Friday, 31 March 2017

Logic And Timelines

When I studied logic at University, I learned:

if p, then not not-p;
not (p and not-p);
either p or not-p.

For example, if it is the case that Socrates was executed in 399 BC, then it is not the case that Socrates was not executed in 399 BC - unless there are alternative timelines, in which case logical consistency is maintained by making our propositions, p and not-p, more specific. Thus, if it is the case that Socrates was executed in 399 BC in timeline 1, then it is not the case that Socrates was not executed in 399 BC in timeline 1.

This may seem obvious but I meet people who get their idea of logic not from Aristotle or his successors but from Mr Spock. "Logic" means something like thinking rigidly and unemotionally instead of just thinking and speaking consistently which everyone tries to do. No one openly contradicts himself on a matter of fact, then says, "I am free to contradict myself because I am not bound by logic like Mr Spock." And anyone who did say that would not succeed in telling us anything. "Socrates both was and was not executed in 399 BC in timeline 1 and I am free to contradict myself..."

It might be imagined that a rigidly "logical" thinker, having denied that Socrates could both be executed and not be executed in 399 BC, would then compound his rigidity by denying that there can be alternative timelines. Merely to reply that Mr Spock experiences alternative timelines is to confuse a conceptual question with an empirical question.

A conceptual question: Are alternative timelines possible?
Answer: Yes. There is no reason why not. No contradiction is involved.

An empirical question: Do alternative timelines in fact exist?
Answer, within the framework of the Star Trek narrative: Yes. They have been discovered and entered.

Not only Star Trek. We are grateful for the alternative timelines of Poul Anderson, SM Stirling and Harry Turtledove.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Must Being Become Conscious?

Being does not move in a single direction, towards consciousness, but instead moves in every possible direction. However, these include consciousness. Therefore, perhaps, being had to become conscious at some times and places. Such places include this planet. Consciousness is the lotus that has grown from the darkness.

Over-specialized species become extinct when their environment changes whereas alert and active animals can adapt their behavior and might become intelligent. Human beings are intelligent but not necessarily contemplative. There are degrees of contemplation.

Being was not able to advance directly to supreme enlightment but had to advance through stages:

unconsciousness
consciousness
intelligence
degees of contemplation

Stages were necessary because life was not designed but evolved.

Friday, 10 March 2017

The One...

The One is at every time and place...
...but not conscious at every time and place.
Every organism conscious of its environment is the One conscious of itself.
Each organism is the One...
 
...but It transcends them.
Death can be physically painful or accompanied by unresolved issues.
But the One transcends death.
It precedes and succeeds consciousness.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Karma + GIGO

Each human organism is born with karmic dispositions, characteristic ways of acting.
Then it receives social input, Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Thus, karma + GIGO = a person.
Serene reflection meditation unravels GIGO and addresses karma.

However, organisms die before the issues are resolved.
Organisms were not designed but evolved.
Therefore, no designer is responsible.
I think that karma is genetic, not reborn.

Monday, 6 February 2017

What We Can Say

We cannot meet the Buddha because he died a long time ago.
He was alive and we will be dead.
If he were alive now on another continent or planet, then we probably would not meet him.
However, he and we exist in different regions of space-time.

Therefore, we can say, "The Lord calls," meaning the Buddha.
Also, the One calls.
THAT is always here and now.
But It is not a person.

The One and the Buddha correspond approximately to God the Father and God Incarnate in Christian theology.
But only approximately.
Buddhism sometimes sounds like theism, sometimes not.
In particular, there is no Creator.

The Buddha addresses the cause of suffering but is not the cause.
He treats the wound caused by the poisoned arrow but did not shoot the arrow.
The One, not a person, is not responsible for Its internal processes.
It is our responsibility to respond.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Duality Of Thought

We manipulate the environment with hands and think about it with brains.
Thought both reflects and distorts reality.
Mythological thought personifies and mystifies aspects of reality.
Ideological thought rationalizes and legitimizes existing social relationships.

However, society changes and ideas change with it.
Scientific thought is tested against empirical reality.
Beliefs and psychologies diverge from reality.
The thought, "Where was God in the Holocaust?," combines belief with reflection.

"Experience of God" must mean "experience of life, theistically interpreted."

Monday, 30 January 2017

The Fall

Being ascended from unconsciousness into consciousness. However, the first moment of this ascent was also the moment of the Fall into suffering or unsatisfactoriness, as formulated in the First Noble Truth of Buddhism. Unconscious organisms respond to environmental alterations but do not feel or sense them. Feeling and sensation are the earliest stages of consciousness. An organism that has become conscious feels hot when it is hot and senses heat when there is a nearby source of heat. The feeling of bodily states probably preceded the sensing of anything external.

A conscious organism dislikes excessive heat or cold and therefore moves to a more comfortable position. It dislikes hunger and likes eating, therefore seeks food. Naturally selected organismic sensitivity to environmental alterations quantitatively increased until it was qualitatively transformed into conscious sensation because two kinds of sensation, pleasure and pain, have survival value. They are also interdependent. Hunger when unable to eat and satisfaction when eating are opposite ends of a single spectrum or two sides of a single coin. Therefore, there was no Paradisal state of consciousness before suffering.