Is the World View of a Holy Father Necessarily Full of Holes?
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 22 Dec 2014
Mysterious Theological Black Holes Engendering Global Crises
The argument has been variously presented, but may be succinctly stated: Which problems currently associated with global crisis would not be significantly reduced if the level of population was much lower? Presented otherwise: Is there every probability that global problems will be significantly aggravated by expected levels of population in the future?
Counterarguments tend to be based on the necessarily unproven assumption that the planet has the resources to feed everybody — and more. Alternatively the argument is that it is only a question of more appropriate distribution of resources and ensuring the processes to do so. A key factor cited is the empowerment of women to constrain fertility more responsibly.
Whilst there is extensive focus on demographics in relation to resource issues as a basis for such counterarguments, missing from the debate is any concern with indicators regarding the actual remedial capacity to confirm the validity of those assumptions. This has been discussed separately (Recognizing the Psychosocial Boundaries of Remedial Action: constraints on ensuring a safe operating space for humanity, 2009; Remedial Capacity Indicators Versus Performance Indicators, 1981).
Specifically the concern here is with inadequate temporal consideration by religions. Although human tragedies in the present are deplored, any past responsibility for them is denied, as with future suffering and death. As indicated by the title, the argument exploits the curious association in English between the holiness of those sustaining the present framing and the possibility that their arguments are necessarily “full of holes”. This may well derive in part from the cognitive profundity of the eternal metaphysical and theological insights by which they are inspired (Adhering to God’s Plan in a Global Society: serious problems framed by the Pope from a transfinite perspective, 2014)
Religions, most notably the Abrahamic, are inspired by stars — figuring notably in their iconography. Christianity has long used a star, most probably a supernova, as part of its founding mythology. As suggested by the subtitle of this document, there is also a case for exploring the role of black holes in theological thinking — notably given their importance as metaphors with respect to the ongoing global financial crisis and the suffering it has engendered.
The suggestion made is that, in addition to the mysterious nature of black holes and to the cognitive significance of holes in general, there is a case for further exploration of past recognition of the association of hole to holiness and to understanding of whole. With respect to the seeming inadequacy of the sustaining theology of this time, these considerations can be variously extended. Possibilities include the arguments of Terrence Deacon (Incomplete Nature: how mind emerged from matter, 2012), or the incompleteness theorems of Kurt Gödel, notably as discussed by Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an eternal Golden Braid, 1979), as well as his ontological proof of the existence of God.
The urgency of such investigation is indicated at the time of writing by the Judeo-Christian framing of the actions of radical Islam as completely senseless and incomprehensible in the light of the fatalities caused. Such framings are typically reciprocated on the basis of other facts or their interpretation. Each framing of course considers itself unquestionably complete and sufficient unto itself as a moral authority. This is a feature of the incapacity of religions to “get their act together” in relation to one another — despite decades of interfaith dialogue and violence.
The widely publicized declarations of abhorrence regarding suffering serve to position those making them on the moral high ground, thereby inhibiting comparison with suffering they have perpetrated over years. At the time of writing this is only too apparent from the declarations of US Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the slaughter of 132 children in Pakistan in a period in which the abhorrence at the alleged CIA torture of some 119 detainees over seven years is being debated.
Together these are reminiscent of the attitude of US Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright when questioned on whether the sanctions against Iraq were appropriate (having killed more children than at Hiroshima). Albright replied: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it (We Think the Price is Worth It, Fair, 2001). Such thinking is framed by a previous US Ambassador to the United Nations (Jeane Kirkpatrick, The Myth of Moral Equivalence, 1986), as noted previously (Enabling Suffering through Doublespeak and Doublethink: indifference to poverty and retributive justice as case studies, 2013).
Given that this is the perspective of a country that deems itself to be especially blessed by God, would this also reflect the thinking of a Holy Father?
Ignoring the remedial incapacity ensuring future suffering
Retreat to an eternal stronghold from present responsibility
Holy fatherhood and paternal responsibility
Cognitive mystery of holes, lacunae and incompleteness
Nature of metaphysical and theological holes
Cognitive and experiential black holes
Holiness and unholiness — an unholy complementarity?
Holiness framed by a triangulated configuration of holes
Cultivating “holiness” and “unholiness” in all their forms?
Vital hole dynamic: embracing error, otherness and neglect
Missing linking process to enable the global resolutique
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 Dec 2014.
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