[NB] More Consciousness, Less Fine tuning

I have been using the Kabbalistic framework heavily of late, but let me come out and try to parse it out with less arcane terms. What the discussion of klippoth, of fall and fracture, help me think through are the mechanics of consciousness. I suspect Gordon is on to something when he says that consciousness is primary and spirit work is secondary, but only if we flesh out secondary and primary in the right way.

Consciousness is the medium of spiritual work, in the sense of being the substrate and substance of it. However, in saying that, I don’t want to assert the unreality of specific spirits. To do that seems a bit like denying the existence of concrete organisms because they emerge from a substrate of evolving matter. They are both real, but they operate at different levels.

What a consciousness-centered model does get us, though, is an account of spiritual experience that doesn’t require too much ad hoc conceptualization. If everything on the spiritual plane is strung together with and composed of consciousness, then we need only differentiate them according to their modes of manifestation. Thy belong to the same world, in much the same way that we belong to the same world as protozoans, dragonflies, vultures, and exoplanets. Which is to say they are of a kind, but not necessarily closely related to each other.


“Fine-tuning usually signals weakness in a theory, not strength. When fine-tuning is used as evidence for a grand metaphysical apparatus capable of making anything and everything, it usually means that something has gone amiss.”—”In the Beginning,” Ross Andersen

And consciousness is the sort of substrate that doesn’t require us to fine tune all that much. While we need to locate and specify spiritual phenomena in the concrete reality of our and other’s consciousness, we don’t need to jigger too much to make them all fit. We just need to accept that our experiences of this spiritual plane are disparate rather than continuous and it can be difficult to establish the clear links between one aspect of it and another.

In other words, acknowledging that while it is all consciousness, our own consciousness provides us with a partial and fragmentary understanding of consciousness broadly understood. This makes our experience of the spiritual world much like our experience of the material one, imperfect but real.

Implicit in this, is the simple and appealing idea that the more broadly a model is applied, the more likely it is that it will be applied to a set of objects for which it is not suited. When it reaches that point, it can only preserve its accuracy by adding an increasingly wide range of ad hoc tweaks that explain the mismatch between its model and the behavior of the objects it attempts to model.

We can treat those ad hoc tweaks as symptomatic, as a sign that we are overextending our understanding. In spiritual contexts, I suspect complex theodicies are the most visible and egregious cases of this ad hoc over-extension. Better to withdraw in humility before the hardships of a supposedly sacred design like Job than engage in lengthy justifications for why it is all really part of a larger plan. That larger plan usually has more to do with our own fantasies projected outward than with the structure of spiritual consciousness per se.

Those ad hoc adjustments may look quite intelligent; it often takes quite a bit of brainpower to postulate new mechanisms that temporarily resolve mismatches between models and their purported objects. But the more broadly the model is expanded, the more apparent its threadbare nature. These overreaching theories aren’t exactly pointless if we can preserve their speculative and egotistical roots. Speculative over-reach can yield better ideas by dint of variation and experimentation.

“It remains my contention that the umbrella term ‘gnosticism’ functioned not as an elaborate and accurate description of reality so much as a hastily-assembled map to get the Seeker ‘back Home’. However fun and diverting it is to fixate on the exquisitely-painted monsters that decorate the outside of this map, its purpose and your path are nevertheless quite clear.”—”Force Majeure,” Gordon White

Gordon’s monsters seem to be the mythical expression of ad hoc explanations, knots of speculative insight which remain impenetrable to the core principles of the model guiding consciousness. Pass them by like Gordon suggests, or slay them by dissolving them within a simpler and more encompassing model that does away with the map’s monstrous epicycles.

Simple in principle, diverse in manifestation, and complex in the relationships between the diversity of manifest elements.

2 thoughts on “[NB] More Consciousness, Less Fine tuning

  1. Pingback: [NB] Computers, Consciousness, and Dark Corners | Disrupt & Repair

  2. Pingback: [NB] Winding Evolution and Consciousness More Closely | Disrupt & Repair

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