SCIENTIFIC ENLIGHTENMENT PROPER
Being Part Two of
The Path Toward Scientific Enlightenment
1999, 2003 - 2007
---- THIS WORK HAS NEVER BEEN FINISHED ----
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- Division One -
Introduction: Orientation in World Religions and Philosophies, and Degeneration in Contemporary Religion and Philosophy
- Chapter 1: The structure of salvational traditions of the First Axial around the world: the first vs. the second mode; schema for the evolution of spiritual consciousness; basic elements of religion and philosophy. Chapter 2: Christian fundamentalism (evangelism) is positivism; its positivist conception of the Scripture and God; the meaning of fundamentalist "morality"; why religious fundamentalism is anti-spiritual. Chapter 3: positivist misunderstanding of mysticism; the memory of Conservation and the true meaning of philosophy and mysticism; the parallel between modern physics and mysticism; the distinction between the functional and the structural perspective as historical breaks; "repetition."
Book 1: A Thermodynamic Genealogy of Primitive Religions
- 1.1. The ideal structure of primitive (pre-salvational, "intraworld") religion
Chapter 1: the origin of the elements of primitive religion: the soul and its conservation (its derivation from the functional perspective plus the memory of the conservational principle); the necessity of ritual (the problem of entropy in the functional perspective); guilt or the "original sin". Chapter 2: the origin of the elements of primitive religion (cont.): the spatial structure of the cosmos in the functional perspective (omphalos and axis mundi); justice, karma, and guilt (in the general sense). Chapter 3: from mana, the sacred, animism, and taboo to totemism; the religion of Australian aborigines. Chapter 4: the "logic of sacrifice" (Nancy Jay); sacrificial religiousness, and ritual systems in general, as metaphor of a system of two-unit metabolism (like the mother-infant system); Christianity as diachronization of sacrificial religiousness. Appendix C.4.; the comparison of the energetics of cellular respiration with that of sacrifice. Chapter 5: sacred Weltlichkeit; "existence in the form of cosmological myth".
- 1.2. The empirical instances of the ideal structure
Chapter 5: Germanic (especially Anglo-Saxon) religion. Chapter 6: Aztec religion. Chapter 7: Greek religion. Chapter 8: Amerindian religions. Chapter 9: pre-classical Chinese religion.
- 1.3. The sociological and gendered aspects of the manifestations of the ideal structure, and the historical origins of human religiosity
- 1.4. The transition to salvational pursuits
Chapter 10: Hesiod's Work and Days; the origin of the Fall.
- 1.5. The energetic (thermodynamic) structure of myth
Chapter 12: a thermodynamic reading of creation myths; the examples of Chinese Pangu myth, the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish, and Hesiod's Theogony. Chapter 13: Comparison and congruence between mythic and scientific scenarios.
Book 2: Human Enlightenment of the First Axial
A. The First Mode of Salvation
B. The Second Mode of Salvation
- 2.A.1. A genealogy of the testamental religions
Chapter 1: the differentiations within the cosmological civilizations; the historical form of Israel and Heidegger's eigentliche Zeitlichkeit: the traditional problem of "linear time". Chapter 2: the religion of the Patriarchs; the various versions of Yahwism; the Mosaic religion as the Deuteronomist version; the Egyptian background to Moses' theophany; from sacrifice to the covenant (berith). Chapter 3: the "official religion" of Israel and Juda; the minority tradition of differentiation: the prophets; the differentiation of eschatology as "cosmogony in the future", (i.e. diachronization of the cosmological mode). Chapter 4: Heidegger's secularized conception of guilt, the thermodynamic primordial conception of guilt and its relation with sacrifice; the two meanings in Paul's conception of "sin", corresponding to the ergonic and the legalistic meanings of Jesus' sacrifice. Chapter 5: The meaning of Jesus' sacrifice in light of the origin of sacrificial religiosity.
- 2.B.1. A genealogy of the philosophic enlightenment in classical Greece
Chapter 1: arch as the recall of the law of Conservation; a thermodynamic reading of Anaximander; Chapter 2: the pantheism of Thales and Anaximenes; Chapter 3: the structure of the Hellenic philosophic tradition; Chapter 4: Orphism; the second source for the structure of Christian salvation: Hellenic mystery religions; Orphic cosmo- & theo-gonic myths; Chapter 5: the differentiation of Pythagoreanism as the second mode of salvation proper to the Greeks, in opposition to the first mode of the testamental religions; Chapter 6: Heraclitus; Logos = Dao. Chapter 7: the continued differentiation of the memory of conservation in Xenophanes' universal god; Parmenides' vision of Being as Conservation seen by itself; Nothingness as the truth of existence of which Parmenidean vision may or may not have fallen short; modern physics as the complexification (diachronization) of philosophy. Interlude C.7: Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics and Parmenides' coincidence with modern physics; Chapter 8: Parmenidean cosmogony; the origin of the identification of female with the negative side of binary oppositions. Appendix to Chapter 8: the traditional metaphysical reading of Parmenides vs. the thermodynamic reading. Chapter 9: Zeno's defense of Parmenides: Zeno's paradoxes of motion; Bohm on the illogicality of the derivative; everyday experience and presuppositions of classical mechanics as illogical, proven since Zeno's paradox; Zeno's paradoxes as implying quantum mechanics and relativity and showing the implication of relativity by quantum mechanics; Chapter 10: sophism; sophist-philodoxic destruction of philosophy; the preliminary general structure of the evolution of consciousness; Chapter 11: Empedocles; criticism of Capra: the parallel between fusiV and modern physics; Chapter 12: Plato; Phaedo as a system of the second mode of salvation; eidoV; the disengagement of justice from metaphysics; the thermodynamic origin of minor salvation; minor salvation in the first and the second mode; Chapter 13: the Platonic forms (eidoV) as functional equivalent to structural laws of nature and Heidegger's Weltlichkeit; the hypothesizing of forms in the search for aitia of things; last argument for the immortality of the soul in Phaedo; Chapter 14: the "theory of forms" as elaborated in the Republic; the three senses of "what is and is not at the same time"; its third sense according to John Sallis; the Platonic eidoi as corresponding to the equations of physics in the structural perspective; Chapter 15: the Agathon; the one direction in the structural perspective ("theory of everything" sought for in theoretical physics) in which Platonic forms and the Good complete their meaning. Interlude C.15: Heidegger's explication of the primordial meaning of alhqeia; the other direction in the structural perspective (Dasein, Ershlossenheit & Entdecktheit) in which Platonic forms and the Good complete their meaning. Chapter 16: Plato's divided line and the upward movement of the soul as education; "dialectic" is what in Plato's functional perspective corresponds to the standard model of elementary particles in the structural perspective. Chapter 17: the parallel between Plato's allegory of the the cave and the spontaneous symmetry-breaking associated with the Grand Unified Theories; Chapter 18.1: justice as order or minor salvation in the Republic; Plato's project of the salvation of Athens; the first argument for the desirability in-itself of being just; the Gorgias precedent; the outline of the Republic. Chapter 18.2: the second and third argument for the desirability of being just irrespective of rewards; comparison with Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; conclusion on the happiest life; the attack on poetry as signifying the definitive closure of the age of mythic consciousness; the reason for Plato's "totalitarianism": his cosmological perspective; Plato's "return from the return to the cave"; Aristotle's differentiation and break with Plato's cosmological perspective.
- 2.B.2. The Chinese historical form
Chapter 1: the cycle of system-collapse characteristic of Chinese history (the succession of dynasties); the Chinese interpretation of it through "Mandate of Heaven" and its identity with the degeneration-renovation cycle of the cosmological mode. Chapter 2: the germination of the Chinese historical mode (Zhou's conquest of Shang and the constitution of the universal empire of Han); the failed break-through.
- 2.B.3. Chinese philosophy
Chapter 1: Daodejing; the immediate articulation of Dao and the thermodynamic vs. the metaphysical reading; our divergence from Heidegger in the case of upokeimenon. Chapter 2: philosophy East vs. West as Non-Being vs. Being; the Gospel of John and Dao; Marcel Conche's reading of Daodejing. Chapter 3: the passing of Being into non-Being in Chinese philosophy: Kuo-Hsiang's commentary on Zhuangzi as impasse; the success of the passing with the aid of Buddhism; Chi-Tsang's double truth; Chapter 4: Seng-Chao; "Not Real Emptiness"; mutability vs. immutability; Nirvana as non-Being of consciousness; Chan (Zen) Buddhism: its founder Hui-Neng; cultivation as non-cultivation and sudden enlightenment; Chan Buddhism and the meaning of life: the return to the material meaning of life after enlightenment; Buddhism as the second mode of salvation and Nirvana as the Anamnesis of Conservation. Chapter 8: Zhuangzi; salvation as the enlightened state of mind, as the higher perspective, i.e. as the perspective of Dao or nature; the essence of the higher perspective as Objectivity and its identity with the scientific attitude;
- 2.B.4. A genealogy of the philosophic enlightenment in ancient India
Chapter 1: classification of the Indian intellectual traditions; Chapter 2: the Indo-European problem and the origin of Vedic religion; the structure of Vedic sacrificial religiosity; the Indic mythic expressions of the thermodynamic problem of order-formation; the mythical origins of Indian philosophical concepts; Chapter 3: the Upanishads; Brahman as a preliminary conception of Being and its thermodynamic meaning as conservedness; the beginning of the second mode of salvation in India; Chapter 4: the identity and difference between Buddhism and Upanishads.
C. Contemporary Revival of the First Axial (and the examination of the "parallels between philosophy and physics")
- 2.C.1. The problems with "The Tao of Physics"
Chapter 1: review of Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics; the S-matrix vs. the Quark-model; Chapter 2: review of Capra continued; the bootstrap hypothesis: the derivation of hadronic structures from self-consistency; the laws of nature as aspects of Conservation; the implication of consciousness by the laws of nature.
D. Cosmic Numerology in the Functional Perspective and the Principle of Conservation
2.D.2. Comparative numerology in the functional perspective and the origin of the "correlative thought" of the cosmological civilizations
- 2.D.1. The example of the Yijing Metaphysics of Sung Dynasty, China
Chapter 1: the Yijing metaphysics as the numeralization of the cosmological omphalos and axis mundi; The Initiation into the Study of Yi by Hou Yu-Zhai; Taiji's differentiation into two Yis, then four Hsiangs, then the eight trigrams; symmetry in physics and metaphysics as the function of conservation and the ying-yang symbolism as incomplete manifestation of the double binary of conservational symmetry; the truth of existence as contained in Yijing metaphysics: the negation of existence by spatialization; Chapter 2: The River Diagram and the Luo River Document; the derivation of the 8 trigrams; Chapter 3: the derivation of up to 64 hexagrams; Chapter 4.A: the Circle Diagram: the structure of the cosmos in its spatial and temporal aspects in terms of the 64 hexagrams; the origin of the symmetry of cosmic numerology in the conservational principle; Chapter 4.B: the Square Diagram; Chapter 5: the origin of the five phases and the problem of the synthesis of 5 and 4; the numerology of the derivation of the five phases; Chapter 6: the River Diagram and the Luo River Document revisited; Chapter 7: the correspondence between the pre- and the post-heaven trigrammatic structure and the Yellow River Diagram and the Luo River Document; the meaning of pre- and post-heaven. Chapter 8: the magic politea from microcosm to macrocosm: fractal geometry as an example in the structural perspective
2.D.3. A comparison in "total representation" (cosmic-world systems) between the functional and structural perspective: between the Yijing hexagrammic cosmology, Ptolemean Almagast, Hegel's Enzyklopaedie and Laplace's Exposition du Système du Monde.
Book 3: The Differentiation of Consciousness and the Constitution of Modern Western Philosophy and Religion
- Chapter 1: the differentiation of linear time as underlying David Hume's discourse on causality. Chapter 2: the differentiation of "substance" or "subject" as underlying modern philosophy and Christianity. Chapter 3: the "project of forms" since Plato, its transformation into "epistemology", and the emergence of the "metaphysics of Being". Chapter 4: Heidegger's metaphysics (Sein und Zeit) as the (incomplete) theory of forms in the structural (modern) perspective; Heidegger's transformation of the meaning of the Grundfrage: "Where things come from" mis-interpreted as meaning only its showing sense: "Why things show themselves as they are." Chapter 5: The secularization of philosophic enlightenment and salvation: the case of Nietzsche; the case of Heidegger. Chapter 6: the completion of the degeneration of Western philosophy: Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals.
- Division Two -
Introduction II: The structural perspective as the de-animization of the cosmos
- The transition from the functional to the structural perspective means the disintegration of the old reality founded on an underlying "ethereal" ("streaming", "processual") substratum, and the constitution of the new reality with indivisible, immutable chunks as the ultimately constitutive. Weber's Entzauberung der Welt is a surface reflection of this underlying transition.
A. The Constitution of the Structural Perspective
- 1. The transition from philosophy to science: West and East
Chapter 1: Lavoisier's chemical revolution as illustrative of the transition from the functional to the structural perspective. Chapter 2: The same transition, as a universal trend, in Chinese history: the materialist philosophy of Wang-Ch'ung, Han dynasty. The origin of the empiricist spirit. Wang's exposition on the nature of consciousness from the structural perspective. The example of Fan Zhen, Northern and Southern Dynasties, and his structural understanding of consciousness. Fan's discourse as reactionary against Buddhism.
- 2. The constitution of chemistry
- 3. The constitution of biology
- 4. The problem of representation (and the constitution of classical mechanics)
Chapter 1: mathematics as the highest form of representation; the meaning of Descartes' analytic geometry; the meaning of the calculus of motion; progress in mathematics as paradigm-shift (Spengler); the progress of representation from sensual awareness to mathematical description; the Neolithic Revolution in representation as the transition from one-dimensional qualitative to one-dimensional quantitative; the disclosive function of numbers. Chapter 2: the use of one-dimensional quantitative exact representation (mathematics) in engineering: the example of Le Duc's interior ballistics. Chapter 3: the characterization of classical mechanics; Descartes' innovation in metaphysics as enabling classical mechanics; function, integration, force, work, and mechanical energy. Chapter 4: the origin of the notions of "work" and "energy" in Descartes' mechanics; the origin of conservational principles; "quantity of motion" vs. "living forces". Chapter 5: Euler; d'Alembert's rational mechanics; the basis of classical mechanics in Conservation. Chapter 6: Fermat's principle of least time and Snell's law as reflection of the principle of conservation; Fermat's principle of least time as "equal distance in equal time" in analogy with Kepler's second law, "equal area in equal time". Chapter 8.1.: Einstein's special relativity; the true form of "scientific mysticism." Chapter 8.2.: the Platonic ascent to general relativity.
- 5. The final synthesis of the structural perspective and the new structural Reality
Chapter 1: the emergence of quantum theory; Heisenberg's matrix vs. Schroedinger's wave mechanics.
B. Scientific Enlightenment
- Chapter 1: the prefiguration of scientific Daoism; the practice of Objectivity in daily life: the synchronic source. Chapter 2: the diachronic Source: the visualization of the common ancestor; the Nostratic origin. Chapter 4: The anamnesis of our ancestry: (unfinished). Chapter 5; the true parallel between philosophy and physics (modern cosmology); existence as "neither being nor non-being nor both nor neither" and its parallel with the creation of the Universe ex nihilo.
Part One: A Thermodynamic Interpretation of History
A New Preface
(Added: September 2014)
Freud begins his Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (Civilization and Its Discontents) with a comment from his friend Romain Rolland in regard to his psychoanalytic theory of the origin of religions:
Einer dieser ausgezeichneten Männer nennt sich in Briefen meinen Freund. Ich hatte ihm meine kleine Schrift zugeschickt, welche die Religion als Illusion behandelt, und er antwortete, er wäre mit meinem Urteil über die Religion ganz einverstanden, bedauerte aber, dass ich die eigentliche Quelle der Religiosität nicht gewürdigt hätte. Diese sei ein besonderes Gefühl, das ihn selbst nie zu verlassen pflege, das er von vielen anderen bestätigt gefunden und bei Millionen Menschen voraussetzen dürfe. Ein Gefühl, das er die Empfindung der "Ewigkeit" nennen möchte, ein Gefühl wie von etwas Unbegrenztem, Schrankenlosem, gleichsam "Ozeanischem". Dies Gefühl sei eine rein subjektive Tatsache, kein Glaubenssatz; keine Zusicherung persönlicher Fortdauer knüpfe sich daran, aber es sei die Quelle der religiösen Energie, die von den verschiedenen Kirchen und Religionssystemen gefasst, in bestimmte Kanäle geleitet und gewiss auch aufgezehrt werde. Nur auf Grund dieses ozeanischen Gefühls dürfe man sich religiös heissen, auch wenn man jeden Glauben und jede Illusion ablehne.
Freud then proceeds to conduct a psychoanalytic investigation of these "feelings", leading him to something entirely different, the drive toward the creation of the trappings of civilizations and the irremediable antagonism between the demands of instincts and the restrictions of civilization . He is, of course, not the only one who has tried to explain the underpinnings of human religiosity. So, so many have tried to answer this most fundamental question and have, without knowing, failed, like Freud here; so, so many have tried, such as Freud is here doing, to seek the answer in some intellectual construct which the mind has artificially created on the basis of the language originally conceived to describe, or represent, an external reality -- an artificial intellectual construct which is self-consistent and self-referential but which doesn't in fact describe, or represent, anything outside it. This is why they, just as Freud here, have failed. Many of them, like Freud, have failed to discover the "oceanic feeling" in themselves, not because of its actual absence, but because they can't describe it. We are here to set right the discourse at long last, by appealing to a proper description of that "feeling" and finding out of what, outside ourselves, the feeling is a representation. This is the phenomenological approach, and we discover that that of which the feeling is a representation is a most fundamental law of nature, the principle of conservation, such as has been codified in the First Law of Thermodynamics. This is the content of the following "Scientific Enlightenment".
Diese Ausserung meines verehrten Freundes, der selbst einmal den Zauber der Illusion poetisch gewürdigt hat, brachte mir nicht geringe Schwierigkeiten. Ich selbst kann dies "ozeanische" Gefühl nicht in mir entdecken.
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