Re: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 16:55:47 +0100

Le 24-déc.-06, à 09:48, Tom Caylor a écrit :

> Bruno,
> I have been doing a lot of reading/thinking on your former posts on the
> Hypostases, other reading on Plotinus and the neo-Platonist hypostases,
> and the Christian "interpretation" of the hypostases. There is a lot
> to say, but I'll start by just giving some responses to your last post
> on this.
> On Dec 11, 8:46 am, Bruno Marchal
>> I agree that the problem of evil (and thus the equivalent problem of
>> Good) is interesting. Of course it is not well addressed by the two
>> current theories of everything: Loop gravity and String theory. With
>> that respect the comp hyp can at least shed some light on it, and of
>> course those "light" are of the platonic-plotinus type where the
>> notion
>> of goodness necessitates the notion of truth to begin with. I say more
>> below.
> The discussions over the last two weeks on Evil, and just how to define
> good and bad, underscore how puzzling this problem can be.

It certainly is.

> I agree
> that at the base of this is the question, "What is Truth?" I am not
> satisfied with the Theaetetus definition, or Tarski's "trick".

We can come back to this.

> I
> believe the answer to the question, "What is Truth?" which Pilate asked
> Jesus, was standing right in front of Pilate: Jesus himself.

Hmmm.... Perhaps in some symbolical way.

> The
> Christian definition of truth goes back to the core of everything, who
> is personal. As I've said before, without a personal core, the word
> "personal" has lost its meaning. In the context nowadays of
> impersonal-based philosophy, "personal" has come to "mean" something
> like "without rational basis".

Of course that *is* a pity. It is bad, for human, to develop such
"self-eliminating" belief.
It is not rational either.

> But when the personal IS the basis, not
> an impersonal concept of personal, but the ultimate Person, and with
> man being made in the image of that ultimate Person, we have a basis
> for truth, personality, rationality, good...

So you are emphasizing the "third hypostase" = the first person = the
ALL-SOUL = the universal knower. This is akin to David Lymann and
George Levy. It is not incompatible with your view if you accept the
idea that we "are all God(s)". Cf Alan Watts for example and most
mystical insight.

>> >> Note also that the major critics by the neoplatonists on Aristotle,
>> >> besides their diverging opinions on the nature of matter, is the
>> >> non-person character of the big unnameable, but then for Plotinus
>> the
>> >> "second God" (the second primary hypostase is "personal"), and
>> indeed
>> >> G* has a personal aspect from the point of view of the machine. I
>> >> agree
>> >> (comp agree) with Plotinus that the big first cannot be a person.
>> The
>> >> second one can. To be sure Plotinus is not always completely clear
>> on
>> >> that point (especially on his chapter on free-will).
>> > None of Plotinus' hypostases are both personal and free from evil
>> (as
>> > well as infinite, which we agree is needed (but not sufficient, I
>> > maintain!) for the problem of meaning).
>> It is a key point. I agree. None of Plotinus hypostases are both
>> personal and free from "evil/good". Finding an arithmetical
>> interpretation of the hypostases could then give a hope toward an
>> explanation of goodness and evil.
>> Please note that 7/8 of the hypostases are "personal-views".
> I'll just deal with the first 4 hypostases, since this is the basis of
> the rest, even though my John quote below addresses the others also.
> Perhaps the neo-Platonists couldn't see how the core could be personal
> (even though Plato called it the "Good"). It is hard to accept that the
> core could be both infinite and personal (and good), since our view of
> personality is finite (and flawed). But the infinite personal core, God
> the Father, which replaces the neo-Platonist "ONE" or 0-person (of
> course I maintain that the replacing was in the other direction :),

It looks you seem really to be an Aristotelician ....

> answers the big question of the origin of all other persons (and
> consciousness).
> You mentioned to Brent that perhaps invoking the second-person is a way
> of explaining the origin of "personal" aspects.

I was just saying that the "second person" or some collective intimacy
can explain utterance of "uncommunicable things".
Some "ethical" scientific truth can be said in the coffee room, not at
any congress ...

> In a way this is true,
> in that our earthly fathers/mothers and others take part as persons in
> developing us as persons. But there has to be an ultimate source.

Yes. To be a realist is to bet there is one, but from a scientist
(third person) pov, it is an open question as to know if such ultimate
thing is personal. Comp is going in the Plotinus direction where the
ultimate reality is not personal.

> And
> in the Christian "interpretation" the ultimate source of all
> first-person level experience (neo-Platonist "ALL-SOUL" or
> "UNIVERSAL-SOUL") could be said to be God the Holy Spirit.

I can agree with that hypothesis. It is consistent with
computationalism. There is no real order among the main three primary

> He fills in
> the gaps when we cannot find words to talk to him.

Like G* minus G does for any self-referentially classical machine. (The
lobian machine).

> Then, the real clincher is the third person point of view, the
> neo-Platonist "INTELLECT". The personal God did not stay silent and
> keep all of this personhood stuff at a purely theoretical level which
> we would have to take with blind faith. Instead the hopes of the
> neo-Platonists were fulfilled in the Christ (Messiah) whose name was
> Emmanuel which means "God with us", who was the "wisdom and power of
> God". "In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with
> God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through
> him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been
> made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light
> shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it... The
> Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

I can take this as a poetical description of the relation between the
internal modalities or the hypostases.

> We have seen his
> glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of
> grace and truth." (John 3:1,2,3,14) So the particular finite form that
> we have, God somehow took on that same form.

This, on the other way, could be a comp sort of blasphemes. Comp
"ethic" could even makes God eliminating any creature so arrogant that
they take they their realities and images of God for granted. With
comp, if we are divine, we can only be divine *hypotheses*. We can hope
being God last word, but this is really something which depends on our
work and can never be taken for granted.

> In this way God showed us
> (who are in his image) true truth about himself in a way which we can
> understand (just as a father tells truth to his children), without
> having to tell us infinite exhaustive truth.

Again this can have Plotinian sense. But there is a danger (for us
human) to take those assertions too much literally.

> This bridges the gap
> between the celestial/divine and the terrestial/human. Christ is the
> fixed-point between heaven and earth, the axis of the universe for us.
> In Christ, we all see in third-person the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Again if "Christ" denotes a symbolic value I can make sense of what you
are saying, but in my opinion the relation between Christians and the
Christ are extremely fuzzy. There has been a lasting confusion of power
which makes me skeptical. Too much propositions has been deformed by
their authoritative institutionalization. Still today "theology" tends
to be separated from science (i.e. from accepting doubts and the
infinite number of attempts of clarity and rigor). This separation
resulted into the abandon of the fundamental questions to the fanatics
(who mocks clarity, rigor, and doubts).
Now I am aware of the last century "repentance" of the Catholic Church,
including the necessity of restricting faith with rationality, like
many open minded school of Muslims already warned us in the eleven
century, but not for a very long time).

> It's late, so I'll stop here.
> Joyeux Noel!

Happy Christmas!


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Received on Sun Dec 24 2006 - 10:56:10 PST

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