Brief Introduction to Our Historical Moment:
Christ, the consummate symbolist. His message: See as I do; live as I do, and attain the prelapsarian condition—the Kingdom of God (i.e. the spiritualization of the Promised Land – much closer akin to Buddhist nirvana and Hindu liberation than Christian immortality. See The Gospel of Thomas). But the apostles—and chiefly Paul among them—create a religion of faith—faith in miracles, the resurrection, personal immortality.
The eventual necessity to gain certainty in God’s salvation is the beginning of modern thought. Man within the Christian symbolic constellation—in the Cathedral—questioning his personal salvation, is increasingly eclipsed by the question of God, and whether salvation occurs at all. The certainty Descartes pursues in his meditations is this certainty.
Truth as certainty in the world’s monolithic nature (monolithic because God, Truth, Nature, can now be nothing less than monolithic to satisfy man’s desire for certainty), requires the securing of the subject as verifier and that all truths (i.e. laws of nature) be universally applicable. The measurement of objects is decided on as the realm of verifiable knowledge. Measurement with increasing magnification results necessarily. Absolute ends are needed to fend off the ultimate meaninglessness of man’s project: Universe and atom are posited anew, but by scientists this time.
The universe and atom: the faith of the modern era. The ends of modern humanity’s project.
The division ad absurdum of our modern thought and activity is the direct result of this project—the endless division of objects. Placing evermore divided and magnified things into our world-picture—the standing, utilizable reserve of humanity—requires increasingly vast and divided institutions to handle such vast bodies of microscopic things. Thus man himself becomes microscopic, and increasingly loses sight of himself as creative center. He necessarily becomes Nietzsche’s last man: “The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man who makes everything small… “What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?”—So asks the last man and he blinks.”
However, wherever we’re not afraid to look, humanity’s modern project approaches its real limits: Oil is only the most prominent resource that will soon become increasingly inaccessible. We are physically degenerating as soils lose their nutrients and food is made more transportable and storable (See Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Aside: nutrients moving out of the soil and into more bellies and storehouses at an unsustainable rate is the fundamental movement of western civilization hitherto, and the reason even principled civilizations more powerful than their neighbors die as empires). Lastly, the field of epigenetics is making it clear that engineering good human beings without good food (and thus good soil) is impossible. The expression of genetic information is quickly corrupted by a nutrient deficient or toxic environment, as is occurring now increasingly, and such corruption is passed down to offspring several generations into the future, is cumulative, and only reversible by a more favorable environment (See Pottenger’s Prophecy, Deep Nutrition, etc.).
Meanwhile, on mathematics’ lunatic fringe, the further the eye of physics advances, the more it doubts its ultimate ends. Already cosmologists proffer the idea of an infinite multiverse, albeit in the most schoolyard and uncircumspect fashion, while their colleagues and string theorists cry foul, claiming such an admission would effectively throw in the towel on the whole cosmological project and quest for a universal theory…A new metaphysics is needed—a new, more believable and decisive faith.
Metaphysics: A belief about the nature of beings and Being in general. An age is defined by the metaphysics that pre-dominates throughout it. But after the conclusive reversal of western metaphysics accomplished by Nietzsche, and thus metaphysics’ new awareness of itself as belief, as binding fiction, etc., has it grown too late for new creation on a metaphysical scale? Did his realization that an age’s metaphysics was the most fundamental and powerful artistic creation of that age deter Nietzsche from creating his own metaphysics? No. And while Nietzsche’s essential metaphysical ideas, the will to power and the eternal return, were a necessary, destined response to Platonic and Christian ideals of otherworldly being, modern technology (our metaphysical inheritance from these older interpretations) isn’t decisively addressed by Nietzsche, nor may we decide much about it based on his view of Being in general, the eternal return of the same. Given that the modern technological mind-frame is the metaphysical interpretation holding sway, and is humanity’s most perilous inheritance to date, a metaphysical ground that challenges the underpinnings of our technological project is necessary. Thus, while my idea of infinite repetition in space could be said to be a mere development of Nietzsche’s “eternal return,” I hold it to be a crucial development (See “Logical and Joyful Conclusions,” further down).—Sometimes an important distance is bridged by a few decisive steps.
Said in another manner, while metaphysics can no longer aspire to certainty and holds to itself as belief, my metaphysics is by no means arbitrary belief. A metaphysics must be believed. And if they were not reasonable, not believable—both more believable and beneficial than the Judeo-Christian, the modern technological, or the eternally returning interpretation of Being—I wouldn’t bother elucidating my metaphysical ideas. But I’ve done more than elucidate them. I believe them.
And I don’t think I’m entirely alone. I believe that under the superficiality of our divided daily lives, there’s a common undercurrent of thought among some spirits regarding the essential things. Otherwise the world would never essentially change. Pivotal ideas could not take hold, but they do take hold: At rare moments in history when believability and vital necessity meet, an idea surfaces from the fretful, waxing undercurrent of spirit. A woman, man, work or utterance that bears the force of this whole undercurrent beneath it surges up and washes over the new-gleaming surfaces of things. I hope we’re approaching such a moment, and that’s why I’m thinking, writing, and living in accordance with these ideas.
[Note: The following seeks to outline the essential principles of beings and the world as reavealed as the human perspective. I make no attempt to discuss the guiding principles of beings beyond their appearance and conditional truth of this original perspective—no attempt to discuss the attributes or being of say, a rock, in itself (i.e a priori). For rock, attribute, being—these are all constructs of that original perspective and form which we may call Reason, man, etc. Put differently, securing Perspective beyond any given perspective is obviously impossible. This Perspective secured would be but another perspective, thus our overarching, original perspective, should always be assumed in terms like world, Being, etc.]
Form projects nothing but itself, in such a way that its power is enhanced in the projection. It does not project all that is, but only that which its history of gathering complexity has prepared for its securement as its own—its form. What its history of growth reveals to it we call presencing.
Each form has a different history of gathering complexity, thus each presence revealed to it must be different from that of all other forms (or, at least at this point in the analysis, each form appears different from all others). What is form thus depends upon each unique gathering of complexity. It is perspectival, thus form is always mere form, and not substance or matter.
Each form projects as its own present horizon—its presence—projecting itself to enhance its own power. But each contains within it and is surrounded by infinite other forms. There is no fundamental form comprising or comprised of all things. Developing out of the gathering complexity of constituent forms, each form must project itself in such a way that it secures itself (both its preservation and enhancement) amidst the gathering complexity of all other forms. Otherwise it would disintegrate out of being, assimilated by the growth of other forms.
All forms come to be in collective currents of gathering, bound to interact within a finite range of interaction some place along the ever-receding smallness and ever-receding largeness of forms. A form must co-originate and grow together with other like forms, for the history of its gathering complexity has always depended, and depends upon other forms being there—being around—which are enough akin to be secured as the form’s own, and cooperated with in growth and resistance to annihilation.
No form is fundamentally more complex than any other, for each contains within itself infinite forms. However, each given form must come to be in a complexity capable of interplay and access to surrounding forms, and, very importantly, it must for this same need of interplay and access, come to be within a finite range of size.
It may seem that the number of forms a given form could possibly take would depend upon the size of its smallest component, so that if a form was composed of infinitely smaller forms, the number of forms it could take would be infinite. However, when considering the number of forms a given form can take, the number of its smallest components is immaterial—that is, it doesn’t matter.
Anywhere form comes to be is a gathering of forms, where a finite range of size determines interplay—determines whether form comes to be at all. Interacting forms, whether they be stars, organisms (defined principally by DNA), or spoken or written words, must be of a certain dimension to interact. If a form’s essential components of interaction are too big or small, interaction cannot occur (and form either doesn’t come to be as such, or else ceases to persist in such a form). Thus form, comprised of components which cannot be smaller or larger than a definite size at which interaction can occur, is not comprised of infinite components essential to its form, but a finite number of essential components.
Because the number of essential components comprising a form is finite, the number of forms a given form can take is also finite. Consequently, the number of forms which forms in general can become is finite, because while the sum of an unfathomable number of unfathomable numbers is just that—unfathomable—it is nonetheless finite.
Because the number of possible different forms is finite, and the succession of larger and larger forms, and smaller and smaller forms, is infinite, form repeats in space. It repeats not once, but infinite times looking into every form and out from every form. This is the alpha and omega, atom and universe. The nature of being in general is a fourfold infinite repetition of form and hence this here—just this life. Looking into things, and out from them, and away from them, and across time, there is a fourfold infinite repetition of just this form—this life.
Logical (and Joyful) Consequences:
This world repeats infinitely in a fourfold way: a great winnowing fan for humanity. The idler’s interpretation: So a thousand-fold variations on this life—my life—must also come to be—only each more or less different form this—me just as I am (interestingly, the masturbatory speculation of current “multiverse” believing cosmologists)…The ne’er-do-well’s interpretation: If everything repeats, it is fated to be. What I do does not matter…The woman’s who will inherit the future, the man’s of thoughtful integrity—the artist’s interpretation: Nothing can be known besides this life and its infinite repetition, its utter redundancy precisely as it is and has been. The heaviest question: Can one affirm this life and nothing but this life, infinitely, eternally? In coming to terms with this, to complete the Yes to life, one must see the paradox of fatalism and the flaw of the ne’er-do-well’s thinking. That is, one must see that if he sees action as pointless, all things being fated, that will repeat infinitely. If a woman whispers carpe diem each morning in rising from bed, precisely that will repeat.
There is no fundamental universe and atom. There are as many atoms and universes as there are variations of form in general. But one is central, if not fundamental: precisely this here. Man is atom and universe, alpha and omega. But even if he looks with incalculable power into the smallness of forms and vast distances outside himself, he can never find himself. What he will find is a form unimaginably small and short-lived, and one unimaginably vast and long-lived, yet for themselves these two forms are nothing besides this—this life. Spiriting away, the insane division and alienation we inflict upon ourselves and each other, are seen for what they are. The all-devouring myth and nihilism of modernity is overcome. Time is a strange, redundant whorl: this life—now—is always the same for itself, yet eternal: It happens on larger and larger scales, infinitely. Life is infinite; it is eternal. The human being regains his or her knowing place as the central creator, created of itself—its chaos schematizing, beautifully falsifying, form-giving Form.
Note on Importance:
This world whose overarching metaphysical meaning is dying and squandering so much as it dies, instills in us blessed ones the lesson: “Thou too art unimportant.” It channels our pursuits into a project with no goal but continuation, with no places but increasingly divided ones. We can no longer translate ourselves to one another—and who cares if we can’t, all things being equal.
But could any lesson be more false! We, who if we stand bravely see The Great Winnowing of human evolution in the not-too-distant future. And what if it’s true, as I believe, that all this repeats infinitely? Can you imagine a life more important than living precisely here, at this great crux of the infinite, from this height, with such a rare view of it all.
I say no things are equal to us but the infinite—we of good sense and strong spirit, dying of despair in the loneliness of our desire for creation. We artists, scholars, free thinkers—we must never forget our central role in the destiny of things. As “The Humanities” ramify into absurdity, not knowing what to do for a system in which they’re essentially irrelevant—“Are we here now merely to pacify those of us stubborn and antiquated enough to still want to think in a symbolic way? The pie is large, but each piece is a mere bite. It’s pluralism then, and unanimous service to science. All things being equal, pick one and go.”—Even as we must bow to such thinking (and we must at times to get anywhere), we must remind ourselves of its gross misunderstanding of rank and importance.
Man, insofar as he has become modern, no longer essentially sees the world and himself symbolically. He becomes increasingly scientific. And to scientists things are not symbols; they are given objects secured in our certain subjectivity. Thus, the further the modern technological mind-frame extends and dominates, the further will art be pushed into peripheral obscurity. In taking his all-encompassing interpretation of the world to be the explanation, modern man forgets himself as a fundamentally interpretive creature. He forgets that humanity’s primordial nature—Reason, Being—is essentially creative, fictionalizing—artistic. He places one interpretation in the center, decentering himself.
And who senses this but us?—we free thinkers, artists, and torchbearers of literary inheritance. Who else can make a beginning so deep in its future by the way it reaches into the past?—A scientist? A technocrat? Who senses that beauty will save the world? Never forget how important you are. Come to believe what you sense and live what you believe. You are the phoenix. Never be convinced otherwise.