The Mystical Significance of the Internet
a series of reckless and arbitrary articles
by Avraham Levitt
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Chapter I. The Multiverse as a Complex Interactive Community:
Section Headings and Synopses
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I.1. Metaphysics and the Arena of ConsciousnessThe philosophical tradition of Aristotle divided the study of the universe into Physics and Metaphysics.Physics addresses everything in the tangible universe, while Metaphysics deals with the foundations and conditions of the universe. The study of metaphysics has long been fraught with controversy and uncertainty- as soon as somebody thinks theyve proven something someone else inevitably comes along to disprove it. The problem is rooted in the very perspective of humans who would presume to discuss the foundations of reality, for they are themeselves part of that reality. Everything that can be stated with regard to existence must always be stated by somebody who exists, so their perspective is always limited by their position, and is generally clouded by preconceptions as well. The traditional Jewish position is to encourage speculation so long as it is always preceded by recognition of the divine will in creation
Such preconditions are not at all unusual in the study of philosophy. It has long been understood that there are certain principles which alone make further inquiry possible. These assumed principles are called axioms, and such axioms are usually at the root of contention between different schools of thought. One set of axioms which has been particularly influential in Western science and metaphysics claims that the rational faculties of the human intellect are sufficient for accurate observation of reality and allow for objectivity in the findings.The thinkers in this school of thought believe that the refinement of the intellect and its tools will bring humanity closer to universal truths. We are going to call this Intellectual Idealism because it posits the intellect as a viable means for the pursuit of ideal and absolute knowledge. It is common for Intellectual Idealists to divide the world into those who are enlightened and those unenlightened, generally referring to the degree to which individuals agree with the conclusions of the idealists themselves. As a matter of course an Intellectual Idealist believes himself, or at least his methodology to be infallible so long as his observations remain objective and his derivations rational.
Since human perception is not infallible, and moreover since the perspective of individual humans is never truly objective we will refuse to trust our cognitive faculties to yield indubitable evidence about reality. Our axioms will have to lie in other directions, and this requires us to embark upon a careful examination of what exactly any human being truly does or even can possibly know. Since the first (some would say only) thing that a conscious mind is aware of is its own consciousness, and only later everything of which it is conscious, we are particularly interested in understanding the nature of consciousness and the mechanisms by means of which the mind and the perceived universe affect one another. The factors and preconditions which circumscribe conscious existence together will make up what we are going to call the Arena of Consciousness in which the drama of existence plays itself out for our edification. The most important standard to which we hold ourselves accountable is consistency, and then utility. We are not interested in objectivity since we dont believe that such a thing truly exists, and whenever we can do so in good conscience we are going to take our cues from the precepts of Jewish philosophy and mysticsm.
I.2. What is Known, What Can Be Known and What Will Never Be KnownBehind the denial of objectivity is an assumption about the nature of Truth. The perspective of the Jewish mystical tradition is that absolute Truth as such is inaccessible to mortal perception due to its very nature. Since the infinite divine essence had to devise a means appropriate to creating finite reality, much was lost in translation by the time corporeal and temporal beings rose to their feet and began attempting to interpret reality. All of perception in the realm of temporal existence can only grasp the aspect of the divine will which was instrumental in creating that temporal realm and this aspect is only a tiny fragment of a vast preexisting framework which is itself only the creative will by means of which the universe came into being.
But the human being is understood as a conjunction of the purely temporal and the transcendental spiritual, which elements are united in cognition. The evidence reported by the faculties of the body about perceivable reality are plagued by error and by the weaknesses inherent in mortal existence. While the divine root of temporal existence means that there is a truth value in even the basest elements of the physical world, the intellect has great difficulty separating the truth from falsehood. The soul, on the other hand, channels only truth to the faculties of the intellect, but the intellect is not always equipped to assimilate this information and worse, the data coming from the body often contradicts and confuses it. The remedy for this confusion lies in more effective means of communication- between higher and lower, and laterally between individual consciousnesses. By pooling the collected data, discussing and evaluating it, it becomes possible to achieve higher levels of understanding with decreasing levels of data corruption.
I.3. The Possibility of Communication and the Mechanisms of CommunicationEverything created exists in some sort of relationship to everything else, and by means of the interactions between these entities each brings all of the others closer to realization of the divine plan. Certain types of beings have the capacity to broadcast distinct messages towards a clearly defined audience for the purpose of advancing their own interests. These beings are generally living organisms, if not necessarily higher or conscious organisms. Such communication takes place on many successive levels of both complexity and efficiency. At the highest levels of complexity, exemplified by human language, it is necessary for the individuals to have a common interest in mutual survival in order for them to devote the time and resources to developing such complex systems. Needless to say they must also have sophisticated and reconcilable cognitive faculties as a precondition for successful communication. The greater the gap dividing two entities, the more different their cognitive faculties, the more simple will the modes of communication that they rely upon necessarily be.
When, as in the case of human language, more sophisticated modes of communication can be devised, such modes invariably take advantage of the cognitive faculties that the individuals share in common. The more closely the symbols and frameworks of communication conform to these faculties the more efficiently the individuals will be able to express themselves. Nevertheless, danger lies in the fact that the symbols and frameworks which originally derived from the coginitive faculties often come to supplant those faculties and to institute themselves as the principle tools for cognition. Thus the means rapidly become an end in themselves. If, in accordance with Jewish mysticism, we want to allow for the possibility of transcendental consciousness then we also need to recognize the extent to which exclusive reliance upon rational and linguistic frameworks can serve to undermine and frustrate the attainment of higher consciousness.
I.4. One Mind, Many Worlds, Many Minds, One CommunityHaving addressed the existence of minds, their position with regard to one another and to the universe, and having established the possibility and the mechanisms of communication we must still explore the broader framework in which all of this takes place. Furthermore, since each human being is a necessary component of the cosmic whole, it stands to reason that something of that cosmic whole could be extrapolated from the composition of any single human if we only had the tools to do so. Taking the individual human as our point of origin we find that on every level, progressing infinitely outward and inward all of the rest of physical existence is organized into concentric planes ever growing larger and smaller. Time itself, according to Jewish mysticism, is organized into cycles that echo the orbits of physical particles. Where the cycles and spheres of the four readily perceptible dimensions stop, the cycles of the multiverse beyond begin. Just as space and time proceed out to the limits of human consciousness, the same patterns continue beyond.
Just as one mind can simultaneously inhabit many worlds, every individual world is shared by a great multitude of minds. Moreover, the vast complex of possible worlds encompasses the multitude of possible minds and all of these exist within a unified context, viewed from the highest level of possible extraction. All of these minds interact on some level, but they are not always conscious of their relationships to one another. When the relationships are conscious, and when communication is attempted, the communication follows the same rules that we laid down earlier. Successful attempts at transmitting coherent messages across great distances will always make use of the simplest possible modes of transmission, in the broadest and most holistic terms.
I.5. The Righteous Sit, Their Crowns Upon Their HeadsOnce the human being is understood as the center of its conceptual universe then the most important laws governing that universe are those that govern human interaction. In particular, we wonder in what sort of ideal framework all of the participant minds can be integrated to the greatest common advantage. Humanity longs to apprehend Truth, but due to the nature of mans fallible essence individual humans are patently unsuited to its apprehension. In a broader context, however, a more diverse community of minds can better analyze and assimilate the mass of data, comparing and rejecting elements when necessary. Over time, the span of many human lifetimes, a new conception comes to be articulated which, if the communication is clear and honest will draw increasingly near to an accurate rendition.
For reasons inherent in the struggle for survival, sincerity and relative truth tend to be determined by the conventions of existing communities. An ideal community must ensure the particular and common benefits of its members to the greatest possible degree, integrate the largest and most diverse conceivable population and facilitate the most direct, readily apprehensible and accurate transfer of information between members. It should also allow for the penetration of information from outside the community and the integration of that information to enrich the communal consciousness. The contention of the Jewish sages is that such a community already exists, and that all conscious minds are integrated into it. Moreover, the community of human minds is not limited to this world and temporal dimension, but extends well beyond time and death.
The Internet is as a relatively new attempt at a very old project, the development of networks of communication to facilitate the free exchange of information between many minds. Insofar as the mechanisms of transfer are accurate and efficient to a high degree, the Internet has the potential to foster a wide and diverse community whose cooperation will lead to the common benefit of all its members. In this sense the Internet is not at all new, but simply an intriguing means of making many principles of communication and integration explicit and effective on a scale readily apprehensible to the temporal human consciousness.
©2001 by Avraham Levitt
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