Sunday, June 8, 2014

Notes on Fiction, Possibility, Love, and Truth

For the past several months, I've been keeping a philosophical journal on my computer. In it, I reflect on intellectual problems that have been troubling me and, through that reflection, try to find a solution to them. However, though many great insights come out of that process, I end up forgetting about them as the months go by. In fact, it was just today that I decided to revisit some of my old entries, and I couldn't have been more surprised--they were full to the brim with tremendous connections and probing insights. I eventually came to the conclusion that these connections were too powerful to keep to myself, and so I made this post as a combination of some of my favorites.

What follows is written aphoristically (like two other posts on this blog, the most recent being my worldview). I acknowledge that this post may be hard to understand--not due of my language but because of the abstractness of my ideas. However, I echo Wittgenstein when I say that this post will have acheived its purpose if there is one person to whom it offers insight, pleasure, or peace.
  1. What is fiction, really? It is unreal, but it lets the light of reality shine through in a curious way.
  2. What is this way? How does fiction refract the light of being?
  3. Fiction displays unmanifest possibilities--this much is unambiguous
  4. Unmanifest possibilities are always striving toward the light of actuality. They want to be real.
  5. The world is pregnant, always giving birth to possibilities.
  6. Fiction creates a fact [i.e. a grouping of possibilities in our perception]; it sees in connection those things that appear separate.
  7. Fiction imposes itself upon the world. From the moment they take on a ghostly form in our imagination, fictions will creep in until they are supplanted.
  8. Connection is akin to copulation. It results in the reproduction of these possibilities together to create a synthesis.
  9. The poles of the connection strive toward each other. They lust for each other.
  10. Consciousness is the only place where they can satisfy their lust. We are the meeting ground of possibility.
  11. We are the boundary between actuality and possibility. 
  12. If we take possibility and fiction to be the same thing, then because all actions are possible before they are actual, all reality comes from fiction.
  13. This, perhaps, is the meaning of the doctrine of pre-existence.
  14. What evidence is there for the existence of possibility? Could there not just be an actual world, after all?
  15. The metaphysics of possibility is merely a way of saying that there are different "here"s. In order for a possibility to become actual, two "here"s must connect.
  16. When Swedenborg says that truth "clothes" love, he means that every "here" becomes manifest as a "there". "Here"s reveal themselves as "there"s through truths [i.e. a perceived state of affairs; a fact].
  17. Every truth conceals a disguised "here". Thus, truth is a means of connection.
  18. In other words, truth is the means of love, for love and connection are the same thing (as in Swedenborg).
  19. Love seeks to separate itself from itself (through truths) so that it can connect with itself in actuality.
  20. Truth distinguishes a set of loves from itself. Without sufficient truth, we perceive only a single mass.
  21. Truth reveals "there"s, and through them, "here"s
  22. Truth separates seemingly identical "here"s  and allows us to see and connect with them as "there"s.
  23. In other words, truth lets us grow in distinctness.
  24. Swedenborg says that usefulness [his term for "action" as a metaphysical phenomenon] combines love and wisdom together, but what does this mean?
  25. If I am right, usefulness connects things that are already distinct.
  26. Usefulness is the act of participating in a fact as if it were you.
  27. Reading a book, bearing a testimony, being in a relationship with another person, etc. are all ways of behaving as if the corresponding states of affairs were part of your identity or being.
  28. When we believe in a truth, we let the corresponding love become manifest--we are a midwife to it.
  29. This is why faith is the root of all action: all actions come through beliefs. But they do not originate there.
  30. Actions originate in loves.
  31. Everything is ultimately a form of love. Love strives toward reality through truths.
  32. Love is possibility and connection as it exists in itself.
  33. Fiction is merely the attempt of various loves to strive toward the light of usefulness.
  34. When we have faith in the reality of something, we let the corresponding love use us to bring it about.
  35. Love (i.e. connection and possibility) seeks out truths (or perceived "there"s) in order to connect to itself more fully. It wishes to become embodied in distinct multiplicity so that it can become more substantial in its connection. In other words, it wishes to become embodied.
  36. Reality is moving through ever-increasing degrees of connection and embodied possibility. The evolution of mankind's consciousness was such a huge step, as was writing, the printed book, and (most recently) the Internet. 
  37. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin alludes to with his concept of the Omega Point, unmanifest possibility and connection are working toward their biggest breakthrough yet: what we call the Second Coming.
  38. This ultimate incarnation of possibility and connection will let us see past the boundaries of past and future. It will join the living and the dead as one body. It will reveal everything that ever was, is, will be, or might have been as a single, intricately connected whole (see D&C 84:100-101 and 130:6-9 for scriptural support of these ideas).
  39. This does not mean that time will end. Time will continue, but we will see all of its moments pervading each other.
  40. Though the Second Coming will happen collectively, I see no reason why an individual can't experience this breakthrough of possibility on his or her own (this is perhaps what we mean by those who are taken up into Heaven without dying).
  41.  We can experience this now, even if only in miniature. All we have to do is practice faith, hope, and charity. These three virtues let us perceive unmanifest possibilities and bring them into our experience of the world (reference Moroni 7:25's declaration that we can lay hold upon every good thing through faith).
  42. By having faith in the unknown, trusting in the future, and doing good to those whose minds are hidden from us, we can issue forth into our world connections and possibilities that would remain hidden otherwise.
  43. By acting as if reality's unknown parts were a part of our world, we make that belief true. This is what faith, hope, and charity have in common--they stretch our souls beyond where we can now see.

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