Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Theory of the Supernatural - Part 2

In my prior, necessarily shallow, excavation into the mines in which we might find Supernatualism, my digging around yielded a few non-absurd pathways to conceiving of Supernatualism “S” and Naturalism “N” existing in our current reality simultaneously. Let me clarify and elaborate a little bit.

First, I ran across the term “transcendence”, and was inspired to apply it to the relationship between S and N in this reality that we all share. Recall my draft list of ways that I can conceive of S and N related to each other:
  • SR1. N-world and S-world are separate
  • SR2. N and S are partially separate, but share some characteristics
  • SR3. N and S are identical
  • SR4. one supervenes upon the other
  • SR5. one contains the other
  • SR6. they coincide but remain separate
Recall also that SR6 is redundant to SR1, so will be removed from further consideration. The term “transcendence” might be applied whenever we mean “beyond our experience (temporarily or permanently), beyond our comprehension (temporarily or permanently), beyond reality as we know it (and possibly inscrutable), universal in nature (possibly without regard to its effect on humanity)”. There are undoubtedly more and better definitions. The term transcendent, or transcendence, however, can be nearly synonomous with SR1 through SR5 as long as S is at least temporarily mysterious to us so that we cannot recognize it. It might be useful to define S as transcendent regardless of the specifics of its deployment in reality, so be forewarned! Next, I gravitate to postulates SR4 - N supervenes upon S, and SR5 - S contains N, as the most likely arrangements of S and N in the cosmos, because they appear to require fewer auxiliary explanations in order to ”understand” how S and N could collaborate. This could change, so I won’t dwell on it. As to how any of the SR postulates provide an environment for the existence of entities capable of affecting N, that is where we go next. Does S - can S - how does S do this? In each SR conception, we assume that there are sufficient dimensions to allow independent S-agents to exist and to retain awareness of N so that S-effects directed at N may appear in the time and place in which they are meaningful, which would be presumably where the S-agent(s) intended them. At the least, you’d expect S-world to require 2 spatial dimensions with a time dimension, and you’d expect that energy exist - but not necessarily matter - as a minimum requirement to support this. I’m making two gigantic assumptions here, both inspired by an ulterior motive. Gigantic Assumption #1 is that intelligence and or independent agency is possible in just two spatial dimensions. I can’t conceive of, nor defend this proposition, but I’m assuming that just because I can’t conceive of it doesn’t mean that it can’t be conceived of, or can’t in fact be real. Gigantic Assumption #2 is that there is no absolute necessity that material beings exist in order to achieve intelligence and or independent agency, thus my omission of matter as a requirement. Ulterior Motive #1 is that I’m trying to conceive of S in a simpler way than I perceive N, thus making the Ockham’s Razor objection harder to level against S, and by comparison to other conceptions, somewhat more plausible. I still don’t have a coherent conception of how S-objects maintain awareness of N, and how they affect N. Luminiferous ether anyone? Let me hallucinate my way through this minor detail. Luminiferous ether - or something SR1 says that S and N are separate. We already devalue this postulate for its complexity, but the implied “super system” in which S and N ostensibly would reside could provide a medium through which S-actions are transmitted to N, and possibly vice-versa. I still haven’t had an epiphany that delivers the solution of how to maintain temporal and spatial awareness between the two. Any help would be appreciated!

SR postulates SR2 through SR5 all give us more hope in regards to how S-agents maintain awareness of and affect N, since S and N seem to be anchored to each other at some fundamentally shared mooring. Consequently, S and N would be “in sync” throughout their shared history. I think I start to rule out SR1 based on this burgeoning idea.

Let me speed through to the possibility that non-deity entities might exist in S, so that we can get to the Truly Big Deal. If S-world presents an environment that allows independent agents to exist, to presumably be born, live, die, and evolve, then we can imagine anything from S-viruses to S-wizards, but need only concern ourselves with S-entities that have intentions and can act on those intentions such that N would be affected. Your faeries, elves, demons, poltergeists, spirit guides (etc) could exist in an environment like this. Although these would be fun to consider, they're just a detour on the road to a Theistic cosmos.

So, I’ve outlined, with many holes in it, an S+N schema that might be a suitable foundation for a discussion of general Theism “T”. We’ll have a look at that next

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