Saturday, November 19, 2011
“[God] has a primordial nature and a consequent nature. The consequent nature of God is conscious; and it is the realization of the actual world in the unity of his nature, and through the transformation of his wisdom.”
—Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (1929)
What is the ultimate nature of reality? And how does it interact with each of us?
Part I of this series introduced the idea of “twin ultimates,” the notion that there are two types of divinity worthy of our consideration. The first, the more fundamental type of divinity, may be referred to as the ground of being, the Source, God’s “primordial” nature (as in the Whitehead quote above), or any of a number of other names from various philosophical, scientific or spiritual traditions. The ground of being is the metaphysical soil from which all actuality grows.
The other ultimate, the Summit, lies at the opposite end of the spectrum of being and becoming. The Summit is closer to traditional western notions of God, and God is as good a name as any other for this ultimate.
This essay will explore the Summit in more detail and compare Source and Summit. As with all of my essays, I appeal both to science and spirituality in my explanations. This is the case because I don’t believe there is any fundamental distinction between science, philosophy and spirituality. To be sure, there are differences in current practice and focus, but in terms of conceptual structures—if not all their methods—these endeavors should be essentially the same (“should” being the essential word here). By this I mean that the “deep science” (to use Ken Wilber’s term) that meshes science, philosophy and spirituality together relies on logic, intuition, faith, and facts — recognizing that all human endeavors are a mix of these tools.
The deep science that reconciles science and spirit doesn’t ignore inconvenient facts, nor does it elevate reason above all other tools as the only source of legitimate knowledge. Deep science recognizes that all our attempts at understanding should be empirically based as much as possible, but it also recognizes that some sources of knowledge lie beyond empiricism and even beyond logic. Defining the contours of where facts and reason should give way to intuition and faith is an entirely personal matter. I tend to the intellectual and rational approach in my own explanations (particularly in these essays), while acknowledging that logic has limits; but I have no independent basis for preferring this prioritization. It’s entirely personal.
Read the rest here.