Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Physical - A Closer Look

Dualism says that mind and matter are two ontologically separate entities, that the realms of each are separate and work with different rules.

Triessentialism goes one step farther, stating that matter, truth, and passion are three ontologically separate entities.

The physical includes the material universe of leptons and neutrinos, of quarks and electrons, of protons, photons, and quantum wave-form particle-probability-packets. This is the everyday stuff of the universe. However, one must ask: is this all there is?

As a science fiction fan, and a fan of science, I have to speculate. If there is another form of "matter" not made of this stuff, it may play by different rules. After all, the rules of Newton and Einstein and Schrodinger only apply to stuff made of this form of matter. That includes heat and gravity, and probably even probability.

If another form of matter existed, it might seem very strange or spooky to us. It would also be undetectible by science, because it might not interact with our matter-based scientific instruments, or it might interact inconsistently. One might even ask where exactly this stuff is located, since space-time is a function of matter, and this other stuff isn't the matter we know.

This brings up other important questions. The nature of the human consciousness is based in the chemical functions of the brain. One could call it a simulation of consciousness. If there was another form of matter, there might be beings whose consciousness is based in that form of matter. It is easy to postulate consciousness without matter, easy to suggest consciousness based in another form of matter.

You might say, "BlueNight, you're talking about beings of energy." Wrong. Well...

Technically, we're beings of energy. E=mc2. Energy is matter times speed times speed. Energy is matter accelerated. Matter is energy divided by the square of the speed of light. However, our brains are based on the chemical reactions, not the particle physics of quantum theory. (Although some research is saying otherwise.)

Could angels be creations of God in another, coexisting, realm of other matter? If so, that brings the "spiritual" realm out of fantasy into science, out of philosophy into the realm of the real. Or does it? Perhaps in that other realm, the logical and the emotional are more than simulations in our brains. Perhaps in that other realm, True and Good are more than descriptions and reactions, and the three essences are unified.

Perhaps. Maybe. I don't know. But it's sure fun to think about!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Psychology and Triessentialism

This is one of the first lessons Triessentialism showed me more clearly than modern culture: the difference between men and women.

Most men generally are focused on the Physical, while most women are generally focused on the Emotional.

As a person with Asperger's Syndrome, I generally focus on the Logical.

There are some men who are focused on the purely Logical, and some women also. There are some men who are focused on the Emotional, and some women who are focused on the Physical. These people are cultural anomalies, but no less people for it, nor of less worth to society. However, society does not cater to us.

Men think about camping, tools, building, science, cars, trucks, keeping order, and perpetuating the species.

Women think about art, religion, psychology, emotions, family dynamics, dating, decorations, sociology, clothing, literature, and stable, nurturing relationships.

This, of course, is a mass of generalization. However, this is also how the gender roles are marketed by advertisers.

The main point of connection between the two major gender roles is the Animal, the area where the Emotional and the Physical overlap. The Animal is focused on survival, pragmatism, us versus them, and the basic functions of staying alive. It was also the hardest for me to understand.

Each of the three primary views (Physical, Logical, Emotional) understand their own sphere instinctively. However, they often have a hard time seeing their own blind spots and the negatives of their "home" sphere.

Logic sees the Physical through the Scientific, and the Emotional through the Philosophical. I, as a Logic-focused person, saw the Physical only through Science, and had a very hard time dealing with it with no data, no gadgetry, no theoretical overview. I also saw the Emotional only in terms of Philosophy / Wisdom / Spirituality. I had a hard time seeing raw emotions without trying to figure them out, rationalize them, or idealize them. That led to some unusual and undesirable circumstances. I also saw the Animal as a bad type of thing, because it was inherently unpredictable and prone to constant change.

Most men instinctively see the Logical only though science and engineering. Most men see the Emotion only in terms of the Animal. For more in-depth on the Animal, pick up any book that relates animal or primate psychology to humans. The Naked Ape is a good one for that. The basics: us versus them thinking, protection of pack members from outside forces, keeping order in the pack or herd, keeping one's position in the pack through force if necessary. It is not unusual for male hamsters to eat their own children. I believe that a focus on the Animal side is what drives many men to abuse their partners (hetero and homosexual) and their children and step-children.

Most women instinctively see the Logical only through the lens of Spirituality / Wisdom / Philosophy. They can't help needing to add reasons or meaning or significance to understand something cold and logical, just as most men need something pseudophysical or some concrete analogy to understand the logical. Women generally see the Physical only in terms of the Animal. There are bodily drives, hormones, social behaviours, which end up sparking the creation of sexual displays which attract men to them. Ironically, this same instinct tells them that the first man to desire them sexually is probably not the best father for their children.

I heard on the radio about the results of a new study, which found that men are generally hardwired to react to the outside world of their senses and body, while women are generally hardwired to react to other emotions, to the world inside their own heads. I am donating my brain to the Autism Brain Tissue Program upon my death. I would not be surprised to find out that in my brain, and similar brains, a third region of the brain (distinct from the other two previously mentioned) triggers and is triggered by abstract, symbolic thinking.

Logic sees only four of seven regions, and is prejudiced against the Animal. My worldview originally only saw four types of things, and two types of people. Logical things were inherently good. Science was generally good, though it could be used badly. Philosophy was generally good, though it too could be used misleadingly. The Animal, the irrational side of behavior, actions taken without reasoning, actions taken too hastily, actions taken in anger. Locker room behavior, bullying, name-calling, jockeying for social position, and everything else bad in my life. I could see no good side to this category. Now I see that without it, life would lose a lot of its spice, and men and women would lose their major point of connection, and instinctive sense of social organization. Without the Animal, it would be a world of robots. Peaceful, but mind-numbingly dull.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

3ism, Christianity, and Morality

I believe that the theology of the Trinity is scripturally sound, and conforms to reality (is an accurate description). However, I take issue with the air of mystery that surrounds the topic.

One day in early 2001, while reading The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6), the back of my mind was on this very topic. God surprised me with a series of thoughts that ended with a mind-blowingly simple philosophical / theological framework. For lack of a better term, I call it Triessentialism.

There are three realms of human experience: The Physical, The Logical, and The Emotional. These correspond roughly to the concepts What, How, and Why.

... Or as Matthew, chapter 6, puts it, "For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen."

The Power = the Physical = the Father

The Glory = the Emotional = the Holy Spirit

The Kingdom = the Logical = the Logos

The Logos is the Son of the Father by being embodied (put into flesh). The Bible says He will rule as king. Who better for a king than SOMEONE OMNISCIENT?

I believe The Father (title, not His name) is the essence of the Physical: Power and Change.

I believe Jesus, the Logos, is the essence of the Logical: Truth and taking-all-things-into-account.

I believe the Holy Spirit (title, not His name) is the essence of the Emotional: Goodness and Passion.

How are the Three also One? In this way:

Animals exist in the realms of physical and emotional. They have little logical capability, certainly not the complex abstract symbolism and toolmaking abilities that enabled humanity to create the technology of today through foresight and planning.

Computers exist in the realms of the logical and the physical. They can simulate anything that can be put into mathematical terms. They have no emotions. They feel nothing. They are tools.

One popular conception of spirits is that they have thoughts and emotions, but no bodies, no way to affect the physical, material reality. They cannot be seen or heard. I use this purely as an example of a thing that has no physicality.

One thing that all three of these things have in common is that none of them can make choices.

Venn diagram showing three overlapping circles, labelled according to this document

An animal does what it wants, sometimes for survival, sometimes for other reasons, but they cannot be held legally accountable for their actions, because they cannot think, they do not know the legal penalties for their actions. We may kill them to protect ourselves, but animals have no moral ability, no choice. Those responsible for them, however, can.

A computer also cannot choose, for it has no motivations. A computer also cannot commit a crime, because it only does what it is programmed to do. A time bomb cannot be held legally responsible for the lives it claims, but the person who set it can.

A spirit cannot enact choices, for a spirit has no body.

It takes all three, the physical, the logical, and the emotional, to make a decision, to make a choice. This realm of choice, the moral realm, is where God is One. He tells us in the Bible that our choices have real consequences, and indeed, has given us a world where everyone is affected by the consequences of everyone elses' choices.

We are told that if we make certain choices that harm other people, or could harm other people, or are intended to harm other people, we will be held responsible, either in this life through governments and other peoples' choices, or in the next life, or in both.

God is outside all realms, all categories, all contexts. He is all-knowing, master of Logic, Truth, Information, Intelligence. He is all-powerful, master of time and space, matter and energy. He is all-passionate, master of Love and happiness and laughter and also of serious things, never apathetic, desiring right and good behavior from all, and allowing and enforcing consequences of choice.

At the end of the day, an American's highest ideal, freedom, is also God's highest ideal. The Big Chooser, the Prime Mover, the Master Planner, The Flame of Passion, made us little choosers, secondary movers, minor planners, little lights in the darkness.

The purpose of life is to choose.

(This was originally a response to another blog: Disciples Theology blog)

Triessentialism: A New Meta-Philosophy

Triessentialism is a response to monism (the -ism that spirit and material stuff are all made of the same stuff), dualism (spirit=good, material=bad) and classic formulations of different -isms. Triessentialism (3-ism for short) asserts that there are three basic essences or types of stuff, or three different realms within which certain rules apply.

Those three realms are the Physical, the Logical, and the Emotional.

They roughly correspond to the concepts What, How, and Why.

They are the three realms of human experience. We have bodies. We have minds (logical thoughts). We have hearts (emotions and feelings). Everything within human experience is one of these three.

Much, much more to come.