MV Conversation Continues
“So, how do people re-center themselves?” replied MV.
“It’s not easy, and I suspect some luck is involved.” I said. “New
beliefs have to be emotionally gratifying, and if they are they tend
to be similar to already existing emotional needs and beliefs. Asking
a person to consider new ideas, especially when those ideas are
God-centered, is, however, akin to pulling teeth. The Buddha and Jesus
had some success, but they were promoting beliefs about suffering and
salvation–universal emotive responses to universal desires. Trying to
get people to emotionally connect with the God-idea, especially one in
conflict with their own, is a definition for irrelevancy. If, on the
other hand, I was appealing to more prurient interests, I probably
would have found a few interested people.”
“So, asking an audience to see the world from a totally new perspective
is doomed?” MV responded.
“It appears so,” I said.
“Maybe you have it wrong,” replied MV. “It wouldn’t be the first time
“Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice,” I said, “I don’t believe in miracles and,
according to some people, it’s even worse than that.
Bertrand Russell, arguably one of the brainiest men who ever lived,
concluded towards the end of his life that arguments–to get people to
pay attention to logic and reason–are ineffective tools if one’s goal
is to get another person to recant his/her beliefs. Russell was a
lifelong champion of liberal and `just causes.’ He died frustrated
“Yeah, I know,” responded MV, “but I do not consider dying frustrated
and despondent a disappointment, if you know what I mean! So your
God-idea was an automatic disconnect with people?”
“Yeah, finally I got it,” I replied.
But how could it be any other way,” said MV. “Where’s the emotion in your
“It’s there,” I replied. “It’s just that I’ve never been asked that
question before. Here’s my quick answer:
“Think of the information gradient X (subjective aim) embedded in Y
(the aesthetic informational continuum). In its simplest form, this is the
meaning of duality, but when X experiences itself in a
higher dimension, ‘subjective aim’ experiences itself within the
aesthetic gradient of emotional information, information that both
helps and hinders the survival of X. That’s not the end of the story
however. Because X, in an even higher dimension, creates/discovers its
own information gradient, an information gradient consisting of
symbolic forms, symbolic forms which are embedded not just in emotion,
but also in aesthetic facts, facts that change as new symbolic forms are
created/discovered. Aesthetic facts survive the death of X;
they are not subject to death. These facts are
limited only by the validating connection that exits between
prediction, explanation, and observation. In other words, these
aesthetic facts, all of which are embedded in emotion, remain subject
to explanation by the best science available.” Bottom line: aesthetic facts are first experienced and then explained—without the aesthetic informational continuum there would be no X/Y form.
F.S. Northrop, in the quote below, beautifully emphasizes the spiritual relevance of the aesthetic continuum, and the trans-formative value of feeling and emotion:
“Now it is precisely this ineffable, emotional, moving quale that constitutes what is meant by spirit and the spiritual. Thus in order to do justice to the spiritual nature of human beings and of all things it is not necessary to have recourse to idle speculations, by means of which one tries to pierce through the glass beyond which we now see darkly, to supposedly unaesthetic material substances behind, or into some unreachable and unknowable realm where mental substances are supposed to be. On the contrary, the spiritual, the ineffable, the emotionally moving, the aesthetically vivid—the stuff that dreams and sunsets and the fragrance of flowers are made of—is the immediate, purely factual portion of human nature and the nature of all things. This is the portion of human knowledge that can be known without recourse to inference and speculative hypotheses and deductive logic, and epistemic correlations and rigorously controlled experiments. This we have and are in ourselves and in all things, prior to all theory, before all speculation, with immediacy and hence with absolute certainty.” (The Meeting of East and West, p.462)