Sunday, December 6, 2009
A correspondent: 'You wrote:”But you are both incorrect and foolish if you think the universe, is or can be, proven logically to be created by God.” I quoted a proof in my blog, which proves the existence of a Creator of this universe. Up to you to disprove it, not to assume that I am foolish.'
I'm not assuming you are foolish. I am saying your actions are not thought through. Science is based on the sceptical principle. Nothing is proved until natural evidence, which could refute it, is actually found to be consistent with it in every case. Your 'logic' is based on the reverse religious principle that your claim is true unless someone proves it false. This doesn't work in nature, or reality, and it sullies the water of truth.
Correspondent: "You wrote: “You are also wrong about the cosmos depending on the rule of order. Chaos is essential to the emergence of new order, to the evolution of living diversity, and to the subjective experience of consciousness.” On what scientific premises is this based on? All observed scientific phenomena follow the laws of nature, i.e. the universe is orderly. The burden of proof is on the person stating something contradicting to science.'
The laws of nature are not just orderly, they are also chaotic. They give rise to both order and chaos as complementary manifestations of how complexity arises. Stop for a minute and think about how impossible your postulate is. If what you say is true chaos couldn't exist. Neither in the weather, nor in the primal condition. It would have never been heard of. We wouldn't know there was such a thing. You wouldn't even know there was something called disorder or tohu vohu standing at the very source of genesis. Worse still the laws of nature are specifically predisposed to both chaos and uncertainty. Your fallacy comes from assuming law implies order. It doesn't.
The universe is full of examples, not only of chaos, but the necessity of chaos for new order to emerge, for the weather to change, for us to have new ideas, and for the diversity of life to flower. It is manifest in the equations governing the weather, in the dynamics of atomic nuclei and in the processing of the human brain. The phenomenon of "Eureka" is a transition from chaos to order as the answer is discovered and without the chaos that preceded it the solution would never come. Chaos fully explores the space of reality while order becomes stuck in the rut of fatal attraction. Chaos is ultimately sensitive so it results in unpredictable instabilities in the butterfly effect. Chaos is also coupled to quantum uncertainty in ways which science is in the process of discovering - that quantum chaos leads to quantum entanglement.
Now the Torah is a human account of God acting in history. You can pretend that the Pentateuch was written by Moses if you like but we all know that Deuteronomy was 'discovered' by the Yahwists only 23 years before Jerusalem fell to Babylon, in a subversive coup against the Host of Heaven and the older regional worship in the tabernacle. Most of it dates from the exile. The Bible also clearly bears the editorial stamp of many older authors from both Northern Israel and Judea. No matter how much we try to say it's God's book and therefore that God created the universe, this is fundamental error. In Genesis 1 the plants and animals and the sun and moon were all made out of order in a completely illogical manner that can't survive. It is a beautiful archetyopal but allegorical account, not an actual, or natural, description of creation.
This idea of God, although abstract and 'faceless' is still manifestly a male personality - a jealous lover of Israel in the Old Testament and a father who sacrifices his own son in the New. This idea of God is both wrong and dangerous, and Kabbalists knew this from before the time of Jesus and this is why we have the idea of the Shekhinah - the feminine face of reality - retreating after Adam and Eve were thrown violently out of paradise - and even further as the Fall continued into the tumult of apocalypse. In the Kabbalistic tale, the Shekhinah will return to grace reality in matrimonial concord only in the final unveiling, as reintegrating shattered sparks or shards , along with the Tree of Life. This is the tree of our long-term survival and the diversity of life.
Now everyone knows that the Song of Songs is not just a dirty little love poem that Rabbi Akiva mischievously inserted into the Torah, but the Holy of Holies - the very inner sanctum of our relationship with the mysterium tremendum. This tale is the tale of burgeoning fertility between the Mashiach in the person of Solomon and the Shulamite bride. Thus the inner truth of 'creation' is not a stand alone 'creator' but a complementarity, just as Wisdom crieth out from everlasting in the Proverbs that she was there with Him before his works of old - before the sun and earth were born. This is exactly the same story as Tao and Tantra tell.
This complementarity is clearly at the root of existence in wave-particle, boson-fermion, and space-time complementarity and it is in the existential condition in the complementarity between conscious mind and the physical body and brain. It is also manifest in the complementarity of sexuality without which we could not exist.
To suggest that God created a sterile, ordered universe which cannot evolve is an insult to the Shekhinah, to nature and to common sense. It is a violation because life is the crucible of transcendent awareness and it HAS to be able to evolve to fully flower and manifest the transcendent realization which the universe is here to witness. We now have the genetic codes of a large number of species and the traces of the evolutionary process are clear for all to see.
The Gnostics likewise thought of the male deity as a demiurge - a legislator - Samael or Saklas, who had usurped the cosmic condition, leading to the war of dark and light.
Jesus was not just a kosher conservative Rabbi in Galilee. There is abundant evidence from Josephus, the Talmud itself, and the gospels that Jesus was integrating all the religious and cultural traditions of his time including the fertility tradition, which is why he was anointed by a woman rather than a priest and why he was supported by the women out of their very substance and why they remained with him when the disciples fled as Zechariah wrote (see previous blog).
So I am asking you to reconsider your journey. We don't further our own fulfillment or the future of the universe by trying to force a mythical reality in the shadow of our own industrial manufacture and our ideas of morality and law on natural processes. Nature may be capable of evolving moral consciousness, but neither deterministic causality nor moral law can generate nature.
Friday, December 4, 2009
I'll try to give you an outline of where things stand from my 'point of view', re life, the universe, and everything including Yeshua and the Bible. It does have something deep to do with fractals. It's a fair challenge on the part of life itself. It is working within the religious tradition to try to bring about a natural flowering of future goodness.
I grew up as an Anglican, which is hardly a religion since it was invented by Henry the 8th for a divorce, but it still has traditional protestant features and keeps the communion. I went to Sunday school and sang in the choir and feared God as an invisible entity, who I thought I should do right by and prayed to in the night.
Then when I came of age in the 60s, the psychedelic revolution hit me. I can remember the first time I read of LSD in the local tabloid, long before it became notorious. The article immediately made my hair stand on end. I fearfully knew I would somehow, sometime, somewhere end up discovering its 'psychotic' secrets as part of a far-ranging exploration, from Eastern mysticism to Finnegan's wake. When I did, in London as a graduate student, I died and was reborn - a number of times. The overwhelming irreversible conclusion I came to was that the universe, and is inner secrets, were deeply and fundamentally different from anything like our traditional idea of God and religion, and much more ingenious and confounding in their manifestations.
From that point, I had to know how life began, what consciousness is, how evolution gave rise to the conscious brain, and how all this relates to the cosmological process. I hesitate to call it the 'design of nature' because this intimates echoes of the 'intelligent design' idea, which is a gross metaphor for technology. As we design a watch, so God designs us even more ingeniously than we can imagine. This makes no explanatory sense, and is just a recursive projection of our industrial culture on to the cosmos. And who designs the designer? We are a self generative fractal cosmos, not a toy made by a skeleton in the closet.
Seven years later I took my first sabbatical from university, split from my partners and young family and wandered India as a sadhu, meeting some very high lamas and other spiritual practitioners, looking into the depths of the contemplative mind, which the Eastern tradition claims is a reflection of the cosmic conscious self, or no-self, as the case may be, in the reality contest between the Upanishads and Buddhist perspectives. In Europe and the US I investigated molecular biology. Finally I made a journey to the native origins of the world's power plants, taking peyote with the native American Church, the magic mushroom teonanactl in many places, and ayahuasca - the vine of the soul - with a leprous shaman in the Amazon basin.
Since then I have spent most of my life studying developments in the origins of life, evolution and consciousness, with a mathematical basis in chaos and quantum uncertainty, which in turn has something deep to do with free will. What I have to say about the 'design' of the universe is this: The universe is a cosmological fractal unfolding in space time. All the laws of chemistry and of molecular biology, from proteins up to tissues, and whole organisms give rise to an evolving quantum fractal. It is the Sigma of interactive complexity - paradise on the cosmic equator - that forms and apex between Alpha and Omega of creation and destruction. The theory of everything at the core is not just to make galaxies, stars and black holes, but centrally to make life and the evolution of complex sentient conscious life possible - for a purpose which is the universe discovering itself, through the biota over epochs. This is a sacred, cosmic and spiritual reality, which is also physical and natural reality. We don't need to fudge it to God. It's here and it's real and it's urgent that we understand it deeply and act toward it respectfully, and very sensitively, for the future of all life and the generations to come depend on us.
If we look out at the physical universe and try to ask where is it that we will find the spark of conscious awareness, the answer is not in the centre of stars or in the dark matter and energy in the vast reaches of the heavens, but in the very biota of which we are an integral part. It is we who carry the crucible of consciousness within us and it is to ourselves we must thus turn to discover the inner secrets of gnosis which we have a deep urge to pass on to God. This is not something we can afford to renege on, or we will surely fail and possibly annihilate ourselves in apocalyptic tumult.
The origins of life are not a precipitous divide between God's perfect design and blind groping by chance. The fractal laws of nature not only make life possible, but to all intents and purposes richly abundant, on the cosmic equator in space-time, of which life on Earth is a pearl of an example. The idea that life cannot come into being spontaneously is rapidly fading due to discoveries over the past couple of years showing how simple molecules can, through their fractal relationships, reach the point of the last universal common ancestor. I have references to these developments in my papers on Biocosmology and the Tree of Life on my website http://www.dhushara.com.
Because we are conscious and have inherited, through our own actions, personal responsibility for the future of life on Earth, we HAVE to come to terms of guardianship that will ensure the continuity and diversity of life for the generations to come. This is an heroic quest, which stands very clearly in the context of the messianic quest for world redemption, so, with or without God, we have an undeniable responsibility to assume what you might call Christ nature, or Madonna nature.
I have researched in depth the cultural origins of the Judeo-Christian God acting in history. In 1999-2000 I also made a millennial sabbatical vigil to Jerusalem, at the invitation of the son of one of the founders of Tel Aviv, and gave a workshop on the Tree of Life and unveiling reunion in a litle academy on the Old City overlooking the main souk down to al-Aqsa and the Temple. What I learned about Christianity from my time in Israel was intriguing and also disturbing, as it showed me that fundamentally the Hebrew religion was the true mother tradition and Christianity was a pagan distortion of the path of the covenant, looking ever more degraded and hollow in the Old City and surviving best a long distance from its source, where myth and fable take the place of hard realities.
Now this brings me to the person of Jesus and the apocalyptic quest. I have a great deal of admiration for Jesus and regard him as a benefactor and forerunner of our own existential dilemma. I have spent a long time poring over his many paradoxical sayings in both the synoptic gospels and founding gnostic works, such as the Gospel of Thomas, which I hold very dearly, as well as his 'miraculous' deeds. In my opinion Jesus was a genius reconceiver of the cultural and religious paradigm, who attempted to rescue, not just the lost sheep of Israel, but bring about a cultural fusion of the diverse spiritual traditions of his day, on the basis that, if the apocalyptic unveiling were to be real, it would require celebrating it in a manner that flowed from every tradition, both pagan and kosher.
So on this basis, Jesus was anointed by a woman, followed by the women of Galilee, supported by the women out of their very substance. His miracles stem not from the Hebrew tradition, but from the tradition of miraculous dread of Nabatea where Dhushara the Lord of Seir, was an ancient and later Dionysian god, whose tragic mask of death was the portal to immortal life. It is here we find the turgid and turbid nature miracles, from walking on water, through causing the pigs to drown, to the true vine and water into wine on the very day of the epiphany of Dionysus, not in the Hebrew path which abhors 'miracle' workers and aspires always for a living human messiah, who will bring about a long-term epoch of peace and prosperity, as Solomon did, despite his many wives and their many strange religions.
As we have seen, Jesus' actions also stand in the fertility tradition. His mission took off in echo of John the Baptist, whose head was taken on a plate by Salome who danced Ishtar-Inanna's dance of the seven veils, returning from the underworld to claim her improprietous husband Tamuz-Dumuzzi, now in the person of Jochanan as the mortal sacrifice, just as Jesus was sacrificed, having been anointed to his doom by a woman, who is also reputed to have been his partner. According to Josephus, this sacrifice of John was caused directly by Herod taking his cousin Herodias his brother Philip's wife, for his own, rejecting his previous wife - no less than the princess of Nabatea - who had to flee for her life, resulting in a war between Herod and King Aretas and Queen Shaqilat, the conjoint rulers of Nabatea, which was the cause of the generals being present at the feast of John's beheading.
This attempt to bridge fertility and Hebrew apocalyptic religion is why the Talmud claims Jesus was Balaam the Lame who hearkens out of Edom. It is why he has never been recognized as the true messiah of Israel, although there is a small following of Jewish Christians who think otherwise.
Nevertheless I find Jesus' lessons and insights profound. However we both know that, before his death, he said that people would not see death before he returned on the right hand of power, and the Christian church is founded only as a temporary guardianship until the return of the Lord as the 'thief in the night'. But we find 2000 years later that it is the church that is centrally responsible for making it impossible for any flesh and blood messiah to save the world and its living diversity, by launching Jesus into a pagan demi-God status unlike any Jewish messiah, making it impossible to move on to the phase beyond the self-destructive tumult of apocalypse, to the bridal unveiling of reunion under the Tree of Life, which we all ultimately seek, and hunger for, in paradise.
Now regarding the authenticity of the books of the old testament purporting to prophesy Yesha's coming, such as Isaiah. Although Christian forefathers have bent over backwards to construe as many 'prophecies' as they can into Jesus' mission and crucifixion, this doesn't mean Isaiah is not a genuine text. I would accept that Isaiah has been edited by two to four authors (deutero, tritio etc.) at various times through the period of the exile and possibly up to around 200BC. But this doesn't mean that they have been tampered with to make them look as if Jesus was the prophesied messiah. Jesus played out very carefully a Dionysian tragedy in his mission and the crucifixion, which was crafted to be a fulfillment of the prophecies, in an ultra-Shakesperian act of genius, from the blasphemous 'rebirthing' of Eliazer, the journey of the palm King of fertility, and the turning of the tables, all the way through the breaking of the phallic reed staff, to the casting lots on his garments and the waters out of the belly. It is not just Isaiah that echoes with this apocalyptic mission but Zechariah and deeply the Psalms. Notice how the men all fled while the women stayed to witness the event, significant of both fertility religion and Zechariah's apocalyptic tale of the foolish shepherd.
But we now have to return to God and the disquieting role God plays as a jealous and violent lover of old Israel and as a schizophrenically bipolar father, who sacrifices his own son, so that we can all have forgiveness and be saved. If this isn't a toxic recipe for millennia of mayhem, from martyrdom, through Crusade, to Inquisition and genocidal war, I can't think of a more poisonous one.
One step back and we have the holy communion, an endless cycle of cannibalistic drinking of the flesh and blood of the redeemer, without which there is no remission from sin, surpassed only by Aztec ritual, and respected by them for its core of human sacrifice. Who ever said life works this way? Who said we have to be sacrificed to the death to be saved? We have to have carnivores, just as we must needs have both plants, and animals that survive on eating plants, but why do we need to be saved by a father who murders is own son to make a point and then blames it on the Jews? If we are going to have a genuine sacramental religion, let it be one involving power food where the sacrament is a genuine spiritual catalyst of epiphany and enlightenment, just as the Native American Church and the Union Vegetale do in the Amazon.
Let's step back a bit further and think about this in social and biological terms. God is jealous because he is functioning as an entity that can keep us all in line. He is a moral actor who we can't see, but he can see right into our hearts and souls. So we can fool one another, but we can't fool God, because we are stark naked in His presence. This is a perfect catch 22 and it has strong evolutionary undertones. It inhibits intra-social strife, while accentuating inter-social dominance. It will, over time, result in societies with minimal internal conflict, even if through draconian punishments like stoning for adultery, which will become larger than other societies, even if fascist theocracies, and be able to dominate their competitors, even by genocidal war.
Thus we can expect that belief in God and personality types which sacrifice inquiry for belief in a higher authority, and the rule of divine order, will become an evolutionary feature of human behavior, committing to moral respect for fellow religionists in fear of God, and when we err, confession in the forgiveness of God. We will repress the heretics and unbelievers, consider it our duty to go on Crusade, foment jihad in the name of al-Llah, and stand ever closer to the red nuclear button in the sure conviction that, with God on our side, even if we have to leave the late planet Earth, we will have the face of God, and heaven to greet us, just as all Islamic martyrs are taught and believe. If God IS real, why DOES He depend on such belief to be 'real'? It's a bit like Jesus not being able to perform any mighty feats in his home town of Nazareth, where people knew him too well and said "physician heal thyself", possibly referring to the very lameness noted in the Talmud.
The acid test to me is this: Our duty is to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Jesus said in his last moments before Pilate "for this reason I came into the world - to bear witness to the truth". This truth is nature , life and consciousness and the enchanted loom of sexuality, perhaps the most altruistic trick the universe has managed to come up with, through which we all become mortals, but give birth to endless new forms of life, by contributing only half our genes, along with half from the beloved 'other', a complementarity, just as mind and body and wave and particle are complementary.
It is true that humans are capable of what we might call evil, but the prisoners' dilemma teaches us that faithfulness and deceit are two parts of the complete reality. Survival requires astute character, balancing a good degree of cooperative faith with enough competitive defection, or 'betrayal', to keep our own genes alive. Survival of the fittest is not pure selfishness, nor is it a suckers game of unvarying cooperation, but a complex social system based on character and compassion as well as jealousy and hate. To build the whole model of reality on sin, evil and fallibility, is itself a fundamental and evil betrayal of the long-term evolutionary viability of human nature. Rather than original sin and the need for a God to destroy evil to order us into a mindless state of absolute perfection, we need to learn how our original virtue as a species has evolved a capacity to love one another and to care, even for strangers, far beyond the bounds of genetic kinship.
To have Christ nature we cannot afford to believe, because this will inevitably muddy the pool, just as the angel rustled the waters in the Pool of Bethesda. Neither can we stare at the perfect mirror of consciousness assuming the cosmic self, or no-self exists, as the Buddhists and Vedantists vie over. But we need to look ever more deeply into the holy grail of existence ceaselessly and patiently, casting no lots on the garments of the universe.
To learn to be Christ, we have to take the personal responsibility to save the world, for the life of the future generations to come, without any predilection, belief, or commands, or demands upon others. Only in our mutual liberation from bondage will the paradigm of paradise come.
This is the lesson of Isaiah 61 which Jesus read out in his first sermon at Nazareth, for which he was nearly thrown off the cliffs for swearing Elijah and Elisha performed only for Naaman the Syrian and the woman of Sidon - "and we shall renew the old wastes, restore the waste cities, as the garden causeth the things that are sewn in it to spring forth". So is the pronunciation of the Tree of Life, "as the Bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments and the Bride decketh herself with her jewels', for this is the unveiling reunion, under the Tree of Life - hidden since the foundation of the world.
love and regards,