Thursday, October 14, 2010

(43) Futurist

Over the past several years I have been groping towards a new
kind of activity, basically wanting to slip into yet another career.
I remain incredulous that I have lived long enough to actually
even think about a third career, much less moving into one. But
that is what I seem to have been doing lately.

As for becoming a futurist, well that was a "bee in my bonnet"
quite a long time ago. I thought about such a pursuit while I was
still preparing to be a science and systems philosopher. But at
the time I felt that I already had too much on my plate, which was
true. And, geez, that all was more than 20 years back.

During the ensuing 20 years I have truly enjoyed playing at being
a free-thinking philosopher, if you will. Speculative, of course,
fiddling into Metaphysics--basically wondering over those great
human questions we all have, about the nature of the universe,
about a Greater Reality, and about our situation and role in such.
I've been blessed having the leisure to do this, and I'm truly
thankful for having had the privilege to do so.

But in a strange way, I felt that I had reached the end of the ride.
I felt that I had said about all that I was capable of saying. Yes,
information keeps pouring in, material that is well beyond my
ability to handle. So I felt that it was time, once again, to "retire."

After two careers, why not retire? However, I discovered that I
am one of those persons who somehow cannot really retire.
Somehow I need keep digging around, researching and writing,
approaching new topics.

Hence I am again grappling as to what I might do in this so-called
"Third Age" that is upon me. After some time the thought about
becoming a futurist once again pounced into my life. So I
gathered myself together and looked about how one becomes
a futurist.

For awhile I studied the writing of some futurists I knew about.
There's the "Futurist Magazine" as well, that seems to cover
all the territories of the entire ballpark. But I realized that all
this new business had to jell in my mind. Finally I came to realize
that I would continue working towards that scientific and spiritual
blend of topics I love, only moving into what seems to be
"cutting-edge" subjects that have only arisen (at least in my
horizon) and might seriously impact in the future.

So, after lots more pondering as well as some digging about, I
have managed to discover at least 30 topics, fitting into three
major philosophical categories, that are on the cusp of this
axial period in which we live. Finding these topics are one thing,
however; but carrying out depth research and writing eventual
essays are another.

When I came to realize the enormity of this proposed project, I
really cringed. Would I even live long enough to complete it?
What the heck! It would be nice to finish what I hope to start,
but--really--more important for me is that not only do I think the
work is significant, but it keeps me out of the rocking-chair!
Might as well have a sense of humor when it comes to this
ever lengthy sojourn of mine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

(42) Vitalism, Panpsychism, & Emergentism

Albeit boasting ancient philosophical sources, these three
above "isms" remain speculative right into our own modern
day. Academic philosophers have written reams about these
particular positions about Mind, pro and con. And mostly
they tend to separate these three concepts, one from the
other. And beyond separation, sometimes there's contrast
and competition between the three, even denial of one
over the other.

So I can only dare to tiptoe into these categories about Mind.
Starting out, we should at least give a minimal definition to
these categories--though I have no wish to delve deep in
such. Otherwise we would be writing tomes!

• Vitalism: In its simplest form, vitalism holds that living
organisms differ from non-living forms, in that there is an
energy--or "elan vital"--that sparks their "soul" or living spirit.
This vital energy is a substance that infuses and gives life
to more sophisticated forms.

• Panpsychism: Basically panpsychism is a doctrine that
maintains that Mind is suffused throughout the universe.
Mind is everywhere!

• Emergentism: Here we move into "complex systems" that
are not reducible "to those of their constituent elements."
And emergentism--as it involves Consciousness and Mind--
relates to a complex system that is more then the sum of the
"properties" of its parts.

Perhaps odd on my part, but I don't in the least feel the
need to pit any one of these three categories over against
the other. Rather I tend to see the possibility of a
fascinating *connection* linking all three of these "isms."

I tend to think that there must be a Creator of this particular
universe in which we live. Scientists talk about Natural Laws
incorporated into our universe. Theologians talk of God, or
more specifically the Spirit that gives us, the universe, its
power to move, to exist. Hence the "elan vital." One can
look at this from a more natural perspective, or assume
the theological perspective. Could be that our presumed
Natural Laws serve as the inputted pulse of the Spirit.

In turn, this special energy, this vital pulse, quickens Mind
that could have been embedded in the universe since its
creation. It's perhaps an Intelligible Force spread throughout,
waiting to be awakened.

And possibly this is where emergent minds come into the
picture. Underlying everything, everywhere, is Potential
Mind, slowly evolving, cropping forth in those complex
life forms (or systems).

So with this, I am getting around to what I blithely deem
as "consciousness points." We humans would seem to
be such. No doubt other complex systems, likely situated
throughout the universe, are also points of this
emergence of Embedded Mind.

In essay (39) I talk some about consciousness points and
ask "why." I cannot presume a specific answer, but I
suspect it's about Universal Mind becoming slowly yet
steadily more and more Conscious--and we humans,
we ever evolving complex systems, will continue to
mentally emerge until the entire universe becomes
What it is meant to be!

A companion to its Creator? An independent Thinking
Entity? Who knows! But whatever the "why" of it all,
at least I have come to realize the Exciting Adventure
of it all. There's Meaning deep down, if we choose
to see our universe this way.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

(41) A Hiatus

The last several months I have been engaged working through
a health issue. Not too bad, fortunately. Still, there was some
anxiety undergoing various tests appropriate for my age, then
waiting for the results. The process took some time.

I could have let *stress* take over, but I had the good sense to
give over my anxiety to my particular sense of the Greater
Reality, who I dare to call the "Lord." Happily this gesture on
my part really helped, and I am truly thankful.

On the other hand, something strange seemed to be happening.
It wasn't that I had lost interest in my usual endeavors, like
writing essays and stories that represent my own spiritual
inclinations. Rather it simply was that my head and hands
would not comply. Recognizing this, I tried to break out
and get back to where I was before my health situation.

Didn't work, so I pretty much submitted to my "hiatus," if you will.
I went shopping, bought some new clothes which I really
needed since I've been losing weight. I also continued
pampering my new lawn area, establishing a new section
for table and chairs. All mundane stuff, I suppose, but somehow
I felt content. And these non-intellectual pursuits helped me
through. Have to give credit where credit is due--engaged in
the mundane most definitely can be a spiritual endeavor!

Feeling better now, I probably will slip back into my old habit
as a writer. But I'm willing to wait until my spirit, my mind, and
even my body says "yes."