Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Needing Advice

You can't push the river. Some questions are answered by realizing we have to stop asking them. It is possible to ask a question that must be answered both ways or even cannot be answered at all. Language is a very large indeterminate but finite system. On any given day there is a finite number of words and a finite algorithm for uttering them in any coherent way. On any given day I am a finite expression of humanity (of the human system) utililizing a finite system to express whatever I choose. There are two directions which cause serious trouble. If I try to express the infinite I enter paradox. If I try to express myself too close to the subjective heart of my life, I again enter paradox. This trouble was demonstrated in that latter way by Kurt Godel who proved that any system with sufficient power would be subject to the paradox of self reference, that you could formulate expressions within the system that cannot be responded to in the system. In other words, it is possible to ask questions concerning existence that cannot be answered. Of course the trouble with the infinite is self evident mathematically.

Thus trying to capture God in language cannot be a human activity. If God is ever captured in language it must be the other way, that God hands the language down. Even so, there can never be a satisfactory proof of any of these statements at the level of mathematical rigor. This is only as concerns God's identity, or ours, that is, the self referent or the infinite.

Oh by the way, that you and I might have an infinite soul probably doesn't change this a whit. We are in general forced to press through the finite systems of body and language in order to utter anything.

Needing Advice

I've come here today,
climbed your mountain to reach
the outlook where you
perch like the eagle
you are, glad to find you home
rather than flying,
soaring too far out
to bother with my questions.
I hope you won't shift
your shape so soon like
last time, leave me to trudge back
down the mountain slope
so unsatisfied.
I ask about life, is it
Meaningful story
or not? Yes, you say.
Then you shift again, sprout wings,
fly away from me.

February 13, 2009 2:57 PM


  1. Jeeze man. All but the poem, way over my head! You start talkin' math and I have a brain aneurysm. But that poem reached me, as your issues seem compatico to mine. I am working on a post...hardest I have ever written and this poem spoke, to the dischord that is at the core of it.

    "Oh Great God, be small enough to hear me now."

  2. I knew that was a risk, to speak again in "technical language". The thing is, you wouldn't be operating a computer to read these words if you didn't receive support by people who do the technical bit as a matter of course daily. Because in truth it is not a language but a practice of thought. Artists do it with vision. Musicians do it not only with hearing but with body parts, the ones used to play instruments. Scientists do it with their instruments. Mathematicians do it with symbols. Philosophers with concepts.

    Every philosopher/teacher on the planet asserts at the beginning of any intro class that we are all philosophers, just not necessarily disciplined.

  3. Isn't that always the way with wise words?

  4. Well, also with b.s.

    People can rightfully worry about whether stuff is "above" them or just b.s. Unfortunately rather than work to figure it out, people will often just brand the words as unworthy of note.

    Hi, Rachel, wish I had more time.

  5. Ms Wine and Words, I am conscious that you could by now be feeling hurt by my words. I don't mean that I think you are calling my stuff b.s. or anything remotely like that. Anyway, I am highly amused that you can say my stuff is over your head but you can spell aneurysm and I can't or at least had to look it up to prove you spelled it right. :)

  6. human understanding of God must necessarily be truncated.... the truth more closely approximates a realization that we don't actually understand or know God at all, really.

    even if an anthropomorphic God "hands down" divine knowledge to Man, the message is necessarily truncated to the limits of human existence.....

    when Christ suggested something like our only being able to get to the "Father" through him, it may in fact have been a reference to our fundamental incapacity to understand God at all.... rather than an invitation to deify Christ.

    all the religions in the world may be nothing more than pleasant bed time stories we tell ourselves to salve our absolute ignorance of the infinite.

    heck, i bet if God appeared to us in human form, we'd probably crucify him/her or something.

    it's funny.... humility isn't as much something to be practiced as it is something to be honestly realized.....

    in the big scheme of things, we're a bunch of knuckle-dragging goons.

  7. There you go, revealing the secret again. :)

    Knuckle dragging goons indeed...

  8. .... but i still think God is insanely jealous of us.... :)

  9. Except. Every once in a while the infinite erupts in a special way with some of us and then something really weird happens. This doesn't help much if it is large and multiple. That just turns into circus display. However when it is singular and individual, then that person has the chance at something we call sainthood or more. Even if they don't do that, then they have a chance to wake up a little or even perhaps to help a little.

    And then in the east they promise that if you are stirred enough to do the work you can raise yourself up and even cross over the lines of realization. This is if you can persist over lifetimes.

    In other words, I insist on the reality of mystical experiences and do not doubt that they happen but there is always trouble if you have to go and insist on prooving such a thing.

  10. of course there is mystical experience.... what nonsense to think there isn't.... life is full of the mysterious and some of the best aspects of religions focus on mystical dimensions.....

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  12. i'm mystified why that link didn't work....

    I knew her for a little ghost
    That in my garden walked;
    The wall is high -- higher than most --
    And the green gate was locked.

    And yet I did not think of that
    Till after she was gone --
    I knew her by the broad white hat,
    All ruffled, she had on.

    By the dear ruffles round her feet,
    By her small hands that hung
    In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
    Her gown's white folds among.

    I watched to see if she would stay,
    What she would do -- and oh!
    She looked as if she liked the way
    I let my garden grow!

    She bent above my favourite mint
    With conscious garden grace,
    She smiled and smiled -- there was no hint
    Of sadness in her face.

    She held her gown on either side
    To let her slippers show,
    And up the walk she went with pride,
    The way great ladies go.

    And where the wall is built in new
    And is of ivy bare
    She paused -- then opened and passed through
    A gate that once was there.

    The Little Ghost
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

  13. A mystical experience is truly fascinating to the one experiencing it and is inspiring to that one only so why would we want to share it with others. Not like one of those "ya had to have been there" things.

  14. hey... Joe Smith made like an entire religion of the Latter Day Saints with his mystical experience, and, much like Mohammed, got a chunk of the religion dictated to him by an Angel....

  15. See? And here I am stuck in your preamble, right here, "Thus trying to capture God in language cannot be a human activity." Yes! This makes so much sense to me. I look at it culturally and see that different cultures, even different socio-economical groups, express themselves differently. It seems to me there is a common thread throughout all religions and that we only express what might be a transcending truth through the set of ideas and language we as cultures have at our hands. Otherwise, I think perhaps we are all speaking the same language (even those of us that have beliefs that don't fit any established religion) if we could shed our contexts which hold us bound.

    That's some of what I was getting at in Beyond Language, that if we can shed the colour and binding of our human (often passionate and violent) condition, then perhaps we are left with something of truth, the blank page, but not really blank at all, but before word, before word seperated us.

    Oh, I just went and got all excited Christopher. Now, what was your poem? Oh yes. We're always so impatient for those answers, aren't we?

  16. You raise one of the deals with this, Ghost, how odd it wound up when Joe Smith went public. With all due respect to Mormons who have built a strong religion on the basis of the Mormon structure and book, their history also demonstrates the strange history a religion goes through. Early Christianity is documented enough to show the same tortuous path. This is what happens when the mystical goes public, as I said circus. Unfortunately, people suffer along that path because of the circus, however sound the core of the religion may be.

    That's why I think, Techno, your sentiment is fundamentally right. Of course, usually the nature of the mystical causes doubt to rise in the people who listen to the storyteller. The storyteller must posess a charisma of remarkable power to overcome that doubt. This turns the natural desire to share the good news back on itself. You basically can't share it. Not only the charisma, but the timing has to be impeccable. you can't say the mystical without punch behind it and timing leading it.

  17. I love you, Erin. :)

    Thank you for your excitement.

  18. Oh god.....*rocking and banging head on wall*....


  19. Michelle, I tolerate a lot but if you do that behavior after we retire for the night you'll have to remove yerself to somewhere else. :)

  20. HAHA! .....thank you for that laugh, I needed it :)

    I will only do it when my head is spinning... okay?

    Are you getting exorcist flashbacks now?

    Arghhhhhhhhhh xxx


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