The Tale of the Guide…
This strange project started late in 2001 when world events left many with an urge to start a flurry of writing. The attack kicked up a war of words and anyone who could type enlisted in the fight. My flurry was scrawled with a flair pen in a harem of notebooks. I became a corporate AV tech in 2003. There is some tedious down time between bursts of activity so techs were supplied with a computer connected to the internet. I spent the time transcribing notebooks into data. It was also my first lurk into the world of discussion forums.
The Harris Forum appeared at the end of '04. I made many attempts to sign up but the machine was rigged to defeat certain commands and limit us to passive amusements. Otherwise, I would now be known to the forum as Strumbozo. Or Mr. Stupid. All my early postings were done at werk. Later in '05, my boss gave me a hand-me-down machine with '98 and Word in it. The notebooks stopped. Keyboards were never the routine in my life. All my terrible typing habits became limber and linked to thoughts previously shared only with the flair pen. When DSL arrived at my house it changed everything. Posting from my desk was so cool. Especially because I got fired.
Back then, my intention was to write assorted speech-like stuff from which sections would be selected as dialogue for a trio of plays- one radio, one stage and one film. As stuff piled up, the plan shifted to a semi-novel-docu-comedy called The Tale of the Leisure Class. That plan and some nearly coherent material broke apart like an iceberg in a hot tub and was swallowed by another plan for a two or maybe three part guide to the world as seen by a reformed and rehabilitated notion of Relativism. That plan carried on for six years. A complete if unfinished book-size piece resulted. One last attempt to chop and shuffle sections left more continuity conundrums than it solved. It appears here in its derailed form preserved like a desolate Xanadu.
While declaring it a guide for relativists, 'tis not to promote a view that says all moralities are equal but one that says all judgments are incomplete and tentative. My next mistake was to try to write it so theists, atheists and the spiritual would find just enough resonance to keep going. All I got was a chapter that offends everybody by pandering to the other offended parties' unforgivable beliefs. I've had the book thrown at me. Right in my face.
A primitive trioon-like set-up is described with stages serving as the term for three perceptual operations. In my mind, it meant platform or perch. I saw them as stacked and totem-like. Later, they were cast as three floors of a house. I was still an unwitting member of the Cult of Zero. Like everyone else, I was looking at an instantaneous solution. It only takes an instant to be here, right?
As for the title, it isn't very guide-like by itself. There were to be two other bits. This bit is really titled Identity Rises to its Highest Level of Organization. Identity means where our attention is coming from. With three operations of perception, that can be different from moment to moment. If it were re-titled in trioon terms, that might be Identity Waits for its Latest Frame of Operation. The middle stretch has some gaps including a total lack of chapter nines. Whoops.
Several prefaces were made. Here's one of them…
Things must be pretty desperate if you picked up a book with a title like this one. I’ll assume you’re shopping for the way out of the world you’re living in. You’re probably long past disillusioned with the humanistic view that cites no definitive authority at all. You may be thinking a lot about religion right now. Or maybe refusing to capitulate to either and experiencing a life that is beyond the boundaries of social convention and even beyond the furthest reach of the butterfly net of the New Age. But even that’s not far out enough when you live in a world that checks your shoes for explosives.
We are the first to face a choice that all our descendents will have to make after us. Will we be forced to inherit our ancestors’ bad habit of self-destruction? We have the chance to end the conflict between the two sides that appears to be headed toward our mutual ruin. The cost could be great for some. How far are we willing to go to change both the worlds we live in? What would change look like?
All political movements from religious fundamentalism to atheistic communism start from the same square one- how do we stop this thing? Everyone seems to be sure that they know the way out of our corrupt world headed to its destruction. However, everyone seems to have given up on trying to share their particular solution with everyone else. Peace and Prosperity through agreement and unity everywhere was beyond the reach or the patience of any one culture’s military budget. The One Perfect World of Plan A had to be compromised and made more pragmatic. Apparently, as long as a core of certain participants is maintained, any extraneous non-participants are expendable. Better to prepare for the inevitable expending and trust that God will Prevail. Plan B is to hold on tight and hope you picked the side that God is on. How did we end up with choices like this? Why would we want to make these choices anymore? What if we were less worried about doing what God wants or keeping Great Leader comfy and simply considered whether or not any of us want to live here anymore?
We pool our resources to protect our mutual survival from the weather and earthquakes and such, but so much more of our time and effort goes toward protecting us from other humans. Humans who are on the other side. Millions of humans who are represented by an elite who’s entire waking life is dedicated to our physical destruction. There are people all over the world who could say this. This place is a war zone only because a handful of us have decided that it is. What if we took away the world they could do that in? Not by physically smashing it to bits, nor conquering it so fully that we get to decide everything, but by starving it of minds. What if there was no one left in the world they wanted to destroy?
That world isn’t just America though we’re the most egregious example. This rampant Evil, from which Modern America sprang, became a serious threat only a few hundred years ago.
There was a generation that lived in Europe in the seventeenth century who were the first to face a choice that all their descendants have had to make ever since. The cultures they grew up in had started to offer two worlds instead of just one. It was the Renaissance and Europeans had finally caught up to and exceeded the lifestyles of the Roman world. New worlds were explored, new things were tried and word could spread quickly of new discoveries. There was still a sacred world as described by the Church. But now, the deliberate pursuit of discovery that became science had discovered the secular world. No longer just a heretical theory, science had proven the existence of another universe that did not obey the Bible or the Church. The secular world emerged to claim equality with the sacred. Each had its own version of the truth. Everyone had to decide between them or find a workable mixture for their lives. It was a question of trust that turned our eternal souls into wagers at a wheel of chance. Which side was God on? Which world was the real one? Nobody wanted to get it wrong.
The Church had become pretty sure of itself, that it wasn’t wrong. For a thousand years, the Church had held a monopoly on reality. But trust began to erode as people noticed that while their church leaders had a divinity about them, their actions did not. Many became disillusioned with religion. But if someone was not religious, there was still only the world of the Church that they were being not religious in. Along came Copernicus, Galileo and the printing press, and now the disillusioned were attracted to the world of the new discoveries. Now, one could be scientific instead of just not religious. There was another leg to stand on. This leg could be stood on by anyone (best in secret) regardless of class or breeding, Science spoke the same to everybody from an egalitarian world that appealed to our aspiration for social justice. Technology appealed to our aspirations for better lives.
Science got off to a good start that also appealed to our metaphysical side. People noticed that while Newton’s and Maxwell’s equations had a divinity about them, Newton and Maxwell did not. It sounded to everyone like God was speaking to everyone through math and physics. And speaking for all eternity everywhere with an authority that was beyond man. Many wanted to see science take control away from the church. But the only use the numbers had in a more secular society was to justify the cold hand and icy stare of the State or the Corporation. Progress was declared by those who led the way in our pursuit of technology. F=MA became a mandate for a world of clocks and machines, where human toil was determined by gear ratios and thermal coefficients. God would still be heard occasionally in new discoveries of nature and math. He seemed to be endorsing Progress. Our reward was an ever-increasing standard of living thanks to our ever-upgrading technology. Most of us love all our new gadgets but electronics does not present anything for us to aspire to besides affording a plasma TV. In its early days, science inspired lots of religious philosophy. Anyone who looked could see the Perfect Order of the Universe. Everything else obeyed laws, so shouldn’t we? But as the process of discovery pressed on, it was getting harder to ask science what is the proper course for man? Who’s right? Which side is God on? By the time we progressed to quantum mechanics it sounded like God was on drugs. The smaller the particles got, the less they had to say about personal ethics or morality. “Maybe” and “probably” were not what we wanted to hear from God. That sounds too much like “anything goes”.
Many are thinking we may have turned away too soon from our religious roots. In reconsidering why we had turned away, we decided that all that terrible stuff we did to each other was because of us and had nothing to do with religion. Besides, Science and its pal Technology are making us do even more terrible stuff to even more of each other. We recalled that Religion had an established reputation and track record of satisfying spiritual needs. A spiritual path was the emphasis of its explanation of reality. It offered a road to travel and a world for it all to happen in. There is a narrative with a place for everyone; a great big story to be a small part of. A well defined story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Even though this world foretells an unhappy end for itself, through dedication there is a chance to become one of the chosen and live forever in a Perfect World.
Any challenging explanation of reality is going to need more than the folksy tech-talk coming our way from the world of Science. “Don’t worry everyone, the universe is made of strings or maybe it’s filaments so it’s going to be okay. We’re open-ended.” Such reassurance of the physical world’s longevity does little for the sense of doom we may feel for our lives as we know them. It won’t matter how much dark matter there is when God decides It’s Doomsday. That goes for all the dimensions and parallel universes, too. The best explanations science writers can offer include exciting possibilities of how reality works. Theories of Everything never seem to include us, or any useful insight about what the hell we’re doing or why. Where in the TOE’s do you find God, or purgatory, or that quiet still point inside you? Is Science suggesting that culture and our selves are of some other universe which can get its own theory? For a long time now, we have assumed the answer was yes.
For modern generations, this is how religion survives as an equal partner with science in creating the world we live in. Even those of us most steeped in the scientific view hold on to the suspicion that there may be a thin membrane between our world as we understand it and supernatural intervention. The rest of us have an easier time accepting that we don’t fully understand either, and thus both are welcome parts of our lives. It is on the religious or cultural side of reality that we feel more comfortable with our spiritual lives. Science does not provide a context for that part of our life experience, but every modern religion was born as a new context for our spirituality. Many wanted to escape from the rational world of science or the cold fist of an empire to somewhere where the soul isn’t despised or denied. The reality of our own personal experiences can give reality to any metaphysical paradigm that provides a place to remember having these experiences in. There are a great variety of paths we can follow on spiritual journeys into the sacred world. But in the secular world, we must all believe in the same data baud rate, and expect things to accelerate as they fall. Most of us are just fine with balancing ourselves between two worlds that co-exist as the world we think we’re living in. Most of us lead lives that allow for easily compartmentalizing the two, but they can easily get entangled in conflict as new issues arise. Then even more choices must be made. Each of us must decide for ourselves where the line is drawn between them and live with our choice.
Some of us are not doing so well at reconciling the sacred and secular, and have decided that it’s time to take sides. When considering choosing sides or even taking up arms, who wouldn’t choose the side they thought God was on? For all of us on the side of God, that choice is not the physical world. We might use Newton and Einstein to make weapons, but never to choose sides. Besides, God is never in the physical world, and even science says so. “There is no corner in the stars for any God, no crack in this closed universe of matter for any divine influence to seep through, none whatever.” Science had drawn its line of defense and decided that God was on the other side of it. For the first time in maybe ever, there are those who pick the side they think God isn’t on.
What if we’ve all been choosing the wrong side? Us, and God too? What if God never left the physical world? What if we did? We were sure we found God here with us, but what if, God forbid, that wasn’t Him at all? What if the world we believe in was swallowing up more and more of the real world until we could no longer know which we were experiencing? What makes us think that getting involved in the material world is to be less involved in the spiritual?
We’ve made the spiritual world as much a part of culture as language. Spirituality becomes contained by the concepts and social structures of our minds. This book intends to destroy the spiritual world as we know it, and replace it with a new description of the physical world that can include anyone’s idea of both the physical and the spiritual world into one, the world of God’s creation. And along the way, discover an entirely separate world that God has no responsibility for and no real contact with. That would be the world we think we’re living in. Evolution will be a given, as will Genesis. From one view humanity is one family, but from the other we’re obviously not. Sides will not be chosen here. This is about how religion and science can co-exist. How both versions of our past can be true.
Part one of the Relativist Guide covers man’s journey through two worlds. Both stories are told. Each chapter will continue a thread through history that describes how our minds emerged and where this other world came from. Human history will be covered in such broad sweeps that no names, dates or any specificity at all is necessary. This will be a re-usable history. You pick the names and dates, it will tell the same way. The last chapter will tell both stories at the same time.On to the Foreword