A Moment Of Culmination

 Fiction, Writing  Comments Off on A Moment Of Culmination
Nov 221993
 

In that moment of seizure, Hunter’s sturdy, powerful heart contracted and froze, drowned in chaos’ thick malaise.

Undaunted and chastised, Hunter Scales’s consciousness sunk penitently into that unwholesome mire, the past poised in suspension through the dissolution of his senses. ‘Curiously like the tales of life passing before one’s eyes….’ He—if enough remained of this ego to earn a gendered pronoun—marveled that introspection held any temporal sense now. Then his thoughts were drawn to wonder at the enormity of imaginative energy spent through all persons back into simian antiquity in each one’s final mind’s cinema. That he could pen but one long-pondered verse on this, his last moment’s lucidity.

That one phrase could have wrought more desecration on the charnel edifices of Modern Man than any long-fused dynamite stick he threw in his unfocussed youth.

The frames of his jumpy reel fluttered forward to jeer and accuse his unblinking, yet myopic, mind’s eye. They do not come like some burst of newsreel, captioned and accompanied by off-key, staccato ragtime trinklings. Rather, they were edited by the eternal, infernally pious director into a melodrama nearly as lampooning as the cartoon.


Like a jaunty and careless Bosco had young Scales strolled onto Yale campus; entering class of ’18, stress on ‘class.’ Gently cushioned from the suppurating carnage of Europe, while funded by his father’s arm sales to the same Five, he was at leisure to pursue what course he would—as long as it was Economics. Not to be daunted by the acquisition of a mere diploma, he had fallen ravenously to studies of the capitalist technique, keeping always an eye on industrial developments throughout the Eastern Seaboard: from noble Boston’s shipyards to flogged Charleston’s reconstruction.

 

In all though, the cruelly simple manipulations and machinations of the free market refinery interested him not one whit. Early in his education, he petitioned the Elders of the University to allow him, effectively, to ‘test out’ of his Economics degree, using the weight of his family, “so instrumental to the effort of our old friends” (as the Chancellor had remarked, referring either to the Unionists or Allies or both) and the logic that he was, after all, the third son of his father and would need little business skill to manage what inheritance would some day—”God forbid!”—be his to manage. This rational, so weak in his father’s glutted eye, washed over the Elders; he had enrolled, by semester’s end, in a hodgepodge course he dubbed “Metaphysical Studies.”


The whine of surging blood filled his senses; the Old One’s crushing vengeance had pulsed to his dissonant brain and was causing multiple strokes. To Hunter, there could be no more bitter scene than that last recollection: his vision quest for a grail beyond the bottomed Christian one—for now not the least tatter of that idyll remained to furl before his darkling sight.

 

There had been an instant, not an hour earlier, that the pure brilliance of his long-subsumed dream had pierced the leaden mantle of its perversion. Hunter had stood amid the clutter and piles of books in his sanctum, one book split open in his wide, smooth palm, and seen the text’s encryption for what it was: an ashamed misdirection, the self-conscious warning of a guilty malignance. Behind the coded Arabic lurked the greatest of dynamite, a powderkeg unconserved and riotously neglectful of spatial bounds. He glanced over its instruction fleetingly, never dwelling on a particular phrase or incantation lest the cognition loosen the forces so tautly bound in the phonics… and in himself. Yes, in that instant, he had felt again, at last, that profound disturbance with his impending intentions that had nearly frozen his arm in mid-throw a cloudy eleven years ago, outside of Tanner’s Pub, even as its hand held a sparking, pregnant stick.


Scales’s liberal but intent studies had pulled him from Yale’s polished austerity to Middlesex’s vibrant passion. There he found the right alloy of modernist angst and revolutionary fervor to fuel his first meritable works. He even shortly won a critics post on the magazine which first published his pastiche of Gothic and metaphysical poesy. His Americaness, it was hoped, would provide a needed injection of modern cosmopolitanism to the pulp. Yet Hunter fell quickly to Marxist disparagement of the very new order that he was, as Yale and entrepreneur, to propound. It was merely that, in contrast to the chance elitism of capital enterprise, the communal ideals of the enlivened radicals around the cafes struck a far more sonorous chord with his quest for universals; he more and more often was to be found in pub, cafe, or den, surrounded by like-impassioned youths and speaking with intensity of the ascendancy of the ubermenshen.

 

It was at one such congress that Scales first met Illya Regis. Their attraction followed the course of frank abandon that was so popular to the licentious energy of the subculture. Soon, however, the fine difference in their drives was to begin a corrupting effect on his Glorious Evolution; her particular deepest bent was for destruction, pure and simple, of the entire social edifice, “worn and weary in its ruts;” and as for what followed: the strongest would decide for the best. “Feudalist retro-evolution” (as was argued by one pedant of their circle) meant nothing to her overmen; they were strong through wisdom as well as daring in the face of flaming deconstruction. They would slaughter the weak out of compassion, not powerlust.

Slowly, insidiously, Illya’s twist on Neitzschean ‘progress’ burrowed into the crystalline core of Hunter’s vision of psychic evolution. His pure and disciplined method and myth of the Ancient Asians slowly was encumbered by Illya’s rarefied and dogmatic occultism. Not content to channel her spirit, she would vent it: one day in furious deliberation over some Cabalist tome, the next in delicate alchemy in the university labs where she labored to breed the perfect detonator: her own fanatic quest for a higher order of magnitude.

In time, he began to perceive more and more of the skulking dread entombed in the dead texts and was seduced closer to the aberrant rage that lurks in all who have seen the onslaught of the industrial age, that revolution of finance without conscience. Within months, it had taken little more than three pints and one rallying tirade from Scorsby—Illya’s mentor—to bring him swaggering and pregnant with bitter power to the entrance of the lawyers’ local, Tanner’s. His wind-chilled hands did not even tremble as he struck a spitting match and ignited his charge.

Yet, as he arched his back and channeled his frustration along his taunt arm, he had seen, even across the flurry-driven street, a relaxed and stately man leaning on the pub’s bar and laughing. That humanity-pervading signal of communion and peace, upstaged by his stick’s spluttering menace, called down to the so newly grown crystal of his dream’s core and froze him on the brink of infamy.


Cool waves of pain streaked down his limbs, convulsing them and forcing the surrender of their balance on the rocking sloop; Hunter began a slow-motion decent to the boat’s deck. The beast of entropy, which his focussed utterances had drawn up from the murky depths of the ocean, moved around the bow to study each twitch and flail of his dragging tumble to the deck. It sent forth tendrils of potential, tweaking his motion an inch this way, an inch that; now—this very slit second—the right foot freed from friction, lifting arduously away from the possession of gravity, the first fraction of a wind gust providing the last causal link to his impact on the salt-washed paneling. He finally lands, each ounce of his weight now transferring to his ill-positioned left arm. One of the series of gravid additions begins the fracture of both his radius and ulna; the point of searing pain is almost holy in its transcendence over the general agony of his apoplexy and subsequent strokes.

 

He felt, through the chorus and solo of his penance, a hollow, angry laughter flash from the dissolute entity as it lapped a splash of brine across the compound fracture’s torn flesh. The mirth, and Hunter’s drawn scream, cued a gel haze from which the memory of similar amusement and agony panned and resolved.


Illya had merely chuckled at Hunter’s vacant boggling over her revelation. “It’s how these times are, chuck!” she had dismissingly admonished him from across the lamp-lit table. The shadows of the pub closed around his vision, only his inspiration’s becalmed, patient expression swam amid the taunting recollections of shared ecstacy which wrestled for his chagrined attention. “How could I not ‘be’ with Scorsby? He embodies the nihilistic passions which must purge this tepid world.”

 

“And, ergo, I do not….”

“Embody…?” here one brow on her Hellenic front arched. “Not hardly. You love the middling good of the present too much.”

And she stood and strode boldly off to the last three weeks of her life.

For a long while after her death by a dropped vial, war raged in the conscience and consciousness of Scales. One faction marshaled argument from his tenacious reason while another pumped his softened soul for emotion. He had given an ever-swelling part of his five years at Middlesex to her arcane and violent quest. But he had always held back on the rage; she was right about his stubborn compassion. But he had gone along with her and Scorsby’s conspiracies, sabotages, and murders. Yet he had still wrote and published his concerned admonishment and behests to the yoked masses. Nevertheless, he had always found time to risk translation of those Middle Eastern texts which exceeded Illya and Scorsby’s linguistic abilities.

“Damn all that has past!” he had screamed, grimacing tear-streaked at the pub’s smoke-darkened rafters. No one stopped the man that rose from his seat to ask him about the black smoulder in his eyes; all knew at their innocent cores that the glow was but the last light of the soul interred behind those orbs.


Raindrops eased down from the moon-marbled sky to sculpt fluted red bowls from Hunter’s pooling blood, and the ancient impatient menace which even now absorbed his tattered essence assumed a diffident air. The agony of this frustrating man could be milked no more; the genetic blessing of shock, common to these frail beings, had enshrouded his sparking nervous system. There remained now only the last bilious second or so, that insignificant summation of the closing life, the denouement of derangement and obsession.

 

The fury of all evils reclined beside the slow-settling form of his severed puppet. It had shown promise of liberation, after centuries, millennia, aeons—no difference—for the envoy of jealous entropy. Wound deliberately into impetus, it had jerked admirably along the prophesied path, in the beast’s planned cadence. Such concentration of purpose had not been seen in nineteen centuries on this planet, and the destroyer had ensnared this one soundly, much to his Nemesis’ sadness. Though a few moments of awareness had slowed the tool’s forging, the final artful influence, in that drinking hall some several eternities ago, proved the last juncture for redemption.

But no, it actually had not, and the chaos meanly parceled out an extra second of quivering breath to the dying human; it raged anew and branded the gasping spirit with its last desperate years of degeneration.


No arcane tome remained unlocked before the voracious appetite in Hunter for vengeance and validation. His first essay was to complete the fatal experiment that had claimed Illya Regis; it done, he coolly, dispassionately, utilized the compound to blast one wing of the Asylum in London. The Nazi party, a perverted phoenix rising ill-smelted from the injured ashes of German nationalism, polished the buttons of the cloak of armageddon which he had donned. His once-caring verse dispelled his audience with a pained yet vitriolic ejaculation in what became his last published editorial. He folded in upon his cold contempt and let it fester, mulching it occasionally with the vision of exploded gentlepersons or bobbies shot dead with an expensive import he order from his brother.

 

His public identity was, unfortunately, never linked to the Bombardier, hated and erratic anarchist. He was nothing but a rapidly aging curiosity to those few who would listen in the seedier pubs of the East End as he ranted of final judgement, where all but the warrior-saint would drown in their own bile. Those lads who felt the thrill of his words quiver through the feminine back of their companion would cast the occasional copper his way as recompense for necessitating their cloistered consolation.

It was his hungry bending for these coins which would send him home, not exhausted and angst-ridden, but newly fired to his study and rage, the two of which would toss him to and fro until dawn. The compounded humiliation, frustration, and obsession of his graduation into Hell’s honor role set before him, finally, one task.

In a text which possesses no English equivalent for a name, he stumbled across a reference to a ritual which would, for the truly impatient, usher in the era of the Old One, an era which would last but an instant, if time is at all to be considered, but which would release, in a cascade, every imaginative kernel with a jangling note of despair and failure, a note which would sound until Time saw fit to bother with its release and decay. In the rank mire of his ambition, Scales saw this as the Grail for which he searched, an Unholy Grail that would not deign to ally itself with one febrile morality or another but would merely clear the way for the cleanest, most just, most bitterly expedient ethic that wrest hold of the whirling oblivion. The way would be utterly open for the wronged to wrong the slavers, and the masters to cull the inefficient. The quest for this promised procedure caked the last rot on the smeared gem of the once proud Hunter’s soul; it absorbed every waking hour and the last of his father’s bequeathment.

But he did not fail; he ripped the tome from the grappling clutch of a dying Shao Lin priest.

At ten-forty-three p.m., as the winter solstice swept tearfully across Britain’s dales, Hunter Scales sailed from a private pier, aboard a stolen sloop, a stolen apocalypse on his smooth palm. The rain was light enough that it did not soil the thick pages, sheets which little resembled linen stock, had more the texture of murdered hide. By now, the misleading text’s communication was well interpreted by Hunter; he had not parted with his intellect on the same evening which he had mislaid his sanity. Their message seethed with potential and foreboding.

He stood upon the pitching deck and let the wild night surround him, caress him imploringly, as if—rightly so—it had a stake in his eminent profanation. He heard its murmured pleas, felt them echo opposite words spoken by Illya from across white down, and cursed their futility. He was lost, and no weak example of the awful might of the vital world would stay his tongue and psyche. He began the incantation even as his pocket watch chimed the proper moment, Greenwich Mean Time.

The words staggered off his tongue, trying desperately to twist into discord and fling free from the dominance granted the reader in their proper utterance. Hunter held fast to the building power, all the while a bit put off by the lack of apparent effect in the surround nature; in shouting the culminating chant, he expected some herald of the coming purgation.

But Chaos waits on no ceremony.

In front of him, where before there was only white-crowned fluid peaks, an amorphous form resolved and advance deferentially forward. Hunter’s mind reeled as his eyes realized that the form, which had seemed only man-sized, appeared so by foreshortening; its obedient advance had covered over a mile and it now loomed taller than the sloop’s mast. The water from which it vaulted seemed to abhor touching the entity, preferring to cease existence in an annihilating whirlpool around it. As to its composition, it was nothing more than the reflection of a glimmer of wan light subsumed in an inky appetite. It exuded a baleful anxiety subtly tempered by the patience of an immortal. It radiated an interrogative; with that question—not to be?—it tuned all of its force into a silent cyclone of doom shrouded in its wide volume.

And Hunter knew finally what that request meant, really and ultimately, and the pure and persistent crystal that was ever at the throne of his mind and spirit shattered in righteous denial. The ascendancy of man could not, it decried, be on the laddered ribs of its starving obsolete. True ascendancy of the son does not come with the death of the father, but with pitied solace beside his deathbed. These again proud and passionate—not just furious—exhortations pummelled the waiting swarm of chaos; it reared and drew its warhorn from its swollen, cracked lips to let it sink back to the sea.

And the Ancient One, master of all save one force in the universes, reached out with a quivering claw to encompass Hunter’s freed heart and vengefully crushed it into a messy clod, even as the collapsing muscle shook loose the sole virtue it interred.

Blood rushed from Hunter’s seizing heart, causing multiple strokes which killed him in the space of three seconds.

Union

 Criticism, Fiction, Writing  Comments Off on Union
Apr 221993
 

A Fictionalized Treatise On Modern Marriage

This is an essay comparing the treatment of marriage
in fiction by Virginia Wolfe, Bernard Shaw, and D.H.Lawrence
from within a fictional framing story in which the principle characters
of Mrs.Dalloway, Man and Superman, and Women In Love
meet at a dinner party hosted by the author’s alter ego.

“Everything must be exactly right, James, understand? These guests are very important people, all of them, and I will not have them disappointed by our hospitality.”

The man-servant nodded deferentially to his employer Carter Manart, commenting, “From what you’ve told me of them, Carter, I am certain that even our most lax attentions would be appreciated.”(1)

Manart considered this statement a moment, shrugging finally and saying, “True; the Tanners don’t really stand on ceremony much, and the Birkins are satisfied more by intellectual fare than pageantry. But the Dalloways… they are professional party-goers; and though never criticizing directly, laxness will be remembered by them.” He strode around the ancient oaken table, spot-checking its recent refinishing and shining the odd smudge in its polish.(2) James had just finished setting it with the simple, black edged crockery and smooth crystal glasses, and Carter could not help but admire the contrast between the placemats’ coarse and basic weave and the table’s solid ostentation.(3)

“How many years has this table been in our family, Jim?”(4)

“To be honest, Carter, I’ve no idea…. When my father taught me it’s maintenance,(5) he told me how it had been refurbished in his youth from a simpler style into these Victorian flourishes; see, this routing is newer as well as these corner pieces with the frills.”(6) The butler’s finger traced a chiseled flower from its pistole down to its swirling root at the table’s leg. “Kind of old-fashioned looking these days… especially with what you’ve done with this dining room.” He glanced about with one eyebrow arched, then fixed a wry look on Manart.

Carter was still staring at the table. “Yes,” he said, in regards to the its antiquity. “But I am afraid to do too much to it yet; it’s so old and… well, honorable, if you see my meaning, that I would not have it reworked when I refurbished it for fear of, I don’t know, denigrating it?”(7) He looked quizitively at James, to see if the older man understood his sense. The butler nodded knowingly and returned his attention to the rest of the room, inviting Carter, with teasing glances, to share in the observing.

“Yes, but I won’t hold back on more minor decoration; after all, the room can be bared without too much expense.”

They both surveyed the room’s decor, one admiringly, the other, amusedly.(8) The walls were a madman’s pastiche of Realist portraits of old men and women (not all necessarily old in the paintings themselves), Impressionistic luminary blurs and Surrealist distortions of landscapes. Manart’s prize side wall, across from the dining room’s wide, tall windows, caddie-cornered one of Rembrandt’s grotesques and Bruegel’s Dutch pastorals with Monet’s “Waterlillies”, Goya’s “The Third of May”, and young Salvador’s, “Persistence of Memory”.(9) Also adorning the walls were sconces modified into gas lamps around the turn of the century, then into electrics in 1920, seven years ago.(10) The room’s huge crystal chandelier had also been electrified, and was now glowing warmly, casting sparkling flashes on the walls through its yellowed rose crystal. The floor’s uneven, smooth mahogany panelling was covered in the center by an Oriental rug of, predominantly, grays and bright red, overshadowing blue and purple flourishes.(11) It was on this rug that the ancient table and its surrounding Indian rattan chairs stood.(12) The only other furnishings in the room were large downy pillows strewn before the windows and a brass bar of sorts, stocked with liquor — mostly gin and scotch — and sours; it also was a tea service on those occasions when Carter actually bothered with a formal tea, which was seldom.(13)

“And if my tastes should change next month, following the whimsy of this age,” he continued, “I am sure to keep most of the paintings, will profit on those I get rid of, and will always know Sergeant-Major Brighlington in the Colonies — he’s entrenched there, poor sod.” (14)

“Yes, well, I don’t know what your father would have thought–”

“Oh, he’d’ve hated it, of course; if only because I’d tossed out those dreadful trophies and beasts’ heads leering down and making one question the source of the dinner’s steaks.” They both laughed; Carter, more heartily. “But he was a kind enough old chap-” here Carter caught himself and glanced to see James’ still visage “-except to you, though…. Look, friend, I really am sor–“(15)

James’ mood lightened and he forced a grin. “No, Carter, don’t bother yourself, I’ve told you. It was the times….”

“Pathetic in so many ways, yes. I really am–”

“Enough. I must check on the hors-d’oeuvres and you’d better change; the guests are expected in an hour.”(16)

Carter watched James bow slightly, out of habit, and turn and walk out through the kitchen’s door, shutting it quietly behind him.

He turned and stepped toward the windows, his back to the table and prize wall, and stared out across the gardens.

The sun was dangling over the woods west of the house, about an inch away from hiding, casting a lurid orange haze on Manart’s young but wizenning face. He relished its glow and thought to himself how the sunset would thrill his sensitive guests an hour hence as it purpled the horizon and draped magic over the room. He would keep the electrics low until absolutely needed, set a close atmosphere for the night; for he wanted the truest confidence and advisement of these, his new friends. A few questions burned in him to be released from their spiraling, contentious gyres and he knew no better group to which to pose them.(17)

“So where exactly are these to be placed, Carter?” James held a small stack of cards, folded so that they would stand like little tents.

Manart snapped his right cufflink into place, shaking his wrist to get the loose jacket’s sleeve to lie. “Hell of a question, James; I’m not real certain of the etiquette of these things, or even if the guests will appreciate etiquette of this pigeon-holing sort.”(18) He took the cards from the black man’s pink palm. “I mean, there’s only the three couples, so if I put the couples side-by-side, then one couple must sit sort of at the periphery.”

“Does it really matter?”

“I don’t know; that’s why I’m so concerned about it. I would just seat them myself, but they’re all older than me, it would seem strange. And I don’t know if they would take to being seated by you — no offense, friend.”

“It would be their offense if they were so; relax, Carter.” He walked to stand beside the table, setting down a handful of flatware with a muted clatter. Pointing, he said, “Why don’t you have Mr. Tanner here,” indicating the right hand of the table’s head, “Mrs. Tanner here,” across from Jack Tanner’s seat, “then likewise boy-girl across from each other with the Birkins next down and the Dalloways furthest from the head. That way no couple is excluded, and age is the only hierarchy from the head –barring you, of course.”

Manart pondered this a moment, then said, “Fine, whatever; God I hate worrying over such niceties. I certainly hope they aren’t offended.”

James waved dismissively. “You said yourself that the Tanners were a relaxed crew; so too the Birkins. That should be a majority, so don’t worry about the Dalloways.”

Here Carter laughed aloud. “‘Don’t worry about the Dalloways’ he says! Richard’s ONLY an MP, for God’s sake…. Although, I don’t suspect he’d hold a grudge or anything of the sort. But it only takes a disapproving word to that meddlesome Bruton and she’ll have her ‘Cabinet’ dragging my shipyards through the mud in the press, no pun intended.”(19) He pulled out the flaring chair at the table’s foot and dropped heavily into it. “God I need a drink.” He turned to face James who had moved to stand near the kitchen door, behind and to the right of Carter. “Is it alright to serve a drink before the meal, James?”(20)

“Actually, one is supposed to do so; it’s called an ‘aperitif’.”

“Brilliant!” Carter exclaimed. “Be sure to; it should loosen our guests, and I know it will help me.”

Almost as if on cue, the men could hear the voice of the maid greeting someone rather loudly, probably to warn them. Manart dealt the placecards rapidly, like their gaming cousins, while James strode to the double doors to throw them wide with aplomb just as Jack Tanner and his wife Ann reached the threshold.

“Mister and Misses Jack Tanner, Mister Manart!” announced the maid to Carter, who now stood before the doors, legs planted wide (to forbear trembling) and arms spread in a gesture of welcome.

He visibly withered as Ann cursorily said, “Mister Jack Tanner and Misses Ann Whitefield-Tanner, actually, dear.”(21) There was a mischievous glimmer in her eye as she nodded to the maid, who had only the darkness of her skin to thank for hiding the flush of her embarrassment.

Carter recovered quickly, making his first mental note of the night.(22) “My apologies, madam; Margaret did not know the proper etiquette, for which I am solely to blame.” Her took her offered hand and lightly planted a kiss on its back, looking downward. “It is so good to see you again after our too-brief meeting in the Halls. You have honored the House of Manart by accepting my invitation to this informal dinner.” He bowed deeper, with flourish.

“Isn’t he cute, Jack?” Ann teased, turning to smile at her husband.(23)

Carter’s pale-skinned face did not mask his blush so well as had Margaret’s ebony.

“Oh, don’t let her addle you, Mister Manart!” Tanner heartily cried, clapping Carter on the shoulder and seizing his hand for a single, vigorous pump.(24)

“Please, feel free to call me Carter, Mister Tanner–”

“Not if you call me by my father’s name, I won’t! Jack, agreed?” His grin was infectious.

“And please call me Ann; my surname is a bit too unwieldy for friendly conversation.” Mrs. Whitefield-Tanner’s beauty struck Carter to his soul as her smile melted from wicked to confiding; her forties were treating her no worse than had her thirties or twenties.

Again Jack spoke: “And who is this” indicating James “an African! My, but you are an oddity here in the Dales; what’s your name, sir?” He extended his hand.(25)

“James, Mister Tanner,” the servant answered, clasping hands. “It is a pleasure to meet such an outspoken champion of human freedom.”

“An it is a pleasure to meet one of its inheritors,” Jack countered, beaming with a grand blend of honor and pride. “And call me Jack, alright?” He capered toward the door, leaning into the hall to holler, “Everybody call me Jack, do you hear?!” He traipsed back, his eyes laughing. “When is the aperitif served?”

“Hear, hear!” laughed Carter; and taking the Tanners one on each arm, he strolled into the room proper, gesturing for them to sit, his nervousness melted away in their warmth.

They sat side-by side on the right of the head before noticing the placards.

“Oh, apologies, good master Manart,” said Jack, holding up Ann’s (or, rather, Rupert Birkin’s) card, “we didn’t know this was formal.”

Carter blushed again, only slightly, and replied, “Well, it isn’t, really… I’m merely somewhat new to this sort of affair, and…. Oh, sit where you will!” he laughed, “I want friends here, and there are, after all, no Rolls at the podium, right?”

The Tanners laughed at the allusion to Parliament. “Good,” Jack said, “I would hate to break my long-held habits!” For he sat on the right, an odious rank for him, were this Commons.(26)

Just then there was heard footsteps in the hall, one set Margaret’s light quick tread, the other two sets mingling, but not exactly in unison.(27)

“Mister and Misses Birkin?” said the maid uncertainly, as she reached the open double doors. She stepped to one side and Ursula Birkin strode forward, side-by-side with her husband Rupert, who was looking somewhat quizzically at Margaret as he passed.(28)

Carter moved from Jack’s side, as he and Ann rose to greet the new arrivals, and with a sweep of his arm said, “Be welcome in the home of Manart,” trying his best to achieve oxymorous relaxed obeyance.(29)

“Why thank you, Mister Manart,” said Mrs. Birkin. Then, seeing the Tanners, said to Rupert, “look, dear, it’s the Tanners. Didn’t we meet in Ausberg?” This was to Ann in particular.

“Sure, we almost crashed into one another on the south slope of Mount Something-stein; I’ll never forget what you said: ‘Destiny forces all greats into conflict’, or something like that. It is good to see you again; what a shame it took our young lobbyist friend in Commons to bring us together here.” She moved to embrace Ursula, smiling warmly at Rupert in the process.

“We’re hardly ever in Britain,” spoke Rupert, finally entering the conversation, “Europe is so full of things to experience, each day offers fifty new lives to one who would take them.”(30) He stepped forward to shake hands with Carter and Jack.

“Well, I’m glad I ran into you two at The Boar and Board last week,” replied Carter. He turned to Jack, “We had the longest talk — the three of us- about your speech at Parliament, the one on women’s suffrage, and I said, ‘So I’ve invited the Tanners to a little dinner party with the Dalloways, sort of a meeting of the camps’ and they were so delighted by the prospect that I could not help but include them, much to Margaret’s dismay — she had everything planned already.” He was babbling, but the friendly air of this group of bright minds could only loosen his excitable tongue.(31)

“Glad you did, son,” said Jack heartily, then to Rupert, “and if I may ask, sir, where do you stand on the vote — though I suspect by your deference to this fair femme that I know?”

“Oh, of course women should have the vote; they have ever been the more practical of the species,” Rupert replied sincerely, his eyes flashing at the prospect of the night of intellectual communion to come.(32)

“But they have yet to develop the experience with national issues, affairs of state.” A new voice, clear, if a bit tremulous, rang in the room.(33)

“Mister and Misses Dalloway,” said Margaret, belatedly and a bit perfunctorily. “I’ll be getting the first course ready; dinner will be served in five minutes.”

“Yes, ma’am!” said Carter smartly, saluting the maid and glowing with mirth over her obvious consternation at having her role as announcer usurped. “Welcome, Mister and Misses Dalloway.” He had tensed, but only a wee bit, at the surprise arrival and curt entrance into the debate; now, he played the perfect host.(34) “I trust you know Ann Whitefield-Tanner and Jack Tanner….”

The Dalloways nodded politely to Richard’s latest political rivals, exchanging customary murmurrings.

“And these are the Birkins,” said Carter, gesturing to Ursula and Rupert, “recent friends of mine.” Then, before any contention could get underway, he sweepingly indicated the table. “Shall we all have a seat, the aperitif is hot on the heels of the Dalloways.”

“Excellent,” said Jack, as he and Ann resumed the seats they had first occupied.

The Birkins sat across from them, Rupert at the head, laughing that his name was now ‘Ann.’ Mrs. Dalloway hitched for but a moment, finally taking her seat where her card was, beside Ursula, smiling and looking closely at her as while daintily lighting on the rattan’s motley cushion.(35) Dalloway moved to sit on her left, then noticed there was no place set there and circled the table to sit by Mrs. Whitefield-Tanner. He nodded civilly to her in sitting.

“Should be a Hell of a lot of fun tonight, Cart!” said Jack, reaching behind Ann to jovially clap Richard Dalloway on his shoulder.

Dalloway laughed politically, shaking out his linen napkin and placing it on his lap.

The first courses were consumed heartily by all, the lateness of the supper and the day’s heat having bred fierce appetites in them all. While waiting for the first entree, Jack had casually opened the discussion of suffrage which was the overt intent of Carter’s invitations of them.

As expected, the debate was heated, while remaining civil and respectful.

The Tanners, being its strongest proponents, argued the most convincingly for the vote. Jack’s combination of endearing witticisms and searing observation left the conservative Richard frequently on the defensive, a position with which he was, at least, familiar.(36) On frequent occasion, Ann would let flash some anger with Dalloway’s stubborn doubt over women’s capacities, but each time Jack calmed her with a stroking palm or redirection of the point of discussion.(37)

Ursula Birkin was, primarily, a supporter of Jack and Ann’s view, offering anecdotes from her travels which would serve to reinforce some nicety of the debate. She did, however, feel that a certain training period for women voters might be in order, if only to smooth the transition into this near-universal suffrage.(38) Rupert, meanwhile, stayed on the margins of the debate, preferring, with Clarissa Dalloway, to absorb the room and its view’s scenery.(39) At one point, he had tried to steer the conversation to the natural sublime; but this attempt had been made while Jack was marshaling a refutation of Richard, seeking it in a stewed potato, and the interruption was swept politely aside.

During this half hour of conversation and consumption, Carter had remained fairly quiet, offering only his support for suffrage –universal suffrage, a point too unwieldy to gain much interest in the heat of the smaller debate– and then reclining to watch the play of his guests. He most wanted to be assured that they were enjoying themselves, staying on friendly terms, and otherwise merely being themselves, for it was in their interaction that his true end in throwing the party was served.

As the discussion reached the impasse which it had reached for months in Parliament, he took it as his cue to open the floor for his debate. He cleared his throat, dabbed a corner of his mouth, and leaned into the group.

“Well, I can see that there is some strong difference of opinion here on this, understandable in light of our essential differences. Jack and Ann are of the radical cast — Jack in particular –, the Birkins are seemingly a bit above the issue, and our friends the Dalloways are from an older tradition of propriety and custom: something which should not too lightly be trounced.” He cast a wry look at Jack, who could not suppress a snigger, in part at Carter’s audacity, in part at his veracity.

With the debate thus closed by coming full circle, Carter continued, “But there is one point in which all of you seem to concur, one with which, lately, I have become concerned.”

The group looked to one another, trying to guess at the subject they shared, so crypticly expressed by their host.

“Why, I speak of marriage; you all agree that the institution of marriage is appropriate.”

There was a general exhalation or snort and a clamor ensued, nearly all speaking at once.(40)

“Oh, lad, you know where to push the buttons,” exclaimed Jack.(41)

“Oh, no; here we go,” sighed Ann.(42)

“It’s interesting you should say that,” mused Rupert.(43)

“There you are, dearest,” laughed Ursula to Rupert.(44)

“But of course,” puffed the Dalloways, nearly in stereo.(45)

A brief silence descended like a thunderclap on the room, everyone realizing that they were speaking over one another. Then laughter rippled around the table, and Carter said, “The reason I ask is that I’ve been involved with a delightful actress for nearly a year now, and I feel as if marriage is the next step.(46) The only rub is that I am not certain what exactly that institution is anymore, and I wish to know your opinions, being my only acquaintances who, if I may so say, are entrenched in the convention.”

“Not only may you say that,” stated Jack with gusto, “but you are most accurate in your choice of verbs.” This exclamation elicited an elbow in the ribs from Ann; she was smiling, however.

Rupert leaned forward, a penetrating look in his eyes, and replied, “But marriage need never be an ‘entrenchment’. It is possible to maintain a balance between the individuals and the union of those individuals.” He faced Carter. “You should resist with all of your soul that horrible fusion in marriage which is traditional in our heritage; a fusion which leads to such terms as ‘wedlock’.”(47)

Jack was intrigued by Rupert’s proclamation and sought deeper explanation. “You don’t feel that something is surrendered in marriage, that the forces in nature, in Life itself, which compel union forbear separate identity? Though I would like to call myself free and separate, I know full well, and accept, that a great part of my identity is tied up in this thing here.”(48) He thumbed towards Ann humorously, and had a bruise added to the one forming on his ribs. “You see? Where else but in matrimony would I tolerate the violence done on my person in just the past few moments?”

“Oh, come along, now,” countered Ursula, “you would take just such a jab from Rupert were it as good-natured and affectionate.(49) As I have come to understand Rupert’s idea of individuals in equilibrium, we enter into marriage to fulfill the individual’s purpose in being, on the one hand procreation, yet even more so self-definition.” She took Rupert’s hand.

He continued where she left off. “Yes, and via this ‘star- equilibrium’, where the two are bright and whole and held in balance by their own gravid attraction to one another, the individual’s orbit is perturbed — not in the sense of disturbed, but in that it achieves the wobble, if you will, that it is meant to have.” He sat back a bit; then his brow furrowed a bit as he saw Jack perk and anchor to his diction.

“Wobble, son; yes, you’ve got that right.” Jack chuckled and took a sip of sherry. “Wobbling like a drunken sailor down the road, leaving the sight where he was waylaid!”(50)

At this point, Clarissa spoke for the first time in some time. “But Mister Tanner, there is something to be said for the compartmentalization of home building. A married couple is partners in life, each complementing the other and helping the other overcome hurdles which would thwart the lone voyager in the world.” She looked at Ursula, almost as if for approval. Ursula faintly smiled, depth of meaning in her eyes as they held contact.(51)

Rupert softly said, “That’s certainly another way to put it.”(52)

Clarissa continued, burgeoned by the Birkins’ support. “And further, Mister Tanner, you are, after all, married yourself, to a lovely wife. How can you be so cynical about marriage then?”

Jack, rocking back with a creak of rattan, replied, “I am at the whim of the Life Force. I must succumb to its purposes and wed and mate and contribute my share of sperm to the gene pool so that Mankind may, over the generations, become the gods they are intended to be.”

Clarissa flushed at Jack’s crude statement, and Richard took this as his cue to speak up, “Listen, Tanner, this is no place for such barbarity; surely you can make your point without reference to bodily fluids.” He glanced at Clarissa to note her reaction to his defense of the women’s honors.(53)

Jack and Ann both rumbled with mirth, and he deferred to her, letting her point out, “But, Richard, you just did so yourself. And in the company of ladies and their honors!”

Richard flushed at being so caught in his own words, and the rest of the group laughed good-naturedly. Carter, nevertheless, saw that the conversation was straying into the dead ground already trod by the suffrage debate and redirected the people’s attention by saying, “But suppose, friends, that she does not turn out to be the right one? How can I be certain?”

“You can’t, really,” Ursula answered. “You have to trust what your heart tells you. If it proclaims your love for this woman resoundingly enough, that must be your guide.”

“Plus, the Life Force will let you know,” Jack added calmly. “If it has decided, you really have no choice.”

“I dare say we agree on something,” said Clarissa, somewhat surprised, “though I don’t think I would put it so mechanisticly, so inexorably.”

“But that, good Clarissa, is precisely what it is, ultimately,” Jack returned, smiling kindly, almost condescendingly. “The ends of the Universe are far stronger than one man’s aspirations or beliefs. We merely decide whether or not to fight them, fruitlessly. I, for one, know I am to lose my battle against this dove.”(54) Here he beamed at Ann, and she at him. If he had more point, it was lost in their silent communion, and Richard took the floor.

“But that choice to fight is a freedom we have. If we love our intended, we will not choose; if we do not, the din of battle will drown out Life’s pleas and arguments.”

“And leave you a wandering, lost star, shining into the void and seeing no light to answer your song.” Rupert was aglow and tears glistened in his eyes. Ursula bowed her head, but reached over to lay her hand on his forearm.(55)

“Take it from me, that is the truth.” Everyone turned to face Clarissa who had said this distantly and with faint tears in her own eyes.(56) Richard reached past his treacle to clasp her hand and whisper something the others did not hearken to hear.

Night had completely descended and the room was suffused with the steady, yellow glow of the electrics. The table was clear and Carter was lost in thought over all that he had heard from his new friends. Marriage today, it seemed, was more a partnership than it had been in his father’s day of property and possession. His love for the actress was strong, he knew; else he honestly would not have taken his precious time to concern himself with their future. He understood the demands of the Life Force as expressed by Jack. Further, he welcomed the polarity and individuality of Rupert’s star equilibrium. The idea of another helping one define oneself, rather that defining one (as with the Dalloways, specifically Clarissa) spoke to his inner need to be his own man, while ameliorating his frightening craving for union with another, a woman, a lover. That there could still be significance in the marital relationship, without self-insignificance being a result, empowered him, spoke both to the traditions of love which formed his herital core and the urge for isolation in the soul’s core.

He looked slowly at each of his guests, marveling at their love for their spouses and, in all but Richard, their truth to their selves. The couples were silent and happy. The Tanners held hands and stared into each other’s eyes; the Birkins softly touched one another’s arms and were lost in private reveries; the Dalloways still held hands across the table, Clarissa staring at her nearly empty glass and Richard looking over her shoulder at a David on the wall.

Carter cleared his throat and, as everyone broke their meditations, said, “Well, friends, I thank you whole-heartedly for you advisement on this most important concern of mine.”

“Was it of any assistance?” asked Rupert, feelingly.

“Why, yes, Rupert,” answered Carter slowly, a soft, distant smile creeping onto his face. “Yes, it was; and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to my wedding”—a pleased murmur danced around the table—”which should be in the fall, if my love accepts.”

“We’ll be sure to be in the country,” said Ursula, as everyone else also stated their acceptance of the invitation.

The party broke up a while later; and as the Tanners donned their coats and passed out the front door, James came up behind Carter and commented, “It will be nice to have a lady in the house again; it always seemed sort of empty without a mistress.”

“And I will be sure she is no mistress, James,” Manart responded, turning to face his friend with a loving smile.

The butler nodded and began to move toward the dining room, to straighten it up.

“By the way, James,” added Carter, “tomorrow I would like you to help me move the dining room table into the library. Then we shall go out to purchase a round table that suits the room.”

“Very good, Carter.”


Annotations

1 ) James’s familiarity represents Modernistic rejection of class distinction and is suggestive of the relationship between Jack Tanner and Henry Straker in (A).

2 ) Throughout the work, this table will be symbolizing modern marriage, the thematic thrust of this Fictionalized essay. The refinishing and smudges in the polish represent the iconoclastic redefinitions of the institution of marriage attempted by the Modernists and their vagaries thus far. In particular, Shaw struggles with these new definitions in (B).

3 ) Basic setting symbolizes Modernist retreat from ceremony and pomp in marriage, placing emphasis instead on its practical character and ends.

4 ) The answer attempt to allude to antiquity, even Adam and Eve, for mating and marriage are as old as the humanity in homo sapien.

5 ) Suggestive of the patriarchal tradition of marriage prior to Modernism.

6 ) The Victorian refurbish is from the simple, natural Romantic past; specifically the constraint (“routing”) reintroduced by the Victorians.

7 ) Suggestive of Carter Manart’s uncertainty about the character of Modernism, specifically Modern marriage, the resolving of which is to be the frame story of this essay.

8 ) The room is symbolic of Modernism as a movement in general, encapsulating its past, influences, and character in its time.

9 ) The Rembrandt suggests Europe’s post-Renaissance; Bruegel, Romanticism’s pastoral ideals; Monet, Victorianism’s hazy, idyllic optimism; Goya, the dark side of revolution and change; and the anachronistic Dali, the quest to “make it new” and, as its title suggests, the persistent remnants of the past and tradition.

10) My ‘tip-o-the-hat’ to the Industrial Revolution’s positive achievements.

11) Grey represents the ambiguous moral posture of the Modern era, especially World War I, which is symbolized by the red. Purple and blue flourishes are symbolic of the old aristocracy, being overshadowed by the middle (gray) and working (red, for the Labor party and Communism) classes. Thus, the gray and red serve a doubly symbolic purpose.

12) Suggestive both of the fascination in the Modern period with the Orient and the fact that Britain’s society (the table, in part) rested on the backs of its Colonies, especially the non- white ones of China and India.

13) More iconoclasm; today, formal tea has become almost a joke throughout most of British society.

14) Like England was becoming complicated in the Indies.

15) James is black and old Mr. Manart was too like his Southern US counterparts.

16) James is older, and this, in keeping with Modernist semi- iconoclasm, commands respect over the employer-employee relationship. See Mrs. Dalloway and Ms. Kilman’s complex ‘bidirectional hierarchy’ in (H) for a parallel of this employer deference to employee.

17) Ha! I got you! I’m not spilling all of the frame story’s surprises at once. (Editor’s Note: please forgive such levity on Mr. Artman’s part; he is quite excited about this whole thing, you understand.)

18) The iconoclastic Carter has his reservations over which edifice to ignore: class, age, rank. One must implicitly be recognized due to the hierarchical nature of a long, square table.

19) By way of background, Manart is his own lobbyist in Commons, petitioning on behalf of his inherited shipping business. This, in effect, implies that the business is not doing very well, else he would have someone do this for him.

20) Like any busy youth in this pre-depression piece, he does not know all of the social mores and procedures. It will later be revealed that this is his first formal (though informal) dinner party.

21) At this point it should be explained that in characterizing each couple, I am trying to project their relationships into the future as would be most probable based on the thematic resolutions of their particular source authors. Subsequently, the couple’s will hold more and more similar views the longer they have been married. Thus, Ann Whitefield-Tanner is, in her choice of surname, asserting the power granted her in the relationship by the Life Force as well as her own individuality. Furthermore, she has developed more of the wry, playful humor that characterized Jack Tanner in (A) and has, it will become evident, lost her tendency to lie to cast a favorable light upon herself. This honesty only further emphasizes the fact that she has been victorious in Life’s eternal struggle between means and vessel of Its culmination.

22) This mental note is, simply, that Ann has an assertive character, even after marriage: she is the first of the Tanners to speak, and her first works are playful mockery of her host’s servant.

23) Ann has learned iconoclasm from her husband in their twenty-two years of marriage, and is amused by Carter’s bombastic formalities.

24) Marriage, for Jack, has still not come to mean deference to his wife’s whimsy.

25) Jack’s interest is far from racist, as should become evident.

26) He would, of course, sit on the left of Commons with Labor. I have had old Jack elected to Parliament, and this is, in fact, where he and Carter met on formal grounds; this party is the first informal meeting of their, thus the introductions.

27) The first allusion to star equilibrium is their nearly synchronized treads.

28) Not having been present for her previous introductory faux pas, Rupert wonders at the uncertainty Margaret evinces in their introduction.

29) As will soon be show, like the Tanners, the Birkins are recent acquaintances of Carter’s, and he is struggling to maintain a balance between the party’s informality and the reverence he feels is due to his seniors and unintimate friends.

30) The Birkin’s have remained true to their desire to break all connections with society and have been traveling in Europe the past seven years, since their union. Note also that Ursula asserts herself first. This is not an example of her sensual dominance, but rather merely indicates that she is not behind (in the sense of subservient) her husband. And unless they are to speak in unison, one of them must open his or her mouth first.

31) Here I should note that I do not, in this draft, intend to explore their opinions on women’s suffrage. Rather, this was the issue of the day and I feel it is the most appropriate one which would draw these diverse people together. It, thus, is a device more than a theme.

32) This echoes Rupert’s passion for the intellectual as portrayed in (E).

33) The only remotely respectable conservative argument.

34) This parallels Peter Walsh’s accusation of Clarissa Dalloway’s perfectionism in (H).

35) My crude, ignorant efforts at suggesting the homoerotic impulses to be found in Clarissa and which are emphasized by Jane Marcus in (L).

36) I am presuming that the obviously greater wit written into Jack’s character has proved quite difficult for Richard in Parliament.

37) This is not his dominance, but rather his matrimonial ability to sooth fruitless wrath, something I imagine he has had to do often when bringing her to Parliament’s highly formal halls.

38) In this dichotomy between the Dalloways and the Tanners, the Birkins are naturally assuming a middle ground, as would be appropriate for their rather distant association of late with Britain and its issues. Further, as the intellectuals of the group, they must seek the harmonious compromises, the balances which can satisfy both sides… much like their marriage arrangement.

39) Conversely, a middle ground can be found by leaving the field of battle all together….

40) What follows (while also being reminiscent of Churchill’s dialogging) is a succinct summary of the characters’ general attitudes towards the subject of marriage. While not exactly a thesis statement, the passage is a tone-setter.

41) Mating is Jack’s favorite subject in (A).

42) See the last lines of (A): “Talking!”

43) Ever the intellectual’s introductory statement.

44) An acknowledgment of Rupert’s ‘authority’ on this complex point. She has, I am assuming, come to his camp on the issue of star equilibrium while, in keeping with that idea, maintaining her individual self; later, she, too, will have her say on the subject, as is meet.

45) A good score for this stereo statement would be Fiddler on the Roof’s “Tradition.”

46) That actress is the first non-tonal hint at my Shavian leanings in the character of Carter, my analog.

47) A blending of nearly verbatim quotes from (E) and (G).

48) “Thing” is in part a jocular statement, and in part an expression of the embodiment of the female drive in woman, a drive which is the spawn of the Life Force.

49) Ursula is, now that they are married, no stranger to Rupert’s desire for a union with the other, a semi-homoerotic interaction with another man.

50) A jocular expression of the deterministic qualities of the Life Force’s press into mating.

51) I am really trying for homoerotic overtones here; be gentle in your mockery of their crudity. Woolf made Mrs. Dalloway into a woman with a bright memory of a past female love, and I am merely trying to show how an older woman can anchor this glimmer of the past in the present, giving it a new lease on life, if you will.

52) Birkin is not quite satisfied with this practical expression of his more idealistic belief in equilibrium, one which would not necessarily involve complementation, but more likely, reflection.

53) Note how it took an offense to draw Richard into this intellectual debate; he is no powerhouse of thought, but he will be riled by a affront to his conservative ideals of propriety and honor. The next sentence parallels his ‘love for effect’ which he practices in (H) with the surprise roses.

54) This note is here just because I had to toot my use of contrast between the metaphor of battle and the reference to dove of peace. Clever, eh? (Editor’s Note: Once again, I am force to make an apology for Mr. Artman’s levity….)

55) Suggestive of Rupert’s continuing pain over the loss of Gerald and also of Ursula acceptance of his need for the Other.

56) Clarissa shares Rupert’s sentiment for a lost other.


Bibliography

Bernard Shaw

  • Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman. 1903
  • “Preface to Getting Married”, 1908 (Ayot St. Lawrence Edition of The Collected Works of Bernard Shaw)
  • St. John Ervine, Bernard Shaw: His Life, Work and Friends. Morrow & Co.: New York, 1956.
  • Anthony S. Abbott, Shaw and Christianity. Seabury Press: New York, 1965

David Herbert Lawrence

  • D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love. 1920, 1922
  • David Cavitch, D.H. Lawrence and the New World. Oxford University Press: New York, 1969
  • Mark Spilka, The love ethic of D.H. Lawrence. Indiana University Press: Bloomington & London, 1955 (1966)

Virginia Woolf

  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. 1925
  • Jean Guiguet (transl. Jean Stewart), Virginia Woolf and Her Works. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: New York & London, 1962
  • Hermione Lee, The Novels of Virginia Woolf. Holmes and Meier: New York, 1977
  • Jane Marcus, Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy. Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987
Oct 221992
 

A Linguistic Framework

Metaphysics is primarily concerned with the nature of being. Unfortunately, debate in metaphysics is often frustrated by the circular, imprecise semiotic handed down by ancient philosophers and their hope for obvious symmetry and coherence in the universe. Too frequently, strong minds chase one another around in circles during debate because they do not share identical meanings for critical words. For example, one person may argue with another for days in favor of the existence of God, only to find that the other person agrees with his observations of the world and the inference of a creator. The time was spent struggling with definition after definition: clarifying and equating (if possible) the body of connotation unconsciously tacked onto the people’s words.

Of all the disciplines in philosophy, metaphysics is the field most constrained by closed semiotics and insidious, ignorant tradition. Therefore, I have developed a system of space-time classification, a hierarchy of being which can serve as a framework for a linguistic reconstruction of sorts and perhaps streamline the web of meaning in which driven thinkers frequently are tangled.

All metaphysical systems must begin with certain fundaments which are often taken from science but usually go beyond the ostensive proofs offered by that diligent discipline. I resign myself to the immediate refutations which will be attempted by those who hold different fundaments than the few with which I must begin. To those, I can ask only that they hold their javelins to the close, when I will have completely circumnavigated the basic cycle of philosophy (as I call it) and have given them a niche in my theories.

The first assumption I make is that you exist. In writing or stating this assumption, two resultant meanings can be translated. The first is the fundament of Skepticism. The only means by which a wholly subjective metaphysics can be communicated is in the second person, because to explicate skepticism in the first person is incoherent. The reader, if attentive, should doubt the author’s existence, thereby doubly doubting its claim that it exists. Further, the writer hamstrings himself by writing long essays intended to be read by that which he believes to be illusory or in doubt. So the skeptics have now been served their first morsel; fitting as theirs are the most devastating claws. The second resultant meaning is that, for me (as writer/speaker), you exist; that is, have a real being in space-time. At the moment, I am not concerned with what composes that reality; I only assert that the (Aristotelian) efficient cause of my perception of you is localized and external to my being. From this assertion, my existence can be affirmed; in order to make a statement about you—whose existence I assume—I and my perceptions of you must exist. (This is a relief!) In a sense, this denies the posture that skeptical readers will be holding; to them I say that I exist as a phantasm of themselves whispering to them through these pages. They cannot deny their perception’s existence.

So, with one assumption, your existence, I have generated the existence of space-time—if only for you. Your perception is sequentialized into discrete instants—you did not read “you” after you read “exist” in my initial premise, “you” preceded “exist”. Further, you did not have an innate knowledge that the phrase “you exist” was eminent—it’s origin was external to that part of you which says “I”, your self. Thus, since the originator of the phrase “you exist” can not share the same location that your self can, there must be an intervening position, however infinitesimal. (Even if you assert that the originator and experiencer can share position, the medium of communication then becomes the ‘external’ element and still necessitates SOME concept of space.)

I now move to the aforementioned system of describing the various derivations of your space-time… for your convenience.

I am forced to begin with what may be a boring synopsis of basic geometry. I do this in order to describe the progression of dimensions in geometry. At zero dimensions (0D), the only describable thing is a point. It is raw location, nothing but some arbitrary site, a unity, a totality, a singular no-thing. The next progression, to one dimension (1D), describes a line and therefore points. In a seeming paradox, 1D is an infinite sum of densely packed nothing: points. A line is therefore nothing but an infinite, dense series of locations, or a range of locations. At two dimensions (2D), a plane is described, lines and points as well. A plane is the aggregate of a infinite number of lines, densely packed, side by side. Finally, Euclid leaves off with three dimensions (3D), which describes space. Space is an infinite number of dense parallel planes. With these three progressions, a pattern is evident. Integration of this recurring idea leads to the following: for a given dimension X,

a) where X <> 0D, X is composed of an infinite series of dense (X-1)D things;
b) where X is 0D, it is a spatial unit.

Thus far, this essay has endeavored to be descriptive of the abstract sub-dimensions of this space-time; this is in keeping with the descriptive nature of language. Henceforth, I will shift gears to a prescriptive analysis of being utilizing the above Observation A and a Principle of Harmony. As electrons orbit their gravid obsession; so does the earth, the sun; the Milky Way’s arms, the galactic core. As the balancing of an equation is to the balancing of a see-saw, as polarity of thought and language is to polarity of sub-atomics and ions: thus am I willing to assert that the abstract principle derived above can be applied to the concrete world of time and energy.

At four dimensions—the first temporal progression—I introduce reality to the hierarchy, for it is an inviolable fact that reality is “immersed” in time. Understand, however, that the reality from which I am writing is a human reality. In an absolute sense, beginning reality at 4D is a purely arbitrary decision. A 2D being would begin its reality at 2D, because that is the degree of being at which it exists. Yet I nonetheless must prove that humanity is real at 4D. To do so requires describing the nature of 4D.

The fourth dimension is a temporal unit or temporal instant, just as a point is a spatial unit. It, through Observation A, is composed of an infinite, dense series of 3D things. In other words, because 4D supervenes on 3D, it must have space inherent to its composition. In order to harmonize the idea of a dense infinite series of spaces composing each temporal instant, I am lead to believe that this density of space generates energy and subsequently, through the laws of quantum physics, matter.

At this point, I must introduce my final assertion. Because each event requires an efficient cause, there must be, at the core of being for humanity, a source of the causal energy which initiates a given person’s actions. I will not delve into the nature of this efficient cause in this work; I merely require its existence at the 4D level to proceed with the prescriptions of the higher abstract dimensions, or super-dimensions.

At any given instant, an individual has the option, basically, to act or not to act. The result of that decision defines the next temporal instant for that person. In that next instant, the action (or non-action which, because it shares efficient cause with action, is essentially the same) is propagated; action potentials in neurons flow, muscles contract, shaped sounds are uttered, another’s heart is broken. There was a cusp in the individual’s life, and one potential path was taken. Somehow, however, the causal connections must be made; Xeno defined this problem millennia ago. How, then, can a person’s efficient cause, or will, move from temporal instant to temporal instant? Fifth dimensionally.

Moving on to the fifth dimension simply requires another integration or unification through Observation A. 5D is composed of an infinite, dense series of temporal instants. This leads to the conclusion that a given thing’s reality is infinite, which is true, for energy is neither created nor destroyed, it simply changes form and location. You were once, in part, soil to nourish corn which fed your mother and so forth. The energy which composes your efficient cause is eternal. This does not necessarily mean that your mind is eternal, just the energy which forms it. Therefore, your will can be said to flow through the fifth dimension, receiving input and generating output at temporal instants (psychiatry tells us that this seems to occur about every quarter of a second). Whether or not this kernel of efficient cause is free or determined is, at the fifth dimension, irrelevant; the quality defined as free or determined is a 4D concern, for at the fifth dimension all time for a particular timeline is defined. In a sense, therefore, our being can be said to be “determined” 5D (which it must be) or 4D (which is arguable): this is one of the damning ambiguities of the language.

Keep in mind also that Observation A states that 5D is but one infinite, dense series of 4D. Remember that, as 4D, an individual retains a range of possibilities; only one emerges in the next instant. Thus, an integration to 5D is of a particular series of events for a thing, infinite in length. The possibilities of the past instants which were not chosen do not, however, cease to exist. They had to exist to maintain the causal stream at the time of choice; there is no reason to believe that they cease to be once not needed by a particular 5D. In fact, there is good cause to believe that they still exist -always exist- for, if one’s kernel was to be able flow into them, they must have an energetic reality and energy is neither created nor destroyed. Rather, they exist in the sixth dimension, the last temporal integration.

6D is the aggregate of all that is, has been, will be, could be. Though we meager men live our civilization in but one timeline, we have, at thousands of millions of instances, been a choice away from a different one. If you have a passion for alternate realities, in 6D do they exist. It is a dense, infinite series of temporal lines. This induction provides the arena for debate on subjects ranging from Universals to God.

The question then remains, can integration continue? Are there another three levels of being to be inferred?

Humanity must manage itself through cognition. Typically, a 5D segment is contemplated, or a number of similar 5D segments are compared, to provide some insight into the relative possibilities of different resultant 4Ds occurring in future instants. This is proven by behavioral psychology and mere introspection. For example, if you look to the sky one day and notice cirrus clouds forming, you consider your body of 5D causal “streams” within your consciousness 5D line of being concerning meteorology to induce that—most likely—it will rain later that afternoon or evening. So human cognition is of, at least, 5D things (or, more accurately, nearly-5D things, as no one can consider an infinite series; being constrained to 4d prevents us). Often, and certainly within this work, human cognition will grapple with 6D. Any quest for absolutes is, at least, a search for that which is inherent to the sixth degree of being. Yet, beyond the basest fundament of energy, not much that is integral to 6D in all of its permutations is accessible to human science. Merely assuming that energy pervades 6D is an induction, because true integration to 6D requires an infinite number of 5Ds to be complete; we have but one in which our consciousnesses flow. To even collect data on two 5Ds would be infeasible and approaching null possibility in the foreseeable future. Once again, the skeptics have their ignorant absolution.

The basic consequence of this strictly abstract, hind-sighted relationship to those dimensions supervening upon ours is that we can have little or no relationship with dimensions beyond our space-time, our 5D. Perhaps once we have elevated our beings, our subjective realities, to fifth dimensional things, we may concern ourselves with God’s gods.

So what good, you may be asking yourself, is this hierarchy? As I stated in the opening of this essay, I hope that this system of regularizing the various levels of abstraction and being, and deriving a consistent progression, will reduce—at the very least—the number of arguments about chaps going back in time and killing their grandfathers. One, using the above system, could respond to such seeming paradoxes by explaining that, if a person can exit his 5D line to reenter it at a past 4D (which would, I agree, still exist), it is then the case that the man’s arrival in his past changes the flow of 4Ds in that timeline, thereby taking his consciousness on a sidetrack into a wholly alternate 5D and never meeting his actual grandfather. Theological arguments are radically streamlined because this system realizes the fact that all deific ideas are 6D, for they grapple with absolutes, and are, therefore, unknowable now. The animist and the materialist can sit at the same table without offending their guests, because the animist Oversoul, or Logos, or spirit performs the same basic function as the materialist’ gravity and inertia and radiation. Both are 6D abstractions of the interrelatedness of observed 4D things and derived 5D segments. Determinists and free-willers can stop their bickering, for this system shows that the former is assuming that the kernel of will is determined and the free-willer is arguing that it is not. Neither have studied these kernels directly; neither are qualified to presume. More often though, and regrettably, their dispute is due to the determinist beginning with the 5D sense of determined and assuming instants share the same quality that their aggregate does, while the free-willer begins with the moment, which seems to be laden with choice. There is no grounds for argument when the opponents base their premises at different levels of being. In similar manner could I show the incompatibility of continuum (6D), linear (5D), and quantum (4D) time theories to be mere inequity of degrees of being from which the views begin their assertions. Finally, as should now be apparent, interrelating the basic precepts of various philosophies can be effected through this hierarchy.

Examples:
animism: a cosmology which recognizes, at least, the continuity of 5D;
paganism: a theology which departmentalizes 6D into a satisfyingly complex bureaucracy and then worships them;
monotheism: a theology which worships 6D;
atheism: disbelief that 6D can be compressed or integrated into a unity -OR- disbelief that 6D is intentional;
idealism: a cosmology which begins reality at 6D and whose proponents frequently place their realities at 6D as well….

I therefore offer to you an explication of your being. Essentially, it is merely a definitional matrix which clarifies the subtleties of time, its influence on language, and its apparent nature. The fact that little is asserted in this essay is, I feel, one of its strengths; it is intended, after all, as only a tool for seeking answers, not the answers themselves; it is a legend, not a map. It provides a clear starting point for any philosophical discourse or discussion, and finally, and most admirably, diffuses some of the more annoying paradoxes spawned by our linguistic legacy of ambivalence.

The Two Sides Of The Same Coin

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on The Two Sides Of The Same Coin
Feb 271992
 

Throughout history, the rational, scientific perspective of the world has come into bitter conflict with the predominant theological or idealistic views of the time. Religious leaders have struggled to insure, under the shadows of doubt cast by empirical discoveries and ideas, the continued faith of their followers. Conversely, rational thinkers have striven to convince the masses of their new-found truths. Both sides of this classic struggle, however, have usually tended to miss the real failings behind their beliefs.

Religion, to begin with, invariably dictates to its followers an explanation, as Douglas Adams put it, of “life, the universe, and everything.” All, from Christianity to Zen Buddhism, try to explain man’s purpose in the grand scheme of things. In any given religion, be humanity bestial or divine in the religion’s eyes, some justification and guide for our lives are always given; holy writings, parables, or scriptures offer the religious their answers. Also, all try to explain the creation of the universe. Genesis, Ptah’s whim, the Earth Mother’s divine conception, Odin’s debauchery: all religions offer, for their followers, the “truth” concerning where everything began. Yet, there is ever the demand for faith. No religion stands alone on irrefutable proof of its views. All require the ubiquitous leap of faith to become a part of them. If one takes a Descartian epistemology (the accepted Western theory of knowledge), one concedes ignorance of matters one can not soundly explain. Subsequently, the religious can never know their truths, for they can never prove them.

This failing is the principle venue of attack taken by the rational philosophers (not to be confused with religious philosophers). Yet, the leaders of empiricism undertake the same task as theologians of the world. They try to offer alternative explanations, through logical proof, of the workings of the universe and man’s place in them. They scoff, hypocritically as will be shown, at the concept of faith. There is, however, an adamantine wall deterring them as well. There exists, as a constant frustration for philosophers, the infamous infinite regress. This idea, simply put, requires retrogressive proof of each thing which a person claims to know. The infinite regress demands continual, causal justification for every protocol statement. There are only two ways to stop a infinite regress. The first requires that a self-evident truth be reached during the regress. Yet, every self-evident truth can be doubted because, barring linguistic axioms (like, a triangle is a three-sided, three-angled polygon), every concept’s falsity can be imagined; and, therefore, every concept is conceivably variable. So, because humans can only be certain of their own instantaneous existence, their imaginations are the only power they can trust. Since this power can realize the falsity of every “truth,” this ‘self-evidency’ solution to the infinite regress is useless. In other words, if some philosopher claims discovery of a self-evident truth and another philosopher can imagine an instance, no matter how hypothetical, where the truth would be false (which can be done by someone in every case), then the “truth” is, in fact, corrigible and untrustworthy. The power of imagination is the only testing grounds, and an idea, failing truth there, can find it no where else. The only other solution philosophy offers is containment. Containment simply involves agreeing upon a place to stop in the regress for practical purposes. But finding the nature of the universe does not allow for convenient arrest. Therefore, philosophical inquiry ends with the same concept or acceptance as religious proof: faith.

Now, it is obvious that the empiricists and religious are actually different sides of the same coin. Both try to give answers concerning the nature of the cosmos; both turn to faith in the end; both damn the other. Though their conflict is deep-seeded, their results are the same. For some, faith is fine to which to concede; most, however, want to know. Why? Most seek some external truth. Why? As stated above, all that man can be certain of is himself. The religious and the philosophical should realize, then, that truth is relative. That belief which gives one man comfort is his religion, his philosophy. If it differs from another man’s beliefs, or another world’s beliefs, it is no more incorrect than its counterpart; neither, conclusively, can be proven. Essentially then, the conflict, the warring, the debate between the rational and the religious has been, and continues to be, wasted effort, except for the result of pushing forth scientific inquiry into the basic truths of the practical world. After all, how can the Pope say Martin Luther is wrong when His Eminence can not know what, ultimately, is right. All should simply realize their ignorance, find a belief (if they choose to believe anything at all), and be content in its security, without attacking another’s peace.

This subjectivist argument seems to lead to the result of noone being allowed to discuss “higher matters.” This riposte hinges upon an implied premise that all communication must be useful. Certainly, this seems true for matters of science, politics, resource management, and, in general, normative life. Must, however, metaphysical debate have a culmination, or, put differently, must it come to an end of concession by one side? To help answer this, I ask that you consider art. The truths of aesthetics are as slippery, if not more so, than those of metaphysics—hence the reason that aesthetics is a field of metaphysics. Noone would attempt to dictate another’s aesthetic reaction to a work of art. Yet, people discuss new art and new artists all the time; what do they hope to accomplish?

Nothing.

The discussion of art is done for the same end as the perception of it: pleasure. Thus, I believe that philosophy is done for the end of pleasure, and not raw truth. People discussing philosophy, like those discussing art, are merely expressing their faiths. The pleasure comes either from the equation of the people’s view, or from the mental exercise, the “brain-endorphine buzz,” generated by trying to defend one’s view or find inconsistencies in another’s.

Some may now dispute that people interested in art read art critics for the end of learning something; and in my metaphor, that philosophers write for the end of augmenting human knowledge, i.e. to accomplish something. This paralleling of philosopher to art critic is correct in my metaphor, but the interpretation of the job the critic does is false. The critic is there to provide his interpretation of his perception of the art for those who failed to experience it. True, many people look to critics for information, but this is really a laziness on the reader’s part; he assumes the critic’s opinion because everyone else says that the critic is good. So those who read philosophy to learn truth are really just too lazy to seek their own truth; likewise for religions (since they are but philosophies of one sort).

Once again, the only reason one should “do philosophy” is for the pleasure gained by the exercise, not to be told the truth.

Thus, rather than an expression of the real nature of the cosmos, philosphies or religions, rationalists or theists, are really just artforms.  They have their medium—the written word and debate—their audience, their artist. Far from a denegration of philosophical pursuit, I show that, because it lacks the solid grounding it would like to think it has, it is freed for expression. Every treatise on philosophy need not be written with rigorous logical babble—this is shown clearly by the profound, yet logically inconsistent and at time incoherent, writing of the existentialists. Their influence on the current of ideas in Western society in undeniable, yet their work, under the bobastic demands of most philosophers, is useless, incomprehensible.

Where Lies the Jina?

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on Where Lies the Jina?
Sep 271991
 

In studying and analyzing various religious sects and traditions, scholars try to draw parallels between faiths in an effort to categorize and relate religions. Using such restrictive methods as a guide, some theological scholars have described the northeastern religion of Jainism as being somewhere between Hinduism and early Buddhism. Geographically, the Jainist faith is between the largest areas of southern Buddhist and mainstream Hindu population; does it, then, deserve to be spiritually wedged between these two?

Clearly, Jainism shares many beliefs and practices with Hinduism and Buddhism. The basic goal of the Jains is to achieve moksa similar to that of the Hindu way of jnana, or knowledge. They seek to be freed from the wearisome burden of karmic residue, to be liberated from the endless cycles of life—which they view to be as equally as full of suffering as the Buddhists believe them to be. Furthermore, Jains even worship some Hindu gods when needing earthly favor and assistance in everyday life. Even many of Jainism’s moral codes mimic those of Buddhists. Their monks maintain strict vows of no killing, no stealing, no telling of lies, no owning property and poverty, just like Buddhist monks. Even the prophets of the Jainist tradition have similar histories as the Buddha. In fact, all the way down to the monastery’s relationship to the laity, Jainism mirrors Buddhism. The monks beg for their food, and the laity willingly and happily gives it. The monks conduct the significant ceremonies of the year and the laity dutifully attends. The monks take stringent vows and the laity does also, but not quite as strictly. Therefore, many facets of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions have found a home in the 2500 year old Jainist religion.

These similarities do not, however, warrant dooming Jainism to a second-grade slot between the two “big boy” religions of India and Asia. There are many qualities about the Jainist cosmology that earn it equal billing and representation as an independent faith. First, the Jains are fundamentally transtheistic; they accept the possibility that gods exist, but they strive to go beyond mere deity worship in their quest for ultimate salvation and liberation from painful life. Second, the Jains revere their own set of powers: the Jain spirits or Tirthankaras. These spirits are the once-living “finders of the ford” across the river confining man to life and suffering; they are teachers whose efforts have bridged this gulf, and each Jainist does his best to cross as well. Finally, their view of world order is, quite unlike Buddhism, very straight-forward and commonsense oriented. It consists of a simple three-tiered realm of reality containing a heaven for gods and the good, hell for the evil, and Earth for the undecided. This universe, further, is eternal and uncreated, lacking a supreme being overseeing it all. Therefore, Jainism has many distinctions from Hinduism and Buddhism, but they are well-blended with the borrowed views of the two.

In conclusion, then, Jainism does not deserve to be squeezed in between two older religions of India simply due to some parallels in belief. These parallels may, after all, exist because some fundamental truth spawned them. It is then irrelevant to relate the three faiths just as it is pointless to deductively assess the rating of three different intuitive interpretations of the same fact. Since no religion is neither more justifiable nor more truthful than another, to accuse Jainism of merely being a Hindu-Buddhist puree is demeaning to its uniqueness and separateness as an ideology.

April, 1991

Energetic Triadism

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on Energetic Triadism
Mar 271991
 

Perhaps the most popular points of discussion among philosophers of metaphysics consist of theories on minds and matter. Throughout the course of Western philosophical thought, a number of noteworthy thinkers have endeavored to present their views on these subjects in the hopes of providing insight into the workings of the universe. I also, being a thinker on such matters, have developed a theory on minds and matter which is more precise in explication and more cohesive with modern scientific discoveries than any other I have studied thus far. In this work, I intend to present and support my view while pointing out its similarities—and, more importantly, its differences—with the most popular metaphysical schools to date.

To begin with, I call my view an Energetic and Triadic view of the universe. These names denote important elements of my theories; the words imply the two fundamental beliefs in this view. The first, Energetic, introduces my compositional theory of matter (as well as minds, but to that… later). It is my belief that all matter is actually energy, monads of congealed immaterial energy held into form by the natural laws of polarity, magnetism, and so forth (more energies). The theory that energy is the base stuff of matter is nothing new to physicists; metaphysically, however, I may as well claim the Earth to be round, so unheard of is this fact in popular metaphysical discussions of which I am aware. As to the issue of a type of monad being that which is made by the congealing of energy, no reductive materialist (which is the most common sense view among the metaphysics) would find much argument with it. Because I hold a view which is essentially a refinement of materialism and being of a similar mind as my cousin materialists who refuse to buy into the highly dubious non-reductive theories, I must accept (which I do) the idea of there being a material building block (ergo not immaterial, like the universal energy) out of which everything else is composed. To balance the yin and yang of this apparent contradiction, I turn to science for some confirmation of my views; current atomic theory holds the belief that, although electrons and protons are not the monads which Leibniz described theoretically, there is much evidence in favor of sub-atomics being the lowest sub-basement in physical constructions. It seems that quarks and positrons and such ‘approach’ (to use a calculus term) masslessness; this could result either from insufficient measuring devices (quite improbable) or, as my theory states, from the fact that energetic monads, being congealed energy, weigh only as much as the physical “energy platelets” or “atomic solvents,” if you will, which are catalysts for the congealing process. My metaphorical platelets represent what I dub the Natural Law which, when physically applied to the raw energy that actually composes the universe, congeals it into these near-massless sub-atomic particles. How the Natural Law is actually applied and what exactly is its nature (specifically, its mass producing quality; I already know that gravity and magnetism, examples because they are permutations of the Natural Law, have no mass) is only Creator’s knowledge, so far. Therefore, the most I can theorize on the practical level is that the phenomenon of mass is created during the energy congealing process; I must wait upon physicists to provide the explication of this.

The second fundamental of my theories is implied, as stated above, by the word Triadic. Triadism is, in a way, an off-shoot of Dualism in that it poses a theory of the mind which separates minds from matter. The tri- prefix is used, however, to denote a third element, a “middle man” for minds and matter. This third element is nervous systems—but that I shall come to after describing the primary two. The first, matter, has already been described as congealed energy. For the sake of focus of argument, matter is dealt with only on the monad level—my theories on substances are largely Aristotelian in that they consist of both matter (objective reality as monads, ergo energy) and form (subjective/observer-determined qualities or systemic relations resulting, as per Natural Law—energy—from the myriad orderings and patterning of these monads). The second category in the triad is composed of minds. Being Energetic, I hold the view that minds are energy as well, somehow held in ‘lattices’ by Natural Law, but (in this application of Natural Law) not congealed (as matter is). Minds, then, are pure energy, immaterial. Since physics tells us that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, I must contend that minds can be neither created nor destroyed and are, therefore, immortal… eternal. The proof of this is difficult, however. It, admittedly, involved a degree of intuition on my part, and I shall attempt to explain this as much as it is possible to describe intuitive impulses.

When I introspect (introspection which, I humbly contend, is more exacting and controlled than David Hume’s) I apprehend, as Hume did, a complex interweaving of sense experiences held as memory. Exerting control to look past these, however, I also perceive something more in meditation. There is what I call a ‘motivating kernel’ that is also a part of my mind. This is the “soul” which plucks, from non-existence, my ideas and dreams and plans. This energy (the energy lattice that is me) is the one which conceives interrogatives; it is that which asks, “Why?” Furthermore, after asking, it is the energy matrix which “stores” (for lack of a better English term) my ethics and which compares these ethics to its intentions for moral analysis. Also, to focus better upon its nature, it is that which decides what impulses will be heeded and which will be ignored. In all, then, it is that part of my self which can perform creative thought, which can vacillate between degrees of control of emotional expressions, and which can perform inductive thought. Put figuratively, it is the captain which determines at what time its vessel (my body) will depart and arrive, how it will be sailed, and whether or not it will be steered into or out of the wind of my emotions and the current of my experiences. Lastly, the eternity of it is, admittedly, initially believed out of mortal fear but is, later, verified by a number of experiences. The Iowa farm wife who, under hypnosis, speaks a dead dialect of French; the revived heart attack patient who recounts an out of body experience; my own single, isolated incident of accurate, specific precognition; my own vague “sense” that I have had (many) previous lives: these experiences lose their unnatural, and therefore superstitious and suspect, reputation with my theory. They are even –if true in their recounting– explained ONLY by an extemporal theory of the mind coupled with reincarnation beliefs. Finally, attributing these qualities to the mind explains a wide range of theological and supernatural beliefs so prevalent in human existence which cannot be explained completely by most metaphysical postures.

It is also possible, however, that the total mind of a human requires some physical (material energy) support from the body. Concerning the ethical qualities of this energetic kernel, their normative applications could be retained in the brain (which is clearly materialized energy). Nevertheless, the kernel is energetic in its being; it cannot be destroyed. Thus, one’s initiative and meta-ethics, being contained at the core of the kernel, cannot be destroyed. you, John Doe, may die, but it is impossible that you essence will cease to have a real existence.

So now I have shown what I feel makes up matter and minds. But what about the aforementioned third element of the triad? What is it? The third major component of my triad is the nervous systems of all bodies connected to minds. As I have said before, minds are pure energy while matter is congealed energy. If I stopped there in describing necessary components of (living, human, self-realizing) things, I would be a mere Dualist of sorts and open to the same attack posed years ago by Queen Elizabeth. In an effort to prove there can be nomological connections between immaterial energy (the mind) and material energy (matter), I must account for the “middle man” mentioned above. I have decided that the nervous system must be this middle man, for it, we are told by science, is composed of both electricity (immaterial energy) and cells (matter, as above). Unfortunately, there is still the matter of deriving, scientifically, the law-like connection between our minds and our brain. We accept that our brain is the “multi-tasker” for our body; but how does the mind input tasks into the brain, how does our CPU route our multi-tasker?

The description of this phenomenon is perhaps the weakest link in my chain of logic because it requires exclusive logic. Science can tell man for what every part of his brain is generally responsible, except for the pineal gland. This gland, near and beneath the center of the cerebrum, is a mystery to science; all that is known is that it is closely linked to the emotional centers of the brain. It is here that I will place the ‘user port’ of the human physical body. In some way, a way which adheres to Natural Law, the mind down-links to the body via the mysterious pineal gland. Whether the link is formed by some type of induction or by force of will on the part of the mind—Perhaps these are identical? Perhaps a combination of these is required?—is a question I must depend upon more knowledgeable men of science to answer. Suffice it that this gland somehow relays emotional states generated by experiences—and the sense experiences themselves—to the energy lattice which is the mind. There, the kernel of this lattice, the cohesive stuff (unmentioned by Hume) of bundles of experiences, decides what shall be done here-now. The mind then downloads these tasks to the multi-tasker, the brain, which then goes about activating groups of muscles and so forth. Therefore, though this view of the brain has no concrete evidence to support it, it does explain yet another mystery of humanity, just as an Energetic view of the mind answers a plethora of supernatural questions.

In conclusion, my Energetic Triadism may seem quite a departure from the worn and dusty ruts of traditional metaphysical thought. This it is, but not by virtue of outright differences. Rather, I have taken the prevailing trends of Idealism, Materialism, Dualism, and science and have bred them together into what, I feel, is a higher synthesis, a meta-metaphysics, if you will. Our perceptions of the world are contained in bundles of sense impressions (as in Idealism) but there is a real, physical, independent world out there stimulating our senses (Materialism). The matter of this world can be boiled down into basic component parts (Monism) and these parts exist apart from and in harmony with minds (Dualism), being of the same substance essentially. I simply have viewed the flaws that each individual theory contains and have answered them as cohesively as possible. In this vein, I have accounted for the connections between minds and matter (Triadism) while avoiding developing two distinct metaphysics, one for how minds are constructed and one for describing the monads of my substances, my matter (this latter accomplishment was done via my Energetic theories). On these pages, my motivating kernel, my soul, has assessed my experiences as well as my inner feelings and then manipulated my body over my word processor to write this theory. I welcome, whole-heartedly, exacting and rigorous criticism; it merely makes my views more precise and more strong.

April 3, 1990

Foundation Vexation

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on Foundation Vexation
Aug 271990
 

Foundationalists have assumed a heavy burden. They seek to reveal the nature of sense experience. The focus of current debate amongst their ranks explores the viability of there existing some given in sense experience. There are those such as M. Schlick who seek some connection to the raw nature of that which the senses interpret. Others, notably N. Goodman, feel that seeking only some vague given is useless; only through interpreted sense experience can a coherent, derivable truth be found.

In order to decide which of the sensual theories contains the most truth, a understanding of their views must be gained. Schlick claims that, by streamlining one’s phenomenal language, one forges a link to the given in an experience. In making this claim, he implies that a solid, basic kernel exists prior to its interpretation and befuddlement by our sensory processors and our physical language. He calls for such streamlining to get past this interpretation and touch said kernel. Unfortunately, such streamlining also requires that the demonstratives generated be nontransferable. Our generalized and object-oriented linguistics fail us. To communicate my “red, here, now” experience/truth to you risks error and confusion of my new-found truth. It is even conceivable, if one carries the logic far enough, that I risk error in mentally noting the experience for myself, for my own use.

Fortunately, however, for the more practical and progressive, there is Goodman’s Minimal Foundationalism. He, like most other rational people, finds unutterable, individual truths quite useless in the practical world of science. He realizes that to know anything useful about the world, one must give up the dream of finding the essence directly. Therefore, Goodman proposes adopting a system of credible, although somewhat uncertain phenomenal reports. From these basic, yet not bare-bones, reports, a larger picture can be derived. If this picture is coherent, it can be accepted as truth. Goodman realizes the enormity of such an approach, but also rests assured of finding a useful truth.

In conclusion, Schlick’s observation reports, though they may give him some link to the basic truth behind the light and sound show dubbed “life,” he can bring no other in on his truth. Theoretically, others could link with the essence themselves; but then no one would get far towards utility in their lifetime. If any one person could get from “black, here, now” to basic arithmetic in the seven decades granted them, they would be quite successful. Goodman, on the other hand, does not offer immediate and virtually useless knowledge but long term traversal through the phenomina of the world. It may take more time than simply stripping away the kinks in our mental processes (along with everything else); but, because it is transferable, many could strive together to reach their foundation. Once there, they will have a truth with use because it has come from careful interpretation instead of being isolated from such analysis.

Hume’s Causal Confusion

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on Hume’s Causal Confusion
Aug 271990
 

It is every philosopher’s dream to one day divine the meaning of the universe, to reveal the grand scheme of things for all to see. David Hume endeavors towards a goal no less difficult in trying to unlock the connection between simple cause and effect relations. In his novel An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, he presents two views of causation. The first is focussed around the constant conjunction of an alleged cause and the resultant effect. The second is a counter-factual account of causation which Hume sees as equivalent to his theory of constant conjunction. But can these two views, once understood, be regarded as identical?

With constant conjunction, Hume explains that an event can be considered the cause of another event if and only if all events like the former are constantly conjoined with the latter type of event and if the latter succeeds the former temporally. More simply put, because the flicking of a light switch has been, in a viewer’s experience, constantly followed by (conjoined with) the lights coming on, when the light do come on right after a light switch is thrown, the viewer can assume the cause to be the throwing of the switch. Hume accepts that one cannot know the true cause, the most basic of causes, but he does assert that the cause, in a practical sense, can be probabilistically inferred. If the conjunction of two events is consistent enough, one can go so far as to even be certain (with little doubt) of the relation between them continuing.

Hume then presents a counter-factual account of causation as a simple rewording of his constant conjunction supposition. This account states that one event is the cause of another if and only if had the former not occurred, the latter would not have. This, to assess it in the former example, says that the switch is the cause of the lights going on for, had the switch not been thrown, the lights would not have gone on.

Though both ideas make logical sense and seem, individually, to be good ways of deriving the cause of some event, Hume goes too far in saying that the two concepts are the same. His constant conjunction account of causation requires that the observer of the relation has had the proper experiences, the proper conjunctions, to arrive at an accurate conclusion of causation. “Observer” is used here in a loose sense; it is any unit external to the events, be it a person or a society or a school of thought. His counter-factual account implies more of a necessary connection between the two, where a constant conjunction is irrelevant. If a totally unique event were to result from a mundane cause, there would be no established conjunction between the two, for that relies on past occurrences. Yet, in the antecedent of the above statement, the cause is the mundane event, by definition. It is in the reliance upon previous regularity that Hume’s constant conjunction theory finds is foundation, whereas his counter-factual idea finds causation in each single, distinct, and solely observed relation.

An example of how constant conjunction is useless while counter-factual can be applied is discerned if one first imagines a man who is thoroughly versed in the knowledge of fire and of trees and yet has absolutely no experience with or knowledge of lightning. Supposing that, one day, he sees a bolt of erratic white light descend from the sky and strike a tree, cleaving it and setting it afire. Because he fully understands the nature of trees and fire, and because he has never seen such resultant events occur spontaneously, this man is left with only the lightning as the cause of the destruction. He sees the lightning as being the most likely cause, not from past experiences with lightning, but due to the fact that had it not occurred, the tree would most likely have not ended up as charred splinters, for trees generally just do not do such things. Therefore, it is evident that constant conjunction can be useless in at least one case of causation, and counter-factual, alone, is directly required to draw some causal conclusion. Because of this difference in example, as well as the aforementioned logical difference derived from the connotations of Hume’s two causal theories, it is obvious that the two theories are not equivalent. They both offer good insight into the nature of cause and effect relations and, if used cautiously, could be perhaps the best ways to draw a conclusion from restricted evidence. They should not, however, be confused as identical.

A Dubious Dichotomy

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on A Dubious Dichotomy
May 271990
 

A society—any society—is formed by entities too weak to bear their environment and who must band together to survive. An embryonic society, struggling forth from non-existence, invariably must address certain key issues of coexistence and then develop mechanisms by which these issues may be met. Providence clearly is the first matter requiring attention, because it is some failure to adequately provide for themselves that has brought these forlorn entities together in the first place. How, then, is the
society to provide for them?

It can be presumed that each entity brings some commodity or good into the congress, but lacks other goods necessary to survival. Since a thriving conflagration of entities is the goal, and not a bunch of starving, exposed independent entities, each one throws their particular good into a communal pot and then begins drawing necessary and desired goods from the same pot. Here is this embryonic society’s second challenge. How will the goods of the society be distributed?

I must now make a supposition about our group of entities; I must postulate that they are primarily egalitarian in their distributive theories. If one considers this for a moment, however, it is not that difficult a premise to swallow. Each entity came to the congress lacking some things and having others. Therefore, since each comes into this political debate equally lacking, we can presume that each will be satisfied by equal benefit; I would even be so bold as to claim (as John Rawls did) that equal benefits is the only condition which will satisfy all of the individual entities. Clearly, then, the society’s first accomplishment will be an egalitarian theory of both social contribution and providence.

The third issue before the society will crop up almost immediately; it will be a question of liberty. Certainly, the communal atmosphere will relax many of nature’s challenges and burdens. The challenges of living together, however, will force a decision concerning an individual’s liberties within the society. The first time two individual actions come into conflict, the Entity Congress must once again be called. Their question: what, if any, liberties do we entities have?

Of course, it will be agreed that liberties are due to the entities; otherwise, what one of them would have freely entered the society? Therefore, some decision concerning the nature of these liberties must be reached. It is at this point that the Nozickian entities in the congress will leap to their appendages and vehemently shake their heads in denial that liberty can be realized in the equal state. They must be silenced for the nonce; a clear understanding of liberty must first be reached. There are, like most human concepts, two perspectives from which one can view liberty.

In the negative perspective, society is viewed as a champion of sorts, a champion which must tear down the interferences to individual action, then step back to insure it does not begin mastering those whom it endeavored to free. This perspective has an element of nearsightedness to it because it assumes that the interference will not crop up again in another form. Obviously, this is a possibility; but the champion has stepped down, right? In other words, the governing body of society will be gone (to allow maximum freedom), so there will be no resistance to future interference. This leads the society to turn to the positive perspective, a perspective which views the governing body as more of a guide through the boundless interference of existence. Now, however, the liberal entities are stomping about the congress in intellectual rapture, certain of their opinion that liberty and equality are incompatible, because society has, with the positive perspective, been severely restricted by their guide. In adopting a positive perspective, a whole range of actions are lost (namely, actions which cause others interference). After all, what guide would let those he leads trip and turn others aside?

Well, I am here to tell those frolicking liberal entities at the congress who are willing to sacrifice equality for freedom to sit down and be quiet. The whole of their argument rest upon the idea that being truly free (in a society) means having all of the freedoms possessed in nature, coupled with the freedoms garnished by removing nature’s interference. This is a clear-cut case of wanting to eat your cake and still have it as well. The core premise of a society is the betterment of the whole, of each and every individual in the society. Allowing any individual to exercise their (natural) freedom of murder means drastically reducing the freedoms of at least one member of the society. Remembering that providence (e.g. survival) is the only motivation to form a society and also remembering that the only acceptable providence for all members is an equal one, it is evident that liberty in a society is wholely different from “natural liberty”, but is in no way lesser. Certainly no one in a society possesses the freedoms that chaos allows, but they are likewise not limited by the whims of others in that chaos.

Therefore, when liberals claim that equality and liberty are conflicting concepts, when they try to construct a dichotomy with those two, they are making a major flaw. By trying to make social liberty include all natural freedoms, they fail to give proper weight to the motivation for the society. That motive is, by definition, to release the society’s members from nature’s bonds, bonds which are trying and difficult but which also, in their isolation of the individual, allow the maximum range of options at any given time. This is the yin and yang of societies in nature. Entities operate between the yin of social automation working solely for overall, sociological longevity and the yang of fiery, independent, selfish abandon which will be snuffed like a candle in the first strong wind of chaos. Like a man in a keel-less boat, no one would choose to embrace one side or the other in stormy waters, but would rather find a balance in the middle somewhere. Evidently, that balance would have to accept equality within society; but, it must also ensure maximum self-determination for each individual. Apparently though, when my self-determination takes away yours (as in the case of murder), I am breaking equality. Yet when I hold off on murdering you (or when I am prevented from doing so) I am losing autonomy. Am I in the same predicament as when I started?

No. No, of course not, because there is a co-maximization occurring; I seek to maximize equality and liberty. When one tries to co maximize two different states, one must decide any conflicts between these states in favor of one side or the other. In the murder example, there seems to be a conflict between liberty and equality; but, in fact, the conflict is between natural actions and social responsibility. Since we are operating within a society, this conflict, clearly, must be decided in favor of social responsibility (the “equality side”, to put the debate back into the liberal’s inaccurate terms).

Therefore, liberals need to be careful when they say that liberty and equality are in conflict with each other. Natural liberty and social equality are in conflict, true; but that is a given, is it not? That is, once we embrace the need for society, we must put aside natural freedoms in an effort to work together. Never are these freedoms gone, simply ignored for longevity’s sake. I can still murder; doing so simply forfeits my membership in society (because I re-embraced natural freedoms) and will, most likely, drastically affect my longevity. The dichotomy, then, is not liberty and equality, but, rather, nature and society. Noone who concerns themselves with these issues enough to have read this far will doubt that society wins that dispute, hands down.

March 1, 1990

Political Versus Social Emancipation

 Philosophy, Writing  Comments Off on Political Versus Social Emancipation
Apr 271990
 

History, specifically sociological history, flows with the sweeping currents and cycling eddies of a swift river. Karl Marx, in his essay entitled “On the Jewish Question,” like an intrepid and daring mariner charts and analyzes the flow of sociological history up to his era and then endeavors to cast a line to individuals drowning in the internal dissolution of the state. Marx puts the blame for this disunity upon the incomplete political emancipation established by the capitalist countries of the west. He goes on afterwards to present a viable alternative to the woes of the powerless, those he calls the proletariat.

Marx’s lifeline to the people finds its conception in what he refers to as “social, or human, emancipation.” Under this, the most extensive form of emancipation, the individual becomes a “species-being” whose concern for himself is expressed as a responsibility to the community of which he is an important, integral part. Each member of society shares a true equality in that forum in which it is most important to be equal: the social power sphere, the means of production. Further, because the government of a socially emancipated state is another sector in which each citizen has an equivalently loud and influential voice, it becomes evident that this socialist state, through the instillation of Marxist ideals, attains a greater progression up the scale of equality and unity and freedom than any mere political emancipation into a capitalist jungle.

What is, however, this concept of “political emancipation” according to Marx, and how does it differ so greatly and glow so less brightly than his human emancipation? For Marx, the politically emancipated state grants equality in government, an equal voice in matters of state for all citizens. This “free” state goes on, usually, to insure the protection of what are dubbed “human rights.” These protected rights invariably include, in brief, the liberty to do what one wishes with oneself and ones property—as long as the execution of ones desired ends does not conflict with another individuals liberties. To those who effect the political emancipation of their society, this structure seems enlightened and liberal. Wherein lies Marx’s problem, then?

It should be noted that Marx does see some progression for a society with its political emancipation. He, however, feels that this step is insufficient to alleviate the suffering of the working class, for it, in a practical sense, simply separates political and social power and then merely grants the equal sharing of only one of the two new divisions. Though political emancipation grants some degree of liberty and equality and power to the masses, it falls far short of the supreme progression of human emancipation. The liberty allowed gives the citizen only the freedom to “withdraw into himself;” the power it affords is solely the right of self-interest which leads men to see in other men, “not the realization, but rather the limitation of [their] own liberty.” (The Marx-Engels Reader, p.43 & p.42) Finally, because of the disunion of the society on an every day level, equality in the politically emancipated state carries but little political significance and only the equal right to liberty. This right to liberty, practically put, merely leaves “every man equally regarded as a self-sufficient monad.” (Ibid., p.42)

When the capitalistic freedom presented above is scrutinized and disected as Marx so did in his essay, the “enlightened state” no longer seems quite as glorious. Hope is found, however, in his plan for social freedom. It offers power and equality over and throughout the entire society by way of public control of all aspects of the society, governmental and social (the “means of production,” as Marx phrases it). All people have power over the government and industries through the unification that social emancipation generates. Furthermore, the equality granted is unparalled, for all social distinctions (religious, economic, racial, and so forth) necessarily will decay as the forces which propagate them (insignifigance, poverty, powerlessness, ignorance, competition) are removed by the revolutionary act of thorough emancipation. Though declared utopian by some, (as if that is a slur, or worse, as if such dreams are impossible) Marx’s ideas offer the best hope for the unification of a human society, be it in one country or one world. A global revolution seems a small price to pay for such a dream.