February 07, 2013

Mind, Cosmos and the Invisible brewer

An Author Attracts Unlikely Allies By Jennifer Schuessler: February 6, 2013
Mr. Nagel’s depiction of a universe “gradually waking up” through the emergence of consciousness can sound oddly mystical — the atheist analytic philosopher’s version of “spiritual, not religious.” And even some readers who admire Mr. Nagel’s philosophical boldness see a very fuzzy line between his natural teleology and the creator God of theists like the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga (who reviewed Mr. Nagel’s book favorably in The New Republic, throwing more red meat to his detractors). In his conclusion Mr. Nagel declares that the present “right-thinking consensus” on evolution “will come to seem laughable in a generation or two.” …
“Mind and Cosmos,” weighing in at 128 closely argued pages, is hardly a barn-burning polemic. But in his cool style Mr. Nagel extends his ideas about consciousness into a sweeping critique of the modern scientific worldview, which he calls a “heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense.” Consciousness, meaning and moral value, he argues, aren’t just incidental features of life on earth, but fundamental aspects of the universe. Instead of random evolution Mr. Nagel sees the unfolding of a “cosmic predisposition.” Such ideas are anathema to modern evolutionary theorists. Mr. Nagel calls for an entirely new kind of science, one based on what he calls “natural teleology” — a tendency for the universe to produce certain outcomes, like consciousness, but without any help from a Godlike agent.

The Hermetic Deleuze very deliberately positions Deleuze in the Renaissance (221). From this the consequence: Deleuzian ontology is an ontology of sign, a ‘being in signs’. Via Foucault, Ramey envisages ‘a vital transcription of immanence as an open set of enigmatic yet adequate signs’ (89), vectors for the mind to think that unthought intensity in which ‘life’ consists. While Ramey is quick to point out a Spinozan ambivalence that continues to haunt Deleuze on language, the intensification of ‘a language of intense, intuitive, and spiritual apprehensions’ (7) is still for Ramey’s Deleuze the task of thinking. But nothing is set in stone: the identification of success in this regard is only possible in an a posteriori, ‘improvisatory’ manner (30), for Deleuze is very much a pragmatist: what matters are configurations of signs that work.
It is here that a perspective on Deleuze as well as a Deleuzian perspective opens up – and this becomes clearer by taking a step back to consider the operation of which semiosis is a subset: mediation, or the articulation of mediators that are able to incarnate the intensity of the thought-unthought in a sustained, healthy manner. Here is the moment in the book where Ramey points most clearly to a post- and even anti-Deleuzian philosophy of mediators, as a response to Goodchild’s criticisms (which push him furthest). 

In the Kena Upanishad, the seer describes the various physical forces, the force of fire, the force of wind and their characteristic power of action. Fire is the force that burns all created things. Wind is the force that moves all created things. Agni, the God of Fire, replied when asked about his power: “Even all this I could burn, all that is upon the earth.”
We have an intuitive sense of a moral law existing in the Universe, and this provides us a clue that there is such a component in the manifestation; however, it operates under what Sri Aurobindo elsewhere calls “the logic of the Infinite” and is not limited by the circumscribed human view that we try to overlay on the universe.
Everywhere we turn we find that the creation is far more complex, inter-related and consisting of symbiotic parts and movements, than anything that our human mind can create. We cannot therefore hope to judge the creation in its entirety using that limited consciousness. Physical Energy and Moral Retribution from Sri Aurobindo Studies 
Having excluded the possibility that physical energy consciously conducts a policy of reward and punishment, there is still the possibility that physical energy carries out such a policy directed or guided by some conscious intelligence above or beyond that utilizes it. Sri Aurobindo describes what this would imply: “If a law of moral punishment is imposed through the action of her physical forces, it must be by a Will from above her or a Force acting unknown to her in her inconscient bosom.”
The implications of this approach however are that we then create a vision of deity that would be more terrible than the worst human rulers we could imagine, as Sri Aurobindo explains: “But such a Will could not be itself that of a moral Being ethical after the conceptions of man,–unless indeed it resembled man in his most coldly pitiless and savage moral reason or unreason. For its action involves terrors of punishment that would be abhorred as atrocities in an all-powerful human ruler and could not be other than monstrous in a moral Divine Ruler. A personal God so acting would be a Jehovah-Moloch, a merciless and unrighteous demander of righteousness and mercy.”

The complete Truth accepts the consciousness that exists beyond the world as true and wants to bring down the same consciousness to matter. It wants to assert as the Vedas say – All this is Brahman. As we go upwards to meet the Divine, we need to bring the Divine down into the physical world and make it also Divine. For doing this one has to expand his consciousness to become the Divine consciousness and once one has done that he will realize that the universe is both eternal and the universe exists in and for his consciousness. This is because his consciousness is now the Divine and the Divine is everything.

Smith was clear that humans are social beings, living in their societies with other human beings. Each individual has self-interests but though this condition is widely reported, the essential Smithian condition is that individuals pursuing their own self-interests must take account of the other humans with whom they transact, even communicate. 
Given the human propensity to exchange one object, or understandable sentence, with other humans, it is a basic requirement that in doing so they transact and communicate in an acceptable manner to each other.  The basic requirement if individual self-interests are to be mutually realised is by the mutual mediation of the self-interests of each pair of humans.
This requirement for mutuality is universal and repeated across all human cultures.  We achieve our self-interests (food, clothing, and shelter) by mutual mediation to reconcile the different self-interests of ourselves and other people… He said nothing about the IH in Book I, where he gave the “butcher, brewer, baker” example. 

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