Benjamin Suzuki: journal — VI

From the Journal of Benjamin Suzuki

82. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

On Ashura, commemorating the killing of the Iman Hussein (Husayn ibn Ali), grandson of Muhammad, deepening the Sunni/Shia split, many gathered to watch a play of his death are killed by a suicide bomber, survivors saying he detonated during Hussein’s death scene.

New York Times, November 2013.

So close to the portal of God, just to lean forward, peak inside, then retreat to say what silence speaks.  No emissary from oblivion, just an actor, like you, mouthing all sorts of words which never really happen, as though the beyond of death is a traveler’s tale, words marched from us to return, rearranged, but still of our making.  Actor says what he is not to bridge the vacuum between self and other, distance without mediation, no particles to travel from here to there and back, an action at a distance as impossible as astrology.

Still he says, and we say, listening, dancing our tongue unawares, our bodies subtly rhythmic in what we might call mental disorder if not that all so performed.  In that rhythm truth lies.

Say, say with me, and in that say you and I are gone.  In audience oblivion comes, words inhabiting everywhere yet of no locus, the dilemma of separation unthought, no thought but words said.  There the portal of God, never approached but made unawares, unawares its very making.  To peak inside is to close it, self returned, running from nothing that never was, I almost had it, let me try again.  Oblivion comes fine; it is its memory that never was.  All our talk devoted to recovering what cannot be said until words so dense that nothing can be said, God recovered.

Say, say with me, I’m not the author, the author is not the author, Hussein is, long gone but writing still, still until no one claims authorship, self performer never lived, ready to die because never born, just here, in say, eternity in the loss of traveled before, the only past the present say.  Into death, say Hussein, into where we go but never are.  Then released into sentience, into the after, body before us in end of play, severed into multitude we stand, wondering where miracle went.

But there is only one God and He is God, he, not she, traveling stranger who leaves seed and moves on, oblivion a moment to make more later.  Comes, as with Hussein, comes again into this play, reprising eternity without the recovery of memory lost for some.  Some never leave the play, eternity granted unawares, so unawares may come again.

God is one and same, traveling indifferently as we play to make his oblivion just a moment, to cheat Him so we too can come again.  And so we run, run from a portal of our making, making a play which might make real, God traveling through us, all unawares.

83.  On the United States Supreme Court

Otherwise undated

While reading

Alfred North Whitehead, Modes of thought (1968 [1938])

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and reality (1978 [1928])

Friedrich Nietzsche, tr Josefine Nauckhoff, The gay science  (2001 [1882])

Friedrich Nietzsche, tr R. J. Hollingdale, Thus spoke Zarathustra, Part III (1969 [1884])

Baruch Spinoza, tr Samuel Shirley, Ethics (1992 [c 1677])

René Descartes, tr Donald A. Cross, Meditations on First Philosophy (1998 [1641])

David Bentley Hart, The experience of God: being, consciousness, bliss (2013)

David Bentley Hart, In the aftermath:  provocations and laments (2009)

Martin Heidegger, The fundamental concepts of metaphysics (1995 [1929-30])

Roger Penrose, Cycles of time:  an extraordinary new view of the universe (2011)

[Archival note:  Suzuki kept three distinct kinds of journal:  entries related to daily events, either in the news or in his life; a zen journal of aphorisms, stories, koans, and explications thereon; and a journals with often long entries, unrelated to events or personalities.  These last might be considered didactic, but there is no evidence that anyone ever saw them.  Entries might be considered academic, but more in a quasi popular form; better, perhaps, would be the observation that their style recurs to writing prior to the dominance of academic publications, where the author determined his own form.  While the effort placed in them is inexplicable, there is a Suzuki short form poem which may capture something of their private motivation:
audience stomps its feet/my words fraying in their gauntlet/some emerge, regroup/hoping for sense
better to speak in loneliness/watching the flock ascend
(see Benjamin Suzuki:  Disappointed hummingbird: quasi haiku and other short form poems, Part 1)  Journal entries 66-69, 75, 77 are of this long didactic form, entry 75 closest in style to present entry 83.  Nearly all in this style date after his confirmation as Chief Justice, but one, a mix between present event and constitutional history, is dated just before his confirmation hearings (entry 59, quite long for its time, in Benjamin Suzuki: journal–IV).  Present entry 83 is as long as a court opinion, as though his seating onto the Court forced him to produce more and more words to justify, not his presence, but being; perhaps his published Court opinions identical in intent.]

Reality, causation, Being

A complete understanding is a perfect grasp of the universe in its totality.  We are finite beings; and such a grasp is denied to us.

–Alfred North Whitehead, Modes of thought (1938)


Everything breaks, everything is joined anew; the same house of existence builds itself for ever.  Everything departs, everything meets again; the ring of existence is true to itself for ever.

–Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra, Part 3, The convalescent, section 2 (1884)


A single fact in isolation is the primary myth required for finite thought, that is to say, for thought unable to brace totality.

This mythological character arises because there is no such fact … abstraction from connectedness involves the omission of an essential factor in the fact considered.  No fact is merely itself.

–Alfred North Whitehead, Modes of thought (1938)


We warrant ourselves on the past, on that which is not, whose recovery into now pushes out that which begs warrant, to ask for its own warrant.  We cannot even ask for such warrant without assuming warrant, yet we ask compelled.  So we interrogate the non-existent to support ourselves; well, not ourselves, certainly not yourselves, but our myselves.  The past chokes out a cause and we ask where from, past feebly pointing to the past of the past, another choke, another spitted cause.  Contingency–contingency, it’s all I can do to tell the deals that made me be.  Ask them, they never told me why, only made a be.  And from this interrogation being is lost. It never begins, a chain of dominos awaiting first to fall, fall being what we are, but there is no first, language talking itself into silence.  Never ending backward decision cannot be made.   Potentiality, the prerequisite of choice, prevents actuality.

The radical existence of the moment is lost through talk, talk which identifies the moment to erase it, talk which cannot be in a radical isolated moment, but requires others for its continuation, we slaves in causation to the words we say, this a hint to what God is, perhaps in His own self-interrogation.

The Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart would loop talk back into the simplicity of the unspoken moment.  Medievalists were right:  explanation leads no where, not even back to ourselves:

as far as existence is concerned, everything is out of place…

…The physical order confronts us at every moment not simply with its ontological fortuity but also with the intrinsic ontological poverty of all things physical–their necessary and total reliance for their existence, in every instant, upon realities outside themselves …  All things are subject to time:  they possess no complete identity in themselves, but are always in the process of becoming something else, and hence also in the process of becoming nothing at all.  There is a pure fragility and necessary incompleteness to any finite thing:  nothing has its actuality entirely in itself, fully enjoyed in some impregnable present instant, but must always receive itself from beyond itself, and then only by losing itself at the same time.  Nothing within itself contains the ground of its own being … One knows of oneself … that every instant of one’s existence is only a partial realization of what one is, achieved by surrendering the past to the future in the vanishing and infinitesimal interval of the present.  Both one’s essence and one’s existence come from elsewhere–from the past and the future, from the surrounding universe and whatever it may depend upon, in a chain of causal dependencies reaching backward and forward and upward and downward–one receives them both not as possessions secured within some absolute state of being but as evanescent gifts only briefly grasped within the ontological indigence of becoming.  Everything one is is a perilously contingent synthesis of identity and change, wavering between existence and nonexistence. … one’s “potential” is always being reduced or collapsed into the finitely “actual” (always foreclosing forever all other possibilities for one’s existence) … one lives and moves and has one’s being only at the sufferance of an endless number of enabling conditions … one is contingent through and through, partaking of being rather than generating it out of some source within oneself:  and the same is true of the whole intricate web of interdependencies that constitutes nature.  [The experience of God:  being, consciousness, bliss]

Even the web is flux; the word “web” is, but no web is.  Yet we persist in labeling towards unity, to prevent the backward induction into intangible possibility, intoning

a mysterious unity that quietly persists amid the spectacle of incessant change:  that oneness that is everywhere and nowhere, at once in the world and in one’s consciousness of it, holding all things together as a coherent totality while also preserving each separate thing it its particualarity, and each part of each thing, and each part of that part, and so on ad infinitum.  [ibid]

Ad infinitum:  our escape from cause, our escape from ourselves, into the breaking wave of other.

Here our plea for God, to God, to escape the hard brevity of actuality which rips asunder to create, to escape creation through imaginative speculation towards creation, ever shopping, never buying.

God is first glimpsed within nature’s powerlessness–its transitoriness and contingency and explanatory poverty.  He is known or imagined or hoped for as that reality that lies beyond the awful shadow of potential nothingness that falls across all finite things… [ibid]

Purveying possibility on display, nothing is.  We escape the nothing of finitude by running headlong into the nothing of possibility.  We, the actualities which give possibility meaning, seek escape into that which we birthed.  We are the collapsed wave function which arises from its collapse.

Infinity, make me finite, so I can be.


Descrates grasped God through an infinity he could not encounter, using non-encounter as the datum for its existence, and so too the existence of God.  I know I am; I know I am bounded; why then should I have any notion of the unbounded?

…although the idea of substance is in me by virtue of the fact that I am a substance, that fact is not sufficient to explain my having the idea of an infinite substance, since I am finite, unless the idea proceeded from some substance which really was infinite.

Nor should I think that I do not perceive the infinite by means of a true idea, but only through a negation of the finite, just a I perceive rest and darkness by means of a negation of motion and light.  On the contrary, I clearly understand that there is more reality in an infinite substance than there is in a finite one.  Thus the perception of the infinite is somehow prior in me to the perception of the finite, that is, my perception of God is prior to my perception of myself.  [Meditations on first philosophy, 3rd Meditation]

“God” being “a certain substance that is infinite, independent, supremely intelligent, and supremely powerful” [ibid].   Unable to traverse infinity, he cannot know of infinity through encounter.  Unable to gather infinity unto himself, it must be provided from without, beyond his effort, so outside of the time in which effort is embedded, so somehow “first” or prior; if revealed in time, not determined by temporal encounter.  Since an idea must come from something, infinity must come from an infinite substance; since infinity is unlimited, its power is unlimited, and this is the definition of God (shunting aside the question of intelligence).

Of course this last inference has counter examples.  A line is infinite yet embedded, so bounded, in a plane.  Yet the bounding is a greater infinity, a point Spinoza will use to argue God is unencapsulated, unbounded,  infinity.  “To be finite,” Spinoza says, “is in part a negation, and to be infinite is the unqualified affirmation of the existence of some nature … it follows that every [Spinozan, not Cartesian] substance must be infinite” [Ethics, Part 1, Proposition 8, 1st Scholium], for anything partly negated, bounded, has something beyond itself.    While affects like the line may be infinite in their kind, there must be one infinity, to avoid, alas, an infinite (unencapsulated) outgress, which is not contained in an infinity of, so to say, greater dimension; otherwise understanding never occurs, just as events can never occur if pushed ever backwards into historical contingency–the first domino never falls.  Spinoza’s God of unbounded infinity can only be self-understood, this process, in fact, being what nature is.

Descartes cannot encounter infinity, yet claims he has the idea of infinity.  What he does encounter is the temporally unbounded through memory and expectation.  He knows that he has taken steps beyond his present in the past, and expects to do so again.  The unbounded has no barrier, which is how lived life potentially seems to be, more steps always beckoning; if we lived in smallish subterranean caverns with no outlet, “unbounded” might be unfathomable.

But to be unbounded is not to be infinite.  Consider a two dimensional torus, or just the one dimensional version of a circle. (*)  One can travel indefinitely in a well defined forward, never encountering a barrier.  True, we present a torus by embedding it in a greater dimensional space, but the torus can be well defined solely in terms of transit rules within it.  A circle or Möbius strip is not infinite, in that there is a common upper bound on transit time for travel to any two points on it; yet these tori (generalizing the word a bit) exhibit exactly the  encounter of the lived unbound from which Descartes motivates infinity, an encounter which is an accident of terrain and great travel distance, leading to the theoretical construction of infinite lines and planes.  These constructions are generalized from lived encounter, but do not prove in themselves material infinity; one may take the torus rule “there is a common upper bound on transit time for travel to any two points” and derive, e.g., the infinite line through negation (“there is no common upper bound…”).  Contrary to Descartes, above, infinity is not apprehended positively, but taught by negating a rule we already understand.  Nor does this infinite line require a plane to be “bounded,” so understood; we do, after all, come to understand three dimensional space without positing a fourth dimension (leaving time aside).  Presentational ease is not essential definition.

Descartes’ claim that a material infinity must exist is false (so the torus), as is Spinoza’s claim that an unbounded infinity in understanding must exist, for we may travel within that understanding, never knowing it whole, just as travel on a torus.  Descartes infinity is not prior to experience but constructed through the imaginative extension of rules derived through lived, seemingly unbounded encounter.  Cartesian infinity is not placed in Descartes’ mind by God; rather, Descartes places the Cartesian God in his own mind

[(*)  Herein torus is generalized to include forms such as a mathematical torus, circle, or Möbius strip, defined as a space whereby uniform travel returns one to one’s start.  A circle is so, but not a polygon, the latter requiring special rules of travel at vertices which entail information of a space beyond the traveled space.  The curvature of a circle, being uniform, does not require knowledge of the space into which the circumference is embedded; the travel rule, never changing, defines lived space–and that which never changes is not known.]


If a torus minimally generates the unbounded, there is no reason to a priori assume that backward causation is infinite or has first cause.  To say that backward induction is infinite is to say that a point as event set on this backward path occurs only once; the past is unique.  Someone on a forward or backward path of a torus would not think this true of location, for one will ultimately return to where one began without abandoning the idea of progress.  If asked to explain the existence of the present through backwards causation, the dilemma of no actualized event stream (no first domino falls so no string of dominos can fall) disappears if backwards causation eventually yields the same event set as the present.  If that set appears through backward induction, then a first domino does fall, for going further back just returns us again to were we started, and we were given the present to construct the no first cause dilemma.

It does not matter that the present, found again in the past, is inexplicably “here.”  The Medieval critique begins by assuming the warrant of being through causation to show that warrant inadequate.  The present is given, and if backwards induction recovers that present in the casual past, the warrant has affirmed itself.

This is the import of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence.  Having affirmed cause, material or by “power,” he denies the Medieval locus of being critique by constructing a negation of its argument.  His first blush of recurrence is section 341 of The gay science, provided here complete:

The heaviest weight.  What if some day or night a demon were to steal into your loneliest loneliness and say to you:  ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it you will have to live once again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy an every thought and  sigh and everything unspeakable small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence–even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself.  The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again, and you with it, speck of dust.’  Would you not throw youself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?  Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him:  ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine.’  If this thought gained power over you, as you are it would transform and possibly crush you; the question in each and every thing, ‘Do you want this again and innumerable times again?’  would lie on your actions as the heaviest weight!  Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to long for nothing more fervently than for this ultimate external confirmation and seal?  [italics original]

If “God is dead” (Gay science, sections 125, 343), some other warrant for being is needed .  External recurrence gives such through causation and will (the latter a part of the causative sequence, thereby retaining free will as experienced, no longer bestowed by God, as just will).  An absurdity results.   Since recurrence is guaranteed, the question “do you want this again and innumerable times again” is moot, for wanting has nothing to do with it.  To choose an act longing “for nothing more fervently than for this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal,” is vacuous, for the fervent longing is just part of recurrence, as is the act so motivated.  Free will is just part of the causative sequence of recurrence, an essential illusion, or rather words repeated without end.  The “you” in “would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth…” is a trick, for you are no “you” generalized across the eternal recurrence; there are only identical ‘you’s across the sequence with no common identity as defined in sequence at all.  The Christian dilemmas inducing solace vanish.  Being and freedom just are but, if generalized across eternal recurrence, are not.

You will never again pray, never again worship, never again repose in limitless trust … there is no longer any reason in what happens, no longer any love in what happens to you — there is no longer any resting place open to your heart where it has only to find and longer to seek, you resist any kind of ultimate peace, you want the eternal recurrence of war and peace…”  [Gay science, section 285]

This what David Bentley Hart battles.  The soul is in potential irreducible exit from strife.  Eternal recurrence is fueled by perpetual strife, each act decomposed by the very causation which makes it buoyant.  So the animals, small emblems of recurrence, speak for Zarathustra:

Everything goes, everything returns; the wheel of existence rolls for ever.  Everything dies, everything blossoms anew; the year of existence runs on for ever.

Everything breaks, everything is joined anew; the same house of existence builds itself for ever.  Everything departs, everything meets again; the ring of existence is true to itself for ever.

Everything begins in every instant; the ball There rolls around every Here.  The middle is everywhere.  The path of eternity is crooked.  [Thus spoke Zarathustra, Part 3, The convalescent, section 2]

Crooked:  the universe is a torus, this escape from God.

Nietzsche’s brilliance lies in the predictive necessity of a torus for science to avoid God’s critique of causation as inadequate for Being.  No scientist, he could only point the way; no scientist could point the way in his day.  Astoundingly, one now wrapped in mathematical conjecture offers, perhaps without knowing so, a resolution unto recurrence.  No torus results; but the core requirement that the present warrants itself through causative pathways recreating itself remains.  The nonfinite torus, falsely used to assert material infinity, is replaced with an infinity which, rather than preventing a domino to fall via backwards induction, makes every domino first falling.


Gödel conjectured that the universe might be a spatial temporal torus using Einstein’s General Relativity.   Einstein, perturbed, found no fault with the conjecture, yet could not believe it true.  Since, specific material conditions, such as the distribution of matter to induce the required curvature, have failed Gödel’s hypothesis.  A man who wanted stasis in understanding failed, not through reason, but material fact.  Science will not counter God’s critique through reason, but by placing itself in jeopardy of falsification, Gödel a first, failed trial.  There is presently another.

The Big Bang extends forever, but not into a uniform thinning.  Most matter will be absorbed into black holes; many remnants unabsorbed will, in vast time, be annihilated into energy through encounter with their anti particle (an anti-proton with an proton, etc).  Other large particles, such as the neutron, will decay into other vulnerable to such annihilation, all these annihilations producing energy in the form of the massless photon, the universe trending towards a collection of black holes and photons.

Mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (Cycles of time) notes, however, that black holes are not stable.  Black holes have an internal temperature.  As the background temperature of the universe cools through expansion, eventually they release energy as photons; since mass and energy are convertible, this release reduces the mass of the black hole (Hawking’s evaporation).  Smaller black holes are warmer than larger ones (it’s easier to escape the former’s gravitational pull), so, as the universe continues to expand so cool, the mass stored in black holes will continue to be converted into wandering photons.  As some point a hole’s mass is so reduced that it explodes fully into released energy.  Thus over unfathomable amounts of time the universe will become ever more photons until the last black hole explodes (the Big Bang itself insures that there are a finite number of black holes at any given time, and the process just sketched assures that ultimately their number declines).

The universe is now wandering photons and stray particles never absorbed into black holes (there will be wandering macro objects as well, avoiding black holes, noted shortly, but assume not for the moment).  Here hand waving begins.  Protons, being heavier, are more likely than electrons to be absorbed into a black hole.  Proton remnants unabsorbed may encounter their anti-particle, becoming photons, and perhaps, said with a little desperation, protons actually decay, although there is no evidence for this.

Removing stray particles is important.  Time is measured relative to mass; that is, time is partly a mass effect.  If there is no mass, there is, in a mathematical sense, no measurable time.  If there is no measurable time, certain mathematical complexes reduce in form, with this reduction compatible with very distinct states of the universe.  Many of these states describe other Big Bangs.

Imagine a universe with only photons rushing about.  They rush, but time no longer protrudes into the state space description of the universe.  Wait long enough (even though time does not index the universe) and eventually they will condense into a Big Bang.  Call this event the crossover from one aeon to another, from one Big Bang dissipating into expansion into another such Big Bang.  The universe, Penrose says, becomes

a (possibly infinite) succession of aeons, each appearing to be an entire expanding universe history [Cycles of time, section 3.1]

By conformal read distinct states satisfying the same state phase description.  Through the lens of the state phase, these distinct instances cannot be distinguished, although they may lead to vastly different trajectories when an outside condition is introduced; the mathematics doesn’t care, but the outside does, mass producing a (relative) outside .  Some instances of the state phase will produce mass, others not.  When mass appears, conformal equivalence of states ends; some states exit the phase state while others cannot.  Traveling through various conformally equivalent states, one has a trap door exiting the phase state.  If not there, one keeps “moving” in the phase state until a trap door appears.  In this way, a new Big Bang is inevitable–the trap door sprung.  Penrose details

The reader may well worry about identifying a remote future, where the radiation cools down to zero temperature and expands out to zero density, with a big bang type of explosion, where the radiation had started at an infinite temperature and infinite density.  But the conformal “stretching” at the big bang brings this infinite density and temperature down to finite values, and the conformal “squashing” at infinity brings the zero temperature and density up, to finite values.  These are just the kinds of rescalings that make it possible for the two to match, and the stretching and squashing are procedures that the relevant physics on either side [of the conformal boundary between aeons] is completely insensitive to … the phase space describing the totality of possible states of all the physical activity on either side of the crossover [between aeons] has a volume measure which is conformally invariant basically for the reason that when distance measures are reduced [the squashing], the corresponding momentum measures are increased (and visa versa) in just such a way that the product of the two is completely unchanged by the rescaling.  [Cycles of time, section 3.1]

The speed of light is constant.  Photon momentum is expressed as shifts to higher wavelengths, so energy, so, abstractly, heat.  A universe of measureless timeless (for massless) expansion is eventually equivalent to a Big Bang.

There is considerable hand waving  to deplete the expanding prior aeon of all its mass.  Inevitably, stray particles will avoid all black holes, drifting outward.  Electrons are presumed not to decay, as their charge would be lost, conservation of summed charge considered a universal.  Free protons are not known to decay, but might, very slowly (as of 2011 the lower bound on proton half life is more than 10**33 years, Cycles of time, footnote 3.13); of course, duration is unimportant since the whole point is to await the end of measurable time, yet conservation of charge would again seem to preclude decay.  (*)  Outward drifting (atomic) particles in expansion will eventually become isolated in their event horizon.  If gravity is consequent of a field with associated Higgs particle, it is hard to see how gravity, so mass, can apply in such an isolate horizon; such cases might be mathematically massless.

There are, however, more difficult cases.  Some marco objects will also avoid black holes, such as a drifting dead star, where mass cannot be avoided.  Proton decay would be one solution.  Another, suggested by Penrose with some resolve, is that all rest mass eventually decays, although resolve consists solely in saving the conformal theory (Cycles of Time, section 3.2); if rest mass decays to nothing, conformal transition is guaranteed.  Even more difficult if ambiguous is the status of dark matter, which seems to constitute a majority of universal mass.  Since its only presumed effect is gravitational, it must be some form of mass; but, apparently inert to all other known interaction, nothing else can presently be said.  Proton decay becomes a special case of more general rest mass decay, applied to dark and standard matter.

Penrose’s hand waving predicts new theory, which is to the good, as later failure or incompatibilities act as disconfirmation.  There is, moreover, a possible empirical prediction–of an echo of the previous aeon into our own.  Massive black holes, either colliding or nearly so, should produce gravitational waves distorting space time locally, significant portions of their mass converted into energy in the process.  This patterned release of energy will dilute through expansion and other random processes, but the waves echo the effect past the colliding event; there is thus more structure needing dissipation at the conformal crunching into a Big Bang.  Whatever residue of pattern left becomes part of the Bang’s signature (distance traded for momentum, above), the high energy of the Bang then further dissipating the signature in expansion.  Even so, a residue signature might be evident in today’s cosmic microwave background, our Big Bang’s echo (Cycles of time, section 3.6).  In 2010 Penrose, working with the experimental physicist Vahe Gurzadyn, published a claim of such a signature (which also empirically challenges inflation theory, not discussed here, although Penrose’s conformal cosmology both removes the need for inflation while suggesting such past aeon gravitational wave signatures might exist).  Whether the Gurzadyn/Penrose data are real, happenstance, or methodological artifact remains part of the continuing challenge game of science.

What is noteworthy here is that Penrose’s (inadvertent) reply to God’s critique of never falling first domino has both disconfirmatory theoretical/empirical predictions (most strongly in rest mass decay or, weaker, proton decay ignoring dark matter) plus buttressing support via predictions of pattern in background cosmic radiation.  There is no reasoned refutation of God’s critique; rather, an empirical positing which indirectly removes it.  There is no reasoned reply to God, which is science at its core.  If the present is fully formed in the past, the critique vanishes, employing God’s use of infinity against Itself.  Nietzsche’s great conjecture would stand, sustained without the actual recurrence cycle he envisioned, for infinity can skip along a good long while before replicating the focal past.

[ (*) See entry appendix for a simultaneous proton/electron decay scenario.]


Suppose Penrose’s conformal recreation of aeons correct.  If space time is so curved that aeons are on a torus, (a different conjecture than Gödel’s, above), then Nietzsche is confirmed exactly.  Our Big Bang recurs (actually, we recur exactly, being frozen objects in the space-time line), with every probability call outcome always realized the same way–for each is always and ever realized once.  As with Nietzsche, free will, even probability itself, is realized within the timeline, but fixed when viewed from outside the timeline.  We can, however, save probability by ordering aeons on a linear infinite timeline, employing infinity both on this line of aeons and in the probability draws resulting within aeons.

Here we are.  God asks us to explain this.  We demur until all mass is lost.  A conformal reduction occurs, producing a new Big Bang.  There is not just one possible such reduction.  The Bang is described as infinite temperature, but all this really means is a temperature beyond the present laws of physics.  Recall that conformal reduction shortens distances to augment momentum, so energy, so temperature.  At infinity, distance is zero, so all past aeon structure lost, which is clearly not what Penrose means at all.  There are many (actually, if distance is not quantized, an infinity) reductions producing a Bang; the greater the temperature among these, the less structural residue from the prior aeon is preserved, as momentum is greater, causing more mass production.

There is no reason to choose one Bang over another, which implies ours cannot replicate itself directly in any substantial way.  Before the Bang, the prior aeon is massless without measureable time.  The Bang just happens, from the mathematics; wait long enough, albeit immeasurably enough, and a Bang will occur, when an appropriate state space is entered.  More, the character of the Bang, its initial temperature, just happens.  The fiat of God remains, mathematically; His will becomes mathematical inevitability with multiple outcomes.

Once a Bang temperature is realized, an incomprehensibly large number of probability calls fashion the new aeon even unto its extensive demise.  A staggering number of possible realized aeons results, almost all, likely all, not realizing the previous aeon.  Coupled with differing Bang temperatures, there is an abundance of possible aeons, likely none the focal past aeon.  But there is no reason to think the focal aeon comes from itself; its predecessor aeon might have been quite different from itself.  Whatever aeon is realized from our focal one, it in turn will birth a Bang, which again will most most likely not be our focal.  If our focal aeon does not replicate immediately, nor two aeons hence, then maybe three hence.  Overwhelmingly, no.  And so on.  Our focal fades into the distant past, never likely, never expected.

Yet the probability paths combining immediately prior aeon, happened Bang temperature, and all the possible probability calls in an evolving aeon, nigh infinity layered on nigh infinity (or infinity if space is continuous) layered on nigh infinity, thin probable outcome of aeon into possibility of outcome.  Although incalculable, there is no reason to think our focal aeon will not recur in unlimited time.  Combination is so mixed that this past recurs, likely, long long after any trace of it remains.  God, as the font of all possibility, is retained, absent any sense of Being, just a pathway with desired outcome given sufficiently long travel across the time line of aeons.  Physics, infinity, and probability provide the scaffolding for this recurrence of the focal present in the far distant future, providing predictions as to theory and observations as well.  This is no less vacuous as positing God as sustaining all Being.

We can frame this future recurrence of the focal present also as an identical focal past and present.  If asked to account for this reframed present via backwards induction to warrant its being (section 1, above), traversing all the past contingencies this entails, we can do so until arriving at its identical past instance.  This past instance warrants the being of the present as its recurrence, the present becoming its own falling first domino in the past.  There is a beginning, which is what God’s critique denied.

But what of this identical past?  We have an infinite line of aeons, not a torus.  Where does the identical past come from, as our focal present cannot, linearly, be both past and future.  We have warranted future occurrences of our focal present, but not the present itself.  Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence has the same problem.  It warrants the future return of the present, but not the present as return of the past; the temporal non-location of the present via the written word floats the argument to all times–a trick, as a true beginning, without a past, makes clear.

Yet, once one realizes that each aeon produces a Big Bang, there is no empirical support for an irreducible Bang; indeed, asserting such is equivalent to assuming God warrants Being through the first instance, which is what God’s critique seeks to prove via the never falling first domino.  An infinite past timeline does not remove God’s critique as such.  Having shown that the focal present likely warrants its identical future; and knowing that no Big Bang need be presumed without genesis by another aeon; physical temporal symmetry reflects this forward induction into backward induction, where the focal present is now warranted by its identical past.  Every aeon becomes its own first domino.  Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence need no longer be a torus if supplemented by a full infinite line.  The (presumed) physics does not need God.  Infinity will do, and theologians need infinity to speak of God.  Here the conformal physics employs infinity without the warrant of God, so is more parsimonious than demanding that warrant.  This an engine of physics:  not to deny God, but do without Him.  The theological attack on causation as adequate for warranting being fails through theory with potential empirical referent (the cosmic background trace of past aeon).

Nor is God necessary to derive infinity (section 2, above).  Finitude is experienced as a limiting, the nonfinite as something past that limiting, either via our memory or observation of others.  Observing death produces the nonfinite relative to the life just ended.  Each observer lives in apparent forever, yet recurs to the sensations of the past, becoming a present, motivating action towards another recurrence.  We can instaniate an event from our past (eat an apple again), yet it must be lost again, traveled past.  We live nonfinite recurrence, the torus an ideal abstraction.  Infinity abstracts this travel to the past into unique encounter; similarity to the past suppressed, forward extension remains, the sense of always tomorrow yielding infinity.  When cognizant of our mortality, we look to birth, a forward path of generation unbounded unto the possibility of infinity, notwithstanding asteroid collision or nova which only science brings, outside of our lived lives.  Infinity is the promise that someone else will carry on.


David Bentley Hart says of “Roger Penrose’s postulate of an infinite sequence of universes [aeons]” that

inasmuch as none of the links in that chain could be the source of its own existence, this entire series of causes and effects would be contingent reality and would still have to be sustained by a “vertical”–a per se or ontological–causality. … The ultimate source of existence cannot be some item or event that has long since passed away or concluded, like a venerable ancestor or even the Big Bang itself–either of which is just another contingent physical entity or occurrence …” [The experience of God, italics original]

But the no first domino critique of contingency grants that otherwise causality would be sufficient.  Nor is presentational immediacy contingent.  Immediacy is here its own warrant, else there is no case against causation (how can you get to something not there?), and arguing for its identical instance in the causal past places that warrant there.  Immediacy is self warranting through causation.  Is not God self warranting as well?

Yes, this is a shell game, the present warranted by its identical faded past, that past warranted in turn by yet more distant past, nugget of final reality never revealed, physical theory telling you to stop looking, for nothing is there.

All finite things are always in the present, being sustained in existence by conditions they cannot have supplied for themselves, and that together compose a universe that, as a physical reality, lacks the obviously supernatural power necessary to exist on its own.  Nowhere in any of that is a source of existence as such.  [Hart, ibid, italics original]

Existence is presentational immediacy instanced as awareness:

If one considers the terms of one’s existence, for instance, one sees that there is no sense in which one is ever self-existent:  one is dependent on an incalculable number of ever greater and ever smaller finite conditions … all of which are themselves dependent on yet further conditions.  [Hart, ibid]

Each such condition, if placed in awareness, seems full in itself, yet is lost in its own chain of conditions.  To avoid infinite regress not so much through never falling first domino but loss of focal awareness, a condition’s actual being must have another, nondecomposable, locus, this God.  Yet actual being is not just our notice of a thing:

Actual being … the real actuality of some particular thing among other particular things–is that thing’s effective power to act and to be acted upon.  [ibid]

To act and be acted upon:  to be embedded in contingency.  Full circle, the given present contains in potential all contingency, contingency being past or future.  Hart and the present use of Penrose differ only on first domino.

In both cases presentational immediacy is not isolate; connections soon entangle it.  These, though, come only upon reflection.  Yet immediacy is known only through our talk of it, so known only through the past.  The use of immediacy to query warrant of the present requires the past for its very articulation.  We can construct an immediacy as external observer, but not as participant.

in our experience we essentially arise out of our bodies which are the stubborn facts of the immediate relevant past.  We are also carried on by our immediate past of personal experience; we finish a sentence because we have begun it.  The sentence may embody a new thought, never phrased before, or an old one rephrased with verbal novelty.  There need be no well-worn association between the sounds of the earlier and the later words.  But it remains remorselessly true that we finish a sentence because we have begun it.  We are governed by stubborn fact.  [Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, italics original]

If immediacy requires the past, there is no existential warrant for a Big Bang beginning sequence, without predecessor.  A Penrose-like solution is suggested by the very framing of articulated immediacy, past housing the conjectured, never directly spoken, present.

Which recurs, well, to Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence.  If articulated presentational immediacy implies a past, there is no reason to assume a first cause at all.  God sustaining Being each moment is such a (“vertical,” sensu Hart, above) first cause.  Backwards induction on contingency would seem, then, the only game in town, yet is vulnerable to the reasoned critique of no first domino.  Nietzsche brilliantly placed creation on a torus, abstracted from time or not, to nullify this critique:

… all things recur eternally and we ourselves with them, and we have already existed an infinite number of times and all things with us.

There is a great year of becoming, a colossus of a year: this year must, like an hour-glass, turn itself over again and again, so that it run down and run out anew:

so that all these years resemble one another, in the greatest things and in the smallest, so that we ourselves resemble ourselves in each great year, in the greatest things and in the smallest.  [Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Part 3, The convalescent, section 2]

Penrose allows a generalization of Nietzsche’s solution where a definite causative cycle need not exist at all.  Immeasurable probability pathways may enable the same reinstantiation of a focal aeon, which will recur indefinitely via distinct sequences of intermediate aeons, the hands turning the hourglass over composed of innumerable aeons each also turned by such hands.  History ultimately does repeat itself within duplicated aeons separated by a vast sequence of aeons, but the route to duplication, that intermediate sequence, is not itself repetitive in the same sense.  The torus is jettisoned, but its essential effect, the self warranting of the present through its past instantiation, remains.

Infinity has thinned us all to nothing to let us come again.  Travel into that thin cannot be done save in the inarticulate conjectures of the mind, probability called but not realized, hand waved over incalculable events the foundation of our world never seen.  Into infinity, not of God compact but drowning into distance from ourselves

thither where the suns of humanity have hitherto gone down.  Will it perhaps be said of us one day that we too, steering westward, hoped to reach India, but that it was our fate to be wrecked against infinity?  [Gay science]

Drowned to rise again.

Combined, what David Bentley Hart and Nietzsche have given is a critique of causative science which predicts, requires, a certain kind of theory as scientific outcome.  Penrose is a hint that such an outcome, sustaining science against critique, is possible, albeit a hint with enormous gaps–as is science’s want.  That Nietzsche could seed an answer without the tools of today might give pause to those who expect science as such to encompass all reason.  We may rather find even Medieval theologians cannot be jettisoned total.  Standing outside, they tell us what we must be.


Hart sees the mathematics of science as something approaching God, so why not go the distance.

The moment one ascribes to mathematical functions and laws a rational and ontological power to create, one is talking no longer about nature (in the naturalist sense) at all, but about a metaphysical force capable of generating the physical out of the intellectual:  an ideal reality transcendent of and yet able to produce all the material properties of the cosmos, a realm of pure paradigms that is also a creative actuality, an eternal reality that is at once the rational structure of the universe and the power giving it existence.  [The experience of God]

Conformal reduction of a massless aeon into a new Big Bang is an inevitable outcome of the aggregate behavior of photons, moving within space time (although there is nothing by which time can be measured).  Without mass, distance becomes untethered; relative distance is preserved, but absolute distance varies, as such needs the tether of mass to be affirmed.  The equations do not have “an ontological power to create” nor are “a metaphysical force capable of generating the physical out of the intellectual.”  Rather, the conformal reduction merely guarantees that a Big Bang state within the phase state space of combined photons will eventually be reached.  The ontology is that of the photon, conformal reduction a descriptor of that ontology as applied.

Equations describe, predict, so also forbid.  They move toward generality, so become “laws” of high standing–upon error, something else must be wrong, they presumed not.  To say they “create” is no different than saying philosophical language “creates” the ontology it discusses, so too God when talked.  True, energy/particle transformations are probabilistic in quantum theory, but this hardly says that particles are created by equations.  Nor are mathematical considerations like symmetry, when used to successfully predict a new particle, evidence that equations are indulging in creation.  A better analogy would be analogy, where one domain (prior theory) is used to predict or argue outcomes elsewhere, an essential tool in philosophy and theology–indeed, according to Hart, about the only way to understand the nature of God.  While quantum theory deals with wave functions which collapse into particles in encounter events, and with cross conversion of energy into particles, equations do not create these transitions, just describe them.  What has been lost is the ontology of the particular; wanting to find something real beyond transition itself, equations are conscripted against their will–to indulge in another personification of a language outcome.

In quantum mechanics energy warrants itself through transformation, a set of rules, almost a recipe where the cooked result is always a bit uncertain.  A magic–but science is just a magic that works

the doctrine that there is nothing apart from the physical order, and certainly nothing supernatural … is ultimately indistinguishable from pure magical thinking [Hart, ibid]

save for those immersed in theory become reality, just like theologians, without whom further magic would not come.  This world proffered is coherent–those equations–yet underconnected.  Particles appear, but not from Laplacian calculus complete; particles appear, but not as enshackled slaves precisely placed by the past.  Their very presence, being, now, here, is a kind of novelty which probability keeps coherent.  Yet this novelty actualized as outcome is also coherence; probability speaks by abandoning itself into outcome.

‘Creativity ,’ ‘many,’ ‘one’ are the ultimate notions involved in the meaning of the synonymous terms ‘thing,’ ‘being,’ ‘entity.’  The term ‘many’ presupposes the term ‘one,’ and the term ‘one’ presupposes the term ‘many.’   The term ‘one’ stands for the singularity of entity.  The term ‘many’ conveys the notion of ‘disjunctive diversity’; this notion is an essential element in the concept of ‘being.’  There are the many ‘beings’ in disjuctive diversity.  [Alfred North Whitehead, Process and reality]

A particle, with some apology to Whitehead’s actual entity or actual occasion, is a unity beyond itself, a novelty because each unity in time is unique, making another plurality, itself newly present therein, awaiting another unity beyond itself.  Creativity is the principle of novelty, Whitehead says, introducing novelty into the context of the many, and being is unity of the past in present novelty:

the ultimate principle by which the many, which are the universe disjunctively, become the one actual occasion, which is the universe conjunctively.  It lies in the nature of things that the many enter into complex unity.  In their natures, entities are disjunctively ‘many’ in process of passage into conjunctive unity.  The fundamental inescapable fact is the creativity in virtue of which there can be no ‘many things’ which are not subordinated in a concrete unity.  Thus a set of all actual occasions is in the nature of things a standpoint for another concrescence which elicits a concrete unity from those many actual occasions.  It is inherent in the constitution of the immediately present actuality that a future will supercede it.  The creativity in virtue of which any relative complete actual world is, by the nature of things, the datum for a new [superceding] concrescence, is termed ‘transition.’  [ibid]

Unity in the face of disjoint probability outcomes, through such an outcome.

The ultimate metaphysical principle I the advance from disjunction to conjunction, creating a novel entity other than the entities given in disjunction.  The world expands through recurrent unifications of itself, each, by the addition of itself, automatically receding the multiplicity anew. …The many become one, and are increased by one.  [ibid]

Unity an almost hysterical need, for quantum theory does not give it.  Particles are made locally, no more caring of the vast beyond of universe than are our own lives.  In quantum mechanics the universe is under connected, albeit with single rulebook; one cannot encompass anywhere in any here.  Repeated (to date) experimental violations of Bell’s Inequality allow action across arbitrarily long distances, in that particles created together seemingly remain linked no matter how far they drift apart, an effect on one inducing a complimentary reaction in the other.  Creation binds across distance, but creation is not everywhere simultaneous.  Bell’s failure connects the universe potentially, but never actually.  A common world results as one might be connected to an otherwise unreachable place.  World, universe is an abstraction with toehold on reality for it might anywhere appear to be.

Neither Whitehead nor Hart can abide this ever failing promise of totality.  For Hart, being is simple, compact, indivisible, our talk of it illusory, fragmented, at best when circling upon itself to snuff itself out.  So words write

As scripture says:  I am going to destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of any who understand.  Where are the philosophers?  Where are the experts?  And where are the debaters of tis age?  Do you not see how God has shown up human wisdom as folly?  Since in the wisdom of God the world was unable to recognize God the world was unable to recognize God through wisdom, it was God’s own pleasure to save believers through the folly f the gospel.  [1 Corinthians 1:19-21, New Jerusalem Bible; all New Testament quotations below are as well from the NJB]

Speech is folly, but must be used with fools.  Understanding is folly, at best a Zen koan struggle of passage complete when abandoned:

From now onwards, then, we will not consider anyone by human standards:  even if we were once familiar with Christ according to human standards, we do not know him that way any longer.  So for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation:  the old order is gone and a new being is there to see.  [2 Corinthians 5:16-7]

Perhaps a trick of translation, being become Being, distnctions gone, our salvation from one another:

There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female–for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  [Galatians 3:28]

A social understanding enslaving all is shattered, later generalized against a physics which alienates from Being, the magic of physics tragic necessity while awaiting the erasure of all distinction.  Theology, the way station for erasure, needs much to keep distinction leashed:

The properly trained Christian theologian, perfectly in command of his materials, should be a proficient linguist, with a mastery of several ancient and modern tongues, should have a complete foundation in the subtleties of the whole Christian dogmatic tradition, should possess a considerable knowledge of the texts and arguments produced in every period of the Church, should be a good historian, should be thoroughly trained in philosophy ancient, mediaeval, and modern, should have a fairly broad grasp of liturgical in every culture and age of the Christian world, should (ideally) possess considerable knowledge of literature, music, and the plastic arts, should have an intelligent interest in the effects of theological discourse in such areas as law or economics, and so on and so forth.  [David Bentley Hart, “Theology as knowledge,” in In the aftermath: provocations and laments]

But not science.  In the struggle to allow all into the coming erasure into Being, all social derivatives of the Logos, “history, law, political theory, philosophy, classics,” even unto the arts, need gathering; and these fields would gain from knowing theology.  “[I]t would be hard to name any genuine academic discipline outside the hard sciences or mathematics that can be mastered adequately without some degree of philosophical [theological] literacy” [ibid].  Only physics and its associates, plus their soothsayer mathematics, these which are the substrate upon which the Logos stands in its own work, only these may be if not imperatively at least safely ignored.  Physics is a magic, but a magic which erases other kinds of same.  As salvation gathers unto itself, the ontology of physics works silently unspied, save for the occasional explosions useful for some God, its very neutrality a threat, that this support of God’s Logos as applied is itself a third way.  And salvation is an enslavement

You are not your own property; you have been bought at a price.  [1 Corinthians 6:20]

and commands need obedience to work–obeyed by all, not just the willing.  My salvation is no neutral matter.

[P]erhaps Christians … should actually rejoice that modernity offers no religious comforts to those who seek them.  If this is a time of waiting, marked most deeply by the absence of faith in Christ, it is perhaps good that the modern soul should lack repose, piety, peace, or nobility, and should often find the world outside the Church barren of spiritual rapture or mystery, and should go about vainly looking for beautiful or terrible or merciful gods to adore.  With Christ came judgment into the world, a light of discrimination from which there is neither retreat nor sanctuary.  And this means that, as a quite concrete historical condition, the only choice that remains for the children of post-Christian culture is not whom to serve, but whether to serve the God Christ has revealed or to serve nothing–the nothing.  No third way lies open now because–as all of us now know, whether we acknowledge it consciously nor not–all things have been made subject to him, all the thrones and dominions of the high places have been put beneath his feet, until the very end of the world, and–simply said–there is no other god.  [Hart, “Christ and nothing (no other God),” in  In the aftermath:  provocations and laments; italics original]

Physics beneath our feet, until the very end of the world, a world under connected, distanced from itself within itself, more a word than a thing, totality in its breath, awaiting the breath of God.  Just you wait.

For Hart totality is the gathering which undermines its prior platform.  Which leaves Whitehead with his God.


For Whitehead, God is the reification of all potentiality into a single actuality where all connective possibility is made simultaneously real.

The potentiality for being an element in a real concrescence of many entities into one actuality is the one general metaphysical character attaching to all entities.  Every item in its universe is involved in each concrescence … it belongs to the nature of a ‘being’ that it is potential for every ‘becoming.’  [Alfred North Whitehead, Process and reality]

God is potential, all potential made real

He is the unconditioned actuality of conceptual feeling [here, how things are connected] at the base of all things.  [ibid]

Novelty of the moment consists in degrading what God provides, of choosing among potentials, so limiting oneself to be.  God

is the actual entity in virtue of which the entire multiplicity of eternal objects [akin to Platonic Forms and relations] obtains its graded relevance.  [ibid, italics original]

these objects producing an actuality by relating all elements of the past into a symphony, choosing, suppressing, highlighting, as a symphony to make a hearing.  He is all paths not chosen, these the brush along side the walk, chosen path brush along some other walk.

Apart from God, there could be no relevant novelty.  His unity of conceptual operations is a free creative act, untrammeled by reference to any particular course of things.  It is deflected neither by love, nor by hatred, for what in fact comes to pass.  The particularities of the actual world presuppose it; while it merely presupposes the general metaphysical character of creative advance…”  [ibid, italics in original]

He is the language from which all say is made, beyond each struggling to proclaim its presence.

the universe is to be conceived as attaining the active self expression of its own variety of opposites–of its own freedom and its own necessity, of its own multiplicity and its own unity, of its own imperfection and its own perfection.  All the “opposites’ are elements in the nature of things, and are incorrigibly there.  The concept of ‘God’ is the way in which we understand this incredible fact–that what cannot be, yet is.  [ibid]

Eternal objects are conveyed to a new actuality via past actualities, via their talk, their ingression, of these objects.  Even a past actuality’s purported silence over an eternal object is an accounting of that object; the past always has God full within it.  The conceptual total connectedness of God then does not require the metaphysical total connectedness of all past actuality, yet Whitehead demands otherwise:  every actuality accounts for all past actualities.  This I think a fundamental, common, metaphysical mistake; conceptual unity does not require physical unity, and I rather doubt we have the former in any case (a meta-conceptual unity seems unavoidable, but conceptual unity itself more dubious; we may be able to know what we need to find, yet be unable to find it).  Potential physical does not have to be idealized into ever present reality to make a world.  Probability calls, vastly repeated, can replace total connectivity, as can travelable distance, more potential than actualized.  Metaphysical actuality, realized call or travel, isolate as applied, not knowing the scheme of God, will be forlorn, but forlorn is something we understand; which is why Hart’s God rails against it.

Has not evolution shown us the remarkable power of diverse finitude?  Refraining from totality actualizes possibility; speciation is consequent of under connectedness.  Life has shaped the earth by not knowing itself in full.  An under connected quantum reality violating Bell’s Inequality has a social analog of import.  Under connected, failed of totality, another finitude imposed on the already finite, yet promising the ever travel of the nonfinite, nonfinite not as torus, not as linear sequence of aeons, but as storybook promise of skip to anywhere within an aeon, not for the speaker, indeed for no thing, but for the effect it endures, whole not held in mind, yet told in story.


About a year after Whitehead’s Process and reality, Martin Heidegger begins his Freiburg lectures The fundamental concepts of metaphysics (1929-30), with a quote by the poet Novalis:

Philosophy is really homesickness, an urge to be at home everywhere.

To be at home, make a home, force a home everywhere–this last what totality is. Whitehead’s empiricism a gentle forcing:  conceptual totality (as God) is instanced ever as actualized novelty; all things account for all things, but not democratically.  Individualization is not a fair accounting of others.  Nor is it a silencing; other will come and speak in its own unfair way, unfairness birthing unfairness, democracy recovered in unavoidable future, never present, specter saying all resolutions end.  Whitehead the mathematician, scribe languaging the physicists, knows the otherness science has always faced.  His totality is conceptual, abstract, a kind narrative hand to the outside, cheering prediction on as a forcing of scientific will.  Departing ourselves, this prediction leaves each I forlorn; becoming at home in the world leaves us homeless.

And a false home at that.  Prediction is localized.  We escape ourselves not into totality but into perpetual postmodern focus of ephemeral prediction, most of science unfocused to retain any focus in the unavoidable now.  Even cosmology, the cradle of all whole things, trivializes the formation and collision of galaxies to speak.  We have no secured place in the world yet are created from it.  Our conceptualization of the world is but ephemerality within it, Whitehead rebelling by making conceptualization consequent of God, receptacle of all form.  Against all this, with stark foresight, the New Testament epistles declare bliss the expunging of all knowledge, words writing themselves into unemployment.

Heidegger, lecturing in the interwar period of social and cultural upheaval, of anomie terrified at the lock step certainties vying to quash it, points out that if we are definitionally finite, to escape into totality is to destroy ourselves–which is what he will later do.  But in 1929 he still warns to make a buck in lecture.  He replies to Novalis’ philosophy is … an urge to be at home everywhere:

Philosophy can only be an urge if we who philosophize are not at home everywhere.  To be at home everywhere … not merely here or there, nor even simply in every place, in all places taken together one after the other.  Rather, to be at home everywhere means to be at once and at all times within the whole.  We name this within the whole and it character of wholeness the world.  We are, and to the extent that we are, we are always waiting for something.  We all always called upon by something as a whole.

This is where we are driven in our homesickness:  to being as a whole.  Our very being is this restlessness … we are driven on [yet] somehow simultaneously torn back by something resting in a gravity that draws us downward … We ourselves are this underway, this transition, this ‘neither one nor the other’ … What is the unrest of this not?  We name it finitude.  [Heidegger, The fundamental concepts of metaphysics, italics original]

Whole is home remembered when there was no greater place, our breaking out a finitude consequent of nonfinite promise of travel, travel into rest, whole, finish, complete, to, as in the Christian epistles, escape into oblivion.  To escape ourselves, that which arose upon departure from home toward home.

Finitude is not some property that is merely attached to us, but is our fundamental way of being.  If we whish to become what we are, we cannot abandon this finitude or deceive ourselves about it, but must safeguard it.  Such preservation is the innermost process or our being finite … In becoming finite their ultimately occurs an individualization … [a] solitariness in which each human being first all enters into a nearness to what is essential in all things, a nearness to world.  [ibid, italics original]

Near to the world, not within, standing outside, facing not it, but science, exterior to it as well, science a maze travelled in promise of world, each mandatory pause a falling into finitude, failing totality, our place of being and rest.  Our uncollected we is neither science nor world, adrift awaiting story to do.  Whatever science is, it is not us I’s, but married to world, our individual participation a triviality, as is our presence in world.  From this triviality knowledge grows.  From the replaceable, too obscure to measure, knowledge grows, exactly what David Bentley Hart refuses,

the belief that an absolute qualitative difference can be overcome by a successive accumulation of extremely small and entirely relative quantitative steps.  This is arguably the besetting mistake of all naturalist thinking, as it happens, in practically every sphere.  [Experience of God] (*)

God trivializes all of us, yet in His grace we are made important; knowledge trivializes all of us, without that favor stipulated, perhaps returned elsewhere as effect.  Triviality is sacrifice, to God or knowledge, to existence itself.  Knowledge is a relational structure on people, both in preservation and growth, failure to appreciate this the “besetting mistake” of God’s critique:  traits expressed through individuals can be consequent of relational structures, these what truly change, amplifying individual difference into structurally expressed difference, small, relative steps traveling to absolute qualitative difference.

Our God is expressed similarly.  Even individual revelation, to endure beyond personal salvation, must be mediated by others; and for that mediation to endure it needs become structural, perhaps housed in books, but revealed through the interactions of people, combined.  Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves (Genesis 1:26) our, not an embarrassing antecedent on the way to perfect godhood, but a we, an us, constraining I.  Let us make Man perforce of men, men to wall and walk the maze, our image that, we I’s the finitude of pause, science marching on, property of none, our image of God, the us that exists beyond every I, nonfinitude socially incarnate.  We worship there, and sacrifice people for its Being.  It offers, in reply, the promise of piecemeal understanding, complete ever deferred, human mind neither the mind of God nor science, its incremental, oft unnoticed contribution its only claim toward immortality, a small consequence of the us we are not.

The mind of science:  there is none, nothing to argue against, a the Jewish prophets against God–not even a single science to face.  Standing on the outside, we face not one science, but many, networks of knowledge production which constrain one another, each demanding its facts constrain the others.  This a competitive constraint within each network:  that contention therein cannot long deny what other networks of similar process have affirmed, save through a cascading crisis more mythical than ever real.  Each network of science faces the experimental world and other networks of science, these objectified into world for the network bound practitioner.

This facet of humanity not human rides atop the human as platform.  When withdrawing from these networks, glory lost, Heideggerian solitariness arises.  Inactive from the world, the world becomes full potential, we extraneous

as far as existence is concerned, everything is in a sense out of place [Hart, ibid]

each I out of place, anomie dislocation from networked activity which is purpose, we in each isolate

standing forth [which is what “exist” means, etymologically speaking] [ibid]

the wondered world anomie from failed participation.  Wonder is this time out of place,

there is an almost paralyzing fullness to the experience, a kind of surfeit of immediacy that is at the same time an absolute remoteness from practical things … there is nothing to hold on to in the experience, because the source of one’s amazement is not some particular object among the objects of the world but simply the pure eventuality of the world as such.  [ibid]


the rare and fleeting experience of being’s strangeness within its very familiarity.  [ibid]

Perhaps the roach has it too, in its off moments, a detritus of evolution; but we are shaped for it direct, no network complete to join, no human totality there, let along God compact.  Out of finitude within the potential nonfinite, diversity comes, pause creating difference, so too knowledge held not as action, but product.

Our core nonfintiude traveled is not the material world but ourselves, human others.  Each home paused is an alienation from network embedded in network, this our resting in a gravity which draws us downward (Heidegger, above) alienated from the necessity which sporadically propels us on.  This finitude, neither oblivion of rest nor purpose, this transition from one to the other, this I which cannot speak solitarily without language bestowed by network, this incompleteness inherent is the engine of social knowledge, our existential state partly sacrifice to a cause we cannot choose.  Slaved to other, called God or science, their processes more alike than confessed.

Necessity comes not in our wonder but action.  Necessity cannot simply be an attribute possessed by a being, Hart says.  Indeed, it is not, but of networked cause.  Escaping infinity into the compactness of God, Hart places necessity beyond science,

a unique logical designation of what God is, or even who God is; it is, so to speak, one of his proper names:  “I am that I am.”  [Hart, ibid]

Curiously, in Heidegger “I am that I am” occurs in solitariness, in false escape from causation yielding wonder before reimmersion into the oblivion of purpose, false escape not necessity, but feint against necessity.  In Penrose’s conformal cosmology of sequential aeons, God’s necessity rests in It’s replication, where at least talk of God recurs with the aeon previously exhibiting it, contingency spread so thin that God can come again.  And if there is more than talk, God’s worship rests on this thinned contingency self warranting causation through recurrence, not in the “vertical” necessity of theology, but in the incalculable inevitability of aeons indefinite. God then finds necessity through It’s recurrence, warranting Itself through return.  In this It is as humble as every particulate being, recurring through our recurrence, a we making God come again, we and he all children of vastness, cradled in cause.

[(*) Penrose’s conformal reduction of photons into a Big Bang, consequent solely of random photon interaction yielding phase sates, would, if true, be a crude yet ultimate counter to Hart, a universe created by summed triviality.  Vastness is the besetting fear, and we want salvation from it; hence God condensed.]

Appendix:  Proton/electron decay, quantum  tunneling, and quantized space

Quantum tunneling may provide a mechanism for simultaneous proton/electron decay.  Charge is an attractive force; electrons in the first orbital of an atom are pulled toward the nucleus.  As they approach the nucleus, the distance between the electron and nucleus approaches zero, becoming an increasingly exact measure of relative position.  But Heisenberg uncertainty holds that the product of positional error (or, loosely, variance in possible position) and kinetic energy error (the same loosely) must be greater than a fixed multiple of Plank’s constant; as the realizable differential in position approaches zero, realizable energy increases without bound.  As the electron approaches the nucleus, so destruction, it eventually exhibits enough energy to bounce away from the nucleus; the average of this bounce back is the first orbital.  This quantum tunneling, where uncertainty grants more energy to a particle than classically possible, creates the structure of the first orbital.  Electrons at higher energy levels (higher orbitals) can undergo the same process, but these are buffered by the repulsive electrons below them.  The number of possible electrons in the first orbital (2) is a function of electron mass, available spatial volume, and charge; higher orbitals allow more electrons as there is more space to distance the mutually repulsive electrons.

As an electron moves towards the nucleus, variance in realizable energy increases, but the energy needed to escape the plummet to return whence it came is finite.  While realized energy, being uncertain, is a lottery, continuity of distance assures that escape will be realized; under continuous distance, proton/electron collision is impossible, an infinite number of lotteries granting escape.

But if space is itself quantized, this will not be so.  There will then be positive probability of sequential lottery failure, leading to the annihilation of the plummeting electron and, presumably, one proton.  A kind of paired proton/electron decay results, with charged conserved via paired removal.  Aggregates like dead stars, avoiding all black holes, would then nonetheless mass decay over enormously long time spans–and Penrose has as much time as he needs to remove all mass.  With quantized space, only isolate protons and electrons remain as undecayed mass; if these become isolate in event horizon, having nothing to interact with, gravity may no longer apply, Penrose’s massless state reached.

This logic has an additional advantage.  Positrons and electrons, of opposite charge, also hurtle toward one another, as do protons and antiprotons.  Why are not these annihilations prevented through quantum tunneling?  These paired antiparticles are of equal mass.  A proton, however, is three orders of magnitude more massive than an electron, the proton thus a relatively stationary point for the electron, permitting a more accurate “measure” of separation relative to paired antiparticles.  There is then a lower bound on the certainty of antiparticle position relative to the proton/electron pair, with consequently less energy range in the former relative to the latter via the uncertainty principle.  With continuous space, this will not matter, for some lottery in an infinite series will provide adequate energy to escape the plummet toward annihilation; distance between the two antiparticles is still decreasing, so eventually lotteries on energy will have adequate outcomes for escape, and eventually one of these will be realized in infinite trials.

But in quantized space, the relative certainty of proton/electron position over paired antiparticles carries over inversely with relative probability of mutual annihilation.  Proton/electron removal will be less frequent than paired antiparticle removal.  Playing with parameters (now including space quanta), one could produce apparently stable atoms, albeit doomed in the aeon, and ready paired antiparticle annihilation.  Time, being open ended, provides unsurpassed degrees of freedom for yielding Penrose’s desired end state.

If electron position/distance becomes more exact with increasing nucleus mass, atoms of increasing atomic number should be less vulnerable to proton/electron annihilation, similarly so when neutrons are present.  And molecules should have less need of quantum tunneling than their constituent atoms.  The two electrons of a hydrogen molecule are attracted to both hydrogen protons, so most likely to distribute themselves equipoised between them, hurtling toward neither.  Molecular bonds, employing attractive charge against itself, reduce the need for quantum tunneling so, in quantized space, lessen opportunity for annihilation through failed tunneling.  Over prolonged time, isolate atoms should be selected against, undergoing greater annihilation relative to duplicates caught in molecular bonds; molecular structure is matter preserving.

Positional uncertainty, dampening opportunity for electron escape via tunneling, thus produces a hierarchy of stability, least to greatest as paired antiparticles, the hydrogen atom, atoms of increasing nucleus mass, and molecular bonds, these last two interchanging depending on molecular structure and mass.  Aggregate matter has internal checks on its own dissolution, albeit not absolute.

Uncertainty here is not a matter of classical experimenter intervention.  “Measurement” is a form of quantum interaction, say when a (hypothetical) graviton passes between the hurtling electron and its target proton.  (*)  Uncertainty forces inverse limits on paired existential attributes of an entity.  These attributes, even energy, are inherently relational on other entities, as they are revealed only upon encounter.  An entity is (via the uncertainty principle)  constrained freedom in a relational structure, quantum tunneling actual escape from that structure, only, in the case of the atom, to reside in a new trap:  to escape annihilation, the electron is bound to its orbital.  Not completely true, of course:  the descent toward annihilation may boost it to higher orbitals, even effective release from the siren nucleus.  Existence is a tension between relational structure and escape therefrom, each outcome a probability call over these.  In uncommon isolate, an entity is refusal of its place in the world, a refusal bestowed on it by a relational constraint on properties (position and energy).  In the case of the atom, refusal, a frustrated teleology of charge, is an Atlas of material existence, holding the universe aloft.  Yet ultimate collapse of this refusal (via quantized space), a la Penrose massless end of aeon, is necessary to recur the past, the only escape from Medieval theology, first domino ever falling, escape our meta-metaphysical relation to the past.  (**)

[(*) If gravity is repulsive between antiparticles then spatial uncertainty will increase, further limiting realized energies, further pushing toward collision.]

[(**) This scenario is silent on dark matter, but dark matter, presumed inert save for its gravitational effect, has no presently known atomic structure.  A uniform decay of rest mass across normal and dark matter saves Penrose’s day, but at present all this means is that the mystery of dark matter mysteriously stops working.  Dark matter just goes away.  If dark matter consists of an enormous number of particles of short half life, the self preserving molecular structure noted here privileges our “4%” of the universe, its self aggregation creating its greater stability against ultimately unavoidable Penrose aeon annihilation.]

84. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

A Kurdish woman walks amidst Islamic State fighters, blowing herself up.

Civil War Syria, October 2014.

Walk into God’s maw, His consumption His consumption, morsel ravaging the mouth that makes history through its remains.  Mouth torn wider than it can be, face collapsing, land free of God for a moment in the desolation of history erased.

God striding to God, maybe not striding, too much warning in that, that alternative comes, an incommensurability; but walking, meandering, submissive in the stream toward mouth which undifferentiates unto commonality of consumption, past erased for a salvation unexperienced.

That past, submissive morsel, choosing only its place of ingestion, its breaking onto the shore of externality, where it bleeds transparent into nothingness, an explosion in fine naught but a smoothed continuity coarse, history never the particulates lost but their remains, thinned unto unnotice of flow.

She walks from God to God, a challenge, what have You so I become, what have You thereby made Me in remedy ever unreached.  Your past walking into the present, this not We envisioned.  You making this now were to be enough, but mouth never expands far enough, outside ever comes, wailing, You are never alone, Your mouth jawing past say, sucking it into.  So I come gifting what you desire, the erasure of all not You, of Me, to place Us both into the past where eternity unmeasured reigns.  This salvation, to descend unto the Unalterable from which We came, finality the impossibility of further say, jaw clamped shut, the only release from the say of Our making.  I bring You the release You would give to others, making them tasty morsel unto surcease.

In the after of final say land endures, abyss unsaid, ground for all coming, into which God strides anew, picking up the pieces of artifact, not yet mouth but sculptor, making a Me to make a Him.  Where shall I walk this time?