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LIBERTY IS SO VERY HUMAN,
ITS GIFT SO WHOLESOMELY DIVINE
from Ch. 5 LITTLE THINGS
and Little Things
appreciate remedy to the full, we need to realise the reality of liberty.
To this end, let us fly a little in the nearer heights, to commence, and then
soar a little further until we begin at least to appreciate this thing, man,
what he is ... and what he is not.
Wings are not the Only Things that Fly
Birds are very often little things, and some humming birds are quite tiny, immensely fast in wing movement - beats to the second being able to reach staggering rates, deft in action, chattering like socialites, with various forays, meetings, congregations, excitations and so forth, alert, daring, darting, unintimidated, investigative, creatures of verve and dash.
How deep however can be the feeling of the lyre bird, one of which dignified brand, with the eyes of genius, and the music of wonder, has been known to put on a performance at a place to which it grew accustomed, on the sill of a house window, and to have various inter-relating feelings to her hostess, and responses verging on understanding! What has on this site, for convenience and clarity of thought, been called
This is the dog you know, the horse you love. Not on a par with man, it yet may relate to him, with a sort of stimulus of response, that raises it, receptive but real, to the plateau of co-operative friendliness.
If the total being of the creature as distinct from its facilities, as in the case of a dog, of course, can reach such an inter-active intimacy with man, that something not less than friendship must be posited; if the depth of anguish at the man's death can lead to a dog voluntarily sacrificing its own life, after the decease of the other, in mourning faithfulness and invariant commitment: then we find the fact that creation less than man, can yet participate in some of his ways. There are limits; but there are also ingredients of relationship, quite as marvellous as the ectypal ways of some of these creations, taken alone.
Thus the human qualities are not the dog's; it is quite different; but it has what can be raised to relate in lovingkindness and mercy, co-operative living and understanding, till like the moon before the sun, being most different, yet it can have some features which are in common. In the case of the radiant luminary, and that merely transmissive, great is the difference, yet significant is the result when the one is near the other, for then, active or passive, each transmits light. The one has its own light, the other receives it.
In the case of man, however, as repeatedly emphasised on this site, there is a capacious uniqueness which is far more than that found in formal ratiocinative capacity, intellectual prowess, power to exercise symbolic logic with critical and conscious finesse, investigative method and thought, with modes of procedure and hypothetical testing which go beyond mere patience, into precision; for it can incorporate moral innovation, his downfall, or conceptual innovation, a major strength, and he may be drawn to far greater things yet, as we shall see.
Man is capable of a discerning loyalty, based on thought, understanding and conception, assessment quite profound and commitment with deliberation. To this, he can address himself with the heart, the mind, the body, or each of these. This is lateral, between members of his kind. However he is also able to depart from his originating parameters, and become perverse in spirit, mind or body. He is capable of a treachery so fastidiousness cruel, so wantonly selfish that it causes an involuntary shudder to consider, or of a cruelty proportionate to his spiritual liberty, and applied sometimes with an eloquence of evil almost impossible to contemplate.
This versatility is proportionate to man's capaciousness of mind, of spirit, of understanding, and hence with the liberties granted to him, of heart, of moral perception and faith. He can seem to make the very devils stand back in awe at his perfidy, folly and transparent roguishness; he can seem to come close to the angels in his self-sacrificing love, nobility of character and radiant delight in things wonderful.
Indeed, to man, in parallel
and basic to all of this, is there granted a capacity to know God, and not only
some of the elements, quite formally as well as intuitively, of his own
thoughts. Man may soar into vision, rise in illumination,
and in each case, be deluded or willing to test, to check, to consider the
claims and the values, the verifications and the logic of the matter, and to be
a unitary being, not only in body, which is a simple but amazing gift, but in
mind and spirit.
Law, Limits and Wonder
Not that he CAN do all these things, as if he were a miracle worker. His own body is a miracle, if you define miracle as any action of a supernatural being, which is put into the universe, and is not (even mediately) originated by it, but for it. We have considered such things in SMR Chs. 1-3, and That Magnificent Rock (TMR), Chs. 1, 5, 7, 8, as well as A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9.
The unity of language IN our DNA is like the unity provisions in our speech potential, also ingrafted into the conception of grammar, the cohesion of thought internally and with speech, so that we too may 'speak' and create, within limits. The fulfilment of such provisions of spirit, mind, potential and speech, settled in an organised structure called the body, is mankind.
The unity of logic is likewise, a capacity which, while taking practice, much as speech does (alas too often neglected in today's substitute for the old rigours of teaching English in multitudes of slovenly substitutes, perhaps economically motivated towards the market of today), is a unit implanted. The unity of speech WITH logic, is a synthetic added capacity granted. Of all this, we have the product before us, for it is ourselves. What we do is done in us, to make us, generation by generation, without our aid, in principle at all. We are emblems of the magnificence of our creation, just as we on a lower level, exponents of it.
To what can this be compared ? The conceptual conquest which is illustrated in
the orders, commands and conditions, circumstances and procedures which relate
to the building of man, like new Empire State Buildings (but much more
difficult, for we are without comparison, indeed, that is at all near), from
the old one, is thus a far greater thing to behold, that it would be if ... ?
What then does it exceed ? It far surpasses the
prospect of seeing the
It does this because the magnitude of man's equipment, with billions of synthetically organised brain cells, for a start, all designated for design specifications and functional correlations, and provisions for these to be MADE on site, while the parents may be more ignorant of such things than a humming bird of higher mathematics, is overwhelming. It does surpass, moreover, because man can think and make other buildings, other Empire States, bridges, books and prodigies. His functional, emotional, spirited and logistical realities are so far greater than anything which the limited intelligence of man, or the vaster collections of that of many men, or the still vaster collections of that of many people with much historical provision from former generations of learning, research and construction of able facilities, can produce, that we are as little children. Our powers are completely eclipsed by what is attested in our own creation, AS creative.
That of course, is precisely what you would expect. If we, in using what is merely given to us, can be so effective as to destroy whole parts of the earth with radioactive marvels of prodigious intelligence (there is, to be sure, a little irony here, but still, it was clever if no more to find the WAY to do it), what is the requirement, what requisition must be made in logical demand, of the maker of this thing, himself, called ... what is the name ? man, mankind, the human race ? Take your pick.
The engendering of order in
no case comes from its absence. It requires a cause. Of laws, the case is the
same. Of integrated laws, the same. Of
design specifications, no less. The functionality is the criterion, the
requisition is the result.
Not Just Spirited, but Spiritual : A Matter of Spirit
However, all these things are
dealt with in logical detail in SMR and TMR, A Spiritual Potpourri and
elsewhere. We merely remind. What then is the special design FUNCTIONALITY of
man which enables him to know to some extent, himself, and to become acquainted
with his Creator ?
It is called SPIRIT. You could call it humphlewash, if you wanted to, but nobody might understand you. It is simply a term to specify a function. It refers to the following facts (in terms of man, that is): the capacities, synthetically available, to ...
This is not exhaustive, but merely a short overview for the present purposes.
What is able to do all this
is spirit. The mind is the implement. Thus from the mind can come
the data in various contexts, as well as directly from the spirit, for the mind
can organise, and provides various kinds of
perception of its own. But the spirit of a man has over-ride capacity, very
much like that on an automatic car, where provision is still left to use the
T-bar gear to select the gear YOU think is needed.
Thus a man can lie consciously, or even later realise that he was pursuing things that were quite obviously wrong, but that he did not luxuriate in this perception, perhaps even suppressing it because of pride (not recognised at the time), or self-respect, self-esteem, fear of consequences, of criticism and many like things. As James puts it (and THIS is a most wonderful coverage, beautiful and inspiring. something that would alter the world all but unrecognisably if it were ever put into practice within the confines of this globe) :
Man of course can and very often does the exact opposite. James puts this very different, worldly substitute as follows:
This last paragraph shows what is almost like a snap-shot of this world's nations in their milling profusion of confusion and follies, grasping, leering, sneering, pretending, with little peace and very often less propriety. As they proceed, it is often with swelling words of morality often making the sinking servitude of sin the more conspicuous, and vastly more horrible, while they pursue their 'self-interest', as some nations, at times the US, for example (which has had far better beginnings), openly confess! Indeed it is at times made to look almost as if it shows how savvy is the politician who says this, how responsible. Such is the way of the world, whirled in confusion, working what will not work.
This is a work of man's SPIRIT, which of course can act socially as well as individually, but not as if it were an operative synthesis, for man can have this only where the correct form, format and function is found where IT IS. That is the same with many of his faculties and his facilities. Speech improves not by riding horses, or dredging harbours, but by the study of speech. The interactions which are comprehensible from one speaker to another come in practice, understanding and interplay within the rules and meanings given. If you go into argot and slang, the usage is reduced. If you use arbitrary fashions, it is deleted.
So it is in things spiritual. Just as our bodies are made what they are, and medicine has to try to find out what that is, so that it can CO-OPERATE in healing, understand structure, and act within the confines of what is there, so also do our minds need hygiene, not folly, stirred by every passion of carnal enjoyment and left like ill-assorted junk yards when the TV is turned off, or the paper put down, or the novel. Likewise do our spirits grow in usefulness and capacity to interact in beautiful co-operation when THEIR nature and needs are met. As normally, this is not done, since sin is normal, and spiritual slang is the speech to the Creator, if speech at all, in the mired bogs of carnal contention, presumption, evil assumptions, calumny as a modus operandi, grasping for greatness as the assumed thrust: the world is quite simply, what empirically it is seen and found and investigated and exhibited, to be.
Like an apple left too long in the larder, its presence is becoming appallingly more manifest, as each day passes. If it reeks to high heaven, then, however, high heaven has already lowered itself, without lowering its standards. To this we shall attend shortly. There is the solution, already present. But let us return to the question: what is the summit of the spirit's search, function and capacity on earth ? What is the most distinctive attribute of this entity, in man ?
The need of the spirit is God. That is its summit, and it is because it has significant capacity for fellowship with Him, that it is ABLE to consider religions, moral systems, worship, beauty and holiness, the deepest of peace and the most enduring of joys. From such a source, it shows its kinship. With such liberties misused, it shows its sin.
From this source, there is only ONE verifiable, and logically valid pronouncement (see SMR Chs. 1-3, 10, and throughout this site, using indexes). That is the Gospel in the Bible.
There is only ONE verifiable, and logically validated personal presentation of God as such, and that is Jesus Christ, according also to the Bible (cf. SMR Ch. 6, and Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7 , The Biblical Workman Appendix IV, esp.). WHEN, and only when, this is used, and He is taken as provided, is there then that basis regained which enables the spirit of man to understand itself, to know God and to understand Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24, John 17:1-3), to realise for the first time the way of life, the meaning of life, the vitality source, the dynamic ground and the purpose of life.
These, they are spiritual things. They are not found in this universe, in any other recognisable place.
Birds ? They are little, but they have no little lesson to teach us. Horses perhaps more, and dogs more still ... but horses ? It is to be admitted they can be very close, and there can develop a most marvellous understanding with them, and they too can learn to be so noble that it can thrill the heart with joy to consider their reliability and commitment, their emotion and their respect. It can be very mutual.
The spirit of man ? It might be said, this too is very little. But not
really, for in material terms (and what a comparatively gross thing is matter
with its careful restrictions, methods and ways, but still, properly regarded
and treated, it can provide wonderful opportunities for patience and
gentleness, endurance and pity), spirit is precisely not there at all. Matter
is a creation of spirit, a limited thing of space and time, both so limiting
that they are merely an invention of God, who has and can have no such limits,
for there is no place to find what would limit the Creator (cf. SMR Ch.1, TMR
· The Divine Spirit is beyond matter as beauty is beyond paint, peace is beyond quietness and truth is beyond investigation. Past the merely processive, is the personal.
· It has ambits of its own, and overcoming the most intense material barriers, in the world of His creation, as in divine healing and divine prophecy, it evidences what it is by what it does.
It is God's spirit which categorically shows the power and the eminence of functionality of Spirit, for He IS Spirit (cf. SMR Ch. 1 and see John ). Man, made and placed in an environment of great strength and size, shape and brilliance, is a creature composed as a trilogy of mind, matter and spirit. In his case, the varied propensities of these three can be seen at times, when the one is contrary to the other, so that the elemental nature of force of one is seen in contest with the other, as is the case, say, in a tennis match when you really see what one player can do, when his opponent is strong! However, their assemblage is capable of the most perfected interplay and synthesis, so that the spirit of man, in companionship with the Spirit of God, can play like a hose on the mind, to wash it down from its environmental dust as it were, on its sandals; and the pardon of God can wash the spirit, and the peace of purpose can inspire the body.
The spirit of man is without spatial requirement, though it can be expressed in it, just as beauty is not DEPENDENT on actual scenes of land and sky and sea, but can be expressed in them; and likewise, this can have a peace which is not the absence of war, but a composition of understanding and value with due relationship to both, where what is primary is both received and loved, and found and living.
Little things ? Less than little in material format, the spirit of man is of the most profound significance; for by it wars are entered on, fighting breaks out to kill millions, the pride, or the pomp, or the envy, or the unforgivingness being the CAUSE, and the war in bodies and blood, the result.
What then ? It is less than little (in spatial dimension), but more than the universe for all its weight and energy, in power and significance.
That is spirit, the spirit of man. Above it, that Spirit who is God, whose are the creations which contain the order, the law, the limits imposed, reigns untouchable... Untouchable then ? Yes, except of course, that when Christ came to earth as man, and the Spirit of God rested on Him like a dove in the days of John the Baptist, there was accorded to Him such treatment that though the spirit is invisible, the grief itself was so spiritual, as on Him was laid the iniquity of all who have believed and ever will believe, that He cried, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me!", as Psalm 22 declared that He would (cf. Joyful Jottings Ch. 25). You understand that when you read Isaiah 59:2 with 53:6 and Galatians 3:1-13.
But now, let us consider a site where there was found some discussion on birds, which in turn leads to the above, and indeed to what will soon follow below.
It was indicated that birds could have this impulse, instinct, and that, and that when there was no room to fulfil the various instincts, the birds were discernibly confused. Hence, thought the writer, it might be that man, as he conceived was the case for birds, was all programmed, and could do only so much.
This leap of faith however is not verified. It is true that man can do only so much, except of course when he meaningfully, and aptly applies to his Maker, for whom there are no imposable limits (He limits, as we might conceive it, Himself as He will, in accord with the One who He is), and He does without qualification, what He will. It is however not true that man is merely programmed.
As noted in the reply below, very close to the original given, man has mechanical, programmatic and other ASPECTS. In these, there are parallels at times to what does NOT possess these other aspects. But man surpasses these aspects by virtue of other FUNCTIONS: and a name, spirit, for some of these has been given above, in accord with normal English usage, and grammatical requirement (not that THIS name is required, but some name, and this is the normally understood one, thus having advantage in discussion with others).
To consider man, it is necessary to consider ALL his functions, and their synthetically apparent integrative activities.
When this is done, it is apparent that mere program defiles the very nature of man, whose unprogrammed powers are so profuse and powerful as to create endless discussion, abuses of power, intrusions of thought, innovations good and bad, to distort or interpret reality. Program does not talk to program in man; but man makes programs which do. Man can soar and rove in the unknown, and act intelligently in it, invent explanations never before known in the race, with buttresses of thought, scope of elevation and fascination of origination, staggering to the mind: because logical prowess and imaginative powers are NOT programmed, but potentiated. His programmatic aspects are not thereby reduced, but interpreted. In some things, man is his own interpreter, and in many, being isolated from God by sin, his misinterpretations are the very stuff of history. Imagine if you 'misinterpreted' electricity, by holding onto the main power line, with an aluminium ladder (of great height, very cleverly constructed) connecting you to the ground.
It is not the fault of electricity that the flash occurs. Flashes, they are not always flashy; and the results can be ash and grime.
But, to the reply to the writer on birds (with relatively slight
BIRDS AND WINGS OF FAITH
You ask for response to your ideas about birds and so on. This is one. It is really quite an interesting area.
It is suggested that you do not read this response, if you do not feel like it; no offence would be taken.
You ask for something, and if you do not want the response provided, so be it. You are welcome in any case. If, however, you do read it, please give it careful attention, for it requires this.
Well then, let us respond.
PROGRAM TO PROGRAM ... PERSON TO PERSON
One has read from your little preliminary sketch about bird movements. They are interesting, aren't they, and I have often watched birds and various creatures, with their vitalities in mind (cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 141ff.), unpredictable suddenness of action, staggeringly fine clearances at speed, amazing wind adjustments to enable seemingly effortless loitering on the wing, when the breeze is strong. More on this topic of such creatures will be noted later.
It was interesting to follow your thought processes. However, if these processes are programmed, not personal, and there is software back of each of them, why ask for other thought processes to comment, since this is merely, on that view, a relay of some program or other to the first one, presented by you. You would not relate; your program would move inside your casing, and your thought of response would all be, in some wholly inscrutable way, the work of a program. If that were the case, the presentation, the idea would not, because it could not, have anything to do with the truth. It would merely inter-relate a couple of programs, a series of orders, a compilation of codes. Orders require action, do not donate truth, for the programmee: allowed merely to execute. The orderer is the criterion, and even if he were himself, the truth, his mere orders do not in programming, reveal himself, but his desire.
see that is why there is always self-contradiction in such postulates; and in
various generations the reductionist concept appeals,
culturally, according to the new insights. Thus when mechanism was the big
plus, and industrial revolution gear was all the rage, the mechanical man was
rather a hit with some. Of course, psychosomatic medicine indicates that there
is much more to the operation of the body than the body. There is the mind. It
can have intense, immense and exotic aspects, as far from mechanical, or even
order at times, as you could wish. Its plays and interplays are personal.
If all were relative, whether to this or that concept or component, or culture, then naturally it would be perfectly impossible to know this: i.e. that all is relative. You would need absolute truth to be able to SAY it meaningfully! You would need to take leave of absence from the theory, for a convenient moment, like Darwin and Freud and Marx, in order to tell the truth about your theory, and then, and only then, get back in the cultural, conceptual box which precludes you from knowing more than the relational reactions involved in your program. That's what the theory would do for you: require you to leave it to state it as true.
If there were no absolute truth, it could not be known. Thus all discussion would be futile, concerning this topic, the truth. However even to know that it is there, is not sufficient if one is to tell it. One must be able to GET it, have it, without distortion. Thus if a programmee were to seek to gain, by a programmed instruction of course, on this theory, the absolute truth about anything, then he/she would need to have an access guaranteed not to be in itself, a la Kant, an addition, distortion or ... squelch, in the process of acquisition. Pure transfer would be needed.
However, this is no problem in fact, only in surmise. In fact, the absolute truth (see The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs. 1 and 3) is personal, and has a 'program' ? offer by which He may be known. Then HE undertakes to communicate in this, that HE ALREADY HAS DONE SO, in the Bible (likewise shown to be the word of this Being in the site above). Problem solved.
is no other solution but to find from One who has it,
the nature of truth. Since we are not programs, we may know it, not as a
respond-construction, a directed unit, but as a person apprehensive of
possibilities, adjusted to actualities, susceptible to perspective, capable of
semi-independent assessment of satisfaction of discursive thought.
Actually, you might care to look up on our site, webwitness.org.au, WHAT IS LIFE, which considers the various data on the various forms of life, to a considerable degree when it comes to man in particular, but not without thought for the lesser creation, that equipped with less design features in its synthesis of operational unity. In fact, the bonds of affection between man and dog or horse, can be so personal that they involve perception of personality features, on both sides, though differently. They involve, or can do so, affection and devotion to death. Hard on the program!
How do you program in what you do not know, or even fully understand! Difficult. It is hard enough to program in what IS understood, when it is complex! Making something not understood to make things happen is asking a bit much. There is no program for thought or morality, or imagination, which chooses, elicits and decides.
In fact, there are in man programmatic devices AND mechanical devices. It is easy to be reductionist on the spur of the cultural movement of the spirit of the Age, in one's own day, while forgetting myriads of realities, and to make, just make it all mechanical (now ludicrous, but very popular then!), or electronic, or data-base interaction or whatever appeals.
It does have some elements
of some of these, but much more. These serve in their place, according to
design. A car is much the same. It also has a driver who may bash it, crash,
smash it, on purpose or otherwise. This complicates the situation, but there,
it is best to stick with the facts, however complex, before explaining
anything. Otherwise, one explains what is not
Accordingly, this sort of truncation of man is not legitimate, just a matter of pre-occupation, like a love-lorn lad who sees none but ... 'my girl'.
does not in fact elevate her to some august status. It just tends for a time,
to become a focus for his thoughts, and may perhaps make him rather narrow.
When this recedes, or love replaces infatuation, then he may not only see her
more accurately, but appreciate her more truly. Concentration does not
constitute reality; it may help find it, but only when it is not so intrigued
by one element, that the rest is virtually subject to ... dismissal.
THE PLAY OF PURPOSE
The errors which programs make can be traced, in mere programs (given ability), and then eliminated (in principle). These represent inability or conceptual confusion or ignorance on the part of the programmer, either in thinking this was a programmable thing, or in the execution of the program if it is. Error is the bugbear of determinism. If man errs ON PURPOSE, say in order to escape punishment for a crime, and lies, then his PURPOSE squashes the facts, which he knows, and becomes the determinant. Purpose is personal, and relates to what the person is, from birth and from environment, from all the spiritual, moral and social, intellectual and other happenings and analyses which have come. It is not programmable for that reason.
Does a program decide whether his purpose will be to survive and lie, or die and tell the truth ? People frequently do either, or both. They are aware of their choices, and often commit suicide because they come to see that the choice they made earlier, in fact involved the wrong priority, was a piece of moral midgetry. Was the priority then programmed for x years one way, and did the poor man just happen to make it on that program, before the next program, say one putting truth first, then came into execution ? What if he varies from week to week ? Is it all programmed then ?
And what of his thought ? Is that too programmed, when he gives reasons for
his change of approach, his changes of morals, of perspective, sometimes new to
the race as a whole altogether, and not programmable unless known by the
programmer ? Were the mistakes on the
way to some new concept also programmed ? Were the personal features resulting from myriads of actions which came in multiple levels, and were in person responded to, were these too programmed, and hence foreknown, accounted for ? We are getting into fairyland in such matters.
Only God could have such knowledge, and if man is programmed by God, then why does he so often hate Him ? Is that too programmed ? In that case, God would make things to attack what He holds, a case of divided mind and inadequacy, requiring a created being, not an unlimited one.
Gradually we are moving from the myth of programmatic man (2), as earlier from that of mechanical man (1), itself in its day, an absurd ignoring of enormous facilities in man's imagination and mind, spirit and values, to (3) purposeful man. He uses both 1) and 2), but they do not use him. They are merely componential to his status, work in some things, are usable in others, creating facilities but not covering all aspects, merely relating to some, to some extent. The instrumental however, the programmatic, can intrude more or less, when there is equipment failure or malfunction, just as one's car may on occasion intrude into one's purposes likewise; though for any reasonable sort of car, this is not the norm! Man too normally is not bound by his weaknesses, to the point that his purposes are merely dictated.
In fact, some men (people if you like, it is indifferent, the point is the same) are more or less resigned to forego purpose, to some extent, being harassed to something like oblivion of initiative. This pathological condition merely serves to highlight the norm. We tend to pity such people as purposively paralysed.
Is purpose programmable ? Is the entire survey of multitudes of possible purposes, the intellectual/moral investigation of the same, programmed ? Is reason programmed ? Is error in it programmed, such as students often make ? HOW then is it error ? There is no such thing, if it be programmed, for it is all, in that case, simply the morally and intellectually void fulfilment of the program. Error is a misuse of terms. But man is full of errors, wilful, accidental, incidental, gross, slight, slithering or slothful. No logic chip MAKES you misuse logic sometimes, under certain purposeful considerations, knowingly. Indeed, to know is to be able to see a thing in place, whereas the program IS the place. It IS the limit. It IS the control. Its word stands. The individual has NO place. Error has no place. Happening alone has place. Man is absent.
That is one reason why the programmatic man is merely a misuse of terms. It does not account for rationally accountable, occasionally operative error, or, for that matter, the rational survey of possible purposes, and the changes of estimation of moral priorities often made, in association with the methods of reason, and other considerations such as destiny sought or found.
In fact, the whole concept
of man, of purposes, of programs, of error, is itself OUTSIDE possible truth,
unless there IS an absolute truth, and this cannot exist if the whole world is
a whirl of inter-related relativities. The absolute would then by definition be
excluded, truth unobtainable and discussion a waste of time: except that it is
not a waste. The absolute truth is necessary as a ground, a condition of
discourse rationally, of what is true, of the nature of things. Rationality
exposes TRUTH, or can do so, in errors of logic, vocabulary, inference, on one
side or the other, or both; but not consistently, if absolute truth is by
THE PLACE OF REASON
Reason sets a standard for operation, if one is to be rational at all. Rationality is incompatible with the exclusion of truth; it is compatible with universal relativity, but not with such a statement being possibly TRUE. If universal relativity were true (something Einstein did not hold, incidentally - cf. SMR pp. 299ff.), it would not be possible to know it. Such things are a jumble of contradictory terms.
The idea then becomes just a discernible sound, not a meaningful concept. This is merely part of the impasse reached by stylising man in terms of only part of his totality. It is common. It does not work. It deals with what is not there. It makes of a painting, if you want a mere illustration, pigments and canvas, and ignores the aesthetics, imagination and message side of things, in fact what it is all about! This is merely one of the possible products of man, for whom such elements may purposively be determinants, as far as his own will is concerned. So far from being programmable, such things are quite often not even fully understood! Man has no unitary program for all. Indeed, it is not even possible to relate to program here, except God be the programmer, and that, as noted, is not His mode as attested by the empirical evidence.
Rationality is the standard of review of the program maker, not of the program executor. If rationality is foregone, the program is at risk, or useless, or both. By this means, however, when it is operational, with imagination and purpose and the active mind, the spiritual capacity to rove and estimate the nature of things, and construe, reconstrue and so on, rational means, spiritual means, with the whole power of man at work: then these things can happen. Then programs can be made, criticised, analysed, discerned or to a significant extent, altered to conform to imagination and reason as discerned.
Our truth abilities are
limited because without the actual existence of absolute truth, we could never
know it, and never share it, and questions would automatically be without
answer, not in mere operational sequence, but in meaning. When it exists, then
and then only is truth possible for man. When it is obtainable, then and then
only is it near: and when it is obtained, then and then only can man answer
such questions. The Christian has the systematic answer here, since God
Almighty is adequate for truth, having all information from creation, is
willing to give it, has the answer to the pathology which distorts it (and how
MUCH this operates could be seen by visiting our site at
That Magnificent Rock, Creation), and has it written in principle.
PROGRAMMATIC INTERFERENCE AND DEFERENCE
Programmatic in part, sometimes partly within a part (as when the mind can help create a gastric ulcer through INTERFERING with the bodily provisions for digestion), purposeful in part (for man does not have to purpose to KEEP his stomach going, merely to know what to do, assuming it is still supply energy), spiritual in part (since he can make decisions, ludicrous by his own estimate, later, brilliant, confused, under the temporary control of a debased desire and so on, and is capable of survey in these areas, and some measure of choice, and knowledge of the processes and principles relevant to such a thing), mental in part, reflective in part (a domain of his spirit), imaginative in part (again, a domain of the spirit, these functions existing and needing verbal counterpart): man is a composite. He is not a candidate for temporary reductionism, when this or that part of his multiple and amazing capacities is suddenly found, or featured or focussed.
Certainly men can become
confused, as can birds. The flash of imagination which enables man (and at
times bird - we have been watching sea-gulls, and the lyre bird is a creation
of great fascination) to escape a 'situation', is arresting.
In man's case, this facility is often supplied with :
It is ... not so simple!
Man is more like a programmable being when some sin deludes him. Thus if drink is a problem, then in some cases you could nearly predict what he would do. He may of course then become converted, not by a program, but by a person, with that person's own features come into view, and so his almost programmable, because pathologically simplistic features would change. Now he would be hard, as they say, 'to figure out'.
In fact, one of the choicest insults man can give to man, is to say this: "I KNOW what makes you tick." It could be almost true. It could be greed, for example, but IN PRACTICE (Macbeth is a good example of the multiple conscientious, ambitious, sensitive, desensitised elements competing), there is a medley of intellectual and spiritual events. The resultant comes at the personal level, in terms of what the person is, but also, as in a parallelogram of forces, because of the influences upon the person. These include the multi-personal. Amongst what impacts on man, is his Maker, of not only programs, but person.
Now it is true that logic is an exact science; but the perception of the meaning of the terms in view, this is not! Insight is not gained by program, but by perception. Error, a main feature of man, is not even relevant to a programmee, but man is filled with this concept, with concern about it, penalty for it and the like. Guilt does not exist for a programmee, and all talk of error is so much nonsense for such. It would be improper for teachers, employers and the like, to complain. Back comes the answer: I am a mere program! But this is manifestly not the case, as guilt, pardon, punishment, imagination, purpose and consideration, and so on, so constantly attest.
Free to err, man is not forced to do so, can will to do so, and is in no small measure, a creature of will, sometimes informed will, sometimes will that itself requires analysis in terms of what the person is. What that is, is not a program, for what has a program to do with considering the program! THAT, it is the work of the programmer. A self-considering programmatic being could be conceived, of course, but the considerations, the priorities and so on, would be set in advance, and not really the subject of thought. They would merely be a series of executions of a number of institutions. There would be no imagination, since this, if set down in advance, is not imagination, but program.
No purposes could be considered, for if they could be, they would not be purposes, but a programmatic element. A procedure does not escape the rebuttal either, for the procedure is set down, and is not the subject of change. If it could be changed in terms of another procedure, that would merely a more complex, double acting procedure, all set down. Method does not change it. The method is set down, and there is, because there cannot be, any review of the method, except by another method, which merely extends the inability to many phases, but does not in the least modify, far less remove its inadequacy for the operations of man.
What is missing from programmatic man, is man.
MAN, THE MADE MAKER
Man makes programs, executes programs, discerns programs, alters some programs, and sometimes gets himself quite voluntarily into programmatic situations (like cancer, skin cancer for example), where without any program, he decided to take a risk. These personal functions cannot be programmed. They are ultra-programmatic in style, depth and method. They are self-conscious and self-critical, evaluated in parameters, alterable in many cases, in kind, and relate to morals, purposes, imagination, including things NO ONE has thought of before in the history of mankind, very largely, at all.
This power to supersede, to invent, to call forth utter novelty is by nature unprogrammable, just as is purpose, formed on the basis of movable canons. You cannot program what you do not know, and as soon as you are out of your depth, programming is out of style! A program does not require responses in terms not even thought of; and as soon as this is the case in any one thing, the whole thing is out of hand, out of program, a mere misnomer, an anomaly, a creation of the mind, outside the bounds of that being, mankind.
Again, repentance is not programmable. Man as such may repent, but may wish to do so, and be unable. This can happen.
There is no assignable NO REPENTANCE program. Man has more depth, responsibility and style than this. Repentance involves a response to purely personal will, a perception of its error, and perhaps of its known error, at the time of committal of the error. Again, the purely personal actualities CANNOT be foreseen by any programmer, and hence the provisions for repentance cannot be foreseen, the more so when the ground of repentance may be something not even known to the programmer. We speak so far in human terms only.
Programs, then, like
mechanical systems, are in man. The means we can create, for computers, have an obvious close relationship to the means which
provide much of our own infra-structure. Programs, however,
do not compose man. They may help or hinder him. He can to some extent,
very limited, alter his own programs. No program however can create peace
(invent one), or beauty, or truth. By nature program can ONLY perform what it
is told to do. For that to include truth, would require that the programmer had
access to it, without distortion. In that case, it would have to exist in
itself. This is true, but it is not assignable, since it is not in the power of
man to assign it. What is free in spirit, is not
programmatically bound to it, and what is not, is not relevant to it. The
programmatic, it just does what it is told.
EVACUATED TRUTH, AND ITS SPEECH!
Actually, of course, as noted above, if man were merely programmed, then truth would not be an option. He could only DO. Then to discuss would simply be insanity; except that this would not be relevant either, since programs do not make their victims insane, merely make them act in a certain way. It is all a reflection, in the last analysis, on the programmer, such as man. But man is not by any means master of all his programs. Is he then a reflection on the imagination and morals of his maker, who wrote the conceptual apparatus and contrived the logical functionalities inherent in the program, which is a part of man ? (Cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7). Not at all. Man, being a person, past all program - with limited access to truth, and power to deny it merely wilfully in a personal and individual fashion, unpredictable to any man, since this is another personal dimension in man - is accountable as a person.
is accountable to his Maker. In The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, where there is
shown to be the word, in propositional form, of Almighty God, who is also shown
to be: in the Bible, there is a provision, greatly more than a program
actually, but with some programmatic elements, for man to know God. It requires
repentance of contra-creation modes, contra-divine rebellions and contra-truth
episodes or spirit. It requires receipt of pardon. It requires acceptance of
the METHOD of God in sending His only begotten Son to bear the sin of those who
would receive it (John 1:1-14, II Cor. -21). This is a personal matter. God
is personal as shown in SMR above, and in His word. It is therefore an
inter-personal matter. There is provision for it, but it is supra-programmatic,
how one responds.
Incidentally, man has been:
· cultural man (a culture thing, clammy with the hands of handling).
· social man (with wonderful relationships, can hardly think without people).
· individual man (a private thing, notices others at times).
· mechanical man (an inert thing, yet lively enough to think about life).
· electronic man (with programs, which he may begin to survey and criticise),
· man-to-superman man (with apologies to fact).
· moral man (with wonderful future).
· economic man (with an amazing assumption of purse power, like a program, which however millions do not follow, so that, like the rest, it is merely a reductionist mirage, partly applicable to some, not to others of MAN, whom therefore, it distorts in facile misinterpretation and rash generalisation, like the rest).
· wormy man (yes, it was actually academically put, that worms control him, this wormy world...).
· neutral man (deeming all religions relative, and all morals, in lordly style, as if it were academic, he dismisses religion that is sound, empirically verifiable, epistemologically unimpeachable, logically demonstrable, on the basis of an alleged neutrality. this however is in fact itself a dispensation of an absolute kind about relativity of religions: it is a virus dispensing with health, self-contradiction wearing the pontifical crown, post-fall humpty-dumpty, dressed in doctoral gown cf. SMR pp. 376ff.).
· scientific man ... (with apology to science. The equine version.
Blinkered to the method
of imagination, visible or ascribable data, test, verification, adjustment as
needed following test, synthesis of result with other operational theories, he
gallops with whirring hooves, echoing hollowly among the cliff tops, blind to
peril, dismissive of absolute orgins, of meaning, of
destiny, free from the concept of goodness or mouthing vacuities as if
repetition would give them content. Sired by Kant (q.v.)
and Hume (q.v.), the geldng,
emasculated of truth, is to science*1, that
knows its place, as lice to beauty).
· thought man - or ideational man (with all sorts of wonderful New Age possibilities for international thought-stations and exquisite results ... so billed),
· and so on.
These theories, all inadequate, some utterly absurd, INTEREST man, because he is a person, with a roving imagination and susceptibility to absurdity, and capacity for truth, often aborted, like others of his gifts. In fact, in their variety, in some cases their absurdity, their sheer exuberance and imagination, taken as a while, they illustrate the nature of a person, as distinct from a program, in that they CONSIDER the products called programmes, make them, criticise them, and in many things, abort them.
That is part of the liberty accorded to man. Only by access to absolute truth as personal and hence able to transcend his own devices and darknesses, ignorances and predispositions, can man be made free. Only God can do this as only God IS this truth and can penetrate the situation for man who lacks it, so treating what He created and wholly understands with the delicacy and certainty of knowledge.
Hence when in the Bible we SEE the compassions and seekings of God, and with it the certainty of His fulfilling the love without selfishness, but rather with its entire negation (Philippians 2), there is exposed liberty. Man can be made other then himself and so not the mere char of his own being, not chosen by himself, and this only by God, who has cleared the way of the obstructions which justice might interpose by paying the price for sin, and which darkness without Himself would ensure, by acting in His own Person, so saving His own.
Man is a person, and a program is a product of the capacities of a person. That is the difference. Not mere receipt of orders, but understanding is one of the criteria of being a man at all!
Man is ultra-programmatic, all the more readily able to be so, having some leisure for it, because of various means supplied, including aspects of the programmatic. He is all the more at liberty to implement his personal purposes, in that in some things, as in his design and all but innumerable technical facilities, synthetically operative within it, there is a significant measure of the programmed, the mechanically ingenious, the chemically precise, the physiologically organic, and so on.
Like the driver of a car,
he can do wonderful things with distance, because it is not his feet which have
to cover it. He, he can choose, within certain limits, the road, avoid the
pot-hole, or not if feeling rebellious or excited. He has a whole array of
purely personal choices, and is motivated very often by things wholly
invisible, like peace, truth, friendship, love, hope, aesthetics, logic,
neither susceptible to program, nor the creatures of command.
FURTHER READING ON THIS TOPIC, on our Web Site, should you wish to pursue any aspect, could include the following 7 items:
1. LIFE - WHAT IS IT ? (a survey)
3. LITTLE CHILDREN (looking at what is happening inside them, empirically, as distinct from theoretically)
4. NEWS 74: Animals, Insects, Microbes, Curse, Blessing, Pain, Purity, There is always a Reason
BEYOND THE CURSE (
6. THE NATURE OF MAN AND OF LIFE (A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Our Web site is very large,
and continually is covering such questions, updated frequently.
Its Index enables different aspects to be met at will, very often.
Rev. Dr. Robert Donaldson
for World Wide Web Witness
Put differently, this is like cancer of the empirical-pragmatic. In despite even of scientific method, as shown in That Magnificent Rock Ch. 1, and SMR pp. 140ff., it clings to concepts that are merely metaphysical, and contrary to reason. Hence this phase of human intellection swells to invade other organs of truth, and spoiling all, makes of its victims, perfect prodigies of confusion. But that, it is the way of cancer, or of any idolatry, where what is not God acts as if it were, and what is partial acts as total, or what has value, acts as the very source and cynosure of value. When, as here, it invades contrary to its own methodology, it is not merely pride, but a destructive passion, abusing the mind much as drink can abuse the body. It is then, but one more exhibit in the arena specified by Paul in advance, as "science falsely so called" - I Timothy 6:20.