Rational Science and Trans-rational God

An underlying theme of this blog is the proposition that consciousness is the fundamental driver of evolution in such things as biology, anthropology, history, and contemporary culture. Larry Horstman describes the theory in his two books Evolution Fact and Fantasy: The Psychogenic Theory and The Origin of Marriage: A Sojourn in Anthropology. Larry and his brother, Lee, are co-authors of The Lotka Hypothesis, Book I, Elements of Consciousness. See “Book Reviews” above.

Below are separate essays by the two authors which discuss the meaning of “irrationality,” “reason,” “logical systems,” and the expression “God” from the religious traditions. The term “trans-rational” could be used to bridge the meaning of “consciousness” and “God.”

Consciousness as the Ultimate Prime Mover

Interestingly, the idea that consciousness as the ultimate prime mover is also the fundamental proposition in the philosophy of the American philosopher and mathematician Franklin Merrell-Wolff. See the website: www.merrell-wolff.org

“Proving” the hypothesis amounts to a revolution in science. It is a revolution because “proof” requires expanding traditional science to include the subject, like never before.

Traditional science since the time of Galileo has been based on empiricism and reason, accessed by the two modes of cognition—perception and conception. Subjectivity has assiduously been excluded—for good reason. Personal bias and psychological prejudices have a tendency to “cook the books,” distorting objective facts. Quantum physics has introduced the role of the “observer.” The revolution in science here suggested recognizes and expands the role of the observer in reaching scientific certainty. It incorporates a third mode of cognition that transcends personal bias and includes the subjective at a higher level of integration. This is a realm accessed through contemplative inquiry. The scientist/mystic will lead the revolution.

Pure Reason and Real Certainty

Immanuel Kant is famous for pointing out that you cannot know the “thing-in-itself” by pure reason alone. Pure reason will not give you a direct experience of God. At best, pure reason can only give one a derivative experience of God with an indirect understanding of the laws of nature and speculative philosophy. Real certainty comes with a third mode of cognition. Franklin Merrell-Wolff called that mode of cognition “introception.” Others have called it “Gnostic Intuition,” “contemplative insight,” or “a stroke of genius.” It is the source of creativity, innovation, and scientific breakthrough.

In other postings, we show how rigorous scientific training is combined with contemplative practice to prepare the scientist/mystic for a creative, productive, and leading-edge career. Models include Isaac Newton, Weiner Heisenberg, Franklin Merrell-Wolff, and his philosophy of Consciousness-Without-an-Object. It is the contention of this blog that contemplative insight, the realm of the mystic, is the source of genius in leading edge scientific discovery. Franklin Merrell-Wolff is a forerunner—the best example of a mathematician/mystic.

Ineffable Experience

A dictionary definition of “mysticism” is that it recognizes the existence of essential realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are accessible by subjective experience. “Consciousness” and “God” refer to these essential realities which mystics say are ineffable because they transcend any conceptual representation or ability of language to adequately describe, yet authentic insight from this realm will be rational, within a logical system.

While direct experience, or “imperience,” is the only way around ineffability, a “stepped-down” version is possible. As Lee Horstman says in the essay below, this is what the major religions have done for thousands of years. Larry Horstman uses the language of science while religions use metaphorical terms to describe the same essential reality—trans-rational consciousness that moves our world.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Rational Science and Trans-rational God

  1. Hi, just a slight clarification – what Wolff calls “interception” may be related to a rather wide range of “ways of knowing” described by Sri Aurobindo – including the higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind and over mind. Whether it is related to the supramental consciousness is a long (contemplative!) conversation. But a small point (though a long conversation:>)) But I also wanted to add I love this blog and hope to see more detailed contemplations on how evolutionary biology and neuroscience would be transformed by a “consciousness is primary” outlook. See particularly Michel Bitbol’s essay, “Is Consciousness Primary” (easily googled).

  2. I see I gave up putting quotes around stuff from the original blog post, that is, the last two paragraphs starting with ‘Quantum physics’ and ‘this is a realm’. Ah yes, self knowledge.

  3. Hello, I am so impressed with this blog. I have not had time to read all the posts, I hope it’s okay to just jump in, with the most recent blog — with the intent of just sketching out some thoughts, nothing right or wrong, just playing with some ideas.
    So I copied over a paragraph into the comments section, to make it easier to refer to the ideas. This is all just in the spirit of tossing syllables across nets, okay, and it is a tribute that your writings perked me up to respond; it is my first thought that we have the same end. I would say right off, that where I am coming from, is the position that the natural sciences have hijacked a serious inquiry into mystical realities over the past few hundred years. My thought is not to sketch out another realm but rather to argue that if the tools of science were objectively applied, all honest inquirers would wind up in the same realm; not arguing about basics, but accepting the primacy of the mystics vision.

    quoting from “Evolution and Consciousness” — ‘Proving” the hypothesis amounts to a revolution in science. It is a revolution because “proof” requires expanding traditional science to include the subject, like never before. ‘

    My thought is to find out why science shrank to exclude the subject. An answer may lie within an inquiry into the driving forces behind positivism — the idea that any rational inquiry is modeled on the natural sciences, and solutions (answers) must be physically demonstratable, reproducible and quantifiable. Only these conditions define a ‘proof,’ and only these conditions are worth discussing among rational men. All else is obscurantism. So say the positivists. These assumptions are not necessary for real science, they are not internally consistent, and my concern is that people take positivism, as they do, as the valid model for scientific inquiry. Positivism is a self inflicted wound.

    ‘Traditional science since the time of Galileo has been based on empiricism and reason, accessed by the two modes of cognition—perception and conception. Subjectivity has assiduously been excluded—for good reason. ‘

    Subjectivity (the internal world of human psychology) need not be excluded. Self knowledge is a path to objectively investigating the interior world, with results as shareable as Einstein’s equations — as shareable that is, to those who have traveled the same path to self knowledge. That few people ARE on this path, so to speak, is why subjectivity has gotten a bad reputation.

    ‘Personal bias and psychological prejudices have a tendency to “cook the books,” distorting objective facts. ‘

    Overcoming this bias is the product of self-knowledge.

    Quantum physics has introduced the role of the “observer.” The revolution in science here suggested recognizes and expands the role of the observer in reaching scientific certainty. It incorporates a third mode of cognition that transcends personal bias and includes the subjective at a higher level of integration.

    Not sure I am following the above — not sure we need a ‘third mode’. Personal bias fades before insistent pursual of self knowledge, nothing to transcend (nothing much) Including the subjective at a higher level may not be necessary .

    This is a realm accessed through contemplative inquiry. The scientist/mystic will lead the revolution.

    Agree with the last sentence, and that is why I am sure we are all on the same team here. But I stress the defects of the contemporary ideas of the natural scientists. That crew is typically utterly ignorant of any metaphysics. And I have to wonder — what is the energy behind their bias against metaphysics, they seem incapable of verifying the ideas of good folks like Larry and Lee Horstman, which they could do, with a sincere intent to investigate the realm of metaphysics. And yet the scientists feel threatened, rather than invited to pursue other dimensions of reality. But for leading anything — I wonder if we are not on our own, nobody’s following, and that may be because we all, like the Horstman’s need to make our own maps, for the ineffable results of creativity and what you can see from the border. I personally don’t see a lot of use for defining consciousness as the driving force of evolution, I would have to ponder that myself; it seems to cover a valid mystery with perhaps too many words. But as a temporary proposition, as is everything I said here, it sounds like fun… And in the past couple of minutes I have decided I like the possibilities of the phrase: a higher level of integration. Already I feel more integrated. (Jeff, sorry to leave out Kant — I know nothing about him.) (Tom — wonderful site, my thoughts are just to toss in the air and see how we can mix stuff up.)

    • Yes, Marsha, it seems we are on the same team here. I need to clarify what I mean by a “third mode of cognition.” In short, the “third mode” relates to your phrase “insistent purusal of self-knowledge.” Franklin Merrell-Wolff called it “profound introversion,” or introception. In the East it is called Dhyana in Sanskrit. Aurobindo called it supramental gnosis or gnostic consciousness. It is the realm of the mystic.

      To see how it might relate to science, please refer to “Mysticism and Scientific Method” posted January 27. On the issue of subjectivity, please see “Intuition and Subjectivity” posted January 16.

      It is our contention that all this can be brought together in a contemplative environment such as that described under “Contemplative Observatory” in the main menu of this blog.

      Thanks for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s