Monday 4 February 2019

Infinity versus open-ended

The difference is that infinity is defined abstractly, i.e. without any reference to consciousness; it is posited as a 'thing'. The open-endedness, un-boundedness of reality is, by contrast, an experience.

The following paradoxes might help - they are paradoxes because the explanations assume divisions that are in reality unity. So they are fingers pointing at the moon, ladders to be kicked away after use...

Consciousness is necessary for the concept of infinity, or for any other knowledge, but that fact is ignored in 'definitions' of infinity - this is the root of the falseness and error of infinity.

We know infinity only by consciousness; but infinity dispenses with consciousness. But really, knowing is a part of creating - it is the active/ process, in-Time interaction of Being with reality that is creation.

(Whenever we find ourselves discoursing without recognition of the fact that Being is Be-ing - 'ing' meaning something that is in-Time, includes Time - then we are in error. Since Infinity does not take account of Time, it is an error.)

Chaos is made-into creation by the be-ing of Beings, by the existence of Beings; knowledge arises from a Being perceiving - it is the insertion of Beings into chaos that makes creation.

By the very process of Being, is creation.

We cannot contemplate chaos; because our contemplation is creation. Thus - simply by Being, all 'things' create. (That is, there are no things, only Beings.)

Consciousness is a part of this, and consciousness is quantitative. All Being entails knowledge - albeit mostly non-conscious knowledge. All Being has consciousness - although mostly this is minimal - minimally conscious Beings are what we mischaracterise as 'things', minerals etc.

As consciousness increases it first looks outward; so we first become aware of external creation but not our our own role in creating it: we tend to set creation against our-selves. creation is, at first, realer than our-self; and the separation seems like an aberration to be solved by the self re-entering into, losing itself in, creation. (

(Our subjective world is apparently illusion/ maya - the external world of creation is the only objectivity.)

As consciousness increases further, it turns inward, we become aware of our-selves; and the suspicion arises that all creation is of our-selves, and outside is only chaos - the suspicion that we are deluded about external creation.

(This is solipsism, or 'relativism' - or subjectivism... apparently we are real and everything else a 'projection'.)

Later still - modernity - it is recognised that the absolute separation of the self and the world mean that neither is real; both are illusion. The world has no meaning without the self - it is chaos. The self has no meaning without the world - it is a delusion encapsulated.

(This is nihilism - mainstream modern discourse.) 

If consciousness can be increased yet further, to a divine level, then we can become aware (albeit temporarily) that all creation is a participation of the self in the totality of everything: both are real, both are needed.

The world and self never were separated - creation happened and continues because Beings live, develop, and are conscious. Indeed it is the process of separation and recombination, necessarily caused-by the insertion of Being into chaos - that is itself Creation.

That is, we can experience the fact that we are divine, and necessarily engaged in the creation of this world (and this is all possible because we are children of the creator).


ToTheRightRon said...

What is chaos? Potentiality?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ron - Stuff before creation - unordered substrate.

August said...

I think infinity is open-ended. Part of a category of concepts known and yet unknown to us. Like perfection- we don't know it's totality. We know imperfection. We may know incremental improvement in particular domains. We cannot fathom perfection itself, yet we have the concept, which implies the concept is reflective of reality in some sense.
I think being- in the English language, anyway- is problematic. When the Eastern Orthodox use the terms created and uncreated, I think they are somewhat effectively attempting to avoid the problem- at least they are doing a better job than what I've seen elsewhere.
A create being is subject to time, to whatever extent there is time. Time to me is movement- and is largely relevant to us being in bodies with specific localities.
We have a tough time even conceptualizing what an uncreated being would be like, since our referents are in the created world. We get some information through revelation, but then how we process that information can easily be influenced by the nature of the created order, and it is easy to get confused.

Bruce Charlton said...

@August - The metaphysics I am arguing-from is totally different from that of Orthodoxy - being evolutionary and pluralist

So I think perfection is another absolute abstraction I would rather do without!

August said...

The space and time inevitably receive attributes our ancestors reserved for God, when these concepts are dispensed with.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"We cannot contemplate chaos, because our contemplation is creation."

My notes on John 1 (to be published soonish, maybe) contain almost exactly this same sentence!

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Exactly! This is what the beginning of the Fourth Gospel is talking about; and why 'word' (logos) is used.