Ep. 20 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Death of the Universe

Ep. 20 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Death of the Universe

Ep. 20 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Death of the Universe

  • Augustine: nomological, narrative, and normative orders
  • While this addresses the fundamental axes of meaning, historical legacy starts to come under threat, changing the way of reading. Silent consumptive model of reading
  • Accelerating rediscovery of Aristotle and best science of ancient world. How to incorporate this into the worldview of Augustine
  • Aquinas does this by returning to two worlds mythology, reconfiguring it into two real worlds. Natural world understood by reason and supernatural world understood by faith. Faith now understood as how love transforms the will. Will is how assert certain propositions to be true.
  • As supernatural world becomes non-viable, lose the axial revolution heritage, separate love from reason
  • Marc Tayler: After God.
  • Meister Eckhart, William of Ockham
  • Dig at “skeptards” misusing Ocham’s Razor

Eckhart :

  • German, represents a group called Rhineland Mystics: bring about a transformation in the understanding of human spirituality. Change in the normative order.
  • Now there’s a chasm between love and reason
  • Different meaning of spirituality emphasized:
  • Cathars: gnostic revival
  • New understanding of normative order: self-transcendence disappears, and connection between spirituality and wisdom where wisdom is seen as educating in self-transcendence to improve your meaning in life
  • Now what happens, instead of an ascent upward there’s more God’s descent downward into you
  • RM: descent spirituality, what love is: way in which the will moves. (not love moves the will)
  • When the will negatives itself, that’s love
  • Pick up on the sacrificial aspect of love
  • How is the will moving in order to be loving? The will is negating itself. When the will is egocentric, that’s the opposite of Agape: so have to negate wilful self-assertion, to make a space so God can dwell within me
  • God’s will is this agape love, we are resisting that, we have to stop resisting, negate the way we are expressing ourselves and let god in.
  • Makes self-negation essential to spirituality.
  • I have to be in perpetual conflict with myself, negating myself. Emptying out
  • He likes parts of Eckhart but this model of spirituality being a battle of wills, becomes a central idea for what’s going on in the spirituality of the time
  • New emerging worldview:

Ocham:

  • Sees god’s will as his primary faculty
  • Have to understand how God grammar develops, woven it’s way into the very grammar of our culture and tradition. Regardless of if believe in God.
  • Sown this language into our heritage.
  • Ocham: unlike for Augustine not God’s reason that’s his source of being, it’s his will
  • Aquinas made will the faculty of access to supernatural, central to spirituality and to God
  • Ocham sees God’s will as his source of ability. An act of assertion. He asserts the world when he creates it.
  • Your model of God has an influence on how you understand yourself
  • God’s will supersedes his reason
  • God is not bound by rationality
  • Not bound by how things cohere in a rational fashion.
  • Reason not central to God.
  • Assent to reason is gone.
  • Any order that we find in existence is arbitrarily imposed upon it by God’s will.
  • Just raw power and fiat
  • Ocham concludes we are like God: whatever order or pattern we find we making it by how we speak about it: nominalism
  • Books aren’t actually there. There’s nothing in reality that groups these together, only my mind which groups these together. But no universal bookness.
  • I’m speaking, using language, all that is out there is raw individuals
  • Reading in head, whatever order is in the head
  • Nothing out there in the world.
  • World is absurd not in itself intelligible only intelligible as I speak about it or God speaks it into existence.
  • The supernatural world is now not a source of reason and rational order.

Black Death

  • Disaster, kills 1/3 Europe’s pop
  • Bible: 4 horsemen seems to be happening: plague: pestilence, famine, 100 year war, crusades, battle against cathars, inquisition
  • Villages going out of existence, social order radically disrupted
  • People’s confidence and worldview born into being radically undermined, think it’s the end of the world
  • People move around. Similar to bronze age collapse, end of roman empire, engage in experimentation.
  • Labour shortage
  • People start to be able to sell their labour for more money
  • Change their status through their own efforts - before locked into rigid feudal social structure
  • By my willpower can change my status
  • God a source of arbitrary power
  • Opens up new social experimentation
  • More entrepreneurial - rise of commercialism

Commercialism

  • Really powerful- make use of disparity in demand to accrue wealth
  • Aristocracy: in the way. Middle class going to challenge
  • Ships sink
  • banks, lending money, insurance companies
  • Spread out risk. Incorporate - make one body, share the risk
  • Put pressure on government to not just be working for church and aristocracy, state start to protect contracts. Emergence of corporate capitalism and corporate state
  • Norms that have nothing to do with church or aristocracy: secular alternative
  • Supernatural world largely irrelevant to these secular practices
  • Now have to develop pscyho-technology: replace roman numerals with hindu arabic numerals
  • Algebra - variables
  • zero, ability to use negative numbers
  • Improve celestial navigation

Copernican Revolution

  • Retrograde of Mars: Aristotelian propositional way of thinking, people start to consider how chaotic heavens actually are.
  • Try to fiddle with the system: Copernicus: math is better if put sun at the centre
  • Ex: morning, we all watch the sun rise in the east pass overhead, sink in the west, all come to agreement, and we’re all wrong.
  • It’s an illusion.
  • If that’s an illusion, what else isn’t an illusion? How do you know any of this is real?
  • All we have is our mind and senses.
  • Most of sense of realness based on that.
  • But that can all be satisfied and its still not real, because math says its not.
  • Could mean all of this experience isn’t real.
  • Conformity with the world is gone.
  • The world is out there, then our mind, and in between a barrier: sense experience
  • Sense experience not putting me in touch with the world but is a veil between me and the world. Math only thing cuts through the illusion.
  • All the sudden you are mostly out of touch with the world: Terrifying.
  • How do you know this table is here, or that you mother actually loved you?
  • Really have to go back. We accept earth around the sun but we don’t experience it perspectively
  • Becoming radically disconnected from the world.

Galileo:

  • Says spoken language, and sense experience can’t trust but mathematics is the language of the universe - that’s what’s real
  • New way of thinking about math in practice
  • Starts using geometry in abstract fashion. Sense experience can’t be trusted. Doesn’t have to be sensual/experiential similarity between my thoughts and the world
  • triangle: distance and time gives speed. Nothing triangular about speed: using geometry to represent abstract relations. No conformity with world and experience
  • Math in abstract symbolic way
  • Makes observations: rolling balls down incline planes
  • Galileo kills the universe: realizes is inertial motion. Things don’t move because of inner purpose, they move because hit by random external force
  • Before Galileo everything alive, getting to where belongs. After Galileo everything is dead. No inner life to matter. Nothing moving on purpose.
  • Before Galielo you were like everything else. After you are an island of purpose in vast desert of purposelessness
  • Universe indifferent machine
  • Inertia: inert - dead, lifeless - pay attention to the words you’re using.
  • In old world matter was potential for information, now matter goes to being what matter resists. Resists my will.
  • Willless resistant machinery of the universe
  • By making matter an actual substance rather than the potential for information, he removes basis for evil
  • before: evil was the hole in being, pure chaos: now its just resistant inert stuff.
  • We’ve lost something, don’t have a way of talking about evil
  • We think of it as excessive immorality. But what is it?

Scientific Method

  • Galileo gives us the scientific method: legacy of axial revolution, way of overcoming wilful generation of illusion and self-deception.
  • While point of SM to get the resistance of the world to show us how we are deceiving ourselves
  • Huge priority to SM and to the math
  • Galileo says math reveals what is real. In the object: objective. Real. Measurable
  • Where are the other properties that can’t measure mathematically: how sweet honey is, meaningful words are: not in the world. Must be inside the mind. Internal chamber that manipulates language and proposition. In the Mind is where beauty, value, and meaning. Subjective. Only in the mind. We experience the illusion of it being in the world.
  • The orders are breaking down.
  • One of the great strengths of Aristotelian world is that view of knowledge and view of the world mutually supported one another but if one starts to break down so does the rest
  • Disconnected from the world, trapped inside our heads, lost participatory knowing self transcendence, all the meaning and Beauty all gone and trapped inside our heads
  • All out there is purposeless inert chaotic certainty, in me is inner conflict and battle of wills with other human beings.
  • Leads to trauma
  • We’re not immune, we just don’t think about it much anymore
  • Are we just a complex pattern of atoms, that’s all that’s there, everything else is just an illusion. Everything else not real. Universe inert and indifferent to me

Protestant Reformation

  • Occurs in Germany
  • Luther going to exacerbate collapse of axes of meaning.