter the Age of the Spirit, i.e. the Millennium.
- The paranormal becomes the normal.
- Our Cosmic eggshell becomes increasingly porous: UTs come in, we go out.
- The end of linear time/history follows naturally within a very few centuries.
- And that's all She wrote............
On the OMF, I say that a ball-park estimate of the probability of the BPWH yields one chance in a thousand, but with a probable error of at least a factor of a hundred. That could put us in the range of one chance in ten, which would be a whole other ball-game.
This latter estimate puts the BPWH well within the range of being a self-fulfilling prophecy. This would make it the most urgent topic of discussion on any global agenda. But what eventuality would be required to fulfill that potential? Could this come about in the natural, foreseeable course of events?
Yes, but that would be at least another ten or twenty years away. That is not too long to wait, unless the there is an untoward unraveling of the global economy in the meantime. Such an eventuality commands perhaps only one chance in ten, at this point.
Points 1 thru 7 in the above list will become more obvious with each passing year. An activist nucleus of a dozen people on the Internet, relative to the BPWH or some reasonable facsimile thereof, could well be sufficient to push this discussion into the general blogosphere and thereby into the purview of the cognoscenti/PtB, i.e. those not already in the global intel loop relative to R&D, etc. It might be useful to discuss these additional points on OM.
I give little credence to the possibility of a rogue or premature disclosure, either on their part or ours. There has been ample opportunity for that in the past sixty years. With each passing month, the BPWH becomes more amenable to a prime-time debut, thus obviating the possible rationale of a rogue action.
On the phenomenal side, all we need is an incident of sufficient magnitude to be noticed in the national media every few months. The is sufficient to keep the public in a state of wariness, and to keep the skeptics on the defensive. If there develops more than this minimum, it would be an indication that the potential of a major downside risk warrants an accelerated time-line, and vice-versa. There is, thusly, a continuing contest between revelation and disclosure, with the former being seen as preferable.
In the meantime @OMF, the critics have seemingly grown weary of their debunking tasks relative to the BPWH. They have run out of steam, while the energizer bunny keeps on trucking. I don't mean to provoke them by saying this, but, on the other hand, it is a very significant part of the revelation equation and timeline.
The historical fact is that the non-literalist, formerly 'mainline' xians, have simply not been keeping up their end of the evangelical boat. As a result, the literalists have come to exaggerate the strength of their position. I am glad to be in the vanguard of a resurgent and more 'liberal' or charitable evangelical movement. My charitable colleagues will never be able to keep up, as long as they continue to ignore the significance of the BPWH.
Early on here, there were interested parties who may have been persuaded to keep their distance, by the vehemence of the mainly literalist skeptics. As the latter fade back, it may allow anyone more favorably disposed to come back into the picture. That is the biggest unknown at present.
There is a 'nic654' at OM who purports to be in cahoots with an anti-human contingent of UTs, who are gleefully counting the days 'til humanity is wiped off the Earth, and sent to hell. There is a backlog of issues to which Nic has failed to respond:
- Is Earth not the most populous and physically rigid or dense of the created worlds?
- Is it not then fair to say that the Earth is the center of spiritual gravity?
- Is Jesus the only Son of God? The only sacrificial Savior in the known cosmos?
- How many other species of sapient beings were created on other worlds?
- What if any is their salvation 'economy'?
- Is there no Federation of these beings?
- What is the purpose of their existence? Do they have no mission?
- Will any of them experience Apokatastasis or reunion with the Creator?
- Since humans are the most physical of the sapient creatures, is it not true that we are also the most physically proficient in terms of our technologies that are based on physical science?
- Presumably, other beings have 'technologies' that are based more upon a spiritual 'science'. True?
Once again the 'literati' at OM have given up on me. But as they predicted, the others have given up as well. All that anyone ever wants is a piece of the rock. Nothing sufficiently solid appears with the BPWH, especially with Ron in abstentia. The trick I have failed to learn is how to create that perception. Many have done much more with much less.
Other ufologists might be taken to task for avoiding the religious issue. The exopolitical folks are a case in point. Where is Ed K when we need him? He is still active at OM. He seems to support the UTH over the ETH. I am perusing his blog at present. Here is a post by Jake that is worthy of consideration.
In his blog, Ed places most of his emphasis on the technological superiority of the Visitors, and the impact that their superiority is likely to have on our economy. Ed makes a strange move in his essay on 'Societal Collapse' reposted at OM.
Ed argues that the advanced societies have become sedentary, and so they try to suppress creativity, and so they suppress interest in UFOs.
The exception to this rule is Japan, according to Ed:
The recent open political UFO/ET discussions in the Japanese Parliament were in my opinion indicative of a developing secret power struggle between east and west over the suppression of ET technological innovation for the private sector by North American and European countries. This power struggle between east and west seems to be reaching a crisis point as Ben Fulford former Asian Bureau Chief for Forbes Magazine has indicated. The newly emerging civilizations in Asia are embracing technological innovation and creativity and can see the value and competitive advantage that open knowledge of ET reality can bring to their growing civilizations. While European and North American societies resist, propagandize in the media, and generally suppress the knowledge of ET realities we can expect the newly emerging societies to embrace these realities as the truth about extraterrestrial realities becomes more widely recognized.
The only reference to this rift, that I can find, is a BBC story.
Let's look at Societal Collapse. We are told that collapse may occur in two ways: due to internal or external causes. Here are examples of the latter:
It may be gradually incorporated into a more dynamic, more complex inter-regional social structure. This happened in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Levantine cultures, the Eastern Roman Empire, Mughal and Delhi Sultanates in India, Sung China, the Aztecs and Incas in Mesoamerica, and the modern civilizations of China, Japan, India as well as many modern states in the Middle East and Africa.
Here is the picture of sedentary societies being overcome by more advanced and dynamic cultures. The key word is 'incorporated'. Ed supposes that we can, once we eliminate the foot-draggers, be incorporated into a cosmic Federation.
It is only Jake who adds a note of caution in this cosmic optimism:
It is my opinion that the greatest hold-back fear, is the Religious Implications and that economic power would take a second position.
The potential technological explosion will pale in importance to the Religious Implications and subsequent shift in consciousness. Such could create absolute chaos, of which the PtB are fully aware of. Modeling scenarios are virtually impossible to predict within any certainty, what the world would look like after the first decade Post Disclosure. That is the Great Fear.
If the entire world learns they have an eternal soul confirmed by an advanced civilization, there is no telling how economies will shift, as our collective wants, needs and desires will transform. Any secular predictions or summations in lieu of this view are therefore secondary in importance.
Hi guys, the reality is that the same thing is true with religion. Its not openness that is the threat but the continued cover-up that only strengthens organized entrenched religious interests at the expense of newly emerging creative enlightened religious interests through the whole of the population. It is the secrecy, the lies, the deception in religious circles that is contributing to the eventual collapse of established entrenched religions just as with other entrenched interests.
The problem of our incorporation, not only into a superior civilization, but into a superior species, opens the genetic question, for those who are so inclined. Let's see what Ed has to say:
I find it even more interesting that increased intelligence through artificial genetic modification has adaptive evolutionary value. Increased species intelligence and technological development would allow a peaceful race to outmaneuver other hostile races without having to resort to overt hostile action. So we can assume that within a dynamic environment of both conflict and cooperation evolutionary forces would push species to artificially modify their genome and that of their allies toward increasing intelligence at ever faster rates. I would hazard a guess that we earth humans are and have been since our inception caught up in a evolutionary race for genome superiority between competing extraterrestrial races.
So Ed has failed to respond to or even to understand the soul question as posed by Jake. This, I believe, is my best port of entry into the mind of Ed.
Now Ed has this to say:
Lucky for us these human ETs that look like us seem to have superior technology to those making the secret agreements and alliances with different entrenched interests around our world. The impression I get is that these benevolent ETs won't make secret alliances and treaties because this is not the way they operate. They are waiting for the time where they can make full open public alliances and treaties. This of course irritates the elitists because they won't cooperate and so they are harassed even to this day by world military forces especially American forces.
The way this thing is shaping up it seems to me is that our situation is not just of our own doing that we on emerging worlds are on the battle lines and that there are essentially predatory races creating alliances with our predatory special interests. That seems logical to me. So this is much more than just about us, it means we are the center of attention in a ongoing power struggle between two very different types of ETs. Those that are competitive and predatory and those that work together cooperatively. Nature has to very different competitive evolutionary strategies on earth and I see just as with the laws of physics that this also extends out into the universe as a whole.
It is a very murky issue as to whether the visitors are ETs or UTs, in the world according to Ed.
Ed is a good-old country boy from the South. He has many strengths, but logical consistency is not one of them.
Let me try to be transparent about my concerns relative to Ed and Exopolitics.
I have never met Ed, but I have spoken with him on the phone several times. I heard Michael Salla give a talk at Steve Bassett's X-con a few years ago.
The definitive event for me was my phone call to Ed about three years ago when he was at an Exopolitical meeting in Hawaii. Along with Ed, Alfred and Michael, also present were Paola Harris, Scott Jones and Paul Hellyer. Ron had been invited, but did not attend. Ed was a board member at the time. Ed had been talking to Scott when I called, and he briefly put Scott on the phone.
A few days later I got a call from Ed. He was in a cave on the coast of Hawaii, having been instructed to go there by an entity with which he was in contact. Ed told me that, largely as a result of the previous phone call, he had been removed from the board.
I don't know to what degree Ed may be back in the good graces of Exopolitics, but he does make a show of that connection. I believe that Steve is now active with them.
It was Paola and Scott who moved against Ed, back then. To my limited knowledge, Scott is the least savory of the aviary. You may wish to consult Dick Farley and George Hansen on that matter. Scott has virtually gone to ground since Dick left his HPF under a cloud of serious political and personal recriminations. And see George's essay, 'Will the real Scott Jones please stand up?'
Paola Harris is a free-lance reporter living mainly in Rome where she covers UFOs and the Vatican. She escorted Fr. Balducci to the above mentioned X-con in DC where he gave the keynote speech.
I labor under the impression that Alfred and Michael are both of European origin, while they have spent much time over here, where at least one of them is a college faculty member. It does seem that we have a well-financed foreign invasion of the domestic UFO scene, with an emphasis mainly on political meddling, rather than fact gathering. None of these folk engage in serious dialog, and that even includes Ed.
The above are my personal, and admittedly rough, impressions. I would like to hear other impressions and information.
[Note that Ed is occasionally active on the Exopolitics segment of OMF, and his recent posting is the motivation for this entry.]
Back to the Soul Question......
I wish to discuss the 'soul barrier'. I bring this up in connection with the so-called 'species barrier'.
The issue behind this question is the potential for cooperation vs. competition amongst ETs/UTs.
Ufologists of the Nuts&Bolts variety fail to consider this question, probably to their own detriment.
There is the question of our cooperation with allegedly more evolved species of ETs. This also relates to the possible existence of a Federation of ETs, to which we may or may not be admitted.
In natural history there are ample examples of interspecies cooperation, the study of which comes under the rubric of ecology.
However, within archeology, there are no examples of cooperation among the hominids. It has always been winner take all. Homo sapiens sapiens are the winners, and we have taken it all.
It is a niche problem. Almost by definition, two species can never inhabit the same ecological niche. One must give way to the other. On this planet, the use of technology is a single niche. There can be only one 'homo faber'. How might this Gaian experience translate into the cosmos?
Imagine two advanced species having colonized two different galaxies. What happens when they inevitably meet? What might be the basis of their cooperation?
A primary basis would be MAD, mutually assured destruction. You mind your galaxy; we'll mind ours. We have galactic niches.
But then there is galaxy C, currently uncolonized. Will there be a scheme for avoiding inter-galactic war?
Given the high probability of separate origins of life, the early evolvers into intergalactic conquest would likely have already divvied up the few billion available/habitable galaxies. End of story?
It is very unlikely that competition would be tolerated within any given galaxy, let alone over any given planet. That would be a sure recipe for MAD. Over the aeons, the Federation would have devised elaborate precautions just to prevent any such eventuality.
I strikes me as being highly improbable that there could be anything more than the appearance of inter-specific competition relative to the Earth. Any rumors to the contrary would be a sham.
The above speculation concerns only the ETH.
If instead we are confronted with a UTH, there will be other considerations........
Given the UTH, we have no choice but to posit a cosmic creator intelligence, CCI. In this case, every sapient creature is a UT, an ensouled entity, having been spun-off directly from the CCI. By virtue of their direct divine lineage, each such creature is an integral part of the Creator. It shares all powers with the Creator, which would include sapience and shape-shifting, in particular. Ensouled entities experience neither birth nor death; they merely shape-shift from one realm into another. Their powers are limited only by the necessarily shared fate of the communal/cosmic Telos. Needless to say, their powers may be temporarily limited by their given shapes/bodies. And those limitations are largely just psycho-socially ingrained. The various realms of existence may best be thought of as dream worlds or virtual realities.
In light of these considerations, I don't believe that any sense can be made of the notion of different types or grades of souls. At most, there could only be temporary distinctions due to the varying experiential components of a given life-time, for instance. But, eventually they all return to, and become one with, their Singular Source, the CCI. The non-sapient species do not harbor individual souls. They do not individually posses long-term eidetic memories, which are the hall-mark of the human/UT soul. There is rather a collective soul.
A soul is an all or nothing, personal attachment to the CCI. The shape-shifting is omni-valent, or toti-potent.
Does this excurses into the UT/soul hypothesis reflect back upon the ETH?
I submit that the more carefully that one considers the UTH, the less palatable becomes the ETH. In any scheme of creation, the UTH simply exhausts the relevance of an ETH. Given the possibility of the former, there is just nothing to be gainsaid for the latter hypothesis.
If the Nuts&Bolts ETHers are properly confronted on the Soul Question, their system of beliefs will come under severe strain.
The existence of souls is either going to greatly simplify or exacerbate the Visitor problem: either we are their soul-brothers or we are not. If we are not their soul-brothers, then there is not likely to be any basis for long-term cooperation. If we comprise different orders of creation, the competitive instinct is likely to overrule the slim chances of cooperation, without very strong divine intervention.
However, if we are soul-brothers, cooperation is the only real choice.
The general point is that if souls don't exist or our souls are of a different order, the chances for a cooperative outcome are greatly reduced. If we are soul-brothers, all things are possible, and a mutual outcome is virtually assured.
Or we can look at this same issue from the PoV of the Creator. A creation without souls, or with different orders of souls, would be a recipe for disaster. We can only imagine that if there is a soul, it is universal and sapient. Furthermore, the mere existence of a soul greatly favors the UTH over the ETH, particularly if you consider the problem of Transhuman evolution.
Transhuman evolution would require different orders of souls, if there were any such. The existence of a soul argues strongly against evolution being the underlying order of reality.
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