Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Matt's Metaphysics and More (as of Dec '17)


Stuff and Space
There’s stuff and there’s space.
“Stuff” is anything that’s a thing. (I’m not thinking too deeply into this yet.)
“Space” is a little more complicated-- it’s anything that is not a thing, but rather, the absence of things, which in turn can actually serve as the medium in which things move/reside. So, Time is also a kind of Space.

Where did these two types come from; what created them?
Shut up, that’s what. It’s not within the capacity of the human mind to “see” “behind” this level of reality (read: Immanuel Kant; Ludwig Wittgenstein; Gordon Kaufman). Just because you can ask the question “Oh, gee, where did it all come from?” doesn’t mean that you get an answer, or even that it’s actually a coherent question.

Stuff either connects with other stuff or doesn’t connect.
When it connects, higher-order stuff results. Sometimes the higher-order stuff is a more complex thing; other times it’s a relationship between things.


Not Theology
“Theology” is, unfortunately, too often conflated with theistic theology, in which the principle(s) of ultimacy is given a personality. Thus, “atheology” is the consideration of ultimate/concern without dredging up “god”ly forms of theology (idolatry).

Dualistic Atheology
This is a pretentious but accurate phrase for where my beliefs have landed.
Here’s another one: “existential mereology.”

There are two ultimate principles: encounter and emptiness.
Each principle can occur as the divine or the demonic.

The divine dimension of encounter: insight, wholeness, love....
The demonic dimension of encounter: misunderstanding, meanness, Moloch (systemic evil)...
(Neutral aspects would include: knowledge, creativity, power, personality, meaning/narrative…)

The divine dimension of emptiness: humility, freedom, possibility, rest...
The demonic dimension of emptiness: absurdity, loneliness, being swallowed by the abyss...


This is an extensive intellectual/emotional (or simply “holistic”) consideration of one’s relationship with the phenomena/experiences of encounter and emptiness.

Regarding encounter, one must consider and adopt a caring stance towards what it means:
·        To be
·        To be capable of meaning-discovery/making
·        To be oneself
·        To be oneself with/among things
·        To be oneself with/among people
·        To be oneself in the world at this time

Regarding emptiness, one must consider and adopt a caring stance towards what it means:
·        To die
·        To live in a world that (probably) cannot be made whole
·        To live in a world heading towards heat death
·        That nothing of this means anything ultimately

Managing Dualism
This, for me, is the next major challenge in developing my secular spirituality:
Creating a coherent spirituality,
given the major tension between encounter and emptiness.

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