TOWARDS A VIRION ETHICS
by Joe E. Dees
THE ANTHROPOMORPHIC GOD AND THE UNIVERSAL
There are three schemas for the human creation of Deity as an
idea in the mind. This is not to assert either that such a deity does or
does not in fact exist; it is simply to show that such a Deity's existence
is not an a priori for the presence of a God-concept in the human mind.
God's existence or nonexistence is independent of the presence or
absence of these beliefs. These three schemas are (1) psychological
projection, (2) confusion of apprehension with imposition, and (3) social
ground for elevated communication.
Psychological projection - The self-conscious individual projects
this self-consciousness directly into the world as an anthropomorphi-
zation. This is a projection into immanent perception (animism) which is
later transcendentalized. The necessary and sufficient conditions for
this to occur are a world to be perceived and a self-referential
Confusion of apprehension with perception - this is the belief
that order is apprehended within a designed universe rather than
imposed categorically by the ordering mind of the believer. Either or
both may be the case, but neither absolutely (with the exception of
microphysics - see Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle). The assumed
Deific imposition of such an order leads the believer to further assume a
self-conscious Deity; this is an unwarranted anthromorphic limitation of
Social ground for elevated communication - this schema
requires the presence of an other; it is thus social and a suppot for T. S.
Eliot's discernment of religio-cultural symbiosis. Heidegger states that
objects are related to each other through the subject (as tools); reverse
this and it may be seen that subjects may be related through objects in
their shared perceptual field (as imposers/apprehenders of meaning).
The subject is also object, however (mind manifests by means of body),
and humans seem to equate their bodies with objects as the "lower"
part of their presence in the world. Thus, communication occurs
mediated by a "lower" ground (and a subjectively inadequate-seeming
one). A pure subjectivity is therefore intersubjectively postulated to
satisfy the desire to communicate on a "higher" ground. The moment
such abilities and attributes are ascribed to Deity, however, it also
becomes an object.
The basic misconception is that of an anthropomorphic God.
We both observe and are participatory parts of the universe - it is not
subsumed in us. The whole is not a reflection of the part; it is vice-
Infinite regress is possible both spatially and temporally within
the "known" universe. The universe may be seen as spatially infinite or
temporally eternal if we see ourselves as the same and admit infinite
regress. It may also be seen as spatially finite and temporally bounded
if we see ourselves as the same and deny infinite regress. The choice
is at this moment arbitrary, but in either case, the universe is
spatiotemporally finite in relation to ourselves.
We can also choose to believe in eternal pre- and afterlives if
they are transcendent. Immanent organized eternity is contradicted by
a periodicity of universal collapse. The undifferentiated aesthetic of
F.S.C. Northrup survives this; specific differentiations do not if they are
immanent. We here have the choice of accepting human finitude or of
asserting human infinitude by means of transcendence.
We must continue to make distinctions between knowledge,
belief and untruth. Knowledge is probable and statistical; it is
demonstrable by example. Belief is possible and astatistical, and
should not be assumed in either the case of possible example (this
makes it knowledge) or of possible counterexample ( this makes it
Either God is or God is not. In either case, we cannot say what
God is without limiting the concept. Therefore, we should not try to tell
each other what God is, for we cannot; we may merely assert our belief
in God or lack of same, and describe the form this belief takes for us. It
is up to the other whether or not to accept such an assertion in whole or
BELIEF IN OURSELVES
We are part of the universe and our apprehension of it is
equivalent to the universe perceiving itself, a la "self-thinking thought."
We give meaning to the universe as our home and the universe gives
us meaning as its beholders. Our meaning is to be found within this
interrelationship of ourselves with each other, within our common home.
We give each other meaning through our interrelationships - humans
are as symbiotic as humanity and cosmos.
Rather than depend upon transient myth to ground and
perpetuate us, we must recognize the values of human dignity,
community and industry directly.
(1) Human dignity - (Self/universe)-consciousness is a rare
thing in the universe, as far as we know. Regardless of whether or not
there was a conscious giver, such a gift is to be prized in ourselves and
respected in others.
(2) Human community - We are all different people, but we are
also all people. McLuhan's global village and Sagan's giant terrarium
are facts; we are all in this together, and should act accordingly.
(3) Human industry - We become ourselves and care for others
through our actions. The human experience is our life-project, and we
should act in the service of human dignity and community. Whether or
not we survive physical death, this opportunity is not to be exactly
repeated - we should, to be in good faith with ourselves and others, say
yes to life. Our means must justify any end we decide to choose.
But - what about the future of society? Where is our young
culture heading and what is civilization evolving into?
THE ABSOLUTE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS
My contention is that consciousness evolves in absolutes. 0 =
unconsciousness (matter), 1 = consciousness (life), and we, the
recursively self-conscious, have the (ideal) possibility of infinity before
us. this contention is mathematically proveable.
Self-consciousness is consciousness of consciousness (2).
However, if we are self-conscios, we are conscious of this fact (3). This
may be expressed as "if 2 then 3". But it is obvious that we would be
conscious of our consciousness of such a fact (if 3 then 4), and in fact,
for any state achieved, awareness of (and therefore transition to) the
next state is (ideally) possible. I have therefore proven "if N then N+1.
These two premises together (if 2 then 3 and if N then N+1) lead to the
logical conclusion that if 2 then oo (infinity). Thus the evolution of
consciousness (ideally) proceeds in absolutes; 0>1>oo.Ego would
occlude one level, for one can only view a level of consciousness from
an ego-position outside that level; Zennists maintain, however, that one
might be able to egolessly experience the multilayered totality. Why
would such a thing be difficult or impossible in reality when ideally it is
feasible? For three reasons: the finitude of the brain, the anchoring of
perception, and the ego-epistemology of partial knowing.
(1) The finitude of the brain - there are a vast number of
neurons and synaptic/dendritic connections in the human brain, but
nevertheless this number is finite. To assert that such a finite
mechanism is capable of grasping an infinite number of states is to
commit a caegory error. Our self-conscious awareness is necessarily
both existent and partial; the recursive snake of self-consciousness
must bite its own tail, but cannot swallow its own jaws.
(2) The anchoring of perception - our conceptions are grounded
in our perceptions, and recurse to inform them. The farther away we
get , in levels of consciousness, from our perceptions, the more tenuous
this connection becomes, and the more sterile and less referential the
(3) The ego-epistemolgy of partial knowing - we are trapped in
the ego-epistemology between egoless apprehension of nothing
(matter) and egoless apprehension of all (omniscience). In other
words, we are always on the way to omniscience, but can never arrive.
Our path, therefore, is clear; we must discover as much about
the universe as we can (and this includes about ourselves), while
adhering to two rules:
(a) All should be permitted to possess all freedoms they care to
enjoy so long as they do not interfere with any of the same freedoms
possessed by others; when these freedoms inevitably come into
conflict, such conflicts should be resolved by equal and proportional
(b) The universe is to be experienced and understood rather
than defaced or destroyed.
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