On Integrity as the Highest Value

INTEGRITY:

  1. The state of being whole, undivided, perfect in composition; unity, wholeness, completeness.
  2. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
moral_compass

Moral Compass

Integrity is the grand unifying concept of all knowledge and philosophy. It is the way, the means, and the end all in one. It is the ultimate value that subsumes all other values and explains why they are valuable. It is what defines a self or any entity that exists. Its absence literally entails disintegration, corruption, and confusion. Integrity is the root of all that is good and true. It is an end in itself.

There has been much philosophical, psychological, and ethical discussion about the meaning of integrity. The word carries many rich and diverse overtones but there is one idea that underlies them all, unity. The concept that unifies all philosophy and knowledge is itself that which it describes, unity. It is self-coherent and self-reflective. It is the most stable of all conceptions. It is fundamental to the very concept of being itself.

I have been fascinated with the concept of unity and self-reflective self-coherence for many years. This article welcomes the New Year 2013 as the Year of Love and Unity and gives a brief overview of the lines of research I will be pursuing. There is no limit to what could be written on this theme. This article is an outline of my basic insights and intuitions that move me to think that integrity is the key that opens every door. It unifies everything from the most fundamental meaning of existence itself (Ontology) to the highest value any sentient being can know (Love) which is itself the ultimate unity, the mystical vision that All is One.

Ontology: The Integrity of Being

Ontology is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being, what it means for a thing to be, to exist. There are two kinds of entities – elementary and compound. An elementary (or fundamental) entity is not made up of parts. Most, if not all fundamental entities are theoretical constructs; all “things” we actually encounter in this world via our senses are compound entities. A fundamental object with no parts is a simple unity, like a zero dimensional point or elementary particles like electrons and quarks (though the latter may be found to be composite like other particles that were once thought to be elementary like protons and neutrons). The relation between the parts and the whole raises a lot of questions. Aristotle wrote about degrees of integrity, thinking for example that a rigid body had more integrity than a jointed one. The concept of integrity carries the connotation of a harmonious integrated relation between the parts that constitute a thing. A thing has, by definition, ontological integrity which is really a redundancy because without integrity a thing does not exist as such.

Logic: The Integrity of Thought

Logic and ontology are closely related. The three classical Laws of Logic are formal expressions of the integrity implied by the idea of existence, what it means for a thing to be what it is:

  • The Law of Identity: It is always true that A is A.
  • The Law of Non-Contradiction: It is never true that A is not A.
  • The Law of Excluded Middle: It is always true that a thing is either A or not A.

MRI of the anterior cingulate
cortex which signals conflict.

All philosophy, science, and rational discourse are based on these three laws of logic which in turn are based on the idea of integrity. This logic is built into our brains – it has a neurological basis. Conflicting thoughts, beliefs, or desires evoke a painful state of mind called cognitive dissonance which is to the mind as physical pain is to the body. There is a compelling evolutionary explanation for this function. Without it, our minds would quickly fall into delusion and disintegrate like the bodies of children born with congenital insensitivity to pain who repeatedly injure themselves. The biological basis of cognitive dissonance is found in the anterior cingulate cortex which is involved in error control, conflict management, and motivation. There is evidence “suggesting that the more it signals conflict, the more dissonance a person experiences and the more their attitudes may change.” Cognitive dissonance is a critical evolutionary adaptation that makes us what we are; Homo Sapiens, that is, the rational species of the great ape genus Homo. The healthy response to cognitive dissonance is to change our beliefs and behavior to better accord with reality. Unfortunately, not all responses are healthy. Perhaps the most notorious example of what happens when you break the relation between integrity and logic is seen in the Monica Lewinski case when President Clinton questioned the meaning of “is” to hide his broken integrity. I documented the disintegrating effect of habitual suppression of cognitive dissonance in my article The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem.

Epistemology: The Integrity of Knowledge

Epistemology explores the question “How do we know anything?”. Like all branches of philosophy, it has a long history with a thousand rabbit trails one could follow. But for this overview, I focus on the essential answer: our confidence in any conclusion is based directly on how many independent lines of evidence support it. It is the unity of multiplied independent and diverse witnesses that convince. For example, by sight I may think there is a pool of water in the desert, but when I try to touch it I realize it was a mirage. There was a lack of consilience between my different senses. When all my senses cohere, I have confidence that the thing sensed is real and this confidence is greatly amplified if I find my observations cohere with those of others. This is very practical, ancient wisdom. It governs our courts of law, our daily lives, and is oft repeated in biblical verses such as “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall ever word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). Epistemology, ontology, and logic are fundamentally based on the concept of integrity which is why they are mutually interdependent, as explained by Hugh G. Gauch, Jr. his book Scientific Method in Practice (quote available online):

In ordinary discourse, ontology, epistemology, and logic are reasonably distinct and recognizable topics within philosophy. But at the point where discourse begins, those topics fuse together. The reason is that epistemology presumes ontology, because what we know depends on what exists. But also ontology presumes epistemology, because what we can become aware of depends on our sensory and cognitive faculties. And logic is operating in any rational discourse.

Careful distinctions are required for discourse, but all reality is ultimately one. It is this integral nature of reality that guides science, as we shall presently see.

Consilience: The Integrity of Science

Scientific theories are designed to give a comprehensive explanation of a body of facts in terms of a few elementary principles. Successful theories reveal the underlying unity of apparently diverse phenomena. A Theory of Everything, often called the Holy Grail of physics, would give a fully unified explanation of all physical phenomena within a single theoretical framework based on a small set of axioms. Newton made the first great step in this direction with his three laws of motion. James Clerk Maxwell unified Optics with Electromagnetism. Einstein unified Mechanics with Electromagnetism in his theory of relativity and simultaneously exposed the fundamental unity of space and time. The historical trajectory of science is clear – it is continuously approaching a full integration and unification of all knowledge. I expand on this theme in my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality where also I show that the very essence of science, objectivity, is based on the concept of invariance which reveals the unity that defines the thing that really is. E. O. Wilson explored what this ultimate unity of all knowledge – from astronomy to zoology – might look like in his excellent book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.

Morality: The Integrity of Action

Conscience is simply a function of, or one aspect of, the integrity of being. It arises from this integrity and therefore is it. Since conscience is dependent on the source of being (Being), it never leaves the integrity of being. This function is an inclusive one – even though conscience appears to deal mostly with our “social” orientation, the being’s integrity deals with our entire existence.

Reflections of Being by Peter Ralston (pg. 67)

There is good reason the word “integrity” means both “wholeness” and “moral soundness.” Morality flows from the native integrity of the self. Integrity is the ontology of morality. Nietzsche caught a glimpse of this in his chapter called The Despisers of the Body in Thus Spake Zarathustra:

Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage – whose name is Self. In your body he dwells; he is your body. There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom.

We live in an age of great moral confusion as we transition from theism to atheism. Two thousand years of Christian theism has twisted our innate moral sense away from its natural foundation in our own selves and replaced it with arbitrary rules dictated by an inscrutable god. Atheists react by denying there are any objective moral values at all, not knowing there is a third way. Both the theist and the atheist are wrong. This error is so deeply engrained that some Christian apologists, most notably William Lane Craig, are confident that merely asserting there would be no morals without God to “ground” them is sufficient to prove that God exists. There is a great irony here. He exposes the fundamental logical incoherence of his argument in his article Keeping Moral Epistemology and Moral Ontology Distinct. He simultaneously insists that “keeping the distinction between moral epistemology and moral ontology clear is the most important task in formulating and defending a moral argument for God’s existence of the of the type I defend” even as he admits that “we do not need to know or even believe that God exists in order to discern objective moral values.” Simply stated, Craig destroys the natural unity of being and knowing which we explored above. Just as Bill Clinton had to obfuscate the meaning of “is” to hide his damaged integrity, so Bill Craig must attack the inextricable unity of ontology and epistemology to foist his proof of God upon his philosophically unsophisticated audience. His error is as obvious as it is egregious. Objective moral values are real and are based on the objective ontology of what we are – the integrity that defines us as a self and as an integral member of society. The moral value of any action depends upon the nature of that action and how it affects others. We know if something is moral because of what it is and how it affects the unity of self and others. Ontology and epistemology, though separable in principle for careful philosophical discourse, are inseparable in practice. I explain this in more detail in my article The Golden Rule and the Foundation of Objective Morality.

Love: The Integrity of Consciousness

[M]ature love is union under the condition of preserving one’s integrity, one’s individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.

~ The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm (1956)

The essential nature of love is unity. Self love and love for others are one love. Love is the root and reason of morality. It explains all things. It is the only reason to live and the only answer to the question “to be or not to be.” It flows naturally from our ontology as conscious beings – indeed, love is the consciousness of unity of self and others, as explained in my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality where I develop an objective scientific theory of morality. Philosophers and theologians have long perceived a close relation between the highest value, oft referred to as the Good, and the concept of Being in and of itself. Evil is often defined as a privation of good, a loss of being. Anything that threatens the integrity of a self, such as disease, age, or violence, is seen as a kind of evil. In Biblical terms, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). Love is the highest value, and integrity is the sure guide that will lead every person home. Trust your heart. Be very sensitive to cognitive dissonance. Avoid rationalizations. Seek the truth that springs from the integrity of your own body.

Let 2013 be the Year of Love and Unity. Pursue it with all the integrity of your heart and mind.

Love is an end in itself.

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15 Comments

  1. Posted September 2, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    from: Burden by Rick Delmonico
    Love needs no explanation, what love needs is expression, action, a face.
    In all of the world there is nothing so wonderful and so mysterious as
    love.
    Religion is always grasping at and grappling with this concept.
    Religions do not point the way. Religions cause division, that is why there
    are so many religions.
    Religion exists only in the material world. Religion seeks to explain the
    spirit in material terms.
    Love in it’s purest form is spiritual, and only it’s expression exist in our
    world.
    You are the conduit of love.
    We live in the realm of choice, the dimension of time.
    The timelessness of love, cannot be stored, saved up and horded like gold.
    Little pieces can be given away, and like a vapor they are gone and so we
    must continually tap into the spiritual world if we wish to express love.
    The enemy of love is apathy. It is like a black hole into which everything
    spiritual falls.
    Apathy, like a black hole continues to grow, and it’s influence becomes
    greater and greater until finally there is nothing left.
    If you can see the conflict and you wish to arm yourself, choose love.

  2. Posted September 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Hey there Rick,

    I agree that “Religions cause division, that is why there are so many religions.” Indeed, the essence of dogmatic religions is the assertion that a set of propositions – the dogmas – must be believed in order for a person to be “saved”, usually from “eternal torment in hell”. This then makes questions, skepticism, and an open mind the greatest threats to the eternal well-being of a person. And so the heresy hunting begins, and the divisions multiply like a shatter pane of glass. That is religion.

    I don’t know if love needs an “explanation” or not, but it certainly helps to clarify the nature of love with words in order to give it “expression, action, a face.” There’s a lot of confusion about love. For example, the Christian teaching that the greatest form of love is self-sacrifice – “to lay down one’s life for friends” is logically incoherent. If there are two people in a situation where one must sacrifice themselves for the other, which should do it? They can’t both do it, but both are told that they must do it. Granted, love could certainly cause a person to sacrifice themselves, but it’s nothing like the essence of love. The essence of love is seeing others as a “self” not unlike your own self, and loving them as yourself. On that point the Bible got it right.

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say that “Love is spiritual” because I’m not sure what “spiritual” means, and besides that, all the love I have ever seen is strongly correlated with physical states of being. Love is primarily an emotional response, and emotions are, of course, based in the body. You can give drugs to people that will make them love everyone they see (MDMA, aka Ecstacy) or other drugs that will make them fearful of a mouse or a fly. We are biochemical beings. I don’t know if the idea of “spirit” is anything but an abstraction or a nice sounding word with no real content. What are you imagining when you speak of “spirit”? A disembodied consciousness? How could a spirit see without eyes ore smell without a nose?

    I agree with your final sentiment that “If you can see the conflict and you wish to arm yourself, choose love.” Love is a kind of integrity of being. People who deny self-love quickly disintegrate and have no love to share with others. Shared love is the unity, the integrity, of the community. That’s what we should all strive for.

    Thanks for sharing your comments!

    Richard

  3. Posted June 22, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    hmmmm thanks for sharing this article

  4. Rick Delmonico
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Richard:
    Describing spirituality is, if nothing else, difficult.
    Please read the entire post.

    Albert Einstein — ‘Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.’

    Which of these do you prefer?
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    Or, in the beginning was nothing then it exploded.

    The true value of something is the portion of your life that you are willing to trade for it.
    What is often overlooked is the spiritual component.

    Objective reality – Tangible.
    Subjective reality – Perception, consciousness, mental filters, here is what Niels Bohr says:
    Bohr said he had to approach every new question from a starting point of total ignorance. It is perhaps better to say that Bohr’s strength lay in his formidable intuition and insight rather than erudition.

    I feel very much like Dirac: the idea of a personal God is foreign to me. But we ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far.

    I consider those developments in physics during the last decades which have shown how problematical such concepts as “objective” and “subjective” are, a great liberation of thought. The whole thing started with the theory of relativity. In the past, the statement that two events are simultaneous was considered an objective assertion, one that could be communicated quite simply and that was open to verification by any observer. Today we know that ‘simultaneity’ contains a subjective element, inasmuch as two events that appear simultaneous to an observer at rest are not necessarily simultaneous to an observer in motion. However, the relativistic description is also objective inasmuch as every observer can deduce by calculation what the other observer will perceive or has perceived. For all that, we have come a long way from the classical ideal of objective descriptions.
    In quantum mechanics the departure from this ideal has been even more radical. We can still use the objectifying language of classical physics to make statements about observable facts. For instance, we can say that a photographic plate has been blackened, or that cloud droplets have formed. But we can say nothing about the atoms themselves. And what predictions we base on such findings depend on the way we pose our experimental question, and here the observer has freedom of choice. Naturally, it still makes no difference whether the observer is a man, an animal, or a piece of apparatus, but it is no longer possible to make predictions without reference to the observer or the means of observation. To that extent, every physical process may be said to have objective and subjective features. The objective world of nineteenth-century science was, as we know today, an ideal, limiting case, but not the whole reality. Admittedly, even in our future encounters with reality we shall have to distinguish between the objective and the subjective side, to make a division between the two. But the location of the separation may depend on the way things are looked at; to a certain extent it can be chosen at will. Hence I can quite understand why we cannot speak about the content of religion in an objectifying language. The fact that different religions try to express this content in quite distinct spiritual forms is no real objection. Perhaps we ought to look upon these different forms as complementary descriptions which, though they exclude one another, are needed to convey the rich possibilities flowing from man’s relationship with the central order.

    In mathematics we can take our inner distance from the content of our statements. In the final analysis mathematics is a mental game that we can play or not play as we choose. Religion, on the other hand, deals with ourselves, with our life and death; its promises are meant to govern our actions and thus, at least indirectly, our very existence. We cannot just look at them impassively from the outside. Moreover, our attitude to religious questions cannot be separated from our attitude to society. Even if religion arose as the spiritual structure of a particular human society, it is arguable whether it has remained the strongest social molding force through history, or whether society, once formed, develops new spiritual structures and adapts them to its particular level of knowledge. Nowadays, the individual seems to be able to choose the spiritual framework of his thoughts and actions quite freely, and this freedom reflects the fact that the boundaries between the various cultures and societies are beginning to become more fluid. But even when an individual tries to attain the greatest possible degree of independence, he will still be swayed by the existing spiritual structures — consciously or unconsciously. For he, too, must be able to speak of life and death and the human condition to other members of the society in which he’s chosen to live; he must educate his children according to the norms of that society, fit into its life. Epistemological sophistries cannot possibly help him attain these ends. Here, too, the relationship between critical thought about the spiritual content of a given religion and action based on the deliberate acceptance of that content is complementary. And such acceptance, if consciously arrived at, fills the individual with strength of purpose, helps him to overcome doubts and, if he has to suffer, provides him with the kind of solace that only a sense of being sheltered under an all-embracing roof can grant. In that sense, religion helps to make social life more harmonious; its most important task is to remind us, in the language of pictures and parables, of the wider framework within which our life is set.
    Niels Bohr –
    Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account for such experience in a manner independent of individual subjective judgement and therefore objective in the sense that it can be unambiguously communicated in ordinary human language. “The Unity of Human Knowledge” (October 1960)
    There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature…
    End of quotes by Niels.

    All natural laws retain the balance contained within the scope of that law. No man made law can do this. It is reasonable to assume that a creator has established these laws in wisdom. It is not reasonable to dismiss out of hand the role of a creator God.

    The nebulous quality of the greater good compels us to understand our role in keeping society from dissolving into either a totalitarian state or anarchy. Having the moral will and the moral skill to do the right thing as often as we are able with sweet reasonableness and balance, seeking, above all else, the guidance of the Lord.

    The wise man understands the purpose for choosing to do good.
    The wise man understands that it is impossible to always be right in this world.
    The wise man does not need to defend truth, for it is more than capable of defending itself.
    Truth is a secure foundation upon which all wisdom and understanding reside.

    If reality contains both infinity and unity then it is either is a multifaceted jewel or the singularity dancing.

    There is a fractal and holographic aspect to our reality. There is at one level a material expression of the information stored holographically that we perceive. At a deeper level we connect to this information through our consciousness and every choice we make is branching out in a fractal pattern.

    The time is rapidly approaching when God will prove that the wisdom of man will fail. We are chasing the esoteric knowledge of the mystics down the rabbit hole. The very act of searching for knowledge instead of seeking God could lead us into quicksand. Truth is a secure foundation. We should try to understand as much as we are able but it will not alter our eternal destiny. That is a matter of faith. The thief on the cross had only one thing to hope for and we are in the same position.

    The tree of knowledge of good and evil.
    The tree of life.
    The tree is a fractal representation of the heavens and the earth.
    It is inside of the time domain.
    It is consciousness.
    Choices bifurcating there way to somewhere or some-when else.
    There are only so many choices that can be made in one lifetime but every choice branches out into infinity.
    Notice that in the lower half of the tree which represents the earth, most of the paths lead to the abyss, only one path leads to the light.
    Every choice has a fractal quality to it and you have to figure out which way leads to the light.
    Love and freewill are connected.
    Stay on the path of love.
    This path leads to the light.
    All of the other paths lead to the abyss/chaos.

    Jesus mentions a third tree that grows from a mustard seed (faith).
    If we are making choices that lead to the the light, then we are exercising faith.
    Jesus was a trailblazer, he is the one way. He provided the way of escape through this fractal maze.
    Amen

  5. Posted November 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Richard
    I forgot to mention that I very much appreciate your work and your ideas.
    I visit your site often.
    I am not sure though if you have any sense of wonder at the mystical aspects of the world that we find ourselves in. Hopefully you do.
    The moment you think you have figured out something as important as the mystery of our existence, you lose a valuable clue or connection that lies just ahead.

    The parable of the talents is about the gift of faith.
    Have a little faith, it may br the most valuable thing that you possess.

    I have written an entire book on the subject of love.
    Here is the link.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=cvwbAwAAQBAJ&pg=P

  6. Posted November 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick!

    I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I’m just sitting down to dinner and plan on reading your previous comment containing the extended quote from Niels Bohr. It looks like it will be very interesting.

    And thanks for the link to you book! I’m very glad to have the opportunity to chat with a fellow author.

    Talk more soon, after I get my reading done.

    Richard

  7. Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick,

    I found the source of your quote here. It is a snippet from a much longer article written by Werner Heisenberg. I plan on reading the whole thing, but I’d like to answer your question first.

    Which of these do you prefer?
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    Or, in the beginning was nothing then it exploded.

    Your question seems to be based on a false dichotomy. The Christian doctrine is that God created “ex nihilo” meaning “from nothing.” Therefore, your options are not mutually exclusive and it is logically impossible to choose one in exclusion of the other.

    If God caused the universe to exist, then it did not “spring from nothing” because God is not “nothing.” I see no reason to identify the Reality that gave rise to the physical universe as a personal God with a will. That concept makes no sense to me because it entails time, whereas the “God” posited by Christianity is supposed to be “outside of time.” That seems logically incoherent because that God would have had to change from a state of “not having created a universe” to a state of “having created a universe” and that implies that time already existed before it was created.

    So in answer to what I think you were getting at – I believe that there is some sort of eternal “Reality” that causes the observable physical universe to exist. I have no firm conviction of the nature of that Reality, except that I am rather confident it is nothing like any of the “theistic style” gods proposed by the religions humans have invented.

    It’s a very deep topic. I look forward to discussing it with you.

    Richard

  8. Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  9. Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Hello again Rick,

    I have read your article. I appreciate the challenges of objective/subjective, but it’s not clear to me how that relates to your comments that followed.

    So I will begin with your specific assertions:

    All natural laws retain the balance contained within the scope of that law. No man made law can do this. It is reasonable to assume that a creator has established these laws in wisdom. It is not reasonable to dismiss out of hand the role of a creator God.

    You seem to be equivocating over the word “law.” The natural laws that govern reality, whether created by a god or not, cannot be compared with human laws, which are nothing but social constructs.

    The nebulous quality of the greater good compels us to understand our role in keeping society from dissolving into either a totalitarian state or anarchy. Having the moral will and the moral skill to do the right thing as often as we are able with sweet reasonableness and balance, seeking, above all else, the guidance of the Lord.

    That makes no sense to me. There is no “Lord” to whom anyone has any access. Folks who think they are hearing from God tend to be the most deluded among us. And when even relatively sane believers think they have heard from God, it is almost always just their own feelings colored by their own desires and biases. It seems to me the source of wisdom comes from within, by accessing how we actually feel about things and how we would feel if something were done to us. That’s how we access our moral intuitions. Looking to an external “God” is the root of much evil.

    The wise man understands the purpose for choosing to do good.

    Yes indeed. And what is that purpose? It is fully captured by the concept of integrity, as explained in my article above.

    The wise man understands that it is impossible to always be right in this world.

    Of course. We are finite beings with limited knowledge and perspective. That is the universal condition.

    The wise man does not need to defend truth, for it is more than capable of defending itself.
    Truth is a secure foundation upon which all wisdom and understanding reside.

    That makes no sense to me. Truth is not a personal agent that can “do” things like protect itself. Truth is simply the word we use to indicate when a statement corresponds to reality.

    The time is rapidly approaching when God will prove that the wisdom of man will fail. We are chasing the esoteric knowledge of the mystics down the rabbit hole. The very act of searching for knowledge instead of seeking God could lead us into quicksand.

    I totally disagree with that statement. The idea that the “time is rapidly approaching when God will” do anything strikes me as utterly absurd. How could you possible justify such an assertion?

    And not everyone is seeking “esoteric knowledge.” Personally, I find metaphysics quite distasteful because it is little more than speculation based on ignorance.

    All the best,

    Richard

  10. Posted November 9, 2014 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    The nature of reality has yet to be proven.
    You may have a favorite theory as do I but either way it is still just a theory.
    Whether the universe began as a big bang or it is in the form of a toroid.
    Whether it is a hologram or a digital simulation.
    The observer cannot be separated from the observation.
    This seems to be sure. This sounds esoteric to me.

    We may also discover something new about the nature of time and the reason I believe this is because of the singularity created in the center of a black hole.
    Since something has to give, it must be time. (I will probably get a “that’s absurd” for this one).

    Pilot asked Jesus “what is truth”. How would you answer?
    I say truth is a secure foundation and what I mean by this is that the structure of the universe, at the finest scale is in fact unity. Infinity or something like it may be a repeating pattern or a cycle of this unity. Perhaps it is dancing.
    Maybe it is endless reflections within the facets of a crystal.
    Maybe it is like a song.
    Is it conscience? Then it would include ideas like unity of purpose.
    Is everything including consciousness entangled?
    I do not know the answers but the established view is very unsatisfying to me.

    Are we meant to know the answers?
    What if some things are meant to be hidden for a reason?

    The statement at the top of my previous post ties it all together.
    Albert Einstein — ‘Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.’

    Is God trying to prove something? Such as the knowledge of good and evil from the garden will fail man.
    How would we know?

    Men of the Bible do not seem to be able to speak to God directly, and yet God appears to answer them in the strangest possible manner.
    Why would God choose this method?

    Casting of lots occurs relatively frequently in the Bible, and many biblical scholars think that the Urim and Thummim served this purpose. In the Hebrew Bible, there are several cases where lots were cast as a means of determining God’s mind:

    In the Book of Leviticus 16:8, God commands Moses, “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” And so on…

    A series of laws so precisely tuned speaks to me of design.
    Sorry if you hate this idea.

    The universe is vast.
    So is the time that has elapsed.
    We are here.
    It is a miracle.
    Am I wrong?

    Though you may desire to reduce the majesty laid out before you into a simple equation, I don’t think it will ever happen.

  11. Posted November 9, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The nature of reality has yet to be proven.
    You may have a favorite theory as do I but either way it is still just a theory.

    Not all theories are equally valid. And the “just a theory” meme is misleading. Scientific theories are explanations of a body of facts in terms of universal principles that are taken as axioms. Good theories successfully explain all the facts. Theory of gravity explains the facts of gravity. It is not “just a theory” as if it were a mere guess!

    Whether the universe began as a big bang or it is in the form of a toroid.
    Whether it is a hologram or a digital simulation.

    And that’s why the questions of origins and the ultimate nature of reality may be interesting, but not particularly relevant. We have no way to know which is right or wrong.

    The observer cannot be separated from the observation.
    This seems to be sure. This sounds esoteric to me.

    Why do you say that? In what way do you think the “observer” is inseparable? Are you defining an “observer” as a conscious human, or just any measurement apparatus?

    We may also discover something new about the nature of time and the reason I believe this is because of the singularity created in the center of a black hole.
    Since something has to give, it must be time. (I will probably get a “that’s absurd” for this one).

    Why would you think I would think that is absurd?

    Pilot asked Jesus “what is truth”. How would you answer?

    Truth is the word we use to describe a statement that corresponds to reality.

    Is everything including consciousness entangled?
    I do not know the answers but the established view is very unsatisfying to me.

    Established view? What makes you think there is an established view?

    Are we meant to know the answers?
    What if some things are meant to be hidden for a reason?

    Meant by whom? We are born ignorant. That’s why we must search for understanding. I see no reason to think there is an agent (God) who is deliberately making us more ignorant than we would be by nature alone.

    The statement at the top of my previous post ties it all together.
    Albert Einstein — ‘Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.’

    That exemplifies the “magical thinking” that is an essential characteristic of the believing brain. It is a root cause of the delusions I suffered for man years. Here is how I explained it in my article Debunking Myself: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

    The discussion above gives a glimpse into how coincidences led me to believe the Bible was designed by God. The main difference between me then and me now is that back then I sincerely believed coincidences were meaningful and that God frequently used them to guide believers. In this I was not alone. Coincidences constitute the lion’s share of “evidence” that convinces believers their prayers have been answered. A popular Christian saying is that “Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous.” There is even a Christian book on Amazon by this title. This belief seemed so common I did not hesitate to use it as “evidence” in the first chapter of the Bible Wheel book when explaining how I came to believe God designed the symbolic meaning of the Hebrew letters …

    Is God trying to prove something? Such as the knowledge of good and evil from the garden will fail man.
    How would we know?

    Why would you begin with the presupposition that there is a God? And if there is a God, the fact that he has chosen to remain absolutely hidden makes it very unlikely that he is “trying to prove something” – unless that “something” is that he doesn’t exist.

    Men of the Bible do not seem to be able to speak to God directly, and yet God appears to answer them in the strangest possible manner.
    Why would God choose this method?

    That is the “method” that we would expect if there were no god and people were using random coincidences as “evidence.”

    Casting of lots occurs relatively frequently in the Bible, and many biblical scholars think that the Urim and Thummim served this purpose. In the Hebrew Bible, there are several cases where lots were cast as a means of determining God’s mind:

    That’s a perfect example of how believers take mere coincidence as “evidence.” It is the primary root of religious delusion.

    A series of laws so precisely tuned speaks to me of design.
    Sorry if you hate this idea.

    I do not “hate” the idea. I just think it is false, unjustified, and delusional.

  12. Rick Delmonico
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I will try to reduce my points in order to prevent the scattering of talking points.

    1. If we think of existence in the context of a legal case, and I make an offer to you that you can’t refuse, then you could argue that I didn’t really give you a choice. We are not in this position.

    2. There are several clues that suggest that physics is becoming increasingly metaphysical. I could site several.

    3. The standard view is Materialism, string theory, the big bang, ect… You have to know what I’m talking about. It is not possible that you are confused on this point.

    4. We must begin every new question from a position of complete ignorance, because if we assume that the earth is at the center of the universe the we will misinterpret the orbits of the planets that we are observing. This is how Niels Bohr approached science. We are both guilty. Me with God. You with no God. You can not claim the high moral ground.

    5. Is it possible that innocence is the ability to see things for what they are? Lost innocence is the misapplication of knowledge and wisdom is the ability to project into the future, the consequence of every choice?

  13. Rick Delmonico
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Your consciousness, who you are, is layers and layers of filters, knowledge.
    Everything you perceive is passing through these layers. No-one is immune.
    The path is clear enough, but instead of continuing on our journey, we will both stop and argue about a stumbling block. You on your side and me on mine.

    Does consciousness have a fractal quality to it?

    http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/upsidedown.htm

    If you don’t believe me, take this test and do not cheat.
    You will argue that the answers are based on the wrong conclusion and miss the point, I am sure.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkkguPBl-QA

    Please not not get upset.
    The idea is to get back to looking at everything from the eyes of a clilld, with the wonder and innocence that we first began our journey.

  14. Posted November 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Your consciousness, who you are, is layers and layers of filters, knowledge.
    Everything you perceive is passing through these layers. No-one is immune.
    The path is clear enough, but instead of continuing on our journey, we will both stop and argue about a stumbling block. You on your side and me on mine.

    Well said. I could not agree more. Your comment is curiously timely.

    Does consciousness have a fractal quality to it?

    http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/upsidedown.htm

    Very interesting article, thanks. I’m very interested in the topic, but don’t really know enough to evaluate the significance of that particular article. I would really enjoy pursuing this topic with you on the forum.

    http://www.biblewheel.com/forum

    If you don’t believe me, take this test and do not cheat.
    You will argue that the answers are based on the wrong conclusion and miss the point, I am sure.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkkguPBl-QA

    Please not not get upset.
    The idea is to get back to looking at everything from the eyes of a clilld, with the wonder and innocence that we first began our journey.

    The test was very entertaining and effectively created more than one “aha” moment. Thanks!

    I agree that it would be great to “get back to looking at everything from the eyes of a child,” but that’s easier said than done. I have had some recent insights in that direction though. One of my “major malfunctions,” which made me susceptible to self-deception, is a habit of shutting down communication with premature “answers” that pleased me but excluded all other possibilities. It’s an old habit, but I am becoming aware of it which is the first step towards opening communication with others and within my own mind. It really is exhilarating, and does feel like seeing through the eyes of child once again.

    I really appreciate your insights.

  15. Posted January 10, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Do you guys EVER feel like it’s difficult to talk about either science OR religion, especially when it comes to thoughts on creation, without talking in circles? I mean, there doesn’t seem to be an end to any of it. Sometimes I’m thankful for being simple. : )

    I’m not sure what your point is. What could be simpler than the wholeness of integrity? Granted, there is a “circularity” to it since a circle is a natural geometric metaphor of wholeness, but that has nothing to do with “talking in circles” as if there is no value in exploring fundamental philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology, value, morality, and objectivity. But hey – I understand that philosophy is not for everyone …

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