09 November 2013

Where We Are, and Where We’re Going


(Wait Where Were We?) 

Okay, these are the facts, we seem to have established our position fairly well: we are on a large rotating orb, circling a giant spherical nuclear reactor which is one of many such 'stars' in one arm of a spiral galaxy whose dimensions are fairly well beyond our comprehension but which itself appears to be one of many billions of galaxies in 'the universe', which is what we call 'everything' even though we do not and in all likelihood can never know the full extent of the thing.  Does the universe go on forever?  Is 'it' (insofar as it is assumed to exist as such) itself one of many billions of such 'universes', a pawn in some larger game?  We can only speculate.

All right, just wanted to establish our present circumstances for a moment before I go off on another stupid spiel, this one is about cream soda.  Oh forget it, truth is I forgot what I was gonna say but now everyone's staring at me, class started ten minutes ago, I gotta say something.  OK OK, ladies and gentleman listen up, if I could just have your attention while I say this in such a tone that it sounds like I’m giving you the secret to life itself: 

The physical nature of reality is but an illusion we imprison ourselves within because we cannot bear to contemplate our own transcendence. 

Get that?  Go ahead and read it again, let your lips move in rhythm to its magic cadence. Now I don't have a very clear idea what it means (either), but I'd like to talk about it in a vague sorta way for twenty minutes or so as if it means something profound, ineffable if ultimately ungraspable.  A man's gotta make a living after all, and this is kinda my thing.

Let's start with the physical nature of reality.  Or maybe I should say the real nature of physicality, or natural physics of the real, any way you slice it it all points to the same thing, and that is that reality is by nature natural, that the nature of reality is physical and vice versa, that physical reality is natural and nature is physically real, as long as we are true to our own nature, true to our individual, natural, physicality.

A moment please, while I sip of my Fresca, which I am drinking directly from the can.  Okay, imprisoning our illusions.  We have to put our illusions in jail before we can free them, but paradoxically, the jail itself is an illusion we imprison ourselves within, so that the jail holds the key to escape from itself.  Our true natures are locked away in the prison of our own freedom.  Only thus can our illusions be set free and the veil of illusion – or the jail of illusion – be lifted.

Once you escape the prison of temporary transcendence, you discover a completely fresh perspective on physical reality and the nature of illusion.  You see that the reality was masking the illusion and at the same time the illusion was the mask, because hiding behind that mask was the illusion of the physical reality of nature, the natural illusion of transcendence inherent in our pure natures, in the nature of our reality, which stems from and ultimately answers only to itself, or possibly to the mask, I'm getting a little confused here myself.

Now when we are free to contemplate our own transcendence we will have broken free of the prison of physical reality by unraveling the illusory nature of all things physical, and then physically transcending it.  We will reach the promised land, we will find a nice place to stay and have a wonderful couple of weeks there but we cannot stay forever, it was never meant to provide more than a temporary respite from the prison of everyday reality and anyway it's way too expensive for us, they got a lot of good stuff in the promised land but ain't none of it free.

OK maybe that’s enough for now, we'll pick it up there next week.  Don't forget to read your Jurgensen and the two papers by Dirndle et al., go over the handout and be ready to intelligently discuss what it all means for the average Jo/e in the street.


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