Paradoxes like “how does oneness make room for otherness” are neutralized when existence, in general, and identity, in particular, are understood as a consequence of the logic of God not being God’s own non-being, i.e., the b~b~bb structure. The idea that God is free to not be God is unusual but not unique. In the journal, Deconstruction and Theology (1982, p. 89-90), Robert P. Scharlemann, in the article, The Being of God When God is Not Being God, adds some commentary to this idea when he says:
“The thesis I should like to propound here is that, in the theological tradition, the otherness of God has remained unthought and conceptually forgotten in exactly the same manner as has the question of the meaning of being. …What cannot be thought, in the tradition of this picture (the concept of finite being as ens creatum) is that the world is itself a moment in the being of God; what cannot be thought is that the world is the being of God when God is not being deity, or the being of God in the time of not being.”
I realize that many people find elitist the notion that humans are a unique class of animal, but when considered from the point of view of this meditation it is not that humans are superior, rather, it is that we are born into a much larger and richer reservoir of potential freedom! In this privileged space (if indeed privilege is the right word) advantage and responsibility are joined; to quote Ian Barbour: “In the capacity for abstract thought and symbolic language there is a radical distinction between man and animal. Self-conscious awareness, critical self reflection, and creative imagination are found nowhere else in nature. In memory of the past, anticipation of the future, and envisagement of ideal potentialities, he transcends his immediate environment. He is unique in his search for truth, concern for moral values, and acknowledgement of universal obligation –and above all, in his relationship to God.” (Ian Barbour, Issues in Science and Religion 1966, p.29.)
Life, in a supportive environment, propagates and grows more complex; the same holds true for our knowledge environment. In this higher dimension, i.e., the ~bb of b~b~bb structure, knowledge, in it’s propositional and signifier sense, propagates and grows more complex. Analytically speaking, this condition births the principle of logical contradiction as it also denotes the original precondition for the development of language, mathematics, etc… . Rene Descartes was, as far as I can tell, the first to isolate the experience of discontinuity occurring in continuity (the ~bb of b~b~bb structure). Descartes’ methodological doubting brought him to conclude, “I think therefore I am.” Descartes’ cogito, however, was/is only half of the story because knowledge also occurs within one’s emotional environment—(the b~b of b~b~bb structure). It is through/within our emotional life that, ultimately, we determine a life “well lived” or not!
Human history—cultural evolution (to paraphrase Ernst Cassirer) — may be traced back to that point in time where man/woman ceased to passively accept their physical environment, and, in setting themselves in opposition to it, began to create and form it. This act, the transformation of mere impressions into pure expression, began the human psyche’s progress, via the development of myth, ritual, art, language, music, science, etc. into what today we call civilization. Ernst Cassirer, in his three volume work, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1957), suggests that as we interact with our environment through desires, emotions and work, we acquire the capacity, via symbolic representation, to objectify nature – the nature of our inner and outer reality. Objectification here is not meant as a thing to be apprehended but rather as a movement toward constancy, endurance and certainty.
We are born into a world of knowledge and knowing, but the throttle of this knowing–the actualization of what is unique in human freedom, lies in our capacity to actualize our own non-being. Simply put, every time we ask a question we actualize our own non-being. Whether we like it or not knowledge expands, but when we ask questions, we accelerate that expansion by detaching ourselves from being in our capacity as non-being in order to more fully appropriate/appreciate the world around us. Our passive experience of time does not produce a great deal of knowledge, but because we bring the logical relationships implicit in God’s freedom to bear on an event (divinity/freedom= b~b~bb, the permutation of ~bb life/death, which, in turn, is the permutation of ~~b, see below) we are free to create judgments concerning the significance and probable cause of an event. These judgments, concerning the nature of an event, are determined valid across a continuum that ranges from sensation divorced from theory, at one end, to sensation reinforced by the most advanced and respected scientific theory available.
[Evolution, in addition to evolving content, also evolves “form.” A change in form is not necessarily a change in meaning, e.g., two means 2, 1+1 means 2, 4-2 means 2. In the same way that the meaning of the number 2 is conserved in the subtraction of 120 from 122, so to the meaning of consciousness is conserved the b~b~bb structure—a permutation of ~bb which, in turn, is a permutation of ~~b.]
The same logic/structure (b~b~bb) that separates/connects the person I am to the person I become, also separates/connects particles to waves (~~b). In terms of metaphor, the logic that separates/connects reaches around (the double slit experiment in QM) and bites its own “tail”—the Wholeness of the Cosmos! Scientific hypotheses are confirm-able because the evolution of the universe takes place in the space that separates, embeds and connects—connects to the space of logical implication, i.e., by virtue of being not, not God (~~b) God becomes, in a verb sense, “free to be,” while also, in a noun sense, free to be the “God of all creation,” i.e., the implied God of all creation.
There are no guarantees that the answers we propose in response to our questions will match up with corresponding events, yet scientists have a pretty good track record when it comes to the discovery and confirmation of these answers. In experience that is not accountable to scientific confirmation, however, we determine, via our judgments and emotions, appropriate behavior. It is at this level of preferred behavior, the level of “willed consciousness participation” (as it is called by Owen Barfield), that we encounter freedom of the highest order!
When God’s freedom becomes aware of itself (b~b~bb), something very remarkable happens. From our point of view, we see our past, present, and “future possibilities,” thus we work toward the actualization of those possibilities. But, from a divine point of view, it’s all “awareness of presence.” For me, this is an emotionally charged consequence since it brings home the notion that God is, in a very real sense, all-knowing and all-present. But even more astonishing is that, via our intentions and concerns, we are responsible for the content of this “divine presence.” Here I am reminded of the words of Walt Whitman, where in his poem “Song To Myself,” he wrote: “Whoever degrades another degrades me. And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.” It follows that if just one person recognizes an act of injustice and becomes outraged, God becomes outraged also!
We begin our conduct with the recognition of desirable behavior, but putting this awareness into action takes on special significance. Just as the validity of a scientific hypothesis becomes authenticated upon confirmation—via positive experimental results, so too, one’s personal behavior becomes authenticated when it is made to conform to behavior that has previously been judged appropriate by the individual. Simply put, behavior is a measure and a product of freedom. Herein we may appreciate the significance of those teachers and teachings that encourage students to think for themselves while stressing heightened awareness and social responsibility; and, since freedom is actualized at different levels by different people, it follows that, whenever possible, a responsible person will posture herself/himself as a student or a teacher whenever the opportunity arises. Recognizing the appropriate occasion to accommodate these postures comes with experience. Ultimately, religion, science, law, art …all of civilization, must be understood as the expression of the freedom of God that works toward this transformation.
Certain aspects of the world cannot be changed, however. Our mortality, for instance, is a condition of God’s freedom (the condition of not, not being God) and therefore must be experienced and endured. Yet it is in our mortality that we may come to discover an incredible comfort and release. Many of our desires are automatically fulfilled in the realization that we are one with God’s presence in the here and now. With this understanding we arrive at the heart of the experience that is poetically described by mystics and other spiritually evolved individuals (these few, off the top of my head, have found a place in my blog—Jesus, Eckhart, Aquinas, Buddha, Nishida, Nishitani, Shankara, Krishna, Buber, etc.).
All of intuitive sensitivity flows from this “oneness” that embraces nature, nature’s creatures, and humanity until it finally becomes manifest in love, caring, happiness, and reverence—for the God that makes it All possible. The “I” of God and the “I” of you and me are, indeed, one and the same—however, when divinity truly speaks it speaks through the language of LOVE.