Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)

Block-Universe Determinism vs. Causal-Chain Determinism


Armchair causal-chain determinism vs. timeless mystic determinism.. 1

Causal-chain vs. block-universe determinism.. 3

Against causal-chain determinism.. 5

Wikipedia entries about types of Determinism.. 7

Determinism vs. timeless, pre-set, frozen-future fatedness. 8

Definitions of 'Determinism' 9

Horizontal chain of causality vs. vertical chain of causality. 9

Bad science, bad religion, and bad philosophy. 10


Armchair causal-chain determinism vs. timeless mystic determinism

There are 3 frameworks serving as conceptual filters one could look through; modes of thinking, or interpretive frameworks:

o  The freewillist mode of thinking

o  Timeless block-universe mystic-experiencing determinism (vertical determinism; crystalline causal interlocking)


o  The causal-chain ordinary-state determinist mode of thinking (armchair determinism; horizontal in-time determinism; domino-chain determinism).  Like Reformed theologian-moralists, this is freewillist thinking with a lump or layer of determinism barely affixed, hanging off the side like an afterthought.

The causal-chain determinist view is a fleeting modern half-baked version of determinism and not of great interest.  Most interesting is contrasting the freewillist conceptual framework with the mystic-determinist conceptual framework.

When understood from the armchair speculative philosophical determinist mindset that retains a freewillist core,  the *concept* of egodeath remains an illusion that remains actively in force throughout almost the entirety of one's thinking; the conceptual understanding of egodeath is woven from ordinary-state ratiocination that still incorporates the present egoic-styled mental dynamics the thinker is accustomed to, including the sense-feeling of time's passage, and the sense-feeling of being a power-wielding personal agent.

These accustomed feelings prevent clear and complete thinking about the nature of time, self, control, and will, resulting in a thin, emaciated version of determinism that, for example, is unable to recognize that the higher or inner layer of world religion is centrally concerned with and concerned about determinism.

When experiencing of mystic determinism and ego death is lacking, neither can the purely or merely conceptual understanding of determinism flourish to full development; without maximizing the experience of determinism, the conceptual or book knowledge of determinism is also stunted, remaining below the critical threshold for realization; and likewise, without maximizing the conceptual or book knowledge of determinism, the actual experience of determinism is stunted, remaining below the critical threshold required for mystic climax, crisis, rebirth, and lasting ascension.

When everyone these days talks about visionary plants as not providing "lasting" enlightenment, that indicates that they don't realize initiation has always been a series of initiations, with only the final couple initiations producing a lasting enlightenment -- escaping the round of rebirth into vulgar bodily incarnation, meaning egoic thinking, with the delusion of freewill control agency.  In Catholic terms, one is still in purgatory, not yet having burned away all one's mortal sins. 

What is the metaphorical expression of "This repeated method hasn't provided lasting enlightenment" in Protestant terms?  Protestantism is relatively mysticism-challenged, despite Boehme; where is their series of initiations leading finally to perseverance of the saints?  Protestantism has regeneration but I don't see a *series* of initiatory purifications there, offhand.  There isn't much myth available in mainstream Protestantism, so initiation has become oversimplified into an unachievable and unrealistic "all at once" regeneration.

Full regeneration does happen all at once, but only after a series of partial, temporary glimpses of the higher interpretive framework (mental worldmodel of time, self, control, and will).  When did the clueless, mystically challenged modern era begin?  At the Reformation, when the surface mythic metaphorical symbols of the initiation path were smashed and discarded, leaving only the canon of scriptures.  So the question "Where is the series of initiations in Protestantism" becomes, "Where is the series of initiations in the Protestant scriptural canon?"

Where does the Bible reveal a series of initiations?  Catholicism had to import such a series, Purgatory, from outside the canon.  As valuable as scripture-only systematic theology is, it is inadequate to convey a series of initiations, which is part of the reason why modernity -- the age of Protestantism -- has been mysticism-challenged.  We do have, in the canon, Paul's ascension to halfway up the Hermetic/Gnostic or Jacob ladder, meeting Jesus who came halfway down from heaven to meet him and pull him up outside the deterministic cosmos. 

There is some hierarchy in the New Testament, but it is too muted to be ergonomic.  Restriction to the scriptural canon of Bible-only has just not been ergonomic enough to support mystic discovery -- the Bible isn't that *effective*, when the psychoactive sacraments are hard to recognize and discover as it is.

Armchair determinists wish to divide the world into Determinists vs. Religionists, but the mystic determinists (full-range experience-based determinists) know that the key division is between lower philosophers and lower religionists on the one hand, both with the bulk of their thinking being the freewillist conceptual framework, and higher philosophers and higher religionists -- perhaps "higher philosopher-religionists" -- on the other hand, with the bulk of their thinking modified in some deep and thorough sense, able to use both modes, both conceptual frameworks: the freewillist style of thinking and the no-free-willist (or determinist) system of thinking.

Einstein leaves Newton 99% intact and yet at the same time, profoundly shifts and modifies the entire Newtonian framework.  Similarly, experience-based determinism leaves one's freewillist thinking 99% intact in some sense, and yet at the same time, profoundly shifts and modifies the entire Newtonian framework -- whereas armchair determinism, typified by speculative causal-chain determinism, never really profoundly integrates into and deeply changes one's thinking.

Armchair determinists are like Lorentz: they calculate the equation of determinism and follow out some of its implications, perhaps even a somewhat large quantity of theoretical implications, but don't rise above the threshold where all concepts can be simply reconfigured and recognized in perennial myth-religion and pre-modern Philosophy, which was based on speculation about experience from the mystic state as well as from the ordinary state (characterized by tight binding of cognitive associations).  Mystic determinists, in contrast, cross that threshold.

http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Special_relativity.html -- "Despite Lorentz's caution the special theory of relativity was quickly accepted. In 1912 Lorentz and Einstein were jointly proposed for a Nobel prize for their work on special relativity. The recommendation is by Wien, the 1911 winner, and states "While Lorentz must be considered as the first to have found the mathematical content of the relativity principle, Einstein succeeded in reducing it to a simple principle."

The armchair determinist can discover some logically implicit implication of a kind of ego death or something almost tantamount to an ego death concept and theory, as when pointing out that technically no one is metaphysically a responsible agent. 

But such a conceptualization of ego death remains an abstract, theoretical, calculated concept which pictures a remote underlying determinism that lies completely outside the realm of direct conscious experiencing, and certainly outside the realm of the feeling of controllership; the armchair determinist calculates and hypothetically constructs a model of some determinist ramifications for personal agency, but does not experience and can hardly imagine experiencing determinism.

The *experience* of ego death is actively, intensely, and deeply destructive or self-destructive of deluded misconceptions about time, control, self, agency, and will; it is not an experience that was intended; more like accidentally and fatally seeing something one didn't want to, while poking around looking for increased personal power. 

The experience of ego death comes as a complete surprise to the egoic conceptual framework, and is based outside egoic conceptual framework, which is based on familiar, armchair, accustomed and limited range of experiencing, based strictly in the mode of cognition characterized by tight associative binding.

The timeless frozen iron-block universe model of space, time, control, agency, self, and will has all the capabilities the armchair determinist can manage to pull together in forming a theoretical conceptual model of determinism and ego death. 

But in addition, the mystic state suspends the sense-feeling of free will and of the passage of time, and thus actively and deeply contributes to the revision of the egoic mental worldmodel, producing the transcendent mental worldmodel that considers time to be viewable as moving or as frozen, and personal agency power as powerful or impotent and empty. 

Because the breadth of experience is greatly increased, including many aspects of experiencing that are relevant to no-free-will, such a mind is able to more quickly, easily, and ergonomically construct a full and robust and sturdy theory of determinism -- not limited to the speculation that one time-slice state mechanically causes the next, but perhaps rather all spacetime points are timelessly interlocked in all spacetime directions. 

And because the theoretical model of determinism can thereby be assembled and fleshed out so quickly and thoroughly, *experience* of determinism is thereby assisted and brought to a full realization more quickly and repeatably than those spiritualists who err in the direction of disparaging theoretical knowledge all in favor of restricting one's mind to mystic experience. 

A major part of forming an ergonomic system of fully realizing determinism is to surpass a threshold: you must rise above a critical threshold quickly in the area of theoretical mental model-construction *and* rise above a critical threshold quickly in the area of mystic-state (loose cognitive association binding) experiencing; when the critical threshold is crossed on both fronts, then significant progress can be made quickly and easily, ergonomically.

Causal-chain vs. block-universe determinism

Ancient hiemarmene/Necessity/Fate isn't based on the assumption of causal-chain determinism, but rather, on timeless, pre-existing future, frozen block-universe determinism.  There are two different models of determinism; block-universe determinism doesn't rely on the hypothesis of an earlier state "causing" a later state. 

Instead of that in-time, along-time idea of causality, ancients put the emphasis on vertical timeless causality: the One, Ground of Being, or God, is the cause of all, and is "first cause" in a vertical, timeless sense.  The One causes and creates all events at all points in time, from a place outside or beyond or above time. 

The Creation didn't happen a long time ago -- the absent watchmaker model of domino-chain determinism (causal-chain determinism).  Instead, the Creation happens at all times, timelessly.  All events at all times were (and are and will be) created all at once.

Causal-chain determinism has been dominant in the modern era, which is ignorant of religious experiencing.  Thinkers influenced by religious experiencing hardly think of causal-chain determinism, which rests on abstract speculation and on the sense of time experienced in the ordinary state of consciousness.

Causal-chain determinism is based on the lower, mundane, inexperienced, and unenlightened way of thinking about time, and experience of time.

Block-universe determinism is based on the higher, transcendent, mystically experienced, and enlightened way of thinking about time, and experience of time.

The model and idea of determinism one has before the mystic state and enlightenment is the egoic, unenlightened model, which is causal-chain determinism; afterwards, the emphasis is placed instead on block-universe determinism. 

Not only is there a strong tendency to switch from freewillist thinking to no-free-will thinking upon experiencing time in the intense mystic altered state, there is also a tendency to switch from the in-time, causal-chain model of determinism to the timeless block-universe model of determinism with vertical rather than horizontal causality.

This change in thinking about determinism is due to moving from the lower experience of time as flow, to the higher, mystic experience of time as timelessly created and caused at each moment from above, below, inside, or outside, rather than being caused by the previous time-slice. 

Rather than experiencing one time-slice causing the next (horizontal ordinary-state experience of causality), the mind in the mystic state experiences each time-slice as independent of the others, each one being caused vertically by the hidden Creator, with the entire set of time-slices being created harmoniously all at once, timelessly.

Book list: Tenseless time, eternity, and timelessness



Michael wrote:

>>>Nietzsche's view of freedom might be close to my model of timelessly frozen, pre-existing future, block-universe determinism, especially if one emphasizes

a positive transcendent freedom in addition to metaphysical unfreedom.  He seems to loathe the hypothesis of causal-chain determinism as much as I do, in

addition to rejecting the hypothesis of metaphysical freedom that underlies responsible moral agency.

>>I want to understand your idea of block-universe determinism as opposed to causal-chain determinism. 

>>Are you saying that everything has already happened? 

Future events are like remote places: future events exist as much as past events exists, without needing to refer to any particular "now".  A far location exists, even though it is far relative to here.  Events in the past and future exist, though they don't exist now at this point in time.  The problem with the word 'already' is that it is customarily taken to imply a tensed model of time, whereas when I say "the future timelessly already exists", I am postulating a tenseless model of time.




General Introduction: The Implications of the Tensed and Tenseless Theories of Time -- QUENTIN SMITH

>>Why do you think that everything has already happened?

Because that is what mystics report as an experience in the mystic state of consciousness, and because the timeless frozen block-universe model is simple and elegant.

>>If time is an illusion then what does "already" mean? 

A word has a meaning only within a network of other words, forming a network of words with meanings.  To say the future already exists means that the future is as existent and as established and as single as the past.  There is not one past and multiple futures; there exists a single past and a single future. 

To our present knowledge, there are multiple so-called "possible" futures, but in reality, there is only a single possible or actual future, the one that was timelessly created as part of the set of all time-slices.  The set of all time-slices is created all at the same timeless time, the moment of creation, which did not happen a long time ago in linear flowing time, but rather, happened and happens eternally, from a dimension perpendicular to the time axis.

>>Does the block-universe model of determinism have different implications than the causal-chain model of determinism?

There are different experiential implications in block-universe determinism compared to causal-chain determinism.  When one holds the block-universe model of determinism in mind, the future is thought of differently than when holding the causal-chain model of determinism in mind.  The differences are systemic; it's a matter of two different perspectives and ways of thinking, but not necessarily implying different content, different events in the future. 

The mental model of block-universe determinism (with timelessness and pre-existing single future) is a different way of *thinking about* events in the future -- it's not so much a matter of changing to different *events* in the future.  The block-universe model of determinism is a way of thinking that is informed by and experienced within the mystic state. 

There is a difference in the mind's thinking, which constitutes a different event than continuing the conventional causal-chain, in-time way of thinking.  There is a different perspective on the world, self, time, and control, and thus there are different implications subjectively than if one retains the default, ordinary-state, causal-chain model of determinism.

>>If you've posted about this before, maybe you could point me to what you've already written.

From around 1997:

http://www.egodeath.com/intro.htm - Introduction to the Cybernetic Theory of Ego Transcendence -- section "Block-Universe Determinism and Autonomous Control"

http://www.egodeath.com - major section "Block-Universe Determinism" contains pages:

Practical Freedom versus Metaphysical Freedom

Timeless Block-Universe Determinism - http://www.egodeath.com/blockuniversedeterminism.htm

The Illusory Nature of Change

Pre-Set Choice, Will, and Control-Thoughts

Cross-Time Self-Control

More recent writings (2001-2003), as postings, are throughout the egodeath discussion group archives.  But the first postings to read are the ones I posted in the Determinism discussion group going back to perhaps a month or two ago.  The egodeath discussion group has focused on no-free-will in religion (and other aspects of religion), with only a few postings spelling out the block-universe model of determinism and contrasting it to the causal-chain model of determinism.

Against causal-chain determinism


>>>We do not have the capacity to act outside the causal connections that link us in every respect to the rest of the world.  This means we do not have what many people call free will, the ability to cause our behavior without being fully caused in turn.

I favor that description, which implies tenseless-time block universe determinism -- a hierarchy or web of causality.

>>We do not have the ability to cause our behavior without being caused in turn, which was caused by earlier causes and caused before that and before that.  There has to be series of linked causes leading up to it.

I reject that description, which implies temporal causal-chain determinism.  I reject horizontal series determinism -- it's unnecessarily complicated and makes too many assertions about metaphysics of how no-free-will is implemented.

Vertical determinism is a more defensible and robust view -- it makes fewer postulations about how no-free-will is implemented.  There is no free will because time is an illusion, not because each snapshot of the worldstate somehow causes the next, different snapshot worldstate in a determinate way. 

We don't know that each snapshot of the worldstate somehow causes the next, different snapshot worldstate in a determinate way -- but we do know that time is an illusion and that freewill is a superfluous redundant theoretical addition.  It may be fair to say that timeless block-universe determinism -- with frozen, single, preexisting future -- is the result of a scientific logical observation in the mystic altered state. 

The ancient philosophers used the mystic altered state to think about Heimarmene and came up with the conclusion of timeless block universe determinism -- likewise, if we use the mystic altered state, we will repeat the same experiential observations and recognize the beautiful elegant coherence of the timeless block universe determinism perspective, and in contrast, the beastly monstrous illogic behind the freewill agency worldmodel. 

We may also see the raw and crude half-baked, half-coherent quality of the notion of temporal causal-chain determinism.  Per Hume, causality is a huge mysterious assumption.  How do we know that worldstate A leads always to worldstate B?  We don't -- it's a sheer assumption with weak foundation.  There exists a far more sound, robust foundation for no-free-will: the atemporal point of view. 

Whether or not worldstate A has some mechanical causal link to always cause worldstate B, whether or not there is any sort of causal relation between them -- whether repeatable or variable -- we can make the assumption that there is a single future, already timelessly existing, with time as a space-like dimension and thus an illusion. 

In this rather simple solution -- covered the first week of a modern physics course -- we can say that there is an elegant, simple worldmodel that explains no-free-will with fewer or less arbitrary assumptions that the baseless assertion that worldstate A if repeated would always lead to worldstate B.  By this irrelevant focus on a hypothetical rigid causal mechanism leading from worldstate A to B, causal-chain determinism misses the main essence of no-free-will. 

Tenseless-time block-universe determinism as a model and a mystic-state experience and perspective is the main argument for no-free-will, and causal-chain determinism is a minor footnote next to the argument from sentence-truth (the sea-battle argument).

The chain-through-time model is not sufficient to provide a full, robust, insightful mental model of no-free-will.  It's only one of several arguments, and is not the strongest argument -- it's a narrow, uncompelling, tottering base.  Timeless block-universe determinism with a single preexisting frozen future leapfrogs over the in-time domino-chain picture to get to the main point. 

The conceptually clearest and most robust conception, and deservedly main model of no-free-will, is based first of all on timeless single-future block-universe determinism.  The causal-chain way of thinking is just a minor supplemental perspective within that model, only slightly more important than the argument from sentence-truth (the sea-battle argument).

The causal-chain takes a whole way of thinking about time completely for granted.  It's not so much wrong, as narrowly informed and misleading in that it blocks from seeing even better arguments for no-free-will.  Causal-chain determinism is a failure at convincing people, and has permitted much lasting confusion.  The block-universe model powerfully clears up confusion and relates to an available realm of experiencing. 

We cannot experience causal-chain determinism, but we can vividly experience and easily visualize timeless block-universe determinism.  Causal-chain determinism has completely taken over the field and is harming its own cause by being mistaken for the best argument and the best visualization for no-free-will, but those who use it as their main and only argument and mental picture need to broaden their philosophical awareness. 

There is a book on the history of the free-will argument, but alas, what we really need is a history of no-free-will -- the subject is broader and more interesting and profound than one would assume based on the narrow range of argument and conceptual models coming from those who treat causal-chain determinism as the best, or rather the only, way of defending, advocating, and describing no-free-will. 

No-free-will can be seen as the central topic in the history of philosophy and religion, yet the advocates of the causal-chain model are snoozing, missing out on huge realms of discussion and experiencing, in a kind of oblivious reductionism of what should be the most broadly rich and interesting subject: no-free-will, conceived of in ways besides only adhering to the one way of thinking about it, the one argument, of causal-chain determinism.

>>The sensation of oercoming the barriers between the individual and the Absolute, the sensation of Absolute Unitary Being is experienced by Buddhist monks during meditation and Franciscan Nuns in prayer.  Mystic altered state experiences occur frequently.

Mystic altered-state experiences happened all the time, almost boringly routinely, in the era of the mystery-religions.

Today's spiritualists, such as most readers of the magazine What Is Enlightenment?, want to have their cake and eat it too: they want no-separate-self, combined with metaphysical free will moral agency -- though no-separate-self directly implies no-free-will.  Instead of just the usual talk about "no-separate-self", pair it with "no-free-will".  In the peak of the mystic altered state, it is common to experience no-free-will/no-separate-self.

Wikipedia entries about types of Determinism

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_time - time as a spacelike dimension










http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohm_interpretation <-- block universe determinism









I'm getting the impression that the Catholic church said "Let freewill be anathema!" and then later said "Let determinism be anathema!"

Jansenism: Catholic Resistance to Authority from the Reformation to the French Revolution (Studies in European History)

William Doyle


Says that the Church's offical later rejection of Augustine's determinism was at the central core of culture.

God Owes Us Nothing: A Brief Remark on Pascal's Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism

Leszek Kolakowski


There are a couple recent theology books debating about Augustine's determinism being "pagan" and thus possibly undesirable:

Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity

John Piper (Editor), Justin Taylor (Editor), Paul Kjoss Helseth


Determinism vs. timeless, pre-set, frozen-future fatedness

Determinism is usually defined as the ability in principle to *predict* the future.  I dismiss that emphasis as "predictionism".  That emphasis reflects the bizarre convention of defining science as "that which enables us to predict" -- surprisingly, most definitions of science amount to such predictionism.  Why this obsession with prediction?  I wanted self-control and personal mastery, first of all, and later, sought knowledge of transcendent truth -- but never lusted after science as a way to predict things.

Another common aspect of conventional definitions of determinism I reject is the "domino chain" way of thinking about how events are connected across time.  The kind of determinism encountered in the mystic altered state is not at all a way of perceiving causality playing out from one moment to the next like a chain of dominos falling.  Rather, the altered state shows the frozenness of all time, including a single frozen future.  I only use the term "determinism" because it is more familiar than "fatalism" or the "iron block universe" (William James). 

My real interest, the concept that is actually relevant to transcendent perception, is frozen-future fatedness, in which the future in some sense already exists.  Stop and notice what I said -- *the* future.  People say this without thinking, yet the real point of contention in free will and determinism and Quantum Mechanics is the very question of whether there is a single, "the" future, or whether the future should be thought of as a single *region* that contains infinite branching possibilities.  When you say "the" future, the singleness of the word "the" can be taken in either of two drastically opposing senses. 

A single open future, like a single huge possibility space, or instead, just a single necessary actual future, which is just a thread -- a single thin, narrow, particular worldline.

When I say "determinism" I usually say "my version of determinism" or "determinism as I understand it" -- which is frozen, single, fixed future fatedness.  That is, a particular, thin, single, exclusive worldline.  By "worldline", as far as mystic *experiencing*, I particularly mean a series of mental constructs.  The mind's future series or chain of mental constructs is already set, down to the last detail, frozen into the spacetime block.

Consider this pre-set, frozen, timelessly existing worldline of a mind's future mental constructs.  A person's life is like a train track of mental constructs frozen into the spacetime block.  Rudy Rucker's book The Fourth Dimension diagrams this.  Is that pre-set future chain of mental constructs predictable in principle?  I say maybe, maybe not, and it doesn't matter as far as transcendent knowledge and ego death. 

The fatedness I describe is completely independent of the issue of whether the future is predictable in principle.  Similarly, this fatedness is independent of the idea of the domino-chain way of thinking about determinism.  Domino-chain predictionism *is* the conventional notion of "determinism".  Thus the correct answer to the free will vs. determinism debate, an answer that is much more sturdy and relevant, is a third alternative, which also has nothing to do with conventional notions of "compatibilism". 

Fate/necessity/providence, correctly understood as some ancients understood it, is similar to determinism, with without any particular emphasis on prediction-in-principle, or domino-chain causality.  In domino-chain causality, the usual assumptions and point of view are that the future doesn't exist yet, and is still open, though the dominos will surely eventually fill that future with a particular content.  In complete contrast is the timeless perspective of mystic experiencing, in which the future already exists because time is essentially an illusion.  From the timeless point of view, the future has whatever content it does because of the same reason anything exists in any pattern across time: when things at all points in time were created, they were created such that nearby points in time have similar content -- producing the apparent result of smooth, continuous movement through time. 

But there is nothing in the timeless perspective that insists that a previous action causes a later action in a determinate way.  Even if we discover that a previous action does not cause a later action in a determinate way, frozen-future fatedness remains standing tall, and mystic perception of timelessness remains the same as ever.  If causality is somehow discovered to be indeterminate, conventional determinism and prediction-in-principle immediately falls into complete ruin, but timeless frozen-future fatedness remains strong as ever of a worldmodel.

Definitions of 'Determinism'

>How about a concise definition of your idea of "determinism"?

>>determinism \De*ter"min*ism\, n. (Metaph.) The doctrine that the will is not free, but is inevitably and invincibly determined by motives.

>>determinism n. A philosophical doctrine holding that all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes; often understood as denying the possibility of free will.

>The quick lie is put to determinism then, by positing a hypothetical action which has several motives. Chose one!  .....  End of determinism.

>This is an elegant proof that determinism is a bankrupt philosophy, no?

Those definitions suck, and miss the main insights that more forcefully contradict the free will hypothesis.  Those are standard definitions, especially the second definition.  The only way the second definition could suck even more fully is if it included the cliche dogmatic definition component, of the future being predictable-in-principle.  Free will is certainly a confused, vague, and unstable notion, but standard versions of determinism seem fixated on irrelevancies, so they don't provide an alternative worth rallying behind.  Standard determinism takes a certain unspoken model of time for granted, and focuses exclusively on a picture of causality based within that model of time. 

Such "determinism" would be more accurately named "temporal-causal-chainism".  It emphasizes change and movement, whereas a stronger opposite of freewill would emphasize the illusory nature of change.  The conventional model of determinism is set in a spacetime metaphysical paradigm that is biased in favor of freewill and the freewill worldmodel of spacetime and the open future.  Such determinism implies that the future is open but it will become closed in a particular way with a particular outcome.  I, instead, deny that the future is open at all except in the most limited of senses: it's only our *knowledge* of the future that is open.

Horizontal chain of causality vs. vertical chain of causality

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future

And time future contained in time past'

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

What might have been is an abstraction

Remaining a perpetual possibility

Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been

Points to one end, which is always present.


>>That interesting idea doesn't make sense to a true determinist, because it lacks the true determinist's standard emphasis on causal effects and continuity.

The poem doesn't take the view of *modern* determinists. 

Modern determinism is the view of determinism and the version of determinism which is always assumed in all the modern philosophy books.  The modern version of determinism, the causal-chain view of determinism, doesn't consider also the vertical-chain determinism.  The classic and pre-modern version of determinism puts a distinctive emphasis on the timeless hierarchical chain of being -- vertical causality. 

Compared to vertical causality, or the vertical chain of causality, the horizontal in-time chain of causality has a relatively strong characteristic of practical freedom and is not far from the freewillist mode of thinking, which is also in-time and grounded in the sphere of practical experiencing.


Pre-modern philosophical thought, which included mystical philosophy, has always drawn a comparison between two different types of causal chains:

o  The horizontal in-time causal chain: the stimulus happens first in time, and then the response happens in the next point in the sequence of time slices.  This way of thinking, feeling, experiencing, observing, and perceiving is natural to the ordinary state of consciousness.  The Modern view emphasizes the horizontal type of causality.

o  The vertical timeless causal chain: the stimulus happens first in the transcendent realm, with the One as the prime mover at the higher (or more underlying) level of being, and then the response happens in the lower level of being.  Picture a transcendent god (often conceived of as operating from outside of the prison of cosmic determinism) making a human dance on puppet strings; the stimulus comes from the prime mover, and the response is the action of the secondary mover, which is the human.  This way of thinking, feeling, experiencing, observing, and perceiving is natural to the mystic (loose-cognition) state of consciousness.  The Hellenistic and pre-Modern view emphasizes the vertical, hierarchical type of causality.

Neither conception of causality -- horizontal in-time causality or vertical timeless causality -- is new; both are as old as Philosophy itself.  The Hellenistic era emphasized vertical causality, while the Modern era emphasized horizontal causality.  The Modern view, which emphasizes the horizontal type of causality, is relatively new, dating from the era of postulating "God as the absent watchmaker" who wound up the universe a long time ago and left it to run on its own over time.  Ecstatically based Philosophy instead emphasizes the continuous act of creation of the world; Genesis happens and originates at all points in time.  The watchmaker or hidden puppetmaster is equidistant from all points in time.

For more about feeling and experiencing the hierarchical, vertical, timeless causal chain of stimulus/response, rather than the linear, horizontal, in-time causal chain of stimulus/response:  http://www.egodeath.com/intro.htm - section "Moral Agency, Theology, Levels of Control, and Delusion"

Bad science, bad religion, and bad philosophy

Temptation for modern determinists is the urge to frame the freewill debate as freewillist religion vs. determinist science.  But the real divide is not between science vs. religion, but rather, between freewillist and determinist versions of these.  Bad science is Copenhagenism, an anti-rational interpretation of quantum physics that is covertly driven by the project of propping up the power of human freewill.  Copenhagenism is freewillist science. 

Good science is the hidden-variables QM interpretation advocated by Einstein and Bohm, favoring the deterministic and relatively visualizable model of QM, with Einstein specifically repudiating freewill.  Philosophy and Theology also have venerable determinist emphases together with modern-era upstart movements such as Openness theology or the philosophical freewillists, fighting the tide.

Determinists shouldn't be for science and against religion -- they will awaken to find themselves in bed with anti-determinists such as Bohr (a Copenhagenist).  That upstart camp has managed to take over science, declaiming against the bad old determinist science and putting down Einstein as "outdated and unable to keep up with recent developments". 

The freewillist popular view of QM is a distorted and misguided story: "Science used to be determinist, with Newton, but now with QM, science has become freewillist, emancipating us all from the horrors of the clockwork universe." 

Science for such a popular crowd is held as good, for the exactly most bad reason: they see modern science as having granted victory to freewill indeterminism, rescuing our freedom from evil machine determinism.  Determinism is portrayed like the Borg, with the fleshy and humane Copenhagenists coming to the rescue, saving the power of mind over matter, which becomes synonymous with saving the power of freewill.

Those who hate religion largely because they see it as freewillist ought to, by the same token, hate modern science for selling its soul to freewillist Copenhagenism.

Freewillism is a minority view in mystic religion, in Theology, in Philosophy, and in Science, and yet in the popular view, these have ample room for freewillism; those who are not on the inside of one of these fields sees the field in its most freewillist form, because that's how the masses want to see all fields.  They look to science, religion, and philosophy with the hope of finding support for freewill and thus for metaphysically independent personal power. 

I'm cautious about revealing to people the nonhistoricity of Jesus and Paul, or about the entheogenic (visionary plants) nature of religion, but what worries me the most is telling people about determinism.  It's the opposite message than many people want to hear, since they all lap up the marketing of, simply conceived, "increased freedom" -- and determinism cuts far deeper these days into people's psyche than the remote and interesting but indifferent topics of nonhistoricity of ancient figures or exotic plants. 

Religion is thought of by all in this society as something outside of them, and visionary plants is a controversial yet again external seeming subject, while determinism is commonly perceived as having immediate, intense core ramifications for one's very personhood, even though a familiar intermediate-level complaint is that it makes no difference.

Determinism provides greatly increased freedom, in some Stoic or existential practical sense.  Determinism goes with rationality, and rationality provides greater practical freedom than irrationality.

According to modern values, Science is the queen of the fields of knowledge, Physics is the queen of the sciences, and quantum physics is the queen of physics subfields.  When quantum physics sells its soul to freewillism (via Copenhagenism), we ought to be concerned and dismayed about "modern science" as a whole and the spirit and motives driving it. 

Physics is no longer about following truth where it leads according to the most clear and distinct interpretation; now Physics has become a tool for freewillists to steer and manipulate to support their confused, garbled, and non-visualizable hopes and wishes.  The same monstrous haze and logical chaos that characterizes the concept of freewill has taken over quantum physics, the crown jewel of modern knowledge.

Tentativeness and ever-revisability of human knowledge is a basic axiom of modern epistemology.  My whole theory of transcendent knowledge and mystic experiencing rests on a basis of a type of determinism, so I am highly committed to determinism, yet I'm careful to state that for practical mystic experiencing, the important thing is not whether block-universe determinism is true, but that a strong commitment or grasp of block-universe determinism is the easy, ergonomic, lightning-fast path to a most-intense mystic experience, an experience which matches the reports of world mysticism over the ages. 

Determinism is a fast way to accomplish an intense kind of crossing-out of the ego, unlike the freewillist view.  The essence of the ego delusion is freewill-premised control agency.


Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)