Whitenessing the Truth

My response to Sera Beak’s “Redvolutionary” theology has been pretty passionate, and I’m planning a post on programming to let things cool down. But before I do, I’d like to elaborate the claim that I made yesterday: “There’s so much more for you than that.”

Perhaps the most popular spiritual autobiography at the opening of the 20th century was that of the “little flower”, St. Terese of Lisieux. While I was at first disturbed by Terese’s testimony to desire to die so that she might embrace Christ, I have come to understand that her recorded life was probably a last parting from those that were bound to her in family, in particular her father.

What was she releasing herself into? The answer is given to us in her revelation of a vision: Terese found herself in the company of three veiled women. One of them, Teresa of Avila, was the founder of her penitent order, and a woman who famously experienced an erotically ravishing love from Christ. Teresa parted her veil for the daughter of her grace, and Terese reported being bathed in the purest light. With an embrace, Teresa offered this paean: “Christ is well pleased with you.”

Why do these women hide their light from us? I offer a parable in that regard in Golem. We here on earth are a mixture of grace and corruption, a mix that cannot be sundered easily. When the pure light of truth shines upon us, the corruption must flee or be destroyed. The light is veiled because, as Moses was warned in Exodus, those not prepared to receive it will by destroyed by its power.

With the saints encountered by Terese, so it is with Christ [NIV 2 Peter 3:9]:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

And so to experience life in the fullness of its beauty. Can you imagine, ladies, what it would be like to have souls passing through the healing cauldron of your womb, not in a brief spasm, but as a steady stream that grows into a mighty river?

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

[NIV Rev. 22:1-2]

Please follow me here: Eve had her own gifts to tend, and to share them with men was never going to work. You, O woman, were meant to manifest the Tree of Life.

Who is to Blame?

When I began listening to praise music five years ago, my most powerful reactions were to two types of songs: those that express gratitude for the cross, and those that describe the patient suffering of a parent confronted with the loss of a child.

There is no experience in life that more powerfully contradicts the premise of a loving God than to watch an innocent child succumb to cancer. The experience of the Amish families that lost five daughters to a gunman in 2006 is far more shocking, but the faithful can rationalize it as the work of an external evil working through fallen humanity. The silent killer that consumes from within is a horrifically intimate violation.

The pain of that struggle is captured powerfully by Mark Schultz in “He’s My Son”. It takes real strength to face this loss without anger.

So why does it happen? Why does God allow this, and so many other bad things, to happen to good people?

The depth of our outrage is sharpened in the West, where so many religious traditions teach us that we have only one life to get it right. I’ve touched on this before in On Dying. When the nature of the soul is revealed, it will be obvious that reincarnation occurs, and that – as our Eastern siblings have been telling us for so long – we have many chances to free ourselves to spend an eternity in the divine embrace.

But even so, why should good people have to suffer?

It might help to back away and look at a case that is not so terrible. I have a friend, a great strong man, that cross-dresses. He has married and had children, but is overcome with the need to wear women’s clothing. He shared with me one particular experience: he served in the navy on an aircraft carrier. They were at port, and on this occasion all men had been called to their quarters in preparation to return to sea. My friend grabbed a dress, changed, and went out on the flight deck. When he was spotted, an all hands was issued. Changing back into his uniform, he participated in an exhaustive search of the vessel for a female stow-away.

When I heard this story, I had an apprehension of a father holding his daughter while their ocean liner sank. He had promised to keep her safe, and had failed her. She was afraid to go out into the world again, and so was journeying with him in this life to overcome her fear. That was, in part, why he had joined the Navy.

When I listen to Mark’s song, I have similar visions. In the child is a spirit that has never received love, and suffered terribly in a past life as an adult. They need some strength to face that journey again, some reason to hope. So they come into the world to have some time with parents that love them. They push all their pain into the disease that consumes them, and leave it behind when they die, filled with the love that their parents have poured into them.

Yes, it is a heart-breaking work for parents to perform, but so beautiful and full of purpose.

The story of the Amish children has a similar sense to it. The girls were trapped in the schoolroom with a deeply disturbed man. When he determined to kill them, the eldest girl stepped forward to say (I paraphrase) “I am oldest. Leave these others alone and kill me.” In that moment, she conquered his evil. And during the preparation of the bodies for burial, the elder watched the women at work and counseled “We must not think evil of this man.” In fact, the community gathered resources to sustain his family.

In The Soul Comes First, I interpret the Bible from the perspective that good people are medicine used by God to heal the wound of selfishness. What these experiences have given me to believe is this: bad things happen to good people because their light is needed in the darkness. While Jesus confronted the greatest darkness – the evil of systems of justice that destroy the people that come to bring healing to the world – all good people carry that cross to a greater or lesser degree. We bring light, and the world that suffers in darkness attempts to steal it from us.

So, please, if you can: when confronted with evil, or pain, don’t collapse into resentment against God. Just open your heart wider, and let his love brush back the pain of the world around you. Maybe you won’t change the people that prey upon you, or heal the diseases of those that you love. But you will give hope to others that suffer as you do, and leave them with the strength to do better next time.

Generative Orders Research Proposal – Part IV

Reference Model

Having advanced the principles of generative orders, we find ourselves in a situation somewhat similar to that faced by quantum theorists after wave-particle duality was advanced. A number of experiments appeared to violate the principles of Classical Mechanics (i.e. – the double-slit experiment, electronic excitations of the hydrogen atom, and the photoelectric effect). Progress was achieved by generalizing the methods of classical mechanics (Hamiltonian and Lagrange equations) into differential equations through Fourier analysis.

The problem in the case of generative orders is more difficult. The principle does not generalize existing theory into new realms of application – it serves to supplant existing theories, stretching back to Special Relativity and quantum mechanics. Additionally, the enumerated principles are abstract. They do not drive us to a specific formulation of physics in one dimension. A number of alternatives may be mathematically feasible.

Lacking a definite starting point for analysis, nothing short of an intellectual Big Bang would produce a fully elaborated theory that explains everything that is known about particle physics and cosmology. That does not exclude thoughtful exploration of specific possibilities. In this section, we consider a simple model (narrative here), elaborated to the point that conceptual correspondence with known phenomenology is established. The model is sufficient to support development of model potentials (as outlined in the research program), and therefore to advance theoretical insight and analysis methods that can be applied to other models.

  1. The initial state of the universe is a disordered but “cold” (at least as compared to Big Bang theories) collection of one-dimensional structures.
  2. Physics of one dimension includes a mechanism of segmentation (or quantization). The W/Z mass may establish a scale for this segmentation (see item 8 in this list).
  3. Folding or bonding on segmentation boundaries produces higher-dimensional structures. Geometrically, we know that triangles are the most stable of these structures.
  4. Higher-dimensional structures are self-associative, building lattices of distinct dimensionality. Tiling a plane with triangles is trivial. The structure of higher-order lattices is a an extrinsic property of the lattice potential.
  5. Lower-order lattices may exist in the empty spaces between cell layers. This is again an extrinsic property of the lattice potential
  6. Lattice formation is spontaneous. Orientation of expanding lattices is random.
  7. Surface energy at the boundaries between merging lattices of different orientation (a la grain boundaries in metals) provides the energy to compress structures into lower order, producing quasars and super-massive black holes at the center of galaxy formation. In this model, a black hole in three dimensions is a volume bounded by a two-dimensional lattice.
  8. Parthogenesis occurs through the expulsion of residual lower-order structures from the enclosed surface. In the reference model, these are one-dimensional structures (termed “threads” below). Threads may pass around the polygonal subunits of the lattice or through them. Threads that penetrate the lattice sub-units are localized, creating loci that we identify with fermions. Fermions interact strongly with similarly localized threads, giving rise to the non-gravitational forces. The potential barrier of the W and Z mass corresponds to a thread-exchange process, which requires reconfiguration of the sub-units.
  9. Captured threads locally distort the lattice. Gravity is a side-effect of the lattice energetics that localizes the distortion.
  10. Dark energy corresponds to the potential energy of lattice compression.

This illustrates how the principles of generative orders can be used to build a simple one-component model of the early universe. Geometrical models are presented in Chapter 4 of Love Works.

Certain details of particle phenomenology appear superficially to be accessible in the context of this model.

  1. Charge corresponds to the number of threads that penetrate a lattice sub-unit (which naturally has three degrees of freedom). Sign is simply a way of characterizing the tendency of fermions to attract fermions with different degrees of thread penetration.
  2. Mass arises naturally when threads pull on each other, causing the loci of thread capture to be dragged through the lattice. From the properties of the first particle family, it would appear that asymmetrical thread configurations must be more disruptive than symmetrical configurations. The equivalence of gravitational and kinetic mass is natural, as both effects correspond to lattice distortions. The equations of special relativity suggest the velocity-dependence of kinetic distortions.
  3. Particle families correspond to distortions of a particle’s lattice sub-unit from its normal configuration.
  4. Conservation of momentum could result from lattice dynamics that tends to reject disturbances, forcing energy back onto moving fermion. Analogies in material science include superfluidity and superconductivity.
  5. Light could be a self-propagating disturbance in the lattice, achievable only through fermion kinematics. Assuming that gravitational packing of particles causes re-orientation of the lattice at the surface of large bodies, the constancy of the speed of propagation is a local phenomenon (i.e. – a massive body “drags” space around with it).
  6. Light may interact with the lattice as it propagates, causing energy loss that manifests as a shift to lower frequencies. This may explain the microwave background radiation.
  7. A soul is a complex configuration of threads that are supported by but only tenuously bound to the lattice.

These configurations store energy as potential energy due to the associated distortion of the lattice.

Obviously, all of these are conceptual possibilities, whose validity can only be established through construction of a model of the energetics of the interactions between one-dimensional structures. As will become clear in the description of the research program, the list is by no means exhaustive. It is presented to provide a sense of the naturalness of fit between phenomenology and theories that might be elaborated using the principles of generative order.