The ability to distinguish between universals and the absolute, between a relative actuality and an absolute reality, is surely a leap in the development of human consciousness, a consciousness which is confined within an intellectual existence where everything is relative. There are multiple relative actualities but only one absolute reality, which absolute can exist only once within the universe, if it exists at all, and where it can only be an object of faith.
There is no evolutionary benchmark for the development of agriculture. It arrived in human consciousness some other way than through the evolutionary process. According to my thesis, the spread of farming began at the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, conceptually coincidental with an aboriginal catastrophe, the fall of human beings from an immediate apprehension of the absolute reality of being into a reflective conception of the relative actuality of existence. To conceive is to grasp objectively, and the history of modern man is the history of fallen humanity’s projection of an objective conceptual actuality into the reality of nature, which must be apprehended subjectively if humankind is to re-enter reality.
Languages also developed from a common root and a common center. The spread of farming into Europe appears to be coincidental with the spread of the Indo-European language group from Anatolia and Mesopotamia after a great flood, and it is precisely farming with the ability to provide food for large groupings of people that makes possible the growth of the urban centers of civilization which make up the modern world. These huge population centers, which the earth suffers to sustain, may be seen as the fulfillment of the biblical curse placed upon the earth through Adam and the second biblical curse placed upon Cain’s descendants following his killing of his brother Abel which represent a double fall of consciousness from the contemplation of absolute being into a reflective and conceptual actuality of existence. This fall can only be remedied by a opposing double movement of consciousness, acknowledgment of and turning away from the negative self in material existence and a leap of faith back into the reality of the human soul’s spiritual being.
Reality is transcendent to every actuality, as the absolute is transcendent to the relative. Reality is spiritual, encompassing the void and the physical universe within the void. The universe is a universe of relativity in which the only presence of the absolute is the presence of the void at the center of each living being. Within the relative actualities there can be no absolutes. These relative actualities are limited by the boundaries of rational thought, and it is precisely faith that introduces the absolute into the actual universe, not as idea but as transcendent reality. Faith instructs us that there is a reality beyond the actuality of intellectual existence. This reality is transcendent and absolute while existence is intellectual and relative.
Upon entering the world the soul of the human being is innocent and the relationship of this innocent soul with the world is one of of immediacy. Everything appears good and absolute, indeed, is good and absolute to the innocent soul. Confined in time and space, the soul eventually makes contact with the negative in existence, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and reflecting from this negative the soul loses immediacy and innocence and now, in the reflective relationship with the world of relativity is tempted by the negative and becomes guilty. In order to regain lost innocence the soul must discover the presence of absolute good within the world of relativity and reflect once more to discover the redemptive power of this absolute good. With faith in this power the soul can rediscover its innocent relationship with the world, free from the illusory power of the negative. Only the paradoxical presence of the absolute within the world of relativity can trigger this double reflection, the necessary precursor to faith.
I hope that my work will show effectively that the recorded history of humankind upon the earth is the direct result of the fallen condition of the human intellect. The work is a poetic thesis in which I attempt to demonstrate that this fallen condition is primordial and has existed throughout recorded history. The present human condition is seen as the fruit of what has been termed by Cardinal Newman “an aboriginal catastrophe”, depicted within conceptualized time as the fall of man. Without this catastrophe there would be no human history, a history of the power of death, which is the ultimate power of the negative in existence, the fruit of an act of murder, the killing of Abel by his blood brother, Cain. History is the history of this fruit. The archetypal stories in the Jewish scriptural canon will be seen to record this fall with astonishing psychological insight and I will use them in my poetic attempt to guide the unhindered soul into the consciousness of absolute being and the promise of eternal life.
As a Catholic philosopher I am constantly seeking the answer to the puzzle of my existence, an answer I can find only within my own consciousness. Through reflection on my own experiences of the universe in which I exist and the study of others’ reflections and experiences I draw a map of my actuality while seeking its relationship to an ultimate reality. The puzzle of why I exist supposes a knowledge of where I exist. The accumulation of knowledge of my environment is, therefore, a necessary step, but my goal is to understand. Discovering that, within the universe, all things are relative but that my own being is not relative, since thought follows being and I am before I think, I become a passionate searcher after the absolute and a seeker after wisdom, which cannot, I believe, be defined except by those who have gained it. Wisdom lies in immediate being and reflective thought is, therefore, a distraction. Herein lies a paradox, that an ultimate reality must be accepted, must be believed in, before it can be known. Faith in the absolute is an act of being. I therefore pursue in darkness a far light.
That far light is an image of both the beginning and the center of the physical universe in which I apparently exist, a light which has traveled from a seminal point in space and moment in time outward in every direction at an immense, yet relative, speed for millions upon millions of solar years to reach my observation, a solar year being an arbitrary measurement by an earthbound observer’s intellect of the time in which the earth completes one orbit around the sun, a relative moment of time. This light has then traveled past my outpost in the universe for millions upon millions more solar years, apparently gathering speed, until it has reached the outer limits of its expanding material domain and has either regained the material formlessness of energy with which it began its journey among the stars or has spiraled back into the formless, absolute void into which the physical universe is expanding.
Time and space are products of the rational human mind, conceptual artifacts inextricably intertwined within a reflective intellectual consciousness that embraces duality. These concepts are then projected as a repetition, a reflective actuality, upon a universe that can no longer be apprehended immediately but only reflectively. This loss of immediacy is precisely the fall from innocence. My existence is as a moment of consciousness within this projected actuality of space and time, this physical universe. I was conditioned, while young, to accept this reflective actuality as reality and then indoctrinated into a false value system which accepts only a rationalistic interpretation of events and sets me on a course of acquisition of material possessions. I am surrounded by form, which I perceive to be energy of decreasing velocity. This informs me that the material of the physical universe is in decay. Decadence, entropy, rules the physical universe! The possessions that I devote my life to gain today are worthless tomorrow. There are no absolutes within this universe, everything is relative, making it accessible to my reflective and rational mind, which is searching for, but cannot comprehend, the absolute.
The physical matter of the universe appears to be moving in two contradictory directions in time, both decreasing in speed as it’s energy decays, and increasing in velocity as it expands in space, which presents another paradox for me to attempt to understand. My bodily movement, too, slows as I age, yet my consciousness, building upon an ever increasing pool of experiential knowledge, increases in acuity. To confront this paradox requires wisdom, which I have yet to attain but which may now be partially defined as a qualitative increase in consciousness. An increase in knowledge without understanding does not give wisdom. Only a correct understanding of the knowledge that I have gained will make me wise and the acquisition of this understanding requires diligence over time, and patience.
The schools of learning in civilization, the academy and the university, do not teach wisdom or own wisdom, despite their claims, and, insofar as they are a part of the worldly establishment that founded them, they cannot ever possess wisdom. Since understanding is a prerequisite for obtaining wisdom, they reveal by their claim to authority and their service to those who hold power and who claim a larger authority, that they do not even possess understanding. There can be no legitimate authority, intellectual or otherwise, on the earth. Authority represents power and all power exhibited on the earth is merely the power of the negative in existence which is discovered by an intellectual reflection the use of which involves the loss of immediacy and innocence, thereby rendering the authority holders guilty. All power and authority have, as their base, the fear of the ultimate power of the negative in existence, which is death. Therefore, the knowledge that the academy and the university have gained and holds in trust of necessity becomes perverted in its application, destroying the natural world and filling the intellectual void with the works of progress, a euphemism for entropy. Always marching forward, to a dubious destination, these powers can never stand still. Always becoming objectively, they can never simply be subjectively. All such authority, power and progress may be seen as artificial constructions of the fallen human intellect.
The environment formed by civilization, an artificial actuality which a misnamed homo sapiens is constructing across the Earth over time, obfuscates human perceptions of reality and truth. Youthful minds are conditioned to accept this unnatural actuality as reality and are then indoctrinated into a set of false values which contain a misrepresentation of the world of phenomena. A materialistic and mechanistic worldview is foisted upon each budding consciousness as the only reality. Conformity to this worldview is rewarded while nonconformity is deemed eccentric and erratic. The laws that govern
societies are always framed to protect the interests of those who claim authority and exercise power over others, while the weak and the poor are fed from the scraps that fall from the tables of the greedy and the powerful. Men are encouraged, like Esau, to sell their birthrights for a bowl of soup.
Before the physical universe began to exist I surmise that there was only an infinite void, formless and empty, absolute and eternal, a great immaterial Zero. It is within this vast emptiness that the physical universe came to exist and and into which is expanding. The One, the universe, is an attempt to negate the Zero, the void, with something instead of nothing. But when the One appears and confronts the Zero the Universe of relativity is formed, a bubble within the Void. This universal bubble expands within the void but can never become absolute since everything within it is relative. It had a beginning in time so can never become eternal since it must also have an end, and it is finite so can never become infinite.
Whatever caused the material universe to exist must be extraneous to the universe, and the totality which is outside the universe is precisely the immaterial void into which the universe of form that confronts the conscious mind is expanding and which, I believe, is a spiritual and conscious being, infinite, absolute and eternal, present within the material universe as the soul of every individual being. It is the effort of human beings to fill this void without acknowledging its spiritual and conscious reality which leads to the development of the material civilization that is now spread, like an infectious scab, across the earth.
The soul of each man and woman may be defined as a single moment of the eternal consciousness of the void, the spiritual void of absolute being, a moment that can freely choose to be determined spiritually or materially, as being or as existing, as a moment of eternity or as a moment of time. When the soul moves to express its self as a moment of time it falls from being into existing, from unity into duality, from absolute into relative, from the infinitude of the spiritual void into the finitude of the material universe.
The highest work of the individual soul within the universe is to express in consciousness its own absolute being, a transcendent being of the absolute, subjecting its own existence to the reality of being. The physical universe now appears to human consciousness as an expression in lower dimensions of the higher dimensions of being and a consciousness of the absolute is the highest form of consciousness, revealed as transcendent to the physical universe and thereby infinite and eternal. The seed of consciousness implanted in the universe transcends the physical limitations of form that delineate existence and which is passed on through generation. The expansion of consciousness becomes the direction of the evolution of life within the universe.
Increased consciousness is not therefore a means to an end but an end in and of itself. It is not to be achieved in order to manipulate the physical universe, but in order to transcend the physical universe. That universe has a beginning and therefore will have an ending; everything within it is relative. It is finite and temporal and designed to decay. All movement in time and space is the movement of decay, time being most precisely defined as the measure of entropy. Absolute consciousness, on the other hand, the consciousness of absolute being is infinite and eternal and so is not subject to the great law of physical entropy. It is transcendent to the limitations of relativity and to their rational interpretation. The innumerable forms of philosophy and the rationality of logic, however, capture the fallen intellect in their nets and hinder it from acquiring knowledge of the absolute categories, bringing the mind into the bondage of rationality subject to the ills of the flesh. In this light, the limitation of dialectic is obvious, although the dialectical method can bring us to the borders of the absolute, which can be comprehended only by a transcendent, spiritual consciousness of faith in an absolute being.
Existence is not being. Existence, the field of relativity, only exists within the human intellect, discovered when the conscious mind moves from an immediate perception of the universe as unity into a reflective cognizance of the universe as a duality. The soul falls from an immediate subjectivity to the absolute categories of being into a reflective and objective perception of the relative categories of existence, from positive into positive and negative, from good into good and evil, from innocence into innocence and guilt. Existence is the objective invention of a human, rational, intellect that has fallen from a subjective contemplation of a reality that is spiritual and infinite into an objective actuality that is material and finite. The rational intellect fails to distinguish between reality and existence and, rejecting the void, which cannot be experienced or thought, denies the reality of the absolute, the reality of spirit and the reality of being. God does not exist, which is to say that God does not inhabit human intellectual existence. Absolute being simply is, eternal, infinite and absolute and to actualize that being we need a particular religion which provides a dogma of faith in a transcendent and absolute being that has appeared within the actualities of relative existence, an unthinkable paradox that can only be believed, can only be related to by faith. Whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not, we are held captive in a world of both good and evil, of both positive and negative, of both attraction and repulsion and a world, moreover, where the negative appears to be increasing in power and the good diminishing. To be redeemed from that world we need faith in an absolute being and a moral discipline founded on the absolute principles which can be provided only by true religion. Christ provides that religion.
“Cogito ergo sum” involves a separation of the thinking subject from its ground in the being of the absolute and thereby with its subjective identification with all forms of life. It is both the beginning of the modern scientific method and the beginning of modern human’s artificial life in the city and it confirms the identification of reflective thought with the fall of man.