Mystical is just what you don’t understand yet. Unfortunately, that’s everything. And yet we all —scientists with the “laws of physics,” cause-needers with “God,” mystics with “enlightenment,” nihilists with “nothing”—proceed from the same presumptuous assumption—that the universe is intelligible. Yes, nihilists too, because what exactly is there nothing of?
This is presumptuous since, as we all know, the essence of reality can’t be expressed in language at all. Of any kind. Language cannot contain or 1:1 represent reality—it is only a local gambit of trying to hold down reality long enough to get through life. That it more or less works for that purpose does not automatically mean it explains everything. A thing, and talking about a thing, are not the same thing.
Freud said there were three “I’s”—but I think there are hundreds, maybe infinite ones. The main question is whether there is a base “I”—and whether that is a “soul.” Science says no, Buddha says why ask?, all my life experience says no. Just as God gets stronger the stronger your army gets, and not the other way around, the “truth” will come from whoever controls language.
The fight over abortion, for example, has nothing to do with the “value of human life”—which the fate of the unwanted in our society richly demonstrates—but is really a fight for the idea of meaning. Or, if you will, God. And a fight for the idea of God is a fight for boundaries, for discreteness, for a designed pattern, for clear lines—life and death, right and wrong, us and them—and a fight against the conception of a continually evolving reality with no mastermind, where boundaries are porous, ruled by odds, and the shadow world of potential reality co-exists with the realized and can’t be separated from it. This is the thought pattern the modern world is tending toward and I have no doubt will ultimately take for granted; I accept it because the evidence in my own life overwhelmingly says it is so—and the evidence that it is not so, basically non-existent. You might say, I know it intuitively. Which brings us to intuition. The word, since it is the one placed by those who deny it, has negative connotations. Bureaucrats are constantly trying to put us on teams. Or in generations. Or ethnicities. Or income brackets. Or sexual identities. Anything where you can check a box and give them their beloved data. I don’t see “intuition” as something in opposition to something else. I see it as something, like potential, or dark energy, that co-exists with everything else—a pervasive dimension of human experience—the part that can’t be described empirically—that is, most of it. All of the great scientific advancements come from intuitive insights, from original ways of thinking. Of course you can subject these ways to empirical metaphors, brilliantly, productively, just like a machine can harness steam or electricity, but the thought precedes the architecture. We are discovering not the nature of reality, but the nature of how the human mind is structured—except of course there’s no way for us, the thinkers, to separate them. So if we want to say the way we think is equivalent to the abstraction of “the nature of reality” we can, but it’s an intuitive leap. The God I can’t believe in is the standard bureaucrat one; the idea I can’t accept is that everything is planned. How does that idea not horrify you? I make the intuitive leap of suspecting that the interface of the human mind with reality is a part of something else, that there is a larger context, or we wouldn’t keep going after it—a “God,” if you will—that it makes sense.
The same leap made by science.
January 17, 2019