The Dungeon of Unredeemed Literality
Space is neither true not false; rather, it is that which facilitates both truth and falsehood. Space gets to be space by virtue of its profound indifference to such questions, in other words. Space facilitates all possibilities, and yet it is completely unbiased with regard to these possibilities. How could space be space and yet be biased? Space isn’t biased — it doesn’t care one way or another and that is what makes it space. Space is pure non-bias ; it is the state of perfect symmetry — there is no loading one way or the other. No one possibility is any more likely than any other one.
Due to our unhealthy proclivity to rationalise everything we don’t actually pay any attention to space at all, we don’t see it as ‘a real thing’. Forms or structures we see as being real and significant whilst the space that these structures exist within doesn’t hold the slightest bit of interest to us — it doesn’t seem to figure at all. This is how the rational faculty works of course, by ‘turning a blind eye to the field so that the figure is granted prominence’. Thought is one-sided, as Jung says — it doesn’t look both ways. It can’t look both ways.
If thought could look both ways then we would have nothing to think about! If thought could pay attention to both <figure> and <ground> then there simply wouldn’t be any ground and that — needless to say — would be rather upsetting for us. What are we supposed to do if there are no positive figures (or ‘stand-out objects’) to orientate ourselves towards? So here we all are, saying that form or structure is the only important thing, the only thing worthy of our attention, the only thing worth concerning ourselves with, whilst the uncomfortable reality of the situation is that the figure we are obsessing over has been created by our own deliberate-but-unacknowledged ignorance!
We celebrate form as if it were the primary reality whilst the Primary Reality itself (Richard the Lionheart as opposed to the Sheriff of Nottingham) becomes something that never even gets mentioned. The ugly vain-glorious sisters are celebrated day and night whilst the virtuous and uncomplaining Cinderella is kept in the background to do all the hard work (without of course any appreciation at all). Such is the thinking mind’s prejudice against space, which is the only thing there is — everything else being mere shadow-play. What’s real we obstinately ignore and what isn’t real we unceasingly obsess over…
If we were to try to say what truth is (or what the word even means) we could start off by observing that nothing in the phenomenal world is true (in any ‘stand-alone’ sense) since there is no such thing as structure or form without the entropy debt that the structure in question has to run up in order to exist. ‘The price of structure is entropy’, says Ilya Prigogine. This being so, we cannot make the claim that the world which we can measure with our instruments (or detect with our senses / know with our conceptual mind) is true; we can’t say that our measurements give us a direct line to reality when it is the case that some ‘covert interference’ has taken place in the background, some kind of interference that we cannot know about. This means that it is a trick or gimmick that we’re talking about rather than ‘a manifestation of truth’; in Eastern terms, we can say that the tangible measurable world is a manifestation of cosmic play (Lila) rather than being ‘an actual real thing’.
The idea that structure can have some sort of actual existence of its own is thus hopelessly naive — the positive (or defined) reality (the reality which has tangible, demonstrable characteristics) is a function of our way of looking at things since if we fully investigated any element of the phenomenal world we would inevitably discover that this so called element is actually ‘the Whole Shebang’ in disguise. We will see ‘a World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower’, as William Blake says. We might like to label William Blake as a mystic or a visionary but what he was talking about — in more modern terms — is of course the Holographic Model, which has become quite respectable in recent years. Understanding things this way neatly inverts our regular way of looking at what is true and what is untrue — normally we would say that something can only be true if it can be proven to be so. ‘Prove it’, we say, and if proof is not forthcoming then that’s the end of the matter — case dismissed! This is the rational mind at its finest — hard at work explaining reality away!
When we look at things the other way (if we’re interested enough to do so) we find that the mental landscape is unrecognisable — in this world (the Holographic World) what can be proved or logically demonstrated is unreal (or ultimately nothing more than play) whilst if there is no way of measuring or detecting something, this shows that it is — beyond all doubt — true, the genuine article, the real deal, etc. This of course sounds totally stupid to us, which is always the case when our paradigm gets inverted. It sounds totally stupid but that’s the way it is with the holographic model — any proof that we obtained with respect to whether something is true or not true always involves comparing one thing with another (we compare the phenomenon under investigation with some kind of formal yardstick, we subject it to a standardized evaluative procedure) and this apparently straightforward premise (the premise that there can be ‘two things to compare with each other’ in this way) doesn’t hold good in the Holographic Universe! It doesn’t hold good at all…
If ‘all there is’ is the One Thing (or Unus Mundus) spoken of by the ancient alchemical philosophers then what can possibly be gained as a result of comparing the One Thing with itself, even if that could be done (which it can’t since there’s only the one thing there not two). If it were possible to find two things to compare with each other (in order to ascertain the truth or otherwise of some proposition) then these would necessarily be two unreal things and so what could possibly be learned as a result of such of operation? And yet clearly this is what we do all the time — every time we perform a mental operation (which is to say, every time we think). So, whilst we very clearly don’t go around the whole time trying to determine questions of ‘ultimate philosophical truth’, we are nevertheless making sense of the world by thinking, and this is the very same thing. We are comparing one thing with another, we are comparing the world with our standards or frameworks. Without checking one thing with another there is no thought, and yet any act of comparison is always going to be ‘an unreal operation’.
We love having proof of things (or a consensus on things) but all this does is consign us to the dungeon of unredeemed literality, which is a kind of a ‘black hole for consciousness’, a black hole we can never see out of. What we’re looking at here are two very different types of truths, therefore. One is technical truth, which is the truth we arrive at by logical or technical procedures, whilst the other is what we might call philosophical truth, which is not arrived at by procedural means. We could also say that philosophical truth isn’t something that can be arrived at by any means, since it never can be nailed down. We need technical truth in this world because it acts as a guide, but at the same time as acting a s a guide it traps us (or at least, it will do if that is the only type of truth we have). Ultimately, all technical truth is redundant, and it is the seeing of this that frees us from the aforementioned ‘dungeon of literality’. Why technical truth is redundant is easy to explain: inasmuch as all technical truth is the result of measurement then the picture we obtained as a result can only ever be a reflection of the standards (or framework or instruments) that we take for granted in the course of our investigation. It’s impossible to measure anything without taking our means of measurement for granted, after all! We can measure a length of timber with a tape measure for sure but we can’t work backwards to question the validity of the tape measure by using the length of timber. This means that all our knowing is redundant, therefore. As we said earlier, what we can show to be true, or prove to be true, cannot be true!
Regarding philosophical truth therefore, whilst we can say that ‘it is true because it stands alone’ or ‘because it exists independently of us’ (which is to say, because it is not our own construct) at the same time this essential independence means that it has no relevance to us (or no relevance to our chosen viewpoint) and thus must always be unknown and unknowable to us. Or it might be better just to say that space is the Primary Reality, the Mother of All, but that space, as we started off by saying at the beginning of this conversation, is itself ‘neither true nor false’…