Stefan Hlatky and Philip BoothThis chapter consists of four dialogues. This page contains Dialogue 4.
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Dialogue 1: Existence, activity and the original cause
Our relationship to reality
Philip: I want to go back to the feeling we can have that we are not a part of reality. Are you saying that distance, and therefore separateness, is an illusion of this created reality?
Stefan: Yes. If we take distance to be real and focus solely on our experience of everything from a distance, from outside, from an objective perspective, we don't experience ourselves as a real part of reality. It is necessary to distinguish between experience that is influenced by memory- and language-based thought and experience that is direct, via the senses. In the new scientific, objective thinking, we experience only the relation to reality that our senses give us. That's also what happens when we don't think philosophically, but only technically, mechanically. Philosophically, we should take into account our first subjective relationship to our own body, established through our nervous system, before our experience of everything outside our body that is mediated to our ability to experience by the body's senses. And that first relationship to our body is without distance. That is, it is not technical or mechanical, it is not based on resistance, power or force, as our relationship to things outside us is. It is based on our experience of needs and on our enjoyment in satisfying them with the help of our bodily capacities, which we learn to rule with the help of our nervous system.
And relation is not one-sided: relation is not just from us to each thing outside us. It is two-sided, many-sided, and all-sided. It is also mediated by impressions from outside - light, sound, resistance, and so on.
P: So the relationship of every thing to every thing?
S: Yes, the interacting relationship between every created thing - first established in our experience by light, which makes it possible for us to see every thing separated by what we experience as distance or empty space. It is obvious that the whole universe is an interaction, that every thing is always related to every thing, even if we break things up into their smallest parts. Nothing is free from this interaction. And it is going on all the time. Our whole visible reality is one indivisible interaction...
P: Including the activity that goes on beneath the surface of bodies, and not just the activity we experience between bodies?
A separate life or a common life?
S: Yes. The whole creation is just one activity, which provokes the thought that an origin of the whole interaction must exist, an origin that is not present in an apparent way within creation. That is why the hypothesis of a non-created whole is necessary. But generally people don't want to think of relation as already established by Nature and as all-sided, because that would actualize the idea that everything belongs absolutely together, that everything is an absolute unity. Nowadays everybody wants a separate life rather than a common life, because it is the generally accepted view that we should develop power rather than cooperation. This makes us blind to the fact that a separate life exists only at the start.
P: You mean in our invisible origin, as a separate, but inseparable, conscious part of the Being?
S: Yes. But this we can only agree about as a logical belief on the basis of philosophical considerations. But even without such an agreement, we find that every living being has a separate ability to experience, a separate feeling that they exist. And we also find that the moment we come into creation, the moment we are born, our life is a common one, not a separate one.
Agape vs eros
If we were to remember that we can only have this common life that is established by Nature, then the idea of undivided love - or, as it has also been called, agape, God's love or Christian love - would also be actualized, that is, the idea of a common love for the whole indivisible Nature. This idea and the idea that relation is already established by Nature are impossible to combine with the idea of 'free', independent thinking - which originates in the idea of being outside. Nor can they be combined with eros, interpreted as the historical alternative to undivided love or agape. Eros is called 'love' because it necessarily actualizes a relation to another human being and not to another species. But eros is simply a temporary, practical relation between two necessarily human beings based on predilection, special fondness, 'falling in love', starting to love - in the absence of an agreement about the necessity for an undivided love for the creator of the whole established Nature.
P: And as such, eros is just one of the practical relations that demand choice - a more or less durable choice - based on predilection?
S: Yes... durable problems of predilection such as the practical relation between parents, children and parents, employers and employees, authorities and subjects, and so on - which require a choice on one or two or several occasions. Other non-durable problems of predilection require decisions all the time, also based, like all predilections, on likes and dislikes: what to eat on different occasions, what tasks to do about the home or at work, and so on. The difficulty is that people don't make a clear distinction in language between undivided love and predilection. They say they 'love', 'love more', 'don't love', 'hate', in the same comparative sense in which they say they 'like', 'like better', 'dislike', 'hate'. Predilections, which are unavoidable, and undivided love do not exclude each other, but they should be distinguished from one another - both mentally, that is, in language, and in our daily experience of them, that is, emotionally - as two different qualities.
P: So eros regulates the practical relation required to satisfy the need of reproduction?
S: Yes, for every species. And it is only in the absence of the feeling of undivided love that eros itself is interpreted as love.
P: I would like to come back to this, but I still want to understand the significance of what you are saying about relationship.
Subjective relation and objective experience
S: We have to make clear the difference between subjective relation and objective experience, because the terms 'subjective' and 'objective' got confused early in the seventeenth century by rationalist philosophers who, following Descartes' proposal - cogito ergo sum - began seeing human identity in doubting and thinking. Objective experience - that is, the experience of objects outside us - is always one-sided, because objects cannot experience, cannot have relation. Subjective relation is always two-sided. That's what relation is; that's what relation starts with. So love is two-sided. But, in my view, we can't understand the conditions laid down by God in creation for the Nature-based* start for relation - permanent undivided love - until we make this hypothesis about the non-created, unchangeable existence, the conscious Being, conceived of as the original subjective relation between the original whole and its original parts. This Nature-based start for relation is originally only one-sided: it is experienced originally only by the whole, and is therefore unsatisfying for both the whole and the parts in the original Being. If we take this view, then we start to experience love not only as a relation between two, but as a relation between three: between two parts who consciously experience and love their relation to the omnipresent whole. Ignorance of the natural conditions for our meeting each other creates the confused idea that we are forced by Nature to have two different sorts of thinking: subjectively logical - that is, biologically consistent - thinking, and thinking that is only objectively consistent. The first is bound by unavoidable natural meanings; the other - and this is what makes for the confusion - is not bound by any meanings, but is bound only by mechanical necessities, interacting powers. In other words, this second is thinking without love in the picture.
Only a subject, a living being, who can be conscious of the purpose of its activity, can be logical. But a subject can still be objectively inconsistent by misjudging the activities of objects or of other subjects. So we can say that animals are always logical, but that by Nature they have, meaningfully, differing capacities for being objectively consistent.
P: Whereas human beings...?
S: Human beings were always very keen to develop objectively consistent, or scientific, thinking, in as many areas of the total creation as possible, without any commonly agreed regard for creation's purpose. The knowledge gained in this way was also always used as a superior power to conquer people who didn't have it to the same level. But from 1600 onwards the development of such thinking was given an historically new impetus, and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the new science was also put to the same use, that is, not just to benefit humanity, but also to conquer the whole globe from Europe.
After Einstein's discovery of the relativity of the object, the idea of a new, mystical, objective form of thinking - in contrast to the well-defined, non-mystical, matter-based, objective or rational thinking - was introduced. This new mystical objective thinking was interpreted as a direct continuation of the old scientific objectivity. This was relativism: the idea that there are no principles, no exact definitions. All thinking is regarded as relative, because energy - the new idea of the absolute - is also relative, because it can appear in different forms. Such thinking based on this idea of energy was still seen as the same as the earlier exact, objective thinking because science neglected the principal difference between 'matter' and 'energy'. It simply changed the idea of matter to the idea of mass - in Latin, quantum - and introduced the ambivalent idea of 'quanta' - in Einstein's formula, M combined with c - as measurable units of energy.
The development of this thinking was accompanied by two world wars and the gradual loss of colonies through the global spread of objective knowledge, including the knowledge that can be used for conquering by force and the new energy-based idea of a free, human creativity. This led to the establishment after the first war of the League of Nations, replaced after the second by the United Nations, in order to try to avoid the use of force between nations and with the new idea of developing infinite, free human creativity as the alternative - both philosophically, that is, theoretically, using language, and practically, through the development of modern industry and technology.
P: Are you saying that this relativism led to such things as the declaration of human rights - to protect the practical freedoms that people saw themselves as now having - and experiments in such freedoms, as, for example, in education, with projects like A. S. Neill's at Summerhill, with its emphasis on personal freedom?
S: Yes. It led to the idea that human creativity is free, and this freedom should be respected in the organizing of societies, in the rearing of children, and in education. This new mystical form of objective thinking led to a new interpretation of subjective thinking. This is the new paradigm that was demanded as necessary by Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1962]. In contrast to the original meaning of 'subjective thinking' - that is, biological logic* based on the natural existential needs - and in contrast to the meaning to which 'subjective thinking' was transferred in the seventeenth century - that is, non-exact and also irrational, tradition-bound, superstitious thinking - the new interpretation regarded 'subjective thinking' as the rational - interpreted as 'natural' - source of human creativity. This creativity was viewed as an end in itself, as independent of natural meanings. It was motivated by what it saw as Nature's basically meaningless creativity - this view being represented in a modern way by chaos theory. This new 'subjective thinking' was thus seen as the source of artificial meanings not developed by Nature and as the means by which they could be realized. The idea was that each person had to work out for themselves how to be happy in life.
It really flowered in the sixties, and has gained force since then. In the seventies this occurred via the idea of the New Age, which was responsible for a renaissance of the ancient idea of human creativity based on introspective, so-called transcendental, science. Since 1989 it has occurred through the globally established market economy, with its idea of each person becoming individually and infinitely rich through the exploitation of every possibility for human creativity, driven on by the spirit of competition. Since then the surface of the Earth has no longer been seen as the platform for life and for what we need for our lives, but has been seen only as the platform for human creativity. The absence of any feeling of responsibility or ethics towards Nature has created, in place of the old moral rules, a new idea for responsibility and righteousness. This is based on different monetary systems, as all the unlimitable artificial needs, evaluations and products of human creativity, together with all the needs, biological values and biological products that are provided and limited by Nature, have become translated into money-based mathematics related to current supply and demand. This takes place in increasingly international money-based markets, which no one can have an overview of or supervise. So there is an enormously complicated economic responsibility - and, in fact, a growing necessity to regulate economic criminality. 'Egocentricity' and competition are now no longer seen as things that need to be avoided and as the major problems that need to be dealt with if we are to live in cooperation. They are seen instead as positive things that advance the development of general human creativity.
P: So we can say that humans today are much more confused - or almost totally confused - by the emphasis on this new 'subjective' thinking?
S: Yes... 'subjective' interpreted as free, unbound, original. It is much more confusing than the earlier interpretation of 'subjective' as 'inexact' or 'irrational', because everybody is at the same time fascinated by its products. In my view, life is cooperation, so subjective thinking should mean meaningful, ethical thinking, on the basis of the question 'why?' - that is, for what purpose the whole creation is made, not how it is made and how it can be changed and developed to suit individual human purposes. That is how this new subjective thinking about free human creativity is in fact applied: in relation to global information and education on the sole basis of the scientific question 'how?' and in relation to human creativity based on a science that doesn't deal with the meaning of Nature's creativity. The problem is that it is impossible to take objective science away from people by burning books, or to control education or do anything else to eliminate this subjective confusion - which is what authoritarian traditions vainly tried to do in earlier times. The only way forward I can see is to start a global commitment to reach a global agreement about the original cause and its meaning - before the global confusion about our objective knowledge has such consequences that Nature itself takes this knowledge away from humans in its own destructive way.
P: This has taken us some way away from what you were saying about experiencing love as a relation between three. I would like to come back to this, because I think it is a very important point. As I think you have put it once, together two - or more - people can enjoy the common whole creation. It's not a question of enjoying just each other as separate from the whole creation, as outsiders in it.
S: That's right. That's possible for everybody who understands that we belong absolutely together, living the same life that God offers everybody through creation. That is the original idea of the Trinity: the oneness of the parts within the whole. Before creation, this original relationship is conscious only for the whole, as one-sided love: God loves his own existence. But it can become conscious for the parts, too, through creation. Considered in this way, creation is perfect for this aim.
But it depends on the will of the parts whether or not they want to test, adopt and live by the hypothesis of this original, inseparable relationship, the fact of belonging absolutely together, both to the creator and to each other. If we don't make this hypothesis, our knowledge of creation is regarded as imperfect, and therefore developable. In my view, objective thinking - that is, understanding of the causality manifested by the separated manifold - is developable. But objective thinking is just something we get in creation to enable us to understand objective causality in creation, so that we can satisfy our existential needs. It is senseless to develop objective knowledge of this causality as an end in itself, because it can't lead to the discovery of the original cause. And there is no point, while being blind to creation's purpose, in trying to make creation better than it is, since it is made perfectly for its purpose, by the original cause.
P: And it was hoped by science that it would discover the original cause?
S: Yes. In olden times, it was said - in introspective science - that the 'concrete' creation could be ruled using the knowledge gained from the transcendental experience of creation - which, as we've said, they thought of as experience of an 'abstract', original reality.
Modern extraspective science, on the other hand, introduced the hope of being able to find the original parts of creation - using the atom theory - so that creation could be ruled by controlling it starting from its smallest 'concrete' form.
Philosophical reflection vs thinking
P: You said that we need thinking in order to understand causality in creation, but don't we need thinking also to understand God?
S: Yes, but not what I have just called objective thinking, that is, the kind of thinking that is based on objective causality in creation. You don't need that to understand God, because you can never investigate God's activity from its invisible, objective origin in the direction of the whole. Nor can you investigate the original parts' activity in the direction of the invisible parts that are behind what we experience as the activities of the living and non-living manifold. That's why you can't objectively prove that the activity you experience as creation is God's or the parts' activity. That it is, as I have said before, is self-evident, axiomatic - that is, it can neither be proved nor falsified; it is something that we can only agree together or not.
The basic, first agreement has then to be that only a subject, and not an object, can be an original cause of activity, anywhere. It doesn't matter whether it's God or somebody else. If a cup or a table moves, nobody takes the cup or the table as the cause of that activity, that movement. The question is only whether there can also be behind the whole an active subject that experiences relation, or whether this is the case only behind the created objects that we experience as subjects experiencing relation.
P: But I thought that your view was that we were given thinking in order to come to an understanding of God.
S: We are given everything-covering language and philosophical thinking for that purpose. We should distinguish between thinking in relation to causality in creation - of which even animals are capable - and language-based, communicated, philosophical thinking or reflection in relation to the invisible original cause and meaning of the whole visible reality. In the absence of everything-covering language, animals are unable to communicate either their experiences and memories of reality, or their conclusions about causality - other than by body-language and a restricted number of sound-combinations particular to each species. That is why they cannot have any interest in invisible, so-called abstract things, or in the abstract or theoretical thinking characteristic of humans.
Philosophical reflection is not thinking in the way that we generally interpret thinking. Philosophical reflection is only actual in relation to the invisible original cause. And that is for the very reason that the original cause is invisible: we don't have an objective experience of the original non-created cause, only of created parts that have a mystical origin. It's also because creation, our impression of reality, which we experience as absolute changeability, appears to be contradictory in all its aspects - because we don't reckon with the fact that it is necessary for everything that is created also to be destroyed. By contrast, the non-created original cause and the purpose with creation must remain unchangeable.
P: What do you mean by 'creation appears to be contradictory in all its aspects'?
S: Nothing in creation seems to be intended to stay. Everything changes, gets constructed and destroyed, comes and goes, including the generations. All this happens without the source being revealed - because the source is neither the visible, non-conscious details of creation nor the visible, conscious participants in creation. The source is the invisible whole, which we have to consider as living, as conscious, if we want to understand the origin of creation.
P: So in relation to the original non-created cause, we can't use the thinking that we use in relation to the objective causality in creation?
S: That's right. Philosophical reflection is what is involved in checking whether creation can be understood without contradictions, that is, without contradicting our subjective and our objective experience of reality - for example, on the basis of my hypothesis about the original cause and meaning of the whole creation. If it can't be understood on the basis of my hypothesis, then we have to choose another hypothesis and check that one, until we find a hypothesis that does not contradict our experience of the whole of Nature.
Resolving creation's apparent contradictions
P: I still don't understand what you mean by creation appearing 'to be contradictory in all its aspects'.
S: Everything in creation is changeable: between a beginning, a start, a coming into existence, and a mystical end, a dissolving into a mystical nothing or some mystical 'energy'. Modern science tells us that even suns begin to exist and cease to exist. This gives us the impression that the whole creation is contradictory through and through. Since we experience creation as the whole reality, the questions arise: Does reality exist or does it not exist? What is the meaning of a creation that destroys everything it creates? The fact that creation does this gives us the impression that creation is meaningless. It seems senseless to produce and at the same time to destroy what is produced.
The philosophical question of the original cause actualizes creation as a whole. It emphasizes what creation produces, rather than what it destroys, and from the point of view of what the meaning is of both its production and its destruction.
In generally held philosophical interpretations, both the constructive and destructive sides of creation are emphasized separately. That is why there are only conflicting theories and no logical agreement about the original cause. Every such theory has the idea of two original causes: one cause for construction - which is interpreted as the good side - and a second, separate cause for destruction - which is interpreted as the original cause of evil. In my view, there is just one original cause of both the construction and destruction in creation, for the practical reasons given earlier [see p.108]. In my view, evil comes in through human language, when people act according to confused ideas about these two sides, based on their ignorance of the reason for these contradictory forces - that is, based on their failure to question tradition and to understand that the construction and the destruction do not have to be judged as a mystical contradiction, but as an evident necessity.
P: What you said a moment ago - and you have said it before, too - about philosophy relating solely to the question of the original cause could be said to be rather arrogant. It could be said that you are just choosing to call 'philosophy' what you think 'philosophy' is, as a way of disqualifying what everyone generally understands as 'philosophy'.
S: Well, that is how I define philosophy. Other people use the word in relation to authoritarian assertions by different people: either the founders of religions or so-called gurus, or other interpreters of creation and life's mystery. People cannot avoid hearing about the problem of the original cause. So humans have to deal with philosophy as long as there is no agreement about the original cause. And even if they find a non-contradictory, logical answer on which they can theoretically agree, they still have to continue checking it, in order to find out how to relate to it.
P: You mean, in order to understand how to think and behave according to it?
S: Yes. That is what I mean by establishing an ethical relation to the creator and creation - that is, becoming orientated to the meaning, instead of being disorientated about it.
P: ...that is, rather than relating according to rules and commandments based on other people's understanding?
A common, concrete start for thinking
S: Yes, which is a moral relation, rather than an ethical relation. My view is that without the philosophical hypothesis I am putting forward, it is impossible for us to have a common starting-point for our thinking. If we don't have the objectively unprovable hypothesis of an unchangeable, non-created, original, objective Being, we can only start our thinking from the objects that creation offers us. That is what the Greeks, for example, did, when they took different abstract elements - ether, fire, air, water and earth - as the original, objective cause. But nothing in creation can be understood as the original cause, because nothing in creation is unchangeable or indestructible. And even if there was such a thing as an indestructible part of creation - such as the atom that Democritus proposed - a part or all the parts together can never be the cause of the whole.
P: But your theory is not the only historical theory based on the hypothesis of a non-created, conscious reality. Theology has such a theory too.
S: Yes. But theology couldn't argue its belief in a non-created, unchangeable existence - God - philosophically, because it didn't think of God as an objective whole with objective parts. On the basis of 'mystical', introspective science where everything appears abstract and is experienced as abstract - because it doesn't offer any resistance - it said that God is abstract. And they thought of God as a whole without parts. But a whole without parts is what a part is without a whole - whether we think of it is as something abstract and intangible, as basically we should think of creation, or whether we think of it as something concrete and tangible, as we should think of the Being.
P: ...because a real part is something that cannot be further divided?
S: Yes. That forced theology to say that God creates parts as his likes in order to have company. But the idea of something abstract - interpreted as something mystical, as something different from concrete - can't be a common start for thinking.
What can be confusing for humans is language. Everything that is put forward in language can be interpreted, 'experienced' as an objective reality and be a start for human thinking, even if it has nothing to do with reality. But a common start for thinking has to be something concrete, and it has to be something that can be the conscious origin of meaningful activity - otherwise logical understanding can't start. Only an activity that is meaningful can be understood, as opposed to merely ascertained or stated. And only a conscious being can be a cause of meaningful activity.
P: This mention of 'concrete' and 'abstract' takes us right back to the beginning of these dialogues.
S: Yes. We should remember that in our experience 'concrete' is a relative term not only for a more or less solid something but also for liquids and gases. That's why we have to make the hypothesis of one concrete - in the real, absolute meaning of concrete - whole: an indestructible something with indestructible parts.
P: Would you say your hypothesis is a scientific hypothesis?
S: Yes, I would say so: because it gives us a start for real, objectively-based thinking. But it doesn't exclude the subjective behind the objective, that is, the ability to experience relation, relation experienced in an original or axiomatic way as only love, undisturbed by the problem of predilection.
P: And that start is the non-created reality, God's and our invisible Being?
S: Yes. And such an objective, concrete start is what science wants, but cannot realize, because it can't find in creation an indestructible object - such as it was hoped an atom or an elementary particle would be - on which to base its thinking about the whole causality. Everybody can imagine the existence of a non-created reality and also understand that it must be impossible to prove it scientifically. That is because scientific proof means 'objective proof', which means experiencing something from outside. Not even God can experience the non-created reality, himself, from outside in the way that we, thanks to created light, are able to see everything that is created.
Checking Hlatky's hypothesis
P: If your hypothesis can't be objectively proved, can it be checked in any way?
S: The only way you can check my hypothesis that God establishes a separate relation between the parts and himself, the whole, through creation, because he needs to be understood by his parts, is by asking yourself the following questions. First, is the hypothesis of the indivisible non-created Being - interpreted as a conscious relation between a whole and its parts - logical, that is, can it be compared with our experience of every living being? Or is it more logical to see it as a non-conscious object, or as a sum of endless activity?
Second, is it logical to have the idea of a need to be understood, common to God and the parts - the only difference being that, as I have said before, in the Being - God already understands the parts, in a one-sided way - that is, from his side - but the parts can't understand either God or each other?
Third, is creation starting from God a necessity if God's need is to be satisfied? Or is it more logical that God should do it with perfect power, without any need or purpose? Or is it more logical to believe that basically there is chaos, so that human creation is necessary?
And lastly, we have to check whether we can understand creation on the basis of this overall hypothesis - that is, we have to check whether creation is perfect for the purpose of satisfying God's need, and at the same time our basic need, to be understood.
P: How can we check whether creation is perfect for this purpose?
S: If you imagine what technical problem God has if he wants to make creation with this purpose in mind - to establish relation between himself, the whole, and his parts - then you can check it by theoretically taking away from creation anything you like or changing anything in it you like. Having done that, you can ask whether creation would or would not still be perfect for this aim. In other words, can creation only be the way it is, or could it be different? The foremost question then is whether God as the whole could create for every part a direct relation to the whole similar to the direct relation that the parts have to each other through a created, unitary body.
P: And you don't think God could, because our experience of creation must replace our lack of experience in the original Being, otherwise we would have no perspective on the whole - or on each other either?
S: Yes. If we were to have an objective relation to the whole similar to our objective relation to each other in creation, the creation of a body representing the whole - a body that could be seen from the outside as we can see each other's created bodies from the outside - would be necessary. That is impossible.
P: But what could we theoretically take away from creation to check your hypothesis?
S: Try taking anything away. Take the stars and the whole sky away, for example. If you do that, there is no impression of the whole and no impression of light. It is through the light-giving stars that God shows us indirectly that we belong to a whole.
P: How so?
S: Doesn't the surrounding darkness between the stars - what has always been known as 'the cosmos' - or the surrounding blue or cloudy sky create for every child and every living being the impression of a surrounding whole? - until, that is, this impression is taken away from humans through teaching them that there is a not-existent empty space behind the manifold.
P: I see what you mean.
S: We can continue this process - of theoretically taking things away from creation or changing things in creation - until we become convinced that everything in creation is organized in such a way as to point us indirectly towards the need to make this hypothesis. I think that without this hypothesis of the original cause, we can never reach a satisfactory understanding of the whole causality - as I've said before.
P: In which case, we will be doomed, as science is, to endlessly exploring causality in creation?
S: Yes. How many libraries are there full of books devoted to causality in creation? Yet in spite of all these investigations, we have got no closer to the original cause of the whole creation. And that is because this one cause of the whole creation is not, when the matter is considered philosophically, accessible to scientific investigation. But it could be accessible to every child as a satisfactory belief on the basis of philosophical considerations, if everything-covering human language were used to communicate it rather than to defend authoritarian theories.
Is creation perfect for its purpose?
P: I am still not clear about this process of 'checking whether creation is perfect for its purpose'?
S: Let's take an example of something humans create. How do you check if a car is perfect for its purpose?
P: You drive it.
S: Yes, but in order to drive it, you must first know its purpose: that is, you must know that it is meant to be driven. Once you know the car's purpose, you can check whether the car is perfect for its purpose: by using the steering wheel, the pedals and all the different parts to drive it, and seeing if everything is necessary for its purpose. That's how we can also check if creation is really made to meet God's need to be understood - and our need to be understood, too.
P: And, again, by 'being understood', you mean being understood by another conscious being as like, which means belonging in the same way to the same reality?
S: Yes. Now we can't understand a car unless we presuppose a creator and a user, and unless the user understands what the creator has created the car for. It is impossible to understand a car as something in itself. The same is true of creation. In the case of creation, God is the creator and we are the user. His purpose in creating creation is not that we should use creation, as animals do, without consciousness of its creator, him, and of his purpose with creation. God's purpose is that, using everything-covering language, we should understand the creator and his purpose with the whole creation. The car is creation, if you like, and we should be conscious of the creator's purpose when we use it.
So we can understand God as like in his need to be understood by his parts - even though he has a unique role as the only creator of the visible reality, 'the car' - by checking every detail of creation to see if creation serves God's purpose, God's need, perfectly. And we can understand every living being as basically like, in their roles as users of the same, common creation - having language in the case of humans, or not having language, in the case of animals.
P: So when you say 'check', you don't mean 'check empirically'?
S: No, if by 'empirically' you mean 'objectively'. The basic hypothesis of the original cause can't be checked objectively - because, as I have said several times now, we cannot experience the non-created Being from outside: neither the whole Being, God, nor the conscious parts of the Being, ourselves. I mean 'theoretical checking' through philosophical reflection based on axioms and bearing in mind the obvious fact that we have not only a distance-based, objective experience of surrounding creation, but also an immediate, subjective experience of it through our own, obviously biologically created body. This subjective relation relates primarily to our existential needs, which are the needs of the body, including the need for reproduction. It relates only secondarily, through the bodily senses, to our objective experience of creation, through which all our needs have to be satisfied. Subjective relation also includes for humans, who are dependent on language, the problem of satisfying not only our need for company - to be understood by likes - but at the same time also God's need to be understood as like, rather than as a mystical, perfect magician who has no need or purpose.
P: Do you emphasize this idea of our immediate, subjective experience of creation to distinguish it from modern science?
S: Yes, because the modern scientific interpretation is that our distance-based, objective view on surrounding reality is primary and is what is characteristic of humans. I think this is as misguided as the pantheistic interpretation, which talks about the distanceless transcendental experience of reality as primary. The pantheists call it absolute or cosmic consciousness.
P: So your way of thinking about this checking is very different from other people's way of thinking.
S: Yes, and that is because we don't make a proper distinction between checking the logic of an activity bearing in mind its purpose, which is what I argue we should do, and following or tracking an activity solely with the aim of learning to control, reproduce or change it according to our own purposes, which is what science does. This is the big problem. The hypothesis of the original cause requires a different sort of conviction from that required for scientific hypotheses, which relate only to causality in creation. It needs the hypothesis of the creator's objective existence and of the subjective purpose behind his creative activity, bearing in mind that we can only recognize the flow of creation. Recognizing the flow of an activity - how it starts, goes on and stops - is not a real understanding of causality. Real understanding starts when we know both the cause and the purpose of an activity. Then we can check if an activity is in accordance with its purpose - that means 'logical' - or not.
I have been doing this checking since I first made this hypothesis, in the early sixties, and I have been doing it for you all the time while we have been talking. I have tried to show you how everything is built up in creation with a particular meaning in mind: that God wants to 'show' himself indirectly to us, the parts, so that we can understand the original relationship between him and us and the logical reason for his creation. If you don't lose sight of this point, you can check my hypothesis and everything I have said from this point of view: that of God's technical problem in making the original situation understood. And if you checked and did become convinced by this view, you would not then regard your own need to be understood just as your own individual problem, since God has to solve this problem too. And at the same time that God potentially solves his own need to be understood, he also potentially solves the problem for us - by forcing human beings to learn and use everything-covering human language.
P: ...with which we should arrive at an understanding of God?
S: Of God first, then of each other - because, if we understand God, then we have no problem understanding each other. If we refuse to understand God, the original cause, the creator, first, then it is impossible to understand each other, because it is impossible to understand the activity that we represent for each other without knowing the origin of human life and its common need and purpose.
P: You mean understand that we originate as parts of the original Being where we cannot experience anything?
S: Yes, so our original desire is to experience, and this is made possible for us by creation. In creation we experience other conscious parts, and that actualizes the experience of love. We generally have no problem in loving living Nature on the Earth, that is, other species, because in them we meet our likes, since we know that they also have the ability to experience and that animals have the same needs that we have. But if we don't understand that human beings have their origin in the Being, as parts of God, we become confused about our own and other human beings' identity. The basic motivation for our activity must then become to develop ourselves as free, independent, original and unique creators, and to understand each other as such: that is, as having the same identity as original creators.
P: ...but not as likes?
S: That's right.
P: So, going back to the issue of checking and its relation to axioms: you said that our checking should be through philosophical reflection based on axioms.
S: Yes, those axioms we have referred to already and which we generally fail to bear in mind - and which are actually basic for all thinking.
P: Do you mean for thinking about objective causality as well as for philosophy?
S: Yes. Even an animal's thinking, for example, is guided by the axiom that an object cannot be the original cause of its activity.
P: Yes, it is interesting to see a dog, for example, dealing with an unfamiliar, man-made, moving object, like a small clockwork toy.
S: In relation to subjects and objects, animals act and react appropriately - in accordance with Nature's purpose for their lives. But without language, animals can't have a language-based idea such as 'life'. Nor can they have other ideas separate from their experience, about their life and the things which they experience as self-evident, things mediated for them only by Nature without verbal explanations. So they can neither feel absent nor have the idea of absence. When something is absent, they can't think 'How is it that it is absent?', 'Why is it absent?', or 'I am sorry it is absent'. Or when something is back, although they are glad, they can't think 'I am glad it is back'. What is absent does not exist for animals. They can't think historically; they can't have the concept of time.
And all axioms - precisely because they don't need any verbal explanations, but can only either be agreed upon or denied, in which case the absence of the experience they refer to is taken as the truth - can be checked only by you yourself against your own experience. But by that I mean against your total current experience. And your total current experience starts with your ability to experience: primarily your own body, and then everything - living and non-living - in the surrounding manifold.
So in philosophy, we have to check for ourselves and come to an agreement as to whether, for example, it is the primary need of a living being to have company with likes. Or is the opposite the case: do living beings not need the company of likes? Generally the need for company is not seen as an existential need, but in fact we couldn't even be born and brought up without this general need. In fact, unless this need existed, we could not be manipulated through the misuse of language by other people - in just the same way that, if our general existential needs did not exist, power could not be used in society to manipulate us.
P: So if we did not need things in order to survive in our everyday lives, we would not be open to being manipulated by those people that provide those things? Individuals have much less access to those things now than they used to, so the possibilities for manipulation in that respect are much greater nowadays.
P: So you can check these contradictory ideas against your experience and find out which of the two possibilities corresponds with your experience and which, therefore, is the one that is a valid conclusion - that is, which one is the axiom?
S: Yes. You check axioms on the basis of your Nature-based, original experience of your own life - that is, on the basis of the information given to you by Nature. So it is your own experience that determines philosophical logic, quite independently of the information and language-based ideas that you get through human language.
P: I find that an unfamiliar usage of the word 'logic'. Can you explain it more?
S: It is a totally unfamiliar usage! The word 'logic' has never been used in history in relation to the common need of consciousness to be understood as like - because we never talk about this need, and we never talk about basic likeness as the precondition for love. We never reckon with the fact that the need to be understood as like is the basic need of every living being.
Historically, the word 'logic' has been used in relation only to our existential needs or to our artificial needs: if an activity fulfils such a need, we say it is 'logical'. The word 'logic' has never been used in relation to the question of the original cause and meaning of the whole creation, that is, in relation to God and the purpose of his activity, derived from his need to be understood - which is the way I use it. It was not used in this way in history because, without a general agreement about the need of consciousness, the hypothesis of God's need was not made. So all answers to the question of the original cause were given only in an irrational, therefore authoritarian way, and not in a logical, understandable way. It was said that God cannot have any needs. So creation was never supposed to be logical. No tradition talks about there being a logical reason behind creation that would make it understandable.
P: To make it clearer what you mean by 'philosophical logic', can you say more about the way the word 'logic' is generally used?
S: In order for any need to be satisfied, activity in relation to the surroundings is required. If the activity fulfils the need, we generally use the word 'logical' to describe that activity.
P: So if I am hungry and have a need for food, it is 'logical' that I should eat something?
S: Yes. And it is easy to judge if an activity is 'logical' or not if you take an example of existential needs, as you have done. Where it is more difficult is in the case of the artificial needs of human beings.
P: And by 'artificial', you mean in your terms a need that is not associated either with an existential need or with the basic need of consciousness to be understood?
S: Yes. Now in our surroundings we meet, alongside mechanical activity, biological activity that is driven by common, and therefore known, existential needs. We also meet human beings, who can be driven both by their biological needs and by numerous artificial needs. These artificial needs can vary from person to person, and so are not common to everyone.
P: And they will not always be declared by the person.
S: Yes, so we will not always know what they are. So we will only be able to judge whether the activity of a human being derived from an artificial need is 'logical' or not if we know what that artificial need is - that is, if we know what the person's 'individual philosophy', their 'individual logic', is. That's why, if our species is generally guided, beyond our existential needs, by numerous, differing artificial needs, we can't spontaneously know, we can't spontaneously understand our own species.
P: Can you give an example of this contrast between natural and artificial needs?
S: We can find it logical that everyone needs a flat or house to live in. This relates to a common, existential need, and so is 'legal' according to Nature. But what the individual chooses to put in their flat - by way of special fittings, appliances and furniture - is a different matter. We can find the choice a particular person makes in this respect 'logical' if it is in line with what the particular person feels they need. But that logic - which relates to an artificial need created by that person - has nothing to do with the common need, which Nature 'legalizes', to have somewhere to keep warm in and feel protected.
P: I see. But isn't unlikeness - as here between artificial needs - necessary if we are to feel that we are an individual?
S: Yes, of course, it is necessary and natural. That is precisely the main point about identity! Everything in creation has to be different on the surface. Not even two leaves on the same tree are exactly alike. It is the speciality of humans to produce uniforms!
So - going back to my overall point - 'logic' in this sense is related to living beings' behaviour in relation to their environment, as only living beings can have a meaning to their activities.
There is another reference for 'logic' in the generally accepted sense of the word, and that is the activity represented by the use of human language. In the eyes of other people, we can use human language 'logically' or 'illogically'. This is what is known as Aristotelian logic. Essentially, we shouldn't contradict ourselves.
If in philosophy - that is, in discussions about the original truth - what is 'logical' is restricted to what is consistent with this Aristotelian notion of logic based on Nature's construction and destruction, rather than to biological, meaning-based logic, then discussions become bound to the traditions of language - which take this view of logic - rather than to our present experience of the whole creation, which we basically experience through our own body as living, biological, and only with the senses as acting mechanically.
P: And you make the contrast between the idea of each person having their 'individual philosophy' or 'individual logic' and the idea of a 'logic' inherent in creation that is equally valid for everyone?
S: That's right. Generally, the word 'philosophy' relates to what is regarded as the mystery of creation - 'mystery' because the need for creation and the purpose of creation is not understood. If creation is regarded as a mystery in this way, then either authoritarian rules of conduct have to be imposed, or it is left to each individual to work out for themselves the particular meaning of their own life.
Each such philosophy can be logical in relation to its basic idea, but not in a general sense, that is, not logical if we relate it to our common experience of the whole creation.
I, however, connect the word 'philosophy' with the meaning of creation. So the word 'philosophy' and the problem of philosophical logic, in my view, is only actualized by the problem of the original cause and meaning of the whole creation. We have to make an objective hypothesis about what the original cause and purpose behind creation is.
Because we can't control the original cause itself, we can't check the objective origin of the creator's behaviour in the way we can check activities in creation, which is by tracing them from their obvious causes to their obvious effects or from their obvious effects to their obvious causes. So we can't apply what is the generally accepted, scientific method. It is true that in the case of biology and in the case of the technology created by humans, the scientific method takes the purpose of an activity into account. But it doesn't do that in the case of the technology, the mechanical science called physics, and not therefore in the case of the universe - or, as I would call it, creation - as a whole.
In order first to make the hypothesis about the original cause and its purpose, and then in order to check our hypothesis about its purpose, all we need to do - as I have said before - is to reflect on our common total experience of reality. And by 'total' I mean our ability to experience, our experience of our own body - with its needs and its capacities to satisfy those needs - and our experience of everything in the manifold. Our hypothesis is 'logical' if it corresponds to that total experience, 'illogical' if it doesn't.
P: So in that sense the 'logic' by which we arrive at our hypothesis of the original cause and its purpose, and by which we check its purpose, derives from the experiences of creation as a whole that we all have in common?
S: Yes. And these common, Nature-based experiences are what axioms are. They are the original truth given to everybody, in the same way, by Nature. They are not different people's relative interpretations of these experiences mediated by human language.
Because axioms are common, we can discuss them. If we are to use them as a basis for further discussion, we have to agree about them as axioms. That means we have to agree to let them be valid, and not let their opposites - which are bound to different traditions of language - be valid or also valid.
P: So we should reject their opposites, which means also not letting an axiom and its opposite both be valid at the same time?
S: That's right, otherwise we will be left with unsolvable contradictions.
P: So an example of an axiom would be: only a living being, that is, the presence of life - the ability to experience - can be the cause of activity?
S: Yes. We have an unsolvable contradiction if we take the opposite view - which science takes - that non-living matter, that is, matter alone without life, can also be a cause. Another example would be the axiom that only something concrete, a really existent thing, can be the objective cause of activity. There would be an unsolvable contradiction if we also allowed that 'nothing' - the absence of everything, the idea of 'abstract' interpreted as the existent opposite of 'concrete' - were regarded as a basis for causality. We talked about this earlier.
P: What does it matter if we are left with contradictions?
S: Unless we can agree about the original cause and meaning of creation, we will live in confusion about the cause and meaning of our earthly existence. This creates anxiety and alienation. And because in practice it is impossible to live without meaning, we are forced to create our own meanings. This leads to contradiction and conflicts over these individual, created meanings, as much between human beings as in the relationship between human beings and Nature. That's why, unless we agree about creation's original cause and meaning, it will be impossible to get rid of war, which is waged on two fronts: one front between groups of human beings, because of their different philosophies or ideologies, and the other front between humanity and Nature, because of the lack among humans of a common philosophy.
P: What if a central tenet of one's philosophy was that one should have tolerance for the viewpoint of others? Wouldn't that avoid war?
S: If we discuss the basic need of common Nature - as God's nature, which is also common for us: the ability to experience and the need to be understood as like - then we have a common viewpoint and a common logic from which to start. Communication of this viewpoint to everyone is then seen as a precondition for its being understood and for an agreement about it being reached. The viewpoint is then seen as common, and not as one's own. 'Tolerance' - in place of force or war - only comes into play when compromise is necessary. But compromise in philosophy is only necessary when contradictions are accepted at the outset.
In everyday life compromise is only necessary when there is a need to agree about conflicting predilections. These are only problematical in the absence of the experience of undivided love. Any compromise by one party or the other is then experienced as 'giving in' or as only being made on some expectation of a tit-for-tat at some later date.
P: By contrast, I remember you giving the example of dogs fighting over a piece of meat. Once the last morsel is eaten, the fighting stops and there are no 'hard feelings'!
S: Yes... because animals, not having an everything-covering language, don't first have to break the whole reality into pieces and then try to work out how to put the pieces back together again as an understandable whole. That means that they can only love reality unconsciously as an indivisible whole.
Authoritarian traditions or Nature-based logic?
P: So the philosophical hypothesis can be checked on the basis of axioms?
S: Yes. And that is an important aspect in which I think my hypothesis is different. Traditional theories of the original cause were not presented as hypotheses based on axioms that everybody could check in this philosophical way. They were presented as authoritarian statements: that is, not as understandable by logical thinking, but as knowledge ascertainable by defined methods.
P: ...such as by developing a perfect life through following God's commandments - in place of understanding God?
S: Yes... commandments given and overseen by priests, but traced back to God.
P: ...and in the case of pantheism, by developing perfect knowledge and power?
S: Yes... and applying this so that you can develop a perfect life and a perfect society, that is, a perfect life together. Philosophy in my sense has never been implemented traditionally - though it has been continuously represented by each new generation of children when they first learn language. On the basis of their Nature-based experience, children question what grown-ups say - until they, the children, become confused about what of their experience is Nature-based and what language-based. So children's use of Nature-based, philosophical logic never gets a proper response. The traditions tell them that it is possible to know, that is, to experience or to meet, the original cause - and 'knowing' involves 'controlling' rather than 'checking'. Modern science, on the other hand, lets them believe that the original cause can be, but has not yet been, discovered. At the same time, modern science tells them that there is no original meaning, and that therefore the ever-present original order should be of no interest to them. 'The question of meaning is free', children are told. So then there is no chance for children to apply philosophical logic to any defined hypothesized meaning.
P: You've said earlier that children's - in other words, every person's - total, current experience from inside the whole reality is what gives rise to the philosophical question about the original cause and meaning?
S: Yes, which is why it is only possible for us to discuss and agree upon this question in the light of our common, total, current experience. The philosophical question in fact contains two inseparable questions. One is the question of the original cause. The other is the question of the purpose of the original cause's activity, that is, creation. To answer the first question alone is not enough, because it doesn't say anything about the nature of the cause. Just saying that God is the original cause means only that the original cause is a living being with the ability to experience. But it says nothing about what God is experiencing, and what, based on his experience, the need and purpose of his activity is. And the pantheistic theory refers to existent laws, but not to an existent being who could be the cause or creator of the laws. And laws can only interfere in an ongoing activity. They can't explain the start of that activity.
P: And the pantheists say that there is no original given meaning?
S: That's right. The meaning is the development of the participants in order to make and maintain a meaningful order, which requires cooperation between the participants.
My view is that we have to understand both the original cause and its meaning with creation. And I presuppose that my life is meaningfully established by Nature - by God's Nature - in the same way as are all other lives and the whole creation, to serve the purpose of this understanding, that is, to make it possible for us to understand the original cause and meaning of creation. If we don't have philosophy, we remain unconscious of these. With philosophical understanding, we are conscious of them.
P: So I have to assume that my own total current experience of reality is basically the same as that of all other humans, and that my life has the same natural meaning as theirs?
S: Yes, and we have to assume that this natural meaning is to understand and agree about the cause and meaning of our current experience of the common whole reality, as a precondition for being able to love it and love each other. We can only understand creation if we presuppose the timeless, never-changing Being behind creation and so presuppose the fact that we belong absolutely together as conscious beings within this whole...
P: ...which gives a feeling that we are generally used to having only in families, or, to a lesser extent perhaps, in relation to our country or some other group we belong to, rather than in relation to the whole.
S: Yes, that's right. The alternative to this feeling of belonging absolutely together within the whole stems from our being confused by our experience into thinking that we are outside reality and into regarding ourselves as separate from everything, and, from this temporary position as humans, into regarding ourselves as having a free will to create and realize any meaning we wish. And all this we do - in this alternative view - in the face of a meaningless, dead reality, and, on the Earth's surface, in the face of an equally meaningless, destroyable, cruel life full of fighting and killing.
Consciousness vs thinking
So to choose understanding and love - that is, the insight that we belong absolutely together with the same identity - we need only to identify the faculty of consciousness, our ability to experience, as fundamental, and not the faculty of thinking. Consciousness is the ability to experience. Can you experience anything in your surroundings, including your body, without this ability?
S: Could you think about your experiences if you were unable to remember them?
S: Nature makes it possible for us to remember our earlier experiences - by providing us with a brain and a nervous system. So the ability to experience, then our experience of our own body and of the surroundings, and then memory - these are the preconditions for thinking. You can't experience without the ability to experience, though you can experience your body and your surroundings without memory. But then you can't think without memory. So which comes first: the ability to experience, experience itself, memory or thinking?
P: It must be the ability to experience.
S: Of course. Now all these assertions I have just made, which you have agreed with, are axioms. They reflect our immediate experience of being conscious, and, through our nervous system, our immediate experience of our distanceless relation to our own body. That body represents not only our existential needs and the ability to satisfy those needs, but also our memory and the rememberable evaluations and conclusions that we have previously reached through thinking, which together constitute what we call the psyche* or soul. They can't be proved or argued. They can only be agreed upon or not agreed upon. If you had not agreed with them, I could not have proceeded with my questions and we could have not proceeded to the conclusion that we reached and agreed upon. That's why philosophical understanding must be based on dialogue, and not on authoritarian statements and objective explanations.
P: What if I had chosen to deny these particular axioms?
S: Then you would have been in contradiction with me, and also, I suggest, with your own experience of Nature, and I would have asked you to argue for your denial. But we are free to assert whatever we want - though not without consequences.
So if you agree with me, on the basis of these axioms, that the ability to experience precedes thinking, you must agree that Descartes, the founder of rationalism - who said that humans were essentially doubting and thinking beings - is mistaken. We have to regard consciousness, considered as the ability to experience, as fundamental. We experience something, and it is then Nature - not you, not we, but Nature - that arranges for us to remember for a time what we have experienced - if, that is, you don't lose your memory, your ability to remember. You can lose that, of course. All you have to do is drive badly and have an accident and suffer brain damage. Then you may lose your memory. But you don't lose your ability to experience. You can never lose it, even when you die. You can believe you lose it when you die, because if somebody dies, from the point of view of other people all their abilities to act and to express themselves disappear when their ability to experience loses its contact with their body. The idea that there is nothing after this life was only introduced by modern atheism.
P: So how would you characterize philosophical reflection succinctly?
S: Philosophical reflection is the work of the brain aimed at understanding any hypothesis put forward about the original cause and meaning. These hypotheses can't be tested objectively - as scientific hypotheses about causes and effects can be. They can be tested only subjectively, against our own experience of the whole creation - including our immediate experience of our own body - as it is shown to everybody, and relatively against other people's interpretations through language of their own experience of being situated in creation in the same way. All interpretations - both our own and other people's - should take account of the fact that creation is self-evident, axiomatic, that it is not arbitrary but absolutely meaningful, and that it is self-explanatory in relation to its original cause and the meaning of the fact that we are all, in common, faced with it - creation, that is.
P: By 'self-explanatory', do you mean that creation explains itself to us - or rather God explains himself to us through creation? In other words, our experiences in creation leads us to the idea of the original cause?
S: Yes, indirectly, through the philosophical reflections that creation provokes us to make - and only as an idea, a belief, because the original whole reality can't be shown from the outside to our senses. So we should interpret creation itself as self-evident. We should not interpret it on the basis of people's interpretations of creation - which is what we do if we believe in authoritarian interpretations. And that means we should have the same attitude towards creation in our philosophical considerations - that is, as regards understanding the original cause - that science has towards creation as regards mechanical understanding.
For science, the ever-present reality is the truth, and not what people say about it. The difference is that the mechanical understanding that science is interested in is based on details of what we experience in creation as non-conscious matter. This is the belief in original parts and in the possibility of discovering and controlling these original parts. There is no regard for an original whole and for the purpose of creation. My hypothesis starts from the idea of an original whole considered as conscious matter, the creative Being - which is both God and his parts - with the idea of the creator's purpose in mind. This excludes any notion that the parts of the creative Being can develop an original authority to express independent, original creativity - that is, to change chaos or Nature's 'unsatisfactory' order into a better or perfect order, as other views would hold. This last idea is the only alternative to a meaningless obedience to present, but meaninglessly existing, conditions - in other words, to what is called fatalism or belief in destiny.
And as I have said, my hypothesis cannot be objectively proved because it relates to an unchangeable, timeless existence that can never be experienced at a distance, from outside. It is not even possible for God to see himself from outside, as we can see our body, mediated by light, in a mirror!
P: And modern science, as you've said, treats reality as if we are outside it, as a result of not taking our total current experience of creation into account.
S: That's right. It takes into account only our experience of the objective surrounding reality, based solely on the typically human ability for theoretical thinking, in which humans regard themselves as outsiders with only a mechanical relation to creation.
We should regard our purely memory- and language-based understanding of reality as relative - that is, not as valid in itself, but valid only if we can check it against our total current experience in the ever-present reality.
P: So science tries to understand reality without taking into account our experience of being conscious and our immediate experience of our own body?
S: Yes. It judges everything - our own ability to experience, our own body and our experience of the manifold - from the point of view of an outsider.
P: ...rather than seeing humans as part of reality?
Creation is self-explanatory
S: Yes. But we can't, on the other hand, simply decide to see ourselves as part of reality. We can't escape experiencing ourselves as outsiders unless we have a self-evident hypothesis - that is, one based on axioms - about the original cause of the visible reality considered as a creation, a purposefully given order and meaning.
I think this view should replace the efforts we have traditionally made to explain reality for each other and for our children as an historical, ongoing, changeable event - which is the view that our memory-based, that is, time-based, science of creation puts forward.
P: Do you mean that we don't need science in order to understand reality? We can understand it on the basis of our own experience?
S: I mean that we can understand the original cause and meaning of the whole creation by philosophical reflection based on our everyday common experience of creation, without any special science of the underlying details of creation. By 'special' I mean 'not common to everybody's everyday subjective and objective experience of the whole'. Science discovers more and more of the invisible details of our everyday experience and traces them back to the Big Bang. But these 'invisible' details can't explain the whole reality. In them we can find only the same axiomatic knowledge of creation - of its absolute changeability, which is the characteristic of all activities - that is visibly shown to us in our everyday experience of creation through an illusorily concrete background, the manifold. Today scientists know this.
P: So an atom is what it is - axiomatically - in exactly the same way as a tree or a stone is what it is? It's just that you have access to an experience of a tree or a stone in your everyday life and not of an atom. But don't scientists claim that the normally invisible thing - the atom or whatever - explains the bigger thing, the one that we have experience of in our everyday life?
S: Atoms, trees, stones, the whole manifold, are separately enjoyable, meaningful illusions produced by the overall activity of creation, Nature. Therefore it is impossible to understand any of them separately, scientifically, as things in themselves. Nowadays scientists know that the bigger parts of the visible reality are built up as a sum of smaller parts only formally, but that it is impossible to add Nature up, that is, to treat it as a mathematical sum of independent, separated units. You can't understand the nature of an atom on the basis of the nature of its elementary particles, the nature of a molecule as the sum of the nature of its atoms, and so on. If you ask a scientist whether science explains reality, they say, consistently, 'No, science only explores and describes reality'. That's why they don't talk about 'creation'. 'Creation' is the original reality for them.
P: But people generally believe that science explains reality.
S: Yes, I know. And scientists make little effort to disabuse people of this idea.
P: Do you think that your hypothesis explains reality then?
S: No. Reality is self-explanatory. My hypothesis provides only the precondition for understanding what creation indirectly reveals: our original situation as parts of the non-created whole where we are unable to use practically our common identity, the ability to experience.
P: If we choose to take this approach to the question of the original cause and meaning of creation, what are the axioms that we need to agree to allow to be valid?
S: ...without allowing their opposites to be valid or also valid, as I said before [p.136]. Most axioms we allow to be valid in our thinking without allowing their opposites to be valid or also valid. But if we are identified with our memory-based thinking, rather than with our common experience of the entire reality, then we allow certain opposites to be valid or also valid and start thinking out of them.
P: I find this difficult to follow, but perhaps it will become clear when you give the axioms.
S: Yes, let me give the basic axioms and their opposites briefly, then we can go into each of them in more detail:
The first basic axiom - which relates to all thinking, even to that of animals - is connected to the basic contradiction in our experience: the experience of 'something' on the one hand and the 'experience' of nothing on the other.
P: And the inverted commas around 'experience' are because we cannot, of course, have an experience of nothing?
S: Yes. This last, as I have said before, is the language-based interpretation of distance as three-dimensional space or emptiness. But everybody knows, by simply reflecting on the fact, that it is impossible to start a thinking process from - that is, to make an evaluation of or to draw conclusions from - 'nothing', the absence of 'everything'. So for anyone who bears in mind the clear difference between Nature-based thinking and language-based thinking, the first and basic axiom will, I believe, be understood as valid:
Axiom 1: No thing can arise, originate from nothing. Not even activity can arise out of nothing.
Its opposite is that something can arise out of nothing - which is what some scientists maintain, particularly cosmologists. And Christianity maintains it, too, when it says that God created out of nothing.
From this basic axiom follows the next:
Axiom 2: That which exists, that which is a real, existent, permanent, concrete, and not illusory, something, can never change, become some other thing, or cease to exist - that is, become nothing. Nor can it be reduced to only an abstract potentiality, or to a potentiality to become something, akin to the language-based idea of energy.
One opposite to the belief in an unchangeable existence is the belief in nothing. The other opposite is the pantheistic view: that activity is something in itself, without there being anything that expresses that activity. This is just another belief in non-existence, the absence of existence.
Axiom 2 means that something, what is existent, also can't start to be. It can't even change, because that would mean it would stop being what it was and would start being something else. What can easily confuse our thinking is the fact that everything we experience in creation as existent is changeable and can start to be and can cease to be. That's why nothing that we experience in creation as existent can be understood as an original cause.
P: ...because, according to Axioms 1 and 2, activity has to be created by some thing, some existent thing, so the original cause of the activity that is creation has to be some existent thing?
S: Yes. This is self-evident, which is why humanity has always either tried to understand the original cause philosophically, or, the alternative, has tried to discover it, as in modern science; or has even claimed that it is possible for each person to discover it, that is, experience it - as in the older introspective science - as activity, energy, abstract power, and, in some Christian views, as God.
From these first two axioms follows the next:
Axiom 3: It is impossible, even for God, to create anything other than activity.
The opposite of this axiom is the idea that something existent can be created. But if it were possible to create something existent, then something would be able to come out of nothing. So the idea in theology of God creating something, such as conscious beings and existent things, and the general idea that humans can create existent things, are irrational.
Pantheism takes activity as the original cause, and interprets the meaning of this activity as the development of consciousness - from no consciousness to perfect consciousness - interpreting consciousness as something abstract and yet as in some way existent, but changeable and developable, like everything in creation.
Science, since Einstein, has taken energy as the original cause, acting through non-living objects that have been created by energy. And it sees energy as in some way existent too. And then both science and pantheism regard consciousness as developable, which means that consciousness can't be the quality of the original cause.
P: ...because the quality of something existent must be existent too - which means it can't change, so it can't develop?
S: Yes. That's the problem with the term 'energy', too, both for science and for pantheism. It can be interpreted only as the source of all the developable qualities in creation, but not as one and the same original quality of an original cause.
And finally theology: although it takes consciousness as the quality of the original cause, it makes the mistake of talking about God as a perfect, almighty, abstract consciousness who has no need - which makes it impossible to find a logical reason for creation - but who creates humans in his likeness. This also introduces the idea of development for humans: to become like God.
P: You mean humans have to strive to become as perfectly 'good' as God?
S: Yes, which means to have the perfect purpose - love - behind their activities in relation to God's creation, on the basis of moral rules given by God but mediated by humans. This is the basis of so-called righteousness.
Those who take the pantheistic view want to develop more and more knowledge of, and power to control, what they consider to be the 'abstract', original reality - knowledge and power of that being how they interpret consciousness - and in this way become perfect. Of course, they also have the conception of undivided love. However, it is not interpreted as righteousness in relation to a given order, but as a basic concept for the organization of cooperation in society.
Those who take the scientific view also want to develop more and more knowledge and power, with the aim of controlling creation - which, as with the pantheists, they see as not having a given order, but as being randomness or chaos formed only by meaningless laws. But even science has to recognize the need and the necessity for love as basic to the successful organization of society - as did all earlier traditions.
In all these interpretations, the idea of consciousness as developable is misleading, because no tradition makes the distinction between the ability to experience and that which is experienced. It is thinking, reflection and understanding which is developable. The ability to experience is a precondition for thinking and understanding, and not a rememberable consequence of understanding. It is misleading if we don't distinguish the ability to experience and what we experience. The first remains the same; the second goes on functioning, is constantly changing, progressing and regressing, building a memory of objects, evaluations and causalities - which, taken together, are what I interpret understanding as.
P: But then you have also argued that we have to distinguish between understanding as it relates to the original reality and understanding as it relates to creation.
S: Yes, because God's experience and understanding - which encompasses the original reality as his own existence, the understanding of which is the basis for his activity - must be different from our experience, which encompasses only the created reality. That is why a scientific understanding, which is only of creation, is not satisfactory. We have the need to understand the origin of creation, but it is impossible to do that by developing more knowledge of creation. We have to use philosophical understanding, which means to take the right stance in relation to all the contradictions that creation presents us with.
P: You mean not to take the absence of things - the idea of 'nothing', and so on - as the basis for our understanding?
S: Yes...or the absence of life - death - or the absence of love - evil. That includes taking the correct stance in relation to Axiom 4 - to bring us back to the Axioms - which relates to the idea of consciousness:
Axiom 4: Only a conscious, living being who is conscious of its own existence can be active out of itself and thus be an original cause of its activity.
The opposite to this axiom is to imagine that a non-conscious being - what in creation we call an object - can be a cause. This axiom means that, as regards the original reality, it can be active as a whole only if it is a conscious, living whole - otherwise it would be a non-living object. No part of this original, conscious, living whole can act as the whole, therefore only the whole can be the cause of creation.
Only a conscious being is able to have experience and, as a result of its experience, a need for purposeful activity. My idea, following from Axiom 1, is that the activity that we experience as the whole purposeful creation is regulated by the need and the purpose of the creator, God, arising out of his experience of his own existence, which gives him his need to be understood by his parts and thus creates a personal need for purposeful activity. An activity can only be understood if it is purposeful - otherwise we can only register the activity as ruled by mechanical laws. To understand a purposeful activity, you have to know its purpose, and then you can check whether the activity is consistent with its purpose or not. An activity can only be purposeful if it follows the need of a conscious being logically, that is, consistently.
P: Going back a little: can the ideas in science of chance and chaos be seen as related to the idea of nothing?
S: Yes, these ideas are in place of the idea of a meaningful cause, which only conscious beings can have behind their activity. 'Nothing' means having neither existence nor meaning. 'Chance' and 'chaos' mean activity that has no purpose or meaning. Science - and pantheism too - accepts the lawfulness of creation, but denies that it represents a single, overriding order.
Axiom 5 follows from Axiom 4:
Axiom 5: Only an object conscious of itself and which exists unchangeably can be the unchangeable - that is, recognizable as one and the same - original, mechanical cause of activity.
This corresponds to my idea of God's objective, concrete existence. Generally, God's existence is interpreted as 'abstract' - and then with 'abstract' not seen as the opposite of 'concrete', but rather, as I have said before, on the basis of our experience of solid, liquid and gaseous matter. 'Abstract' then is seen as a sort of more subtle matter, and so as something in itself.
P: Whereas for you, 'concrete' relates to the original reality, and 'abstract' to Axiom 3, that only activity can be created. In your view, all activity in itself - theoretically separate from what is being active - is abstract?
S: Yes, 'separated from its context' - from the Latin, abstraho, abstraxi, abstractum, meaning to separate, remove. In fact, this separation is achieved by thinking, and is expressed for humans in language. But such separation cannot occur in reality, and to think that it does occur leads to confusion and to a distorted picture of reality. Axiom 3 means that it is impossible to find the original reality in creation. An object interpreted as existent can never change, be something else or become nothing.
P: So what are examples of opposites to Axiom 5?
S: As I've said, 'nothing' is one opposite of this axiom of a conscious object, the opposite that science adopts.
The idea of changeability is another, the one that pantheism adopts. Changeability corresponds to my idea of abstract, because all activity is in itself just movement, and therefore abstract - that is, not existent. Activity is what gives us the impression of changeability. Activity can start, it can go on in different ways, and it can stop. But it cannot do all that by itself.
The cause of all activity must be something existent. A cause - something that expresses activity - and its ongoing activity are inseparable. If you separate the two in your mind, and start to interpret activity as existent in itself and, whether it is resting - that is, potential - or ongoingly active, interpret it as being without a cause, this leads to the pantheistic idea of activity as the original cause. The pantheists then relate that activity to abstract, impersonal laws, that is, laws that are not bound to an existent, conscious object who expresses the laws as a precondition for a meaningful order. My view is that the laws that we experience are intended to produce a meaningful order - in the same way that humans create laws with a particular order in mind.
The pantheist view misguidedly transfers the idea of 'abstract' or 'changeable' to 'object', that is, to something existent, something unchangeable. This misunderstanding relates to the fact that our experience of objects in creation is that they are changeable. The misunderstanding follows from our ignorance of Axiom 3, It is impossible to create anything other than activity.
The opposite of an axiom
P: I want to be clear at this point: the opposite of an axiom is not itself an axiom?
S: No, the opposite is simply the experience of the absence of something that we have previously experienced as present.
P: For example, death in relation to life, nothing in relation to something, darkness in relation to light, and so on?
S: Yes. Both the presence of something and the absence - that is, the negation - of something, can't be valid. But we can choose to take the negation as valid, as if it were an axiom, because we are free to choose where to start our thinking from.
P: But like the axiom itself - that is, the presence, though variable presence, of something - the opposite of the axiom - that is, the absence of that something - is also based on our experience of creation, isn't it?
S: Yes, but can you experience something that is absent? And bear in mind that 'absent' can have two interpretations: 'present in another place' and 'not existing'. That is our problem with the words 'life' and 'death'. 'Death' is a state that is not variable in the same life: you can't die and come back to life. Whereas other things you can experience, then no longer experience and then return to experiencing. Because the word 'death' means the absence of any experience - whereas 'life' means the ability to experience - we can make all sorts of ideas about 'death' and even think of it as a state of non-existence, of non-life. But the idea of a non-living state is absurd. What could it be like? No quality, no activity, nothing - what is that? A situation without experience is what in my hypothesis is the situation for the parts in the Being. But that is not 'death'. Life is generally seen as an absolute starting-point, rather than as a continuation.
P: All right, I agree then that you can't experience something that is absent, but isn't it possible to experience that something is absent?
S: Not experience, but remember. That is, we can experience something and then realize that what we have experienced is no longer experienceable right now, even though we can remember how it was. But we can't experience something that is not there now. We don't generally distinguish between these two. We take them to be the same. That is what makes us confused about what reality is: experiencing or remembering. That's why we can live, practically speaking, in history, theoretically excluding our experience of the ever-present reality.
Both the axioms themselves and their memory-based negations are based on our experience of creation - because creation has to be expressed as basically contradictory: that is, as simultaneously present/existent and not present/ not existent; simultaneously becoming present/seemingly existent and disappearing/becoming absent. That means we experience it as unrestingly changeable. If it were unchangeable, ever-present in the same form, we would then, quite logically, regard creation as the original reality.
The only experience of the original reality that we have is its basic quality, the ability to experience - what is generally called 'consciousness'. But even this experience can be confusing, because we don't experience its objective form, its mass or quantity: the non-created unchangeable object, our original reality, our identity, that which is conscious. And this is what science tries in vain to discover. So we have as an axiom to interpret our impression that creation is existent as a meaningful illusion, made for our senses. We should take neither its presence nor its absence as an axiom, but take creation as we are able to understand it on the basis of Axiom 3: as activity. This is what makes it necessary to have the hypothesis of a real existence behind both the illusory absence of the whole, God, and the illusory presence of the parts, human beings. All this is because it's impossible to experience the original reality itself - either in its whole or in its parts - because we can't have distance to what we originally are and also not to what we originally belong inseparably to. That has to be impossible for God, too. So in relation to every living being, even God, we have to take into account the original existence with the same quality - the ability to experience. But we have to assume that God has an immediate one-sided relation to the total Being and can rule over it - though not, of course, in the same way that we can rule over our own created body through our created nervous system, but in some similar way.
P: And generally we spontaneously take into account only the quality...
S: Yes, on the basis of our experience of the quality.
P: ...and not the original existence, the original object?
S: Yes. The whole non-created Being, in my view, is the mechanical cause of God's creation, and the part that we are in the Being is the mechanical cause of our activity within creation. As parts of the Being, we are also conscious, existent causes of our own activities - originally based on the same need that we have in common with God - and are therefore responsible for our activities. This need is unconscious in the Being, but becomes conscious via language in creation. But we are not original creators. Our inescapable need for love requires us to live together. When our consciousness of community is suppressed, we experience a mystical anxiety or stress. So our need for love forces us, in the way that biology forces, to understand the cause and meaning of creation - instead of playing creators, which makes it impossible for us to love creation. In this way, Nature's biological force is as efficient as Nature's mechanical forces. We are original parts of the original, non-created reality and can never be something else. But we can't in any comparable way be the mechanical cause of creation, because creation can't reveal to our senses its original, mechanical start. That's why all the new scientific theories and all the old pantheistic theories about the possibilities of humans ruling over creation are irrational. Discussions of these irrational theories have recently taken on a new dimension - after the unsuccessful attempts to discover the smallest parts of the object - through the discovery of genes.
P: So we can't rule over creation, even though we can interact with it - or 'interfere' with it, which is what we do, as we have said, when we disturb it?
S: That's right. If our potentially confusing experience of consciousness is misinterpreted as consciousness of the original reality, it can lead us to ignore the existence of consciousness as the ability to experience. It can then lead us to take our ability to think and act and 'create' in creation as primary, as our original identity. Consciousness is then interpreted as secondary, as a developable product of thinking. But then we can never get rid of confusion, because, in this interpretation of identity, we take changeable creation with its contradictions as the original reality, and start thinking on the basis of irrational ideas about the original cause. We then consider humans to be original creators confronted with a changeable, formable reality - with nowadays the general idea of empty space, that is, 'nothing', behind it, rather than a given order behind it.
P: Going back to the axioms: it seems to me that if we choose to allow these axioms to be valid, we are forced to live in the present reality.
S: But the present reality is frightening if it is not understood as coming from the original cause. If we don't understand it that way, we trace our origin back to our birth, and further to Adam and Eve - which is history. And history's unchangeability then becomes our only security. The present reality is then the future - the frightening, unsafe future. All confusion arises because creation is not shown in our experience as coming from its origin: the existent, non-created reality. This has led historically to three different ideas about the original cause of creation, and different combinations of these three ideas. The first is 'nothing' and the second is activity. The third is created matter, which is represented by the visible manifold in creation. This last is interpreted as the original cause because in our experience of creation, the manifold expresses all activity as an absolute interaction between everything.
P: And you have given reasons earlier for regarding all these three hypotheses as illogical.
P: I want to go back to the point that you made earlier about creation being contradictory. I suppose you are saying that the axioms help us to resolve the contradictions?
S: Yes. The confusion in our attitude towards axioms arises from the fact that, as a self-evident technical necessity, creation has concurrently to construct and destroy everything that it creates. To avoid being confused about creation, we have to agree about this technical necessity. But in doing that we have to remember our common consciousness of the whole creation - creation considered as one activity, one closed system. And we have to bear in mind that creation's purpose is to create for our created senses an impression of an existent reality, in which things - such as celestial bodies, that is, suns and planets, and living bodies on the surface of our planet - last for different lengths of time.
P: And, as we've discussed before [see p.60], you don't mean that the whole creation is just an illusion, as some traditions say?
S: No, the only illusion is the impression that it is existent and not just activity. In reality creation supports, makes possible, an intangible but real relation to each other - so long as we believe that we have a non-created real existence and we don't try to find ourselves and each other in our created bodies. It also supports, makes possible, a similar, real relation to the creator, God - so long as we believe that not only we, parts, but also the whole, have a real existence and we don't try to find the creator in his creation.
If creation were experienced only as activity, we couldn't have a useful impression of it. The illusion of existence gives us the impression of distance, separateness, which is the precondition for the parts of the whole to be able to meet and understand each other as conscious parts within the whole. Distance, given by the illusion of existence, also gives us an indirect impression of the whole. But because of distance, this impression of the whole is not a unified impression of one body. It is presented in such a way that we are forced to choose between two conflicting interpretations of it. The one is to interpret it, on the basis of philosophical considerations, as similar to us, that is, as also conscious - which gives the self-evident belief in one God. The other is to interpret it, on the basis of our impression of the Earth and the other created celestial bodies, as non-conscious, or, on the basis of our impression of distance - experienced in relation to the whole as an endless empty space - as not-existent.
P: And this last is just a variant of the idea that the whole is non-conscious?
S: Yes. And these other interpretations give the non-self-evident belief that, compared with each other, the parts are different, and also that they are not subordinate to the whole, but in some sense above it. This means that they treat it and alter it according to their own will.
The consequence of the choice of the first, the choice of the belief - axiomatic, and understandable for everyone, and not irrational or mystical - in one God considered as the existent, non-created conscious whole behind creation, is that we then know each other definitively as conscious parts of the the same non-created reality behind creation, and we know in the same definitive way the creator and his purpose and meaning with the whole creation. Our first practical problem is then not our lack of knowledge of everything, but rather the lack of a language-based, common agreement about this choice and the immediate consequences of that lack of agreement. What we don't know about the invisible details of creation - which we can, if we need to, always explore further - is, in this choice, a secondary problem.
If we are to make proper practical use of this reality, we have to establish such a language-based, common agreement. Without it, we spontaneously take what is illusion in creation - the impression of resistance, which gives us the idea that creation is existent - as knowledge of the original reality. This interpretation of the experience that our created senses offer us will then totally occupy our philosophical thinking, leading to an endless and vain search for knowledge of our own identity and of reality's identity, the original cause. The search will be endless and vain because this spontaneous mistake makes it impossible for us to understand either creation or the original reality.
P: So is it also an implication of what you are arguing that the whole modern environmental movement - which is concerned, as you put it, 'with a proper practical use of this reality' - will miss the point unless it has a solution to the problem of the original cause?
S: Yes. Reality is then interpreted as changeable, meaningless and passive, rather than as meaningfully active.
Types of whole
P: You said a moment ago that if we allow these basic axioms for thinking to be valid, without mixing them together with or confusing them with their opposites, then the question of the original cause is solved, as creation is self-explanatory. Do you mean that these axioms rule out the other hypotheses and suggest your hypothesis of the whole and the parts?
S: Yes. But I think that we need to be clear in more detail at this point how we understand the idea of whole and the idea of parts, as well as the relation between these two ideas, which is basic to all thinking. An agreement about this is necessary, because on the basis of creation, and in the absence of any experience of the original relation between them in the Being, we can only have inadequate experiences of what 'whole' and 'part' and the relation between them are.
It is necessary for us to have an impression of wholes and parts in creation, because thinking can only start from something that we experience as an existent whole that is in relation to its own parts and to other similarly existent wholes. The natural purpose of thinking, reflection, is the need to understand causality - both with regard to the immediate relation between one object and its parts, and with regard to the space-based relation between different objects. For typically human philosophical thinking, there is also the need to understand the original cause of the whole creation.
The inadequacy of our impression of wholes and parts in creation starts from the fact that we have no existent impression of the total whole. We have only the impression of an apparently existent manifold. And the difficulty is further compounded by the fact that we can't find in the apparently existent manifold a real, unchangeable whole, nor a real unchangeable part.
We experience the whole creation, which is our whole reality, as an interaction of the manifold, as the product of the inseparable cooperation of all visible, separate parts. Then we experience each part of the inseparable whole creation as a separate whole in itself: either as celestial bodies - which illuminate, in the case of suns, or which are illuminated, in the case of planets - or, on the Earth, our own illuminated celestial body, as various types of whole.
P: We have talked about this last point in passing before [see p.27].
S: Yes. On the Earth's surface, there are three types of whole. The first type is our experience of a living whole. This applies to living bodies. These we experience immediately - inseparably in the case of our own, and at a distance in the case of other bodies.
The second type of whole is interacting activities that can be interpreted as an abstract, functional whole - that is, in which the whole is considered in our minds as something in itself, as something separate from everything that is interacting. These can be naturally occurring, such as basically the whole creation interpreted as Nature, or as galaxies, or as the universe, or as our sun-system, or as ecology, that is, the entire system of life on Earth. Or they can be interactions produced by living beings that constitute a society or a community. Or they can be the artificial technical units created by living beings - such as bee-hives, ant-hills and houses - that become functional when operated or used by living beings or, in the case of such units as computers, cars and so on, when driven by energy controlled by humans.
The third type of whole is our experience of a non-living, so-called objective, whole. This applies to naturally existing objects, which we experience at a distance - such as a stone, a mountain, a heavenly body, and so on.
In order to get rid of all the confusing traditional and modern identifications with some of the many different, inadequate impressions of wholes and parts, we have to reach a global agreement about the fact that the most adequate presentation of the relation between a whole and its parts that creation shows us - and one that can't be compared with other impressions - is that of created living bodies on the Earth's surface.
This presentation can't be compared with the others because only a whole living body represents - as we said before - an experience of a meaningful relation to its parts. In all other presentations, parts are active by themselves, whereas the wholes they are parts of are not. In those cases the whole represents just a passive totality, just a sum of parts.
These contradictory experiences of wholes and parts then give rise to the philosophical question: Is the whole active by itself? That means: Is the whole conscious, living? Or is it only the participants in creation that are active by themselves, that is, conscious, living? And if that is the case, Where does participation start? This in turn leads to the two questions: Where does life start? and Where does consciousness start?
P: And the traditions were divided throughout history as to whether they considered the whole active by itself or only the participants in creation?
S: Yes. My view is that it is senseless to discuss the original cause of the changeable creation without having the idea of and belief in a conscious, non-created, unchangeable whole. In this view, only the whole, non-created Being is conscious - that is, has the ability to experience and to be active out of itself. It is our experience that nothing in creation - neither some living, illusorily existent whole, nor the not-existent, non-permanent parts of such a whole - can represent in an original way this ability to experience and to be active out of itself. All we can do is have an immediate experience of that ability, which belongs to the Being. That ability is our origin: our same, unchangeable identity. We can't discover, find or reproduce it, that is, make it relative.
P: You mean that the whole can't be represented within creation?
S: That's right. In creation either we can see and experience a whole or we can see and experience its parts. But we can't do both at the same time. That's why we have to dissect or destroy the whole, or make the whole invisible in some other way, if we want to study its parts. That's why every tradition that uses only creation-based ideas of wholes and parts is forced to agree that neither a living being, nor the whole reality can be understood as a sum, a totality of its parts - that is, as not having the ability to experience, considered as the original quality behind both the invisible whole and the visible parts.
P: But don't you use a creation-based idea of the whole?
S: No. My hypothesis refers to the relation between the whole and its parts as they exist in a created living being - in contrast to a sum or totality of parts, as is found in created objects - but it is not based on any other similarity between created living beings and the non-created Being.
P: Yes, I see. And the situation in the Being then...?
S: We will have already understood the Being if we suppose it to be conscious like us. But to reach this mutual understanding - between God and us - it is necessary to see the whole and its parts as opposites, but not as exclusive opposites. That is, we should see them not as an either/or, but rather as inclusive and, because of the same need of consciousness, as likes - as stated in Genesis 1:27 ['So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him...'], though it is not said there in what way we and God are like. In my hypothesis it is evident that only the whole can experience and rule over the Being as his own. We as parts cannot. The problem with the traditions is that they separate the whole and its parts. [See also Chapter 3, pp.177-8.]
P: So they don't see them as inseparable as you do?
S: That's right. They make a confusing separation between the existence of the whole and the existence of the parts, seeing the whole as original and the parts as created. Instead of using philosophical reflection, they base their view on the relation between wholes and parts as this is experienced either transcendentally or in the visible 'concrete' reality.
P: So whereas your view is based on the absence of both the actual whole and the actual parts, their view is based on the absence of the whole and the presence of the parts?
S: Yes. Genesis makes the same mistake that all theology makes of separating them. No tradition talks about God and his parts or about gods and their parts. A conscious being is seen in every tradition as a whole without parts. This leads to the likeness between God and humans mentioned in Genesis by the serpent identified as Satan, for example, [see Genesis 3:5 'For God doth know that in the day ye eat therof [of the tree of knowledge of good and evil], then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil'] being interpreted as relating to God's and the parts' ability to create, to develop the possibility of controlling creation, seen as good and evil, instead of relating to its meaning.
P: And for pantheism the whole is their transcendent experience of creation interpreted as the original reality, which is experienced as pure activity?
S: And then it is self-evident, in the absence of a single God, that humans must be developable gods - in which case the development of knowledge is perfectly 'legal' and 'natural'. That's why it is prescribed, not prohibited, in pantheism.
Equality and likeness
P: And a relation between 'equals' is not what you mean by a relation between 'likes'?
S: No. 'Equal' is a mathematical word for likeness. Two sums can be equal. 'Like' has to go back, in my view, to our ability to experience, which is what distinguishes every living being from objects and spontaneously actualizes, therefore, the feeling of love - because our basic desire is to meet reasonable living beings and not just non-reasoning objects that can only be manipulated. What we experience makes for differences between us, but those differences do not have to spoil the feeling of likeness, and therefore of spontaneous love, as long as we belong to the same reality. To say we are 'equal' is to refer to what we own, to what we have experienced, of the same reality.
P: What if I maintain that basically we are all equal?
S: That says nothing. You have to say in what way we are basically equal or like and in what way we are different on the surface, that is, not basically.
P: And if I say, as humanists say, that we are all equal in that we are all members of the human race?
S: Socialists say the same. But none of what they say is distinct unless we agree about whether the responsibility of humans is 'righteousness' in relation to God's purpose with creation, or whether human responsibility is in relationship to a basic randomness or chance ruled by impersonal laws. In the latter case, humans need to be creators of meanings - in accordance with Protagoras' homomensura, 'Man is the measure of all things'. Then there is no natural responsibility. Humans are only made responsible by other humans, for the meanings that humans create.
P: So to say we are all equal because we are members of the human race is to leave open the whole issue of the meaning of life?
S: Yes. That's why, if tradition doesn't talk about God and the purpose of God's creation, and if people don't question tradition on this point, but choose instead to create meanings in the common 'meaningless' reality, it will be in vain that they ask the question: What is the meaning of my basically meaningless life?
P: So going back to the idea of the different types of wholes, what is your point?
S: A real whole, in my view, is represented only by a living body. This is the kind of whole that exhibits a distanceless, inseparable, purposeful relation between the whole and its parts. In the other types, the word 'whole' is inadequate, and is used in a confusing meaning transferred from the real meaning.
God - the only conscious, living whole
P: So your view is based on what we might call an organic whole?
S: Yes, where there is an inseparable relation between a whole and its parts - but not like our picture of a created living body transferred, with its details and organs, to the absolute whole.
P: So God doesn't have a head and a stomach and so on, and is certainly genderless?
S: That's right. He doesn't have our created bodily organs, so 'organic' is a little misleading. 'Living' or 'conscious' is better.
P: And your idea of whole you regard as more rational, since the original cause must be a living being?
S: Yes. God is the only conscious, living whole. We experience ourselves as conscious parts - that is, subjects - participating with a created body in an obviously created, purposeful interaction with other conscious parts that have living bodies and with objects that lack consciousness, that is, the ability to experience. If we don't have the idea of a given order created by a living whole, then our spontaneous belief will be that we are participating in the voluntary cooperation of a manifold - that is, in an abstract, cooperatively organized whole, a functional unit.
P: You say voluntary cooperation, because cooperation with God is not basically a choice?
S: That's right. It is an absolute necessity, but not an immediate, mechanical necessity. Rather it is a necessity that has consequences in time - just as our biological needs have consequences in time. The confusing thing about this basic necessity is that the consequences are collective, and can't be seen or followed in one individual life. We can continue, therefore, to educate our children to think that they are independent of all order, and dependent only on meaningless, mechanical laws and the temporary, changeable order of society. We can do this with any tradition until the collective negative consequences of a basically wrong choice become so obvious for that tradition that the participants in it change their minds and try to make another choice.
As I said before, if you choose not to breathe, you can do it for three minutes. If you choose not to drink, you can do it for three or four days; not to eat, one or two months; not to believe in God, ad infinitum - because the original living Being cannot die, either as a whole or in its parts. Something of this insight lies behind the German saying: 'Gottes Muehlen mahlen langsam aber sicher' ('God's mills grind slowly, but surely').
P: Why did you say a moment ago that if we don't have the idea of a given order, this other view will be our spontaneous belief?
S: Because the idea that we are participating in a voluntary cooperation is the only alternative to the idea of relating to a given order.
P: Yes, I see. So these five axioms underpin your view and suggest the kind of whole you are hypothesizing?
S: Yes. If we agree on these five basic axioms, and if we allow them to be valid - without allowing their opposites to be valid or also valid - then the question of the original cause is solved. Creation is then seen as meaningfully given, which means as self-evident, and is then self-explanatory as regards its cause and meaning.
P: I think that we have to constantly keep in mind that philosophy is concerned solely with the problem of the original cause, so that 'self-explanatory' here refers only to the original cause of creation and not to all the causality in creation - which is quite another issue...
S: ...for which we have memory-based thinking. The problem of the original cause has nothing to do with memory-based causality, because we can't explore any causality in the Being. Causality can be endlessly explored, because causality in creation can be endlessly explored - on the basis of different needs, or, in the case of human beings, also as an end in itself. The original cause - the single cause behind creation - requires only that we take the right stance in relation to the contradictions that creation presents us with. The original cause is self-explanatory and so does not require complicated intellectual work. The right stance in relation to the contradictions is always self-evident.
P: That means, we should allow only the axioms to be valid?
S: Yes. This only seems difficult if you have developed your thinking since childhood without regard for these axioms that are basic for all thinking, that is, if you have developed your thinking as an end in itself, with the aim of creating order - without regard for the order that is intended by the original cause.
So in my view, the whole has to exist as a non-created, original cause of the whole creation, which has to be regarded as a non-voluntary cooperation, through the illusion of distance, between the invisible whole and its invisible parts.
P: So we cannot avoid being involved in the cooperation itself, but whether it is satisfying or not depends on whether or not the parts have this, or some alternative, equally satisfying, hypothesis about the original cause?
The original cause is self-evident
S: Yes. The answer to the question of the original cause becomes self-evident if we let these axioms be true, instead of maintaining that their opposites are valid or also valid. It becomes evident too that not only the whole, but also its inseparable parts, must be inaccessible through creation. Practically, this means that the ego - interpreted as our ability to think - cannot help us to be more conscious about ourselves than we are before we start reflecting on, and then worrying about, our identity.
P: And the alternative view to this?
S: If reality is not traditionally regarded as self-evident, our experience of it leads spontaneously to a total identification with creation and our created, mortal body - which gives rise to a basic feeling of anxiety, instead of love. That's why the question of the original cause has to be separated from the question of causality in creation. Identification with creation and our created body makes philosophical understanding impossible, because we then take our situation in creation to be the original situation. Then, solely on the basis of our objective experience of our situation in creation, we try to understand the whole causality as objective knowledge - that is, we take the objects and subjects in creation as original causes, in place of the conception of the original conscious Being as the single original cause.
P: Would it be more precise to say that we regard the objects and subjects in creation as original causes, rather than, in the case of subjects in creation, their ability to experience - which has its origin in a part of the original Being - and in the case of the whole creation, God's ability to experience, which has its origin in the whole Being?
P: And if we try to understand the whole causality as creation-based, objective knowledge, and leave aside the philosophical question of the original cause, we are not doing what we as human beings are capable of and responsible for?
S: That's right. We are not then using philosophy proper. Then we are doing no more than the same objective brain-work that every living being with a brain does - though only humans can do it as an endless end in itself.
Human vs animal thinking
P: Could you say a bit more about what distinguishes human brain-work?
S: What distinguishes the brain-work of humans from that of other species is human language. This allows us at any time to remember, communicate and discuss our understanding of causality in creation. This means that we can experience this pluralistic, manifold-based causality not only, like other species, in a meaningful, memory-based way, but also in a language-based, theoretical, that is, 'abstract', way. This has the potential to lead us to regard it as not having any overall meaning.
P: So we could see it just as concrete, mechanical causality?
S: Yes. If we do that, we are ignoring the subjective meanings that determine all biological activities and which make them understandable as logical or illogical, that is, as purposeful or mistaken. This opens the way for the human notion of purely mechanical, scientific thinking - what we also call objective thinking - that relates only to mechanical causality seen as a separate function in itself, without a conscious background. This theoretical, language-based, abstract thinking is generally, but misguidedly, regarded as the human being's special, conscious way of thinking, and as being different from the brain-work of animals and from the way in which animals, purposefully guided by their biological background, can understand causality. It is also regarded as the developable human identity.
P: You mean that we identify with our thinking about mechanical causality and because we can endlessly develop that thinking, we regard ourselves as developable?
S: Yes, this identity is generally called, in psychology, the ego or the self. In pantheistic theories, it is called the self. There it is distinguished from the ego, which relates to our experience of the 'concrete' creation through our senses and to the kind of identification with it which is called egocentricity - whereas the self relates in addition to experience of the 'abstract' reality and is therefore regarded as a creative, developable 'divine spark'.
P: So you are saying that this type of thinking - what we call scientific or objective thinking - is not what really distinguishes humans from animals? Animals think like this, too, except that they do it without language?
S: That's right - so they don't have the possibility of doing it as an end in itself. Therefore they never think theoretically, only practically, in relation to subjects and objects in their surroundings. Their thinking is always determined basically by their undivided love for the whole creation and by the actions that they need to take to satisfy their existential needs.
P: By animals' 'undivided love for the whole creation', you mean their enjoyment of creation, independently of their satisfying their existential needs?
S: Yes. They love and defend their life even if they suffer physically. And life means for them everything they experience. They can't divide reality up as we do when we learn language. Without human language they can't be identified with their bodies separately from their experience of consciousness. And they can't have the idea of death either, and so they can't feel anxiety.
What is our identity?
P: But if we misguidedly consider that scientific thinking distinguishes humans, this has important consequences for who we think we are, what we think our identity is?
S: If we identify with scientific, theoretical thinking - that is, if we identify with the thinking that we use to investigate the mechanical causality in creation, regarding that investigation as an end in itself...
P: And 'regarding that investigation as an end in itself' is an important caveat. We can't avoid being interested in investigating the mechanical causality in creation?
S: Yes, no species can avoid investigating it as a condition for survival, that is, to satisfy their existential needs. But we can avoid developing this knowledge as an end in itself - by which I mean independently of our existential needs or without any other regard for whether it is purposeful or not. That is the big problem with the development of knowledge about creation without a prior general agreement about creation's purpose. If we are blind to creation's biological logic, to the creator's need behind creation, we can't avoid becoming interested in the investigation and control of all causality in creation as an end in itself - that is, without any regard for whether it works for the creative or for the destructive side of creation. This holds not only for our concrete experience of creation, but also for our experience of it on the transcendental level.
P: Are you referring here to the development of so-called supernatural powers and the distinction between what are called 'white magic' and 'black magic'?
S: Yes. And of course the hope is that, through all this investigation and control - either at the transcendental or at the 'concrete' level - the meaning of creation will be understood and it will be possible to make creation more enjoyable, more lovable.
Neither the 'concrete' nor the 'abstract', transcendental attempts to control the constructive and destructive sides of creation can, however, avoid having to face the question of creation's purpose. In my view, we have to face it directly from the beginning of our participation in creation, from the moment as children that we are taught to use human language, and we should explicitly regard it as not comparable with mechanical causality. We should consider it as biologically self-explanatory, and as only understandable philosophically, on the basis of our common knowledge of the whole creation. This knowledge every child has to develop. And we should remember that it is Nature's information about Nature's conditions, communicated by Nature to everyone in the same way.
If we don't face the question of creation's purpose directly, we have to face it indirectly as the question of ethics.
P: ...because we can't avoid having to live together and therefore coordinating our different purposes in the light of some set of conditions or other?
S: Yes. But generally ethics is not discussed in the light of the conditions for cooperation established by Nature. It is discussed only from the point of view of the rules that humans must of necessity, if they are not orientated to Nature's conditions, establish: commandments, moral rules or other stipulations of social behaviour - which are changeable because they are created by humans. These run alongside the efforts of individuals to develop themselves, achieve their own purposes. So the major rule is generally to do not only what is good for oneself, but also what is good for everybody. But that still leaves unsolved the question 'What is good for everybody?'
P: But we began this by talking about the consequences of identifying with scientific, theoretical thinking.
S: Yes. If we identify with the mechanical causality in creation, this leads, through the human activity of dissecting and changing everything, to an identification with the impression of the absolute changeability of creation, and with human creativity: the ability to dissect and construct. The identification with changeability leads to an identification with time, which is then seen as two infinite, absent, never-present realities: history, the past, with its realized, defined, rememberable, unchangeable shape, and the future, which is non-realized, unknown, mystical and changeable. And while this future is fascinating for those who are identified with changeability and the ability to change, it is equally frightening.
P: And this idea of human creativity gives the illusory feeling of freedom that humans can have?
S: Yes, it gives the illusion of the human free will to change. But this contradicts the common, self-evident knowledge that Nature gives us of the whole ever-present reality and of our belonging absolutely to it. We can temporarily change many things on the surface if we need to - as animals do, too - but we can't change reality. But because we are identified with and fascinated by our ability to change and create, we want to change and create more and more. But everything we change and create we have to produce, reproduce and maintain by ourselves. Nature provides only the material and the energy for it. Nature would never take over from us and do it instead of us, nor would Nature ever support what we do. Nature only works against and destroys everything that we or other species create. That's why identification with changing as an end in itself always has unforeseen consequences: we can't learn to control the whole reality, because the original creativity and causality based on God's need and on the original, unchangeable Being is not comparable with the creativity and causality revealed by the transcendent and 'concrete' creation.
P: And, to reiterate, in your view, our identity is not the ego or the self, but our consciousness?
S: Yes. By that I mean our basic ability to experience, which is our primary ability. It gives us consciousness of our body and, through the senses, our active relation to the whole, ever-present reality.
P: What is the ego or self, then, in your terms?
S: The ego or self - as I interpret them - are only other names for what we generally call the 'soul' or the 'psyche'. The ego or self is built up on every living being's experience- and memory-based mental work - what we call reflection or thinking. It is the result of such mental work. It's what we need in order to be able to develop behaviour patterns, which we - and every other species, too - need in order to satisfy all our needs. The needs work as values. In humans the needs can also be evaluated, discussed and compared using language, and can become personal, individual values when they are associated with arbitrary predilections. It is these need-based values - which are an enormously complicated mixture of natural and artificial needs - that provide the logic to all our thinking and activity.
P: So in your view, animals must also have an ego or self?
S: They have to develop similar behaviour patterns through meaningful reflections, but they can't reflect on the fact that they have such behaviour patterns. So they don't have a problem with their 'soul'! And we would have less of a problem with our 'soul', our 'ego', if we thought about it as behaviour patterns with values and evaluations behind it - that is, as only a practical problem, and not an unsolvable theoretical problem of identity.
The 'soul' or 'psyche' or 'ego' or 'self' enables each living being to understand mechanical and biological cause and effect, and thereby to undertake all the purposeful activities that are needed in order to manage life in creation satisfactorily. For human beings, 'satisfactorily' also includes satisfying the need to understand and agree about the original cause of creation as being self-evident - and as therefore able to be understood by everyone in the same way - behind the illusory objective and subjective causes in creation.
P: Because the need of human beings for love can't be satisfied without this understanding?
Subjective and objective needs
S: Yes. Without a satisfactory understanding and agreement about the whole causality - in contrast to the development of knowledge of every causality - humans can't get rid of the basic anxiety they create for each other by confused language. This confused language is caused by our ignoring the question of meaning - that is, the subjective side of every causality - and by concentrating instead on the objective side.
The understanding of the invisible original cause as self-evident - that is, as based on these axioms or self-evident statements - requires the same Nature-organized, experience- and memory-based brain-work that the satisfaction of the other needs requires. No mystical or mathematical thinking is necessary, just special care for the nature and original purpose of human language - that is, an agreement as to whether it is everything-covering for the purpose of covering the whole causality, or for the purpose of covering only human creativity. And we should use language as it is intended by Nature that we should use it - that is, covering, for whatever purpose, in a transparent way - and not as it has been used in history, in an unclear, mystical, manipulative, authoritarian way.
P: Are you referring to the use of words that are not understandable by people on the basis of their own experience and reflection?
S: Yes, basic words with their opposites - such as something and nothing, life and death, concrete and abstract - and especially the opposite, but not contradictory, words, whole and parts, which, when used separately, lead to the basic confusion: the idea that participants are outsiders in creation.
So we should not use language in this way. Nor should we use it as an end in itself. That is what happened when the idea of objective thinking displaced the old, authoritarian explanations, which science regarded as mystical or subjective. The result is that today there is a global competition amongst individuals to 'cover themselves', present themselves, their own different, unique reality - which is the alternative to using language to cover our impression of the ever-present reality. People queue up, for example, to present their own reality on the Internet - instead of using the Internet as a means to achieve a global agreement about the meaning of creation. This latest and most efficient technological possibility for doing that, which has been misused along with radio and TV, has enormously speeded up the process whereby people can present themselves, their different knowledge and creativity. People have become fascinated by these possibilities and so find the idea of reaching an agreement about the ever-present, whole reality less and less interesting.
P: So philosophical reflection or thinking - summarizing your view - is concerned with the need and purpose of the invisible, but self-evident, original cause of creation, and is unique to humans; other thinking is concerned with understanding causality in creation, and is shared by humans and other living beings?
S: Yes. I think that this was how philosophy was originally defined. But, misguided by language-based ideas, or perhaps in order to effectively hinder a total identification with just objective causality [see Chapter 5, p.224], philosophy has come to be used on the basis of the language-based word 'I' or 'ego' or 'self' as human identity and on the basis of history - that is, time, tradition - instead of on the basis of our original identity, our ability to experience, and on the basis of our original experience of the whole, ever-present creation. The ego, interpreted in this way, sees itself, including its own body, as an outsider in creation, and so from this position it wants to control causality as an end in itself, without any interest in the purpose of the whole creation - creation in this view being seen basically as disorder, chaos. But the desire for control means 'mechanical control by power', and we can never use this control in relation to the universe...
P: Why not in relation to the universe?
S: Because we can never get to the original cause of the whole universe, to which our own planet also belongs.
P: And we can't even get to the origin of the planet we are on?
S: Yes, or even to the original cause of any object on the surface of our planet.
P: What about the Big Bang?
S: If this theory is right, then the event of the Big Bang is one relative cause of the universe, but not the original cause, because we still have to ask how reality was before the Big Bang.
P: So we can't use control in relation to the whole universe...
S: ...and we can't use control on the Earth's surface in relation to living beings. We can only have the illusion of it. Our basic need in relation to living beings is to be understood, and we can't bring that about by power. Not even God can. For the non-created parts of the whole, understanding requires distance. God can understand his parts without distance. So the lack of distance in the original reality gives rise to God's need, if he is to satisfy his need to be understood, to create creation, where an enjoyable common life and the experience of distance are possible for the parts, so that both we and he can be understood - because his parts can't understand either each other or the whole in the same immediate way that the whole can understand its parts. To both understand and be understood is real understanding, and this is a precondition for love to be experienced satisfactorily. God understands us, but we can't even have an idea about either God or the parts without creation. So God must give us first the idea that he and the parts exist. And that he does by creation. But he can't give through creation the same unified meeting between himself and his parts that he can give the parts between each other through the units of the created body.
Distance and light are required to give the parts an idea of the existence of the parts and the whole. God's technical problem with creation is how to give us this idea, how to give us the possibility of understanding that he is behind his activity, the whole creation. Through creation all God can do is have the parts meet each other - through the experience of a created body. That much he can force. But he can't force in a similar way a meeting between the parts and the whole, because that is the original, distanceless meeting, in the Being.
P: But he can't force us to understand that we don't actually meet each other directly, but only indirectly, through our created bodies? In other words, God wouldn't try to be authoritarian. He realises that he can't force us to understand that we are not the formally different parts that in creation we experience ourselves to be?
S: That's right, and it is only when we stop being dazzled in our thinking by these absolute, formal, bodily differences and start viewing ourselves as absolute likes, in the way I have been suggesting throughout these dialogues, that we have the necessary precondition - through the same ability to experience - for permanent understanding of the whole ever-present reality and for loving it as an undivided, inseparable whole. We must then come to an agreement through language that the creator has the same need - to be understood as like - behind his creation, so that we can start to check and understand creation in consciousness of his purpose - instead of trying to control creation and instead of, on the basis of the confused idea that we have the same ability to create that God has, trying to force creation to comply with and produce our own pluralistic purposes.
P: This confusion about who can create what - to put it simply - seems to me to have been central to our discussions.
S: Yes. The idea that human creativity is comparable with Nature's creativity is, directly or indirectly, basic to all traditions. It is directly basic to pantheism, which has neither the idea of an unchangeable original reality, nor the idea of one single God with whom to compare the creativity of human 'gods'.
It is indirectly basic to theology. Theology has the idea of an unchangeable original reality as part of its conception of one God, but God is seen as a part, and not as a whole with parts. This leads to the reflection - even if it is unspoken - that God is a part of 'something', that he must have his own reality before creation; or that behind God there is nothing, only empty space. Logically - although, again, this is not explicitly expressed - God has therefore to create the world - Heaven and Earth - and parts, partners, and has to place the parts as participants in his creation: in Heaven, or on the surface of the 'concrete' Earth in a heavenly garden of Eden. Against this background, the identification with knowledge and creativity, and the attempt in this way to be like God, is declared in theology as criminal - though again not explicitly.
P: You are referring again to the story of Eve and the serpent?
S: Yes. But nothing is said as to why it is criminal. The prohibition confirms - though, yet again, this is not explicitly expressed - the idea of the likeness of these two, in my view definitively incomparable, abilities: God's creativity and human creativity.
P: In other words, human creativity mimicking God's creativity would not be prohibited unless it was regarded as possible?
S: Yes. The confusing idea of likeness as creators makes us blind to the real likeness, which lies in the first and basic ability of humans, of all living beings and of God: the ability to experience, receive, take in. This comes before the second ability: the differing ability of every living being, including God, to act meaningfully in accordance with what they experience. The ability to receive is the real likeness, our common identity, because it is recognizable as the same, and is independent of everything that we experience and of all our reactions to what we experience.
The confusing idea of our identity as our ability to create - based on an identification with our creation-based knowledge and our creation-based creativity - is globally entrenched in every tradition and has been reinforced by the four hundred years old tradition of modern science. Because of this, we must - at the same time as coming to an agreement about the creator's purpose - come via language to a global agreement that our ability to create can't be compared with Nature's original, subjective creativity based on God's, the creator's, need to be understood by the parts of his existence.
These two agreements would solve the problem of ethics in a natural way, by creating the insight that all individual life is at the same time a common life in the same reality. It would also actualize our natural, common, original responsibility - what is called 'conscience' - in our common relation to the whole Nature. This would temporarily run alongside, until it gradually replaced, our traditional responsibility - which is also referred to as 'conscience'. But this latter 'conscience' is blind to the original meaning of creation. It involves instead - as a necessary substitute - our creating and following moral rules and other human-made commandments and prohibitions. And the transgressors of these have to be criminalized and punished, in order to avoid the negative consequences of this confused use of human creativity.