Don to Gerald: ongoing chatter
Sep 06, 1993 10:22 AM
by Donald DeGracia
I'm picking up where we left off. I hope it hasn't been too long and
that you still remember where we were at, or have your last letter to
me of 8/27/93.
<Call it <speculative science> if you will, but it is necessary.>
Whether its necessary or not, people will indulge in it anyway, whether
I like it or not. Sometimes I get a bit of a "purist" attitude about
me that isn't very agreeable with specultative thinking, and coupling
this with my generally zen attitude is just kind of unctuous at times.
So, I apologize for coming off more hard headed than I really am.
< But chaos theory is useless stuff if not applicable
in more meaningful ways than mathematics and science.>
Chaos theory has a very general utility within the context of science
and math, a utility quite distinct from any type of speculative
thinking or philosophizing. A number of important systems in Nature
have chaotic dynamics, including, according to recent articles, the
organization of nerve impulses in the nervous system, not to mention the
weather. Such applications are hardly meaningless. As a matter of
fact, the philosophical significance of chaos theory is that dynamical
systems display a much broader and more flexible range of behavior
than physicsts ever originally envisioned.
<Similarly with <I think you are overstepping the
limits of chaos theory by paralleling the mathematical theory
with the idea of the duality of order and chaos> True, but I
didn't do it. Glieck and several others did,>
I read Glieck too. I don't recall him ever saying anything about order
verses chaos. He did a great job explaining chaos theory in layman's
and accounting the history of the development of the ideas.
<Besides, how else can we compare and contrast science with occultism? >
Again, I really recommend you find van der Leuuw's book. He lays out a
basis with which to discuss science and occultism. In a nut shell, van
der Leuuw points out that occultism *is* science. See, in our society,
the way we have defined the subjects or topics of science is
relatively arbitrary and is completely biased towards only analyzing
the physical world with machines. Furthermore, scientists have this
attitude that their currently accepted methods of enquiry into Nature
are the *only* correct methods. This is bunk. The valid occult teachings
stem from the very real expereinces of human beings, expereinces based
on quite repeatable methods. Thus, valid occultism is just as empirical
as modern science.
The real problem here is one of world-views. Our sciences are still
caught up in the mystique of materialism. That is to say that modern
science only considers valid the study of the physical world as
revealed through the senses of our physical body. You know as well as
I do that there is more to the universe than what we see with our
To me, the issue is one of *extending* modern science. I believe that
there is a very real physics to the planes for example, and that the
occult anatomy is real. We really have astral and mental bodies. The
idea is to open science up to this broader level of thinking.
Frankly, I do not think present day science has the tools to describe
occult phenomena. Only the physicsts and Jungian psychologists are on
the right track. The Jungian people recognize this, the physicsts don't.
However, I very much feel that it is possible to *extend* the methods of
science to embrace occult phenomena.
<Have you read his book ORDER OUT OF CHAOS yet? >
Yes, I've read much of Prigogine's writings. His concepts of
thermodynamics are brilliant. As a philosopher he is as nieve as any
< This was not nice, Don, throwing my own words back on me. >
Nice is not the issue. If you are going to present your ideas in a
public forum you have to be prepared to deal with all kinds of
responces, especially is you want to deal with scientists. Scientists
are not dummys. They may be metaphysically ignorant, but they are not
stupid people. And the first thing they will do is try to find
internal inconsitencies in your thinking and ideas. Its your
responsibility to present ideas in a clear and conscise fashion so
that stuff like this doesn't happen.
And furthermore, science itself progresses because of its open
community criticism. Every idea is put to the choping block. If the
ideas can't stand up, either as logically consistent theoretical
constructs or (better yet) empirical realities, they are tossed out.
That's the way the game is played. If you want to play the science
game, this is what you better be prepared to deal with.
Faith and dogma are really prevalent in religion and occulltism. To mix
occultism with science, you have to cut through all this chaff and get
to the stuff that can stand up under the rigor of detailed intellectual
analysis and empirical verifiability.
When you put your ideas into public, you are not playing kid games
anymore. Its very cut throat and those ripping apart your ideas usualy
have no feeling for you at all. You just have to be prepared to deal
with this. Believe me, Gerald, I'm being very nice here to you and
your ideas because I'm sympathetic with your cause. Go into the
science/education forum on ComupServe and say some of the things we
are discussing and see what happens.
<I assume you are familiar with the Anthropic Principle (?)>
What do they say about assuming? It makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me".
No, I've never heard of the ideas until you mentioned them in your
<In this atmosphere, I will recind all of my earlier words and replace
them with a knowing smile, which is closer to the truth anyway. (:-)>
<<The idea of the universe winding down is a misconception,
speculative science, with no basis in actual fact> The *facts*
so far are all derived by science itself, so I can't agree with
the last part of your sentence. >
If I remeber correctly, I qualifyed my statement to the effect that the
idea of the "heat death" of the universe came from the ideas of Carnot,
Gibbs, LaPlace and others who were working with 19th century
thermodynamics, which is *equilibrium* thermodynamics.
Talk about fudge factor science! Equilibrium thermodynamics barely even
works in test tube chemistry, let alone if you try to design a chemical
plant! Chemists and chem enginneers have miles and miles of pages of
tables of little fudge factors to append to their thermodynamic
equations to prevent laboratories and chemical plants from blowing up!
There is, in other words, little basis in fact for the picture of the
world described by classical thermodynaimcs. The idea of the "heat
death" was derived from this paradigm. The paradigm is massively
incomplete, so any philosophical specualtions drawn from the paradigm
are likely to be bunk.
And yes, all things pass through a cycle of birth, growth, decay and
death. This is very clearly recognized in occultism, and, as a matter
of fact, Dane Rudhyar did an increadible job at showing how the
symbolism of astrolgy can be used as an algebra of this process. But
regarding science, this very obvious fact of life is more clearly
recognized in the biological and social sciences than in the physical
sciences. The physical sciences have not yet codified the reality
that all things undergo the cyclic process of birth-death-rebirth.
When they do, they will have effectively re-invented astrology .
<Dualism is the way we human beings look at things. >
No, Gerald, its the way *you* view things, and other people who share
this opinion. However, there are many people, and I am one of them, who
don't take dualisms as fundamental at all. The idea of dualisms serves
usefully in some circumstances but not all. There are alternative ways
to view things. Sometimes things can only be understood as a gestalt.
Other times things can only be understood as multi-faceted.
< It is not a good way to view things, and leads to a lot of mental
anguish and suffering. Buddha pointed out his Eightfold Way in which
to eliminate such wrong thinking, but so far, only Adepts can really
do it. >
If its not a good way to view things, then why do you view things this
And claiming that only an adept can transcend thinking dualistically is
bunk, unless I'm an adept, which I'm not, because I lost my card and
badge and got kicked out of the club too - for smoking and swearing
and having sex <g>.
But seriously, Gerald, these statements reflect a subtle type of
alienation. When you say things like, "Only buddhas and adepts can do
this or that..." you are setting up one of those "ring pass nots" that
you talk about, you are creating an insurmountable wall in people's
mind that somehow they are not good enough, that its beyond them. This
isn't really an attitude conducive to growth. Buddha was a human just
like you and me. Everything that buddha, jesus, or any so-called
master can do, you can do too. Its just a matter of setting your
sights, figuring out how to do it, and going for it. "Taking heaven by
Storm" I believe is the buzz-term. Of course, I'm not saying that
great people don't deserve respect. They do. But its a fine line
between respect and worship. Respecting greatness is healthy,
worshipping anything isn't always good.
Attitude is everything.
< Most are semantics. If you accept the Anthropic Principle, then I
think we are on the same track. If not, then I guess we are at some
Thanks for the description of the WAP, SAP and FAP.
However, Geralds, if your basis to determine if we are on the same track
is whether or not I pledge my alligiance to some intellectual statement
well, that just seems silly to me, and a little too sectarian for my
tastes. I read carefully your descriptions of the WAP, SAP and FAP,
and I have no problem with what they say. However, they are just words
that came out of someone's mouth. Haven't you heard or understood
anything I've been saying? What the hell are these words and ideas in
the face of our expereince? They are just a coating, a coating that
imparts a particular "color" or mood to our expereince. That's it.
Nothing more. We secrete ideas the way that cows make milk or bees
make honey. So what?
I love ideas and I hate ideas. They are fun to play with, but I hate it
when people make up ideas and use them as a basis to find distinctions
amongst people and things. All ideas of distinction serve only to limit
perception. Sometimes this is good, sometimes its bad. It all depends on
why you make the distinction to begin with.
But this thing that people do, they make a statement and imply that the
statement somehow captures all of reality. This is just pure dumb. Its a
very primitive way to use the mind and senses and intellect.
One time when I was stoned out of my gourd on 5 hits of acid I saw in
one instant all of the philosophers that ever lived. I saw each one of
them making his pronouncement, his judgement, expressing his idea of
what reality is all about. i saw billions of people doing this up and
down the throes of history. And not one of them was saying the same
thing. All I could do was laugh, laugh at the fact that all these
guuys completely missed the point. Then I felt a great sorrow that
they couldn't see what the point was cause they were so preoccupied
with their little ideas. I felt sad cause, when you see what the point
is, everything becomes just so great, and all these shmucks were
missing that greatness, which is the greatness of all things. And
this made me feel sad to see all these billions of philosophers
missing the greatness of life, but then I felt great because I felt sad.
It was all a very teriffic joke in the scheme of things. All I can say
to you , Gerald, is I *know* why Buddha was smiling all the time. :)
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