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All the World’s a Mirror

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All the World’s a Mirror

Reflections on Language, Consciousness, and Cosmos

By Samuel Zinner


To the memory of my Ashkenazi and Native American ancestors, who under the sword and gun of conversion suffered beyond image, beyond word.

ַעַל נַהֲרֹוֹת, בֶָּבֶל--ָּשָּם יָּשְַבְנוּ, ַגַם-בִָּכִינוּ:

בְזָּכְֵרֵנוּ, ֶאֶת-צִיֹּוֹן.

My father, my father, He is beginning to turn into a bird.   TABLE OF CONTENTS


1. The Humanities: Entangled Language, Literature, and Consciousness

2. Physics: The Reality of Illusion, the Illusion of Reality

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would like to thank Mr Terry Moore of the Radius Foundation (New York) for having initially approached me with the offer of financing the writing of the present book. I am also grateful to Abigail Tardiff of the Radius Foundation for her editing skills and activity. Although he has not read our manuscript, some of the physics ideas expressed in chapter two have benefitted from personal comments received in the past from the University of London’s Professor Emeritus Basil J. Hiley, former colleague of the late quantum physicist David Bohm. Dr Peter Samsel also supplied us with helpful observations on chapter two that led to its improvement in a number of respects. Naturally all conclusions presented in chapter two are my own and any remaining defects are to be traced back to myself rather than to Hiley or Samsel. The monograph as a whole owes much to personal observations made to me over the years by Dr Michael Ewbank. Professor Elliot R. Wolfson offered valuable corrections and comments on a relevant portion of chapter one, and I am deeply grateful for his generosity of heart and donation of time. Additionally I appreciate the personal enthusiasm that Mr Adam Vogtman showed for the writing and completion of the present title. Samuel Zinner July 2016 Aulla, Tuscany, Italy


PREFACE

In this study I endeavour to demonstrate the largely ideational origin of spacetime and to identify it as a cognitive dimensionality, which is largely created in an infant via language acquisition. Having explored these themes from the perspectives of literature and comparative symbology and myth in chapter one, I then attempt to explain the relational and cognitive rather than absolute nature of spacetime from a variety of physics angles in chapter two. The science of physics increasingly indicates that space and time are neither actual nor perduring substances in the physical cosmos. I am not presupposing a dreamy denial of space and time, but have in mind the sound suspicion that dimensionality and spacetime may express approximations rather than entities that are fundamental in the physical world, a thesis advanced by respected physicists such as Neil Turok, Sean Carroll, and Anton Zeilinger. Language at a core level creates the illusion of absolute spacetime and its contents which through the processes of linguistic-based reification are mistaken (yet necessarily so for utilitarian reasons and everyday purposes) as enduring entities with corresponding essences and quiddities. Having argued for the illusory nature of spacetime in the physical universe, it then became necessary to follow this up with the observation that time is inseparable from space. As a consequence, the question of dimensionality, itself a property of space, had to be addressed so that the nature of time could be more fundamentally and satisfyingly discussed. As I have stated, spacetime is largely constructed through language. The creation and origin of language and consciousness are dealt with in chapter 1, where I analyse the pre-conscious mytho-symbolic origins and foundations of cognition and language. Consciousness and egohood are the first reifications created by language acquisition, soon followed by spacetime sensibilities. Since these are all largely erected through language and linguistic artifices, by deconstructing and transcending language we can, albeit temporarily, transcend the experience of individual egohood and certain cognitive spacetime limitations, a topic explored at length in both chapters 1 and 2. I am referring to hypnagogic reveries, the dreamstate, and similar experiences, and not to New Age absurdities.

Because the absolute existence or persisting ontology of spacetime is generally taken for granted, to demonstrate its illusory nature requires an extended multifaceted exploration in physics. In light of the illusory ontic status of spacetime, the possibility of altered states of consciousness (investigated in chapters 1) in which in a sense certain aspects of spacetime experience can be at least temporarily suspended can be more adequately understood. Existence is perduring or prolonged potentiality, so that actuality significantly pertains in a mode of inseparability to the illusory. Like a double-edged sword, language and consciousness possess pitfalls but can also function as adequate delivery systems. The question is one of adequation dependent on various levels of approximation. That is, language and ideas are adequate or inadequate to the degree that they do or do not approximate the fuller underlying referents to which they partially allude or point. The goal of ecstatic “momentary” yet “atemporal” attainments of altered states of consciousness is facilitated by more adequate approximative functions of time-bound consciousness and language. The more adequate the modes of language and consciousness are, the more effectively they can function as a self-transcending medium that delivers one to the underlying referents that can never be fully expressed or grasped by language and consciousness.

Both overly popular and even more principled talk of “higher dimensions” often seems to serve to obstruct or hinder a more adequate understanding of existence, especially if David Bohm’s holographic model of the universe turns out to be more or less correct. In that case, the cosmos would have to be interpreted as consisting of lesser or even of no dimensions rather than of more, since the perception of extra dimensions would arise as the result of a holographic illusion. As we explore in detail in chapters one and two, Bohm proffers the example of two television cameras in a room filming a single fish in a single aquarium from two different angles; the two cameras’ images are projected onto two separate television screens located in a second room. To a viewer of the two screens, who has no knowledge of the contents of the room where the single aquarium is being filmed, it appears as if the two television screens are broadcasting images of two different fish. This can be likened to how consciousness compounds or increases the number of dimensions in the cosmos. A single dimension may be mistaken for two or three dimensions as the result of an illusion of perspective or angle based on a holographic-like interpretative projection performed by the human mind. It may even be the case that an utterly non-dimensional state is being misinterpreted as dimensionality, regardless of the numbers of dimensions that might be involved at any given apprehended stage. I cannot claim to have arrived at any definitive answers. For me it is more important to arrive at the appropriate questions to be posed in the first place. This study is therefore designed for a questioning readership, and it is in that spirit that I entrust it to those to whom such an approach will seem attractive. Samuel Zinner July 2016 Aulla, Tuscany, Italy


CHAPTER ONE

THE HUMANITIES

ENTANGLED LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND CONSCIOUSNESS

The world is an illusion; it has no real existence. And this is what is meant by “imagination” (khayāl). For you just imagine that it (i.e. the world) is an autonomous reality quite different from and independent of the absolute Reality, while in truth it is nothing of the sort. . . . Know that you yourself are an imagination. And everything that you perceive and say to your self, “this is not me,” is also an imagination. So that the whole world of existence is imagination within imagination. ~ Ibn al-ʿArabī, Bezels of Wisdom

Symbol, Myth, and Language

As Ernst Cassirer explains, whereas myth and language arise from the intensification or compression of sensory observation, both myth and language originate from a common source, namely, the metaphorical or symbolic impulse. Discursive thought expansively places the one into the larger context of the many or the whole, while mythic thought sees a single point and excludes all else from its field of perception. In the domain of myth, metaphor is not “substitution,” but rather “identification.” However, as Owen Barfield remarks, when Carl Jung claims that myth is “a sort of unconscious ‘projection’ of the inner life . . . upon an animate outer world,” this constitutes an anachronistic application of “post-logical thoughts back into a prelogical age.” Barfield explains the error in such reasoning in the following manner: “The refutation of this notion of projected subjectivity, as applied to the history of consciousness, is a simple one. . . . It is simply that, at the time when the myths came into being, our distinction between subjective and objective cannot have existed.” Later, the “distinction of inner from outer” leads to “the dualism, self and not-self.”

As Donald Phillip Verene observes concerning Cassirer, because symbols consist of a “particular sensory sign” which “inheres” or participates in a “universal meaning,” they are simultaneously and “inseparably ‘spiritual’ (geistig) and ‘sensible’ (sinnlich).” Humans, including the scientists among them, “do not grasp the object of their investigations in its immediacy but grasp the world by means of the system of their symbols.” Humans do not perceive things purely as they are in themselves, but rather what is perceived are the symbols or symbolic representations of their underlying states. Does this not then, however, imply that the compression or intensification of observation is a concentration upon, or cognitive compression of, symbols? I would interject the further qualification that symbols are so fundamentally rooted in the underlying realm of the mythic that the symbolic form actually coincides in some sense with the Platonic concept of the archetype (which is, however, never separable from its Aristotelian concrete embodiment). Consciousness would then be an awareness (via an autonomous activation) of the more fundamental protoconsciousness which itself consists of mythic symbolic forms or archetypes. In a certain sense this creates a continuity between the unconscious and the conscious, which makes possible a transcendence of this particular binary which ultimately suggests that there is an artificial distinction involved here. In any event, the symbol’s sensory (sinnlich) depth is participatively accessed by the observer, but the symbol’s meaningful (geistig) content autonomously reaches out to the observer precisely on account of what Cassirer designates as “symbolic pregnance” (symbolische Prägnanz).

Consciousness is thus generated or “formed by the power of the symbol.” Symbolic images (or images and symbols) precede grammatical formulation. Consequently, the latter can be understood as an intensification or compression of the former, which indicates that language arose more than just as a development of gestural activities, although the latter definitely played some role in the process. The phenomenon documented below by Dan Merkur constitutes concrete evidence in favour of Cassirer’s inseparable symbolic origin for both myth and language: Intriguingly, exegetical meditators’ preference for mental images, rather than for the verbal contents of scriptural texts, is consistent with the findings by historians of science that moments of scientific creativity tend to take form as metaphors or analogies. The mind’s best innovative thinking is done unconsciously in nondiscursive imagery even when the topic of the thinking involves abstract conceptions. Verbal or mathematical unpacking ordinarily follows only after the inspiration of imagery. This sequence, of visual imagery manifesting prior to explanatory verbal inspirations, occurs, as we have seen, in [the later 1st-cent. CE Jewish apocalypse] 4 Ezra 13.

Merkur continues by commenting on the intriguing relationship between prelinguistic images and autonomous “presences” that manifest themselves in religious phenomenology:

Sustained creative inspiration such as Blyton reported has been very little discussed in psychological literature. Psychoanalysts refer to the vividly imagined, seemingly autonomous, and some times interactive characters as “psychic presences.” Most psychoanalytic discussions pertain to psychic presences of close family relations that occurred when memories were relived, rather than merely remembered. Further examples of psychic presences include religious experiences of the sense of God’s presence. The only psychoanalyst to devote a book to the topic of psychic presences, Grotstein, suggested in passing that presences are integral to visionary experiences. Citing secondary sources on Avicenna and Sufism, Grotstein remarked that the “internal objects” that populate unconscious phantasies and their conscious manifestations are consistent with the Islamic concepts of malakūt, the angelic realm, and ʿālam almithāl, the “world of imagination.” Where medieval Muslims contemplated an imaginal world that mystics accessed, so they believed, through the union of God’s imagination with their own, Grotstein wrote metaphorically of an “inner space” within the psyche whose population is not limited to close family members, but also includes “chimerical (hybrid) conglomerations.” Both remembered and imaginative internal objects may manifest as psychic presences or “preternatural presences within the psyche” that “present as images or phantoms and which we, in turn, reify as real.” Presences are portions of the self that have been split-off and endowed with apparent objectivity. Presences seem subjectively to be autonomous entities in dreams, religious experiences, and so forth.

Merkur concludes by correlating the underlying dynamics involved in premodern mystical experiences and modern attainments in sciences and the humanities: “Situating exegetical meditations in the context of hypnagogic reveries, autosymbolism, and the creative process provides a novel context for thinking about ancient visionary practices. Exegetical meditations were no less rational, and no more phantasmagorical, than creative achievements in any other sphere of the humanities and sciences. They were nevertheless genuinely visions, genuinely exegetical, and genuinely regarded as inspired by God and his angels.” Suzanne Gieser comments on the contiguity of rational and mystical modes of knowledge in a profound study on Wolfgang Pauli: “Pauli sees the possibility of reconciling the categories of ‘true’ and ‘false’ as well as epistēmē (rational knowledge) and ennoia (mystical knowledge). They are at opposite ends of a scale that belongs to

one and the same process.” Gieser expands upon this subject by supplying further information on Pauli’s musings: Similarly he wishes to see logical thinking as something that has evolved out of archetypal thinking, which is basically irrational. The archetypes underlie our conceptions and express themselves primarily in the beholding of fascinating internal images. Logical thinking, on the other hand, is aimed at clearly formulated ideas. On this basis, Pauli conceives of Plato’s eidōla as something between archetype and elaborate idea, as a kind of “model” that guides the shaping of ideas.

To revisit the dialectical coexistence of the sinnlich and geistig in Cassirer’s system, we can recognize that this corresponds to David Bohm’s theory of somasignificance, namely, that meaning in a qualified sense inheres implicately in matter, even at its smallest scales. It is crucial to understand that for Cassirer, “all symbolic forms are variations of one another and that the truth of the nature of the object of knowledge is dependent on a coordination of each with the others, so that they coalesce into a whole.” Yet when we note that a concentrative compression of an observed phenomenon leads to consciousness or awareness of the object, this does not mean that a physical object (res extensa) causally generates consciousness (res cogitans), for in contrast to Hegel who bases everything foundationally upon the empirical world, Cassirer commences “one step lower,” in order “to begin with myth.” From a Bohmian perspective, however, one could say that the symbol is associated acausally with the atemporally “subsequent” consciousness which is created in the process involved in the observation of the symbol. We must always bear in mind that myth generates the symbol acausally, so that myth is in every case more fundamental than symbol. Whereas for Hegel the parts of the whole cancel out each other by a transcendence of dialectical opposites which are coordinated solely with an absolute point of reference, for Cassirer on account of the opposed symbolsrelativity which arises from their “particular content,” they are not all resolved in a higher synthesis of an absolute whole which admittedly connects them to their “universal meaning,” so that “[o]ppositions are explained in terms of themselves, not through their relation to the Absolute.”

In the final analysis, Cassirer’s concept of Geist and Leben, spirit and life, parallels his geistig and sinnlich dyad. As Verene comments: He sees spirit (Geist) and life (Leben) as dialectically related, such that these principles of reality are in dynamic tension with each other: life continually transforming itself into spirit and spirit constantly renewing itself in the immediacy of life. The relationship of spirit and life parallels that of the functional bond that is inherent in the symbol—the universal meanings achieved by spirit are attained by its mediations of life. Life is the immediate particularity that spirit requires. From the nature of the symbolic form itself Cassirer generates a metaphysics of the reality that underlies the human. Verene further explains that for Cassirer, symbols have the power to create ideals, and “[t]he ideal frees human beings from the immediacy of their existence and allows life to take on moral direction.” Of Reifications, Nouns, and Verbs

David Bohm’s analysis of Jean Piaget’s work leads to a fundamental insight, namely, that in large part the act of naming, that is, of assigning nouns to various experiences, creates the artificial notion of perduring invariant substances behind or within that which is experienced, and these even include abstract notions such as space and time. Bohm summarizes the most salient aspects of Piaget’s research in this regard:

On the basis of long and careful observations of children of all ages from birth up to 10 or more years, he was actually able to see the development of our customary ideas of space, time, the permanent objects, the permanent substance with the conserved total quantity, etc., and thus to trace the process in which such notions are built up until they seem natural and inevitable. The very young infant does not behave as if he had the adult’s concept of a world separate from himself, containing various more or less permanent objects in it. Rather, Piaget gives good evidence suggesting that the infant begins by experiencing an almost undifferentiated totality. That is to say he has not yet learned to distinguish between what arises inside of him and outside of him, nor to distinguish between the various aspects of either the “outer” or the “inner” worlds. Instead there is experienced only one world, in a state of continual flux of sensations, perceptions, feelings, etc., with nothing recognizable as permanent in it. In this connection we must recall that the infant still sees no clear and permanent demarcation between himself and the world, or between the various objects in it. However, he is building up the reflexes and operations needed to conceive this demarcation later. Thus, he is beginning to develop the notion of causality, and the distinction of cause and effect.

Meanwhile, the notions of space and time are being built up. Thus as the child handles objects and moves his body he learns to coordinate his changing visual experiences with the tactile perceptions and bodily movements. Piaget then goes on to describe how with the development of language and logical thinking the child goes on to make still higher level abstractions, in which there are formed structures of words, ideas, concepts, etc., which express the invariant features of the world that he abstractly considers in his perceptions.


However, although such naming and abstracting practices are necessary in order to function at higher levels in the world, nevertheless, the notions thus built up concerning space, time, invariant substances and the like, remain but useful functional tools, but are not to be taken in an overly literal way. As I have written elsewhere:

Bohm emphasizes that dividing the world, or “all that is,” into separate categories or different aspects, should not imply that these are actually separate substances but rather convenient ways of describing various underlying and varying modes of being, which in a cognitive dimension manifest themselves as emergence and revelation: “Division is thus seen to be a convenient means of giving a more articulated and detailed description to this whole, rather than a fragmentation of ‘what is.’”

Each atomic particle is not an individually existent substance, rather it is “a product that has been formed in the whole flowing movement and that will ultimately dissolve back into this movement. How it forms and maintains itself, then, depends on its place and function in the whole.” The atomic units can be likened to vortices in a body of water. They are not separate substances, but rather they form a unitive, act-ive dimensional movement non-separable from the single body of water.

One could also invoke Bohm’s aquarium example. Two cameras, a and b, are pointed at a single fish in an aquarium behind a wall, but we can see only the two distinct, yet related images on two screens before us. We therefore think there are two fish and two aquariums. Now the two images are not two separately existent substances, but rather projections of an unseen and unseeable third factor, the aquarium. To think that two particles are two separately existent substances would be as foolhardy as to mistake the two camera images for the higher-dimensional reality itself. Based on this, Bohm concludes: “[W]e may regard each of the ‘particles’ constituting a system as a projection of a ‘higher-dimensional’ reality, rather than as a separate particle, existing together with all the others in a common three-dimensional space.” Or consider the following insight: “[M]ovement is basically such a creative inception of new content as projected from the multidimensional ground.”


Binary Logic and the Mind as Reduction Valve


Computers are binary and bivalent in their logic, which is either 0 or 1, on or off, true or false. Existence, however, is not bivalent, pace the claim of Anton Zeilinger, who writes as follows: “If only a few statements stand at our disposal, these can be only ‘one statement,’ ‘two statements,’ ‘three statements,’ etc., but never ‘1.7 statements.’ We would never know what it means to make 1.7 statements about something.” This is like arguing that existence is bivalent in logic because a question that has only one answer must receive only one answer, namely, the one that is true and not false, and that that answer must be one, since it cannot be 1.7. This overlooks the possibility that an answer can be 1.7% complete, and that even correct answers can be correct to various percentages and degrees. Some answers are more approximate and complete than others. Existence is not always bivalent. With regard to Zeilinger’s persistent and consistent binary approach to information bits and logic statements, after Mandelbrot it is problematic to view dimensionality as strictly “smooth” in all cases, since it has been established that “rough” interdimensionality can characterize both the micro and macro domains.33 Pace Zeilinger, existence is not strictly binary, at least not on every level and in every case. The extended passage below from Romanian quantum physicist Basarab Nicolescu may prove quite helpful in regard to this issue: The incompleteness of the general laws governing a given level of Reality signifies that, at a given moment of time, one necessarily discovers contradictions in the theory describing the respective level: one has to assert A and non-A at the same time. This Gödelian feature of the transdisciplinary model of Reality is verified by all the history of science: a theory leads to contradictions and one has to invent a new theory solving these contradictions. It is precisely the way in which we went from classical physics to quantum physics. However, our habits of mind, scientific or not, are still governed by the classical logic, which does not tolerate contradictions. The classical logic is founded on three axioms:

1. The axiom of identity: A is A.

2. The axiom of non-contradiction: A is not non-A.

3. The axiom of the excluded middle: There exists no third term T (“T” from “third”) which is at the same time A and non-A. Knowledge of the coexistence of the quantum world and the macrophysical world and the development of quantum physics have led, on the level of theory and scientific experiment, to pairs of mutually exclusive contradictories (A and non-A): wave and corpuscle, continuity and discontinuity, separability and non-separability, local causality and global causality, symmetry and breaking of symmetry, reversibility and irreversibility of time, and so forth. The intellectual scandal provoked by quantum mechanics precisely consists in the fact that the pairs of contradictories that it generates are actually mutually exclusive when they are analysed through the interpretive filter of classical logic. However, the solution is relatively simple: one has to abandon the third axiom of the classical logic, imposing the exclusion of the third, the included middle T.

History will credit Stéphane Lupasco (1900-1988) with having shown that the logic of the included middle is a true logic, mathematically formalized, multivalent (with three values: A, non-A, and T) and non-contradictory. In fact, the logic of the included middle is the very heart of quantum mechanics: it allows us to understand the basic principle of the superposition of “yes” and “no” quantum states. It might indeed prove fruitful for future research to explore the many implications of third-term logic and rough fractal interdimensionality for Zeilinger’s strictly binary model, which reflects currently prevailing standard Information Science postures. Besides Mandelbrot and Nicolescu, the works of Gregory J. Chaitan may be of service as well in this context.

Bernardo Kastrup reminds us in a lecture that realism holds that a true answer is the one which corresponds to the state of affairs in the “world” out there, independent of the subjective mind. Many scientists, Kastrup further observes, forget that mathematics is an analogical language, not a direct description of the physical world. In other words, mathematics can describe the world only analogically and indirectly. Even more scientists fail to recognize that mathematics is a creation of the human mind, not a discovery of the way things really are by necessity, a point made by Dutch logician Luitzen Brouwer (1881-1966). Kastrup supplies the example of 2 x -1 = -2, and likens this to a person’s financial debt. This person now goes into deeper debt: -2 x -1, which, however, = 2, which requires that a person is now out of debt, but this clearly contradicts the way things are in the world. As Kastrup explains, to an extent humans have decided what will be true and false in mathematics, and we see the world through the prism of those decisions, and from prehistoric times this prism has become “hardwired” in the brain. Kastrup is a proponent of idealism (somewhat modified) as opposed to realism. I, by contrast, would argue that both idealism and realism must be transcended. The world is neither only within nor outside the mind, for the very distinction between the mind and the world turns out to be an artifice.

In a different lecture Kastrup points out that the greatest scientific insights and artistic innovations often arise not when the brain is stimulated and increases its activity or state of awareness, but when at least a certain portion of brain activity is dampened. In this context, Kastrup refers to Henri Bergson’s notion of the brain as a reduction valve. (I should interject before continuing that consciousness or mind is not a thing, but a capacity, as Tim Crane phrases it in his general theory of cognition). Consciousness developed for practical purposes such as hunting and the like; awareness of the larger picture of existence was unnecessary.

Consciousness is a higher function that arises out of a lower system (the socalled unconscious or sub-consciousness), so that consciousness may be viewed not so much as a subset of a metasystem, but as a metaset of a subsystem (although both phraseologies are helpful in diverse contexts). Consciousness functions to prohibit the metaset from descending to the subsystem and being overwhelmed. The brain is an anti-catalytic device, or an anti-catalytic system (from Greek kata, “descent,” “downward”). It is therefore not by intensifying concentration that insight is increased, but rather by what Kastrup calls “declenching” or relaxing the mind that this is achieved. It is in the kingdom of dreams, in altered states of consciousness, in the world of visions, in which everything seems to be beyond the normal limitations of spacetime, language, and individual selfhood, that grants access to (or even constitutes) the fuller state of the world or existence. The world in which time becomes clearly and neatly separable into past, present, and future is an artificial construct of higher or intensified consciousness. The fuller and more profound truth is recognized only by a lowered, not a heightened, state of consciousness. There is a lot of evidence that the real world, the fuller world, is more like a dream state, a vision, or a work of art than a domain ruled always and everywhere by bivalent logic. Bivalent logic is certainly useful and necessary in the everyday world, but the latter constitutes only a small part of the fullness of existence. The latter is characterized by non-bivalent (even anti-bivalent), dreamlike phenomena such as non-locality, bilocality, and superposition.

Language helps keep the valve turned off sufficiently to protect the mind from being inundated by the fullness of existence. Only useful and necessary knowledge is let through. Language and consciousness help us keep the brain from being overwhelmed. The sense of separate ego or selfhood is a part of the misleading, restrictive world. At death, as in altered states, the separate ego is transcended and dissolved. It is an illusion created by the exclusion of the whole picture of full reality. Yet the illusion endures eternally in what phyicists call the frozen block world, indicating that in the illusion is an aspect of reality, yet a reality that can never exist apart from illusion.

Regarding the question of idealism versus realism, if we react to this antagonism by suggesting that the world exists because mind exists, and the mind exists because the world exists, then this fails to account for the fact that the mind cannot be separate from the world, since the world is all that exists, and so necessarily would include the mind. Therefore to speak of the mind as interior in contrast to the world as exterior is fundamentally an error. The relationship between mind and world is comparable to that between finitude and infinitude. Finitude and infinitude are united via potentiality, but potentiality never exists apart from actuality, and vice versa. Finity is thus included in infinity; if we iterate finitude by means of potentiality, we will arrive at infinity. Actuality is a limit, a finitude, whereas potentiality is correlate with the irreal as the infinite.

Cognate with the question of idealism is the notion of panpsychism. If one argues that panpsychism overcomes the need to explain how non-conscious matter could attain to consciousness, one could counter this with the observation that the connection between these two is an intermediate metaxu state that relates the two without actually linking them. As I will quote from Deleuze and Guattari later in this chapter: “A becoming is neither one nor two, nor the relation of the two; it is the in-between, the border or line of flight or descent running perpendicular to both.” Thus consciousness does not involve two phenomena (mind and world) linked by a third term (metaxu), for metaxu does not link the two terms, but is in between them in a perpendicular position. From Homer’s Pre-Consciousness to German Romanticism’s Question on the Priority of Being or Thought Earlier I explained that not only are space, time and substance linguistic/cognitive-based reifications that are not to be taken literally. This same principle, however, applies to separateness and multiplicity as well, especially in the domain of what is experienced as the self and the other. Based upon the work of J. M. Baldwin, Owen Barfield observes concerning the binaries of self-other and inner-outer that there is “at first an ‘individual’ only in the bodily sense, the child draws, as it were, its subjectivity out of perception and thought. . . . Gradually, through, and out of, a simple distinction of inner from outer, there arises the dualism, self and not-self. . . .” Barfield further quotes Baldwin on the topic of consciousness and meaning: “We cannot say that the derivation of meanings follows from the distinctions of inner and outer, or self and not-self. On the contrary, these latter are themselves meanings.” Barfield continues insightfully by reminding us of the relatively recent historical origins of much that we consider essential to consciousness: “[T]he distinction of objective from subjective is a relatively late arrival in human consciousness.” Human sentience “did not rise to the level of philosophic consciousness until the time of the Stoic sect. . . . This is why, in order to form a conception of the consciousness of primitive man, we have really . . . as it were to ‘unthink,’ not merely our now half-instinctive logical processes, but even the seemingly fundamental distinction between self and the world.” This raises the possibility that sentient beings capable of religious thought, culture, and technology, may not necessarily have to possess consciousness as defined by the general assumptions of modern psychology. By analogy, there could be a form of sentience that would not perforce possess what we usually consider consciousness, but could involve a state more fundamental than sentience itself and even be generative of consciousness. To return to Barfield’s work, various current notions of consciousness are unveiled as problematic, for in contrast to common opinion, “the distinction of self and not-self . . . actually disappears every time we think.”41 This is so because “[i]n the moment of knowing . . . the knower ceases to exist as subject at all, and, conversely, when he comes fully to himself, as subject, he ceases to know. Imaginations are generated in his consciousness as he passes from the former state to the latter.” Furthermore, “The . . . ‘subjective-objective’ dichotomy vanishes in the light of concrete thinking; and the word concrete can perhaps best be defined as ‘that which is neither objective nor subjective.’” Even if Barfield’s wording here seems somewhat inaccurate, the underlying thought nevertheless arguably tends in the correct direction.

While it is accurate to say that thinking transcends the subject-object dichotomy, nevertheless, thinking generates the notions of subject and object. Therefore we cannot escape the conclusion that thought, or consciousness, is inseparable from duality and division. By contrast, it is pre-consciousness or pre-thought that enables the transcendence, through unification, of the subject-object polarity, but in a way that preserves what we might call their Derridean conflictual tension, as I will more fully explore later in this study.

We can perhaps correlate consciousness and pre-consciousness in these contexts with ancient Greek philosophy’s themes of Thought and Being. According to Barfield, however, the ancient Greeks had confused the one with the other. But surely one of the vital reasons for confusing Thought and Being is Plotinus’ profound insight that to know is to be, which more or less views the set as merely two modes of a single actuality. There is admittedly a potential logical error involved in an unqualified equation of thinking = being, but we can avoid this by observing, as I shall delineate later, that notions of both consciousness and existence involve to a certain degree artificial reifications. Barfield offers the following penetrating analysis of the ancient mythic worldview and its cognitive structures and functionalities pertaining to poetry and the mythic: “Mythology is the ghost of concrete meaning. Connections between discrete phenomena, connections which are now apprehended as metaphor, were once perceived as immediate realities. As such the poet strives, by his own efforts, to see them, and to make others see them, again.” The same author continues by explaining that originally thought was characterized by unity, and only later branched out into discursive-separative operations, so that what moderns consider consciousness is actually based on a fragmentation and reification of nature dominated by spacetime categories: “[T]hese poetic and apparently ‘metaphorical’ values were latent in meaning from the beginning. . . . Afterwards, in the development of language and thought, these single meanings split up into contrasted pairs. . . . And the poesy felt by us to reside in ancient language consists . . . in this, that, out of later, analytic, ‘subjectiveconsciousness which has been brought about along with . . . this splitting of meaning, we are led back to experience the original unity.”

Through poetry and imagination one can recapture, to varying degrees, the principial unity between ideas and the phenomena of nature experienced by means of ancient worldviews. This unity implies a natural correspondence between external objects and ideas: “Men do not invent those mysterious relations between separate external objects, and between objects and feelings or ideas, which it is the function of poetry to reveal. . . . The speaker has observed a unity, and is not therefore himself conscious of relation. But we, in the development of consciousness, have lost the power to see this one as one. . . . [T]hough [relationships] were never yet apprehended, they were at one time seen. And imagination can see them again.” This passage clearly suggests that the term “consciousness,” especially according to the term’s modern valences, more or less denotes or coincides with the phenomenon of discursive thought. “Primitive” consciousness was constituted of a more (but of course not entirely) direct awareness of the world; by contrast, modern consciousness is largely forced to deduce reality:

In the . . . development of consciousness . . . we can trace the operation of two opposing principles. . . . Firstly, there is the force by which . . . single meanings tend to split up into a number of separate . . . concepts. . . . The second principle is . . . the principle of living unity. Considered subjectively, it observes the resemblances between things, whereas the first principle marks the differences, is interested in knowing what things are, whereas the first discerns what they are not. [L]ater . . . we find it operative in individual poets, enabling them (to poiein) to intuit relationships which they must now express as metaphor. Reality, once self-evident, and therefore not conceptually experienced, but which can now only be reached by an effort of the individual mind—this is what is contained in a true poetic metaphor. . . . As a consequence, in ancient cultural worlds language was not composed of metaphor but of a living and lived experience: “Not an emptyroot meaning to shine,’ but the same definite spiritual reality which was beheld on the one hand in what has since become pure human thinking; and on the other hand, in what has since become physical light; not an abstract conception, but the echoing footsteps of the goddess Natura—not a metaphor but a living Figure.”

Barfield writes that flexional language is early: hab-u-erunt; isolating or root language is later: “they have had”: “‘The evolution of language’—so Professor Jespersen sums it up—‘shows a progressive tendency from inseparable irregular conglomerations to freely and regularly combinable short elements.’” Barfield refers in this context to “old, concrete, undivided meaning.”51 This element of meaning was so undivided that the subject-object dichotomy was actually absent in ancient consciousness: “It may . . . be objected at this point that the progress of language, etc., only indicates a growing consciousness of the subjective-objective dualism, which was always there in reality, though men did not know it. Such an objection, however, would be meaningless; for the words, subjective-objective, have no reference except to consciousness.” Barfield discusses the Greek word pneuma and points out that it is not the case that an original “wind” or “breath” was later abstracted to mean “spirit” or “life principle”: “We must . . . imagine a time when ‘spiritus’ or pneuma, or older words from which these had descended, meant neither breath, nor wind, nor spirit, nor yet all three of these things, but when they simply had their own peculiar meaning, which has since, in the course of the evolution of consciousness, crystallized into the three meanings specified. . . .” Such reflections do not stand in the way of holding that abstract concepts may have been inspired by experiencing concrete situations, movements, and individual actions. For instance, with regard to what we consider concrete “breath” and abstract “spirit,” at the earliest stages of thought, both of these were experienced as concrete phenomena. The same principle applies to what we presently would characterize as concrete “womb” (cf. Arabic concrete noun raḥm) and abstract “mercy” (cf. Arabic abstract noun raḥma, derived etymologically from raḥm). For primordial humanity, both of these would have been experienced as what we today would describe as quite concrete, and different words eventually would have been assigned to the two categories not because they were perceived as two separate substances, but because the words would have denoted two different semiotic movements in a single experiential river, so to speak. In short, in the earliest epochs of human cognition the contrast concrete-abstract did not exist. The contrast archetype-manifestation involves a similar artificial distinction that does not apply on a primordial level.

Barfield deals the deathblow to Max Müller’s theory of language roots and metaphor, explaining that poetry is of later, not earlier, appearance in human cultures: “Both ‘root’ and ‘metaphorhypothesis fall to the ground together. Müller’s so-called radical metaphor, instead of being primitive, is seen to be one of the latest achievements of conscious linguistic development. . . . ‘Roots,’ far from being the germ of speech, are the product of ages of intellectual abstraction. . . .” However, this insight does not contradict the radical metaphoricity of language as such, as long as by “metaphor” we mean in this particular context the impossibility of a verbal signifier being literally identified exhaustively with the object to which it refers. This is not to set up signifier and signified as polar opposites, for such is not possible in view of the tertiary term which enables a transcendence of the signifier-signified contrast, and this tertiary term consists of the continuity that exists between the two terms of the binary in question. However, this continuity is simultaneously discontinuous, on account of a sort of metaxu “in-between” state. With regard to unitary, undivided meaning, we can compare this to literary pieces viewed as wholes. I have elsewhere written on this phenomenon in the following terms:

Texts are like people; they may be composed of various layers of experience, but they all form a unity in the present existence of the person. To divide the person into earlier and later layers would be artificial and ludicrous, ignoring the fundamental unity built out of diverse modes of being in and with the world (Dasein and Mitsein). But this is just the sort of fragmented and fragmenting method with which we approach texts. We forget that texts exist as unities. Even when we encounter textual differences between manuscripts, say the Codex Regius and the AM 748 4 version of the Edda, still, each manuscript in its own right is a unity fitting into the greater whole of the flow of ideas. To attempt to determine which text is “earlier” and “original” already reveals unconscious modern hidden “scholarly” agendas. In ancient cultures, one could care less about “originality” in the current prevailing sense; this originated in Europe only in the Romantic era. The concept of the “pristine” original also makes no sense in an ancient setting of poetry or song. Poetry and song were to be forever changing. The role of creativity worked hand in hand with a reworking of a retained tradition. One sought a creative reworking of the tradition, such as Virgil’s Aeneid, the first part of which is based on Homer’s Odyssey, the second part on Homer’s Iliad. One was not obsessed with finding the original story, but with reworking a previous, but ever-developing narrative trajectory.

In short, various textual layers in the Edda and in texts in general are today viewed as separate substances or entities rather than as movements forming an overall unity. The claim that an ancient text is so “chaotic,” containing so many different and conflicting trajectories or styles of thought and expression, that it therefore must surely be the product of more than one editor or redactor, or author, often results from a hubris which assumes that all ancient cultures thought in modern western cognitive modes. That so many ancient texts seem to contain contradictory elements should alert us to the possibility that the ancients often viewed the world in radically different modes of perception than we do today.

To return to Barfield, his contention that modern consciousness can in some essential respects be traced back only to the Stoic period receives support from the work of Bruno Snell, who demonstrates that even an author as relatively recent as Homer was unaware of the concept of a human mind or even of individuality: “Of course there was ‘something’ which occupied the place later conceded to the intellect, or the soul; but to ascribe the latter to the Greeks without qualification would make us guilty of confusion and lack of precision. For the existence of the intellect and the soul are dependent upon man’s awareness of himself.” Snell’s observation that Homer’s heroes are not individuals in the modern sense reminds one of Harold Bloom’s thesis that such individuality or individual personality is a quite recent phenomenon, originating only with Shakespeare. Snell demonstrates that Homer did not even possess a concept of the human body, let alone of the soul in the later Greco-Roman senses. Language and modern consciousness begin to coincide at one level, as Snell implies in the following terms: This objective truth, it must be admitted, does not exist for man until it is seen and known and designated by a word; until, thereby, it has become an object of thought. Of course the Homeric man had a body exactly like the later Greeks, but he did not know it qua body, but merely as the sum total of his limbs. This is another way of saying that the Homeric Greeks did not yet have a body in the modern sense of the word; body, sōma, is a later interpretation of what was originally comprehended as melē or guia, i.e. as limbs. Snell explains concerning the concrete-abstract contrast that it did not really characterize ancient thought: “Actually this distinction is for our purposes open to question, and not nearly so fruitful as the difference between organ and function.” Similarly, “what we interpret as the soul, Homeric man splits up into three components each of which he defines by the analogy of physical organs.” Furthermore, “The word denoting the eschatological soul was put to a new use, to designate the soul as a whole, and the word for corpse came to be employed for the living body.” Snell reminds us that “the distinction between body and soul represents a ‘discovery’ which so impressed people’s minds that it was thereafter accepted as self-evident,” but this discovery occurred long after Homer’s time.

Before the soul and its qualitative emotions, there was quantity: “Quantity, not intensity, is Homer’s standard of judgment. . . . Never does Homer, in his descriptions of ideas or emotions, go beyond a purely spatial or quantitative definition; never does he attempt to sound their special, non-physical nature.”65 Snell cites relevant Homeric examples such as “countless griefs” and “much suffering.” Again, as in the relationship between the Semitic words (Arabic as well as Hebrew) for concrete “womb” and abstract “mercy,” the abstraction is derived from the embodied, physical entity, and not vice versa. Jumping from the Homeric age to the Romantic era, commenting on German Romanticist views concerning a constitutive incompleteness inhering in existence and in knowledge, Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert explains: “Inherent incompleteness of poetry holds also for the romantic view of philosophy and of knowledge itself.” For this circle of thinkers, there are no first principles in philosophy, for truth must be discovered, not deduced: “According to Friedrich Schlegel, the leading thinker of early German Romanticism, philosophy does not begin from a first principle. In Athenäum Fragment 84, he claims that, ‘philosophy, like epic poetry, always begins in media res.’” Millán- Zaibert explains the centrality of this position for Romanticism: “While the early German Romantics do not abandon reason as the ultimate touchstone of knowledge, they do abandon the idea that philosophy begins with any first principle whatsoever. Once we understand this aspect of early German Romanticism, we can begin to understand the concerns that underlie Schlegel’s interest in mediality.” Indeed, from one perspective, first principles will always be sought, but never attained; to avoid this pitfall, one must base exploration on previous research: “Of course, if there is no such principle, it will only be searched for and never found. Schlegel’s position is that we never begin with the certain knowledge that there is such a principle; instead we must begin with what we have—a history of what has been thought by other philosophers before. According to Schlegel, an introduction to

philosophy can only be a critique of all earlier philosophy.” Manfred Frank quotes Schlegel directly on this subject: “To abstract entirely from all previous systems and throw all of this away as Descartes attempted to do is absolutely impossible. Such an entirely new creation from one’s own mind, a complete forgetting of all which has been thought before, was also attempted by Fichte and he too failed in this.” Millán-Zaibert then continues her incisive comments: ‘For Schlegel and the early German Romantic philosophers in general, philosophy is more than a deductive science and cannot be evaluated solely on the basis of the rules of logic (even if it cannot violate these laws). Knowledge of what came before is necessary. . . . Philosophy is historical . . ., because it concerns the analysis and investigation of ideas, opinions, and thoughts. . . .’ To situate these philosophical observations into their larger historical contexts, Millán-Zaibert explains: “Hence, the Frühromantiker can best be characterized as sceptics vis-à-vis the possibility of securing a foundation for our knowledge claims. That which is characteristically ‘romantic’ is a kind of scepticism regarding the efforts of Reinhold and Fichte to secure a first principle for philosophy.” In general, the German Romantics “reveal the priority of Being over consciousness,” although there were divergences of opinion on the subject, for Schelling held that “consciousness determined Being,” whereas for Hölderlin, “Being determines consciousness.” Millán-Zaibert writes of “overcoming the philosophy of reflection” through the aesthetic, and then expostulates, quoting Frank, on the question of Being over consciousness: “Idealism consists of the Hegelian postulate ‘that consciousness is a self-sufficient phenomenon, one which is still able to make the presuppositions of its existence comprehensible by its own means.’ In contrast, the early German Romantics are convinced that ‘self-being owes its existence to a transcendent foundation,’ which cannot be dissolved by consciousness.”76 Art, or the aesthetic in general, enables us to grasp Being and the Absolute, and propels us limitlessly onwards.77 Indeed, “the Absolute . . . in its very limitlessness propels us beyond our finite limits.” I would hasten to add, though, that it is precisely because of the limitless’ origins in limitation that the Absolute can lead us beyond finitiude, so that even in infinitude we remain rooted in the limited.

Regarding the impossibility of first principles and reciprocal proof, Millán- Zaibert writes: “This notion of an alternating or reciprocal proof structure was Schlegel’s alternative to Fichte’s philosophy based on first principles. . . . Schlegel’s turn toward the Wechselerweis is the result of his scepticism regarding the feasibility of a philosophy based on first principles and his conviction that the form and content of philosophy are inexhaustible (unerschöpflich).” For the German Romantics, symbolism helps one attain the Absolute being, but by a continuing search, not by a possession or attainment of a goal. As for symbolism and poetry, there is never a final word. Regarding “Schlegel’s claim that, ‘[w]here philosophy ends, poetry must begin,’” Millán-Zaibert explains that “[we] are in a position to understand this claim not as a giddy, silly call to escape the demands of philosophy with the make-believe world of art, but as the expression of a serious reflection upon the nature of knowledge and of the limitations of our ability to ever reach a final word.” In order to correlate these observations on Being and epistemology from the German Romantics to broader concerns, one might observe that the incompleteness of knowledge discussed above could conceivably relate to a possible inability to understand the contingent order fully, and this inability might reflect an incompleteness in the cosmos itself. Regarding Being and consciousness as discussed by the German Romantics, the proposition that Being determines consciousness (as well as the priority of reality over deduction) can be correlated with my suggestion that pre-consciousness generates and determines consciousness. The Romantics would therefore confirm that there is something more fundamental and fascinating than consciousness, namely the pre- and non-dimensional “field” from which the unitary energy or ‘field’ one might call “consciousness-matter” arises.

If Being has priority over consciousness (which would not necessarily exclude a certain modulation of idealism), and reality over deduction, then by the very nature of reality the search for knowledge would be infinite and unending, much like our experience with trying to arrive at an understanding of the cosmos—so far the phenomenon of cosmic manifestation has proved resistant to a clear and definitive explanation. Additionally, according to the German Romantics, aesthetic experience leads to knowledge of Being, and this suggests a continuity between being, consciousness, and love, in the sense of Plato’s cosmic erōs. This may be correlated with the German Romantic notions concerning the search for Being as more fundamental than consciousness. If the unknowability of manifestation pertains to preconsciousness, then the “meaning” or significance of existence would indeed be related to unknowability, for in pre-consciousness might lie the ability to generate all consciousness, meaning, and signification. It is important to emphasize that many of the German Romantics’ central propositions are concordant with current rigorous science, which is not to say the Romantics anticipated modern science in a scientific mode. For example, the priority of discovery over deduction is accentuated in the following passages from Robert B. Laughlin: “[T]he distinction between fundamental laws and the laws descending from them is a myth, as is the idea of mastery of the universe through mathematics alone. Physical law cannot generally be anticipated by pure thought, but must be discovered experimentally, because control of nature is achieved only when nature allows this through a principle of organization.” Consider this clarification: “mathematics grows out of experimental observation, not the other way around,” or the following: “The important laws . . . are . . . discoveries rather than deductions.” Laughlin gives the concrete example that “relativity was a discovery and not an invention.” The same author reminds us further: “Ordinary water ice displays . . . eleven crystalline phases, not one of which was correctly predicted from first principles.”85 Lastly, “The phases of matter have not all been discovered, and they certainly cannot be deduced from first principles.”

With regard to our inability to understand what lies behind the cosmic system on a phenomenal level, the following comments by Laughlin may be pertinent: “Thus the tendency of nature to form a hierarchical society of physical laws is much more than an academic debating point. It is why the world is knowable. It renders the most fundamental laws, whatever they are, irrelevant and protects us from being tyrannized by them. It is the reason we can live without understanding the ultimate secrets of the universe.” Similarly, Laughlin refers to “the especially reliable things that nature sees fit to reveal to us as beacons to navigate through an otherwise uncertain world,” and observes that “nature itself provides protection through laws insensitive to destabilizing outside influences.” “Physical versions” of “protection” are moreover “spontaneous self-organizational phenomena involving no intelligence other than the principle of organization itself.” That a control system could lead to a mistaken belief that one has discovered the true identity of nature might be illustrated by the next citation: “While stable protection prevents us from determining underlying microscopic rules, unstable protection tricks us into thinking we have found them when we actually have not.” Could we apply this to those who have prematurely concluded, based on insufficient and problematically conflicting evidence, that science has now attained to an essentially complete knowledge of cosmic manifestation at the most fundamental level? By contrast, Laughlin raises the possibility that “the unknowability of living things may actually be a physical phenomenon. . . . Unknowability is something we see all the time in the inanimate world, and it is actually not mysterious at all. Other, more primitive, systems exhibiting it have evaded computer solution up until now, and some of us are confident that they always will.” We are again impressed by the practicality and profundity of German Romantic philosophy when compared to the implications of current rigorous physics.

The universe is arguably generated by some mode of duality rather than by pure unity, since perfect unitary equilibrium would never give rise to creation, for one component must predominate over its opposite in order to lead to further growth. Dualistic, not unitary, illusion is of the very fabric of cosmic existence. The real question is not the priority of being or consciousness, but the question of the priority of protoconsciousness over consciousness. However, both being and consciousness involve dualism, illusion, and dichotomy, and both represent human-based reifications. The Real and the Illusory: Time, Being, and Physics

A hypostasis must manifest itself in a form in order to be apprehended and known; that “form” of manifestation is the “face,” the prosōpon, originally denoting the ancient Greek theatre mask. But not only is the prosōpon a deceptive mask, so is the hypostasis which the face veils, and in turn, the underlying ousia of the hypostasis is a cognitive fiction created by perception, a useful illusion, like a film’s still frames in movement. The movement is in the still frame, not in the phenomena underlying and captured within and by the still frames. Ousia is the movement, which = becoming, which = being. All of this = temporality. The act of perception constitutes, not causes, temporality, and related phenomena. Consciousness first attributes distinct still frames, that is, spatial sequencing, to the block world, and then attributes motion to the spatial sequence, which is then experienced as temporality. Becoming thus “is always in the middle; one can only get it by the middle. A becoming is neither one nor two, nor the relation of the two; it is the in-between, the border or line of flight or descent running perpendicular to both.” If we view existence as a Bohmian holograph, then we can say that consciousness increases dimensionality, so that dimensionality is cognitive. The dimensionality of the cosmos is in this way exposed as a cognitive reification, a misleading holographic multiplication. In the single (the block world lacking spacetime) is the source of the multiple, the illusion that is consciousness, space and time. The root of this multiple in this single is concentrated in the form of data, logoi, that form emergent constellation patterns which give rise to matter-consciousness, which in turn via language all lead to dimensionality. To get to the “real” (with all the qualifications such parlance demands) we must decrease, not increase dimensions, contrary to both Relativity and String Theory.

According to Plotinus, “we have constructed (eirgasmetha) time as an image of eternity” (III 7.11, M. N. Bouillet enumeration), that is, humans construct time: μῆκός τι τῆς πορείας ποιησάμενοι αἰῶνος εἰκόνα τὸν χρόνον εἰργάσμεθα. Consciousness is like a glass, like a magnifying glass that magnifies, or better like a mirror that reflects and multiplies. The universe is like a hall of mirrors, a real illusory, an illusory real. Just as consciousness luminously increases the appearance of spatial dimensionality, so it intensifies or liquefies the propensity for temporality inherent within the eternity of the frozen block world. In this way we avoid a dualism of eternity versus temporality. As Plotinus explains, time is an image of eternity. We can compare the block world to a text; one reads the cosmic text directly (this involves the sensory reception of data stream of logoi), but the appearance of movement and dimensionality created thereby does not reflect the text directly.

The block world may be likened not only to a book, but to a movie encoded on a DVD. The universe is a meta- or paratext like a printed book, but when consciousness scans the text, it turns the letters into moving images with dimensionality. The dimensionality, both spatial and temporal, exists within, and is created by, consciousness; dimensionality does not exist in the world as it is in itself apart from consciousness. Decreasing the number of cognitive mirrors, or recursion, allows us to collapse the Cartesian dualism between res cogitans and res extensa, that is, between conscious perception (consciousness is perception, always simultaneously both passive reception and active construction of the passively received data-logoi stream) and the perceived world, between the perceiver—the subject (the thinker/the knower) and the perceived—the object (the thought/what is known), for the perceived world is always the animated, dimensionalized hall of mirrors, not the world apart from perception. But does this not then leave a dualism between the perceiver and the perceptual world on the one hand and the unobserved block world? To a certain extent, or in a certain sense, yes, since dualism is also of the essence of existence. However, insofar as the perceptual temporal world is an image (a mirror image) of the unperceived eternal block world, we can still overcome a modified Cartesian dualism of consciousness and the perceived world as a single entity on the one hand and the block world on the other. We can apply these two to Bohm’s analogy of the river and the vortex and explain that the block world is the river and the perceived world which exists within, or according to, consciousness is the vortex; the temporal world is a movement within the greater unmoving frozen river which is the block world. The movement is consciousness’ active construction of the frozen text of the logoi, the generation of a moving film based on the unmoving text of a book.

Remember that a film still consists of a spatial sequence of frozen still frames. It is movement which bestows and creates the sense of temporality for the film. Movement is temporality, but the movement does not exist in the still frames, which remain frozen in themselves; their depicted contents move only according to perception. According to this analogy we can discern the correctness of the majority view of physics as a whole throughout the ages that space is relational rather than absolute, the latter being a minority view revived only as recently as Newton, as Rovelli documents (see chapter 2). Bohm’s river and vortex analogy suggests that eternity and time are a single entity (or better, energy), but in two different modes, namely of reality and illusion, but because they are two modes of a single entity or energy, therefore reality and illusion would be inseparable. We can view reality only through the lens (again an illusory mirror lens) of illusion, which shows us how vitally necessary illusion is. There is no reality apart from illusion and no illusion apart from reality. Art constructs reality by manipulating available data streams, logoi. Art and storytelling are both forms of creation via logoi rearrangement, the rearrangement of reality blocks. Art and storytelling are world constructing activities. Plato errs when he thinks that there is a non-illusory archetypal reality behind “illusoryart, because Plato proposes a dualism of sharply distinguished reality and illusion. But there is no awaking out of illusion into a reality apart from illusion. Similarly, both wakeful and dream states are illusory, because both are modes of consciousness, and consciousness ultimately coincides with illusion, which itself is but a modality of temporality.

Although primordial mythic language did not explicitly split meaning pairs, it did sonically create and identify various undivided blocks of meaning, which later discursive thought further divided into additional words. (Their unity exists in the mode of Proclusindividuality, which is form-bestowing). Therefore even primordial language was “dualistic” in a broader but real sense. All language creates distinction and multiplicity, whereas altered states of consciousness tend to temporarily remove distinctions, first by restoring an undivided block of meaning and then by returning to an apophatic pre-lingual-like state. However, once one arrives at the pre-lingual-like state, one has transcended consciousness, and arrived at the pre-conscious. Consciousness is vital to understanding the world, but the more consciousness increases, the more it divides the universe into further distinctions (substances, reifications), the more it increases dimensionality and appearances, the more it takes us away from the world as it is in itself apart from perception (by which we do not mean to endorse the Cartesian split between the world and perception). As the mirror of consciousness increases, it merely multiplies a “distorted” view of reality, but this distortion is all we have, the distortion of mirrors. Irreality, or unreality, is the only mode of perception. One fish is viewed and believed to be two fish, then three, etc. This is the process of multiplying distinctions, substances, whereas in the block world there is only one “substance,” or better, energy, one Bohmian fish, and that is the block world itself. The block world is the tendency to communication, which allows self-generation of communicated information. The perceived world is information; the unobserved world is communicative, and at its “base” it is “beyond” (or “before”) any and all matter and any and all information.

The real-illusory = actuality-potentiality, but this involves an artificial distinction, for the potential is reified into actuality (substance/s), yet the reification is the only “reality,” since we have access to the underlying potentiality only in the mode of the illusory mirror of actuality. Actuality is the mirror image that in itself is not actual, but the image is the only thing that is. Perhaps the physical mirror is like the block world, and consciousness is like the image in the mirror. Data, information, must congeal in emergent fashion for there to be something to be reflected in the mirror. At that stage recursion and amplification and amplitude arise, and these appear and are interpreted as dimensionality. The mirror is the potential/ity for communication, a communicative silent matrix whose pre-ontological mirror “surface” functions as the “womb” for information (logoi) gathering, congealment, and emergence, a temporal freezing (formation) of data that reflects the eternal frozen state of the block world. The potentiality is the actual; the block world as empty mirror, the eternal potential for the arising of image, is the actual; what we perceive as the actual, the image, is in fact the illusory reified image, an image cognitively reified and dimensionalized into an independently existing substance or hypostasis. “Substances” are therefore like simulacra or simulations; the perceived world is digital, indirect, rather than analogue and direct. The world is a simulation of a holographic nature. The block world is like the flat screen of a computer; twodimensional flat images are created through code (logoi, language, consciousness), and consciousness amplifies and dimensionalizes the images. The reality is the underlying non-dimensional data code (logoi), not the illusory dimensionalized images. However, these logoi themselves emerge from a pre-matter and pre-information state.

The block world is the capacity for information sharing, and capacity is communicative, but pre-informational. The capacity, the potential is the real and the actual; the “actualized” is illusory dimensionalization. The seen, perceived “real” world is the illusion; the unseen world, the eternal block state, being pure potentialitycapacity, is the non-actualized actual, the unrealized real. To use Plotinusterminology, the block world’s capacity for communicativity is “the One” as “the power of the all” (III 8, 10.1), that is the power that makes possible the appearance of cosmic multiplicity. The block world as empty mirror surface is thus like a tabula rasa, a blank page upon which nothing is written, but a tablet or page that exists solely for the purpose of being written upon. The metaphor of an eternal, finished book therefore is not to be identified, strictly speaking, with the block world as such, for the latter is the receptacle within which the text arises through logoi formation/s. But the text “arises” in the mode of eternity, or more exactly in an intermediate, aveternal mode, a metaxu, an in-between the eternal and the temporal. Recursion or iteration, is an aspect of the aveternal, not of the eternal. There is an eternal image only analogically, not strictly, speaking. The aveternal image, the metaxu image, “in between,” is temporalized and dimensionalized through consciousness. Consciousness is temporal, but arises from eternity via the metaxu of aveternity. This is why perceived reality is always indeterminate, always “in between” inseparable potentiality and actuality, both actual and potential and therefore in a sense neither in any separable modality. Even what Islamic theology calls “the Real” (al-ḥaqq), wants to know itself and to be known, or to know itself by being known by others, and so the Real wills and desires illusion, namely, consciousness. In any event, only a being existing within the limits of spacetime can desire, since a desire can only be had at a certain place and at a certain time. The “real” is always an abstraction of consciousness; the “real” as eternal cannot will or desire, so that it is obvious that a willing “real” cannot be eternal, so that mystical ideas of a willing real that is eternal are obviously abstractions of human consciousness. The purported real (Thomas Aquinas’ ipsum esse, Islam’s al-ḥaqq, Plato’s epekeina tēs ousias, Republic 509b) is always potential for reality, a “virtual” reality. The potential is the “really real,” the “truly true.” The aveternal text is like the attribution of separate spatial sequences, of still frames in a film. The separation or cutting of still frames is like a multiplication of mirrored light, or like a shattering of a mirror into multiple pieces. It is this separation that may be the emergent logoi. The information that forms is the content/s of the perceived world, it is the world. Reality is information, information is reality, yet reality is an appearance, an image. Aveternity is the counterpart of eternity, temporality is the counterpart of aveternity. The pen that writes on the tablet is the precursor to, the model for, consciousness. The eternal has no consciousness, which is the same as saying that in eternity there is no consciousness.

For Proclus the henads, which are the model for multiplicity, are beyond being, the henads are a metaxu, an in-between the One and the second principal known as the divine intellect. A determinate being is a ‘this’ in distinction to a ‘that’; a determinate being therefore exists within a framework of the this-that duality, which is related to subject-object. But the pre-consciousness state which transcends consciousness and ontological determination, is neither this nor that, here nor there. According to Proclus, the divine mind exists outside time, since it can perceive all its history, all its time, in the mode of simultaneity. But this overlooks the inseparability, even co-incidence, of consciousness/intellect and time. Creation consists of remaining, procession, and return, monē, proodos, and epistrophē, which may be likened to a perduring or stasis mirror, formation of information, and information’s viewing of itself in the mirror, all of which can be likened in turn to the process leading to recursive consciousness, that is, self-reflection, or as Henry of Ghent articulates it, ad se ipsum conversum. The representatives of neoplatonism argued against epistemological scepticism by positing a likeness and continuity between the origin and the originated soul. Scepticism claims that we cannot know the world as it is in itself, but only the appearances within the world. We can reconcile the two approaches somewhat by noting that appearances are all that the world consists of; in this case Proclus’ ekphansis, “manifestation,” coincides with “appearance.” The world apart from perception is an empty mirror surface, but it is pre-ontological, like the God of neoplatonism who cannot be a being, but is rather the source of all being and beings. The world as it is in itself, apart from perception, is a world that is in one sense not, for it is a no-thing. It is an isnot that is precisely in its not being.

To invoke Proclusterminology, the first limit (to prōton peras) and first infinity (hē prōtē apeiria) make possible the emergent patterning of information logoi. The first limit and first infinity are situated in a metaxu position between the One and the henads. A pre-henadic state for the “cause” of cosmic or existential (which are the same thing) multiplicity actually may be interpreted as evidence for Damascius’ and Iamblichus’ assertion that the First Principle is actually a dyad. For our purposes this would imply that the empty mirror of the eternal block world is not really empty, and this would be by virtue of its metaxu connection with the first limit and first infinity; in other words, it may be that the “emptymirror is composed in some sense of the first limit and the first infinity.

The first limit and the first infinity can be better understood by recognizing that the first infinity is the first un-limited, that is, infinity is a negation of limit or finitude, so that the first limit and first infinity are primordial finitude and primordial infinitude, or finitude and its negation. In short, the first limit and the first infinity allude to the overcoming of non-existence, which is in-finite, via the arising of finitude, which coincides with the determination of being, that is, of individual existents. The individual, the one, is ironically, the result of finitude; the One is more akin to finitude than to infinitude. The One is always finite, which is why neoplatonism recognizes that the One is not an exact description, but only a relative approximation. The infinite is correlate with the multiple, the dyad. Non-existence is overcome by existence. The block world is overcome, transcended, by emergent information, which is to say that ultimately intellect arises from the limitation of unlimitedness, or of the overcoming of infinitude within finitude. The limit, peras, is the production of existence. The finite and infinite make up two dual inseparable aspects of a whole which is in fact a single undivided phenomenon. A thing, a word, a meaning, these are always both finite and infinite. Interior meaning and outward expression constitute a false Cartesian dichotomy, for thought is also outward, and speech has an inward aspect.

Infinite regress may be likened to a recursion of images in a mirror. That there is an infinite regress explains why there can be no final explanation or cause that neatly links non-being (eternity) and being (time), because existence is constituted of an illusory infinite mirror recursion. In this sense, Damascius’ attribution of infinite regress to Proclus argues in favour of Proclus, and against Damascius. Here an infinite regress denotes an acausal production, acausal because atemporal. After all, one of Damascius’ main reasons for challenging Proclusunderstanding of the One was actually to call into question Proclusidea of causality. According to Damascius the One includes the all (Problems and Solutions 53-58), but does this not attribute causation to the eternal, which must not be limited within the temporality of causation? If there “is” an infinite regress in reality (or if reality is an infinite regress, or if it is infinity as such), then there is no need to assign a cause to reality, that is, there is no need to interpret multiplicity as the effect of unity as cause. In this sense, multiplicity does not “arise from” unity, a state of affairs which would agree with the neoplatonic notion that the cosmos arises from the lower divine intellect rather than from the superior One.

Asclepius in Metaph. 35 identifies the One with the henad; as Koenraad Verrycken formulates Asclepius’ position: “In Asclepius we find a combination of Syrianus’ and Proclusterminology: monad and dyad derive from the henad. The One is the henad, the supraidentical origin of identity and non-identity.”95 As Sarah Klitenik Wear explains, Iamblichus places the first limit and the first infinity, that is, the monad and dyad, after the second One (in Tim. fragment 7, Dillon). Iamblichus identified the second One as monad, whereas limit and infinity are called dyad. For Syrianus, Iamblichus’ second One is the monad limit (peras), and apeiria is dyad.

However, we might be able to correlate the dualism of cause and acausal with limit and infinity. Both dualisms may be reconciled and overcome by a third term. In neoplatonism “limit” and “infinity” are reconciled in “the mixed” (Philebus 27). For Damascius multiplicity is actually unity, the many is/are the One. In this sense, the One as analogy of the eternal block world is illusory, as is the world of appearances. Thus we can know the world as it is in itself because appearances are the world as it is in itself. That is, the unmanifest block world cannot but be manifest; the unperceived cannot but be perceived. And the perceived is the unperceived. The eternal is the temporal, the temporal is the eternal, which is to say that the metaxu, the in-between, the potential, “is” all there “is.” Although the block world is lacking in spatial sequencing, nevertheless that it can be viewed/interpreted as such by consciousness that arises from emergent information/logoi, this suggests that the eternal block world is acausally related to the temporal world of appearances. The block world is unity, the world of perception is multiplicity; but the world of appearances is the block world in its incipient mode of multiplicity. This is because the block world and the world of appearances ultimately form but a single entity; the world of appearances is a Bohmian vortex in a river, a situation wherein the river and vortex constitute but a single entity or energy, and wherein the vortex is not a second entity, but a “movement” within a frozen eternal river. The movement, the melting of the eternal frozen river which makes possible the temporal vortex is an aveternal or metaxu aspect. However, aveternity as metaxu must not be reified, as if eternal, aveternal, and temporal could ever exist separately, or as if they are not ultimately reflective of but a single entity or energy. Again there is but a single river whose movements may be likened to eternity, aveternity, and temporality. Metaxu is an inbetween that is not substance, reification, but ever-potential, and actual in its potentiality. The illusory world of appearances is an actualization of the block world potentiality. Temporality is an actualization of a potentiality that remains potential in its actualization; the temporal world is the appearance or instantiation of a potentiality; actualization is but the arrival of potentiality into the world of appearances. The phenomenal world (res extensa) is the perceptual world (res cogitans). Reciprocally extension is intension.

However, to identify the phenomenal world with the block world is not to overlook the fact that the one fish of the non-dimensional block world text is genuinely mistaken for several fish via the holographic augmentation of consciousness. The phenomenal world remains a limited view of the block world. It is just that the block world cannot be viewed directly in analogue mode, but only indirectly in digital mode. The block world is immediate, the perceptual world mediate. It is only through intellection and consciousness that one can deduce via analogy the fuller block world state. This can be accomplished because the perceptual world is a dimensionalized simulacrum of the non-dimensional block world. There is enough data recoverable in the simulation in order to deduce the state of the block world. Simulation involves similitude—simulation is a parable-representation or comparison, since time is an image of eternity. Henry Corbin’s imaginal world, mundus imaginalis, is literally in Arabic the world of parables, the world of comparisons, ʿālam al-mithāl. We can interpret the block world as the real and consciousness as the irreal. It is precisely the irreal (consciousness) that has made possible the real. Even if we posit that time does not exist (at least not in the usual valence of the term “exist”), nevertheless one could counter that what time denotes might be real, namely, increments, dimensionalization. If time is not real, but the increments that are denoted by it are real, this could agree with the paradigm which holds that it is precisely the irreal that is real, that the irreal is the only real, and vice versa of course. There is a lot of evidence that suggests our everyday, commonsense ideas of time, that is, what we experience as increments, are illusions, at least in the sense of misinterpretations of what lies behind them. Thus in this case the real underlies the irreal. The real is nontime, while the irreal is our absolutizing and hypostaticizing non-time as time. But the process of reification is precisely the power of the irreal (consciousness/time) to construct the functionally real (though functional versus ontic/ontological would be ultimately an artificial construct). Reification is the power to dimensionalize nondimensionality, to play the cosmic DVD, to read the world book.

Time is certainly real in our everyday existence, for even a dream is real on its own level. Dream pertains to a mode of the same consciousness that the wakeful state consists of. Dream time differs from wakeful time, but even wakeful time is a biologically-psychologically based interpretation, and time is certainly relative, that is, dependent on velocity and mass, so that it cannot be absolute or independent, infinite or unlimited. Quantum phenomena such as non-locality and superposition are very dreamlike, suggesting a continuity between the universe/existence and the dream state (certainly the dream state is a part of the universe, which by definition is all that exists). Increment may thus be “real,” but this does not necessarily mean “absolute” or “independent.” To say that increment is real does not tell us in what sense or mode it is real. Increment may be real in the mode of the virtual, that is, the potential. It is the complete, the fullness, that is, the block world or eternity, that bestows (not causally generates) the part, the incomplete, that is, dimensionalization or time, which is the limit contrasted with the non-limit. In turn the limit enables consciousness to transcend its own limits, that is, to transcend itself, by deducing the existence of the non-limit.The fullness bestows the partial, and the partial is the only mode of perception by which to deduce the fullness. The partial is the gate to fullness. Yet the fullness is not fullness apart from the partial, for the fullness of parts is the whole, even if the sum of the parts is more than the whole. Yet the block world is undivided whole, whereas dimensional world is divided whole; nevertheless, this distinction is largely one of perception and interpretation, certainly one of deduction. There is no time apart from eternity and vice versa; the static and the dynamic co-exist, yet neither must be reified.

Does the playing of the cosmic film ever exist apart from its viewing, or the reading of the world book apart from its perusal? If there is a cause to the dimensional universe it is consciousness. However, there can be no cause of an eternal stasis. How do we overcome the causal-non-causal dualism? By understanding causality as a component of the acausal, and vice versa. The fullness, eternity, is not to be reified—it is ever virtual, ever potential, which is phenomenalized in an actualization that never separates from its matrix of potentiality. In other words, potential-actual are ultimately artificial distinctions. But the artificial is the artifice, the construction erected by consciousness, the irreal, which is the only “reality.” Consciousness “prolongs” potentiality (we use qualifying quotation marks to accentuate the danger of treating this prolongation as yet another reification), perceiving it as perduring, that is, as actuality. What we experience within the prolongation is certainly real “for us” (für uns) (observer-dependent), but not “in/at itself” (an sich), apart from us (ohne uns). This is to say that existence is always Dasein, a state of being there, that is, somewhere, which, however, implies spatiality, a reified illusion. Dasein is never Sein an sich, but Dasein must ever encompass Sein an sich. This is to say that being in itself is always a contextualized being. Dasein never escapes its own spatial field of the illusory. However, the pair “for us” and “apart from us” preserves to an extent the Cartesian split between res cogitans and res extensa. To collapse this we must recognize that “for us” is bestowed by the “apart from us,” and that “for us” is a part of the fuller “apart from us,” as part to the whole. The “for us” is a shadow or mirror image of the “apart from us,” and these ultimately constitute yet another unity.

According to Julian Barbour phenomena are primary, and time is afterwards deduced on their basis. Time is like slices of space. The world is like a film, and the freeze frames of space do not contain time at the most basic level. The relations between the phenomena in the freeze frames are interpreted as time: “In particular, the passage of time is nothing but the difference between configurations. . . .” Barbour cites Ernst Mach: “It is utterly impossible to measure the changes of things by time. Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction at which we arrive from the changes of things.” The phenomena or the film images do not occur in time, but constitute what is perceived as time. As Barbour phrases it: “The pictures do not occur at instants of time. They are the instants of time.” What time denotes, i.e., increments or instants, are “real,” but what are they “really”? We may view them as timeless increments. In such a timeless world, beginning and end are problematized. As Barbour avers: “We do not have a BIG BANG nor a BIG CRUNCH nor even their superposition, the BIG BRUNCH, but simply curves in the configuration space of the world.” Barbour explains that the “matter distributions” which constitute the structure of spacetime are the “instants of time.” Yet he insists the world is constructed of “three dimensional bricks.” But Barbour overlooks the possibility that this is the result of a holographic illusion, one that could also explain time as 0 dimensional (see chapter 2). Barbour’s concept of “extended Nows” indicates that his “time capsules” are not consistently atemporal, that it is indeed a variation of presentism. Yet it is the cancellation of the Now in an atemporal state that can expose the error of the centrality of events in four dimensional Minkowski spacetime, a centrality Barbour rightly assails as “erroneous.” Barbour’s is a modified block world model. What Barbour does have correct is his idea that time is a cognitive illusion like still frames in a film interpreted as joined and moving as a single entity rather than recognizing them as separate, individual and frozen frames. The experience of time is undoubtedly real, but the appearance of time and what it actually consists of and what produces the experience and interpretation are separate issues. The individual frozen frames are certainly real, and their sequence,

their “history” is real; it is only that their history is not temporal but spatial (qualifications are always naturally in order). The frozen frames are real, but the appearance of their constituting a single entity that perdures, that is, which is connected and continuous, is an illusion. The illusion is also that the frames (that constitute the world) are moving themselves rather than being moved (by perception). It is specifically cognitive movement that is at play and this actually constitutes what appears as the movement of the frozen frames. It may very well be the case that the brain processes several frozen frames at once, and that this leads to the illusion of motion (and of temporality as a subset). For Barbour, time is not in the four dimensional world line of an object as a whole, but time’s arrow is present in/at each three dimensional slice of a world line. Barbour is geometrizing or spatializing time, in accord with Relativity. However, this overlooks the unity of spacetime; if spacetime is a single entity, then if time is an illusion, space would have to be so as well. For Barbour the ontic primitive is shape space, that is, the universe is composed of basic geometric shapes, which we may call objects. What I propose is that these configurations consist of information, of bits, and that cognitive holography bestows upon them the illusory appearance of dimensionality. The holographic illusion reifies the bits into its; I therefore disagree with Barbour’s rejection of the primacy of its over bits. Of course one could say that information data bits are themselves its, and indeed what I propose is that the only real its are bits. In Zeilinger’s formulation, reality is information, information is reality. Additionally, the origin of perceptually temporal information in the underlying atemporal Shannon capacity never allows the former to become integrally

(independently) actualized, for it remains connected most intimately to its matrix of potentiality. Barbour’s shapes coincide with our posited images reflected in the capacity mirror of the block world. Shapes may be understood as the relationships between information/data, and data relay is consciousness. According to Leonard Susskind, the cosmos consists of three dimensions, but at the edges of the cosmos the same information is stored in/on a flat two dimensional holographic surface. How and why these two levels coexist—a two-dimensional and a three-dimensional state—mirrors the question of how and why consciousness exists along with the block universe. Space is three dimensional (according to Susskind), but the information contained in that space is stored as a two dimensional hologram. With a black hole, the event horizon agrees with a two-dimensional hologram, whereas the black hole itself is like the three dimensional world. A moving image freezes at an event horizon because time slows down, it dilates. A painting has two dimensional information, but since we are familiar with the material depicted in the painting, through an illusion we perceive it as three dimensional. A hologram is not the image but the piece of film the image is stored on; the hologram is a two-dimensional scramble of three-dimensional information. What is involved here is data compression, and two reconstructions, two and three dimensional, of the same “reality.” Yet reality, or existence, is a something that is a nothing, yet not in any reified sense of “nothing.” Existence is a reality that is an illusion, but it is a reality within an illusion and an illusion within a reality. This indicates that the terms reality and illusion are not mutually exclusive.

Derrida’s Of Grammatology

Personhood as Inscription

Without wishing to set up an artificial polarity, if we provisionally assume for the sake of analysis a Derridean reversal of the priority of writing over language (which I will discuss presently), we might say on another level that words do not refer to ideas, but ideas refer to words. Then, contrary to Locke, a word’s referent is not an idea, but an idea’s referent is a word. The abstract is generally constructed out of the concrete, and not the reverse. In any case, there can be no ideas without their being enframed in, or joined to, language. Ernst Cassirer’s paradigm of the inseparability of myth and language is relevant here, for it offers a corrective to an overly facile understanding of Derrida’s notion of primacy or priority. One does not precede the other in the relation between myth and language; they are two modes of a single phenomenon or operational capacity. This, combined with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s private language argument offers one of the many possible resolutions to the Cartesian dualism that constructs a gulf between res cogitans and res extensa. As Wittgenstein recognized, the Cartesian question posed by a solitary enquirer’s mind of whether or not other minds exist besides her own, or whether there is a world outside the questioning mind, already requires language in order to be posed, so that even the question cannot escape the spacetime limitations implied by and within language.

However, it is not the case that thought and language are radically public in a Wittgensteinian sense, for this would fail to overcome the dualism of the outwardinward polarity. Rather, the very categories of outer and inner reflect cognitivelinguistic reifications of an artificial, even if necessary and utilitarian, nature. The distinction between the private and the social also involves artificial polarities, for they are but two different views of a single domain. This may be likened to a single living organism which can be divided into separate pieces, with each piece preserving intact upon separation the thought-language capacity and identity of the whole. However, the newly separated piece, which preserves the whole within itself, is not aware of the fact that it is but one instantiation among many of the whole from which it has separated. It labours under the illusion that it has no “intrinsic” mode of connection to its source. Yet from a larger viewpoint the intrinsic and extrinsic turn out again to be but two modalities of a single ontological configuration, and this is why above we present the word intrinsic in qualifying quotation marks.

Derrida implies in his De la grammatologie via the mode of questioning that speech and writing are not related as signifiant to signifié, because on one level both function as signifiers. However, what is needed here is a more plenary transcendence of the duality of signifier and signified that seems to remain implicit in Derrida. Writing and its individual characters, such as letters of alphabets, or hieroglyphs as the case may be, are independent entities that exist as their own category and are not to be seen as subsisting for the sake of speech or language. They are icons in their own right. Speech and writing are both ontological primitives, or more precisely, they are once more but two modalities of a single phenomenon. Writing is not derived from speech, nor is speech derived from writing, but the two exist in or as a sort of superposition state. The idea that letters constitute a simultaneous signifier and signified apart from speech (although not unrelated to or severed from speech) may certainly be coordinated with the kabbalistic doctrine of cosmic creation via various combinations of the letters of the divine alphabet, a notion not unknown to Derrida.

According to Bohm’s formulation of Piaget, language acquisition largely creates the developing infant’s and child’s reified notions of an absolute space and time. I have argued that consciousness, temporality, and language are all inseparably entangled, indeed that they seem to represent modalities of a single capacity whose actuality consists in its perduring potentiality. This may be supported by Derrida’s notion that language can be associated with space, yet not in the everyday understanding of space, but in a larger sense of distribution in general, for “the world” is a “space of inscription,” that is, “the spatial distribution of signs.” To say the world is the space which is inscription is to say that world is a space that is a “field of linguistic signs.” Writing is not a derivative form of language, nor is it an exterior layer thereof. The notion of writing as the corrupt exterior of logos is congruent with Paul’s concept of the “letter that kills,” which is inexorably opposed to “the spirit,” or mind, that “gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Logoscentrism holds that the logos is nature, truth, or god, and that writing is more distant from logos than is speech. But for Derrida, writing comprehends language, that is, language derives from writing, and not vice versa; “language” is thus “a species of writing.” This is because for Derrida all of existence is writing, not of course in the usual meaning of the word, but in the more expansive sense of “arche-writing” or “primary writing.” Derrida explains that he is using the wordwriting” in a more inclusive valence than is generally the case: “And thus we say ‘writing’ for all that gives rise to an inscription in general, whether it is literal or not and even if what it distributes in space is alien to the order of the voice: cinematography, choreography, of course, but also pictorial, musical, sculptural ‘writing.’” Here we learn that “writing” is what makes possible the phenomenon of inscription, and that the latter in turn “distributes” various actualities “in space.” This is of course the basis of the Derridean notion that existence or the world is text, which is founded on the axiom, “There is nothing outside the text.” That is, existence is inscription, which itself is the distribution of descriptive semiotics and semantics, and this distribution is what constitutes and constructs space as space. Although not intended as such, Derrida’s thought in this instance is reminiscent of ancient ideas that liken existence to a book or a scroll that pre-determines all of life and history, a notion attested in traditional sources such as the Tanakh in Psalm 139:16, “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (RSV), and in Qurʾān 57:22, “No calamity befalls in the earth or in yourselves but it is written in a book before we bring it into being.”


The metaphysics of presence is the metaphysics of the temporal present; in other words, the metaphysics of presence is the metaphysics of the present. But this is to say the metaphysics of the illusory, for not only is the present relative, since there is no privileged Now or Present, a fundamental fact supported by the evidence of the kinematic effects of Special Relativity, but whenever we focus upon the present it is always already the non-present, because it has already passed away previously, and was indeed therefore never there to begin with. From a limited three-dimensional perspective it is writing that prolongs the illusory existence of the present, more so than speech, for the latter’s sonic properties immediately fade away into nothingness, whereas the components of writing, whether they be hieroglyphic, pictographic, or alphabetic, are relatively more permanent and enduring. In this way, speech on one level is a subset of writing rather than the reverse. Speech has less apparent ontological endurance or force than writing, since all ὤν, ὄντος is appearance. Existence is the illusory endurance of the arche-writing.

For Aristotle, the logos as rationality and mind is a universal reality and experience, whereas the various ways different individuals think is particular. Writing is viewed as a sort of corruption or weakening, so to speak, of universal thought which is purportedly purely unitive. Whereas thought is unitive, writing involves the distribution and discontinuity of the spatial. In this view, thought is being and presence, the present being that which is, and all that is, since the past no longer is, and the future is not yet. One of the fundamental pillars of the Aristotelian system of logic is the law of the excluded middle. To a certain extent it is correct to say that the law of the excluded middle accurately describes everyday existence, wherein an object does not seem to be able to occupy two different spaces simultaneously, and wherein two contradictories do not seem patient of reconciliation. At the quantum level, however, superposition is a possibility; yet Anton Zeilinger does not exclude that superposition could occur at large scales as well. The fact that large scale matter consists of quantum particles strengthens such a possibility. Or to phrase this more holistically, large scale matter coincides with quantum matter, for the two are but two different views of the same overarching category of matter. We can further note that the everyday commonsense notion of a universal constant and absolute rate of the passage of time breaks down now even on an everyday level, since an automobile’s GPS system is operated by a computer network that takes into account corrections based on Einsteinian time dilation, without which GPS would fail to function accurately on a daily basis. Wittgenstein identifies language and its logic with reality as such. The limits of language become the limits of reality. However, our notion of language and logic must not be confined to everyday three-dimensional ordinary modes, otherwise Wittgenstein’s argument would be undermined by the phenomenon of time dilation, which implies an atemporal block world behind our usual experience of a supposedly three-dimensional existence with a fourth dimension of time that passes stacked on top of the other three spatial layers.

Provisionally we might say that difference and writing are the absential primaries (since ontology is absence/potentiality), not unity and speech. From a deconstructionist point of view, the absent (whose ontological force is precisely its lack of ontology) primitive is not unity but difference, and the latter gives rise to difference and de-ference, but not through causality. Existence is always deferred, for the Now never arrives nor remains. Logos-centrism (cf. Derrida’s “logocentricsm”) effaces difference through unity, whereas the absent is the appearance of difference. From one vantage point, arche-writing leads (acausally) to language, and language leads (acausally) to mind or thought. Logos is the end of the series, not the beginning. As such arche-writing may be correlated with Cassirer’s pre-linguistic symbolic impulse. Through poetry the poet recaptures and reconstitutes the original unity of the as-of-yet undivided symbolico-semantic binaries. However, the undivided binaries are still binaries, so that there is an implicit and inevitable duality in the unitary. To presence is a poetic activity. There is a relationship here between an underlying absence that is the field of illusory presences that populate the domain of absence. How is illusory presence achieved? The following observations from Anita Seppilli may be of assistance in determining the outlines of a potential answer: “That poetry was not originally considered as a simple pastime or the fruit of a pure aspiration towards aesthetic entertainment is demonstrated by the etymology of those words that pertain to [[[Wikipedia:poetic|poetic]]] inspiration. Poiesis (ποίηςις from ποιέω = I do/make) was ‘action,’ although it appears to mimic drama (δρᾶμα = action, δράω = I do/make), that is, it was a ritual magic operation, a ‘representation’ intended to realize a ‘presence.’” Elliot R. Wolfson creates an associative constellation of dreams, poetry, and imagination in his recent title, A Dream Interpreted Within a Dream: Oneiropoiesis and the Prism of Imagination. Dreams, poetry, and imagination all seem to be entangled in a triadic quantum-like superposition. It is not the case that the world is being viewed here from a poetic lens in a loose metaphorical sense that would exclude a scientific description of cosmic existence. Rather, poetry is able to describe and re-present the cosmos because the latter possesses the textures of the former. The materia prima may consequently also be viewed as the materia poetica, to borrow a terminology from Anita Seppilli.121 Seppilli’s trifold “sogno, visione, parola,” that is, dream, vision, speech, may be correlated, mutatis mutandis, with Wolfson’s dream, poetry, and imagination. As Seppilli observes, one of the primordial functions of names, and of substantives in general, was magical, that is, nouns were in part employed as components within magical rituals that would be observed to produce a “presence” through representation, precisely in the mode of the incantation of substantives. Certainly language arose at least in part through gestural movements that facilitated social interaction. But Cassirer’s thesis of an original stage of undivided meaning that was literal and concrete (but not in a polarized mode that would imply an irreconcilable “non-literal” vs. “non-concrete” category), which is later reconstituted through poetical metaphor, while generally valid, must be refined by the observation that the dualism of the concrete and abstract must be qualified and overcome. The poetic can be literal and the literal poetic.

Derrida begins his De la grammatologie with various examples of traditional logocentric subordination of writing to speech. Another similar example that occurs to me can be found in the ancient Jewish apocalypse 1 Enoch chapter 69, where we read in R. H. Charles’ translation (modified) of the fallen angelic Watcher Penemue:

9 And he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paper, and thereby many sinned from eternity to eternity and until this day.

10 For humans were not created for such a purpose, to give confirmation to their good faith with pen and ink.

11 For humans were created exactly like the angels, to the intent that they should continue pure and righteous, and death, which destroys everything, could not have taken hold of them, but through this their knowledge they are perishing, and through this power it is consuming <them>.


In verse 11 the “knowledge” and “power” that cause humans to perish can be identified from the overall context as the knowledge and power, or ability, of writing. From an Enochic perspective this passage is highly curious, first because Enoch is often identified in tradition as the originator of writing, and second because throughout 1 Enoch the seventh antediluvian patriarch is praised precisely on account of his scribal activity. Be that as it may, the passage unambiguously subordinates writing to speech.

There is, however, one more point which we can make that illustrates the curious character of 1 Enoch 69’s denigration of writing. In 1 Enoch there is a coincidence on the one hand between the celestial person known as Lady Wisdom and on the other hand the books which Enoch writes. This paradigm shares a general isomorphism with Sirach 24’s identification of Lady Wisdom as the five books of the Mosaic Torah. Note well that Ben Sira does not identify the earthly written Torah with the celestial Lady Wisdom, but vice versa. This is a subtle point, but it has immense consequences, for it subordinates personhood to writing, that is, personhood is comprehended by/in writing rather than the reverse. The earthly Book constitutes and/or constructs celestial Lady Wisdom. Equivalently, Enoch’s writings constitute and construct the Lady Wisdom who is therein depicted in 1 Enoch 42:1-2, 82:1-4, and 94:5. In 1 Enoch Wisdom is personified because it/she is written, so that personhood is a literary (arche-literary) function and fiction, given the fictive nature of the human ego, since the latter co-incides more or less with the notion or experience of a perduring invariant substance. The person is an instantiation or inliteration of the Book, and not vice versa. We can actually verify that personhood is derivative of writing (in the sense of Derrida’s arche-writing) by observing that it is only with the development and acquisition of language that a child comes to develop a sense of separate, individual egohood or self-identity. If one brings up the case of a child who is not able to speak, such a child may still be able to think, and since language and thought are entangled and merely but two modes of a single operation, not only can there be no thought apart from language (even if unspoken), but a child who cannot speak still exercises language by her cognitive activities. We can see at this point that even thought, or logos, is a subset of arche-writing, confirming Derrida’s paradigm of speech as derivative of writing, although not in an unbending dualistic sense.

The priority and derivation of which we have been speaking, exist as a reciprocal loop, somewhat like the lemniscate, the mathematical sign for infinity, ∞. Ironically, when we view the lemniscate we can see that its infinity is ensured precisely by the finite limitation implied by the two loops which can never escape from each other’s bounds. This should not be surprising, since infinity can be graphically represented only by means of a finite dimensional figure. But this situation also reminds us that it is precisely the finite that generates infinity, and that infinity consists of nothing but an iteration of finitude. In other words, there can be no infinite apart from the finite, which arguablt suggests that both are two modes of a single entity. Therefore, we speak of priority and derivation in a sense that equalizes and cancels both terms in a mode of simultaneity. If I am not mistaken, Elliot R. Wolfson alludes to a similar understanding in the following encapsulation:

Moving beyond the postmodern critique of essence and the deconstructionist appeal to différance, both of which preserve the dichotomous reasoning they seek to undermine, we are justified in adopting a hermeneutical method that may be labelled polychromatic essentialism or essentialist polychromatism, that is, an essentialism that presumes that sameness is precisely what generates difference, that the discontinuity of the continuous prompts the continuity of the discontinuous, that polysemy is fostered by resemblance and diversification by integration.

These types of considerations prevent us from adopting any overly literal spatial or temporal understanding of Derrida’s notion of the primacy of writing over language, for if the two are entangled like finitude and infinitude, then there is no beginning or end of a series involved here, even if that series consists of but two terms. Such a modality of resolution participates to varying degrees in both Hegelian synthesis and in Derridean conflictual coexistence, a compossibility unforeseen by Derrida, as I have previously remarked.

In a certain sense, Derrida’s arche-writing, which I prefer to call arche-literature, overlaps with the communicative capacity, and is thus somewhat reminiscent of Shannon information. That speech and personhood are subordinate to arche-writing is paralleled on another level by the proposition that its are composed of bits, that is, matter is information. However, bits and its are ever potentials, capacities, not perduring and invariant substances. Pace Zeilinger, bits are not exclusively binary, for information can also be fractal, in-between the either-or of three-dimensional logic. However, fractal interdimensionality remains but an intensification of dimensional illusion.

Derrida’s non-logocentrism is congruent with the triplex approach of transdisciplinarity, wherein the excluded middle can be circumvented through superposition. That the world is text is confirmed by the physics conclusion that the universe is information. Matter is constructed out of information; information encompasses matter more than matter encompasses information. Bits of information that everything is composed of are not, however, primary substances, for neither its nor bits are themselves substances, for the very notion of perduring substance is fundamentally flawed. Substances or entities arise as the result of consciousness imposing and constructing an illusory enduring structure, temporal and spatial (geometrically configured) out of a state that is actually aspatial and atemporal.

As the year 2000 was the end of the previous millennium and 2001 was the first year of the new millennium, so 0 is the summit, 1 is the beginning. Yet 0 and 1 exist on the continuum of an infinite loop, so that the beginning and the end coincide, which means that beginning and end themselves to a degree involve artificial constructs. But it may be that the universe, existence as such, is itself an artificial construct, an illusion. In traditional Euclidean geometry, a point is of 0 dimensionality, a line has 1 dimension, a plane has 2 dimensions, and volume or a cube, like the world in which we live, is three dimensional. However, it is the archetype or the idea of a point that is 0 dimensional, for a physical point that is actually drawn does exhibit dimensionality in a sense. Thus various modes of point may involve both 0 and 1 dimensionality. The relationship between the archetypal and physical point and 0 and 1 dimension may be likened, mutatis mutandis, to the link between 0 and 1 in set theory, wherein all natural numbers are generated by 0, which constitutes the empty set. Following from 0 as the empty set,

1 = (0), 2 = (0, 1), and 3= (0, 1, 2). That 3= (0, 1, 2) may also be explained as 3 = 2  {2} = {0, 1}  {2}. That the natural numbers can be derived from the emptiness or nothingness of 0 may have physics and philosophical implications pertaining to the illusory depths of existence. It may be that both a 3-dimensional world and a dimensionless eternal block world are really illusions, and/or real illusions. Both the World Book and its reading seem to be artificial constructs. The Book is constructed by the act of its lectionary reading. In the lectionary, speech and writing coincide and become modes of a single phenomenon whose actuality subsists as enduring potentiality. If this seems paradoxical, it is no more so than is the possibility of interchanging the past and future, which can be done since both are illusory, given that in a block world all three tenses of time co-exist simultaneously. Effect and cause can be reversed because neither exists except as a mistaken impression generated by a limited view of the whole of existence. It can be said that words exist before letters. From this viewpoint, cutting up words into separate, individual letters (whether they be graphically written or phonetically understood as phonemes) would constitute an act of unwarranted atomism. The universe exists in the mode of multiplicity, and it is discursive reason that imposes a separative mode of unity upon it. This can be expressed as: letters cannot exist but as units, that is, as words. A word is an integral unity, and is not built up out of letters that pre-exist like atoms. In kabbalism it is the Torah that exists as Book before the individual letters, which are actually modes of the integral alphabet, each letter of which presents itself as a personification before God to argue for a preeminent role in creation to be assigned to it. In this legendary example it is of significance that it is not alef but beth, not the first but the second letter, that initiates creation, for multiplicity, not unity is the basis of existence. Or: the alphabet exists before letters. Again, this is no more paradoxical than the reversal of cause and effect, because cause and effect, like alphabets and letters, ultimately involve highly artificial distinctions. The alphabet exists as infinite loops; the loops are mistaken for individual units upon which spatially-temporally limited consciousness imposes an order of coming into existence and passing through continuing states of endurance, that is, a chronology is imparted to the loops by consciousness as the latter views the former. But the loops never come into being, they always were, yet in an illusory modality, that is, as enduring potentiality.

Here we can recall the example of a person walking across a field. A person knows that all the space points in the field exist with equal apparent ontological potency. The space points in the field do not come into being with each step that the person makes as they traverse the field. However, because of the limitations of consciousness, a person labours under the illusion that each point in time comes into being as they traverse the field step-by step. It is the kinematic effects of Special Relativity that indicate we live in a block world in which past, present, and future coexist in a mode of simultaneity, on the basis of which we can deduce that consciousness gives us a limited, distorted view of existence. We now apply this to the alphabet, which may be likened to the pre-existing field; the letters are like the individual steps someone takes while traversing the field. That the steps are taken within time is a mistaken impression generated by the limitations of consciousness. Similarly, the view that letters aggregate to become an alphabet is the result of a perceptual error. Actually neither pre-exists the other, because pre-existence itself implies temporality. The question is which view approximates the actual underlying situation more fully; the view that more extensively reflects the underlying situation is the one to which we assign priority, and this priority is then transformed into a perceived chronological pre-existence. We are therefore not speaking of an ontological dependence, which requires temporality, but of a perceptually based description within spacetime boundaries, which is necessary in view of the three-dimensional limits of all language and thought. Elliot R. Wolfson’s Phenomenological Re-Visionings of Time:

Dream and the Dimensionality of the World

Elliot R. Wolfson writes concerning his A Dream Interpreted Within a Dream, a text that may be destined to become a classic philosophical work in the field of Phenomenology: “Approaching my fiftieth birthday, I decided to compose a different kind of book. . . .” This strikes me as being both a statement of fact, since the bulk of Wolfson’s previous textual contributions concerns itself largely with Jewish mysticism and esotericism, but also as a kind of humility-based understatement of vast proportions, since the particular title in question constitutes not merely a book, but a timely and timeless masterpiece. This is so not only on account of what Wolfson says, but especially because of what he does not and indeed cannot say, by which I mean that A Dream Interpreted Within a Dream can be accurately described by invoking Maurice Blanchot’s evocative and allusive phrase l'absence de l'oeuvre. In the final analysis the entire universe, seen and unseen, to employ a pedagogically useful but non-literal binary, is both the absence of the work and the work of the absence. However, the dichotomy of literal and non-literal itself involves an illusory opposition, as does the dualism of opposition and non-opposition as well. This is because, as Wolfson so deftly elucidates throughout his dreambook, “intrinsic reality . . . intrinsically lacks reality,” and its “space of nonlocality” is neither “nothing as something” nor “something as nothing.” If, mutatis mutandis, we can say of time that it neither is nor is not, that is, that it neither exists nor does not exist, then we might be able to align this with the block world model by identifying the illusory ontological presence of time as pertaining to the level of three-dimensional locality, whereas the real absence of time would apply to the domain of the block world viewed in its entirety as an atemporal and adimensional whole. Yet, as Wolfson inculcates in his dreambook, illusion interpenetrates the real, and the illusory is inseparably interfused with reality, which indicates that the words “illusion” and “reality” are both a leading into what the words signify and a necessary leading away from the same.

In the midst of a discussion of Hindu and Buddhist intellective trajectories, Wolfson notes that “what is most real is the unreal.” Viewed philosophically one justification for this outlook pertains to the artificiality of the binary of the actual and the potential, for “everything possible is actual, because what is actual is nothing but the possible.”128 We might say the actual is potential, yet that potentiality is infinite so that every potentiality is actuality via its being actualized or via its actualized being in potentia ad infinitum.

It is at this point that we can intuit that all that is/is not can be understood as the flashing of lightning. Lightning emerges, is all-too-briefly seen while spreading forth, and then just as rapidly vanishes without a trace, or back into the trace from which it emerged. Here Derrida’s “trace” coincides with the lightning trace, even if in a rather loose sense, given that the Derridean trace is not withdrawal of presence but withdrawal as such. All phenomena constitute appearances that flare into and out of sight and hearing; no thing is a perduring or enduring essence or substance. No meaning or signification is reifiable into a contiguous entity. All is/not as lightning. At the risk of being atomistic or overly systematic, Table 1 presents some of the correspondences that appear in Wolfson’s dreambook, especially in his discussion of Kierkegaard and Hegel. The term “versus” below is not meant in any adversarial sense, but intimates the plus or ontological amplitude imparted by interpenetration of the contrastive pairs. Among the implications of the following data is that consciousness from one particular vantage point is just one of the many modes of word:

Table 1 Mirror Pairs of Reality-Irreality

immediacy—reality vs/+ mediacy—irreality unity—being duality—consciousness = duplicity—word/ideality

If we view the vs/+ of Table 1 as indicative of the coincidentia oppositorum, then the basic message is what Wolfson calls “the Irreality of the Real.” Again, if mutatis mutandis we designate time as possessing a flashing/unflashing ontology which is an unreal real and a real unreal (for “one’s experience is not metaphysically real, since there is nothing but appearance”), the dreamlike quality of the world may come into sharper focus, although our view of the matter will be to the side rather than directly postured. What I refer to here is the ocular mechanism that allows the human eye to view an especially low magnitude star if it is looked at from the side of the field of vision; once a person tries to look directly at the same low magnitude star, it fades from sight. Similarly, time cannot be understood directly, but only indirectly by means of various analogies, especially of a mathematical configuration. Time is not so much an arrow as a lightning bolt or a thunderclap.

Wolfson recognizes that “the irreal” is never “real or unreal.” If we apply this to time, as we have already suggested above, then the common understandings of both eternity and of time will be destabilized and hence patient of deconstruction. Wolfson writes of “the openness of the future and the determination of the past,” but then qualifies this with, “or perhaps it is the openness of the past and the determination of the future.” He refers as well to “an inversion of the presumed linear causality of time—what comes before may be construed as the effect of what comes after, and what comes after as the cause of what comes before.” In chapter five, “Undoing Time and the Syntax of the Dream Interlude,” the author plunges/ascends into the most challenging mysteries of temporality. The “story of our lives” can unfold in the mode of a “circularity” rather than solely in a linear fashion. Wolfson goes so far as to speak of “the myriad life-worlds of our experience,”138 which arguably opens up the question of many worlds. In the subsection “Commemorating the Future/Awaiting the Past,” our author writes piercingly in a dialectical mode that is equally supremely challenging and rewarding for readers who can free themselves, like a flash of lightning, from the bonds of linear temporal cognition. Here we learn that “the retroactive and the imminent are not to be positioned dyadically,” and we read of “anticipatory remembering,” and that “expectation . . . is a form of commemoration,” which suggests that the future is a form of the past, and consequently of memory. Wolfson explains in specific and precise terms that the past and the future do not become the present, for “the absolute now that is the dream is the moment that . . . cuts the triple chord of time.”

Wolfson cites Erich Fromm’s observation that in a dream the dreamer can “be in two places at once.” That this corresponds to the phenomenon of quantum superposition would seem to intimate the world’s dreamlike quality. When Carl Jung claimed that “past, present, and future are blended together” in the dream, he was in fact offering what might be called a modulated block world model. And when Wolfson insightfully writes of “the linear circle or the circular line in which nothing changes because everything changes insofar as there is no thing to change,” he gives us a fitting parallel to Bohm’s non-substance view of the world on the level of particles that are not as such. Wolfson’s formulations can also be correlated with the block world model when he describes the kabbalistic notion of “a present determined contemporaneously by the past of the future that is yet to come as what has already been and by the future of the past that has already been what is yet to come.” Additionally, to insist “that what was is what will be” eminently agrees with the implications of a block world model as well. Accordingly, “past, present, and future are unified,” and they “cease to be distinct,” even to the point that one can maintain that “the future . . . is already present as the present that is always future,” or in the words of Emmanuel Levinas as quoted by Wolfson, “The present is the future making itself present,”147 which in its own way might be correlated with what we could justly describe as Feynman’s temporally transgressive particle physics according to which a positron is nothing other than an electron travelling backwards in time, since if a particle can proceed along a retro-temporal trajectory (at least from one possible perspective), then the standard arrow of time is violated through circumvention. Towards the end of A Dream Interpreted Within a Dream, Wolfson supplies us with the following clear yet dense summary of his explorations into time and eternity, in which he expresses the notion that eternity is a subset of dream as a mode of time. This should be carefully unpacked and assimilated, so the reader does not overlook that 1) eternity emanates from dream, and 2) dream pertains to a manifestation of temporality:

Eternity and time are not posed oppositionally; on the contrary, the former belongs to dreaming as a mode of the latter. The time of the dream—and I would further presume the dream of time—is described as the infinite openness of the field of presence in its double horizon as past and future. Eternity is the circle of time squarely open at the always-ending beginning that is the always-beginning ending.

For the Buddha, “in death alone is one aroused from the repose of one’s wakefulness.” Referencing the work of Wendy O’Flaherty, Wolfson explains that based on Popper’s notion of falsification, “we can verify that we are dreaming by waking up, but we cannot verify that we are awake by falling asleep.” Similarly, “in recalling the dream, the dreamer cannot remember being apart from the dream, that is, there is no memory of having had the dream but as one who has had the dream.” Does this not forcefully imply that the dream ego is the same as the wakeful ego, and does that not in turn lead to the suspicion that the wakeful ego is a dream identity, so that the waking state coincides with the quality of a dream? But to say that the dream ego is the same as the wakeful ego also works in the reverse order, namely, the wakeful ego seems to coincide with the dream ego. In Wolfson’s enlightening encapsulation, “consciousness of dreaming includes within its purview consciousness of the dreamer dreaming the dream.”

The “parallactic” coexistence of the atemporal, adimensional block world together along with the various temporal three-dimensional slices (world lines) of the apparent substances or entities that go to make up the block world explain in part why consciousness always experiences the world as a sort of combination (both simultaneously and alternatingly) of eternity and time. Time is a something specifically because it is a no-thing, and it is a no-thing just because it is a something. The same may be said of eternity. The same may be said of our “selves” and of every “thing” imaginable that appears, spreads, and then vanishes as a fleeting flash of lightning.

The parallactic coexistence of the atemporal and the temporal also furnishes us with a reason why the Saussarian synchronic and diachronic modes of analysis are both necessary in order to arrive at a relatively adequate understanding and portrayal of a research topic. The synchronic approach demonstrates that later texts can be interpreted by comparing them with older texts, and vice versa, which overturns historicist notions such as the supposed invalidity of understanding ancient Jewish texts with reference to medieval Jewish sources. Many scholars in the humanities have yet to integrate the implications of modern physics which undermine the very notion of linear time, even of time as such. This was one of the fundamental insights of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, which is now over a century old. Yet despite this, literary and religious scholars still approach texts and their interpretation bound by outdated notions of time and becoming.

Various schools of modern physics are on Elliot Wolfson’s side when he disagrees with Rachel Elior’s historicist assumptions that do not allow a scholar to make deductions concerning “earlier ideas” on the basis of “later stages.” Wolfson penetratingly meets this approach head on with the following rejoinder: “I think it is perfectly plausible to draw inferences about the later stages from the earlier and about the earlier stages from the later.” Wolfson’s exegetical approach is “based on a notion of time at odds with the linear conception undergirding” Elior’s intellective inclinations, for according to Wolfson, “cause and effect are perfectly reversible, and hence one can legitimately move through the present from past to future or from future to past.”157 How can this be? Various kabbalistic authorities posit “a notion of time that calls into question the model of aligning events chronoscopically in a sequence stretched before and after.” As a consequence, “what comes after may be before what comes before it was after.” Wolfson’s temporal notions are in striking accord with the modern insights of the Einsteinian and block world physics. Special Relativity demonstrates that the lapse of time is relative to factors such as velocity and mass, so that there is no absolute time. But if there is no absolute time, then time is not only relative, it does not exist, precisely because it fully exists. That is to say, it is not that the past once existed and now no longer exists; and it is not that the future does not yet exist, and only will exist in the future. On the contrary, the past and future exist just as fully as the present. But even the present (like the so-called past and future) exists only in a relative, non-absolute sense or modality.

Special Relativity can explain not only the relativity of motion, length, and measurement, both spatial and temporal, but by analogical extension, of personal existence or the notion of enduring selfhood or self-identity as well. This last point is explained brilliantly and entertainingly by Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (Rudy Rucker), who asks us to think of a light trail. Take a flashlight and flick it through the air. You see the light trail before it vanishes. What kind of existence does the light trail have? It certainly exists in some sense, but as a pattern, not as a separate substance or as an enduring entity. Rucker argues that we are precisely that, namely, as 3-D entities we are actually the trails of higher 4-D realities, just as “space is a 3-D . . . cross section of space-time.” A person or entity is a persisting trail rather than a solidly subsisting and enduring being. Entities are “trails in space-time rather than . . . objects moving forward in spacetime.” Our world is simply an aggregate of 4-D space-time trails; or as Arthur S. Eddington phrased it, “the illusion of permanent substance” is “built up out of relations,” or interactions between patterns rather than permanent entities. Rucker argues that in a higher dimension (I would express this as, in the block world), the past and future exist simultaneously with the present, so that “we are in fact at each instant of our lives. Every moment of past and future history exists permanently in the framework of 4-D space-time.” The experience, or illusion, of time lapse is attributable to “the fact that the memory traces of an event are always located at spacetime points whose time coordinates have greater values than the time coordinate of the event.” We cite Rucker who here illustrates the point with notable perspicuity: There is no paradox in the claim that my earlier self who drew Figure 78 still exists. I will always be drawing that picture, typing this sentence and meeting my death. Every instant of your life exists always. Time does not pass. You might argue, “Look, I know I am existing right now. The past is gone and the future doesn’t exist yet. If the past existed it would be possible for me to jump my consciousness back five minutes.” But there is no consciousness to jump back or forth; you are always conscious at each instant of your life. The consciousness of five minutes ago is unalterable. Even if it were meaningful to speak of “jumping back five minutes” and even if it were somehow possible to do this, you wouldn’t notice that you had done it! For if you entered back into your body and mind five minutes ago, you would have no memory of having been in the future. You would think the same thoughts and perform the same actions. You could jump back

over and over, read this chapter up to this point 50 times, and not notice. Not that I think the idea of “jumping back” is meaningful. For this idea implicitly includes the notion of a consciousness that “illuminates” one particular moving cross section of space-time—and this is the illusion that I am arguing against. Indeed, as Rucker further notes, “our sensation of the passage of time is to be viewed as an illusion, an artefact of the space-time geometry of the universe.” But if all time exists simultaneously, then what of the question of free will? Rucker points out that “predetermination does not imply predictability.” The absence of predictability does not negate predetermination. An answer may lie concealed in the highly speculative notion entertained by some quantum physicists regarding the possible existence of infinite worlds, which requires an infinite number of Yous. You have chosen every possible choice, in different possible worlds. This entails the theory of branching worlds, whereby the latter branch out from yet other worlds; in the words of Rucker: That is, all . . . possible futures really exist. It [the self] will have the illusion that it only experiences one of them, but in fact there are many of it, experiencing every possible life. Each one of these “selves” will have the illusion that it is unique, will have the illusion that it has judiciously selected a particular sequence . . ., will feel that its free will has realized only one of the many possible universes. In fact, all the possible universes will exist. Rucker proceeds to ask whether we can be aware of more than one universe and answers that maybe we already are and don’t realize it, as throughout any given day “we shift our attention back and forth from one to the other.” If one finds the idea of infinite worlds extravagant in its surplus of ontological amplitude, then we might alternatively explain freewill as both real and illusory, on different ontic and perceptual levels, not overlooking the artifice of the dichotomy between the real and the perceptual.

Addressing a few more perplexing questions concerning Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, Rucker observes as follows: “The reason that travel at the speed of light seems to take no time at all is that when you reach the speed of light, your world line lies in your space of simultaneity. That is, for someone going at the speed of light, every event on his world line happens at the same time—and in the same place!”169 Rucker then explains the relativity of simultaneity and measurement in the following manner. Regarding two events that occur separately in space, “it is literally meaningless to claim that distant events are or are not simultaneous. Simultaneity is not an intrinsic property of space-time; it is only an artefact of the manner in which we perceive, splitting 4-D space-time into a continuum of 3-D spaces arranged along a time axis.”

Even “objects do not have length in any absolute sense,” for “moving objects appear to be contracted in their direction of motion.”172 Rucker presents the following example of a 10 meter long barn and a 20 meter long pole. A runner runs ¾ the velocity of light, with the result that the 20 meter pole he is carrying “will appear 10 meters long to” a stationary observer at a barn. But the runner will “see the barn as being half as long as it was before their relative motion started,” that is, he will see the barn as only 5 meters in length, when it originally appeared as 10. The stationary farmer sees the pole as 10 meters long instead of 20; the runner will see the barn as 5 meters long instead of 10. The farmer and runner will disagree about precisely when the runner’s pole reached the barn’s door. The point here is that measurement and simultaneity of events are relative and not absolute, and that therefore there can be no measurement of any kind in an absolute sense. Both perspectives, those of the runner and of the stationary farmer, are correct. So we have both relativity of length and relativity of measurement as verifiable properties of the physical universe.

Perhaps this paradigm can be applied to the question of free will and predetermination; maybe both are real and illusory on different planes. Again, each of the runner’s and the farmer’s perspectives is relatively correct, but neither is absolutely correct, because here we have to do with “a judgment of which events are simultaneous. And simultaneity of events at different places is a relative concept.” As Rucker phrases the disconcerting situation: “The problem is that all that really exists is world lines in space-time. There is no built-in division of space-time into a time component and a space component. Different observers will accomplish this division in different ways.”175 It is simply impossible to determine if two events are simultaneous, and therefore it is impossible to determine an absolute distance between two points or objects. Perhaps it is impossible to verify any analogical distance between free will and predetermination as well. And perhaps the gap in which their interplay unfolds is the nonlocal gap of the dream world. In the context of a discussion of Feynman and anti-matter, Rucker writes: “If we could get close to an antigalaxy and watch the people on an anti-Earth, what would we see? There is no real consensus on this, but it might be that we would see people living backward in time.” Rucker then describes a scenario that begins not with the womb, but with the grave. I here paraphrase Rucker: A funeral is in session. The crowd goes backward to the grave. The “deadperson arises, goes home to rest on a sick bed. This person attends college where he “unlearns” much. He lives and gets younger and younger. A doctor eventually assists him as an infant to enter his mother’s womb. After nine months, he disappears and then no longer exists. Rucker concludes: “Depressing, huh? Actually, of course, the anti-Earthlings would feel as if they were living lives like ours, and if they saw us, they’d think we were leading the kind of antilives just described.”

Apart from the question of the ontological status of Rucker’s parable-like antilives, we can conclude, based on the fact of the relativity of simultaneity (a proven aspect of Special Relativity) that there is no separately existing “Then,” “Now,” and “Will Be”; that is, past, present, and future co-exist simultaneously with equal ontological force. In short the passage known as time does not exist; but to say that time does not exist is precisely the same as saying that all time tenses co-exist equally and simultaneously in their fullness. We define time as the passage or tenses of temporality; and what is the meaning of the word “time” but the existence and passage of “duration”? If all three tenses exist simultaneously, their separation into three categories of past, present, and future is markedly artificial and has no objective reality, validity, not to mention verifiability. And if they exist simultaneously, then they are not truly tenses, and therefore they do not constitute time at all in the usual everyday valence of the term. All space coexists; all time coexists. If such be the case, there is a fundamental flaw in modern process theology. The illusion of becoming and process in the universe is just that, an illusion. Admittedly, this involves an illusion proper to the diachronic level of the cosmos, but it is one having no absolute reality in itself at the synchronic level, for it pertains strictly to the domain of cognitive perception, but of course perception is a phenomenon real enough in itself. And yet one of Elliot Wolfson’s central contributions is the insight that illusion and reality are ultimately inseparable and represent a binary only in an artificial way. They cannot exist without each other; both words, “real” and “illusory,” are simultaneously limited and infinite (always potentially so) in their significative power. They are infinite on account of Blanchot’s absence of the work, and they are limited because of the work of absence that obtains in their formal boundaries, which, however, again open out into the trace of the field of the infinite.

On account of the inseparable interplay of the atemporal and the temporal, of the absence of work and the work of absence, the diachronic approach is necessary as well the synchronic (a need Wolfson is quite cognizant of), for the temporal, “illusory” as it is, nevertheless remains quite “real” in light of its being inextricably interwoven in human experience and consciousness. The diachronic can in fact operate as a control mechanism when used along with synchronic tools, in order to ensure that the exegete attains a more adequate picture of a research subject. The diachronic can be compared to the three-dimensional slices of what might be called the synchronic atemporal world lines of the block world viewed as a whole. In the atemporal end that coincides with the timeless beginning, there thus remains in the mode of a dialectically simultaneous unified reciprocity and enduring conflictual difference “the Irreal that is Real,” the dream that is world and the world that is dream.

Tere Vadén reminds us that “we may introduce reasons for believing that the distinction between dream and waking is not that sharp, after all.” Vadén encapsulates some of the evidence for this proposition in the following mode: So the deconstruction of the dream/waking-duality can proceed also from discrediting any putative beyond-doubt reliable part of the conscious subject. . . . One naive criteria for the distinction is that in waking we are in contact with an outside world through the senses whereas in the dream we encounter a world which is of our own making. This is a typically circular criterion. We presuppose the subject and the object, the mind and the world, and presuppose a link of sensation between them. It helps, of course, with regard to subjectivistic criteria: but what about asubjective experience, in which there is no such distinction?

Furthermore, the criterion of sensation is not able to make a clearcut distinction, only a gradual transition from acute sensation to less acute. The same goes for reflection, or the idea that in waking we can reflect on our mental states. Reflection also leaks from both ends: weak and lazy reflection as well as extremely intensive reflection are inseparable from dreaming. Same goes for “objective” criteria of neuroscience: in the absence of metaphysics (the subjectobject distinction) they do not suggest a clear distinction between the state or function of waking and dreaming. These criteria are, then, matters of degree, of gradually creating the distinction between subject and object, mind and world, dream and waking. They are not criteria of absolute boundaries, which was what the surrealists were suspecting from the start. It is not the case that dream and waking consciousness are sharply separate modes of contact with the world. They are rather different poles of an inseparable and antirealist experience, out of which “the world” as well as “the subject” are under some conditions thematised, whether that be in “dreaming” or in “waking.”


Vadén continues his exposition by pointing out the difference between the view that the world exists independently of an observer and the notion of world construction: “It can be claimed that it is not the case that as human beings we encounter a readymade outside world with objects. Rather, we are constructors of that world, of how it appears to us. . . . In this view, the dream can be seen as a primordial way of existing, of worldbuilding, in the absence of the immediate intersubjective field. . . .”180 Based upon these considerations, Vadén concludes: “We can dispense with the dualistic assumption that dreams are something that happen to us (as objects of neuroscience), or something that we as subjects see. It is rather the case that we are our dreams, that our dreams are us, which implicates a dissolution of the subject-object distinction.”

As Vadén exposes the situation, dream is not merely a symbolic representation of a reputedly outer world, but an autonomous world within its own right: “The existential world engendered in the dream is not a distorted or fanciful copy of the ‘real’ world, but rather a sovereign experiential actuality in itself.” Vadén ventures on in his journey into the dream topic: From the asubjective and antirealist perspective, then, it is not the case that dreams are derivative second-hand ways of symbolically working through the meanings and experiences of the waking consciousness. If in dreams there is the possibility of sovereign asubjective experience, then it seems that rather the opposite is the case. The impoverished and purified waking consciousness of the identity-preserving subject dealing with objects is a derivative second-hand way of servile toiling that receives most of its energy and intensity out of the asubjective dream experience. We must add the words “possibility of” in front of the expression “sovereign asubjective experience,” because if there is no clearcut boundary between dream and waking, then there is no reason why the subject could not in principle corrupt dream experience into a subjective workforce, too. Similarly, if there is no absolute boundary, then there is no a priori reason why waking life could not be saturated by asubjective experience. Summing up, Vadén remarks that “the dream is not a symbolic and subjective second hand version of the world of the waking subject, but rather asubjective dreaming as experience is the energetic ground out of which the subject as well as the objective world are built up. . . .” There is but a single world or existence that is only artificially separated into the dream and wakeful states.

CHAPTER TWO

THE PHYSICS OF SPACETIME

THE REALITY OF ILLUSION

THE ILLUSION OF REALITY


Who is the beautiful maiden without eyes, whose body is hidden and revealed? She ventures forth in the morning and hides throughout the day. The ornaments that adorn her are not. ~ Zohar 2:95a

Spacetime, Consciousness, and Language

The Question of Dimensionality, Mind and Matter in Ancient and Modern Physics

The notion of an absolute existence or ontology of spacetime is deeply engrained in modern human consciousness. Consequently, in order to deconstruct this artificial cognitive reification and to demonstrate the correctness of its dethronement requires not only the argumentation and evidence from the fields of cognitive, literary, and comparative spiritual studies as presented in chapter one, but also an extended analysis of theoretical physics. As we have already discovered, the process of reification cannot be understood apart from the sway of substantivism, since the latter arises from the former. This powerful dominance of substantivism, which involves what one could call the tyranny of nouns, and which pertains in fact to all parts of the phenomenon of language as a whole, is predicated upon the more fundamental experience of space and time which are increasingly interpreted as absolute substances by a developing child’s mind. The mind’s interpretation of space and time as absolute substances is facilitated and reinforced by the increasingly sophisticated levels of language and cognition acquired gradually, yet as a whole quite rapidly, by a maturing child. Yet we must bear in mind that rather than a strictly causal relationship prevailing in this scenario, it is rather the case that consciousness and language develop simultaneously in a reciprocal mode. This would seem to indicate that language and consciousness may be ultimately but two aspects or modalities of a single phenomenon or process, as we saw from Cassirer in the previous chapter.

In a sense, the reifications of space and time are the primary artificially absolutized substances upon whose foundations is constructed all subsequent linguistic-cognitive-based objectifications and concretizations that follow, including the all-important sense of selfhood misleadingly construed as an unchanging or fixed individual identity. The sense of “I” must be enframed within a cognitive ambience or “space,” which indicates that the latter is more primordial than egohood. Thus in order to understand language and the nature of reification, the objectification and concretization of something that is actually quite fleeting and abstract, one must grasp the general outlines and intimate details of space and time, as I have said, not only from the viewpoints of psychology, literature, and comparative religious studies, but from the domain of physics as well. Such a widely diversified approach at first may seem potentially overwhelming. If, however, we but remind ourselves that academia’s current sharp compartmentalized divisions between various fields of knowledge, such as literature, cognition, music, physics, linguistics, etc., is artificial and a quite recent development in education (think of the ancient scholar Aristotle who learned philosophy, physics, literature, biology, etc., and the scholars of universal knowledge during the Renaissance), then from a more integral and holistic perspective we can recognize the legitimacy and even necessity of exploring the physics of spacetime in order to understand the origins and operations of language more adequately. This is especially the case given my observation proffered above that all secondary linguistic reifications (including that of the separate and separative “I”) are constructed upon the primary foundation of the dual utilitarian but ultimately irreal reifications of space and time.

Additionally, because consciousness and matter are not two separate entities, as incorrectly supposed by Descartesdualistic res cogitans and res extensa paradigm, but constitute, as we shall see, a single unitive phenomenon, in order to understand consciousness and language we must grasp the topic of matter as well. To anticipate one of the central points of the discussion below, not only consciousness but also matter would seem to be fundamentally composed of information. Thus, to take in an overview of the thematic constellation of this and the previous paragraphs, we can conclude that because language, spacetime, consciousness, and matter are all integrally and inseparably interconnected, we cannot understand language and consciousness satisfactorily without at some point daring to do so from the various angles of the physics of spacetime and matter. David Bohm’s Implicate Order and Pre-Matter Consciousness In the present chapter I develop and explicate the term Pre-Matter Consciousness (PMC), a terminology I have coined that denotes an undifferentiated actuality from which both matter and consciousness arise on the phenomenal level. While one could speak of Pre-Matter (or proto-matter) and Pre-Consciousness (or proto-consciousness), this would be misleading insofar as these two separate terms would imply two distinct actualities rather than a single undivided subject. Pre-Matter Consciousness can be viewed as a unitary precursor to matter and consciousness, although these latter two also constitute a single phenomenon that is often mistakenly understood as two separate or separable entities. As I shall explain, matter and consciousness constitute two modes of a single integral phenomenon. Pre-Matter Consciousness can be largely coordinated with David Bohm’s Implicate Order, though with modulations, the most important of which are based on the thought of Wolfgang Pauli. Suzanne Gieser highlights the specific tensions between Bohm and Pauli to which I allude in this context: The rejection of “the classical idea of the objective reality in the cosmos” was one of the most important principles to Pauli. The influence of the process of observation on reality must form a central part of all scientific theory. This was the fundamental reason for Pauli’s inability ever to accept various kinds of theory of so-called “hidden variables,” such as, for example, David Bohm’s theory of the “implicate order.” Bohm looked frenetically during the 1950s for support for his theories from Pauli, who naturally dismissed them because they are based on metaphysical assumptions of a causal order that cannot be confirmed by observation. Bohm then accused Pauli of “positivism,” because only a positivist prejudice could prevent anyone from accepting the excellence of Bohm’s reasoning. Pauli had of course more to go on than a positivist prejudice when he criticized Bohm’s causalist theories. Recently there have been a number of attempts to equate Bohm’s theory of “hidden variables” with Jung’s theory of unus mundus (the unified world). These attempts seem to have entirely overlooked the fact that Bohm and Jung work with opposing worldviews. Bohm’s hidden order is causal because it assumes that all apparently acausal and alocal phenomena rest on a hidden, enfolded causality. It is vital to bear in mind in what follows that when I treat of Bohm’s Implicate Order, I do so in a modulated Paulian sense that undercuts Bohmian acausality’s underlying causality. I would also stress that I share several of Pauli’s own critical stances against Jung’s ideas. As Gieser explains: “In his effort to steer a middle course Pauli does not want to see the archetypes as ‘psychic’ structures which are projected onto material objects, but as factors which belong to the third order which structures both psyche and matter.” Gieser lays out the specific reason for Pauli’s stance in this case: “Jung’s definition of the archetypes as psychic contents that are projected onto the outer world betrayed such one-sidedness. The factors creating order in mind as well as matter might very well be called ‘archetypes,’ provided that they are not defined as psychic contents. They must be seen as lying beyond psyche and matter but manifesting in both areas.”189 The “third order” refers to Pauli’s psychophysical theory, which shares a basic similarity with Bohm’s Implicate Order.

As Edward J. Alam reminds us, as early as Aristotle we encounter the idea of a tertiary actuality that underlies all of matter: Aristotle suggested a third principle or substance, the substratum, to account for change and then identified it with matter. Now we see that this identification of matter as substance (something that exists) can only be made in a qualified way. The qualification itself captures what Aristotle means by potency. Potency could account for both the underlying continuity, and for the radical and real change in substance. . . . But the underlying thing or principle of continuity is just that, under-lying: sub-stratum — a power — not seen — but always present — waiting to explode into complete being — to allow all else to be seen — not nothing — but not some “thing” in itself — yet providing for the “thingness” of all things — a non-material matter — an ultimate substrate — a prime matter.

Alam additionally documents Heisenberg’s later thoughts on a tertiary unifying substratum: From this observation, he concluded that there must be an underlying substratum that potentially provides for all of the different forms of matter, but which does not have any of its properties. In a particularly precise formulation of this, wherein we are able to see exactly what he meant when he stated that “it is permissible today to speak about this new and perhaps conclusive answer to questions that were formulated [in Greece] thousands of years ago,” he states: “We can say that all particles are made of the same fundamental substance, which can be designated energy or matter; or we can put things as follows: the basic substanceenergy’ becomes matter by assuming the form of an elementary particle.”

We can now turn our attention to Bohm, who writes that matter and consciousness have “a common ground,” that they are two aspects of a single “order” which “makes a relationship between the two possible.” Indeed, the common ground “is neither mind nor body but rather a yet higher-dimensional actuality, which is their common ground and which is of a nature beyond both.” Max Velmans reminds us that philosophy calls the thesis that “[m]ind and physical matter might be aspects or arrangements of something more fundamental that is itself neither mental nor physical” the “dual aspect theory” of the relationship between mind and body. Based on his adherence to this proposition, Velmans developed his “dual aspect theories of information,” which form the basis of his Reflexive Monism (RM) theory, essentially paralleling my model of a Bohmian-based Pre-Matter Consciousness, with the qualification here that Velmans is concerned more specifically with the mind-body problem, whereas Bohm is concerned more broadly with matter and consciousness as such. Bohm contends that matter (such as represented by the body) and consciousness are acausally related. He presents the analogy of two cameras positioned at different angles of an aquarium containing a single fish. The two different but correlated images are shown simultaneously on two separate television screens in a second room. To an observer of the images projected upon the screens who has no knowledge of the two cameras, it may appear that two separate aquariums and two different fish are being filmed. The separate images exhibiting the movements of the single fish in the aquarium might be misinterpreted by the observer as involving a cause and effect scenario, since a visual correlation between the one fish’s movements on the two screens would be apparent. Bohm applies this analogy to the relationship between matter and consciousness: “So we do not say that mind and body causally affect each other, but rather that the [apparently correlated] movements of both are the outcome of related projections of a common higher-dimensional ground.” We might alternatively phrase this, for reasons I discuss below, as “a common lower or even non-dimensional ground.”

Bohm later clarified this paradigm in the final pages of The Undivided Universe, his last book (published posthumously), co-authored with Basil J. Hiley: “Thus, there is no real division between mind and matter, psyche and soma. The common term psychosomatic is in this way seen to be misleading, as it suggests the Cartesian notion of two distinct substances in some kind of interaction.” He writes of the “mental pole” and the “physical pole,” and likens them to the north and south poles of a magnetic field, in which there is “at every part of a magnet . . . a potential pair of north and south poles that overlap each other.” He concludes that “the deeper reality is something beyond either mind or matter.” Matter and consciousness would in this paradigm therefore exist in a non-causal context. Like the north and south poles of a magnet, the matterconsciousness poles are an abstraction, like the two poles which are actually always present everywhere in the magnet. The “pairs” of matter and consciousness on the one hand and space and time on the other correspond structurally to the south and north magnetic poles, for they interpenetrate to the point that the distinctions between them are ultimately unveiled as artificial constructs. Similarly, Velmans employs the analogy of light as necessarily both wave and particle in order to explain the fullness of the “more fundamental” reality which forms the inseparable basis of the unitary mind-body. I would interject that both wave and particle may in the end turn out to be illusory ideational constructs more than actual physical features of the cosmos. As for consciousness, Bohm writes that it “shows or manifests on two sides which may be called the physical and the mental. Active information can serve as a kind of link or ‘bridge’ between these two sides.” Bohm then proceeds to explain that the oppositional pair of the animate and inanimate is also resolved into a unity at a higher (or deeper) level, since a “molecule of carbon dioxide” does not “suddenly become[] alive” when it “enters the tree,” and conversely it does not die “when it leaves the tree.” A Bohmian-based Pre-Matter Consciousness structure (or better, protastructure) could, as a consequence of its transcendent position in relation to materiality and immateriality, manipulate, organize, and configure both matter and consciousness, these two (actually a dual unity) subsisting as a subset of a higher “actuality.” The manipulation of matter and consciousness structurally corresponds to a certain degree to the manipulation, organization, and configuration of perceptual 3-D space and time (N, T), and the latter two are similarly resolved into a higher unity of perceptual 4-D Minkowski spacetime, which in turn, however, is cancelled out, as I shall later explain, at a higher level of ontological non-spacetime or what might be called minus/or negative spacetime that exhibits 0 dimensionality. Bohm’s higher multidimensional ground, or implicate order, from which the matter-consciousness subset arises is not a religiously metaphysical concept, but a suppositional hypothesis of theoretical physics which at least potentially can be indirectly described mathematically. As Basil J. Hiley states: “This implicate order is a structure of relationships, and this order of structures is described by an algebra. . . . Here the implicate order is not some woolly metaphysical construction, it is a precise description of the underlying process, mathematically expressed in terms of a noncommuting algebra.” The implicate order—like its modulated extension PreMatterConsciousness—can therefore be mathematically described “in the noncommutatity of the quantum formalism.” But the algebra involved will possess nonclassical properties, for “it is not possible to describe quantum processes in terms of a classical phase space because x and p cannot be defined simultaneously. This is a consequence of the non-commutative structure of the formalism.” As Hiley concludes his argumentation on this point: “Thus the ground of both thought and matter is in the implicate order. Our task is to find an algebraic description of those aspects of this implicate order where mind and matter have their origins.”208 These non-commutative algebras are related to so-called pre-geometries, which Frescura and Hiley have described elsewhere at length.

Information and Simulation

Simulation Hypothesis and Communication-Information Theories

Regarding information theory, we must recall that information is a subset of communication. For Bohm, “active information” is a “link or ‘bridge’ between” consciousness and matter, or the physical and mental poles. In our computerdominated culture we will naturally draw analogies between the mind and computer information processes, but we must be careful to avoid overly reductive mechanistic contours in this respect. In former ages the human mind was likened to a clock, later to telephone communication, and now to the computer: “In each age people use the latest technological developments as models for the mind.” As Bohm predicts, when the computer, or its present form, is outdated, a new comparison will naturally arise. As the same author clarifies, “our ‘re-collection’ is directly from a whole rather than the result of an algorithm for searching the memory in detail.” This aspect of wholeness takes us beyond the limitative paradigm of the mind-matter model proposed by Everett and Gell-Mann and Hartle, which “imply that mind is a rather limited sort of system” comparable to “the notion of an ‘information gathering and utilising system’ (IGUS),” which lowers humanity “to a kind of machine.” Elsewhere Bohm observes on the evidence of Pribram: “[M]emories are generally recorded all over the brain in such a way that information concerning a given object or quality is not stored in a particular cell or localized part of the brain but rather that all the information is enfolded over the whole.” Memory thus acts like a holograph as well as a hologram in certain ways.

As Spivey, Richardson, and Zednik point out, human brain activity is actually not very comparable to computer functions: In the early years of cognitive science, the few pioneers who were concerning themselves with neurophysiology staked their careers on the assumption that populations of spiking neurons would behave more or less the same as populations of digital bits. . . . However, a great deal more has been learned in the past few decades about how populations of neurons work, and it is nothing at all like the instantaneous binary flip-flopping from one discrete state to another that characterizes the “switchlike elements” of digital computers. The individual neurons that make up a population code do not appear to update their states in lockstep to the beat of a common clock (except perhaps under spatially and temporally limited circumstances). Population codes spend a substantial amount of their time in partially coherent patterns of activity. And the brain’s state is often dynamically traversing intermediate regions of the contiguous metric state space that contains its many semi-stable attractor basins.

Bohm’s caution about comparing brains to computers has thus been vindicated. For Bohm, the “mental process” is not “a mere ‘epiphenomenon’ of matter.” As a consequence, consciousness has a potentially infinite field of extension, while it always remains limited in the domain of its concrete activity. Velmans relevantly examines at length various problems involved with the dominant view that consciousness arises out of matter. A typical formulation of the presently prevailing notion is expressed as follows by Jack A. Tuszynski and Nancy Woolf: “That the brain does give rise to consciousness is a key assumption of modern neuroscience and we will take it as a given, otherwise we would be compelled to seek these answers in the realm of religion or metaphysics.” But neither Velmans nor Bohm appeals to religion or to religious metaphysics in their hypotheses of a common ground from which both mind and matter arise. Bohm’s profound analyses on soma-significance, discussed below, were written shortly before his sudden death, and can be viewed as the culmination of his extensive earlier investigations into the matter-consciousness polarity. For Bohm, matter (as instantiated e.g. in the brain) does not complexify and give rise to consciousness or mind. That such a “developmental” model is flawed is indicated by the evidence from Bohm on the consciousness-like properties observable already in particles at the quantum level. An inseparability of matter and consciousness has been more recently posited by Dugić, Ćirković, and Raković, who write that consciousness has a physical origin, but not because the latter develops from the former, but on the basis of a “psycho-physical parallelism” on a cosmic scale. Without explicitly stating such, Dugić, Ćirković, and Raković, while accepting the dominant notion of the physical basis of consciousness, actually turn this dictum on its head by arguing that in a certain sense matter as such possesses the property of consciousness, especially when they propose that individual consciousness in reality “has access” to a “cosmic ‘collective consciousness’” associated with “transitional” states of consciousness which themselves may be linked to precognition and other anomalous phenomena. The three authors conclude with a statement quite reminiscent of some of Bohm’s latest ponderings: “As a consequence one could further support the conjecture that consciousness might be the essential property of Nature at different structural levels, macroscopic and microscopic, animate and inanimate, being presumably related to the unified field itself.”

To understand some related properties of nature one could cite Bohm’s contention that “there will be a horizon in which this space ‘dissolves’ into an implicate order. Such a ‘universe’ would not have a definite boundary, but would simply fade into something that does not manifest to us beyond its horizon. Nor would it have a beginning or an end.” Bohm concludes accordingly: “This would of course imply a general nonlocal contact between elements and would mean that the ordinary ideas of space as constituted of localisable elements would no longer hold.” Even the “very words ‘large’ and ‘small’ would be misleading” in such a concept of non-space. According to Piaget, concepts of space, time, and causality are largely (though not entirely) learned from (or generated by) cognitive development and language acquisition. These spatiotemporal concepts are thus non-principial, and are reflective of secondary constructs. Indeed, “the moment of consciousness cannot be precisely related to measurements of space and time, but rather covers a somewhat vaguely defined region which is extended in space and has duration in time”; that is, a moment of consciousness is not bound by or to a single space or time point, but encompasses an entire region of perceptual space and time simultaneously. Time and space are similarly “secondary” in the sense that they are both derived from a higherdimensional ground which is a “multidimensional reality,” or as I will postulate below, a non-dimensional field-state that generates the illusory appearance of dimensionality.

From these last considerations, one can discern that a proposal of radical nonspacetime is more consistent than is Bohm’s own modulating or alternating system. It is as if in the end Bohm somehow wishes to rescue the concepts of space and time, as well as causality, which is of course understandable. This attempt becomes programmatic with specific reference to time in subsection 13.4, “Extension and Generalization of Notions of Time and the Implicate Order,” in Bohm’s essay “Time, the Implicate Order, and Pre-Space,” in David Ray Griffin ed., Physics and the Ultimate Significance of Time. This essay reveals Bohm’s struggles for consistency; for example, one page after twice stressing the reality of a “‘timeless’ [implicate] ground in which there is no separation,” and “the deeper, ‘timeless’ implicate order,” he writes: “The implicate order is characterized not by an ultimate level in which time is totally absent, but rather by a vast range of interwoven times that enfold other times in nonlocalizable ways and are in turn thus enfolded in still other times.” Perhaps his dedication to this last statement is what in part led him to use qualifying quotation marks twice around the word “timeless” on a nearby page. Still, Bohm’s concept of multiple nonlocal folds of time is intriguing on account of the non-spatial state/s involved with such time/s at the perceptual level. It may be that the difficulties in this context arise from an element of illusion and what humans might judge as absurdity that might be inherent in the very fabric or nature of the cosmos, and such illusion and absurdity could be inseparable from the nature of consciousness and even pre-consciousness.

For Bohm, moments of time are projections of a higher multidimensional reality, and there can be discontinuous time involving sequences of moments that skip intervening spaces, just as “an electron . . . can go from one state to another, without passing through any states in between.” Applying quantum theory to general relativity, one can deduce that “distance” cannot “be completely defined. . . . Beyond this, the whole notion of space and time as we know it would fade out into something that is at present unspecifiable,” which is somehow related to the multidimensional implicate order which projects the content of the perceptual 3-dimensional world. Bohm even speculates that “there may be many other such expanding universes,” in agreement with concepts of “the multiverse.” B. J. Hiley describes spacetime as a purely relational construct, and asks the following pertinent questions: Could space-time merely be an appearance, a feature that has to be abstracted from some deeper structure, a structure where space-time itself is not taken as basic? If this were the case, then it would be establishing locality that would present the problem. Could it be that locality itself is merely a relationship? The first suggestive example of showing how locality could be a relationship appears in the hologram.

Suppose locality is a relationship, could it be that quantum phenomena are in some sense beyond space-time and are merely projected into space-time by our macroscopic instruments? In other words, could quantum processes be evolving in some more general space, which for convenience we call simply “prespace.” This pre-space would then give rise to Wheeler’s pre-geometry. In this view, the space-time of the classical world would be some statistical approximation and not all quantum processes can be projected into this space without producing the familiar paradoxes, including non-separability and nonlocality. In classical physics everything is local so that a single space-time can provide a contradiction free description. If we adopt this radical view, we can see that it is not necessary to insist on the Cartesian division between res extensa and res cogitans. Matter actually has its origins in a deeper structure, a structure where space-time and hence extension is not primary. If such an approach were viable then matter and mind need no longer be separated by space-time constraints. . . . For Bohm, “the order of space (and ultimately of time) flows out of a deeper implicate order of pre-space.” He refers to “radically new notions of order, measure, and structure,” which ultimately lead “far beyond quantum theory and relativity.” The concept of space involving topology and distance “is no longer adequate,” for such is “merely an aspect of a broader totality.” “Space, time, matter, and movement” will have to be “described in new ways . . . which cannot even be thought about in terms of current theories.”241

Regarding the question of higher dimensions, Vesselin Petkov cautiously observes that “it is natural to address the question of the dimensionality of the world on the macroscopic scale according to relativity first, before dealing with the question of extra dimensions introduced by more recent physical theories.” Petkov’s observation is important, and we can accordingly posit non-dimensional non-spacetime only after examining the question of 3-D space and time and 4-D Minkowski spacetime. I conclude below that the absence of space and time ironically implied in 4-D spacetime suggests a yet higher state of adimensional non-spacetime. Non-spacetime would constitute a dimension only in a qualitative sense, not in a quantitative sense (although one must guard against an overly facile contrast between the quantitative and the qualitiative), for the worddimension” implies space and time components. One might suggest a paradigm wherein the concept of the 3-D world is a quantitative perceptual dimension, while the concept of the 4-D world is a perceptual interface state functioning as a cognitive toggle between itself and the purely qualitative higher state(s) of (relatively more) actual non-spacetime. Marcel-Marie LeBel, in the context of arguing that “space does not exist in the real universe,” explains that “dimensions” are “created by our experience” or perception. LeBel posits that the perception of space has to do with the notion of “coincidences”: Basically, we create space by the integration of perceived coincidences. By integration I mean that we are slow. If we were extremely rapid and discriminate we would perceive each incoming photon separately. But in doing so we could not accumulate them in a sufficient number to form a picture. Luckily, we are slow and like a photographic emulsion, we accumulate or integrate enough to form a “coincidence space.” Why three dimensions? As said above, we are at the centre of a sphere of coincidence, and a sphere just happens to divide well according to three axes. This is literally a “point of view” which comes from the fact that we are not spread all over the place but ponctual and in one place. So, we are forced by our very nature into one point of view. There are no dimensions in the real universe, not this kind at least.

LeBel offers the following intriguing explanation for why a spherical configuration lies behind the perception of three spatial dimensions: “This cloud of probability of position is usually spherical in shape because the particle spends on average an equal amount of time anywhere around that central point. Thus, the shape, position and motion of this cloud depend on the uniformity or non-uniformity of the rate of passage of time in that location. Since everything is made of these particles, we will consider as valid the extension of this principle to whole objects made of them.”245 Below I will discuss LeBel’s (for me problematic) thesis on the ontological reality of time and its identification with matter. At this point I note that theoretical physics has as yet not sufficiently considered the possibility that a non-quantitative “dimension” characterized by Pre-MatterConsciousness might not be directly describable by quantitative laws of mathematics (which would make sense because Pre- MatterConsciousness would be pre- or proto-informational). A qualitative dimension, which is really no dimension at all, at least not in the usual sense of the term, would require for its direct (or analogically direct) description qualitative laws of mathematics. One may take at least two fundamental approaches to mathematics in this regard. Reuben Hersh represents mathematics as a physically based and therefore physically limited entity: “Mathematics evolved from two sources, the study of numbers and the study of shape, or more briefly, from arithmetic and visual geometry. These two sources arose by abstraction or observation from the physical world. Since its origin is physical reality, mathematics can never escape from its inner identity with physical reality.”247 Yet one could argue that on account of the common ground of matter and consciousness, of solidity (of which physicality is but one possible mode or sub-mode) and the non-material world of ideas (which admittedly are grounded in and participate in matter in an inseparable mode), one can never essentially separate mathematics from interior, abstract states—that is, mathematics cannot be reduced restrictively and thus be limited to what is perceived as the “merely” physical domain, which in any case is mostly a misleading abstraction, given that the mental and physical seem to be but two modes of a single phenomenon. Accordingly Steinhart can assert that “the material is reducible to the mathematical,”248 which implies that solidity is reducible to, or unifiable with, the abstract.

In Bohmian terms, matter and consciousness are ultimately interpenetrating aspects of a single reality. This Bohmian unification has various implications for the Platonic theory of numbers, and would simultaneously confirm, qualify, and augment the Platonic model by stressing the non-dualistic inseparability of an archetype (numerical or otherwise) and its manifestation. An important observation to make at this point is that, as J. R. Brown comments, non-material abstract entities, such as numbers, are acausal and exist outside of space and time.249 Yet the Einstein-Podolsky- Rosen set-up raises the possibility of even a physical acausal theory of knowledge.250 Bohm’s concept of acausal interactions between higher and lower dimensions (as problematic as the notion of dimensions is) involves a model which transcends the solid-abstract (matter-consciousness) dichotomy, a paradigm which may assist us in analysing Bohmian acausal biological evolution, to which I now turn.

over the rationals or over finite number fields), then entirely new orders (not reducible at all to (3+1)-dimensional order) may become relevant.” David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, pp. 170-171; see the whole discussion, pp. 167-171. Cf. also Bohm’s explanation “that an algebraic relationship, such as A = BC + D, corresponding to some explicate geometric features, has an implicate counterpart, A' = B'C' + D' . . . .” Bohm, “Time, the Implicate Order, and Pre-Space,” pp. 194-195. Of a somewhat different order are Petkov’s 4-dimensional mathematical reformulations, such as the transformation of the Pythagorean theorem in Euclidean space l2 = y2 + x2 into what he calls the pseudoEuclidean 4-dimensional spacetime formula s2 = c2t2 – x2. See Vesselin Petkov, Relativity and the Nature of Spacetime (Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2005), p. 82. Hiley’s work on non-commutative algebra is also relevant in this context. 247 See Reuben Hersh, “Inner Vision, Outer Truth,” in Reuben Hersh, ed., 18 Unconventional Essays in Mathematics (NY: Springer, 2006), p. 321. 248 Eric Steinhart, “The Physics of Information,” in Luciano Floridi, ed., The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004), p. 184. 249 James Robert Brown, Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures (London/NY: Routledge, 1999), pp. 10, 13. 250 Ibid., pp. 13-14.

Bohmian Non-Mechanistic Acausal Biological Evolution

Bohm presents an alternative to the mechanistic scientific Weltanschauung which pictures the world as a machine consisting of separate yet interrelated components causally affecting each other through interaction in precise moments within spatial and temporal environments. He replaces this with a “creative,” meaning non-mechanistic, view in which “new content,” that is, the events that unfold in the world, are a projection from a higher multidimensional ground. The new content “unfolds into a sequence of moments that is not completely derivable from what came earlier in this sequence or set of such sequences.” That is, substances or events in the world are not arising out of a causal relationship based on interaction between them; rather substances and situations arise in the world acausally from a higher-dimensional ground (which is, as I argue below, an adimensional ground of pure protocommunication/information). This makes sense from the perspective of a block world model which is lacking space and time in the 3-D sense. Cause and effect are possible only within a setting of time; if there is no time in a block universe, there can be no cause, no effect, and no development. Thus what seems to be development or causation at the perceptual 3-D level is explained differently at a block universe level. Bohm draws important implications from this for the concept of biological evolution. He does not deny biological evolution as such, but he does stress the incomplete nature of current evolutionary concepts, since a higher-dimensional paradigm would require that what is commonly called evolution must originate acausally and atemporally from a higher dimension in which space and time do not exist in the ordinary sense. Bohm encapsulates his argumentation in the following precise manner:

Such a projection can be described as creative, rather than mechanical, for by creativity one means just the inception of new content, which unfolds into a sequence of moments that is not completely derivable from what came earlier in this sequence or set of such sequences. What we are saying is, then, that movement is basically such a creative inception of new content as projected from the multidimensional ground. In contrast, what is mechanical is a relatively autonomous sub totality that can be abstracted from that which is basically a creative movement of unfoldment. How, then, are we to consider the evolution of life as this is generally formulated in biology? First, it has to be pointed out that the very wordevolution” (whose literal meaning is “unrolling”) is too mechanistic in its connotation to serve properly in this context. Rather, as we have already pointed out above, we should say that various successive living forms unfold creatively. Later members are not completely derivable from what came earlier, through a process in which effect arises out of cause (though in some approximation such a causal process may explain certain limited aspects of the sequence). The law of this unfoldment cannot be properly understood without considering the immense multidimensional reality of which it is a projection (except in the rough approximation in which the implications of the quantum theory and of what is beyond this theory may be neglected).

Many in the world of academia and in popular audiences are quick to accept and marvel at the evidence from quantum physics which indicates that an effect might precede its cause (which would necessarily imply acausality), or that a particle might make transitions between states without passing through intervening or intermediate states, but few draw the radical yet logical implications of these facts for the phenomenon of biological evolution. Stephen W. Wood has developed what might be called models of quasi-acausal and quasi-atemporal models of biological evolution by using alternating taxic and transformational categories. Homology involves continuity of information; the transformational entails genealogy and sets of instructions; the taxic implies constancy and meaning. Wood explains that the common evolutionary model that “depends on the modification of lower levels to the pattern of a new higher level” is questionable because “[t]here can be no new level if what the lower levels are is independent of the relationships into which they enter.” Finally, “If there is an internal relatedness of the higher and lower levels, new features can emerge.” At first sight, it would appear that biological evolution could involve a future cause traveling backwards in time, but in fact an even more radical process is at work, which actually overturns the very notion of causality, and information theory provides a key solution:

When we view information in the transformational approach we find that it flows from low-level to high-level holons. The direction of causation in the transformation must therefore originate with the low-level holon. When we view information in the taxic approach we find that it flows in the opposite direction, from high-level to low-level holons. Within a unified model this would imply that time also flows in the reverse direction, or that backwards (future) causality is involved. Within the complementarity paradigm, however, the taxic approach can be most fruitfully viewed as acausal, that “causality as it is normally employed has no meaning.”257

Not only is biological evolution acausal, but it does not take place within a real “space” in any overly reified sense of the term. As Wood explains by quoting from Smolin, space is a secondary construct produced by communication-information processes: Any surface is a channel of information between observers: any surface may be treated as a holon. “In such a world, nothing exists except processes by which information is conveyed from one part of the world to another. And the area of a screen—indeed, the area of any surface in space—is really nothing but the capacity of that surface as a channel of information. So . . . space is nothing but a way of talking about all the different channels of communication that allow information to pass from observer to observer. And geometry, as measured in terms of area and volume, is nothing but a measure of the capacity of these screens to transmit information.” In other words, the world is a hierarchy of holons. One could also better understand non-local aspects of this scenario by applying various features of physics to biological evolution and information theory. The following observations made by Hiley regarding quantum physics can be fruitfully transferred to the domain of quasi-acausal biological evolution: Although this non-local connection exists and may evolve in time, there is no hint of anything “flowing” between the two particles. . . . In general relativity energy is needed to curve spacetime but this energy cannot be localised. . . . If there are no local gravitational fields, there can be no local gravitational energy, but this does not mean that there is no gravitational energy, it just means that it cannot be localised. . . . Furthermore since we are dealing with a global effect there is no direct energy transfer involved.

The processes at work here imply a non-local data transfer which has as a consequence that “we find that it is the active information that is transferred from one particle to another and that this transfer is mediated by the non-local quantum potential.” Applying these insights to the field of biological evolution, one can posit that the latter involves processes of non-local data transfer, so that various species do not immediately “cause” change by direct interaction with each other in the setting of a wider spatially reified environment. Biological modification and adaptation appears more in the context of quantum jumps between states than through direct causal intermediations. In other words, the strict notion of causally connected “links” in a chain of evolution is far too mechanistic to explain satisfyingly how the vast and rich variety of life forms are interconnected. This involves a non-localized “global effect,” so that any energy transfer will not be directly transmitted on individual bases. That is, the entire “environment” develops as a whole, not through individually interacting components causing modification, because information co-exists on high and low levels taxically as well as transformationally. In the taxic model, local temporal cause is replaced with simultaneous global correspondence. And correspondence implies an information stasis distributed globally throughout lower and higher holons (or species).

There is simply no development, movement, velocity, or evolution in a block world, for space and time do not exist in such a frozen world where the entirety of perceptual space and time co-exists as simultaneous wholes to the point that they cannot even be adequately described or understood semantically with words such as “space” or “time.” Bohm implies that what is perceived as development in a lower dimension arises not out of causal interaction of separate elements within that dimension, but acausally from a higher dimension (a dimension consisting of pure proto-communication/information, in our view of 0 dimensionality). Evolution must take place in space and time; if space and time are ultimately illusions created by cultural and mental-linguistic constructs, then 3-D evolution is essentially a perceptual mirage based on an incomplete state of knowledge of the total block world, just as time is ultimately a misdirected ideational perception, even if it is a process that is not only unavoidable but useful and necessary as well on a certain relative level. The considerations delineated above do not offer any support to religious fundamentalists who might wish to reinstrumentalize Bohm’s words to serve their ideas of “creationism.” This is because in a Bohmian paradigm, the world line (that is, the entire historical existence from beginning to end) of the genus homo would include all its various species, homo habilis, homo erectus, homo sapiens, etc., without the need of invoking any causal lineal descent (which does not mean there is no lineal descent—it is just that it is acausal), whereas creationists would perhaps restrict the genus homo’s world line to the present human species alone rather than to the entire genus. It is of course not the case that for Bohm the various species of the genus homo, such as homo habilis and homo erectus, would be equivalent in any unqualified formal sense with each other. What he is hinting at in this context is instead some degree of overlapping of forms, and that this intersection, however, cannot be of a strictly causal nature. Of course, from a larger perspective all of biological life on the planet earth can be viewed as a unitary entity, indeed the planet as a whole (even the universe) has been understood by various thinkers since ancient times as a single living being (in the Corpus Hermeticum, for example), although this does not invalidate individual differentiations on local levels. In any case, one of the illuminating aspects of Bohm’s creative-non-mechanistic model of biological evolution is that the various species constituting the world line of the genus homo would be linked biologically, but not causally; the variations do not arise through interaction in an “environment,” for all such language implies causality and spacetime coordinates, in other words, a mechanistic worldview already antiquated by Relativity and quantum physics. The species variations would arise acausally not from within the framework of an interacting environment, but from a higher-dimensional (or even non-dimensional) implicate proto-informational ground where a non-spacetime stasis prevails.

To speak of a non-specetime stasis is correlate to the notion of what physics calls a block world or block universe. According to this view of existence, which possesses quite ancient antecedents and has received renewed impetus since the publication of Einstein’s Relativity theories, existence may be viewed as an undivided “block” wherein what we normally experience as past, present, and future exist as an undivided whole. For this reason the block world model is also known as eternalism. In a block universe past, present, and future are all equal ontically, so that time is just as much an indivisible block as is space taken as a whole. Indeed, in a block world time is essentially a spatial dimension, and thus just as all space points already exist on a road that one chooses to traverse, so all time points of that journey exist before the journey is embarked upon. Vesselin Petkov’s analogy of the contrast between a 3-D digital clock at 5 o’clock and its 4-D world line might be useful here. Whereas a normal 3-D digital clock can display one hour on its screen during any given hour of a day or night, such as 5 o’clock, the 4-D world line of a digital clock contains and displays simultaneously all hours of the day on its screen. Similarly, 3-D consciousness is able to see the complete display of hours only in the mode of succession, one at a time, hour by hour, moment by moment, second by second. At the same 3-D level, each moment of time does not causally bring into being the next moment of time; the sequence arises acausally. Similarly, with the world line of the genus homo there is no causal link between its species variations, but this implies that all of the species constituting the world line share what we might call the same essence or better, identity, so that from the vantage point of the unifying genus as a whole (which is one reason for the correspondence between individual species thereof) a distinction in so-called essence is not possible between homo sapiens, homo habilis, homo erectus, etc. To employ 3-D language, the past still exists in a world line, and the future already equally exists, so that even species variations that may (from our limited 3-D perspective) ultimately “descend” from homo sapiens would “already” constitute inseparable components of the “presenthuman species. The Bohminan model therefore delivers disturbing implications not only for fundamentalist creationism, but for the presently prevailing models of biological evolution as well, rooted as they are to various degrees in an outdated mechanistic worldview.

Yet even if biological evolution is not the result of causal interactions occurring within a spacetime environment, nevertheless a correspondence between physical organisms and their so-called environment/s will always prevail. Causality is replaced by correspondence, and the latter indicates that every world line pertaining to biological evolution would be stasis-configured in accord with the uniquely varying patterns acausally arising from the informational interaction between the higher and lower perceptual levels (what Bohm would call dimensions), and the interaction would chiefly include a shared data field acausally spread across higher and lower levels (again, what Bohm would call dimensions) and embodied in the lower and higher holons (species). Consequently, the variations in the trajectories of extra-solar biological evolution, for example, predicted by biological sciences, which involve the physiological impact of gravity, would remain intact in an acausal model, for precisely these variations would be related (acausally) to counterparts in the matrix (or matrices) of the higher “dimensions” proposed by Bohm, which would exhibit features of matrix diversity and fluctuation, just as do the dimensions we are immediately aware of from or at the perceptual 3-D level.

Unifying Static and Dynamic Block Universe Models

A Third Alternative to the Philosophy of Being and the Philosophy of Becoming

Here we must address the question of how there could be Bohmian creativity in biological evolution in a block world if all is eternally determined and frozen in nonspacetime. Such creativity could only be possible in a limited domain which might be explained by a synthesis of an eternally existing block world and a so-called dynamic or “growing” model of the block world. In the heated debate on the block universe, the standard static, frozen model has been challenged by a dynamic interpretation which attempts to maintain the block universe concept. However, as Petkov explains, dynamic models proposed by Christian and Sorkin, and others such as Weinert,263 cannot be reconciled with the evidence established by experiments which verify the kinematic effects of STR. As Weinert specifies, the static and dynamic block world models involve respectively the philosophy of being and the philosophy of becoming.265 One may ask if there might not be a third alternative that could possibly unify this polarity, without however, cancelling its conflictual intrarelationship, to use Derrida’s terminology. That is, can we introduce the dynamic while simultaneously preserving the stasis component? According to the standard static block world model, all dynamism is produced by human consciousness and is not inherent in the actual cosmos or in its laws as such. A dynamic block world model insists that there is movement, change, both spatially and temporally, in the cosmos independent of an observing consciousness. One could reconcile these two models, necessarily qualifying and modifying both, by using the following analogy, which as an analogy naturally breaks down at a certain point, but which nevertheless remains useful for present purposes. As previously suggested, one can liken the cosmos to the totality of data imprinted on a DVD version of a movie (in the pre-modern world the analogy of a book and its pages would be apposite). All space and time points exist simultaneously (atemporally and non-locally) all at once on the single DVD, in accord with the static, frozen block world model. However, whereas the standard block world model would proceed to argue that it is the observing consciousness that produces the illusion that the DVD contents move in space and time, one could modify the paradigm by suggesting that while the statically existing data imprinted on the disk does not move in the sense of it not coming into being, nevertheless the disk on which the data is imprinted does move in what is perceived as space and time, that it is consciousness that moves the disk, and that moreover the illusions of space and time are created precisely by the disk’s movement. This would imply that the 4-D spacetime normally associated with the block world model is a perceptual subset of a greater and higher “dimensional” state, which I posit as consisting precisely of Pre-MatterConsciousness, which would actually be of 0 dimensionality, hence my qualification of the word “dimensional” in this context.

I must stress here that when I say “that it is consciousness that moves the disk, and that moreover the illusions of space and time are created precisely by the disk’s movement,” I am speaking in the language of analogy, and as I remarked above, every analogy breaks down at a certain point. One must not understand the analogy too literally. I do not mean to imply that consciousness causes becoming strictly speaking, only that it facilitates access to awareness of the impression that there is a world of temporality and change. Of course, from a perspective of philosophical idealism one might argue for a co-incidence between consciousness and the world, although my own stance would be to seek an avoidance of the duality of the idealism-realism bifurcation. In agreement with dynamism, there are points that are either more distant or closer to each other (as Weinert phrases it, “there is an order of the succession of events”), which would be the various plot developments in the cosmic drama encoded on the DVD. Accordingly, Weinert notes that there is a sequencing in world lines; but his inference from this that time after all is therefore physically real, constitutes an unwarranted leap in logic. By contrast, in agreement with stasis, all these distant-close points exist statically and all at once on the disk. The illusion produced by consciousness is that the movements of the completed plot lines (philosophy of being) are actually coming into being (philosophy of becoming) as they are viewed, or “discovered” by the observing consciousness. Part of the illusion of temporality is attributable to the fact of the ultimate inseparability of observing subject and observed object, a scenario implied in quantum physics.

In summary, the dynamic “becoming” component of the static world of being is largely what might be called “extrinsic” to the nature of the static block universe. The mistake of dynamic block universe theorists such as Weinert is that they place dynamism on an unqualified intrinsic level rather than on a principally extrinsic level, although admittedly the intrinsic and extrinsic would ultimately exist on a metaxu-like continuum rather than as strict opposites. The disk moves as a whole, but the imprinted data contents of the disk do not come into being, but rather pre-exist eternally in stasis in non-spacetime. The movement of the disk is simultaneously created and perceived by consciousness and then interpreted as space and time. Thus it is immaterial when Weinert points out that we know the dinosaurs existed before the pharaohs. The static block world proponents’ literature, from Weyl, Gödel, to Eddington, et al., is filled with atemporal explanations for this phenomenon of world line sequencing which do not require an actual dynamic temporal component in the universe data imprinting, no more than a book having multiple chapters requires temporality to inhere physically in the book.

Proponents of block world stasis base much of their argumentation on the fact of the relativity of simultaneity as established in STR. Weinert correctly observes that there lurks here a problematic methodological issue: “But from the point of view of the General theory of relativity, the Special theory is only an approximation. It applies to very limited local parts of the universe. When the General theory is applied to the universe as a whole, a cosmic time scale is permitted.”268 To help make this situation clearer, I quote further from Weinert: “It is important to realise that where there is a causal connection between events (time-like connection), the order of events is the same for all observers; only the amount of time measured between these events will vary from observer to observer. As we shall see below, this will become one of the arguments against the notion of the block universe.” What Weinert does not make explicit in this particular citation, though he does not ignore it elsewhere, is that there are alternative interpretations of GTR that cancel out cosmic time; for example, in a Gödel RotatingUniverse (RU, GU), there is no cosmic time. The timelike curves of such RUs would eventually return to their starting points. Yourgrau offers a discussion of the philosophical history of time in the context of “being” in contrast to “change” (or actuality and possibility). He interprets Parmenidesontological thought according to the traditional conceptual model. Gödel agrees with this Parmenidean theoretical posture when alluding to the notion of “an objective lapse of time (whose essence is that only the present really exists).” As Yourgrau continues, “if the ‘is’ in ‘all that there is’ is tensed, it must always fail to apply to future times. . . .” If the present is “tenseless,” time would not be real. Moreover, a Parmenidean perspective would maintain that “being,” reality, or “all that is,” cannot expand. If past and future both “exist” (“are”), then it must therefore be in a tenseless sense, which would represent “spatialized time” without “ontological weight,” and thus time would once again be ideal.

As Yourgrau articulates Gödel’s model, time is “a mere appearance imposed on reality by a kind of ‘optical refraction’ of the subjective lens of the mind but reflecting nothing objective in the nature of things.” Yourgrau notes that for Kant, traditional definitions of time are only metaphors. But according to Gödel, with Relativity Theory and the time geometry of Einstein-Minkowski, time is literally geometrical. However, whereas Einstein used non-standard geometry for space, Gödel developed a nonstandard geometry for time. Gödel integrated Einsteinian time geometrization in his model of “closed timelike world lines,” according to which t as temporal succession or “the objectivity of becoming” is excluded. He posited the GU to solve the GTR field equations, and thereby “constructed a limit case for the relativistic geometrization of time.” In his GU model Gödel argued that t does not at all denote intuitive time associated with “objective temporal becoming.”

STR establishes that there is no “nonrelative ‘world-wide instant,’” for in the Einsteinian paradigm “now” can only be “frame-relative.” As Einstein articulated the situation, “‘now’ loses for the spatially extended world its objective meaning,” yet the fixed interval, or “invariant frame” of the “measure between events” remains, for as Yourgrau explains: “The equation for the interval, ds2 = dx2 + dy2 +dz2 –c2dt2, establishes that for events with timelike separation, where ds2 < 0, their temporal order is invariant—that is, the one proceeds the other in all frames of reference.” In contrast to STR, GTR preserves certain cosmological privileged inertial frames; before Gödel, these were integrated into the concept of “cosmic time.” While STR and GTR cancel out Newtonian time, both nevertheless preserve causal and cosmic time. But in a Gödel RU there is no cosmic time. The timelike curves of such RUs could eventually return to their starting points. This would make possible a sort of “time travel” whereby one heading to the causal future could intersect at the points of past or future. However, according to Gödel, objective time lapse in an RU is illusory.

For Yourgrau, the sense of hearing, not of sight, seems more helpful in understanding the flowing now, as in a musical score, for the latter is both temporal and tenseless. Relativity theory implies time’s relativity, not its subjectivity. The objective lapse of time necessitates that only the present really exists. “Time travel” would ironically require that there is no time, because if in an RU one travels to the causal future, one arrives at one’s local past, thus “cancelling” the objective lapse of time. Therefore a RU necessitates circular-closed time and not cyclical time. The question of how many time cycles have so far occurred has no meaning in relation to a time circle. In a time circle, all points in time are “already fully complete” from the “beginning.” This means that a time circle must be spacelike. There is no privileged Now in a time circle in RU or GU.289 In closed time, the distinction between actual and possible breaks down in an ontological neutrality (or fluidity, in a certain constricted sense) wherein future as well as the past would be closed, determinate, congruent with the theological concept of “predestination.” The future and past in this scenario are both necessary.290

For Gödel, Einsteinian time is only a formal simulacrum of intuitive, successive time. Intuitive time simply would not exist in a GU. Gödel endeavoured to highlight and then to illuminate the more counterintuitive aspects of Relativity Theory, points which are often still not appreciated. For Gödel, Einsteinian time ultimately is only a formal simulacrum of intuitive, successive time. Gödel’s modification of STR, which implies that there is no objective lapse of time, is so radical that for him time dilation does not mean merely that “time lapses in different ways for different observers.” Indeed, even a temporal mode of “beginning” of the universe is ultimately ruled out by STR. Yourgrau addresses ideas such as “the evolution of the universe, the age of the universe, the big bang origin of the universe . . . the current state of the universe”: “Such notions . . . have no objective significance in the STR, given the relativity of simultaneity and the equivalence of all inertial or reference frames.”295 Only in GTR is the problematic of privileged reference frames as “fundamental particles” dealt with. A GU is an RU, or Rotating-Universe, which is incompatible with GTR’s “‘privileged’ local times into a single ‘cosmic time,’”297 that is, there is no cosmic time in GU, for there, p < < p applies to all p, spacetime points. In GU, “spacetime . . . cannot but be a ‘space,’ since the ‘passing of time’ . . . cannot carry any ontological force. For how can one ‘revisit’ the past, if it is no longer ‘there’ to be ‘returned to’?”

According to Gödel, relativistic spacetime (as “formalistic simulacrum”) does not require the existence of CTCs, or closed temporal curves. Indeed, in a relativistic universe without cosmic time, neither time nor motion would exist; motion would be an “illusion,” and thus motion would be “no motion.” The question is how to verify that a “movement pattern” implies actual motion. Gödelian “time travel” would imply circular, or closed time, and not cyclical, or cycles of time. It is precisely the confusion between circles and cycles of time that leads respected authorities such as Lightman, Wheeler, Popper, Čapec, and others to argue against Gödelian “time travel.” Each of these authorities incorrectly attributes cycles of time to Gödel. Neither is Čapec’s argument against “time travel” in this context valid; he argues that time travel is impossible since one cannot “undo the past.” As Yourgrau rejoins, Gödelian reverse trajectory “time travel” has nothing to do with changing the past, for a “time traveller” may believe that she or he could change the past, but this impression would be an “illusion” in a deterministic cosmic ambient. However, this type of closed determinism is neither categorically nor modally “global.”

To return to Weinert, he also invokes a temporal aspect of Minkowski world lines as evidence against block world stasis: “Einstein had claimed that the static representation is more objective than the dynamic representation. Now there is a subtle shift. He introduces elementary change—the motion of the signal from B to A. It takes time for the signal to reach A. This means that world lines can develop a history.” To Weinert’s objection that Minkowski spacetime world lines have a temporal component I must point out that not only must we avoid confusing order with time, but also that there is no reason why we must be strictly bound by the entirety of Minkowski’s work, or by Einstein’s, to the point of being forbidden to revise, qualify, or even correct their work, for we are in fact required to do exactly this, since the various incompatibilities between GTR and Quantum Physics strongly indicate that both may be incomplete explanations of the cosmos (of course they are), so that each theory might stand in need of some correction or at least of augmentation. One of the strongest answers to Weinert’s objections is advanced by Petkov who demonstrates that the kinematic effects of STR would simply be impossible in a world of three spatial dimensions with a dynamic flow of time as the fourth dimension, for the kinematic effects strictly require at least a 4-D timeless world. For instance, perhaps the best explanation for the Lorentz contraction is that the divergent lengths of a single rod as measured by two different observers indicates that they are measuring two different “3-D” slices of the single rod’s higher-dimensional world line stretched across its entire “history.” The same principle applies to time dilation and the twin paradox. Therefore, even though STR cannot be expansively generalized and applied to the entirety of the cosmos, STR nevertheless does reveal certain features of the world as it truly is in itself and in its laws, for after all, STR’s time relativity is not abrogated by, but integrated and contextualized within, GTR’s cosmic time.

However, there still remains a fundamental unresolved issue here. GTR establishes an absolute cosmic time which does not cancel STR’s local relativity of simultaneity. But both GTR and STR necessitate an objective world in which time is space-like, that is, in which all time points co-exist fully and equally all at once. Yet time by usual definition involves tense in general and lapse in particular, that is, the tenses of past, present, and future, and the phenomenon of the rate at which time passes or lapses. Consequently, when one says that time is space-like, we should really replace the word “time,” explain what we mean by it in the new context by implementing a multiword phrase, or simply cancel it out. Because of the definitional components of lapse and tense in the normal usage of the word “time,” it would seem that time must be neither relativized relationally at the local level (STR), nor re-established at the cosmic level (GTR), but actually cancelled out with regard to the so-called actual world. It must be recognized that in a block world neither of the terms “space” or “time” is actually ultimately applicable, and in this respect, Gödel may offer us some of the keys necessary for understanding such a non-spacetime state. To my knowledge, only Yourgrau has contributed a monograph-length study which correctly understands Gödel’s theory of reverse trajectory time travel in a GU as an argument for temporal ideality. A GU is a hypothetical universe based on the mathematics of General Relativity as postulated by Gödel. A GU is infinite and whereas it does not expand, it does rotate, and hence a GU also falls under the general rubric of Rotating Universe (RU). Pertinent for understanding Gödel’s concept of time ideality are the following passages from Yourgrau: “[F]or Gödel, for time to be relative is precisely for it to be an illusion.” “[A]nyone who is not shocked by Gödel’s results about time has not yet sufficiently understood them.” In essence, Gödel’s argument is that if one can travel to the past, then time does not exist. This is because one cannot travel in or to something that does not exist, but if you do travel to the past, it does exist, and if the past still exists, then time in the normal sense cannot exist, because in the normal sense the past used to exist, but now no longer does, having ceased to exist.

Although in physics and psychology there are different categories of time, in normal language time denotes the flow of time; yet if there is no flow of time, then there is simply no time in one of the most commonly used senses of the word. If time has been shown to be relative, then arguably it must not exist except ideationally; it is cancelled out in non-spacetime. It was Gödel’s genius which enabled him to understand that if one can travel backwards in time, then there really is no time to travel in, that is, there is no passage of time inherent in the objective world or in its laws, and if there is no flow of time, then there is no time as such. GTR (re)establishes cosmic or general time, one could even call it absolute time, thus in a sense cancelling out STR’s time relativity. By absolute time I mean the coexistence of what are normally perceived as the three time tenses. What Gödel essentially did was to interpret GTR’s absolute time as non-time, since STR’s relativity of time semantically implies and necessitates the non-existence of time, at least in the normal sense of the word. What might be called the absolute “fullness” of time at the GTR level thus actually and ironically implies the absence of time. All human language is bound by the limitations of spatial and temporal categories, making it extremely challenging to discuss a static reality such as nonspacetime. Before bringing this section to a close it might therefore be advisable to ponder over certain aspects of the language typically employed in the discussion of the timeless block world. For example, in the above considerations I employed the normally pejorative term “illusion” with respect to the conscious perception of the flow of time. There is also talk of the “objectiveworld, as if on the one hand “objective” = “external”

physical” = “real,” while on the other hand “subjective” = “internal” = “non-physical

“unreal.” One immediately senses the need for making explicit certain implicit assumptions and supplying any necessary corrective ideas and terminologies. I accordingly tentatively propose the following lines of thought, again with recourse to the cosmic DVD analogy: Time truly exists in the observing consciousness, but not in/on the cosmic DVD on which the film data is imprinted. Thus we should not say that the “internal” world of consciousness, with its perception of time, is not real in any sense. Indeed, I would posit that both the so-called internal and external worlds consist simultaneously of the real and the illusory, of the potential that is the actual and the actual that is the potential. I must note that the very distinction between reality and illusion, just like the perceived differences between the internal and external and between consciousness and matter, is ultimately an artificial construct (I use the word “artificial” here in a nonpejorative sense). It is preferable to speak of internal and external aspects or appearances of a single world. The two aspects are linked via their common origin in Pre-MatterConsciousness. On at least one level, an internal perception, like the idea or experience of time, might be just as real and “outward” as a law of the “physicaluniverse. But because there is a diversity of non-space “states,” we cannot con-fuse (although we may transcend) what is commonly referred to as the internal and external states. And one must maintain the fully equal ontological status of both internal and external planes, even while stressing that they exist in different ontological modes that all inseparably involve reality and illusion, potentiality and actuality. Finally, it might be that the illusory aspects of consciousness reflect an illusory dimension inherent in the very “fabric” of the universe.

Questions of Modes and Trajectories of Consciousness

Modern psychology has firmly established that behind consciousness there lies a set of non- or pre-conscious activities involving spontaneous and instantaneous (and therefore arguably pertaining to non-spacetime categories) features such as Reyl’s stimulus, regress,313 association, word store, word generation, and inner speech which all lead to a consciously spoken word. These non/pre-conscious features involve what is commonly called intuition. Non/pre-spacetime pre/non-consciousness encompasses, encloses, or includes spacetime consciousness. What if there were an order of intelligence which was exclusively intuitive? Strictly speaking, such a “consciousness” would exist outside of spacetime and would not be “conscious,” yet it might be called “sentient” in a wider sense than is normally entertained. Non- or preconsciousness (what is more commonly known as the “unconscious” or the “subconscious”) inhabits, fills, or occupies consciousness. Without the existence of processes which are in themselves and to us “unaware” there could be no consciousness. The unconscious inhabits/fills a field containing consciousness. Consciousness is not to be equated with intelligence, and consciousness is acausal, although the perceptual causal chain arises from consciousness. Consciousness is generated by the unconscious; the latter is where the real power and mystery of existence is to be found. If the unconscious is acausal and exists in non-spacetime, then there is no spatiotemporal “flow” in the everyday sense at the level of the unconscious, although this would not require a total irrelevance of spacetime in such a conext. Is there a reciprocal causal relation between consciousness and these non- or pre-consciousness activities? At the deepest level, no. Thoughts simply spontaneously arise in consciousness through acausal non- or preconscious processes or states; yet as soon as the process enters consciousness, the illusion of spatiotemporal causality arises. External stimulation does not flow into the observer’s consciousness, as if this could cause conscious thought by means of a previous stage or state of unconscious processes. This cancels any subject-object dichotomy in consciousness in itself (that is, consciousness is capable, through the use of analogical thinking, of collapsing subject and object), removing the postulate of spacetime at that level, for the subject-object dyad is as illusory as consciousness itself. There is a perception, however, of spacetime in consciousness for us. To be more accurate, since consciousness is duality as such, when consciousness cancels the subject-object dichotomy, it cancels itself, so that one has been led beyond consciousness in this scenario. The evidence of quantum physics suggests that mind-like properties may inhere at particle levels. Miroljub Dugić et al., in a passage I will quote more extensively later in this chapter, aver “that consciousness might be the essential property of Nature at different structural levels (macroscopic and microscopic, animate and inanimate), as widely claimed in traditional esoteric knowledge.” Bohm gives expression to a similar possibility: “[I]n some sense a rudimentary mind-like quality is present even at the level of particle physics, and that as we go to subtler levels, this mind-like quality becomes stronger and more developed. Each kind and level of mind may have a relative autonomy and stability.”319 Additionally, not only do “the current string theories of physics lead to the possibility of very complex structures at distances as short as 10-33 cm,” but even “the laws of motion of matter may be regarded as intentions, which are forms of generalized meaning.”321 Of course, Bohm makes a distinction between a lower level of proto-sentience which is “mind-like” and a higher level of “consciousness.” But “mind-like” properties might be sufficient for describing a non-anthropomorphic protostructure such as Pre-MatterConsciousness, and a mind-like state would likely be adequate for producing the type of information transfer necessary for a self-generating simulation-like process that could produce physics anomalies (such as quantum nonlocality and superposition) which might involve states of solidity, at least as a temporary transition phase.

For Bohm there are infinite dimensions and orders of being, each of which participate in each other, which mirrors a classically neoplatonic notion. Since evidence increasingly suggests that spacetime is more of a cognitive reification than an actual property of the cosmos, one can accept Bohm’s infinitedimensions” only if understood in a loose sense as being more or less synonymous with “orders of being.” In any case, the standard model according to which consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the complexification of matter is excluded by Bohm’s paradigm, partly because it does not admit a dichotomy between matter and consciousness. With regard to the claim that higher dimensions would be too small for sentient life to develop, such words as “small” and “develop” indicate the spacetime categories inherent in such assumptions. The state associated with Pre-MatterConsciousness would be one of non-spacetime, and therefore of 0 dimensionality, and in such a state there would prevail no spatial size (such as small or large) and no temporal framework/s in which “development” or “evolution” could take place, at least as far as causal processes are concerned. “Pre-sentient” life in such a dimensionless state would basically be atemporal and therefore for all intents and purposes eternal as well as infinite. If a 3-D consciousness were to gaze into such a world, it would necessarily project perceptions of successive development taking place within a framework of temporality, but these perceptions would be strictly ideational projections. What the 3-D time-bound perception fails to recognize is that just as there can be no biological evolution in a block world, neither can there be an origin of the cosmos within space or time. Accordingly it makes little sense to speak of a beginning (or end) of the cosmos. To ask “when” the Big Bang occurred is virtually meaningless in a block universe, and in fact, even a temporal mode of “beginning” of the universe is ultimately ruled out by even by STR. As I have already quoted, Yourgrau writes on ideas such as “the evolution of the universe, the age of the universe, the big bang origin of the universe . . . the current state of the universe”: “Such notions . . . have no objective significance in the STR, given the relativity of simultaneity and the equivalence of all inertial or reference frames.” Einstein also observed: “It appears . . . more natural to think of physical reality as a four-dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three-dimensional existence.”324

The concept of beginning does not apply in a block world. And just as biological evolution occurs acausally, non-mechanistically, and nonlocally, and just as perceptual space and time and consciousness arise casually as projections from a higher or deeper adimensional ground of pure proto-communication/information, so the universe itself “arises” or simply exists without a cause, that is, the cosmos exists acausally as a projection from a higher/deeper dimensionless ground, which itself must exist acausally. The idea of an ultimate first cause is therefore inapplicable in this paradigm. A first cause perhaps somehow could be integrated within the system, but it would have to be in a manner rather different than is usually posited. A non-spacetime static acausal structure can certainly be viewed causally at the 3-D level, but strictly speaking, a “cause” can only exist within the bounds of space and time where and when such causes can take place. A cause is thus bound operationally by space and time coordinates, but these are lacking in the block world. To address the notion that there could exist an atemporal cause that would modally link an ontological precedence and dependence, one can begin by citing the classical formula for ontological dependence:

x depends for its existence on y ≝ necessarily, x exists only if y exists

We can best assess this situation by employing an illustration from the domain of temporality itself, since the latter lies at the very heart of this discussion. One should therefore consider the relationship between the past and the future. In everyday experience it seems as if the future is ontologically dependent upon the past, for what happens in the past appears to determine the future. But a block world model reveals that such a view of existence is not only limited but misleading as well. It is not the case that the past determines the future, nor does it obtain that the future determines the past, as proponents of retrocausality would have it, for the latter scenario would be just as inapplicable in a block world as would the former. It is rather the case that the very distinctions between past, present, and future are invalid from the fullest perspective of existence. There is a reciprocally acausal ontological cognatio that links the so-called past and future, rather than an ontological precedence and dependence. I would thus go beyond even Karen Barad’s notion of “mutual ontological dependence.”

The reciprocally acausal ontological cognatio casts a shadow, so to speak, that in the everyday world is experienced as a temporal causal relationship of ontological precedence and dependence. It may be that consciousness contributes in a reciprocal mode to the arisal of temporality when it interprets the atemporal-acausal cognatio as causal precedence-dependence. If so, one might adapt Barad’s phraseology regarding her “mutual ontological dependence” for the posited reciprocally acausal ontological cognatio by observing that consciousnessinterpretation of the atemporal-acausal as the temporal-causal “does not take place in space and time but in the making of spacetime itself.” If a cause can occur only within spacetime, then the idea of an “eternal” cause would be a contradiction in terms, speaking strictly from a 3-D perspective. The reality behind what is usually referred to as first cause (we are speaking of physics, not Aristotle’s prime mover) may indeed exist, but it could be described strictly neither as first nor as cause, for both terms would imply the confining coordinates of the spatiotemporal. Without venturing beyond the bounds of theoretical physics into metaphysics, we could clarify that what is at issue here is an acausal state standing outside any temporal sequence, the eternal acausal which would necessarily be involved in an oscillating multiverse model.

Fractal Interdimensionally

Geometrical Considerations and Implications

Since I have explored in some depth the question of dimensionality as a property of space, especially critiquing much of modern physicspropensity for increasing the number of cosmic dimensions, which is but a compounding of an illusory cognitive reification, I should here address the issue of fractal interdimensionality. Because the standard model of fractals actually involves an intensification and multiplication of the three spatial dimensions, the concept of fractals would be just as misleading in a search for understanding the most basic state of the cosmos as is String Theory’s penchant for increasing the number of the standard non-fractal dimensions.

That fractals multiply and increase dimensions, at least according to standard models, is indicated by the fact that already in 1685 John Wallis intuited that what we today call fractals increases dimensionality, and he even labelled what we would call the fractal dimensionthe fourth dimension.” Benoit Mandelbrot concluded that fractals multiply dimensions, and necessarily so in his judgment. The rough, or discordant, properties of fractal dimensions generates non-precision in their measurement and description. I would argue that this reflects the fractal interdimensionality arising from a more basic non-spatial non-dimensionality; the former is logical, i.e., perceptual, while the latter is ontological, i.e., real, loosely speaking, because admittedly these two exist on a continuum. Fractal interdimensionality is thus relative; even Mandelbrot refers to Blaise Pascal’s observation that “on a cosmic scale our whole world is but a point,” that is, a Euclidian 0 dimensional point. The fractal transitions between dimensions, and therefore interdimensionality, may be explained as a cultural artefact, just like the standard notion of dimension can be.

Mandelbrot seemed to be inclined to accept the idea of an infinite universe, and he quotes with sympathy Nicholas von Cusa’s dictum: “The world has its centre everywhere, and thus nowhere, and its circumference is nowhere.” In point of fact, an infinite universe would have its perceptual centre everywhere and everywhen. A point not sufficiently appreciated by Mandelbrot is that an infinity cannot, strictly speaking, possess a structure, and the infinite certainly cannot possess finite dimensionality, although infinity could theoretically incorporate finite structures, especially given that it is the iteration of the finite that produces infinity.

The doubly Founier universe has 0 dimensionality. Strictly speaking, Euclidean dimension 0 is the abstract point. However, intuition tells us that a physical point actually possesses what might be called some element or aspect of dimensionality. One might say that an infinite universe would be not only 0 dimensional in an abstract Euclidean sense, but also utterly non-dimensional in a qualified ontological sense. An infinite universe would be characterized by ontological non-spacetime; dimensions are constituted of logical or perceptual spacetime. Fractals belong integrally to spacetime, and they are in fact a further precision of observation of the standard three dimensions. Fractals involve an observation of what lies between the three standard dimensions, and the term “interdimensional,” just as much as

“multidimensional” or “codimensional,” implies dimensionality and spacetime (of which dimensionality is a derivative or subset). That “the observed path of a particle in quantum mechanics is a fractal curve with D= 2”335 suggests that quantum mechanics does not represent a final explanation of the universe, but that it is still operating within the boundaries of the cognitive spacetime cultural artefact. Like String Theory, fractals multiply dimensions, but fractals multiply aspects of only the commonly accepted three dimensions. Fractals, however, may indicate that the three dimensions are cognitive reifications that do not exist independently of human perception, especially if we consider fractals as a transcendence of a particular dimension, which would be the case with fractals if qualitatively understood. But viewed from the perspective of perceptual spacetime, it may well be that physics anomalies might represent something generated by a non-spacetime state, whose “intrusion” into human consciousness might in turn generate the perceptual fractal interdimensionality. The examination of fractal dimensionality might then be a first step to essentially transcending the notion of dimensionality as such.

If one closely examines a book’s printed text, what at a larger view looks like the perfectly smooth curves and straight lines of letters will prove upon closer inspection to be rough and uneven. Similarly, I propose that smooth dimensionality turns out to be an epiphenomenon of rough fractal interdimensionality. One must iterate interdimensionality to arrive at dimensionality, yet the latter will always retain a tendency to move back towards its anterior fractal interdimensionality. As Jean Perrin observed, “any scale involves details that absolutely prohibit the fixing of a tangent.” This indeterminacy, I would argue, reflects the aspatial dimensionality from which fractal interdimensionality arises. Nevertheless, the smoothness of dimensionality arising from the roughness of fractal interdimensionality, e.g., moving from 2.19 to 3 dimensions, for example, indicates that the iteration of fractal roughness which gives rise to smoothness involves a qualitative transformation and demonstrates that the whole is more than the sum of its parts (a foundational Euclidean tenet), so that “more is different,” which perhaps could be correlated with the neoplatonic notions of emanation, continuity, and participation.

Smooth dimensionality is epiphenomenal to rough fractal interdimensionality; in turn, rough fractal interdimensionality is epiphenomenal to pre-dimensionality; and pre-dimensionality is finally epiphenomenal to pure non-dimensionality. In more general terms, this means that spacetime is epiphenomenal to non-spacetime, or that spacetime is a perceptual subset of non-spacetime. All of the above are related to each other via a metaxu state. Once we realize that qualitative “dimensions” are not higher quantitative spacetime dimensions in the usual sense, then we can begin to realize just how radical is the postulate of the multiverse, problematic as it admittedly is so long as its physical requirements remain unexplained. However, the aspect of “multi” does not necessarily involve a mere multiplication of physical spacetime dimensions in the normal sense of “physical,” but an order in which not only exotic states of matter might be involved, but even pre-matter, and possibly even a-material potentialities. These latter might be correlated analogically at some point with what various authors in the humanities have called “planes” of meaning and signification. Kathleen Raine, for instance, describes in her own terms what clearly seems to be a description of a multiverse in which a purely symbolic plane would be just as real as a fully physical dimension: “The language of symbolic analogy is only possible upon the assumption that these multiple planes do in fact exist. Those for whom the material world is the only plane of the real are unable to understand that the symbol . . . has as its primary purpose the evocation of one plane in terms of another. . . .” Raine stresses that she is writing of entirely real domains of reality when discussing symbolic and analogical levels: “The language of analogy at once presupposes and establishes relations between the different orders of the real. . . . The idea of the metaphysical is thus implicit in the very figures of symbolic discourse.”

Raine finally suggests that not only can symbolic and analogical planes be fully real (I would interject with the qualification, as far as something can be said to be real), but so can myth, for “even a real event may be the enactment of a myth, and from that take on supernatural meaning and power. In such cases myth is the truth of the fact, not fact the truth of the myth.” Considerations like these expose the explanatory poverty of attempts to explicate anomalous phenomena as involving a mere multiplication of spacetime dimensions, even of unseen or hidden “orders,” to invoke a Bohmian term. What I am suggesting here is that there are fully existing states that can only loosely be called dimensions that subsist exclusively in symbolic and mythic modes. For science, these might be described as “metaphysical” actualities in the sense in which the term is employed when discussing questions of the ontological status of the flow of time, the nature of consciousness, the actual and the possible, possible worlds, etc. Quantum physicists and string theorists are increasingly concurring with the proposition of spacetime obsoleteness. String theorist Lisa Randall points out that mathematical models show that “ten-dimensional theories sometimes have the same physical consequences as eleven-dimensional theories.” Based on this, Randall concludes that “our notion of dimension isn’t quite firm as it looks,” and that “our notion of ‘dimension’ is inadequate.” She confesses that “the meaning of dimension is ambiguous,”346 and that “spacetime has mysterious properties.” Randall explains that “matrix theory is one more reason to wonder what dimensions really mean. . . . [W]e are clearly still missing the big picture. . . . Perhaps our notion of spacetime breaks down altogether [at the Planck length].”

After all of these admissions, Randall finally raises the possibility that “space and time may be doomed,” that they might indeed be “illusions.” And yet Randall goes on writing in her final chapter as if she continues to assume the literal existence of space, time, and of extra spatial dimensions. It would seem to be a sign of ingrained cultural and professional attitudes that a scientist can write over 447 pages in a book arguing for the existence of extra spatial dimensions based on highly hypothetical string theory, only to tell us near the end that space and time themselves might be illusions, but then nevertheless in a final chapter to disregard the implications of the possible illusory nature of spacetime. Why? Apparently so that the first 447 pages of her monograph might be retained with at least some modicum of justification of having been written in the first place. If indeed spacetime is an illusion, then the multiplication of spacetime dimensions as argued by string theory is simply the compounding or intensification of an ideological entrenchment constituting a mirage, and the first 447 pages of Randall’s 458-page work are then fundamentally misdirected and without a secure theoretical foundation. Extra dimensions multiply the illusion/s of spacetime. Robert B. Laughlin explains concerning string theory and its proponents: String theory is immensely fun to think about because so many of its internal relationships are unexpectedly simple and beautiful. It has no practical utility, however, other than to sustain the myth of the ultimate theory. There is no experimental evidence for the existence of strings in nature, nor does the special mathematics of string theory enable known experimental behaviour to be calculated or predicted more easily. . . . Far from a wonderful technological hope for a greater tomorrow, it is instead the tragic consequence of an obsolete belief system. . . .

Laughlin further elaborates these methodological points in the following incisive manner: Despite its having become embedded in the discipline, the idea of absolute symmetry makes no sense. Symmetries are caused by things, not the cause of things. . . . In addition to its legendary appetite for higher dimensions, it also has problems at short length scales, albeit more subtle ones, and has never been shown to evolve into the standard model at long length scales, as required for compatibility with experiment.

Non-dimensionality generates, which is equivalent to saying “communicates,” a basic data code which may be depicted as pre-dimensional. This pre-dimensional code iterates itself, and this self-iteration produces rough fractal interdimensionality, which in turn becomes, through further self-iteration, smooth dimensionality. 0 dimensionality increases roughly, i.e., fractally, towards the smoothness of 1 dimension; between 0 and 1 dimension is a field (or perhaps more accurately, a proto-field) of fractal indeterminacy which analogically can be called pre-space. 0 itself is non-space, but this 0 dimensionality is generative or communicative. What is generated or communicated is the basic pre-dimensional data code, and this generative principle of pre-dimensional information code arising from the communicative capacity of 0 dimensionality is the information code which pertains to consciousness. This is so because information in its essence is constitutive of the act of consciousness or selfawareness, which is facilitated by the fact that all information is related in some way to significance or meaning, as we learn from Bohm’s theory of informationsignificance.

I have asserted that the basic code of manifestation is itself consciousness, so that spacetime is an epiphenomenal world of consciousness or perception. The world at its most fundamental level lacks spacetime, and the latter arises strictly in an illusory mode within consciousness, yet consciousness and illusion are in essence inseparable. When I say that spacetime is illusory, I by no means use the term in a pejorative sense, for such experiences as the aesthetic enjoyment of art and music, beauty, and love can occur only within the confines of spacetime. There can be no tempo or music outside of time; yet music is more than the sum of its individual temporal parts. Time is unveiled as the gate to eternity; illusion is unveiled as the gate to reality, and vice versa. This applies to the world created by consciousness (in the sense that it spatially and temporally dimensionalizes the pre-dimensional implicate order, or its Pre- MatterConsciousness modulated extension), so that one should not speak disparagingly or pejoratively of the illusory nature of spacetime as perceived by consciousness.

Reality, Illusion, and Significance

Because the notion of illusion plays such a prominent role in the present monograph, it might be helpful at this point to attempt a refinement and more precise definition of the term. This is especially called for in light of the fact that the idea of illusion can easily become just as much of an artificial reification as the notions of an absolute space and time. From previous discussions in this monograph it will already be clear to the reader that in my estimation illusion and reality are interpenetrating modes of a single thing or energy. Parallel to this observation is the Vedānta doctrine that the relative is an element of the absolute, so that neither exists apart from the other. To denominate time as an illusion does not therefore imply that it has no applicability on any level of existence, only that it has less to no applicability on fuller planes when one moves past the domain of direct perception. If the 3-dimensional world is largely illusory, so is the eternal block world, with the qualification that the level of illusion gradually deepens when one moves from the eternal block world to the 3-dimensional world of consciousness, which are not to be understood as two worlds, but only as one. Yet perhaps we should leave open the possibility that illusion deepens when we move from the 3-dimensional world of consciousness to the block world, since the latter might be illusory in a profounder sense that presently eludes us.

Certainly the Hindu idea of māyā does not denote a simple non-existence or nothingness in an unqualified sense, but rather a certain illusory mode inherent in cosmic existence, so that the real and the illusory can inseparably interpenetrate, and represent two modes of a single thing or energy. William K. Mahony offers some insightful remarks on the Sanskrit word माया, which is derived from the Proto-Indo- Iranian word *māyā. The relevance of Mahony’s observations for the subject of dimensionality as treated in the present study will be quite evident: The derivation of the word māyā remains somewhat uncertain. It may come from the root mā-, meaning “to measure” or “give dimension to” something. If so, then the term is related to the verbal root mā-, to “mark off, mete out, apportion, arrange, show, display” and thus to a number of verbs referring to the making, building, fashioning, shaping, or constructing of something by conceiving its dimensions within the mind and then—in the process of “measuring” what has thus been imagined—projecting or converting those plans into three-dimensional space.

As I have already had occasion to show, sequence does not require an absolute existence of time; yet at the level of illusion and consciousness the spacetime which allows the possibility of music possesses a sequence involving what is called the arrow of time. The significance, even, the meaning of existence, is precisely the dance between illusion and consciousness, two modes of a single capacity, without which there could be no music, no beauty, no love. Emotions occur within the context of spacetime. Therefore emotional loss (and note that the very word “loss” presupposes and implies the concept of spatial distance) is very real at the level of consciousness, despite the fact that the world at its most fundamental “level” seems to be lacking in spacetime. Yet if one recalls that non-spacetime is the capacity for communication which generates the informational code of pre-dimensionality or pre-spacetime, then one can surmise that somehow illusion, with its attendant beauty and love, is inherent in the world in its most fundamental sense, that is, at the non-dimensional level viewed with its propensity towards perceptual pre-dimensionality and dimensionality, which is to say consciousness.

Space and time are perceptual constructs of consciousness which do not exist in the actual world, that is, at the most fundamental level of the world, yet actuality and the illusory seem to constitute two modes of a single phenomenon or trajectory. String theory’s preoccupation with extra dimensions is therefore suspicious, for if spacetime is not an element of the world at its most fundamental level, that is, if spacetime is an illusion, then we should not be multiplying dimensions, we should be deconstructing and then eliminating them, for “dimension” by intuitive definition would seem to involve a spacetime property. An answer to the nature of physics anomalies might lie at a pre-dimensional level or order which gives rise, through the phenomenon of consciousness, to perceptual dimensionality. That is, the world at its most fundamental phase may be constituted of non-dimensional code, which consciousness “dimensionalizes”—consciousness being precisely the relay/transfer of information which arises (from the pre-dimensional order) in an emergent collective mode, manifesting most likely in interdimensional fractal configurations analogous somewhat to crystalline atomic lattices. Such lattice or fractal rigidity contains the secrets of matter, including the theoretical phase known as “supersolid,” which has been experimentally observed, and which indicates that the categories of solid, liquid, and gas are manifestations of something more fundamental and more general. The supersolid phase is one example of a mode of physicality that differs from standard ideas of matter. This may have analogical relevance for the concept of the implicate order, which in any case offers us a key to resolve the traditional duality of matter and consciousness. When we think of biological evolution basically as a communication-information sharing process, we can detect in the data an inherent, objective meaning. This at first seemingly controversial position is clarified by Bohm’s theory of “informationsignificance”: “Of course, we commonly regard both information and meaning as belonging only to the human mind. But in computer science, information has been given a kind of objective significance. . . . We may therefore introduce the term informationsignificance, as a special form of soma-significance [= body-mind]. . . .” Bohm reminds us of Gregory Bateson’s formulation: “Information is a difference that makes a difference.” Furthermore, as Bohm explains: [E]ach bit of information arises in a broader context of unfoldment of meaning. That is to say, the notion of a bit of information is relevant only as an element in an over-all process, in which this bit is abstracted from the total flow of meaning. If we think of nature more generally as ordered by laws in which differences in earlier conditions correspond in a necessary way to others in later conditions, we can see at last the outlines of how the notion of objective soma-significant and signa-somatic activity may be extended to the universe as a whole.

Based upon the considerations presented above, we could hypothesize that presentience, or pre-conscious sentience, is possibly behind physics anomalies such as superposition and nonlocality and that it might constitute a form of meaning that is transferred meaningfully within a communication meta-system which generates subsystems of information networks. This meta-system of pre-consciousness encompassing pre-matter could be described by a physics of information and analogically by noncommutative algebra and pre-geometries. The Pre-MatterConsciousness meta-system would be composed of pure communication/information.361 By virtue of the reciprocal participatory continuity existing between pre-consciousness and consciousness, to describe the depths of consciousness would also require a physics of information.

LeBel and Abramović on Time and Space

Maurice-Marie LeBel insists that time, unlike space, has real ontological texture. He therefore distances himself from both Einstein and Minkowski block world spacetime, although he invokes Relativity to a certain extent to justify some of his own positions: “We have from the theory of relativity quite a few clues about the properties of time that are indications of a true ontological substance.” For LeBel, “existence” is “a function of time.” He begins explaining this proposition by offering the following quite intriguing illustration: “If I let an object fall, it will consequently be understood as moving spontaneously from a place where time runs faster towards a place where time runs relatively slower. We have our answer. An object subjected to a differential in the rate of passage of time shall move in the differential in the direction of slower passage of time. In other words, the object tends to exist more where it stays longer. . . . This is a simple logical consequence and there are no other reasons for the gravitational fall.” Based on this, LeBel concludes that “the process of gravitational fall” is “a higher probability of existence.” He then continues by invoking Relativity once again: “[M]atter is in fact made of some variation of the passage of time. In a first method, for example, if the presence of matter slows down the passage of time as shown in General Relativity, it may be because it replaces or substitutes itself locally to the passage of time. And it can do so logically and by itself only if matter is of the same nature as the passage of time, but a different species or dynamic variation.”365 LeBel next deduces from the following photon argumentation that the speed of light is nothing other than the speed of time: “[T]his presents us with a photon that travels at the ‘speed of time.’ This suggests that the speed of light is also the speed of expansion or evolution of the passage of time! This would effectively account for the fact that it is the fastest speed possible.” Furthermore, “matter is also made of some species or variation of the rate of passage of time.” In the end, I fail to see why LeBel’s evidence on time requires that it be ontological rather than perceptual, although I freely concede that the ontological and perceptual exist on a single continuum. A similar situation obtains with the time-consciousness theories of Velimir Abramović, to which I now turn.

Abramović, in common with LeBel, rejects the Einstein-Minkowski view of time as the fourth spatial dimension, and therefore views space and time as two separate substances. Abramović also, like LeBel, views time as fully ontological. Abramović encapsulates his basic paradigm in the following illuminating series of reflections: “The real Being is non-spatial entity. In physical terms it is Time; in psychological terms it is Consciousness. This then leads to an ontological definition of consciousness as continuity. . . . The universality of consciousness derives from continuity as a principal quality of continuum that creates infinite basis for the extension of the world. As continuity is not extending, as extension is the condition for space to exist, we conclude that consciousness is nonspatial.”367

Abramović therefore identifies time with consciousness. Continuing his explication, he goes on to identify consciousness with continuum on the one hand and matter with discontinuum on the other: “Ontologically, spirit is nothing else but continuum, while matter is primarily discontinuum. The principal quality of continuity is non-spatiality. . . . And consciousness is, in essence, continuity. . . .” In common with Bohm, Dugić, Ćirković, and Raković, Abramović sees consciousness as inseparable from matter, indeed, consciousness is a constitutive property of matter: “Non-spatial continuity, i.e. non-spatial spirit or non-spatial consciousness also lies in the basis of matter, as its most abstract constructive element.” Abramović next argues that consciousness, or time, generates space (matter), and that matter possesses a continuity with the aspatial consciousness from which it arises, and this continuity enables the aspatial aspect inherent in matter to generate the continuum of space: “Therefore, if we put matter in order of complexity, then the simple element of matter, ontologically speaking, would be non-spatial continuity, and this must somehow create spatial continuum.” For Abramović, “consciousness and continuity are all non-spatial, infinite and not localized,” which implies that “consciousness” is “continuity.” As already noted, Abramović thinks that consciousness generates space: “Consciousness is what enables the existence of space, as well as the creation of matter. Physically speaking, and if time is the basis for existence of space, and if time and consciousness are the same, then . . . consciousness” can “transform space and matter. . . .” Perhaps this might be reconcilable with the view that consciousness is an inherent aspect of matter, and that indeed matter and consciousness are actually a single existent, if one were to qualify that unitive matter-consciousness can subsist in diverging modes. Abramović coincides with Weyl when the former proposes that consciousness is “a basic cause of cosmic events. . . . time [= consciousness] is also an active factor in material developments. . . .” Regarding what might be called the mechanics of consciousness’ generation of space-matter, Abramović presents the following considerations:

(a) time is indivisible reality; (b) it is non-spatial; the consequence of reality and non-spatiality of time is the virtuality of the space itself; c) time is endless; the consequence of its infiniteness is its non-localizability, i.e. non-localized time enables the creation of dimension, i.e. origin of space. How? Non-localization gives way to structuralism, and this is followed by dimensionality, as there are more than two elements of time now in spatial relation. This genesis is strictly controlled by the punctual structure of consciousness itself or of time.

Abramović next endeavours to penetrate more deeply into the specific mode of functionality behind the generation of space by consciousness, and intriguingly identifies this with synchronicity: “What kind of elements is time structured from? It consists of non-extensive and actual infiniteness or simultaneity and extensive virtual and successive infiniteness or space. We define simultaneity of time as an order of concurrent elements of temporal structure, i.e. continuity or consciousness. In other words, consciousness is the same as synchronicity, same as temporal relation of apparently unrelated events.” Abramović’s identification of time and consciousness is captivating in several respects. However, the implication that time generates space is awkward and in any case contradicts the unity of Minkowski spacetime. If we modify his paradigm by insisting that time is indeed spatial, and therefore perceptual and not ontological (again granting that the perceptual and the ontological exist on a single continuum), then not only is consciousness exposed as an illusion, but if matter arises from the illusion of time, then the physical cosmos itself is also unveiled as illusory (again, not in a pejorative sense). The real ontological basis of the illusion lies beyond perceptual spacetime and consciousness, the latter being impossible outside the spacetime illusion, for one is aware of something, of events and objects, each of which implies time (events) and space (objects), yet always in the end one must recall that spacetime is a cultural artefact, and that reality and illusion can never be separated from each other.

Abramović’s rejection of the unitive concept of spacetime can be justified to the extent that it is certainly valid to hold that what is commonly seen as the fourth dimension of space, namely time, is a different mode of space than are the first three spatial dimensions, and this is in fact the very reason why the word “time” exists as a separate word in contrast to the term “space.” Viewed on the level of perception, time and consciousness may be regarded as more primary than space. However, at the deepest ontic-potential level, time/consciousness is not “the real Being,” for the latter would in reality be not consciousness but generative or emergent pre-consciousness.

The latter would be in a sense infinite and therefore dimensionless and non-structured. However, pre-consciousness must somehow give rise to consciousness and structure. Such a situation is implied in the following Abramović passage: “Only if consciousness is of punctual structure, can it influence the change of basic elements of space and, by forming structures of various lengths could it influence the destiny of a physical system. If consciousness is not only non-spatial but also nonstructured, it would lose its relation with the world of final phenomena, i.e. with discontinuum or a sum of discontinual phenomena.” In my own formulation, this situation (or at least certain of its components) which Abramović envisions will obtain if pre-consciousness is a meta-structure which generates sub-structures, and the latter will be constituted of information code relay. The actual relay of data corresponds to the neoplatonic notion of emanation made possible by the dialectical principle of non-linked continuity, that is, metaxu, a state between the various levels of existence and being. This paradigm necessitates that in pre-consciousness there inheres a seed of structure (proto-structure), which one could call a meta-structure (perhaps better, potency towards structure or structure generation) which is able to generate structure (which pertains to the level of matterconsciousness). Pre-MatterConsciousness would subsist in a state consisting of 0 dimensional, or perhaps more precisely, pre-dimensional, generative-emergent code. This predimensional code generates dimensionality, which in turn is composed of various dimensional codes from which arises matter-consciousness. Pre-MatterConsciousness is thus a pre-dimensional information metasystem subsisting in a state of qualitative code which generates sub-systems of matter-consciousness composed of quantitative code of various increasing dimensions. The increase of dimensions is correlative to the emergence of the physical-conscious cosmos. The cosmos and its movements/contents emerge according to various basic lattice patterns which branch out in diverse dimensional (geometric) and interdimensional (fractal) configurations.

Applying the analogy of a branching river to cosmic manifestation in general, on one level the direction in which the different branches will proceed is stochastic, chaotic, random, and non-determinate. This reflects the link of probability which joins together pre-dimensionality and dimensionality. From a more general and fundamental perspective, the possible processional directions of the river’s branching are self-limited and determinate, even pre-determined, on account of the very lattice patterns which form the basis of matter, or more precisely, of matter-consciousness. Branching lattice patterns, which themselves are formed by informational code, apply to thought processes as well as to matter, especially given the inseparability of matterconsciousness, which are merely but two modes of the same actuality. The cosmic DVD model would suggest that what at the local level appear as stochastic patterns and unfoldings, at the level of the whole actually constitute atemporal, timeless, and therefore pre-determined or determinate phenomena. Anomalous phenomena may be explained by the continuity (which coincides with the principle of probability) that exists between the dimensionality-generative predimensional Pre-MatterConsciousness and the emergent dimensional ontic-potential planes of cosmic manifestation. The aspect of anomaly we see in nonlocality might consist to a large degree of the observed break-down of dimensional spacetime which collapses back into an adimensional Pre-MatterConsciousness. Or to phrase this alternatively, anomaly may consist essentially of a conscious observation of a probability-based continuity between non-spacetime Pre-MatterConsciousness and cosmic spacetime, both locally and globally. Behind physics anomalies an interaction may therefore occur between PreMatterConsciousness and matter-consciousness, involving an interpenetration which functions by means of a probability which is simultaneously stochastic and determinate. At the most fundamental level, such anomalies would involve a non-local predimensional actuality-potentiality that becomes perceptible to human consciousness at the local dimensional level. The non-perceptible level of anomalies would consist of a perhaps endless series of Bohmian implicate orders subsisting in pre-dimensional states.

Adavanced Concepts in SpacetimeConsciousness (STC)

Morgan Sutherland has written that the problem of the question of consciousness in a 4-D block universe remains unresolved. However, it often goes unrecognized that the problem of consciousness in a 4-D block world is perfectly paralleled by the problem of time in a 4-D frozen cosmos. If in a block world paradigm time is an illusion, a perception, then consciousness might even produce that illusion and consciousness may then be the most fundamental illusion of all. In a block world model time and consciousness exist at a lower perceptual (3-D) ontological level of existence, but not at the higher 4-D level. The flow of time = the flow of consciousness. Before proceeding, I would stress that while I hold to the block universe model, in part based upon the evidence of the kinematic effects of Special Relativity, I posit that it is ontologically of 0 dimensionality, and that the interfusion of three and four dimensions plays itself out only at the perceptual or cognitive levels. This postulation is founded upon emerging evidence which calls into question the very existence of spacetime, and therefore of dimensionality itself. Statements by Neil Turok, Sean Carroll, and Anton Zeilinger delivered at the Quantum to Cosmos Festival at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, 15 October 2009, call spacetime into question, a posture echoed by an increasing number of physicists. At this conference Turok argued that spacetime is holographic, and that while it is commonly perceived as threedimensional, it could in reality be two dimensional, and possibly even this might reflect a mistaken perception of a 0-dimensional state. In short, according to Turok, spacetime may be an “approximation” rather than something “fundamental.” Sean Carroll noted at the same conference that spacetime varies from four to even zero dimensions according to perception and observation; spacetime is not “fundamental” to “nature,” but may be an entity that only seems to “appear” in our experience of observation, like particle velocity as understood in quantum physics. Anton Zeilinger added to Turok’s and Carroll’s observations that the entangled state is “independent” of “relativespacetime measurements, so that ultimately spacetime distinctions of before-after and near-far “don’t matter.”

If the element “time” in the compound nounspacetime” is a mere simulacrum of a more fundamental underlying potency, then so would be consciousness. If time is ultimately a temporally based chronological misreading of a purely spatial sequence, then by analogy, what can we say of consciousness? Both time and consciousness have their roots in a pre-dimensional generative information code. The propensity of this pre-dimensional code to generate dimensionality can be understood by analogically invoking Cassirer’s concept of ‘‘symbolic pregnance’’ (symbolische Prägnanz) by which consciousness is generated or “formed by the power of the symbol.” Consciousness, like spacetime, is an approximation of a more fundamental underlying capacity that, however, lacks quiddity, and whose “reality” is constituted of illusion. Consciousness is comparable to the technology that spatializes non-3-D information code by stretching it out or augmenting it as an image across a computer screen, for instance. What is the “more fundamental underlying capacity” of which consciousness is a mere approximation or simulacrum? Consciousness might be an individual instantiation of a cosmic field of proto- or pre-consciousness. Dugić et al. propose this model, although they employ the term “collective consciousness,” which I would modulate to “proto-consciousness.” Just as Bohm suggests that matter at the smallest levels is not conscious but conscious-like, so a cosmic field that becomes instantiated at the local or individual level would be conscious-like or consciousness-generating rather than conscious in the usual sense. We might in fact be dealing to an extent with a continuity between a universal unconscious, or Jung’s collective unconscious to which Bohm referred in his final and posthumous paper, and individual consciousness. According to Dugić et al., the macroscopic physical basis of individual consciousness establishes a psychophysical parallelism, and combined with a Bohmian approach this could arguably (and perhaps ironically) overcome the Cartesian dualism which implies that a physical object (res extensa) causally generates consciousness (res cogitans), a dualism that is inherent in Hermann Weyl’s approach to consciousness in the block world. One possible solution to collapsing the res extensa (world)-res cogitans (consciousness) gulf would be to posit that macroscopic or universal protoconsciousness might be the universe observing itself (to speak loosely) in what could be metaphorically envisaged as a sort of cosmic mirror. Only at the recursive stage of the mirror does individual consciousness arise. The mirror and mirror image metaphors appear as particularly apt since they would accentuate the possible origins of consciousness precisely in illusion.

Dugić et al. argue as follows concerning the contrast between individual and macroscopic manifestations of consciousness: As a consequence, one could conjecture that consciousness might be the essential property of Nature at different structural levels (macroscopic and microscopic, animate and inanimate), as widely claimed in traditional esoteric knowledge—which might be supported by analogous mathematical formalisms of the dynamics of Hopfield’s associated neural networks and Feynman’s propagator version of quantum mechanics—implying that ”collective consciousness” of Nature itself behaves as a giant nonlocal quantum neural network with distributed “individual consciousness” processing units. Such nonlocal pantheistic idea of consciousness is also supported by Raković’s physical model of altered and transitional states of consciousness. . . . In addition, this model might provide additional route to the physical solution of the problem of the wave-packet reduction in the quantum measurement theory.386 I would suggest there is a continuity between cosmic proto-consciousness or the collective unconscious, and individual instantiations thereof manifesting as separate centres of individuated consciousness. Thus a continuity would be established between the unconscious and the conscious, so that ultimately the distinction between the two might be exposed as an artificial, even if useful, dyad.

According to Dugić et al., time and its flow are prerequisites for consciousness: “As was first discussed by Wiener, the existence of the time arrow as we perceive it around us is the necessary requisite for intelligence, and therefore presumably consciousness as well.” By contrast, Velimir Abramović identifies time with consciousness, as I have previously noted: “The real Being is non-spatial entity. In physical terms it is Time; in psychological terms it is Consciousness. This then leads to an ontological definition of consciousness as continuity.” To an appreciable extent one can reconcile the two divergent stances of Dugić et al. and Abramović, namely time as necessary for consciousness and time as consciousness, by positing that both time and consciousness are essentially illusion, so that illusion is unveiled as the common link between time and consciousness (which still might not be two separate things), and given the unity of spacetime and the latter’s material components, to be more comprehensive we would of course have to add to time and consciousness the phenomena of space and matter as well. Additionally, if time is a cognitive phenomenon, certainly consciousness is in any interpretation; in this instance both time and consciousness would be unified by the common link of consciousness understood as concrete cognitive activity. The main point would be not so much that consciousness and time are “mental” states, but that they are both manifestations of Bohmian holographic illusion. This mode of illusion involves the perception of increase in the number of dimensions. Such illusion, however, possesses an ontology by virtue of its foundation in a lower dimensional (in this case actually 0 dimensionality) state, as in Bohm’s analogy of the one fish displayed on two screens misinterpreted as evidence for the existence of two fish. It is pre-dimensional information code stretched out by consciousness that produces the appearance of dimensional augmentation or amplitude. We can therefore speak dialectically of an illusion that is simultaneously existent and non-existent, although to different degrees, in different senses, and on different ontic planes.

Just as there is no time or space apart from each other, which justifies the unitive term “spacetime,” so there is no consciousness without or apart from spacetime, since after all one cannot be conscious of something except within a place and at a particular time. We could consequently expand the compound nounspacetime” to a triadic SpacetimeConsciousness, which due to a holographic illusion appears as a complexus, but which at a lower (and therefore implying a more fundamental ontic status) dimensional level is revealed as a simplexus. At 0 dimensionality, or pre-spacetime, the simplexus itself vanishes at what might be called the event horizon of Bohm’s implicate order.

Spatial sequence is transformed perceptually into temporal chronology; it is consciousness that produces this illusory hermeneutic or epistemology, so that consciousness not only produces but is illusion. Consciousness is inherent in the underlying information code that generates space which is misread as time. Consciousness corresponds to motion or flow, and it puts space into motion, which thus produces what is commonly denominated as time. It may be that only consciousness moves and that this movement is precisely the flow of time. Consciousness would thus create the illusion that what is generally held to be a 4-D frozen or motionless block world is a dynamic 3-D entity, although as already mentioned, I posit that the block world is ultimately of 0 dimensional non-spacetime. The only thing that moves and that is dimensional would be consciousness. Dimensionality would coincide in some respects with consciousness. Table 2 Consciousness As Mediator between Third and Fourth Dimensions

Spatial sequence (4-D) = subject Consciousness--↓--Consciousness (interdimensional/fractal) = third term epistemological unifier

Temporal chronology (3-D) = object

The main implication of Table 2 is that consciousness is aspatially “entangled” in spacetime in a quantum-like mode; indeed consciousness leads to 3-D temporality and unites the two modes (“space” and “time”) of the single entity called spacetime. To adapt to the present case Bohm’s holographic analogy of a single fish in an aquarium projected onto two separate screens in a second room, there would not be three fish or entities, namely, space, time, and consciousness, but only one, namely SpacetimeConsciousness, or STC, yet the ensemble would fundamentally lack quiddity. To perceive STC as consisting of three separate substances would be the result of a holographic illusion, and consciousness would again be the projector that produces the ever-increasing layers of dimensionality. The different “perspectives” of holography would be what produces or acausally constitutes spacetime. In the end we are left with a model of acausal constitution rather than one of causal generation.

Next, if consciousness is a producer of illusion and is even illusion as such, then why do researchers want to idealize consciousness? By concentrating on consciousness and consciousness studies, we might be diverted away from the more fundamental underlying capacity that actually generates consciousness in the first place, the preillusory (which, however, still encompasses the illusory) and pre-conscious selfgenerating information code that gives rise to the cosmos and to all its implicate and explicate contents, which are, however, not related as res extensa and res cogitans. Carrie Stigge has highlighted the problematic nature of linguistic determinism or relativity, according to which language creates our concepts of the world environment. Bohm reminds us of Piaget’s research which indicates that language acquisition in large part creates the developing infant’s concept and experience of spacetime. The Bohm-Piaget model is, however, not to be identified as linguistic relativity. In fact, Stigge’s insights can be integrated within the general Bohm-Piaget framework by positing that the world and language mutually or reciprocally contribute largely to the formation of a spacetime concept and experience in the developing infant. As for the world component, Heisenberg has postulated that spacetime is an “anthropomorphic concept” founded upon the “sense organs.” The reciprocity in this context can be explained in part by the common feature of illusion inherent in both the world and in language; the world’s and language’s illusory complexions and textures are inseparable from the illusory layering of spacetime as well of consciousness itself.

Since language fundamentally solidifies the experience of space and time into absolute self-subsisting and invariant substances, the question might be asked to what extent and in what modes do various non-human animals experience time. The answer to such a question will naturally vary depending on the particular animal in question. Animals who lack a significant degree of self-reflective or self-recursive consciousness, may experience space and time as largely relational rather than as absolute entities. The species of animals apart from humans that are known to possess significant selfawareness are dolphins, elephants, the great apes, whales, and (quite surprisingly to some) the European Magpie. All of these animals pass the classic laboratory selfawareness test of being able to recognize themselves in a mirror (called the “mirror test”), an ability that human children acquire between 18 to 24 months. Despite some imperfections in the mirror test, it remains a generally reliable indicator of self-awareness, especially when corroborated by other types of tests, although one should bear in mind that the presence of self-awareness in both humans and certain other animals does not necessarily mean that the two groups share all aspects or depths of selfhood, especially not in the same ways. The positive results of the mirror test and related procedures are strengthened not only by the deep emotions that especially the great apes and elephants are capable of, but also by the linguistic skills of some of the species that pass the mirror test. As Brenda McCowan et al. have documented, any intelligent and meaningful language when plotted on a graph according to distribution frequency will yield a 45 degree slope, whereas gibberish or random text will yield a straight line. Applying this test to Dolphin chatter, it was proven that Dolphins possess a meaningful, knowledge-sharing communication system with syntax. Curiously, dolphin chatter includes the phenomenon of clicking, a common feature in Khoisan languages, generally held to be the world’s oldest human languages. Prairie dog chirping exhibits a surprisingly wide variety of language-like features. Since some of the calls of prairie dogs for specific objects and situations are invariant, that is, are fixed and stable, they may be compared functionally to nouns in human languages. It is therefore possible that various non-human animals might possess some degree of ability to actively manufacture and or passively construct cognitive reifications, just as humans do by assigning fixed nouns to what are perceived or experienced as various objects in an environment. Consequently, depending on their cognitive and linguistic-like skills, some non-human animals may experience space and time as reified stable phenomena to some degree.

Rovelli’s “Disappearance of Space and Time”

And the Relationship between Gravitational Field and Consciousness as a Time Function

In an important essay titled “The Disappearance of Space and Time”399 Carlo Rovelli reminds us that the dominant pre-Einsteinian concepts of absolute space and time are in fact to be traced mainly only as far back as Newton, who actually merely revived a quite minor tradition originating with Democritus: “This is important because the Newtonian scheme is often mistaken for a sort of ‘natural’ understanding of space and time. Nothing is more wrong: the Newtonian space and time ‘entities’ form a strongly counter-intuitive theoretical construction, which met fierce resistance at first.” Newton’s views held until Einstein: “SR is little more than a minor variation of the Newtonian conceptualization of spacetime. . . .”402 According to Newton, as summarized by Rovelli, “space and time are fixed structured background entities underlying material reality, which participate in governing the motion of physical objects. What Einstein has discovered is that Newton had mistaken a physical field for a background entity. Einstein’s discovery is that Newtonian space and time and the gravitational field are the same entity.” Spacetime is thus a sort of mis-perception and misunderstanding of the gravitational field. According to Rovelli, before Newton, “[t]he dominant view in the European tradition, from Aristotle to Descartes, was to understand space and motion as relational. . . . If space is an entity, motion can be defined as going from one part of space to another part of space. This is denoted by ‘absolute motion.’ If space is a relation, motion can only be defined as going from the contiguity of one object to the contiguity of another object. This is called ‘relative motion.’” Rovelli offers the following enlightening observation contrasting Newton’s and Einstein’s approaches: “There is no inert background entity such as Newtonian space: there are only dynamical physical entities. Among these are the fields. . . . Among the fields is the gravitational field. . . . Einstein’s discovery is that Newton had mistaken the gravitational field for absolute space.” As Rovelli clarifies, in General Relativity, spacetime and its coordinates are descriptive artifices and artefacts rather than physical entities:

More formally, in the mathematics of classical GR we employ a background “spacetime” manifold and describe the fields as living on this manifold. However, the diffeomorphism invariance of the theory demands that the localization on this manifold is pure gauge. That is, it is physically irrelevant. The manifold is just an artifice for describing a set of fields and other physical objects whose only “localization” is with respect to one another. A state of the universe does not correspond to one field configuration over the spacetime manifold M. It corresponds to an equivalence class under active diffeomorphisms of field configurations. . . . Contrary to Newton, spacetime points are not entities where particles and fields live.406 Furthermore, after recognizing the necessity of jettisoning the reality of space, we must also realize that distance is not necessarily a constitutive element of space: “The gravitational field g μν(x) determines a four-dimensional continuum with a metric structure. Excessive significance is often attributed to this structure, as if distance was an essential property of space, or even an essential property of reality. This is like an Eskimo thinking that snow is an essential property of the ground.” Spacetime as a continuum in SR is superseded by the abandonment of spacetime in GR: “However, there is no a priori reason for which reality has to be understood as a continuum with metric properties. Nor, for that matter, as a continuum at all. Indeed, contemporary research in quantum gravity points in a very different direction.”

At this juncture, Rovelli devotes the next section of his essay to the question of time, and he begins by pointing out that the currently prevalent common sense notion of time is actually of rather recent origin: “Once again, much of the common understanding of time derives from the 17th Century,” being fundamentally based on Galileo. After Galileo, “SR does not change the Newtonian hypostatization of absolute space and time, but destroys the clean distinction between the two.” Rovelli continues explicating the above thematic constellation as follows: “GR inherits from SR the melting of space and time into spacetime. Therefore the relational nature of space revealed by GR extends to time as well. It follows that in GR there is no background spacetime and therefore in particular no time along which things happen. GR teaches us that we must abandon the idea that the flow of time is an ultimate aspect of reality. The best description we can give of the world is not in terms of time evolution. The dynamics of GR itself cannot be cleanly described in terms of evolution in time.” In the end, we encounter a definitive disappearance of time in quantum physics: “If, in addition, we take quantum theory into account, the spacetime continuum, with its last vague resemblance to temporality disappears completely, and we confront the absence of time at the fundamental level in full.”

The final two paragraphs of Rovelli’s rather riveting essay deserve to be quoted fully: So, where does temporality, with all its peculiar features (‘‘flow’’ of time, whatever this means, irreversibility, memory, awareness) come from? . . . It has to do with statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, perhaps psychology or biology. In Rovelli (1993) I have developed, in collaboration with Alain Connes, the idea that it may be possible to recover temporality from statistical mechanics, within an atemporal mechanical universe (statistical time hypothesis). If this point of view is correct, temporality is an artefact of our largely incomplete knowledge of the state of the world, not an ultimate property of reality. Some people find the absence of time difficult to accept. I think that this is just a sort of nostalgia for the old Newtonian notion of an absolute “Time” along which everything flows, a notion already shown by SR to be inappropriate for understanding the real world. I think that the motivation for holding on to Poincaré invariance, to unitary time evolution, to the idea that there is a “Present” extending all over the universe, is only to provide an anchorage for our familiar notions, which are appropriate to describe the garden of our daily life. In these paragraphs, Rovelli quite astutely associates time with consciousness via his reference to memory and awareness, the latter representing a common synonym for consciousness. According to Rovelli consciousness is a “feature” of temporality or time. By “feature” Rovelli manifestly means “attribute,” “aspect,” perhaps even “mode.” I would suggest that there can be no time apart from consciousness, and that Rovelli’s proposal that time could be attributed or traced back to “psychology or biology” constitutes a strong possibility, which is congruent with Heisenberg’s characterization of spacetime as an “anthropomorphic concept” based on sense-organs. Heisenberg’s

concept” would correspond to Rovelli’s “psychology,” and the former’s reference to “sense-organs” would correspond to Rovelli’s “biology.” If the propensity for consciousness were an inherent property of matter, then this might conceivably explain the presence of the former in the latter without having to posit that the relationship between the two is in any way causal. After all, cause and effect cannot exist in the absence of a space and a time in which they would of necessity have to take place and play themselves out. Thus not only normal causation is excluded in the absence of spacetime, but the sometimes-posited exotic phenomenon of retrocausality would be equally impossible, since if there is no time, then there is no future in which a cause could operate backwards to a past that equally would not exist in the absence of time. Both normal causality and exotic retrocausality would be replaced instead by a modified Bohmian acausality radicalized in an even more pure Pauli acausality, since after all, Bohm’s acausality actually rests on a more fundamental causality, which, as we have seen, is precisely why Bohm was never able to garner support for his Implicate Order notion from Pauli. I have proposed above the triadic simplexus SpacetimeConsciousness, or STC, which implies that space, time, and consciousness are not three separate entities, but one, just as STR collapses space and time into a unitive and inseparable spacetime. These three “entities” therefore do not possess quiddity or substance. However, as Rovelli stresses, while STR collapses space and time into a single entity of spacetime, the fuller GTR indicates that spacetime does not exist in the physical cosmos but in the cognitive domain (although again we would interject that the cosmic and the cognitive exist on a single continuum), so that it does not exist independently or apart from the act of perception even as a single entity usually designated as spacetime.

STC augments and extends the same model by suggesting that space, time, and consciousness constitute but a single entity, that, however, does not actually exist other than as a simulacrum, or as a relational phenomenon, and not as a fully ontological entity in the sense of possessing any perduring quiddity. Consciousness in a way involves something similar to a sort of incomplete view of the universe as a whole, just as Rovelli argues with respect to time, namely, “temporality is an artefact of our largely incomplete knowledge of the state of the world, not an ultimate property of reality.” If in Rovelli’s model spacetime is an interpretation or perceptual hypostatic misreading of the gravitational field, then by analogy, STC would imply that consciousness (as inseparable from time and by extension spacetime) involves a perceptual hypostatic hermeneutic. One might of course maintain that consciousness does exist, yet only as a perceptual interpretation or cognitive-based and culturally reinforced misrepresentation of a more fundamental underlying capacity of an illusory complexion or texture. The concept of consciousness is precisely that, a concept, and not an entity of the manifest world, at least not one that possesses quiddity.

If consciousness is a manifestation of spacetime, identifiable in at least some mode with time, and if the reified notion of spacetime arises as a misinterpretation of what is actually the gravitational field (recall that for Einstein gravity is nothing but the curvature of spacetime), then consciousness could be viewed as a sort of simulacrum of some property somehow relevant to the gravitational field. This implies that the answers to the enigma of consciousness will be realted to the subject of gravity. I suspect that the gravitational field is ultimately non-local, and that it is not subject to localization except in a reified perceptual sense, which is precisely what space and localization are, namely, perceptual reifications or cognitively generated hypostases. In short, if spacetime is ultimately an illusion, then so is gravity, since the latter is but the curvature of spacetime, and hence a movement of spacetime, like the vortex in Bohm’s universal river of existents. If time and consciousness coincide or are even identifiable with each other, then consciousness is linked to gravity, since the latter is a movement of spacetime. The above could be integrated into a model according to which individual consciousness participates in, or originates from, a macroscopic field of proto-

consciousness, and is perhaps indeed constituted by this very participation. The field of proto-consciousness would generate consciousness, which is always individualized, a model that excludes talk of “cosmic consciousness.” More appropriate would be the concept of a cosmic proto-consciousness or cosmic unconscious, understood similarly as Jung’s collective unconscious concept, but with important Paulian qualifications. Before continuing, I should remark that simply observing that gravity is the curvature of spacetime is by no means to imply that science currently understands gravity to any robust degree. As Vesselin Petkov writes:

The issues of inertia and gravitation have been the most significant puzzles in physics for centuries. Even now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the situation is the same – the nature of inertia remains an unsolved mystery in modern physics and our understanding of gravity can be described in almost the same way, since the modern theory of gravitation, general relativity, has not added much to our understanding of the mechanism of the gravitational interaction. General relativity, which provides a surprisingly simple and beautiful no-force explanation for the gravitational interaction of bodies following geodesic paths, remains silent on such important questions as how matter curves spacetime and what is the nature of the very force we identify as gravitational – the force acting upon a body deviated from its geodesic path while being at rest in a gravitational field. The mystery of gravity has been even further highlighted by the fact that the open questions of inertia and gravitation appear to be closely related, since the interpretation of what is called the gravitational force that best reflects the spirit of general relativity suggests that this force is in fact inertial. This naturally explains why “there is no such thing as the force of gravity” in general relativity.

Elsewhere, Petkov expresses the same ideas similarly as follows: This question [of inertia] has become even more urgent in view of the fact that in general relativity the so-called gravitational force is considered to be inertial which explains why “there is no such thing as the force of gravity” [J. L. Synge, Relativity: the general theory (Nord-Holand, Amsterdam, 1960), p. 109] in general relativity. If the physical objects are not the ordinary three-dimensional bodies but are rather four-dimensional “world lines” (as the theory of relativity implies), then inertial and gravitational forces can be regarded as originating from a four-dimensional stress in a body’s world line which arises when the world line is deformed due to its being deviated from its geodesic state (when the body accelerates or is at rest in a gravitational field). As Petkov reminds the reader, “[i]nertia is defined as the resistance a particle offers to its acceleration.This resistance manifests itself as a force – the inertial force Fa – which opposes the external force that accelerates the particle.” Petkov’s own theory is that when one object’s 4-D world line (or worldtube in Petkov’s parlance) interacts with another object’s 4-D world line, this can “deform” a world line. According to Petkov, “Inertial forces originate from a four-dimensional stress arising in the deformed worldtubes of non-inertial bodies.” However, if the block world (which Petkov believes is 4-D) is frozen, that is, lacking the movement of objects and the flow of time, then interaction between 4-D world lines of objects would require an interaction between the block world level and the level of illusory (usuall considered 3-D) spacetime.

As I have detailed previously, in an intriguing essay titled “Ontology of the Universe,” Marcel-Marie LeBel suggests that existence is a “function of time.” This stands in contrast to the idea that consciousness is an extension of time. I would modulate LeBel’s argumentation and suggest that existence, or the cosmos as usually understood, is a manifestation of time, and that by implication if time does not exist except as a simulacrum, so the universe is ultimately an illusory-laden simulacrum of a more fundamental underlying potency which would have as a constitutive element a property of, or propensity towards, illusion or consciousness, both of which ultimately correspond in some way with each other. Proto-consciousness, or pre-consciousness, could thus be understood as consisting of a sort of quantum superposition of illusion and reality, of existence and non-existence, of actuality and potentiality. Potentiality could then be identified or correlated with existence itself, so that the world would be a superposition of an inseparable actuality and potentiality, the potential appearing perceptually as the actual and vice versa. Before leaving LeBel, it might be helpful to remark that he argues that matter arises as the result of a “variation of the passage of time.” Again, if we substitute “time” with “consciousness,” then we could posit that matter arises from a variation of the passage of consciousness. If material objects are manifestations based in an underlying information code, along the lines of Stephen Wolfram’s computational model of the universe and its laws of physics, then matter itself becomes a simulacrum of the underlying information code that generates cosmic existence and existents. In the end, the most fundamental “existent” would be the underlying information code which generates existence or phenomenality. Information generates “reality” or the perceptual, i.e., the perceived world, and not the reverse; or more profoundly, information and “reality” are a single entity, like the unity of spacetime. Indeed, Zeilinger proposes an information-reality equivalency based analogically on the energymass interchangeability in the equation E = mc2. It is not the case that there is a world

“out there” in a “real” space and time, a world which would be separate from us in a Cartesian dualism of res cogitans and res extensa. If the underlying information code that generates physical matter and objects, was self-generating it would consequently be uncreated. May it be that gravity and inertia are intimately and inseparably related to, or are at least entangled in, the process by which the underlying information code is “matter-ialized” on the plane of cosmic manifestation? In other words, could the gravitational field be a signature of a gravitational-like operation that from a perceptual point of view dimensionalizes the underlying information code of which material objects consist? The information code would by a non-mechanistic operation be dimensionalized materially (a sort of holograph with mass), instantiated and held together perduringly. The Bohmian holograph accords with Jean Baudrillard’s notion that reality is the exception, while illusion and virtual reality are the rule in the cosmos, virtual reality implying that reality never quite fully is.

To tie together the various ideational strands of my argumentation, I summarize as follows: It would seem that just as space, time, and consciousness are but perceptual reifications, it is possible that gravitational force is as well, although perhaps in a different mode or sense. Like time, the appearance of gravitational force could be the result of an incomplete perception of a frozen block universe, with the exception that this block world would ultimately consist of 0 dimensional non-spacetime rather than of 4-D spacetime. This would mean, to reformulate Petkov’s articulation, that what appears as the 3-D aspect of objects is actually a simulacrum of non-dimensional world lines (Petkov would say, 4-D world lines), the 0-D world lines being ontological (but with an ontology inseparable from an illusory mode of existence), whereas the 3-D appearance of objects is more of a perceptual simulacrum, with a cognitive mode of reality (but again interfused with illusion). As a consequence, one could analogically explain inertial and gravitational forces as the result of 0-D “stress” in a body’s world line. We must not, however, take the concept of world line deformation over-literally, that is, we must avoid thinking about frozen worldliness according to three-dimensional cognitive projections involving concepts such as real movement in a supposedly real time and space. As Petkov writes elsewhere:

[T]he fact that the one-way velocity of light and simultaneity of distant events are conventional has turned out to have a profound meaning—reality is a fourdimensional world represented by Minkowski spacetime. There are no moving light signals or three-dimensional bodies in this four-dimensional world and when we describe it in our three-dimensional language in terms of motions, the velocities of these signals and bodies are determined by convention since they do not represent anything real.

By analogy, if the concept of a 3-D object in movement in space and time is the result of a cognitive distortion caused by a higher dimensional (according to Petkov, 4D) interference, namely the 3-D object’s world line, then the distortion of a 4-D world line in a frozen block world would imply the presence of an even more fundamental (non-)dimensional entity or (proto-)ontological plane. If that more fundamental plane were of 0 dimensionality, then analogically what appears as the distortion of a world line might involve a cognitive illusion.

In the end, Newtonian space and time as well as Einsteinian spacetime

“disappear” in the block world model, regardless of whether we posit 0 or 4 dimensions.

However, dimensionality is a subset of the space component of the compound nounspacetime,” and if Relativity ultimately cancels out spacetime, then we must also abandon the concept that dimensionality is an actual property of the universe, at least one that would not subsist apart from an aspect of the illusory, it being just a useful convention and cognitive artefact. The 0-dimensional non-spacetime model would seem to be preferable in this context. Accordingly, 0-dimensional non-spacetime is eminently congruent with Rovelli’s “disappearance of space and time.” Consciousness in its turn is revealed as a relational rather than as an ontological phenomenon which has its roots in a mode of entanglement and superposition in the simulacra known as space, time, and the curvature thereof. Consciousness may be a second-stage display and instantiation of the underlying cosmic information code (logoi), proto-consciousness being a first-stage instantiation of the same code on a pre-manifestational level, what Paul Davies would call a third level beyond (I would say also prior to) matter and information:

One way to think about information is as a “higher level” concept than matter. The higher level builds on, but transcends, the lower level. Thus software—and abstract concept—invariably requires physical hardware to support it: swirling bits of information inside a computer, or sense data in the brain, needs switches or neurons. Now, I ask, are these two conceptual levels— matter and information—all there is? Five hundred years ago the very concept of a device manipulating information, or software, would have been incomprehensible. Might there be a still higher level, as yet outside all human experience, that organizes information in the same way that informationprocessing organizes electrons? If so, this “third level” would never be manifest through observations made at the informational level, still less the matter level. There is no vocabulary to describe the third level, but that doesn’t mean it is nonexistent, and we need to be open to the possibility that alien technology may operate at the third level, or maybe the fourth, fifth . . . levels. Davies here fails to mention that such a “third level” could also exist at a stage prior to matter and information, and that it could exist throughout the cosmos as a property of existence as such. An earth-bound third level may be unknown to civilizational (in the sense of “city-dwelling,” “citified”) thinkers, but it is quite well known among indigenous peoples. Civilizations have forgotten this third level and now project it onto hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations more advanced than our current earthly levels of technology. We should apply Davies’ words to this scenario of indigenous third level states pre-existing civilizational technology: “There is no vocabulary to describe the third level, but that doesn’t mean it is non-existent, and we need to be open to the possibility. . . .”

Petkov suggests that inertia is a “manifestation of the reality of spacetime,” which he takes to be of four dimensions, given his advocacy of a literal 4-D block world. In essence I could agree with Petkov’s underlying intention and idea, namely, that the frozen block world model is real. What I disagree with is identifying the block world with a 4-D spacetime. In my view, space and time, even of four dimensions, are cognitive and cultural constructs. If time does not flow (a point Petkov eloquently and deftly recognizes), it is not, pace Petkov, really time anymore. The eternity of the block world cannot accurately be called time, even if this is qualified by the terminology of a non-flowing time. Nor can the alocal aspect of the block world be called “space.” Space and time remain cognitive misinterpretations based on the illusory depths of consciousness.

An adequate theory of the cosmos must attempt to explain both the eternal block world and the phenomenon of consciousness as well as the latter’s illusory experience of a moving and flowing spacetime. I know of no way to explain this situation apart from a model that takes both the real and the illusory seriously and in inseparable modes. This brings to mind some perceptive comments on the Special Theory of Relativity made early on by Ernst Cassirer, who explained of “the two forms of space and time, the psychological or the physical, the space and time of immediate experience or of mediate conception and knowledge”: In the complex that we call our “world,” that we call the being of our ego and of things, the two enter as equally unavoidable and necessary moments. We can cancel neither of them in favour of the other and exclude it from this complex, but we can refer each to its definite place in the whole. If the physicist, whose problem consists in objectification, affirms the superiority of “objectivespace and time over “subjectivespace and time; if the psychologist and the metaphysician, who are directed upon the totality and immediacy of experience draw the opposite conclusion; then the two judgments express only a false “absolutization” of the norm of knowledge by which each of them determines and measures “reality.” . . . The symbols that the mathematician and physicist take as a basis in their view of the outer and the psychologist in his view of the inner, must both be understood as symbols. Until this has come about the true philosophical view, the view of the whole, is not reached, but a partial experience is hypostasized into the whole.

Both the block world and consciousness interpenetrate each other, and both are simultaneously real and illusory, even if to different degrees. The real cannot exist without the irreal, nor the irreal without the real, to the point that the real and the illusory, that is, the frozen block world and the flow of consciousness and time, are but two modes of a single energy. The simultaneity of the real and the illusory immediately brings to mind the notion of the cosmos as dream, for the latter is always experienced as an inseperable real and irreal. Consciousness may be a simulacrum of the block world in a different mode. Both the block world and the world of consciousness are composed of the real and irreal, and in fact are but a single world. The real and the illusory are not two different things, for they constitute merely two different modes of a single energy. The real and the illusory are like Bohm’s river and vortex in the river, there is still only one thing, the river, which is not really a thing at all, but an appearance, a phenomenon both frozen and flowing.

Concluding Remarks

We have reached the end of our journey, and as I stated in the Preface, I cannot claim to have arrived at any definitive answers, the posing of questions being more vital in any case. I thus end with a multitude of questions, of musings, of openings to various unexplored trajectories that lie simultaneously before us and behind us. We can begin to discern the outlines of an interpenetration of the illusory and the real that render the two terms questionable in themselves, especially in any literal or unbending valence. Language, consciousness, and existence all seem to potentially serve as either useful tools that transcend themselves precisely by themselves or as instruments of a selfimposing tyranny.

I can do no better than to close these explorations with the following insightful words of Elliot R. Wolfson: The ontological mystery, one might say, consists of the paradox that the luminous letters shine forth through the veil of the physical entities of the world. It is in this sense that kabbalists would speak of nature as a mirror, for the corporeal world reflects the spiritual forms in the manner that a mirror reflects images. Just as the image is not what is real but only its appearance, so nature is naught but the representation of that which is real. Yet, in the mirror of nature, the dichotomy between image and reality collapses, for here appearance is truth and truth appearance.


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