It isn't only the scientific and technological universes that are changing — the worlds of philosophy and imagination are also in a state of boiling chaos. Young metaphysicians today are being confronted with an explosion of shattering ideas. If we don't make some effort now and then to sort them out, we put ourselves in danger of being utterly overwhelmed. With that end in view, I'd like to examine one of the more intellectually popular ideas amongst the so-called avant-garde.
[quoteright'/>In his novel, Valis, Philip K Dick recounts a daring theory of the cosmic meaning of Christianity. It's also a dangerously darkening idea. In order to deal with this theory and to arm ourselves with a more meaningful and useful alternative, it's necessary to list the elements of his curious myth herewith in their entirety.
In the beginning, "Oneness" desires to separate the contradiction of non-being from itself. And the first thing it does is to create a kind of egg-thing, bearing a pair of identical, androgynous twins. We might as well go ahead and call them the forerunners of Yang and Yin. (Parmenides calls them Form I and Form II). Within this egg, the twins spin rapidly around each other in opposite directions.
Yin, the dark, counter-clockwise-moving twin, breaks out of the egg prematurely. To be premature, according to PKD, is to be unwise and therefore defective, so Yin, Form II, "languishes." Form I, or Yang, on the other hand, goes through all the proper growth stages and is healthy. After birth, PKD goes on to say, each twin forms "a unitary entelechy", that is a complete being in itself, comprised of "psyche and soma". And of course, the twins go on spinning about one another, in opposite directions.
It is through their "dialectic interaction", that the Two become the Many. As hyperuniverses, they project from themselves (like spiders projecting webs?) a "hologram-like interface" and this is the "pluriform universe" that you and I know. Forms I and II were supposed to "intermingle equally" in the governance of our world, but Form II, being imperfect, drifted farther away from health all the time, creating chaos and insanity...
The Oneness planned that the purpose of our "hologramatic universe" would be to act as a sort of teaching experience whereby new lives could evolve until they finally became "isomorphic" with the One. Yin, however, in her decadence, brought in "malefactors which damaged our hologramatic universe." From these malefactors come all the evils we know: entropy, chaos and death. PKD also includes "undeserved suffering" as one of the evils, implying, in good Christian fashion, that deserved suffering is not evil. Amongst the worst of all these evils, moreover, is "the Empire, the Black Iron Prison." So what Yin does, in effect, is to abort "the proper health and growth of the life forms within the hologramatic universe." The One's pedagogical machine is now seriously flawed. With hyperuniverse II producing only noise, only hyperuniverse II produces an "information-rich" signal.
Now comes the weird part. Hyperuniverse I, the Good Twin, decides to send a "micro-form" of its psyche "into hyperuniverse II to attempt to heal it." To us, in our holographic world, this is none other than Jesus Christ. Needless to say, since Hyperuniverse II is mad, it naturally destroys the micro-form of the "healing psyche of her healthy twin." (Suddenly, Hyperuniverse II, the evil twin, has become feminine). Our world goes on falling into "purposeless causal processes. " Now Jesus, as the Holy Spirit, must either rescue the unfortunate beings of this Yin hologram or nullify the negative impulses coming from the defective hyperuniverse.
The madness of the Yin Twin has made us all "idiots living in private, unreal worlds." Therefore the Yang Twin decides it must kill her. Then the original divine plan can be realized by Hyperuniverse II dividing itself. In this way the two sides will function properly and we will enter the "kingdom of God."
However, hyperuniverse II is situated in time, which is a closed loop. Therefore, although no longer part of the real world, it is alive in itself and as far as its inhabitants are concerned. Thus "The Empire never ended." In Eternity, however, which is the real home of the hyperuniverse, the healthy twin, our champion, has killed her. PKD concludes this story with these words, "The One grieves for this death, since the One loved both twins; therefore the information of the Mind consists of a tragic tale of death of a woman, the undertones of which generate anguish into all the creatures of the hologramatic universe without their knowing why. This grief will depart when the healthy twin undergoes mitosis and the "Kingdom of God" arrives. The machinery for this transformation — the procession within time from the Age of Iron to the Age of Gold - is at work now; in eternity it is already accomplished."
* * *And there we have Philip K Dick's colorful self designation, "Horse-lover Fat's," admittedly startling picture of the Ultimate. And a thoroughly intimidating picture it is! At first glance the myth seems to answer a lot of important questions. But let's look at some of these answers and see whether they actually do serve. First of all, we begin with an undefined, undescribed "One" already present in the plenum with no explanation of "his" origin. Next, for reasons known only to himself, he creates the "Twins" of polarity which are somehow identical (if identical, why polar?). For further unknown reasons, one of the Twins decides to be born before it has finished gestating. It is therefore imperfect and "female." From here on out, things go from bad to worse. In order to "kill" this imperfect being, a saving figure is sent down and now we get the whole Christian story. Once we get rid of the bad twin (Evil) Heaven on Earth will be established. Mixed in with this mishmash is the dictum that the Savior is actually a computer of some sort — an orderly universe is "information," whereas Chaos is simply that which is meaningless "noise." Rather a suspiciously complicated excuse for a theology that's unnecessary in the first place.
* * *Now, without further ado, I would like to offer my distillation of an altogether different scenario, whose origin I prefer not to divulge just yet, lest it prejudice your evaluation. Please compare the following cosmogony honestly with the above and decide for yourself which of the two is more satisfying to reason and intuition.
Nothing, being heavy with inertia, sinks into Nothingness. The sinking generates negative potentialities beneath the Original Void, like bubbles in the sea. Each of these potentialities is unique in ordinal distance from the Void itself, and thus together they constitute the seeds of differentiation. Differentiation in turn results in potentialities, which are infinite degrees of possibility. Out of that come infinite degrees of probability. Since the probabilities are infinite, some of them must be that some things have more "substance" than others. One of the probabilities, indeed, is even that something shall actually be. When, inevitably, such a probability finally becomes a certainty, Mind is born. This Mind rises instantly, back up out of the murky waters of the negativities, to break through the surface of the Original Void. Now the function of Mind is to know Itself and in order to do that it must separate itself and rise up out of the Void. Once it does that it begins an endless plunge into Enlightenment, which entails the creation of one universe after another in infinite evolution. Matter is thus a by-product of Mind. The creation of the positive potentialities out of the Void now mirrors and balances its infinite negative potentialities. Ultimately, possibilities of returning to the Original Void come into consciousness, as it becomes clear that Mind must complete the circle and balance its own Birth by its Death: the positive charges cancel out the negative charges and the perfect Zero is regained. (Obviously, the return to the Void is as opaquely mysterious to ordinary human understanding as the birth of Mind out of the Void is).
From the above it can be seen that the polarities of the universe we know ~ the familiar Black/White, Is/Is-not, Self/Other, etc., are only the building-blocks of Mind in its creation of a mirror in which to see itself. What we call imperfection is merely an interruption of completion and what we imagine to be evil simply the failure to recognize the connectedness of things.
It can further be seen that an infinite number of cosmologies and universes is always obtainable at any given point in the Plenum — either above or below the smooth surface of the Void.
At this point to say that there is no evil in the separation of Self and Other, provided the self does not lose its sense of underlying connectedness, is no longer as difficult as it was. But beware. That separation is the origin of our fascination (the Tree of Knowledge) with material reality and in that fascination we can remove ourselves both from ourselves and from the Self, In removing ourselves we quickly lose ourselves.
Mind imprisoned in matter is a terrible thing.
Ed Rehmus was well-known within San Francisco Regional Mensa in the 70s through the 80s as the "weird" cover artist of the newsletter Intelligencer. He later created an irregular comic stric called "The Clonies." Ed also wrote the occational story for the Intelligencer.
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