The Observer--Gods Open Footprint Chapter 3

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Determinism and “not quite determinism” describes the physical event side of God’s footprint. This footprint, however, is linked to an observer. You might say its observers all the way down, but the observer I am talking about here possesses human intelligence. A product of the aesthetic continuum and the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self, intelligence can be traced back to its source in the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self. Intelligence (rationality) did not pop into existence phoenix like however; rather, it evolved. One might expect then that the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self concept is related to disparate concepts spread out across unrelated disciplines. Perhaps, for instance, the concept of the implied not-me-self speaks to the issue of the derivation of a true theorem in number theory that is its own negation, a negation that, in turn, implies the existence of higher dimensional numbers (Gödel), or, perhaps the not-me-self has something to say about the origin of natural numbers, which, according to one mathematician, can be found in “the mind’s ability to image a thing in a thing” (Dedekind). From a functional perspective, these mathematical concepts have a close kinship with the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self. In philosophy too, the “identity inference” implied by Descartes,’ “I think (doubt), therefore I am,” is obviously impregnated with the not-me-self concept. And further, in Sartre’s definition of consciousness: “Consciousness is a being such that in its being its being implies a being other than itself,” the not-me-self is not only revealed, it is defined. And again, in psychology, every time the subject is identified as “coming to be,” or “under construction” the not-me-self shows up. In fact, Piaget’s concept of “self” is defined as “the center of functional activity.” And, again in Sociology, where Thom focuses his studies on the “the overcoming of the primitive ambivalence or opposition between the modes of difference and no difference, and, in a like manner, where Simmel focuses his studies on “man as both the fixing of boundaries and the reaching out across these boundaries—the language of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self is front and center. And lastly, in the physics of the quantum particles, where the collapse of the wave function is observer generated, here we are not only witnessing the language of the not-me-self, we are witnessing (with each collapse of the wave function), all the dots that shape God’s footprint, i.e., confirmation of the God footprint theory.

Submitted: December 05, 2009

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Submitted: December 05, 2009



Two excellent observers peered into the abyss and saw God. Both described God differently, but, when these descriptions are passed through the prism of God’s footprint, it becomes clear that both observers were describing one and the same God.

“The mind and the world are opposites, and vision arises where they meet. When the mind doesn’t stir inside, the world doesn’t arise outside. When the world and the mind are both transparent, this is true vision. And such understanding is true understanding.” Bodhidharma

"That you need God more than anything, you know at all times in your heart. But don't you know also that God needs you--in the fullness of his eternity, you? How would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you for that which is the meaning of your life." Martin Buber

What We Call Self Is A Late Product In The Participatory Process

The Differentiating Aspects Of Culture Began With The Feeling Of The Sacred And The Boundaries Used To Establish The Sacred

Adding the observer to God’s footprint connects all the dots imaging God’s footprint. Here is a bit of the evolutionary process of how the modern observer came to be. I begin with an anthropological take on early humankind and then move on to a more philosophical, even structuralist perspective. All of this, however, is consistent with the observer aspect of God’s footprint. In my next post, when I talk about the relationship between necessary opposites, this will become clearer.

Self-consciousness is a late product of the participatory process, the process that occurs between consciousness and the aesthetic continuum. This process of course begins in parent/child relationships, and gradually, over time and through a reification process, externalizes (objectifies) one’s surrounding environment. Mircea Eliade says it this way:

“If we observe the general behavior of archaic man, we are struck by the following fact: neither the objects of the external world nor human acts, properly speaking, have any autonomous intrinsic value. Objects or acts acquire a value, and in so doing become real, because they participate, after one fashion or another, in a reality that transcends them.” (Myth of Eternal Return, 1974, p.3)

Perception was not something that could be bandied about and examined from the space of perspective in the early stages of consciousness; rather, perception remained fixed in the parameters of the participation moment. The qualities that we take for granted, according to anthropologist Levy-Bruhl, did not exist for Pre-moderns. Owen Barfield, agreeing with Levy-Bruhl, elaborates on the case for Pre-moderns:

“It is not a question of association. The mystic properties with which things are imbued form an integral part of the idea to the primitive who views it as a synthetic whole. It is at a later stage of social evolution that what we call a natural phenomenon tends to become the sole content of perception to the exclusion of other elements which then assume the aspect of beliefs, and finally appear superstitions. But as long as this ‘dissociation’ does not take place, perception remains an undifferentiated whole.” (Saving the Appearances, 1939, p. 30)

It seems pretty clear that early humanity did not participate in the world, which, for the most part, we all share in common today. Yet, it was in this early participatory process where our present experience of self-consciousness developed. This process continues today and nobody, I believe, is more qualified to discuss this subject than Ernst Cassirer. He tells us that Pre-moderns, as they engaged their environment through emotions, desires and work, acquired the ability, via symbolic representation, to objectify nature--the nature of both “inner and outer reality.” There was (and is) a double movement that arises from one’s interaction with his/her environment; in one direction there develops the objectification of one’s self-nature and in the other direction there arises the objectification of the social and cultural contents of society. For Cassirer, art, myth, magic and ritual are co-creative products arising from this objectifying movement, which, in turn, arises from the work that people do in society. “For the form of society,” Cassirer states:

“is not absolutely and immediately given any more than is the objective form of nature, the regularity of our own world of perception. Just as nature comes into being through a theoretical interpretation and elaboration of sensory contents, so to the structure of society is mediated and ideally conditioned reality.” (Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Smbolic Form, 3 vol., vol. 2, Mythical Thought, 1955, pl 193)

In his three volume work, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Cassirer concentrates his focus on the nature and origins of symbolic form as it first arises in language and myth and then, over time, develops into the theoretical orientations of scientific thought. The utility of symbolic forms is not just about a “thing to be apprehended”; rather, it is about movement towards constancy, endurance and certainty, -- an objective that applies to both culture and mind.

Both culture and mind began with story telling, and even today the stories that pass muster in peer reviewed academic journals continue to move this objectification process forward (sometimes forward even if not peer reviewed). But still, the objectification process, then and now, can be traced back to the capacity to imagine and communicate something significant. Cassirer adds:

…”the barriers which man sets himself in his basic feeling of the sacred are the starting point from which begins his setting of boundaries in space and from which, by a progressive process of organization and articulation the process spreads over the whole of the physical cosmos.” (The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 2, 1955, p.104)

For Cassirer, interrogation and reply, in its most elemental form, moves us into the expression of myth, ritual, art, language, and the abstract logical necessities encountered in mathematics and science.

Interestingly, even though there is no evidence that Cassirer and Piaget had much direct influence on one another, their thought converges when it comes to identifying the motivation behind the evolution of symbolic meaning. Work for Cassirer and action for Piaget are the instrumental motivators for the creation of symbolic meaning. In addition to the similarity that occurs in Cassirer and Piaget’s concepts of “work” and “action” the thought of these two men converges in another respect also. Both men believed that the subject and object poles of experience were not simply given. Rather, for Cassirer and Piaget, the subject and object poles of experience are products of experience. Cassirer came to this conclusion, at least in part, based on his studies of Pre-modern man’s mythology. Piaget, on the other hand, arrived at this conclusion as a result of his investigation into the language acquisition of young children. For Piaget, the long and active process that results in what we take to be the knowledge of our objective and subjective experience begins in the recognition and coordination of sensor motor activity. By locating the source of cognitive structure in the sensor motor activity of babies, Piaget opened up the possibility that “structure” was grounded in nature and not in mind (i.e., the first glimmer of the comprehensibility of the universe based on the structure of duality). In his investigations Piaget argued that the source of intelligibility—what is common to all sturcturalist thought--is the “affirmative ideal” --the ideal of intelligibility.

Jean Paul Sartre, a member of the academic elite in France like Piaget, came to a similar conclusion, only he discovered the source of intelligibility in the “structure of being for-itself.” In his description of consciousness, Sartre articulates the innate structuring capacity of consciousness. Identifying Sartre’s philosophy (phenomenological ontology) as structuralism is, I am aware, pushing the envelope. However, an authority on structuralism has proposed nothing less. Benoist states: “One might go as far as to say…that structuralism is analogous to Sartre’s view of consciousness—it is what it is not, and it is not what it is.” (The Structural Revolution, 1975, p.1) In Sartre’s book, Being And Nothingness, the title of chapter one is: “Immediate Structures of the For-Itself (1966, p.119). What this means is “conscious content” will form one pole of consciousness while the negation of “conscious content” will form the other pole of consciousness. Consciousness then, takes the form of being-what-is-not (the object of consciousness) –while-not-being-what-is (the negation of consciousness)—and as such, this condition preexists our awareness of objects. In other words, according to Sartre, conscious awareness turns on the pivot point of pure negation—the known exists for the knower but the knower can never be known! This result, the incompleteness of self, (i.e., the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self) brings us back to Sartre’s original definition of consciousness: “Consciousness is such that in its being its being is in question in so far as this being implies a being other than itself. The genesis of what Piaget calls the “affirmative ideal” lies at the heart of what Sartre calls consciousness. When I was reading Sartre I kept a journal. What follows was written before I knew the meaning of what I was writing (the meaning of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self). This early journal writing may make Sartre’s being-for-itself easier to understand, but even if it doesn’t it still represents the kind of mental acrobatics that begs clarification, i.e., the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self:

[According to Sartre, we have consciousness of an object only through the negation of that object, which, in turn, means that being-for-itself manifests consciousness by being its own negation. That negation separates me from myself. Nothingness then, lies at the heart of consciousness. Sartre thus describes man as "the being by which nothingness comes into the world." Being-for-itself can never, in any final sense, be conscious of itself. It carries within itself the rift of nothingness that negates that very possibility.

Knowledge is found everywhere except in for-itself. Worldliness, spatiality, quantity, temporality, instrumentality, etc. arise in consciousness as objects for for-itself, but the for-itself can never become a conscious object—just like a knife blade cannot cut itself. Were it not for the inherent nothingness of for-itself, there would not be a consciousness of knowledge. Sartre has described the for-itself as the "pure reflection of non being," and it is this negation of being which let's knowledge come into the world. In this respect, the knower-known dichotomy is reduced to mere fabrication, since the knower does not exist. "For- itself nothingness" permits the consciousness of reality, but it remains just outside the reach of that reality because there is no knower to know it.

Sartre also tells us that the ever-elusive present is a further consequence of this negation. Our location in time, to put it mildly, is not very precise. I am conscious of being conscious of something other than myself, and that something is my past self. What I grasp in self-consciousness is my past self—the self that has become being-in-itself. But, being-in-itself is being, so it follows that consciousness is always conscious of being. I have a body and I have a history; these are my objects of consciousness. I am never, however, conscious of for-itself's negation-- its lack, hole, nothingness, (it makes no difference how you say it, all are equivalent)—because this negativity for Sartre is the pre-condition for consciousness to be conscious. And further, it is this non-being of consciousness, which becomes the basis of my freedom.

The act by which being-for-itself separates itself from its past (the separation of being-for-itself from being-in-itself) constitutes my freedom. This separation cuts me off from my past, but it also plops me down in the center of my freedom--a freedom that demands that I either sink or swim. Sartre says, "existence precedes essence"—there is no tie-up of my present with my past. I need not be determined by my past. I am separated from it by my own nothingness. Therefore, I am free to freely choose my future until death intervenes, and then everything stops.

Under the weight of my own freedom, I am still able to maintain a sense of personal identity. Sartre denies the ego as an inhabitant of consciousness, although he grants consciousness its own personal consciousness. This ego is given to consciousness from outside of consciousness as "the reason for consciousness." It becomes what I would be, if I could be myself. Ego is my transcendent possibility. All truths, values, psychic objects—everything that constitutes ego—are introduced to consciousness from the world outside of consciousness, as objects for consciousness. For-itself can never be conscious of itself, but it is conscious (can be conscious) of a lack of self. This inner ego of consciousness—the non transcendent ego, for Sartre, becomes the nothingness of "being-for-itself."

To recap: Self-consciousness, or my relationship to consciousness, brings to consciousness the pure negative of my own nothingness. Self-consciousness denies itself a coincidence with itself. It denies itself a coincidence with the objects of consciousness--the consciousness-belief dyad. It is in consciousness, however, as presence-to-itself, but it denies itself the possibility of ever becoming fully aware of itself. Self-consciousness is its own negativity. Thus, I am conscious of it as not being what is, as what I lack, as a "hole" in my consciousness, as a "hole" in my very being.]

Ironically, Sartre interpreted being-for-itself as proof of the non-existence of God. Actually, what I got out of his reasoning was that freedom (restricted by its environment) is all that we are. We are the being that is being what is not, while not being what is because we are free to be conscious of everything else. Bogged down with this baggage, though, we cannot be surprised to find the human psyche in a constant struggle with existential issues, unsatisfied desires, and questions! This burden, if indeed it is a burden, is not insignificant; without this baggage there would be no questions,—and without questions there would be no God attribute of openness/freedom; there would be no comprehensibility of the universe!

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