01/27/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 4)

0021 The Genesis stories of Adam and Eve point to a real recent, prehistoric transition.

The first singularity (B1) initiates cycles of formation, deformation and reformation (or annihilation) (B2).  

0022 The contributors to the book, Evolution and the Fall, edited by William T. Cavanaugh and James K. A. Smith (2017, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, ISBN: 9780802873798), are not aware of the masterworks, The Human NicheAn Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define the Word “Religion”.

As such, they try to adapt traditional Christian theology to an insufficient scientific paradigm.

0023 As noted in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy, modern science does not permit metaphysics.  Consequently, human evolution must be accounted for by material and instrumental causations, whether in natural history (adaptation) or genetics (phenotype).  These are not sufficient, because the human niche is the potential of triadic relations.  Triadic relations are real, yet immaterial.  They entangle the material, but cannot be explained by it.

0024 Also, the modern paradigm for human evolution does not envision the fact that our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  The transition from hand-speech talk to speech-alone talk leaves only one type of archaeological trace, the appearance of trends towards unconstrained social complexity.  Why?  A change of the semiotic qualities of talk is not a material cause, it is an immaterial cause.  Speech-alone talk potentiates unconstrained social complexity.

0025 Finally, some scholars, such as Rene Girard, capture essential features of our current Lebenswelt, and so are ignored by modern gatekeepers.  The writers of the past few centuries are often not aware of the materialistic Zeitgeist in which they operate. They wear blinders.  They do not see the object that brings all into relation.  After all, there is no material or instrumental power greater than sovereign power.  Is there?

0026 The three masterworks mentioned above offer novel scientific paradigms that (1) are consistent with current empirical knowledge and (2) transcend the proscription of metaphysics, by considering semiotics to be real.  Semiotics entangles the material, but the material cannot explain triadic relations.

0027 The three masterworks offer a new, truly postmodern answer to the questions: Where do we humans come from?  What went wrong?  What is the cure?

Good places to start include Comments on Daniel Houck’s Book (2020) Aquinas, Original Sin and The Challenge of Evolution, as well as Comments on Five Views in the Book (2020) Original Sin and the Fall.

01/26/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 3)

0013 What does the strange, historic reversal of the term, “religion” imply?

0014 The term is formed, deformed, and now, reformed.

0015 At first, the term is validated by the presence of Christian factions, vying for sovereign power.

Then, the term is exploited by “not religious” individuals, institutions and mass movements.  By identifying as “not religious”, theoreticians, organizations and broadcasters find that they can attain sovereign power in order to implement their own organizational objectives.  After all, they technically fulfill the Enlightenment mandate that sovereign states should not be in the business of establishing “religions” (Christian factions).

As a bonus, their competitors, Christian factions, cannot compete.

0016 Exploitation deforms the word “religion”, because “not religious” individuals, institutions and movements operate in precisely the same way as Christian factions during and after the Reformation, only with better technology. 

0017 The masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, serves as a corrective to this deformation.  The current use of the word, “not religious”, is radically deceptive (B2), accounting for the application of the word, “secretive”, as an adjective, to secular individuals, societies and even, mass movements.

Do they know what they are doing?

Most “not religious” participants in mass movements think that their opponents are “religious”.  They are.  Yet, these same participants cannot recognize that their own stance is deeply religious, as defined by the masterwork.  The “not religious” are religious, too.  They revel in their own righteousness.

Hence, blatant hypocrisy defines our current times.

0018 In the ancient world, this type of impasse seizes a city or a region and brings it into memetic crisis (see Rene Girard in this regard).  The Bible describes the historical arc of Israel in roughly these terms.  The question revolves around the nature of God’s covenant with Israel.  God’s covenant is formed, deformed then reformed.

Plus, the path is not smooth.  God is at work throughout the Bible.  So are we.

0019 For two thousand years, Christians contemplate how Adam’s rebellion influences us (B2).  The doctrine of Original Sin characterizes a foundational feature of our current Lebenswelt.  We are fallen, then we figure out a truth, then we exploit that truth with a deceptive turn, and we fall again.  Sometimes, with God’s assistance, we figure out our mistake and reform.

Concupiscence is more than our desire to bathe our own corporeal dispositions with the waters of righteousness.  It is also our desire to inflame our spiritual dispositions with the fire of righteousness.  The Reformation term, “total depravity”, captures the way that we claim to define what righteousness is, rather than God.

0020 Isn’t that what Eve does, just before she plucks the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

01/25/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 2)

0007 Ours is a world where we project meanings, presences and messages into our spoken words, then construct artifacts to validate them (B2).  The artifact validates our projection, even in the face of unintended consequences.  One result is that spoken words, which are at first not deceptive, become deceptive, then wreak havoc until they are reformed.

Does that sound vaguely Biblical?

0008 An example is offered in the masterwork, How to Define the Word “Religion”.

0009 During and after the Reformation, the word, “religion”, labels Christian factions, vying for sovereign power in order to implement their organizational objectives.  The factions stand as artifacts that validate the term.  The terminology has consequences.  Enlightenment constitutions, especially the American, explicitly forbid the federal government from establishing a religion.

0010 The problem?

During the Enlightenment of the 18th century, and during the subsequent two centuries, new social noumena appear, claiming to be “not religious”.  The word, “secular”, is coined in the mid-1800s as a label.

What does it mean to identify oneself or one’s institution as “not religious”?

Well, it must mean that the entity does not belong to a Christian faction.

0011 The problem?

These “not religious” individuals (thinkers, leaders and supporters), societies (institutions) and movements (widespread affiliations) behave precisely in the same way that Christian factions do after the Reformation. They engage in social construction (meaning). They seek sovereign power in order to implement their organizational objectives (presence). Their righteousness contains inherent contradictions that cannot be resolved (message).

Indeed, modern “secular” individuals, institutions and movements meet the criteria that defines the term, “religion”, according to the above masterwork.

0012 The problem?

The US federal government has established a religion, contrary to the first amendment of its constitution.

It so happens, that the religion is not a “religion” (a Christian faction).

01/23/21

Evolution and the Fall (Part 1)

0001 In the December 2018 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Amos Yong reviews the compilation, Evolution and the Fall, edited by William T. Cavanaugh and James K. A. Smith (2017, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, ISBN: 9780802873798).

0002 The book is the product of a three year initiative asking the following if-then question:

(A) If humanity emerges from nonhuman primates, as suggested by genetic, natural historical and archaeological evidence…

(B) …then what are the implications for Christian theology’s traditional account of origins, especially the origin of humanity (B1) and of sin (B2)?

0003 To this question, I attend.

0004 First, the masterwork, The Human Niche, proposes that the ultimate human niche is the potential of triadic relations (B1).  Triadic relations are independent of genes and the environment of evolutionary adaptation.  Even though these play roles in the actualization of triadic relations, they do not alter the nature of the relations (A).

Triadic relations explain why archaeological evidence exists in the first place (B1, A).  Physical evidences are signs of human evolution, to the beholders, that is, ourselves.  Obviously, we are adapted to look for and to participate in sign-processes.  Signs are one type of triadic relation.

0005 Second, the masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall, dramatizes the coming to awareness of a recent twist in human evolution (B1 and B2).  Our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  I call the transition: the first singularity.  The first singularity begins around 7821 years ago.  It leaves a fairy tale trace.

0006 The hypothesis of the first singularity (B1 and B2) raises novel questions concerning our current living world (B2).  What is this the nature of our current Lebenswelt (B2)?

01/7/21

Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius (Part 4)

0015 Does Aquarius touch base with the first singularity?

Capricorn is half-goat and half-fish, which corresponds to the dual earth-water origin of the Ubaid culture, 7821 years ago.

The Greeks do not capture this image with their story of Pan being caught in an alternate chimerism.

0016 Neither do the Greeks capture the nature of how Aquarius resonates with the origin of astrology within our current Lebenswelt.

Ganymede is a youth so handsome that he is taken up to be the cupbearer for the Greek gods.  So Aquarius is symbolized by a youth pouring water from a jug onto earth.

0017 Ah, it turns out that in Babylon, the god Ea carries an overflowing vase of water.  This is the same Ea that is associated with both land and sea in Capricorn.  And, this is the same Ea that is associated with the primordial waters.

0018 So, bearing jugs of water for the gods?

In one Mesopotamian origin myth, humans are created in order to do the work that the gods were tired of doing.

Is that what is in store for the next 200 years?

0019 Against this speculation, the sign of Aquarius is an air sign, rather than an earth or a water sign.  So, where does Ea fit in with the creation of the air.

What does pouring water have to do with giving birth?

In one ancient Mesopotamian myth, Enlil, the god of the air, is born from the union of Aku, the sky, and Ea, the water.

0020 Ah, that is more like it.

Aquarius touches base with the birth of unconstrained social complexity.  Unconstrained social complexity has the character of the weather, the air, the storm and the wind. There is no telling how the spirit moves.  But, drop a coin into an astrologer’s hand and you may hear how the sun, the moon, the planets and the constellations put your turbulence into a celestial perspective and divinized opportunities.

0021 So, the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, in the sign of Aquarius, in December 2020, also resonates with the start of our current Lebenswelt.  Enlil is born again.

Figure 04

01/6/21

Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius (Part 3)

0011 In April 2020, I posted a series of blogs about the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, with Jupiter co-present (but not in conjunction).  This celestial event in January, 2020, marks the start of one of the most bizarre plagues of modern medical history.  Even though the novel coronavirus from 2019, has a fatality rate of less than 5% for people over 75 years old (and for people with co-morbidities, including asthma), the responses of governments throughout the world has been amazing.

Rather than protecting old folks, health-care bureaucrats locked down entire populations.

0012 How did the crisis start?

The novel coronavirus initially spread after the City of Wuhan held a huge banquet commemorating the upcoming lunar New Year, the Year of the Rat.  Already, the easily transmitted RNA-based virus had infected many. This was its opportunity. When Wuhan’s residents returned to their native homes for the Lunar New Year, the disease spread throughout China.  Also, the disease passed through international air terminals to the rest of the world.

0013 This mundane event coincides with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction.  Capricorn is the sign of government and organization.  Saturn is the planet of time (as in, ‘your time is up’ or ‘your time has come’).  Pluto is the sign of the underworld.

Is it any coincidence that health-care experts come out and declare this novel coronavirus to be a grave disease?

Here is a picture.

Figure 03

0014 As discussed in my blogs in April, 2020, the imagery of the sign of Capricorn touches base with the first singularity.Thus, the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn resonates with the dawn of astrology, as a specialization within our current living world.

01/5/21

Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius (Part 2)

0005 The normal context3 and the potential1 for astrology2 depend on another actuality2, consisting of what we see in the celestial spheres, the motions of the sun, moon, planets, constellations and other stars.

This gives rise to the astrologer’s vision, where a reading of celestial events1b expresses the potential1b of celestial arrangements, transits and so on2a.

Figure 02

0007 Now, there are two actualities.  On the content level, there are celestial arrangements.  On the situation level, there are various civilizational events, including personal dramas.

There is no apparent material or instrumental causality connecting the two, even though the sun, the moon, and the planets have gravitational influence.  The sun also determines space weather.  Plus, the sun orbits the galactic center.

The tradition of astrology offers final and formal causes, cobbled together over time through correlations between planetary motions and mundane events.

0008 The discovery of planets beyond human sight contributes to modern astrology.  An entirely new branch of astrology looks at historic events and trends in relation to the motions of the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and now, Erin. This branch of astrology considers civilizations as beings.

0009 Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, the outermost visible planets, occur in a every 20 years.  One lifetime may see 4 conjunctions.

However, the pattern extends beyond one lifetime.  The conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn occur in one type of sign for around 200 years.  The typology of signs is earth, air, fire and water.  So, every 800 years, the cycle completes.

The last conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn occurred in an earth sign.  The 2020 conjunction takes place in an air sign, Aquarius.

0010 The Jupiter-Saturn cycle of 800 years, belongs to both ancient and modern astrology.The recent Saturn-Pluto conjunction, in January of 2020, belongs to modern astrology.

01/4/21

Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius (Part 1)

0001 Does astrology begin with the first singularity?

The first singularity potentiates civilization, by opening the door to unconstrained labor and social specialization.

Astrologists exemplify a certain type of specialization.

0002 How does astrology work?

Astrology offers a primary causality, associated to the celestial realm, as a way to appreciate the secondary causality of our mundane realm.

0003 In sum, astrology provides context and potential to events that we experience in the here and now.

Figure 01

0004 Yes, this structure parallels the primary and secondary causalities appearing in scholastic philosophy.Primary and secondary causes are discussed in Comments on Fr. Thomas White’s Essay (2019) “Thomism for the New Evangelization”.

11/30/19

Saturn-Pluto conjunction and Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction in Capricorn, 2020: Resonances with the First Singularity

The gospels tell of magi, astrologers from the East, following a star (or maybe a planetary alignment).  Today, a similar phenomenon occurs.  Starting at the end of 2019, Saturn and Pluto enter conjunction in the constellation Capricorn.  Then, Jupiter enters the same constellation, coming close to Pluto later in 2020.  Astrologers watch wide-eyed.

Imagine the possibilities.

Saturn is the planet of civilizational systems.  Time eats its own.  The deep state runs, no matter who is in charge.  Then, it runs out of Time.

Pluto is the planet of death and birth, destruction and renewal.

Jupiter is the god of sovereign and worldly order.  His decrees are like bolts of lightning.  He rules the pantheon.  He enforces the laws.

Then, there is the constellation of Capricorn, the house of government.

Pictured as a goat, I imagine the constellation opening its doors to planners, workers, scientists and sensible thinkers. These people climb mountains, one step at a time.

But, the ancient image of Capricorn is far more curious.  The constellation has the head and torso of a goat.  It has the abdomen and tail of a fish.  For this reason, it is called the “sea-goat”.

This is the representation that I would like to discuss.

The ancient Greeks have a playful explanation for Capricorn.  Pan, already half-human and half-goat, finds himself in a tough spot.  Other gods transform into animals in order to escape the predicament.  When Pan tries, oops, he turns into half-goat half-fish.

Even further back in time, the Sumerian civilization has a god, Ea, who brings the arts of civilization to humans.  During the day, he comes on land.  Then, at night, he retires to the water.  Does that sound chimeric?

Now, I make a dramatic play, by asking, “Could both Ea and Capricorn stand for some event that the ancients forget, yet remember in their divine images?”

An interesting answer comes from Razie Mah in An Archaeology of the Fall and The First Singularity and its Fairy Tale Trace.

The bi-modal god, Ea, and the sea-goat, Capricorn, stand for the formation of the Ubaid culture of southern Mesopotamia, around 7800 years ago.  Over the next three thousand years, the Ubaid becomes the Uruk and the Uruk becomes the Sumerian civilization.

So, how is the Ubaid culture both on land and in sea?  How is it half-goat and half-fish?

The Sumerian language provides a clue. It is a linguistic isolate.  It does not belong to any family of languages.

Why is this so?

It is a creole.  A creole forms when two disparate cultures are thrown together.  Trying to get along, they produce pidgin, pieces of language, that are sown together into a new language by later generations.  A creole fits the image of a chimera.

How did this happen?

During the Developed Neolithic, say nine or ten thousand years ago, the Persian Gulf is dry land.  A wide river valley holds a narrow gorge, carrying the flows of the Tigris, Euphrates and other rivers.  Two separate Mesolithic cultures settle the two habitats.  One comes from northern Mesopotamia.  These folks are farmers and stockbreeders.  They settle the valley.  Here is the goat.  The other comes along the coast, probably from the East.  These folks have reed boats and live off the marsh.  They settle the gorge.  Here is the fish.

Around eight thousand years ago, the ice age ends and the current interglacial begins.  The sea levels slowly and powerfully rise.  Sea water fills the gorge, then submerges the surrounding broad valley. These two cultures are thrown together.  Each culture loses its hand-speech talk.  The resulting creole, Sumerian, is the world’s first speech-alone language.

Yes, the Ubaid emerges from both land and sea with a new way of talking, speech-alone.  All their Neolithic and Epipaleolithic neighbors still talk with a combination of manual-brachial gesture and speech (that is, hand-speech talk). The semiotic differences between speech-alone talk and hand-speech talk are huge.  Speech-alone talk potentiates civilization in southern Mesopotamia.  Speech-alone talk spreads on the wings of mimicry to adjacent hand-speech talking cultures, then flies to all corners of the Earth, seeding unconstrained social complexity along the way.

Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Two gods stand at the threshold.  One dwells in Sumerian myth.  The other lingers in the heavens.

The end writes the beginning.  The beginning writes the end.

Todays’ astrologers watch as Saturn and Pluto come together, then Jupiter and Pluto, as well.  They join in the House of Capricorn.  What do the heavens portend?  Astrologers strain to imagine the possibilities.  Here, is another one to consider.  Capricorn resonates with the first singularity, the potentiation of all civilizations.  In this constellation, the planets align.